Wednesday, February 25, 2009

To Glass by W.S. Merwin

To Glass

Which of you was first
you or the days

at pretending not
to be visible
to be there but not visible

by fire out of sand

which of you first
started to look
like the other

and to look like
the air
and the hour
and the colored light
that you allow us
to see through you
to recognize the day
turning out of reach

while you appear to be
stillness itself
no one at all
holding in place

the promise
of the known world
on the other side

which the birds fly into
the last time

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Richard Brignoli: calm, regeneration, farewell

Richard Brignoli: the final voyage, 2

Richard Brignoli: his final voyage, 1

Shortly after his birthday, on 29 January 2006, Richard set sail, with a four-member crew, for a two- month round-trip journey to the Caribbean. Though a risky time of year for this voyage, Richard was a sailor's sailor and fearlessly undertook the challenge. But the Gods were not kind to him or to his venture. The sea surged and great gales beset his beloved and seaworthy Carina. The main mast broke in the turbulence and nearly drilled a hole through the hull; demonically, it fell and dragged in the water, until the crew cut it loose. While the boat experienced its deterioration Richard fell ill, mortally. For the safety of all, he refused to be picked up by helicopter but managed to steer the devasted ship to safety in Bermuda. And there he lay dying. Brought home to his wife Lynn, he died on the day of lovers, St. Valentine's day.

Richard Brignoli: in memoriam, January 29, 1939-February 14, 2006

I drew and painted these portraits before and after we were married on 2 April 1962

Memento mori: remember you are mortal

"Our life is but a vapour. [ it is] phantastical, or a mere appearance; and this but for a little while neither; the very dream, the phantasm disappears in a small time, like the shadow that departeth, or like a tale that is told, or as a dream when one waketh . . . ."

Jeremy Taylor (1613--1667), "The Rules and Exercises of Holy Dying."
1st ed 1651
(1670, 2-3, 28), see Adrian Tinniswood, The Verneys, 2007)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Aesop: diagnosis, lymphoma

Aesop. Aesop and Emma. The disease.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Remembering Kate on the anniversary of her death

Kate was a great ball player, who could catch a tennis ball or a handball in her mouth and actually throw it back to you. Her sporting skill also included "handball." We would throw the ball against the wall of Tenafly High School and she would catch it in her mouth and then pitch it back to the wall. Amazing. Her keen sense of smell made her a crackerjack tennis ball collector. Tenafly Commons has several tennis courts; invariably Kate was albe to locate a tennis ball that had gone out of court and fell into bushes. Left behind by the players, Kate would discover the ball and proudly carry it out from the brush in her mouth. A skill of another kind was her ability to find cicadas, which carried carried her mouth if it was alive. At first we were disconcerted by her behavior, but learned to accept it, realizing that it was her nature to do this. A hunter at heart, cicacadas were a treat and a source of protein.

Kate: Rembering our incomparable scottish terrier, March 4, 1986--February 8, 1999

Kate and Harold at Tallman State Park. Kate with a Wild Thing, one of the toys she nurtured, grooming at and taking it outside into the yard for "air." Kate at home shortly after she arrived. Profile of Kate

In earlier blogs I wrote at length about Kate or Katie our first scottie, who serendipitously became a member of our family. To save her from a mall pet shop, we purchased the funny lttle dog who won my heart the instant she was removed from her cage: she placed her head on my shoulder nestled on it, contently and quietly. A few months old--4 we believe-- but one who had lived through so much trouble already--her origins were in a puppy mill in the far west, then transported to Middle America and finally deposited in a pet shop in th Bergen Mall, she lived together with a dachshund as a companion and then was on her own. Chance brought us together. Kate was a curious thoughtful companion who looked at the world inquisitively. She would study a plane, blimp, or helicopeter flying overhead, following its trajectory as it crossed the sky. She was obviously trying to make sense of what was not an everyday occurrence. We remember her today and her all too short life with us, though in dog years she lived a respectable number. What a wonder she was and how fortunate we found each other.

Sunday, February 1, 2009