And Still I Give Thanks

A reminder that the smallest things are the biggest things for which to give thanks…

"ARE YOU THERE, ERMA? IT'S ME, SYLVIA."

Sylvia and Erma are spending the day with their respective families – giving thanks for the meal they’ll share, the orderly chaos of the kitchens, and their children who wish to forego the turkey for the pies that have been freshly extracted from the oven. And without a doubt, as these women sit down with their broods, however big or small, they take at least a second if not a hundred to give thanks for each other and their bond of friendship. And as I prepare the Thanksgiving feast, I’m thinking about how we all count our blessings on this day- love, health, family, friendship, peace, freedom, etc. but too often forget the little things, all of the tidbits that create the essence of our daily lives.
Thanks.

For dinner even when it’s out of a box or take-out. For the compliment whether it is “I like your shoes” or…

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“If no love is, O God, what fele I so?”

Photograph by Les Anderson on Unsplash (edited collage)

if you ever fall in love
to the sounds of violins
and bells
and a melody that wraps itself
around your heart
look for her
one more time

— J.S.

Bells of St. Augustine

Sonnet CXXII

cf. National Geographic Magazine (1952) (Edited Collage)

THY gift, thy tables, are within my brain
Full character’d with lasting memory,
Which shall above that idle rank remain,
Beyond all date, even to eternity…

Mainstreet

Of this worlds Theatre in which we stay

Zach Muhlbauer, “Wyeth Eyewear” (2019)

Of this worlds Theatre in which we stay,
My love lyke the Spectator ydly sits
Beholding me that all the pageants play,
Disguysing diversly my troubled wits.
Sometimes I joy when glad occasion fits,
And mask in myrth lyke to a Comedy:
Soone after when my joy to sorrow flits,
I waile and make my woes a Tragedy.
Yet she beholding me with constant eye,
Delights not in my merth nor rues my smart:
But when I laugh she mocks, and when I cry
She laughes, and hardens evermore her hart.
What then can move her? if not merth nor mone,
She is no woman, but a sencelesse stone.

— Edmund Spenser, “Amoretti LIV: Of this worlds Theatre in which we stay”

Sin City

Atomic Courtesy Collaboration – Jacobson

A collaboration with the talented Marcy Erb and featured on her eclectic blog Illustrated Poetry | Art by Marcy Erb

Illustrated Poetry

GIF by John Sapiro

Atomic Courtesy

To smash the simple atom
All mankind was intent.
Now any day
The atom may
Return the compliment.

Ethel Jacobson

collage of beige and red particles escaping from a black concentric reactor

John Sapiro and I began our email correspondence about this little poem and the history of the atomic age a few months ago, before the early August anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but amidst the early chaos of the pandemic. It seemed almost ridiculous to be talking about yet another threat to worldwide health, peace, and humanity and yet, it was the mood of the day. I couldn’t find an exact date for Ethel Jacobson’s poem, although it is in a book I have that has a copyright date of 1952. And so our conversation centered mostly around the cold war of the 1950s and 60s but veered around widely. We talked about the physicist Richard Feynman and his…

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The largest fire ever known

cf. Videos by mohamed Hassan (storm) and Moshe Harosh (woman) both via Pixabay (edited collage by me)

THE LARGEST fire ever known
Occurs each afternoon,
Discovered is without surprise,
Proceeds without concern:
Consumes, and no report to men,
An Occidental town,
Rebuilt another morning
To be again burned down.

— Emily Dickinson

10,000 Lovers (In One)

The Heart wants what it wants

cf. Edward Hopper, Nighthawks (1942) and Maclean’s Magazine (1971) and letter from Emily Dickinson to Mary Bowles, Spring, 1862
(Thank you to Marcy at Illustrated Poetry | Art by Marcy Erb for the quotation.)

If I Can’t Have You

dreamless

cf. photograph by Toni Frissell, “Weeki Wachee spring, Florida” (underwater view of a woman, wearing a long gown, floating in water) (1947) and video (underwater seabed light) by motionstock via Pixabay (edited collage by me)

I placed my dream in a boat
and the boat into the sea;
then I ripped the sea with my hands
so that my dream would sink.

My hands are still wet
with the blue of the slashed waves,
and the color that runs from my fingers
colors the deserted sands.

The wind arrives from far away,
night bends itself with the cold;
under the water in a boat
my dream is dying away.

I’ll cry as much as necessary
to make the sea grow
so that my boat will sink to the bottom
and my dream disappear…

— Cecilia Meireles, “Song” (Tr. Giacomelli)

Jackie Blue

Takin’ Care Of Business

cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1964) and Maclean’s Magazine (1961)

If seriously I may convey my thoughts
In this my light deliverance, I have spoke
With one that in her sex, her years, profession,
Wisdom, and constancy hath amazed me more
Than I dare blame my weakness…

All’s Well That Ends Well

Takin’ Care Of Business

[He reads the letter.]

cf. Toni Frissell, “Woman and man lying on a dock” (ca. 1969) and video by 5239640 via Pixabay (edited, modified and collage recomposition by me)

Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.

Hamlet

We’ll Never Have to Say Goodbye Again

meditating upon the meaning of the line “clams on the halfshell and rollerskates” in the song “good times” by chic

cf. photograph by Thomas J. O’Halloran, “The Plum disco dancing [1119 21st St. NW]” (1977) and
video by Luiz-Jorge-Artista via Pixabay (edited and recomposed collage by me)

go away, you bitter cuss.   it’s still 1980 somewhere, some corner
  of your dark apartment
where the mystery of the lyric hasn’t faded.   and love is in the
 chorus waiting to be born

— D. A. Powell, meditating upon the meaning of the line “clams on the halfshell and rollerskates” in the song “good times” by chic (excerpt) (Poetry, September 2006)

Good Times by Chic

Greeting Card

cf. TV commercial (ca. 1987)

Alas! is even love too weak To unlock the heart, and let it speak?

Ah, love, let us be true To one another!

Bright are the stars that shine Dark is the sky

Love seeketh not itself to please,

If thou must love me, let it be for nought Except for love’s sake only

And to his eye There was but one beloved face on earth, And that was shining on him.

She knew she was by him beloved

All passions, all delights, Whatever stirs this mortal frame, All are but ministers of Love,

And in Life’s noisiest hour, There whispers still the ceaseless Love of Thee,

Love is not a feeling to pass away

My heart’s so full of joy, That I shall do some wild extravagance

Love is most nearly itself When here and now cease to matter.

You who suffer because you love, love still more.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever

I love thee, as the good love heaven.

Love keeps the cold out better than a cloak.

Imparadis’d in one another’s arms.

Love is the crowning grace of humanity,

Not grace, or zeal, love only was my call,

Love’s too precious to be lost,

We love but while we may

Love will conquer at the last.

Omnia vincit Amor; et nos cedamus Amori.

To see her is to love her,

Oh my luve’s like a red, red rose,

❤️
— J.S.

Chapter and Verse

The Waste Land

cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1969) and The Mechanical & Landscape Photo Co., “bedroom interior…” (ca.1870)

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain…

Only A Memory

Chapter 8

cf. Toni Frissell, “Fashion model underwater…” (1939) and video by Relaxing_Guru via Pixabay (edited, modified, and combined recomposition)

The track curved and now it was going away from the sun which, as it sank lower, seemed to spread itself in benediction over the vanishing city where she had drawn her breath. He stretched out his hand desperately as if to snatch only a wisp of air, to save a fragment of the spot that she had made lovely for him. But it was all going by too fast now for his blurred eyes and he knew that he had lost that part of it, the freshest and the best, forever.

— F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Love Is Like Oxygen

footfall

cf. Photograph by Shane Rounce (detail) via Unsplash and CGI by pixel shox

footfall

i stepped back into time
waded into the same river twice
you know, nick had some really good advice for gatsby
it’s easy to get lost
romance glancer
true love chancer
happiness chaser
gone again spacer

— J.S.

Spacer

“Scott, your last fragments I arrange tonight…”

Scott, your last fragments I arrange tonight,
Assigning commas, setting accents right,
As once I punctuated, spelled and trimmed
When, passing in a Princeton spring—how dimmed
By this damned quarter-century and more!—
You left your Shadow Laurels at my door.
That was a drama webbed of dreams: the scene
A shimmering beglamored bluish-green
Soiled Paris wineshop; the sad hero one
Who loved applause but had his life alone;
Who fed on drink for weeks; forgot to eat,
“Worked feverishly, ” nourished on defeat
A lyric pride, and lent a lyric voice
To all the tongueless knavish tavern boys,
The liquor-ridden, the illiterate;
Got stabbed one midnight by a tavern-mate—
Betrayed, but self-betrayed by stealthy sins—
And faded to the sound of violins…

— Edmund Wilson, from the Dedication to “The Crack-Up” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Back on the Chain Gang

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire…

cf. edited digital collage featuring photograph by Simon Migaj (man in jacket reaching) via Unsplash

Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory—
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the belovèd’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.

— Shelley, “Music when Soft Voices Die (To –)”

Just once in a very blue moon
And I feel one comin’ on soon…

Once In A Very Blue Moon

depression mantra

cf. edited collage featuring photograph by Sasha Freemind (man at window) via Unsplash

never give in, never give in, never, never, never…

— Winston Churchill, October 29, 1941, Harrow School

 

holding on

cf. photograph by Myriams-Fotos via Pixabay and video by MixailMixail via Pixabay (edited collage)

ASHES denote that fire was;
Respect the grayest pile
For the departed creature’s sake
That hovered there awhile.

Fire exists the first in light,
And then consolidates,—
Only the chemist can disclose
Into what carbonates.

— Emily Dickinson

Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001: I. Adagio

for all dishevelled wandering stars

cf. photograph by Alex Iby via Unsplash and

error46146, Subway Timelapse Experiment – YouTube (edited collage)

And brood on hopes and fear no more…

— W. B. Yeats, Who goes with Fergus?

Feelin’ Stronger Every Day

parallax portrait

cf. Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, Michelangelo (modeled before 1883) and
photograph by Nathan Fertig via Unsplash (edited collage)

Lenehan walked on again. He lifted his yachtingcap and scratched his hindhead rapidly. He glanced sideways in the sunlight at M’Coy.

—He’s a cultured allroundman, Bloom is, he said seriously. He’s not one of your common or garden … you know … There’s a touch of the artist about old Bloom.

Joyce, Ulysses

Make Your Own Kind Of Music

a portrait of the artist as a young man

cf. photograph by guvo59 via Pixabay (edit) and video by McZerrill via Pixabay (edited collage)

The carriage swerved from the tramtrack to the smoother road past Watery lane. Mr Bloom at gaze saw a lithe young man, clad in mourning, a wide hat.

—There’s a friend of yours gone by, Dedalus, he said.

—Who is that?

—Your son and heir.

—Where is he? Mr Dedalus said, stretching over across.

The carriage, passing the open drains and mounds of rippedup roadway before the tenement houses, lurched round the corner and, swerving back to the tramtrack, rolled on noisily with chattering wheels. Mr Dedalus fell back, saying:

—Was that Mulligan cad with him? His fidus Achates!

—No, Mr Bloom said. He was alone…

Joyce, Ulysses

Way To Blue

Super Bowl V ½

cf. Library Company of Philadelphia, “Wissahickon Creek” (detail) and
photograph by Bob Canning via Unsplash (edited collage)

Super Bowl V ½

the ultrablue winter twilight
and my huge snowsuit
as the ball sailed over the clothesline

— J.S.
 

my lost self

cf. photograph by Cherry Laithang via Unsplash (edited collage)

like Antaeus
drifting in the darkest night
searching for my long lost self —
my strength
my spirit
myself
and then I touch ground
again

— J.S.

Van Halen – 6/12/81 – Oakland Coliseum

impression

cf. Nancy Ford Cones, “Mending The Net” (ca. 1912) and John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott (1888)

…trying as usual to get my picture of myself straight.

— Robert Lowell, Near the Unbalanced Aquarium
 
Dowland — Book of Songs, Book 1: “All ye whom love or fortune hath betrayed” (David Munderloh)

dogged determination

cf. photograph by pieroor via Pixabay and video by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay (edited collage)

This terrible repetition of resolution and failure — like one of the endless, circular punishments of Dante’s “Inferno” — shaped much of what happened in the second part of his life. Yet he never stopped resolving, and this dogged determination to battle on also became characteristic and took him through experiences that few of his contemporaries shared or even remotely understood…

— Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections

that incurable depression of spirits

cf. John C. Higgins, “Man in Bottle” (detail) (ca. 1888) and
video by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay (edited collage)

Every man must take the measure of his own strength. I may, I do, regret my want of fortitude; but so it is, that incurable depression of Spirits, Brooding, Indolence, Despondence, thence Pains and nightly Horrors…

— Letter from Coleridge to Daniel Stuart quoted in Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections

Black Sheets Of Rain

“the first return since undergraduate days twelve years previously…”

collage including video by Anatwell-Group via Pixabay (edited)

Another expedition took him to Cambridge, the first return since undergraduate days twelve years previously, where the young men all looked just the same in the university pubs and “the only alteration” was in himself…

— Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections

Linda Bruner, “Rainy Night In Georgia”

“Seeking ache of memory here”

cf. Patricia D. Duncan, “…Schoolhouse, near Troy in the Northeast Corner of the State…” (1974) and
video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay

It shall be no trespassing,
If I come again some spring
In the grey disguise of years,
Seeking ache of memory here.

— Robert Frost, On the Sale of My Farm (excerpt)

Leaving On A Jet Plane

I know not “seems.”

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—

— Edgar Allan Poe, “Alone” (excerpt)

Outsider

Love brought me (back) here

cf. video by abele62 and silhouette by geralt both via Pixabay (edited collage)

my shadow
still falls
on that window frame
rain
still falls
night
still
falls

— J.S.

Love brought me here…

— Dante, Inferno

Everything returns again
Both the laughter and the rain
She is living somewhere far away…

— The Left Banke, “Desiree”

The Left Banke with the NYU All University Choir “Drama Cantorum” — “Desiree”