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Shadowlands

(x = space)

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Shadowlands

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Plato

C. S. Lewis

My hand by

The computer light

Shadows with shadows,

I suppose

With something firmer

On the other side

That could be relied on

For an eternity

Something waiting

Something inspiring

An ideal

A world of ideals

That’s what we learned

In school

So what have we here?

Which world shimmers

For the other

Though we presume

The other world’s better?

What do we sense here?

What do we make?

What lasts?

We have our treasures

And we try to keep them

We use guards

We have alarms

Things might fade anyway

Or break

And we keep making

Stockpiling art

With care

In both kinds of caves

Like those who aren’t so well-

Obsessed with money

Or better

With a hope for all

The way we might stockpile food

And why not

Against the day

Except for exigent hunger

(there should be enough

for both)

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Yet if they’re right

We’ll have it all again

Art and food

Anything of profit

By virtue,

Perfect there

And permanent

And with ourselves, perhaps,

Polished and redeemed

As on this side

We sometimes polish

Precious metal with

Satisfaction after

That self-effacing

Might be and become

A shimmering

Evangelism:

Grand art, you see,

And easy,

Arduous science

For both

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C L Couch

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the verse alludes to Plato’s allegory of the cave

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the title is a term that is a metaphor for mortal life

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Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash

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Arts and Sciences

(x = space)

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Arts and Sciences

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It used to be

That art was the vision

Science the practice

(of the vision)

Thus there was connection

As between birth

And grown-up life

That was not ineffable

But practical

Workable

For visioning, producing

Of an age

x

Now we don’t like each other

The theoretical

The practical

We grumble and we look

The other way

Well, to our way

If we must, we sigh

Whisper nearly sotto voce

For a bit of theory

Or a bit of usefulness

Or industry

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Music, math

The Renaissance

Philosophy

Reading, writing

How to build community

Through argument

And pipes

And water fountains

Statuary for the ages

Buildings that make sense

Can be maintained

And are beautiful

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They’re coming back, perhaps

I see new works in small towns

Better than returning is

Moving forward

Time for a new alliance

New connections

New community

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Make new friends

And keep the old;

One is silver

And the other gold

Not bad for an age

Every day a merger

Every breath a hope

In vision

Words

Plans

Building

And-or preserving

The streets, the place,

And planet

We all live along

Each one

Each other

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C L Couch

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Light in the Law Quad

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

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“Make New Friends” is a scout and camp song (a round) whose creators are unknown and whose lyrics have variations.

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3 poems for summer solstice

(x = space)

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3 poems for summer solstice

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Merry July

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Solstice

It’s summer now

Summer weather smacks us

Here

Temps aiming for 90

I guess in Australia

New Zealand

New Guinea

Little America

Winter is begun

Throw logs on the fire

Sing winter carols

Withholding Christmas and

The other holidays

‘Til the start of summer

In December

Christmas in July

A custom mostly mercantile

In the north

Could be the real thing

With trees and

Were it high enough

Some snow

Ornaments and lights

Certainly

Merry Christmas in

Alice Springs

Wellington

Tierre del Fuego

On the Falklands

At the southern pole

Santa’s summer home

Like winter

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Intentions

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God, what shall I

Say to you?

I worship you

In contemporary ways

I’m sorry for sins

You have seen in me

And known for centuries

I thank you for your presence

Having made all good things

And the ways to deal

With the bad

I ask of you

To welcome home

Those who die

And heal those who live

Cure cancer

End war

Well, I can ask

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Siblinghood

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It’s like science fiction

Slipping out of time

Our of normalcy

Eating meals on time

Cleaning on a schedule

Ingrained expectations

Instinctive, conditioned

Responses

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To fall outside of these

To live with fewer clothes

To hope for decent meals

In penury,

To dream of trips

But only travel like Thoreau

Walking to and from

The town

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Everything else happens

On the inside

How sad this is

At least how strange

But there’s a purpose

Those who fall outside

Will look back

And when not wistful

Will prophecy

In art

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C L Couch

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Saint John’s (Midsummer) Fire at Dragør Beach (Denmark)

XSimon, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53634435

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Starts with a Story

(x = space)

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Starts with a Story

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On a hazy

Saturday,

We talk about

The past

Long past

How the human genius

And the genius of creation

All ancient

Partnerships

Ask better of us

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Look at the red curve

In Altimira

I think

An arch that goes much further

Than a count

A quota

Even for life

The lives of

Ancient companions

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Red and black

Lines

So much more than

Counting

That have ancient majesty

A thinking of high places

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Pointed Notre-Dame

Or round Saint Paul’s

May rise in tandem with

Ancient siblinghood

Reasons for the hunt

For the migration

After meals

For living

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For living

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C L Couch

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The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber, David Wengrow

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Bison in the cave of Altamira.

(image) By Daniel Villafruela. – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22778033

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Pollock Shock

(x = space)

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Pollock Shock

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What is honest,

Anymore?

(people might ask

they might)

Is it when we cry in pain

From suffering?

Is suffering so honest?

No great art

Without suffering

Speaking to the vision,

I suppose

Michelangelo before

The chapel ceiling

Pollock

Before the floor

Art that changes everyone

Born from the pain of one

Or more

And what about beholders?

Do I understand,

Bring it close to heart/

To home

Because I hurt before

I see above/

Below,

Hear the music,

Touch the statue,

Walk the garden,

Smell the cooking?

A world of pain, they say

No other way to

Know magnificence

But through agony

Small pain

Great pain

Small art

Great art

I want to fight the premises

Argue them for

Ordinary time

Sigh

Maybe we have to hurt

Before even plain beauty’s

(leaf’s magnificence,

soup in the pot)

Understood

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C L Couch

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Photo by Jené Stephaniuk on Unsplash

Part of the painting “Day Trip” from Jene Gallery.

Austin, TX, USA

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It Might Be Magic

(x = space)

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It Might Be Magic

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Do you eschew

Institutions?

I do, anymore

The machines

Made out of people

Don’t blame the

Bureaucrats:

They operate

What others made

A breaking efficiency

In copper and in

Oil replaced by

Split atoms, unleaded

Gasoline and now

Other fuels

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The early price

Was trees

And iron from the earth

Water unafraid

Unplastic skies

That might storm

But otherwise

Were trusted

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Press agents lie

Because they forward

An agenda

They were told

Beyond the news

To promulgate

Or else

Lose their jobs

The heroes and the villains

All are mixed

Or so it seems

Because they’re not

x

We are blended

Creatures now,

It’s true

Nothing of persisting,

Edenic status

Has existed for a while

And in our

Reconstituting state

Generations are confused

x

Hamas has launched

Three thousand rockets

Into Israel

That fights with

More sophistication

Missiles from planes

And from the ground

More of us

Are good at war, these days

x

I read the city paper

In the morning

To find out who has

Shot or otherwise killed

Whom

Or who preaches

On Hyde-Park boxes

That it should rain hate

Should we have our way

x

There is an answer,

So many traditions

Espouse

It’s a good thing

And nothing new,

Ancient of ages

But statues will have to

Have their clay feet

Scraped out

Then with something better

Slid into place

And shaped

While the rest of us

The citizens, the voters

Hold the upper parts

The structures of society

In place

x

See,

Nihilism is not the answer

Nor to fire agencies

Especially with fire

We can keep

The inefficiencies

Of efficiency,

The inexactness

That comforts us

Knowing the machine

Is never all

But flesh and blood

And synapse

And our loves

Matter more

x

Next chapter,

All yours

It might be magic

But it’s not:

It’s mortal hands

Moved by mortal hearts

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C L Couch

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In the Line of Fire

Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash

Hay, Australia

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Later

(x = space)

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x

Later

x

I’m not sure what to say

It’s been a day

I slept in bouts and woke up

Very tired

I got some coffee for the

Caffeine and the ritual

I started writing, trying to find

A way through the events that matter

Seasons and ideas

What might move us

One by one and as a people

Of the planet, who for now have

Such a nascent idea of

Who of Earth we are

Thousands of years in groups,

The rise and fall

Sometimes extinction

Through disaster,

Sometimes disaster through conquest

Then the conquered fall

Harry Lime says

The Borgias had war

And sponsored the Renaissance

While the Swiss had peace

And only produced the cuckoo clock

Great striving

Requiring great tyranny

Do you believe that?

I don’t,

And Harry was taken in a sewer

Underneath Vienna, by the way

Peace is a practical

Possibility—of course, it is

Think how much does not

Have to be destroyed

Except for fear

In tyranny

In peace, there is plenty

There is art as well

I think Harry also forgot about how

Art is patronized and how

Patronage does not need

A dictator’s purse

Coffered by the people, anyway

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Can we imagine having

Everything we need?

Do we think it would be over,

The human drive?

I think we would explore

What is beyond crushing need

In a universe,

A universe,

With which we haven’t started

Beyond machines

Impartial theories

Take away the bullies

And concomitant destruction,

There is finally a chance

For everything

x

C L Couch

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The Third Man, a film directed by Carol Reed, written by Graham Greene

Greene wrote the novella of the same name as preparation for the screenplay. Anton Karas wrote and performed the score, which featured only the zither. The title music “The Third Man Theme” topped the international music charts in 1950, bringing the previously unknown performer international fame. The Third Man is considered one of the greatest films of all time, celebrated for its acting, musical score and atmospheric cinematography.

Halliwell, Leslie and John Walker, ed. (1994). Halliwell’s Film Guide. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-273241-2. p 1192 [cited at Wikipedia]

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By PunkToad from oakland, us – Cardinal Cuckoo ClockUploaded by clusternote, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27515171

Cardinal Cuckoo Clock, 126 1st Ave. Minneapolis MN

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A Response to “Cleon” by Robert Browning

A Response to “Cleon” by Robert Browning

(which has stuck with me for years)

 

Yon swimmer is an ode

Cleon says so

I paraphrase

To Proteus or something in authority

A tyrant in the Classical sense

A tyrant who knows virtue

They had those back then

And a patron

To the speaker of the poem

The writer of a letter

 

That does not hesitate to compliment

But also makes the case

For what is true

In your tyranny, perhaps

Argues Cleon

You might be missing something

When you elevate my art

Not that I don’t mind the support

Artists need that

But in understanding why the art is there

To tell you in itself

That life is better

 

Our art records and re-expresses

Interprets who we are and what we do

But the actions so much better

All the attributes that make us

They are real

Poets know this

Beyond an abstract exercise

So we will write

Sculpt words on paper

Into pieces that might find you

Whole, more whole for this

 

While replacing nothing

Enhancement, we hope

Greater clarity

A lesson, if we must

Learning in other ways

To trust

 

I recall because it comes to me,

Now and then

Having looked up nothing for a while

(the swimmer is a rower,

and Proteus is Protus

while English majors smoosh words to pass

the comprehensive)

But the epistle goes on meaning much

To me

I try to keep it real

Real enough,

As Cleon’s maker trusts

The last apostle who wrote letters

To the faithful

 

C L Couch

 

 

(from) “Cleon,” Robert Browning

. . .

The many years of pain that taught me art!

Indeed, to know is something, and to prove

How all this beauty might be enjoyed, is more:

But, knowing nought, to enjoy is something too.

Yon rower, with the moulded muscles there,

Lowering the sail, is nearer it than I.

I can write love-odes: thy fair slave’s an ode.

I get to sing of love, when grown too grey

For being beloved: she turns to that young man,

The muscles all a-ripple on his back.

I know the joy of kingship: well, thou art king!

. . .

I cannot tell thy messenger aright

Where to deliver what he bears of thine

To one called Paulus; we have heard his fame

. . .

 

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43749/cleon

https://www.public-domain-poetry.com/robert-browning/cleon-6646

(two places easily to find the poem)

 

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Puerto Marina, Benalmádena, Spain

Momentos antes del inicio del Triatlón de Benalmádena.

 

 

Riding Gimbals

Riding Gimbals

(blank page part 2, I think)

 

The blank page terrifies

No, it doesn’t terrify

It’s only a blank page

It has no weapons, no teeth

No agency to thwart us in

Our better aims

(well, maybe teeth

and when ink is added,

we say sharper than the sword

 

But) all we have to do is write

Try crayons as electric bits

There are some screens that let

Us do this

Take a paper page and apply paint

Relax or get excited

Whatever might compel, today

 

Or write then erase

(I might do that here)

Get something down, send it up

A muse might listen

Write André-Breton-like

But don’t pretend

Because if nonsense,

Say so to yourself

(me say so to me)

Yet we are meeting words again

 

Something like syntax

The grammar of creation might

Not be so far away

In the room, beyond the wall

Through the window flown like Pan

With lovely thoughts

 

Or in a recess unvisited

For a while

Pain, if we must find it there

Pleasure, if it’s due

 

But now some clay is on the wheel

We might need lessons

We might turn it into homework

Over days, who knows

 

We have what we have and want to do

To say

To be engaged

Maybe we can campaign in this

A conspiracy of art to

Break the trap

Release the net

To let us out

 

C L Couch

 

 

Jerrie Cobb, a well known female pilot in the 1950s, testing Gimbal Rig in the Altitude Wind Tunnel, AWT in April 1960.

NASA/GRC/Arden Wilfong – Great Images in NASA Description, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6448450

 

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