Monday, December 31, 2007

Now and then / an Elvis variation

Now and then
there’s a fool such as I

Now and then
there’s a clown such as I

Now and then
there’s a wise man such as I

We do get together
now and then

Some of us fools, clowns, wise men
such as I

To be foolish, clown around
and crack wise

– Len “Not the King” B.

In response to the "Now & Then" prompt at Sunday Scribblings, I chose the lighter "now and then" version to inspire me.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Preparing for breakfast with Frank

It’s all quite hectic,
there must be music on the turntable
(his beloved late French classical stuff)
before he enters the bathroom to shave,
only to come out at irregular intervals
to drop me a witticism in the kitchen or,
later, on the balcony, where I’m sitting
with something to read. To make some
sort of a point, like, “Look, I’m busy
even though you’re here and we both
know that you’re a full-attention kind
of guy.”

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2007)

For some reason I tried to picture what it would be like to have Frank O’Hara over for breakfast.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A look out the window

Change is imminent in the form of an office move. The streets, buildings and sky I see through this window I will most likely never again see from here.

  • KFC with its corner towerlet and oversize colonel serving container on top
  • The power plant with its gigantic chimneys, not all stark grey and white in a postmodern industrial improvement attempt – yes, there are steel green and pale lilac parts
  • The new Penny Market with its aluminum diner design and neatly outlined parking spaces
  • Beyond it the pale olive green and drab grey of a car plant, with the giveaway star circling above
  • More industrial building layers with pipes, windows, chimneys
  • The Kart-o-Mania rink
  • Life: flags fluttering, cars driving by, dropping and imbibing people
  • Late November: big, slow-moving clouds, white and grey, with fuzzy windows to blue sky

That's it for now.

Monday, November 5, 2007

A green light day

it when
lights turn green
as I cross and things
go my way. No red lights now, please.

– Leonard Jaywalker Blumfeld (© 2007)

Cautionary note
One green traffic light a day doth not make (as a single swallow a summer doth not make) ...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Everests looming up ahead

Today's Astrocenter horoscope said:
If this month were a mountain, today is the day you would plant your flag on its summit. But before you go back down into the valley, it might be wise to take a look at the path you took to get there, and ahead to your future, especially since you may be a little depressed about not reaching even higher peaks. Not everyone can climb Mount Everest. Perhaps you are in training for an even higher climb to the top!
Is there any truth to it?
  • There's some truth, but more about the "little depressed" part.
  • I definitely feel like I'm in training. Most of the time. Like just about everyone else.
  • Today's summit feels like a minor mountain pass at most. But there are a few hours left to climb higher, right?
  • I'm definitely not in flag planting mood. What flag?
  • Should I worry about lack of oxygen with the peaks looming up ahead?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I am another

Je suis un autre
– Arthur Rimbaud

er, one with
cruel blue eyes, with
cool hardness. “Who are you?” – I could
not tell at that mo-
ment. Anoth-
er had

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2007)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Early, early morning

Late night out with my son who just came back from a year in Malaysia and Singapore.

It's great to have him back (or at least nearer).

So many things to talk about. It's like he left yesterday and we resumed yesterday's talk.

Shamanism in Hinduism, the God greeted in the German 'Grüß Gott' as well as 'Namaste'.

Sartre's grasp of Man's contemporary loneliness, but without a spiritual, universal, historical or future perspective.

And zillions of other things we touched on.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


No posts in about two weeks ... no time, never the right mood.

But oh did time fly by!

On heavy, heavily plied but swift wings, with lots of upheavals and downheavals.

Much too fast to grasp.

To be mostly deleted for soothing numbness.

And that's the statement for today and the past weeks.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Take your evil measurement

For all those who, like me, always had the misconception they were practically saintly...

You Are 30% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.

In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Unforgotten by my spammer friends

Today, I received spams from:
  • Healthy Cleanse
  • Roscoe Belcher
  • Gay Benjamin
  • Simone Shea
  • Dorothy Combs
  • Aubrey Browning
  • Rosalie Phillips
  • Tina (Tina who?)
  • Specialists in Foreclosure
  • Cash Advance
Couldn't go on yesterday to thank them all for their special messages. This morning, more came in from:
  • Rosalinda V. Currie
  • Rosalinda X. Currie (must be sisters, maybe even twins?)
  • Louis Porter
  • Dion O. Glass
  • Dion K. Glass (Dion O. and Dion K. are the poor suckers that married the Currie twins, no doubt)
  • Darla Lehman
  • Rigoberto Serrano
And what did they all have to say? Well, the Currie twins had news about one part of male anatomy that they want enlarged (Dion O. and Dion K. must be lacking in that department), while Louis let me in on his philosophy regarding drug buyers' needs and wants ("When individuals ask for their treatment they commonly seek the following ...") and Darla had me puzzled with the following statement:
Message subject


But Rigoberto had the best news of all of them:
Your your credit report doesn't matter to us!

If you OWN real estate and want IMMEDIATE cash to spend ANY way you like, or simply wish to LOWER your payments by a third or more, here is the deal we can offer you NOW (hurry, this deal will expire TONIGHT):

$270,000+ loan

Well, perhaps the news of the worldwide credit crunch crisis hasn't reached Paraguay yet (I like to imagine that Rigoberto hails from there), so this true financial helper shall be forgiven.

Thank you all, my spammer friends.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Praying for the angels

I forget to pray for the angels
and then the angels forget to pray for us.
– Leonard Cohen ("So Long, Marianne")

Now would the angels really do that?

If biblical and other sources are correct, there is a finite, rather small number of angels. They must be very powerful to remember each one of us. And they must be in all places at all times.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

So what fib no. 3

up a rock
with a giant tooth-
pick. A green-headed pink turtle
with yellow spots lies
flat. So what?
is what

– Len "No Nonsense" Blumfeld

All once again based on closer observation of my immediate office surroundings (Chris' workplace).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Why do I get that sinking feeling ...

... even though my horoscope is great?

H: You have a kind spirit.
I: I have, it's true. In fact, some people have told me I tend to be too kind to the wrong people.

H: Although you sometimes focus too much on your career, you try to do good for other people.
I: I often think I should have focused more on my "career" – then I'd really have one. But yes, it's true, sometimes I'm a real do-gooder.

H: Today you might need to step in and be a good citizen.
I: All right, if it has to be!

H: Someone around you might be suffering, and they could use your help.
I: I know at least two people who love to tell me about their suffering and who always proclaim they need my help.

H: You might need to loan someone money so that they can take care of a pressing need.
I: As long as it's no more than a couple of bucks. Ain't got that much more myself.

H: Or you might chat with someone who has had a lot of emotional stress lately.
I: Being one who has had a lot of emotional stress lately myself, we could exchange laments.

– Len "It's All In The Stars" Blumfeld

in response to a prompt from Sunday Scribblings.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Looking around collage

The people across from the office have two yellow and one blue plastic flowers attached to their bathroom window. It is the bathroom window because it is made of that rough-textured glass that is no-see-through.

I'm sure the whole wide world has been waiting to read this.

On to other, equally notable things.

On my absent colleague's cabinet there are two miniature Mercedeses, one maroon, the other silver. One's stuck in sort of a tupperware bowl on a sheaf of papers, the other one on what looks like some sort of ramp. Black plastic. Neither Mercedes looks very happy.

The subprime rate mortgage crisis keeps throwing its weight around. Now it turns out that even the oh so successful on their own Chinese were hoping to make a fast buck on another bubble that was supposed to keep growing forever and that was mostly based on loans that should have never been given in the first place. Idiocy thy name is banking.

Darshini David wore bright orange yesterday. Big buttons again, even though the collar was less pronounced than usual. Made her upper body look humongous. I'd been looking forward to her daily appearance, but BBC did not put her on. Rico Hizon from Singapore, a man of vast knowledge, enigmatic smiles and succinct wording (albeit also guilty of some overuse of personal address interjections), was left out as well.

BBC World News has been showing the same AT&T formula 1 whine car racing commercial for weeks. Something about "ultimate speed," "enhanced performance" and "innovative solutions." Leaves me panting every single time. AT&T would be well advised to axe their commercial scribes for abundance of originality.

And oh the big business world is still complaining about the credit crunch that prevents them from sinking trillions into questionable megadeals.

In Bangladesh the police is sent after students that have been proclaiming loudly what everyone has known forever – niffy, inept, self-serving government. Not so different from most governments. More about this on Global Voices.

Oh well. Time to get on with work.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Louis L'Amour Country

be in
Louis L’Amour
country: big sky – crisp
air – checked shirt – back on saddle –
sipping black brew from
metal cup.

– Len "Office Cowboy" Blumfeld

How'd this one come about? Through an excursion to romance country (Saoirse Redgrave's Write that Romance! blog) and coming upon a Louis L'Amour book cover there. Instant sprouting of the cowboy stereotype material seed stored in my mind into a fib...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dear new diary

Written as suggested by Sunday Scribblings:
The prompt for this week is: Dear Diary.
Shhhhhhh... are your secrets deep and dark or wistful and whimsical? Do you have a character that you need to flush out by writing some diary entries? Is there something your twelve-year-old self wants to say? Do you have a silly secret crush? What needs to be written in a beautiful book and locked with a tiny gold key?

Here goes...

Dear new diary,

I’m starting you to turn a new leaf, swearing to be radically honest about the person to be recorded here. For a few minutes being.

First off, what are my motivations?

1. I want to be read, that’s why I’m participating in a blog thread. So I’m like a spider in a way, spinning a web to trap potential readers. Except that the overall web has been woven before. I’m in a chain of webs, so to speak.

2. Why not be radically honest once in a while? Even though I’ve had my share of radically honest attacks and have always come out radically honestly different, this has not worn off all my inclination to radical honesty. I’ve noticed that radical honesty – my own or others’ – is not necessarily free from strings. There might be vanity involved – Look how radically honest I can be! – or sickness with one’s own perpetual lies to cushion up one’s existence. Can we really stand the truth about ourselves? Can we admit to being greedy, stingy, stupid, envious, evil, hopeless, hopeful, befuddled, spaced out, sick, perverse, all that? Not that we are all that all the time, of course. But some of the time or the majority of the time everyone is a bit of this, a bit of that. Even though some of it might be well-hidden under so-called good intentions.

3. After this theoretical preamble on virtue and vice, let me delve into today.

  • I’ve already managed to be tired and not listen to some of the things my beloved held forth about. That’s why I can’t even remember the topic of her holding forth.
  • I’ve already ruminated about a friend – how strenuous she can be, how hectic, how difficult in her relations with others (including me). Although I tend to go to great length with her in trying to smooth things over. To explain her misconceptions benevolently.
  • I’ve already suffered from self-doubt, thinking that, if closely examined, people will quickly find out that I’m not all that wonderful. (Have I given you any reason to believe I’m wonderful so far? No, I don’t think so.)
  • I just thought about wordiness. I’m usually a man of few words. I can put things in a nutshell, but often others want more effusion than a nutshell. They want at least a big, big coconut – stuffed and overflowing. I’ve been accused of being simplistic because I’m usually happy with simplified interpretations of things. Makes life so much simpler sometimes.
  • I’ve already white-lied. It’s that cushioning I mentioned before. Cushioning things up for others, but also for oneself.
  • Worry: the truth will inevitably shine through!
  • I had too much for lunch. Not only that, I ate two more chocolate-covered rice cakes shortly after lunch.
  • Now I’ll have to go get coffee.
  • More reason to worry: I am doing things I am not getting paid to do.

Dear new diary, that’s it for now, some time in August of 2007, in the middle of the week. I can look out from underneath the shutters and see dense white clouds moving along the stark contrast of a uniformly sprayed sky. Just thought you needed to know that for environmental completeness.

PS: I'm fighting with some Blogspot formating issues. Sometimes Blogspot does something different every time you save the same post.

Gacela of the three dark pigeons

Three dark pigeons were sitting on the ground in a triangle.

“I am chest,” said the first one.
“I am beak,” said the second.
“And I am eye,” said the third.

The first one was another,
the second one could not speak,
and the third one was none.

Three dark pigeons were sitting on the ground in a triangle.

– Leonard Blumfeld

Unavoidable note
This is what you get when you walk over to Penny Market for a frustration snack and notice three pigeons seated in the parking lot. Brings up memories of García Lorca's Gacela de las palomas oscuras, and your mind starts playing around...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Elucidative Ad Sense

In my previous post I used the word "elucidative" without being quite sure whether it really exists. To verify, I did a Google search and landed on a Free Dictionary by Farlex page that promised help.

Alas, the page had little elucidation on the elusive elucidative, but wisely knew what people who search for the word might actually need:

HD Endoscopy
Endoscopy cameras utilize HD to improve clarity and visibility.

Prevent Server Down Time
Pre-emptive Support - 24/7 Identify problems before they occur

What Is Metaphysics?
What Metaphysics Means / Courses University Of Metaphysical Sciences

Thank you, Ad Sense, for understanding my needs in such a precisely targeted manner. I'll definitely check out the true meaning of metaphysics the next time I have a few hopefully elucidative moments. Whatever that may mean.

Should I worry about blogspot server down time, though? Enough to identify problems before they occur? Would endoscopy help?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Small world

line at
Fried Chicken: Naked
white globe in crown of tousled hair.

– Len "Bad Food" Blumfeld

I admit it, I went to KFC for lunch. Well, all the people I usually have lunch with are either on vacation or were out. Still I looked over my shoulder to see if anybody caught me.
Before I entered, I spent a while reading up on the footnoted ingredients they use at KFC. Quite a list! Flavor enhancers in various combinations with phosphate and colorants, to name just a few. Even their corn cobs are artificially colored. Having slung down my flavor- and color-enhanced chicken product, I came to the conclusion once again that neither I nor anyone else should be caught at KFC – dead or alive.

Anyway: When waiting in line, the hindhead of the gentleman in front of me inspired me to the above fib.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Kenneth Patchen Love Poem for Poetry Thursday

Oh now the drenched land wakes;
Birds from their sleep call
Fitfully, and are still.
Clouds like milky wounds
Float across the moon.

Oh love, none may
Turn away long
From this white grove
Where all nouns grieve.

– Kenneth Patchen

(from "The Love Poems of Kenneth Patchen", City Lights Books, 1966)

Posted for one of the last Poetry Thursdays to take place.

To readers not familiar with this great and underrated American poet and novelist, I recommend the Wikipedia page on Patchen as a start.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

So what fib no. 1

and Indian
spice was good. So what?
you ask. Where is your gratitude?

– Leon B.

As the number in the title indicates, more of these are intended to come.*
The idea goes back to Richard Brautigan and his green pepper/salad bowl so what poem quoted in Poems like untucked shirts.

*Readers are left with three or more options: joy, indifference, horror, ...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Darshini David’s wardrobe

Dedicated to her

her big
buttons and
collars and has sets
of them: mauve, beige, red, turquoise, etc.

– Leonard Blumfeld

This is in reference to BBC news presenter Darshini David, who seems to have a distinct predilection for tops with oversized collars and plastic buttons. She has at least four of these in different colors. Where does she get them?
Can “etc.” squeeze through as a one-syllable word? I hope so. (It certainly would have one syllable if it were pronounced “ets.”) If not, the purity of the venerable fib form is compromised here.

Blood, sweat and tears

so bad:
Sweat, no blood,
no tears. Just dry eyes
from screen slog. For daily bread. For
others, yes and no.
Daily toil.
No end.

– Leonard the Screen Gazer

Friday, August 3, 2007

The merest touch of her

Poetry came by again last night
to drop something off.

I spend too much time
without Poetry but don’t

want to be too insistent
in calling her over.

What did she drop off?
A locket I can’t seem to open.

But I’m not worried. It
sits on my desk with

a silvery half-smile
and reminds me of Poetry.

– Leonard Blumfeld


This is my belated contribution to Poetry Thursday's invitation of August 2.

I was working hard on inspiration (see previous entry To squeeze tears out of a rock) and found it in a line read on Poetry Thursday itself:

“Poetry keeps me company and sings me lullabies. Poetry is making moments, little moments, into brushstrokes.”

Thursday, August 2, 2007

To squeeze tears out of a rock

Can it be done?

Or is it a mission impossible?

(I'm trying to come up with a poem for Poetry Thursday – currently vacationing and without topic suggestion – and feel quite rocky and unpoetific.)

Doesn't necessarily have to be tears, either.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Office still life

The face of the house across is brightened to a stark near-white by the sun coming in from the southeast.

Yes, it's that house with the leisure area on the garage, the terracotta pot array supplemented by three bright green plastic watering cans.

There's a bright red Fiat Cinquecento on the window sill.

If I crane my neck, I can see some bright red flowers on corn stalks.

Corn stalks?

– Len B.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

An orange nudge

I don't think the weather knows about the forecast.
– Len the Weatherman

It's true; it was supposed to be bright and warm today (and was preparing to be until 10 minutes ago), but now it's greying in, and I can even hear distant thunder in my imagination.

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's lunch time ...

and I'd rather be across the street where, on the garage roof, there is a cozy arbor with a comfortable-looking white plastic table and chair set among terracotta pots with various flowers and plants, including, as far as I can tell without binoculars, bamboo and pink hortensias.

It's a still life. Nothing moves over there, unless you count a slight tremble of leaves from barely noticeable air movement.

There are voices through the connecting door from the office next to mine.

I am in two worlds.

CB, Tolstoy and bottle rumor and sigh

While Charles Bukowski said that great literature,
like Tolstoy's "War & Peace," bored him and lacked that
something special he was looking for, that moxie (?!?),
it could be surmised, based on some known facts
about CB, that plain and simple bottles held a lot of that
something special. Alas: to each his own. May God
give us poor poets moxie.

Listen to CB ramble off his scatological gospel:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The final there's nothing to say fib

is noth-
ing to say,
there is nothing to
say, and that's final. That's it.

– L. Blumfeld

Need I say more?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Do not try at home

But will it blend? That is the question.

See for yourself what the smoothie button did to an innocent I-Phone.

Isn't the networking among employees of a big corporation amazing? This video was shown to me by a colleague, who had it from another colleague, who probably had it from another one, etc.

Latest blabla from the life front

  • It is stiflingly hot in this office,
  • despite two fans working away
  • under the desk.
  • The blinds are down,
  • keeping glare out.
  • I had too much coffee today,
  • my head is under pressure.
  • My back's had about all the sitting it can take.
  • I should report this to somebody.
  • Ha! Many such things would have to be reported.

It could be worse - it could be like this.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bengali literature

Bhaswati Ghosh has a series of highly recommendable posts on/with Bengali literature in her At Home, Writing blog. The majority of the texts posted are in her own translation from Bengali.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Don't let the sun ...

sun's out."
"Quick – catch it
before it conceals
itself again." Alas, my net
failed. Big yellow slipped
through the mesh.
Some warmth

– Len B.

It's been difficult to catch a glimpse of sun this cold, rainy July...

This poem is a poetified retelling of what happened this morning.

Later on, under the shower, I tried to think of songs having to do with the sun, and came up with the Beatles' "Here comes the sun" and "Don't let the sun catch you crying" (don't know who did that first, but I like the live version by Rickie Lee Jones).

Technical note: For some reason Blogger won't let me enter a title in Firefox. In IE, however, it is possible. All in all, I'm still struggling with IE 7. Who told Microsoft anybody wanted it this way?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

114 days in captivity

held for
one hundred
and fourteen days by
people who would now and then say
that they might kill him. "It was hard
to imagine going
back to nor-
mal life

– L. Blumfeld

Today, journalist Alan Johnston was released after almost four months in captivity by the Army of Islam. This seems largely due to mounting pressure exerted on this extremist clan by Hamas.
The 2nd part of this fib is a quote from Alan Johnston after he was freed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The drat fib

this is
not cool. Will
another dawn break
tomorrow? You betcha it will.

– Leon B.

An accurate end-of-day statement.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The I feel bad in unison fib

bad. She's
turning her
eyes away and slinks
by. My mood slumps and time slinks by.

– Lenny B., from the office front

Friday, June 15, 2007

Love of the common people

I was going to write a fib on the theme of little sister crying (because my wife's little sister cried for hours after losing a computer password), when the memory of this song popped up in my mind. I'd first heard it sung by Nicky Thomas (a reggae number that came out in 1970), then had it on a record in the version performed by Waylon Jennings, which is much weaker. Anyway, it's a great song about little sister's tears, and I scrapped the idea of writing a fib about it.

Love of the common people
Livin' on free food tickets
Water in the milk from the hole in the roof
Where the rain came through
What can you do?

Tears from little sister cryin'
'Cause she doesn't have a dress without a patch
For the party to go
Oh, but you know she'll get by.

She is livin' in the love of the common people
Smiles from the heart of the family man
Daddy's gonna buy her a dream to cling to
Mama's gonna love her just as much as she can, she can.

It's a good thing you don't have the bus fare
It would fall through the hole in your pocket
And you'd lose it in the snow on the ground
A walking to town to find a job.

Trying to keep your hands warm
But the hole in your shoe let the snow come through
And it chills to the bone, boy
You'd better go home where it's warm.

Where you can live in the love of the common people
Smiles from the heart of the family man
Daddy's gonna buy her a dream to cling to
Mama's gonna love her just as much as she can, she can.

Livin' on dreams ain't easy
But the closer the knit the tighter the fit
And the chills stay away
You take 'em in stride family pride.

You know that faith is your foundation
And with a whole lotta love and a warm conversation
And plenty of prayer
Making you strong where you belong.

Where you can live in the love of the common people
Smiles from the heart of the family man
Daddy's gonna buy her a dream to cling to
Mama's gonna love her just as much as she can, she can...

(Written by Ronnie Wilkins and John Hurley)

Here's the song performed by Nicky Thomas on Youtube – good sound quality, but only a static picture:

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

From the office work province

  1. The blinds are down, there's a welcomingly mild sun out there. Most people have gone out for lunch. It's peaceful here in the outpost of a gigantic company.
  2. I suffer from time elapse anxiety syndrome (TEA).
  3. Do many people suffer from this disease?
  4. Symptom: feeling that time is slipping by without you getting urgent things done.
  5. This symptom makes me nervous.
  6. Until I succumb to the next "what's so important that it really needs to be done in the overall scheme of things" mood.
  7. Those moods are philosophical and soothing,
  8. but they don't get anything done.

Yours from the office grind Len B.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Inspired by a chanteuse

ous lithe
slip of a
singer – small titter
monkey, cheeks clenched, on swaying branch.

– Len B.

Friday, June 1, 2007

A painting

will be
grey, ox blood, sleet. It
will feature rain, people cooped up
inside, the mood of

– Len Sparkles B. (© 2007)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

More green, more pastoral

All in green my love went riding

All in green went my love riding
on a great horse of gold
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the merry deer ran before.

Fleeter be they than dappled dreams
the swift sweet deer
the red rare deer.

Horn at hip went my love riding
riding the echo down
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the level meadows ran before.

Softer be they than slippered sleep
the lean lithe deer
the fleet flown deer.

Four fleet does at a gold valley
the famished arrows sang before.

Bow at belt went my love riding
riding the mountain down into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the sheer peaks ran before.

Paler be they than daunting death
the sleek slim deer
the tall tense deer.

Four tall stags at a green mountain
the lucky hunter sang before.

All in green went my love riding
on a great horse of gold
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
my heart fell dead before.

e. e. cummings

From Tulips and Chimneys, 1923

Cf. Still life with tulip and chimneys written by my alter ego.

Pastoral fib

She does
not stray, not
one bit. One sylla-
ble words do it simply better.
Oh but she has strayed.
By one blade,
one shade

– Len Blumfeld (© 2007)

Not only elegies can be pastoral. The blues can be ("Milk Cow Blues"!), and so can fibs.

Had this in green originally to go with the pastoral theme and the blade/shade of green. Changed it to Allgäu cow color because green on black is a harsh contrast that did not match the meekness of the intended cow.

An immodest proposition

Shouldn't you, like, show some involvement in the real world? Like occasionally at least?
This could have been said by my friend Karraine, a confirmed Californian, even though it's me saying it now while muzing – once again – about the purpose of writing in general or my writing in particular. You see, I'm one of those occasionally self-destructive, morbid, tormented souls* who go back to point zero at times to question the very ground they stand on, aka the validity of it all.
Like, shouldn't we all be working and earning something instead of doing useless stuff like writing?

What do you mean by writing anyway? Are you like some published guy? Like Dan Brown?
– Len B.
... in a somewhat grey Sunday morning mood on an overcast Sunday.

*This again could have been a quote from Karraine.

But I did situate myself in some reality recently, by watching last night's soccer match between VfB Stuttgart and 1. FC Nuremberg. To see (Jeronimo Baretto) Cacau cry on the bench about his team losing, perhaps as a consequence of his red card removal from the match.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Blogger & Firefox

Blogger and the Fire Fox
Play ring around the rosies.
What a bunch of posies!

Put together Mother Goose, Blogspot and Firefox, and you get this ... or an endless cycle of log-on attempts. It's very much like watching the window of a front-loading washing machine. So, sorry to say, I've been forced to use MS IE Explorer to log onto this blog for several weeks.

Anybody out there who knows why this is happening and how it can be stopped???

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Prompt from Sunday Scribblings:
Masks. Literal: making or wearing masks for Halloween, Carnival, Mardi Gras, the theater, any other masky occasion. Or, you know, psychological: a mask you wear, that you hide behind; the face you present the world, or that you present just to one person. Happy scribbles!
M. asks
crazy but wily Marianne
who says she knows such sadness
behind masks,
the perfect housewife, for example,
the perfect mother,
she cannot run far enough
when she gets that queasy feeling
around the kidneys
that somebody’s tailoring a mask for her

M. answers
I’m sick of hiding
It’s tough enough coming into myself

Pipes in cheerful Maurice,
who just the other day
first wore his ski mask,
then his diving mask
and finally his chameleon mask at a party

Why wear that last one?
M. asks
You are a chameleon in real life,
take on whatever color surrounds you,
reflect any mood,
mold yourself to anything

Why not?
says Maurice,
masks are perfect mirrors
of whatever’s going on
at the time

And that can never be avoided

I am a permanent mask,
perfect incarnation of circumstance and time

– Leon Blumfeld (© 2007)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Mists gave way fib

way to
blue sky, with languid
white animal clouds drifting by.

– Leonard Blumfeld

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

From an office

Here I am back home again,
I'm here to rest.

All they ask is where I've been,
knowing I've been West.

– Tim Hardin (from Black Sheep Boy)

... quoted not-so-golden not-so-black-sheep-boy Len, home from the windy North Sea coast. Sad to say, I haven't come to rest (but do we ever, unless it's for that final rest in peace) but am in an office for work. Things happen to be very quiet here, so I can take a minute for blogging.

Quiet, in keeping with the outside: a quiet cloud cover, hardly a sound in the building, the occasional bird chirp through the tipped window.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A duo

I. Nobody knows him

This man
is doomed.
will ever
know him
for the
he wrote.

II. Everybody knows him

knows him
for real.
He wrote
A Poem
In Eight
of the

– Len Blumfeld

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The trepidation rumor

It has been said
that trepidation is unnecessary,
but what other stage
quite so disquieting is there
between serenity, calm,
uncertainty and gloom of doom?

– Leonard Blumfeld

Invigorable note
The trepidation in the signature to the preceding fib demanded to be expounded on. The above rumor is an attempt to do this.

Warm-up fib, May 2, 2007

but does
that make it
poetry? Wishful
thought, longing for the poetic
world – part of the world
out there, a
mix of

– Leonard Blumfeld (working up to inspiration through some trepidation, but not quite there)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

"Chupke Se" music video from "Saathiya"

A song from the film Saathiya by Mani Ratnam (2002), music by A. R. Rahman. Sung by Sadhna Sargam. Picturized are Rani Mukherjee and Vivek Oberoi.

This is in reference to the Hindi chupke se (चुपके से) used in the poem Evil Mood Fib in my previous post.

Actually, though, I had not thought of this song when I wrote the poem, but only of the literal meaning of the expression, which is secretly. And this is part of the lyrics of the song Chalo Na Gori (चलो ना गोरी) by C. H. Atma, an Indian singer popular in the 1950s, I was listening to when I wrote the poem.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The evil mood fib

an eve,
I’m in an
evil mood. Doctor,
take this evil mood off my soul.

lin, light
scratches, now
clarinet come in.
To music I fain make appeal.

my eyes,
my senses,
I’m fighting evil
mood with uncomprehended words.

se. With
stealth. To get
at them. Them who get
to me through clever evil stealth.

– Leonard B.

Some fairly cryptic poetry served as a statement of feeling and mantra-like speech to combat same.

Talked to N. before. She was in one of her down moods, where she is not amenable to uplift and wants to punish herself – and her surroundings – by looking at bleak things and keeping it that way.

Then my dear M. called to tell of all the cruelty committed against her, laying on more.

Sometimes I get irate with these efforts to load me up. I cannot possibly be the horse to pull all these carts out of the mud. Especially when they attempt to tether me to horses moving in other directions, tearing me apart with conflict.

I’m playing C. H. Atma to combat it, to not be dragged down; this is what I’m talking about here.

Fib not centered to show the sawing process that's going on here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Goodbye Juan, goodbye Rosalita

When I used the word "aeroplane" in my previous post, it was not without reason. For the last 2 days I've had Woody Guthrie's poem Plane Wreck At Los Gatos in my head. There is a Wikipedia article about the incident that caused him to write it.

The article lists a number of cover versions, but not the one by Odetta, which is hauntingly beautiful and marked my first encounter with the song some time in the late 1970s. Her version starts with "Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita," and she distinctly sings "aeroplane" instead of "airplane."

I was at an Odetta concert much later, perhaps in 2003. She had difficulty walking and had to support herself while singing, but she was as stunning as ever.

Plane Wreck At Los Gatos (Deportee)

The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They're flying 'em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be "deportees"

My father's own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.

Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract's out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, "They are just deportees"

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except "deportees"?

– Woody Guthrie

Weather report: shiny, shiny, shiny

The weather I can report on with some lapse because it is stable, near-term surprises are not to be expected. It's the big baby-blue out there, with white streaks from aeroplanes.

The sun is shining down, and this should make me happy, just like everyone else.

Everyone else has been shedding layers.

I'm sitting in my office, feeling cooped up and nervous, as if on crystal lithium*.

Don't worry, I don't even know what that would be like.

Except that I have a nervous feeling. It feels like I should be doing something speedily, lots of things, in fact, to ameliorate the situation, to solve problems, to get rid of work, to no longer procrastinate with the breadless arts.

Don't worry, I won't go into the problems to be solved.

– Yours Lenny B., doggedly trying to remain cheerful in spite of it all


*Borrowed from James Schuyler. He published a collection of poetry titled "The Crystal Lithium" in 1972.

The title derives from the fact that he had to take lithium for balance. There had been imbalances that forced hospitalization.

These imbalances included the incident where he washed money in the bathtub at Fairfield Porter's house, if I remember correctly.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

First cuneiform results

Hittite is proving ultra-resistant. I hope I didn't promise more than I can keep.

However, to give my eclect audience a foretaste, here are the first fragments of the promised pastoral elegy translated from that very old and long extinct Indo-European language:

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? bemourn ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? mourn grief ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? lament cry? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ‘is flute ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? Hattupsilitas ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? fields of barley? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? onion ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? finest of minds of his? ?
? generation? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? moan grief cry? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? so cruelly blown away ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? moan grief cry? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? bemoan oh muses*? ?
? ? ? ? bemoan? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

* “Muses” is a later Greek concept. However, the divine beings appealed to here seem quite related as far as I can make out.

Note that this is far from final. The poetics and modes of thinking and expression in this ancient language were quite different from today's Indo-European or other modes.

Experience burnt into memory this morning

of big
coconut : Mister
Burnt Bronze exits tanning saloon
in yellow shorts and white tee in anemic April

– Len Blumfeld

Faithful poetic razor edge fib reporting as always.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Let's go and see if such things can be true

The Miracle Man

That doctor's amazing! They say the old sinner
Puts food in his mouth when he's eating his dinner,
And also feels hungry if starved of his bread,
And closes his eyes when he sleeps in his bed!
He walks with his feet always treading the ground,
His eyes can see things, and his ears can hear sound.
On his shoulders, they tell me, his head you can view:
O let's go and see if such things can be true!

– Sukumar Ray

(Translated from the Bengali by Sukanta Chaudhuri)

Sukumar Ray (1887-1923) could be called the Indian Lewis Carroll. His nonsense verse is as known in Bengal as Mother Goose is in the English-speaking world. His son was the great film director Satyajit Ray (1921-1992), also a writer; the third generation in a family of multi-talents.

More on Sukumar Ray at At Home, Writing.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Playing St. Francis again

"What's all the twitter about?" I asked up into the air.

"Oh, Shruti tells me the nest is comfortable now.
Near finished.
Nothing better than a job well done."


"Have a good day."

"Chirp on then."

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Work in progress announcement

To all those holding their breath for additional pastoral elegies from the antique world:

I am currently working on the translation of a Hittite pastoral elegy about a shepherd (what else!) and archer against his will named Hattutaswili. The problem is that the cuneiform tablets it's on are in very poor shape, so that a lot of text is missing or blurred.

Their condition is nowhere near as good as the one shown above.

For consolation, I'm posting a quote from the Hittite Lullaby John Ashbery discovered:
More letters from the Sphinx
About what it was like [...]
All aspirations in the teeth
Of some pedantic ritual.
(from John Ashbery, As We Know, 1979)

The longings of a remote espresso bar

so bar on
the lonely planet’s
shoestring that needs more business now

– L. Blumfeld (copyright & you know what 2007)

Uninvited note
This came about as the result of an MSN search for "espresso bar at lonely planet" from somewhere in the Philippines executed on this blog. Whoever searched was probably disappointed in World So Wide. I suspect that they wanted someone like Douglas Adams, not Len Blumfeld.
Just in case, and to prevent any eventuality of more disappointment in the future, I simply had to add appropriate content.

In a trough

If this is all you have to complain about, you're doing great.
– Playdough, ca. 333 BC
I'm in a writing trough right now.

Might change any minute. Hopefully will.

Triggered by:

  1. Too many calls from an ageing parent who has excelled in laying guilt trips on people for most of her 86 (soon to be 87) years.
  2. Overload & exhaustion, including from having been exceedingly "creative".
  3. Back pain.
  4. General Unlust*.
Now would be a good time to write something Bukowskiesque. He always managed to milk the most blabla situations for something marketable.

*A wonderful German word for which there is no exact match in English. Perhaps "disinclination" would not be so bad.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Perhaps it's not such a bad idea for a blogger to once in a while muze over whether blog objectives have been reached or where things are going. An unedited interview with Jackie Shannon from the Bloggo Times sheds light on these and other issues.

JS: With a pretentious title like "World So Wide" your blog definitely invites scrutiny.
LB: I didn't intend it to be pretentious. Just wide.
JS: What? Oh. Haha. ... Let's see. Yes: With a title like that, one would expect something comprehensive, something that covers lots of areas. One thing that seems to be missing is razor edge reporting on political events.
LB: Sorry. I live on the edge of town, and the razor cuts off the news before it gets to me.
JS: What? Oh. Haha. I see.
LB: Also, I must say that there are lots of people out there who do a terrific job of reporting. There's no need for another poor job from me. Take, for example, Quirky News from Ananova. Where they recently reported on a swan in China that is friends with fish and regularly feeds them.

JS: You read that column regularly for news?
LB: No. Discovered it just this morning in search of quirky news.
JS: Thank you for these kind words, Mr. uh ...
LB: Blumfeld. That's all right, sometimes I forget it myself. Thanks for stopping by, Jackie de Shannon.
JS: There's no "de" in there.
LB: Sorry! Confused you with somebody I used to listen to.
JS: Anyway: toodleloo.
LB: One last thing. I do cover a wide variety of topics that are both pertinent and relevant. Like pastoral elegy, going back to Old Greek times. If you want me to, I'll go back even further. Babylon, Atlantis, you name it – I'll deliver the pastoral elegies. I do fibonaccis, that's leading edge technology.
JS: That's all nice and well, but –
LB: I mix (up) classical Indian music with poetry I write, report on the weather sometimes. Perhaps not often enough. But in sharp edge fashion. I write about coffee, warm-ups, rumors, sighs, wind-downs, even quoting García Lorca and Robert Bly.
JS: Gotta go. Bye!
LB: I added a haiku in Hindi the other day, for God's sakes! That's India for you, an old and upcoming nation. It's a wide world out there, and I take my nibbles. By the way: I can report that the weather looks very promising today! Blue sky, cherry trees in bloom, lots of pollen in the air making me dread hay fever ...
JS: (sound of door slamming)

Fibbing Fats

Come on
and let the
good times roll, forget
Blue Monday. Kansas City here

meets whipporwill calls
in his blue heaven walking to

leans to
see red sails
in the sunset when
his dreamboat comes home. Ain’t it a

black fingers
no longer pound the
piano. The moon did stand still.

– Lenny Blumfeld (cprt. 2007)

Brought about by Tad Richard's Fats Domino fib in the comments of Gregory K.'s The Fib: "Perhaps you shouldn't try to write Fibonacci poems while listening to Fats Domino."
*Just can't leave the notes alone, can I?

A Hindi haiku

अमावस कि रात
मदिरा में चांद डूबा
पेई सुंग शिव जगेय

– Richa Dubey (copyright 2006)

Originally posted by the author in transliteration on her blog khwaab-i-fursat, where this haiku can also be read in her own English translation.

Open letter to the author

Dear Richa,

Your poems are wonderful. Unfortunately, your blog has been inactive since the end of last year, and there is no link with an e-mail address. Otherwise I would have asked for your kind permission to post this haiku in World So Wide.

Please get in touch if you stumble across this posting.

Kind regards,

Leonard Blumfeld

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mareike condensed

crumb is
to remain
unaltered. This all
is our purpose on this planet.

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2007)

This afternoon in her kitchen, Mareike in a few sentences summarized our obligation to the mineral world. She specifically quoted “crumb” as a member of this world.

Please let me sleep

A fibonacci poem based on raag chandrakauns (late night)

me sleep
the sleep of
with the world’s tendrils unfurling

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2007)

The idea behind this one is that the world's (or universe's) forces seeping into sleep are behind sleep's regenerative or healing effect.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Four-letter fib

puzzle: four-
letter word with fif-
teen letters. Which one would that be?

– Len B.

(© 2007)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


no more
math than the
syllable counting of
fuddy duddy poetry days.

– Lenny B.

In prose continuation: So if you feel like writing R&B fibs inspired by Beepop Alula that's just great. Let 'em rock!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Tired night fib

kind of
that a fib can be
squeezed out of this exhausted mind.

This might be one last mind prick-up
of the ears, one late

to the

– Lenny B. (cprt. 2007)

Female part of diamond revised at daylight the next day.
That's OK, I think.
I am the master of my blog.
At least that – one kind of freedom.

Ode to loneliness

is an ode

It has
an anode

nor, you
guessed it,
a cathode
– Leonard Blumfeld (copyright 2007)

Invitable note
Written in an attack of musing about loneliness and its pain and omnipresence even in the presence of others, and using or mis/abusing the 3-part form of the ode (strophe, antistrophe and epode), see Wikipedia.

Invitable afternote
This "ode" could be simply read as a joke, but it might possibly invite further speculation along the lines of what should preferably happen between anode and cathode and what the result is if nothing happens or if these two movers are removed. Enough said!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Upside down

Narrowed-down basement search reveals:
Unguent is scarce.
Too much sci-
ence. So

– L. B.

This may be more an exercise than anything else.
My son looked at some of my fibs and called them "pyramid poems", which is straight geometrical observation based on the fact that I usually center them.
It occurred to me to do an upside down pyramid. I suppose it could also be called a stalactite.
I found this quite difficult to write, with some physical discomfort in my brain due to the required end-to-beginning thinking. In fact, the last 2 1/2 lines were what popped into my mind first. The basement at the very top is in reflection of the reversed thinking process of this inverted poetic form. This was quite different from the diamond (see There is a house), where the stalactite was predefined as an inversion of the preceding stalagmite.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Rule breakers


up dull heat.

– Lem B.

Inevitable note
A 4-line fib double pack in contravention of the “do not a or the rule” (see previous post).
The dull heat, at this time of the year in this particular geographical region, is not reality but wishful thinking. May come to regret this wish later on in the year.

The more intricate fibonacci rules

that fibs do
not get to start with
a or the. Well, frankly speaking,
who gives an air-borne copulation about that rule.

– Yours truculently Len B.

Read Rule breakers for fine examples.


merrily mirthfully very

– Lenny B.

A few days ago I read in some aspiring or already aspired writer’s blog that he or she hated adverbs. So I was prompted to write a fib in defense of this threatened**, frequently underrated species that has got a right to live just like any of the major breeds.

I propose the following rule:

*I suppose everybody is used to my notemania by now.
**In American lingo, the adverb is already being replaced by the adjective, as in, for example, "He spoke English real good."

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Kafka's Gallery

First it was a short paragraph of black on white called a short story in a Kafka story reader, then it became a steep old cinema with thickly padded plush folding seats, and my senses were up, close to the projector, darkness and the dust moth-flecked conical beam pointing. It was an empty theater, not even I was there, really. And no movie was playing.

– Leonard Blumfeld (copyright 2007)

Unappetizing happiness rumor

It has been said by Ernst Jandl
that many faces read
but that his diarrhea, caught
and smeared in his face,
might serve as the same kind
of “identification,” as he calls it;
we, who don’t have to take his word
for it, can safely call it “shit-faced.”

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2007)

The reference is to Jandl’s poem “der ausweis” (“the ID”) from the 1982 collection "der gelbe hund," which is quite faithfully retold in English in the statement part of this rumor.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Pretend plain silly

(instructions for use included)

and sigh!
The end ap-
pears to be near, said
the sunny pink plastic rabbit.
To be read aloud repeatedly for full effect.

– Yours silly or not so silly Len B.

This 7-line fibonacci has, of course, its reasons and associations, as anything I write. (Don’t know whether this is always reason for pride.)
The “shiver and sigh” is in assonance with Javed Akhtar’s book of poetry called “Quiver” and my recent poems written in the form of the “sigh,” as well as in remembrance of Barbara Guest, whose idea was that the lines of poems vibrate (which is why she left a lot of space in some of her later poetry). And they do; one just has to develop a sensitivity to feel it. It occurred to me just now that this likens them to atoms, around which there is a cloud of electrons in rapid motion. Also note that the first line may be construed as an appeal to the Hindu god Shiva.
The sunny pink rabbit is from a completely different memory – on my daughter’s fridge there is a cartoon showing a pink rabbit which cheerfully declares “The end is near!”
What holds the two parts together?
An enigmatic magnetic sound system of purposely chosen vowels and consonants.

Concrete poetry reports on today’s unpromising state of weather

cold as to the weather it was
as to the cold weather it was
to the cold weather as it was
as to the weather it was cold
to the weather cold as it was
as to the cold it was weather
cold it was as to the weather

– Yours playfully Len B.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Razor edge of time

Have to report that my back aches.
Too much sitting lately,
including last night's meeting
at an Indian restaurant.

Too much sitting,
yoga neglected.

Will have to kick myself in gear again.

Nice weather out there. Went short-sleeved for the first time this year, under a coat, though.
No head for politics this morning, otherwise I'd analyze the world situation.

Late morning fib

Raag alhaiya bilaval (late morning)

has he
gone? A quick
stride into a sur-
prisingly obstructive morning.

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2007)

The “Which way has he gone” part was the description for raag alhaiya bilaval on the Raga Guide page.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The grainy eyes fib

are! Hard-
ly usable
any more, shot from
screen gazing, not looking at stars

– Len Blumfeld (© 2007)

Rumored beauty

It has been said
that beauty is a vessel,
but, like any vessel,
it should be filled.

Another rumor by Leonard Blumfeld (© April Fools 2007)

Federico García Lorca: Gacela of the Dark Death

I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
I want to get far away from the busyness of the cemeteries.
I want to sleep the sleep of that child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.

I don't want them to tell me again how the corpse keeps all its blood,
how the decaying mouth goes on begging for water.
I'd rather not hear about the torture sessions the grass arranges for
nor about how the moon does all its work before dawn
with its snakelike nose.

I want to sleep for half a second,
a second, a minute, a century,
but I want everyone to know that I am still alive,
that I have a golden manger inside my lips,
that I am the little friend of the west wind,
that I am the elephantine shadow of my own tears.

When it's dawn just throw some sort of cloth over me
because I know dawn will toss fistfuls of ants at me,
and pour a little hard water over my shoes
so that the scorpion claws of the dawn will slip off.

Because I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
and learn a mournful song that will clean all earth away from me,
because I want to live with that shadowy child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.

Translated by Robert Bly

This is not the translation recited by Joan Baez on Baptism. (Cf. my previous post.) That one was translated by Stephen Spender. I know I have it somewhere. Must look for it.

The Stephen Spender/ J.L. Gili translation can be seen at steer forth! along with the Spanish original.

Old Welsh Song

I take with me where I go a pen and a golden bowl;
Poet and beggar step in my shoes, or a prince in a purple shawl.
I bring with me when I return to the house that my father's hands made
A crooning bird on a crystal bough and, o, a sad, sad word!
– Henry Treece

Recited by Joan Baez on her 1968 album Baptism.

Henry Treece/Joan Baez trivia
Baptism includes a total of four poems by Treece (1911-1966). In addition to "Old Welsh Song," these are "Who Murdered the Minutes," "Oh, Little Child" and "The Magic Wood." J.B. must have really liked this guy's poems.

Out of the window, sharply

I've been sitting here on Sunday morning editing tags.
What a thing to do on Sunday morning, without even having had breakfast.

When I caught myself at this (after approx. 20 min of it),
I, for some reason, remembered through the past darkly,*

and that it was probably a wise idea to situate myself
in the world I live in consciously,

by looking out the window sharply. The world is out there
all right, it consists of thinly white clouds and baby-blue sky,

of quiet houses, grey walls, red roofs and spiky antennae.
Not a whisp of smoke out any chimney. Has it all died on me?

Now don't get rhetorical, I admonish myself. If it were dead,
my dear, you'd know first hand, because you'd be dead yourself.

– Len B.

* Apparently a song by the Rolling Stones. I'd thought it was the title of a poem by Henry Treece, recited by Joan Baez. Will have to verify. The world-so-wide web has failed, I'll have to revert to my empirical means.

Will let you know the results soon, like in about 5 minutes. This is, once again, blogging on the razor edge of time.

I'm back!
  • Empirical means have failed. That Joan Baez record is not among the ones I have in my living room. Probably in the basement, where some of her stuff has been banned. My first record ever was Joan Baez' "The first ten years." Living in the country with no access to music stores, I'd mail-ordered it. Anxiously checking the mail for it every day for weeks. It took an awful long time to arrive. That was in 1970. I was 14.
  • The poem by Henry Treece I remembered is called "Old Welsh Song" (I'll post it soon).
  • I may have possibly and wrongly been thinking of García Lorca's "Gacela of the dark death", which Joan B. also recited on the same record. (To be posted as well; this is turning into a thread.)
  • I'll have to listen to that Rolling Stones number.
Back again, some 10 minutes later:
  • Riddle solved. The Joan Baez album is called "Baptism," and the piece on it I'd actually been thinking about was "Of the dark past" by James Joyce. There you go.
Oh the tricks that memory and association can play...

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Listen, I haven't wanted to go out or meet anybody

A fibonacci based on raag shri

on the
verge of shoe
pointing out the door,
but then retracted, discouraged

– Len B.

Raag shri is actually meant for early evening in winter, and it is neither. But the light is so dim it feels like early evening, and the temperature is chilly enough to fake winter.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The coffee fib

a cup
of coffee
now! Acrid delight
olfactory and sensory.

– Leonard B.

Morning walk memory reassembled in fib

ged, black-
haired woman
in bright red coat leaves
house, stalks up street in tapping rush

– Lenny Blumfeld (c’r’t 2007)

All true, once again, as much as retrospect allows.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Warmed-up fib

y em-
broiled in it
all: life, digestion,
dark, light, movement, emotion, fate

– Leonard Blumfeld (copyright 2007)

Legal alert
It might be illegal to hyphenate a word to make the right number of syllables. But then again who's going to sue me?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

History of the sigh pt. 2: precursors

I know that all (0) of you have been dieing for the 2nd part of the history of the sigh. I know. Sorry.

To continue, here's another pastoral elegy. It was written by Moschus (Greek poet, middle of 2nd century BC) and bemoans the death of the third idyllic Greek poet, Bion (the first one is Theocritus, the second Moschus himself).

Now why would anybody have poisoned an innocent heardsman like Bion? This question will probably never be answered unless somebody manages to take a close look at the Akasha chronicles.

For those of you who prefer a fast read, I recommend reading only the refrain (Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.). The fastest-paced part of the body is where it says [Here seven verses are lost.].


Wail, let me hear you wail, ye woodland glades, and thou Dorian water; and weep ye rivers, for Bion, the well beloved! Now all ye green things mourn, and now ye groves lament him, ye flowers now in sad clusters breathe yourselves away. Now redden ye roses in your sorrow, and now wax red ye wind-flowers, now thou hyacinth, whisper the letters on thee graven, and add a deeper ai ai to thy petals; he is dead, the beautiful singer.

Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.
Ye nightingales that lament among the thick leaves of the trees, tell ye to the Sicilian waters of Arethusa the tidings that Bion the herdsman is dead, and that with Bion song too has died, and perished hath the Dorian minstrelsy.

Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.
Ye Strymonian swans, sadly wail ye by the waters, and chant with melancholy notes the dolorous song, even such a song as in his time with voice like yours he was wont to sing. And tell again to the Œagrian maidens, tell to all the Nymphs Bistonian, how that he hath perished, the Dorian Orpheus.

Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.
No more to his herds he sings, that beloved herdsman, no more ‘neath the lonely oaks he sits and sings, nay, but by Pluteus’s side he chants a refrain of oblivion. The mountains too are voiceless: and the heifers that wander by the bulls lament and refuse their pasture.

Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.
Thy sudden doom, O Bion, Apollo himself lamented, and the Satyrs mourned thee, and the Priapi in sable raiment, and the Panes sorrow for thy song, and the fountain fairies in the wood made moan, and their tears turned to rivers of waters. And Echo in the rocks laments that thou art silent, and no more she mimics thy voice. And in sorrow for thy fall the trees cast down their fruit, and all the flowers have faded. From the ewes hath flowed no fair milk, nor honey from the hives, nay, it hath perished for mere sorrow in the wax, for now hath thy honey perished, and no more it behoves men to gather the honey of the bees.

Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.
Not so much did the dolphin mourn beside the sea-banks, nor ever sang so sweet the nightingale on the cliffs, nor so much lamented the swallow on the long ranges of the hills, nor shrilled so loud the halcyon o’er his sorrows;

(Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.)

Nor so much, by the grey sea-waves, did ever the sea-bird sing, nor so much in the dells of dawn did the bird of Memnon bewail the son of the Morning, fluttering around his tomb, as they lamented for Bion dead.

Nightingales, and all the swallows that once he was wont to delight, that he would teach to speak, they sat over against each other on the boughs and kept moaning, and the birds sang in answer, ‘Wail, ye wretched ones, even ye!’

Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.
Who, ah who will ever make music on thy pipe, O thrice desired Bion, and who will put his mouth to the reeds of thine instrument? who is so bold?

For still thy lips and still thy breath survive, and Echo, among the reeds, doth still feed upon thy songs. To Pan shall I bear the pipe? Nay, perchance even he would fear to set his mouth to it, lest, after thee, he should win but the second prize.

Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.
Yea, and Galatea laments thy song, she whom once thou wouldst delight, as with thee she sat by the sea-banks. For not like the Cyclops didst thou sing - him fair Galatea ever fled, but on thee she still looked more kindly than on the salt water. And now hath she forgotten the wave, and sits on the lonely sands, but still she keeps thy kine.

Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.
All the gifts of the Muses, herdsman, have died with thee, the delightful kisses of maidens, the lips of boys; and woful round thy tomb the loves are weeping. But Cypris loves thee far more than the kiss wherewith she kissed the dying Adonis.

Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.
This, O most musical of rivers, is thy second sorrow, this, Meles, thy new woe. Of old didst thou lose Homer, that sweet mouth of Calliope, and men say thou didst bewail thy goodly son with streams of many tears, and didst fill all the salt sea with the voice of thy lamentation - now again another son thou weepest, and in a new sorrow art thou wasting away.

Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.
Both were beloved of the fountains, and one ever drank of the Pegasean fount, but the other would drain a draught of Arethusa. And the one sang the fair daughter of Tyndarus, and the mighty son of Thetis, and Menelaus Atreus’s son, but that other, - not of wars, not of tears, but of Pan, would he sing, and of herdsmen would he chant, and so singing, he tended the herds. And pipes he would fashion, and would milk the sweet heifer, and taught lads how to kiss, and Love he cherished in his bosom and woke the passion of Aphrodite.

Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.
Every famous city laments thee, Bion, and all the towns. Ascra laments thee far more than her Hesiod, and Pindar is less regretted by the forests of Boeotia. Nor so much did pleasant Lesbos mourn for Alcaeus, nor did the Teian town so greatly bewail her poet, while for thee more than for Archilochus doth Paros yearn, and not for Sappho, but still for thee doth Mytilene wail her musical lament;

[Here seven verses are lost.]
And in Syracuse Theocritus; but I sing thee the dirge of an Ausonian sorrow, I that am no stranger to the pastoral song, but heir of the Doric Muse which thou didst teach thy pupils. This was thy gift to me; to others didst thou leave thy wealth, to me thy minstrelsy.

Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.
Ah me, when the mallows wither in the garden, and the green parsley, and the curled tendrils of the anise, on a later day they live again, and spring in another year; but we men, we, the great and mighty, or wise, when once we have died, in hollow earth we sleep, gone down into silence; a right long, and endless, and unawakening sleep. And thou too, in the earth wilt be lapped in silence, but the nymphs have thought good that the frog should eternally sing. Nay, him I would not envy, for ‘tis no sweet song he singeth.

Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.
Poison came, Bion, to thy mouth, thou didst know poison. To such lips as thine did it come, and was not sweetened? What mortal was so cruel that could mix poison for thee, or who could give thee the venom that heard thy voice? surely he had no music in his soul.

Begin, ye Sicilian Muses, begin the dirge.
But justice hath overtaken them all. Still for this sorrow I weep, and bewail thy ruin. But ah, if I might have gone down like Orpheus to Tartarus, or as once Odysseus, or Alcides of yore, I too would speedily have come to the house of Pluteus, that thee perchance I might behold, and if thou singest to Pluteus, that I might hear what is thy song. Nay, sing to the Maiden some strain of Sicily, sing some sweet pastoral lay.

And she too is Sicilian, and on the shores by Aetna she was wont to play, and she knew the Dorian strain. Not unrewarded will the singing be; and as once to Orpheus’s sweet minstrelsy she gave Eurydice to return with him, even so will she send thee too, Bion, to the hills. But if I, even I, and my piping had aught availed, before Pluteus I too would have sung.

(Translator: Andrew Lang)