Thursday, April 24, 2014

BONSAI HELL Graphic Update

Here's the lineup of my bonsai for this year. Far right is the maple and next to it the boxwood. They survived the winter. Far left is a new ficus training in cascade style. Next to is is a juniper, same pot and variety as last year, replacing the one that died. I'm afraid my previous report of its survival was incorrect. To the right of the juniper is a new azalea. My teacher's maple, not pictured here but featured in the BONSAI HELL post, has survived as well. My other maple, the little scrawny one, did not make it. Bonsai can be started from stock you find at any nursery or hardware store. It's the upkeep that's tricky.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New York, New Haven and Hartford, Edward Hopper, 1931

There was a time I would have cried
at this bright, low light
upon the farmhouse and its fields.
Today I don't know what time
it might be: precisely morning
or the exact pause in the evening
before the train fills empty track
and harrows embankment shrubs
in their shaded, tortured shapes.

This day I only stand and wonder
if there's work to be done after waking,
or if dinner's yet to be pulled
from the stove. I wonder what's left
to do in that shabby old house
with its narrow, black window
that faces dawn, or the sun that sets
unerringly, as constant freight rolls
always away from here and now
on hard rails down in the dark
foreground that had lain forgotten.

link to painting

Two Random Comments Mentioning Orpheus: One Important and the Other Not So Much

Important Comment: Cage readers will recall that last October I committed my bonsai trees to the abyss of BONSAI HELL for winter keeping. Trumping the vaunted Orpheus, I have looked back to my beloved in hell and successfully retrieved them! Actually, the small, scrawny maple didn't make it, and the juniper's apex has died, blunting its shape. The larger maple and the boxwood are in the best of health. My teacher's cedar and small maple have also apparently survived.

Not-So-Much Comment: It has long been my ambition to be one of those obsessive revisers of poetry, and it's one not yet realized. I revise poems, but getting beyond a fourth draft is almost impossible. Those that go beyond four revisions have never been very successful. On this blog the old poem "Autumn Journal" (by me, not Louis MacNeice!) is the best example of anything to go beyond four, but it's crippled. Anyway, there are some new poems needing revising, and maybe Orpheus has some advice for us about looking back at those old loves.