Real Listening...


Looks slow, moves pretty fast / August 2017

Abraham Maslow's definition of real listening: to listen "without presupposing, classifying, improving, controverting, evaluating, approving or disapproving, without dueling what is being said, without rehearsing the rebuttal in advance, without free-associating to portions of what is being said so that succeeding portions are not heard at all."

The poetry of sisterly hands, 58

IMG_4360A celebration with sisters / Oct 2016

We are a River (Lao Tzu)

Don't accept the modern myths of aging.
You are not declining.
You are not fading away into uselessness.
You are a sage,
a river at its deepest
and most nourishing.
Sit by a river bank some time
and watch attentively as the river
tells you of your life.


Fam-jamulous-shirtThe Fam-Jamulous Shirt from vintage fabric / August 2015 / HSF15

“The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them”

~ George Bernard Shaw

The poetry of hands holding out my thanks, 57

ImageOh, the beauty in those raised hands / detail from a Jan Luyken and Pieter Arentsz etching; circa 1687

In the morning as the storm begins to blow away
the clear sky appears for a moment and it seems to me
that there has been something simpler than I could ever believe
simpler than I could have begun to find words for
not patient not even waiting no more hidden
than the air itself that became part of me for a while
with every breath and remained with me unnoticed
something that was here unnamed unknown in the days
and the nights not separate from them
not separate from them as they came and were gone
it must have been here neither early nor late then
by what name can I address it now holding out my thanks

~ "Just Now" by W. S. Merwin

Visitation from the sun

Photo 3Mitza's tulips

... which seemed like a
visitation from the sun, urging me to tell you, in
case like me you had forgotten

     we are the universe's latest way of blooming.

~ an excerpt from Untitled ["This poem is not meant for you"] by Willow Harth

Improvement in all lines of endeavor

Liza-arrival-2Liza's arrival in New York, Nov. 1906 / She started from Krk, Croatia; her final destination is 1714 Master St. Camden, NJ / Uncle Josip met her in NY and bought her a new hat and took her to meet friend in New York before heading to Camden /

This is the city of Camden that Jelisava moved to: At the annual gathering of the Board of Trade last week the value of some of the city's manufactories was expressed something in this wise: "Camden has within its border a population of nearly 100,000 and shipbuilding firms that can either supply a launch or the greatest battleship; the larges lace curtain manufactory in America, a talking machine that speaks every known language; iron works that make enough pipe to girdle the earth: leather manufactories that tan skins from all parts of the globe; the larges furniture house whose products reach to the Philippines; banks and trust companies whose resources are not affected by panics; linoleum works which manufacture one-half the country's whole product; a plant whose kitchens annually make enough soup to float all the vessels built in our shipyards; a nickle works which furnishes Uncle Sam with material for slot machines; a department store, whose experiment has proved a decided success; pen works, which produce two-thirds of the pens used in the world; an expanded metal works -- the material produced there will stretch from Maine to Texas and its mills rival the largest.
So, with the thousands of homes, its scores of industries, its charitable institutions and the manifold creations of a modern civilization, Camden is a city which is not slow, which is always in the van of progress and municipal improvement in all lines of endeavor.

[Excerpted from "Camden, Now Eighty Years Old, is Proud of its Wonderful Growth, City on Saint Valentine's Day, Will Observe the Anniversary of Its Incorporation---Some Facts and Figures Concerning "Slow Town" Across the River", Philadelphia Inquirer; February 2, 1908]

As a tree contains its rings

ImageDetail of Francesca's artwork

"We always feel younger than we are. I carry inside myself my earlier faces, as a tree contains its rings. The sum of them is me. The mirror sees only my latest face, while I know all my previous ones."

~ Tomas Tranströmer

A reverence for the past

Photo (1)Streets of Philadelphia with GGMom

"Since I was a very small child, I've had a kind of reverence for the past, and I felt a very intimate connection with it. When I began, it was just being enthralled by the lives of the members of my family who -- really, it didn't seem to make any difference in day-to-day talk whether people were alive or dead. I'm one of these children who grew up at the knee of my grandmother and her elder sister, listening to very old people talk about their memories. And as I say, in their conversation, everything was as if it happened yesterday. And the dead were discussed along with the living. And the difference really didn't seem to matter. And I suppose this seeped into my viewpoint. Instead of thinking there was a wall between the living and the dead, I thought there was a very thin veil. It was almost as if they'd just gone into the next room."

~ Hilary Mantel

The good family I had

Scan0005In memory of our dear cousin Irma / Ride to the dump / 1965

“There isn’t many days that go by that I don’t think of the good family I had and the wonderful times as a child on up to old age. We all didn’t have lots of money—but love for all we did have.”   ~ Irma

What can we say?

TilesTiles at the Magic Garden: A floor of harmonious differences

"For as long as I live, I will not let this suffering be normal."

~ 26 year-old US Syrian Aid Worker Kayla Mueller

Tapping a wall


To converse with the greats
by trying their blindfolds on;
to correspond with books
by rewriting them;
to edit holy edicts,
and at the midnight hour
to talk with the clock by tapping a wall
in the solitary confinement of the universe.

~ "To Converse with the Greats" by Vera Pavlova

Fair and mild today

Weather-map-111255Weather map in the NYTimes for November 12, 1955 / Celebrating the 59th Anniversary / This / This

It was a beautiful day then and it was a beautiful day today. Standing on the steps of the church. Breezy but warm. Sit and soak up the sun. Sharp glass of wine. Crisp french fries. Air coming in the window. Happy and sad. Sun glinting lower now, but still bright.

Quietly shining

The-quiet-moonLate summer sky, 2014

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

~ Samuel Coleridge, excerpt from Frost at Midnight

A special divine favour

Praying-mantisThis praying mantis came across the parking lot, crawled across my shoe, up my leg, around the back of my leg and onto my bag / Sept. 2014

Perhaps this is exhibited nowhere more than in the class of insects called the "Praying Mantis"; this word mantis, you must know, comes to us from the Greek, and signifies "divine" or "diviner." In Central Africa it is an object of worship. Holding up its long front-legs as if in an attitutde of prayer, raised like arms to heaven, it appears the most saintly of insects; and among the superstitions of the poor Hottentos, if by any chance the praying mantis should happen to settle on his person it is considered a special divine favour, and the fortunate person so favoured immediately is looked upon as a saint.

~ from Solomon's Little People by James Crowther, 1882

By subtle maneuvers

Corn-husk-scarecrow"I could wile away the hours / Conferrin' with the flowers / Consultin' with the rain" / Scarecrow made from fresh corn husks / Jersey Sweet Corn Full Moon Creating

Franz Kafka, frustrated with his living quarters and day job, wrote in a letter to Felice Bauer in 1912, “time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers.”

~ an excerpt from Daily Rituals: How Artists Work,  edited by Mason Currey

The summer may go by

Outside5A tree is cut down letting the rays of sun bathe the bayberry which suddenly blossoms into fragrance / NJ, 2014

"The seasons do not cease a moment to revolve, and therefore Nature rests no longer at her culminating point than at any other. If you are not out at the right instant, the summer may go by and you not see it."

~ Henry David Thoreau (The Writings of Henry David Thoreau: Journal, ed. by Bradford Torrey, 1837)

The eternal symphony of old Ocean

NYTimes_Jul-15_1952bAdvertisement in the New York Times for bus service to Atlantic City; 10 trips daily and extra weekend service / July 15th 1952

"How many claims has Absecon Beach upon the inhabitants of the Middle States, and more especially upon the people of Philadelphia. There, beneath the exhilarating influence of the saline air and surging surf, we take our summer's salty solace, and shuffle off the accumulation of fatigue under which a winter's weary work has made us suffer. There, too, we meet our old accustomed friends, not to buy and sell—not to talk horse, grain, or iron with them—not to waste the day in wordy wrangle with them about stocks, bonds, and the fluctuations of the gold market—but we meet them to read, convulsed with laughs, the funny bill of fare of an enterprising hotel keeper, who loves to make amusement for his friends by providing them with food for their risible, as well as for their corporeal appetites, and also by providing them with the true pleasure ever experienced in the poetry of motion at the gigantic hops, where the dancing toe keeps step alike, to the music of the band and the eternal symphony of old Ocean."

~ an excerpt from "Atlantic City: Its Early and Modern History," 1868, by Carnesworthe

Zipping around in mid-air

BirdsLook for the birds...

"Why do birds fly? First, that's how they look for and procure food. Second, when seasons change and the weather grows cooler, they may migrate to warmer areas where there's more to eat. Third, zipping around in mid-air is how birds locate the materials they need to build nests. Fourth, it's quite helpful in avoiding predators. But ornithologists believe there is yet another reason: Birds fly because it's fun. In fact, up to 30 percent of the time, that's their main motivation. ... I invite you to match the birds' standard in the coming weeks. See if you can play and enjoy yourself and have a good time at least 30 percent of the time."

~ Rob Brezsny

The way she had been feeling

Meet-her-footDancing above and around the earth / The Magic Garden

"she had grown wary" ... "Assumptions that the earth would be there to meet her foot when she put it down, or that her body would remain upright without expressly willing it were no longer certain, & she found herself hesitating more than she used to, as though to give the world a chance to announce its true intentions."

~ an excerpt from the story "Leap" in the book "Alone With You" by Marisa Silver (via Mitza)

The poetry of hands and walking feet, 56

Poetry-of-hands-feetClay "feet" walking up a mosaic wall / Philadelphia

Solvitur Ambulando: it is solved by walking

"It is the best of humanity, I think, that goes out to walk. In happy hours all affairs may be wisely postponed for this."  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Country Life, 1857

“Your true kingdom is just around you, and your leg is your scepter. A muscular, manly leg, one untarnished by sloth or sensuality, is a wonderful thing.”  ~ Alfred Barron, Foot Notes, Or, Walking as a Fine Art, 1875

Books are the sign-posts

Main_avenueMosaic street sign-post in Ocean Grove, NJ

"... I forgot that we are no longer children: you cannot guess how much we men, and more than all, perhaps, we writers whose task it is to unravel the web of human actions, owe even to our own past errors; and if we learned nothing by the errors of others, we should be dull indeed. We must know where the roads divide, and have marked where they lead to, before we can erect our sign-post; and books are the sign-posts in human life."

~ an excerpt from "My Novel; Or, Varieties in English Life, Part 2" by Edward Bulwer Lytton

Fragment by fragment

Girl_on_the_rockPaulo's mosaic of Delaware River stones, Atlantic Ocean seashells, colorful tesserae, and found objects including the girl on the rock / June 2014

The mosaic art is one of the earliest known, and belongs quite to the infancy of civilization. The Chinese possess it with their other stationary arts from time immemorial; it was found among the primitive inhabitants of America, and in a more or less rude form among the earliest remains of nearly all nations. Some authors think it was invented by the Persians, ... After them the Assyrians are supposed to have taught this art to the Egyptians and the Greeks, from whom it passed to the Romans, who unquestionably used it with the greatest profusion, and carried it with them into all their provinces, including Gaul and Britain, as is abundantly proved by the innumerable examples which are found on the site of every Roman station or villa.

~ an excerpt from "Mosaic pictures in Rome and Ravenna: briefly described" by John Henry Parker, 1866


The poetry of hands, 55

SolsticeNJ Solstice Sunset picture-in-a-picture / June 2014

“She is our moon. Our tidal pull. She is the rich deep beneath the sea, the buried treasure, the expression in the owl's eye, the perfume in the wild rose. She is what the water says when it moves.”

~ Patricia A. McKillip, Solstice Wood

Keep moving


"Her face was beautiful from every angle..." [John Glassco writing in his memoir Memories of Montparnasse] / "All I need in life is an onion, a bit of bread and a bottle of red wine, and I'll always find someone to give me that..." [Kiki of Montparnasse]

"In old age wandering on a trail of beauty lively may I walk ..."

~ American Indian Chant