Sunday, May 31, 2015

Abandoned Farmhouse 
Ted Kooser 

He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.

A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall
papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves
covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,
says the sandbox made from a tractor tire.
Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves
and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole.
And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames.
It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.

Something went wrong, says the empty house
in the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields
say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars
in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste.
And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard
like branches after a storm-a rubber cow,
a rusty tractor with a broken plow,
a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Getting discouraged.

Great idea won't transform into a song.

Can't scratch out an opening line that doesn't laugh back at me.

Time to give up and ...............

Nope. Time to dig out and refresh.

Listen. Learn. 

"Learning is the natural reward of meetings with remarkable ideas, and remarkable people."

"What artists learn from other artists is not so much history or technique (although we learn tons of that too); what we really gain from the art-making of others is courage-by-association. Depth of contact grows as fears are shared — and thereby disarmed — and this comes from embracing art as process, and artists as kindred spirits."

"To the artist, art is a verb."

"To the critic, art is a noun."

"People stop making art when they stop being students."

Quotes are from Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils and Rewards
of Artmaking, written by David Bayles & Ted Orland.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Man, this poem rocks!

In A Kitchen Where Mushrooms Were Washed 
Jane Hirshfield 

In a kitchen where mushrooms were washed,
the mushroom scent lingers.

As the sea must keep for a long time the scent of the whale.

As a person who’s once loved completely,
a country once conquered,
does not release that stunned knowledge.

They must want to be found, those strange-shaped, rising morels,
clownish puffballs.

Lichens have served as a lamp-wick.
Clean-burning coconuts, olives.
Dried salmon, sheep fat, a carcass of petrel set blazing:
light that is fume and abradement.

Unburnable mushrooms are other.
They darken the air they come into.

Theirs the scent of having been traveled, been taken.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My pal Matt West turned me on to this inspiring poem written by the great poet 
Mary Oliver.

When Death Comes
Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Got a kick out of Marty's post on this morning.

Although number 5 is a viable option for a great song....


There a number of common songwriting errors that complicate the lyric and confuse the listener. If you want to leave your audience scratching their heads, try these techniques on for size.

1) Switch your pronouns around. Include several female characters in your song and then use the pronouns “she” or “her”. This gets them every time. They won’t be able to keep up with who is talking. So much fun to see from the stage!

2) Jump back and forth in time. Start in present tense, then go past tense, back to present, then throw in some future tense. They won’t know which way is up!

3) Don’t stick to one topic. The more you say that doesn’t have anything to do with your hook, the more the audience will wonder what in the heck is going on. Throw in random lines that don’t have anything to do with your song idea and watch the “glazed and dazed” looks fall over the audience like rain.

4) Throw in some poetic nonsense. Try things like “You’re a blue sky baby” or “Roses never had it like you”. No one will have any idea what you are talking about. Some may even give you the “Whoa dude, that’s righteous” kind of looks, if they are heavily medicated or in an altered state.

5) Write a super depressing lyric to a happy melody. If you can kill off a dear family member in your song while keeping a happy melody frolicking along, you’ve accomplished something.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Country Joe McDonald is looking for you!

Here is a message from him:

We're organizing a protest song festival to be held on August 15, 2015 at the Berkeley Unitarian Fellowship Hall in Berkeley. 

Please come!  

If you want to participate as a performer, fill out the sign-up sheet at:

Get those pencils out and scribble out a protest song.

Who can forget this-

The Fish Cheer & I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag
Joe McDonald

Gimme an F!
Gimme an I!
Gimme an S!
Gimme an H!
What's that spell ?
What's that spell ?
What's that spell ?
Yeah, come on all of you, big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He's got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Vietnam
So put down your books and pick up a gun,
We're gonna have a whole lotta fun.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Well, come on generals, let's move fast;
Your big chance has come at last.
Gotta go out and get those reds —
The only good commie is the one who's dead
And you know that peace can only be won
When we've blown 'em all to kingdom come.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.


Well, come on Wall Street, don't move slow,
Why man, this is war au-go-go.
There's plenty good money to be made
By supplying the Army with the tools of the trade,
Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam.
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Well, come on mothers throughout the land,
Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
Come on fathers, don't hesitate,
Send 'em off before it's too late.
Be the first one on your block
To have your boy come home in a box.

And it's one, two, three
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam.
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Sky Above
Davina Browne

say it loud 
to the sky’s 
say it proud 
to the clouds 
say you no longer 
want this pain 
sing it loud
to the clouds
 scream it high 
bring down the sky
pray heaven lands safe on the earth 
just for a day or maybe a while 
we can see our love one's and smile
 just like visiting hours
 they fly by and all too soon
 you will have to say goodbye

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Make It Through 
                                        Walt Sample                                          

It might be my lucky night there’s two bags sittin’ by the Goodwill box
Maybe something that I need a warm winter coat or clean socks
Untied a red plastic knot nothin’ but a bunch of ladies shoes
Other sack was baby clothes and superhero underoos

My old Army jacket ‘ill do for one more cold November night
I’ll bivouac in the shadow of the shivering mercury vapor light
Like a prisoner in a camp without a razor wire cage
Prayin’ away the day under a blanket of yesterday’s front page

Yeah I’m gonna make it through
Another night in the red white and blue
Let Lady Liberty’s embrace
Warm my soul and guard my faith

I dream about Mom and Dad and all my brothers who didn’t make it back
Ice cold Miller beer french fries Big Macs and rocket attacks
Eyes snap open sunshine time wake up stretch and smile
Go pick up litter at St. Paul’s and pray with Father Tom awhile

Yeah I’m gonna make it through
Another day in the red white and blue
Let Lady Liberty’s embrace
Warm my soul and guard my faith

Yeah I’m gonna make it through
Another day in the red white and blue
Let Lady Liberty’s embrace
Warm my soul and guard my faith

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Jack Tempchin wrote Peaceful Easy Feeling, Already Gone, Slow Dancin' and co-wrote Smuggler's Blues and you Belong To The City. His list of hits would fill pages. He has a new song out with a wonderful video. I love it.

“It’s impossible to overrate the importance of songs, songs change people. Songs enlighten and delight. Songs bring lives together. Songs can nourish and build communities in a billion ways. I’m so proud that I’ve made songwriting my life’s work.”

Friday, May 22, 2015

May Opens Wide 
Marge Piercy 

The rain that came down last night
in sheets of shaken foil while thunder
trundled over the Bay and crooked
spears of lightning splintered trees

is rising now up stalks, lengthening
leaves that wave their new bright
banners tender as petals, seventeen
shades of green pushing into sun.

The soil feels sweet in my hands
as I push little marigolds in.
Bumblebees stir in the sour cherry
blossoms floating like pieces of moon

down to the red tulips beneath
the smooth barked tree where a red
squirrel chatters at my rescued tabby
who eyes him like a plate of lunch.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ryan Culwell's new album, Flatlands, got a interesting review in the spring issue of Texas Music magazine. So I checked it out. Good stuff. Satisfied is my favorite song. Here is one of his blog posts from May 2010.

As stated in the previous blog, I am not writing any new songs.  I figured it was time to shut my mouth.  I lasted 3 days.  Today I wrote and I am glad I did.  I told my wife the news.  She was not at all surprised.  It’s what I do.  I set boundaries, and then I break them.  I’m sure this habit will lead to some long term self trust issues, but that is another blog entirely.  Turns out (you can use your internal Forest Gump voice for this sentence) Like I said, TURNS OUT that when I quit writing a melody to every line that comes to mind and I let the kettle brew, something happens….  

I steep.  I feel really confident about all the songs I have been writing, but today’s is especially promising.  It doesn’t have the deepest lyrics or the most unique chord progression, or even the most innovative melody.  But, It is true.  It is right.  It is instantly in my bag.  I am sure you will hear it someday.  Creativity ebbs and flows.  It takes a lot of writing and writing and writing until you develop the ability to craft a song.  Then, you must remember not to manufacture, but to get out of the way and let the song come out.  Nothing new, I have had that philosophy since I started writing.  Every writer I respect will tell you that they don’t feel like they write songs, but that they search out songs.  That songs exist somewhere in their entirety and it is the songwriters task to find the song and uncover it for the listener.  Sometimes you realize that you are not strong enough or patient enough to unearth the song or pull it completely out of the clouds into view,  Other times, you realize that God has given you a gift and the song lay bare before you.  Still though, the more you work the craft, the better equipped you are to find the song and reveal it to others.  This week I laid down my shovel, quit digging, and listened for the song.  It was here all along.  Once I saw its head sticking out of the dirt, it was painless to dig it up.  All it took was some creative silence.

Well said.

Check out his song Red River.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Everyday Enchantment Of Music
Mark Strand

A rough sound was polished until it became
 a smoother sound, which was polished until
 it became music. 
Then the music was polished until
 it became the memory of a night in Venice 
when tears of the sea fell from the Bridge of Sighs,
 which in turn was polished until it ceased
 to be and in its place stood the empty home 
of a heart in trouble. 
Then suddenly there was sun and the music came back
 and traffic was moving and off in the distance, 
at the edge of the city, a long line of clouds appeared, 
and there was thunder, which, however menacing, 
would become music, and the memory of what happened after 
Venice would begin, and what happened 
after the home of the troubled heart broke in two would also begin. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Facing It
Yusef Komunyakaa

My black face fades,
hiding inside the black granite. 
I said I wouldn't, 
dammit: No tears. 
I'm stone. I'm flesh. 
My clouded reflection eyes me
like a bird of prey, the profile of night
slanted against morning. I turn
this way—the stone lets me go. 
I turn this way—I'm inside
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
again, depending on the light
to make a difference. 
I go down the 58,022 names, 
half-expecting to find
my own letters like smoke. 
I touch the name Andew Johnson; 
I see the booby trap's white flash. 
Names shimmer on a woman's blouse
but when she walks away
the names stay on the wall. 
Brushstrokes flash, a red bird's
wings cutting across my stare. 
The sky. A plane in the sky. 
A white vet's image floats
close to me, then his pale eyes
look through mine. I'm a window. 
He's lost his right arm
inside the stone. In the black mirror
a woman's trying to erase names: 
No, she's brushing a boy's hair.

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Change of Weather
Tom Hennen

 First sunlight ripples on the grass and still water.
 Then the air is filled with flying seeds.
 Long mosquitoes rise out of the hackles of the earth.
 The day brushes my cheek with a touch of cold fingers. 
Clouds leap in bunches from beneath the horizon and cover the ground as completely as a dark thought.
 Rain begins first deep inside where I can smell the dust I’m made of.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Till Then  
    Walt Sample    
I live in the shade of Father Time’s clock 
Like a mouse in the shadow of a hawk 
The finish line is coming into view 
Almost time to fold the red white and blue 

But till then I gonna spread my wings 
Explore embrace enjoy what life brings 
Till then I gonna fly my wings 
Explore embrace enjoy what life brings 

I’m not ready for a Lazy Boy life
Starin’ at a screen watchin Barney Fife
Plenty of catfish to catch and clean 
Only the lonely want the phone to ring

But till then I gonna spread my wings 
Explore embrace enjoy what life brings 
Till then I gonna fly my wings 
Explore embrace enjoy what life brings 

Some old mules tail wag in the pasture
But eatin’ grass ain’t gonna end my chapter
I have new trails fresh things to see
So don’t start diggin’ under the family tree

But till then I gonna spread my wings 
Explore embrace enjoy what life brings 
Till then I gonna fly my wings 
Explore embrace enjoy what life brings 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Lake Papa.  125 steps down to the dock and beach. Bullheads and bluegills. Army men and poison ivy. Mildew. Compressor sat on top of  small refrigerator crammed with red worms and food. Some memories never fade.

The rented lakes of my childhood 
Marge Piercy

I remember the lakes of my Michigan
childhood. Here they are called ponds.
Lakes belonged to summer, two-week
vacations that my father was granted by
Westinghouse when we rented some cabin.

Never mind the dishes with spiderweb
cracks, the crooked aluminum sauce
pans, the crusted black frying pans.
Never mind the mattresses shaped
like the letter V. Old jangling springs.

Moldy bathrooms. Low ceilings
that leaked. The lakes were mysteries
of sand and filmy weeds and minnows
flickering through my fingers. I rowed
into freedom. Alone on the water

that freckled into small ripples,
that raised its hackles in storms,
that lay glassy at twilight reflecting
the sunset then sucking up the dark,
I was unobserved as the quiet doe

coming with her fauns to drink
on the opposite shore. I let the row-
boat drift as the current pleased, lying
faceup like a photographer’s plate
the rising moon turned to a ghost.

And though the voices called me
back to the rented space we shared
I was sure I left my real self there-
a tiny black pupil in the immense
eye of a silver pool of silence.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Rainy day. 

Good time for a picture prompt.

Details lurk.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Garden time comes with high anxiety. 
How many beans to plant?
Two rows? Six rows? Twelve rows?
Then I climb down my beanstalk while watching the rusty needle on the seed scale climb.

And recall this passage from Henry David Thoreau:

MEANWHILE MY BEANS, the length of whose rows, added together, was seven miles already planted, were impatient to be hoed, for the earliest had grown considerably before the latest were in the ground; indeed they were not easily to be put off. What was the meaning of this so steady and self-respecting, this small Herculean labor, I knew not. I came to love my rows, my beans, though so many more than I wanted. They attached me to the earth, and so I got strength like Ant├Žus. But why should I raise them? Only Heaven knows. This was my curious labor all summer — to make this portion of the earth's surface, which had yielded only cinquefoil, blackberries, johnswort, and the like, before, sweet wild fruits and pleasant flowers, produce instead this pulse. What shall I learn of beans or beans of me? I cherish them, I hoe them, early and late I have an eye to them; and this is my day's work. It is a fine broad leaf to look on. My auxiliaries are the dews and rains which water this dry soil, and what fertility is in the soil itself, which for the most part is lean and effete. My enemies are worms, cool days, and most of all woodchucks. The last have nibbled for me a quarter of an acre clean. But what right had I to oust johnswort and the rest, and break up their ancient herb garden? Soon, however, the remaining beans will be too tough for them, and go forward to meet new foes.

Seven miles of beans!
I came to love my rows, my beans, though so many more than I wanted. 
Four rows will be plenty.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Raven colored coffee just wasn't gettin' me anywhere this morning.
Koss headphones + Free = awake

Magic Ship
Fraser / Kossoff / Rodgers

Over there is my magic ship
Would you care to go on a trip
We'll be sailing on and on
To a land where few have gone
Beyond the skies in my mind

Sweet bells ring and ring and ring you harmonies
Rolling out like the waves on the sea
Sweet bells ring and ring and ring your harmonies
Rolling out to those who can see

Let's away to a distant night
Let's away on a magic flight
We'll be sailing on and on
To a land where few have gone
Beyond the skies in my mind

Sweet bells ring and ring and ring you harmonies
Rolling out like the waves on the sea
Sweet Bells ring and ring and ring your harmonies
Calling out to those who can hear

Oh who can see
Because were sailing
Sweet bells ring and ring and ring you harmonies
Rolling out like the waves on the sea
Sweet Bells ring and ring and ring and ring your harmonies
Rolling out to those who can hear

Oh can you see
Don't be afraid,
Step aboard
Oh, oh, oh, oh,
All right here we go

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I like some many of the lines in this poem, it is impossible for me to pick a favorite. Like a father with 21 children, I love them all.

Thinking about a poem I’ll never write.
Gary Snyder

 With gut on wood and hide, and plucking thumb, 
Grope and stutter for the words, invent a tune,
 In any tongue, this moment one time true
 Be wine or blood or rhythm drives it through—
 A leap of words to things and there it stops.
 Creating empty caves and tools in shops 
And holy domes, and nothing you can name;
 The long old chorus blowing underfoot 
Makes high wild notes of mountains in the sea. 
O Muse, a goddess gone astray 
Who warms the cow and makes the wise man sane,
 (& even madness gobbles demons down) 
Then dance through jewelled trees & lotus crowns
 For Narihira’s lover, the crying plover,
 For babies grown and childhood homes
 And moving, moving, on through scenes and towns
 Weep for the crowds of men
 Like birds gone south forever.
 The long-lost hawk of Yakamochi and Thoreau
 Flits over yonder hill, the hand is bare, 
The noise of living families fills the air.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mixing colors is not at all like riding a bike. 

It is a fine art that you do forget!

Spent two days moving little piles of muck. Felt like a Caterpillar D-9 dozer driver fixing a California mudslide. 

Moving then apart and then together hoping for a different hue. Adding this adding that like a blind chef grabbing spices off the rack hoping for gumbo.

Tiny bit of success late yesterday. I want my training wheels back.

I hold the colors hostage.....................

Thought of The Gifted Children lyrics to Kaleidoscope Eyes.

Kaleidoscope Eyes
The Gifted Children

When the cortisone kids were clearing everyone said,
"The sky's gone out."
Entering into unseen contracts
Smiling their way into a black and white world.
Now everyone is lining up and no one knows what for
Plastic man-machines are merely fodder for us.

If you squint you might be able to imagine
what this used to hold...

She's got an attic where she holds colors hostage
Releasing them for view but only through her kaleidoscope eyes.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mr. Simic's poetry haunts me like poison ivy in my brain. 

Can you drink calamine lotion?

Clouds Gathering
Charles Simic

It seemed the kind of life we wanted.
Wild strawberries and cream in the morning.
Sunlight in every room.
The two of us walking by the sea naked.

Some evenings, however, we found ourselves
Unsure of what comes next.
Like tragic actors in a theater on fire,
With birds circling over our heads,
The dark pines strangely still,
Each rock we stepped on bloodied by the sunset.

We were back on our terrace sipping wine.
Why always this hint of an unhappy ending?
Clouds of almost human appearance
Gathering on the horizon, but the rest lovely
With the air so mild and the sea untroubled.

The night suddenly upon us, a starless night.
You lighting a candle, carrying it naked
Into our bedroom and blowing it out quickly.
The dark pines and grasses strangely still. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

You got to hook 'em deep with the first few lines. Feed 'em something they got to eat more of. Started reading Hostile Witness last night dead tired and droopy eyed, but managed to read 3 chapters. Rebecca Forster is a great writer.

The opening of Hostile Witness:



     Hannah kept her eyes forward, trained on two rows of rusted showerheads stuck in facing walls. Sixteen in all. The room was paved with white tile, chipped and discolored by age and use. Ceiling. Floor. Walls. All sluiced with disinfectant. Soiled twice a day by filth and fear. The fluorescent lights cast a yellow shadow over everything. The air was wet. The shower room smelled of mold and misery. It echoed with the cries of lost souls.


Friday, May 8, 2015

Above Pate Valley
Gary Snyder   

We finished clearing the last   

Section of trail by noon, 

High on the ridge-side 

Two thousand feet above the creek   

Reached the pass, went on 

Beyond the white pine groves,   

Granite shoulders, to a small 

Green meadow watered by the snow,   

Edged with Aspen—sun 

Straight high and blazing 

But the air was cool. 

Ate a cold fried trout in the   

Trembling shadows. I spied 

A glitter, and found a flake 

Black volcanic glass—obsidian— 

By a flower. Hands and knees   

Pushing the Bear grass, thousands   

Of arrowhead leavings over a   

Hundred yards. Not one good   

Head, just razor flakes 

On a hill snowed all but summer,   

A land of fat summer deer, 

They came to camp. On their   

Own trails. I followed my own   

Trail here. Picked up the cold-drill,   

Pick, singlejack, and sack 

Of dynamite. 

Ten thousand years.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

No pun intended....

This song has stuck with me...

Ear worm alert!

I'm Sticking With You
Lou Reed

I'm sticking with you
'Cause I'm made out of glue
Anything that you might do
I'm gonna do too

You held up a stage coach in the rain
And I'm doing the same
Saw you're hanging from a tree
And I made believe it was me

I'm sticking with you
'Cause I'm made out of glue
Anything that you might do
I'm gonna do too

Some people go into the stratosphere
Soldiers fighting with the cong
But with you, by my side I can do anything
When we swing, we hang past right and wrong

I'll do anything for you
Anything you want me to
I'll do anything for you

Ooh, I'm sticking with you
Ooh, I'm sticking with you
Ooh, I'm sticking with you

Ooh, I'm sticking with you
Ooh, I'm sticking with you
Ooh, I'm sticking with you

Ooh, I'm sticking with you
Ooh, I'm sticking with you

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

In the last seven days I have traveled north and south I-71 between Cincinnati and Columbus six times. Early morning, midday, midnight and early evening.
The temperature has been between 50 and 80 with just a trace of rain. Perfect for the farmers to be working the fields. Boy, were they! I am fascinated by tractors and implements. 24 row corn planters are a special treat! I witnessed the process first hand. Spike harrows followed by disc harrows. Then a drag. Some had all three in one attachment. Back and forth 24/7. Huge tractors, some with army tank type treads, some with dual wheel 4 wheel drive, some relics of early days.
Acre after acre, hour after hour after hour. Morning noon and night. Get the job done while you can. Saw a wife delivering lunch and saw the John Deere repair vehicle (kind of a service truck tractor) working on a planter in the rich soiled fields. I couldn't see the farmer but I am sure he was frowning impatiently. Nighttime headlights made them look like dusty invading aliens attacking from afar. I enjoyed seeing the process.

So God Made A Farmer
Paul Harvey

And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board." So God made a farmer.

"I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife's done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon -- and mean it." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, 'Maybe next year.' I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain'n from 'tractor back,' put in another seventy-two hours." So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place. So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week's work with a five-mile drive to church.

"Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life 'doing what dad does.'" So God made a farmer.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sitting in front of 3 piles of pages. Typed and hand scratched words look like festival litter on a green grass field. Each separated by invisible walls of subject matter. I move a stack in front of me; slowly focusing on the jumbled words, sailing into the scene like an actor preparing for a part. As I rock back and forth, deep into the act, I pray for fresh ideas to appear, a star to lead me into the next act. Good idea swims by. Caught it! Bad idea sinks away. Then nothing, stuck in the scene. Frozen in time. 

Move to the next stack. Repeat process.
This is how I felt last night working on 3 songs at once. Fun and rewarding; the old take a trip without leaving farm feeling. I felt like I had a remote in my hand going from movie to movie. 

Reminded me of this poem by Ralph Garnier Coole, Riding At Night.

Riding at Night
Ralph Garnier Coole 

On and on through the silent night,
 Under the sky with its tranquil light
 Of stars that are smiling and blinking bright—
   Riding...just riding along ...

 Up the hill and over the rise;
 Can't see the trail but my horse is wise;
 He knows where the hidden hill-trail lies;
    Riding...just riding along...

 A flicker of fire from his steel-shod feet,
 As the hoof-beats ring and the rocks repeat—
Easy, boy! Easy! Now keep your feet;
    Riding...just riding along...

 Out of the stillness, faint and small,
 The lean, gray hunters of midnight call,
 And the querulous echoes rise and fall;
    Riding...just riding along...

 The trail of a meteor streaks the sky,
 And drops in the void of the dusk to die,
 And I gaze as I wonder, "Where—and Why?"
    Riding...just riding along...

 The jingle of rein-chains seems to be
 Singing a song of peace to me;
 A song of the range where a man is free...
    Riding...just riding along...

 And the white moon rising above the gap,
 Smiles on the world in its quiet nap,
 Dreaming away in old Nature's lap;
    Riding...just riding along...

 Then the crest of the range is a rose-lit height,
 As the dawn leaps after the fading night,
 And we're back in camp with the morning light;
 Riding...just riding along...

Monday, May 4, 2015

My creative soul is over charged. Overheating with excess energy. A weekend songwriting workshop, hosted by Professor Verlon Thompson. Verlon's modesty is only exceeded by his talent. He truly enjoys entertaining, teaching, and making new friends. Thanks Verlon for everything.

As a student of Shima-Ha Shorin-Ryu Karate, I understand how to steal an aggressor's energy. I do not however, understand the energy boost experienced after spending a few days with Verlon and fellow minded songwriters. No energy is lost or stolen but, everyone leaves with a overcharge. I love it! Maybe just the synergy of free spirits flying together, make the sum build muscle, then when divided upon departure, leaves all of us stronger. Like an lava feathered eagle shooting down the face of mountain, the intensity of the fire keeps building. Geez, I sound like a white coated scientist or a straight jacketed poet.

The show Sunday was exhilarating. Loved everyone's songs. I never had performed my new songs with a full band before. Cool stuff indeed. Thanks to Erin for singing high harmony and Joe for playing harp on Let Your Soul Sing It's Song. You guys brought it up to a nose bleed level....I mean a very high good level..not a ear splinting bad bloody level......

How about this album cover....wish I had a hair stylist.....

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