It turns out I misremembered yesterday’s poem (not the haiku, the other one). It’s by Ginsberg (in the middle, above; Neal Cassidy is second from left) and I first read it in The Little Zen Companion. Yes, I own The Little Zen Companion. I’ll admit it.
What’s this little brown insect
across the sunny white page
of Su Tung-po’s poem?
Fly away, tiny mite, even your life
I lift the book and blow you into
the dazzling void.
We have a catch-and-release policy regarding insect life at the apartment. (And, although I have a feeling that my roommate disregards this policy when I’m not around to enforce it, it’s usually pretty well-observed. With the exception of earwigs, who get no mercy.) It’s exactly what you think–if we see a spider, for instance, out comes a glass and a magazine and we try to trap the spider, get it in the glass, and then release it, all without letting the spider touch us or get squished. It makes life exciting.
Years ago I read this poem and it stuck with me, popping into my mind every time I killed a spider, which is why I catch and release today. I don’t remember the source–I think Gary Snyder, via some Buddhist hippy quote collection–but I will find out tonight.
…fly away, tiny mite, even your life is precious.
I lift the book and blow you into the dazzling void.
Which of course echoes the Issa haiku from 200 years before:
Don’t kill him!
The fly wrings its hands,
(Yes, there is even a literary take on killing bugs.)
I never had a chance to post yesterday, so I’ll make up for it today with some real highbrow literature. This is Virginia Woolf, from the middle section of To The Lighthouse, titled, appropriately enough, “Time Passes.” I think of it whenever, well, time passes.
But what, after all, is one night? A short space, especially when the darkness dims so soon, and so soon a bird sings, a cock crows, or a faint green quickens, like a turning leaf, in the hollow of a wave.
Never made it to the demolition derrby over the weekend. However, there will be chariot races this Saturday and Sunday, at the same arena (Golden Spike). Why we don’t all move to Ogden, I don’t know–they have derbys, chariot races, refineries, trains.
I mean, really. A pirate would knock a leprechaun silly, steal his pot of gold, and go drink rum.
Which would you rather celebrate?
I thought it would be more fun to sleep last night than to immerse myself in literature, but I do have some information to share. Like literature, I think this is important.
1.) There is a demolition derby this Saturday at 7:00 in historic Ogden. It’s at the Golden Spike Arena. I will be there, maybe with C. and M., maybe with The Lovely Susannah.
2.) Here is a recipe for ship’s biscuits. You can make these before your next voyage and they will keep a long time. They will not, however, be delicious. (Recipe from the Royal Naval Museum.)
Add water to 1lb wholemeal flour and 1/4oz salt to make a stiff dough. Leave for 1/2 hour and then roll out very thickly. Separate in to 5 or 7 biscuits. Bake in a hot oven approx. 420 degrees F for 30 minutes. The biscuits should then be left undisturbed in a warm dry atmosphere to harden and dry out.
Today, I am wearing a headscarf like a pirate, provoking all sorts of Piratical Phrases Uttered. Yar!
(Missing a picture? I couldn’t decide on just one. Go here. Waste no time. You won’t be diasppointed.)
I was in a Dickens mood about three weeks ago, went to the main library, and came home with Dombey and Son, which is a later one. I’m about 200 pages into it and getting my Dickens fix (there are lots of descriptions of somber parlors, a “flaxen-haired” little girl, and someone young has just died), but most people I’ve talked to (okay, only three people, but that’s most of my accquaintance) have never heard of Dombey and Son. I had, distantly, and realized last night it was mentioned by Salinger in Franny and Zooey. I love the italics, so it’s the quote for the day. (A quote from literature, about literature! It’s a good day.) This is Franny speaking, near the end:
“He said he was–this is exactly what he said–he said he was sitting at the table in the kitchen, all by himself, drinking a glass of ginger ale and eating saltines and reading ‘Dombey and Son,’ and all of a sudden Jesus sat down in the other chair and asked if he could have a small glass of ginger ale. A small glass, mind you–that’s exactly what he said. I mean he says things like that, and yet he thinks he’s perfectly qualified to give me a lot of advice and stuff!”
So every time I think or read “Dombey and Son,” it comes out Dombey.
Because literature has nothing on a kitten. (And because I forgot the book from which I was going to quote today.) Also check out kittenwar.com.
This is, of course, the opening of T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland and is the only part most people (myself included) really get. There is a good annotated version online here, if you’re feeling scholarly. (Should have majored in English…)