[Video: Rowlf and Fozzie collaborate, after a fashion — and much to their surprise — on an instrumental version of “In an English Country Garden“]
From whiskey river:
The thing about Zen is that it pushes contradictions to their ultimate limit where one has to choose between madness and innocence. And Zen suggests that we may be driving toward one or the other on a cosmic scale. Driving toward them because, one way or the other, as madmen or innocents, we are already there.
It might be good to open our eyes and see.
(Thomas Merton [source])
Not from whiskey river:
What birds plunge through is not the intimate space
in which you see all forms intensified.
(Out in the Open, you would be denied
your self, would disappear into that vastness.)
Space reaches from us and construes the world:
to know a tree, in its true element,
throw inner space around it, from that pure
abundance in you. Surround it with restraint.
It has no limits. Not till it is held
in your renouncing is it truly there.
(Rainer Maria Rilke, from The Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke)
DC Comics, November 1990, #44
“Never Look Back, Flash
Your Life Might Be Gaining On You”
When I’m running across the city
on the crowded streets
to home, when, in a blur,
the grass turns brown
beneath my feet, the asphalt
steams under every step
and the maple leaves sway
on the branches in my wake,
and the people look,
look in that bewildered way,
in my direction, I imagine
walking slowly into my past
among them at a pace
at which we can look one another in the eye
and begin to make changes in the future
from our memories of the past—
the bottom of a bottomless well,
you may think, but why not dream a little:
our past doesn’t contradict our future;
they’re swatches of the same fabric
stretching across our minds,
one image sewn into another,
like the relationship between a foot and a boot,
covariant in space and time—
one moves along with the other,
like an actor in a shadow play—
like a streak of scarlet light
across the skyline of your city
sweeping the debris, which is simply confetti,
candy wrappers, a can of soda,
all the experience of a day discarded
and now picked up
even down to the youthful screams of play
that put smiles on the faces of the adults
who hear remnants of their own voices
through a doorway leading back
to a sunrise they faintly remember.
(A. Van Jordan [source])
Bonnie found Sally Anne Ruthven at the exact location she seemed to occupy twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year: in her Village News store on Main, across from the bank.
The date and headlines and front-page photos of every newspaper Sally Anne carried changed every day, of course. The characters in the comic books racked up along the wall — Archie and Jughead, Batman, Captain America and The Flash, Scrooge McDuck, all the rest — over time, they heaped up fresh adventures and new wardrobes, acquired incrementally different postures, dimples, and hairlines as illustrators came and went. The covers of paperback books, over the course of decades, transmogrified into simpler, all-uppercase titles and more lurid graphics which somehow hinted at ever more complex characters and plots. Greeting cards: fewer lavender-flowery artwork and sentiments, more cartoonish, funnier, starker, even from one week to the next. The philodendrons and African violets in the window behind Sally Anne’s front counter grew, bloomed, dropped leaves, shriveled in the summer heat and flourished again a month or two later. Even the hotplate in the window, the pot of brewed coffee, the cash register — even these seemingly permanent fixtures had been replaced twice, three times, in all the years Bonnie had lived in [the town], as their industrial obsolescence set in.
Only three features of the store’s interior, in short, seemed unchanging: The candy-bar brands, and their arrangement inside the glass case. The dim and slightly dusty air…
And, of course, Sally Anne herself.
(JES, Seems to Fit)
A Local Doc, over Rocky Lunchtime Bourbon, Speaks of Barter and Hopeful Home Remedies
Nostrums? Lordy, I have seen them all.
Alcohol’s the favorite. Many a quack’s
panacea bottled in a cellar and hawked
from door to door is thriving still.
Bindweed’s supposed to heal a bruise.
Cherokee remedies still survive,
and slave recipes — hyssop, juniper, chives.
Waitress, freshen this elixir, if you please.
One day a hefty woman who works a loom
down at Pepperell Mills sauntered in
with no appointment and perched herself prim
as an English queen in the waiting room.
What happened next? For a prolapsed
uterus, folk medicine recommends
inserting an Irish potato. It works,
if you can stand the weight, my friends.
Well, she’d relied on that specific
since winter. We’d hit, you understand, July,
and her complaint, not one bit shy,
was, Leaves in my virginia. Not beatific,
no, but she was composed, no maniac,
and it made some sense. What better place
than a protected pocket, warm and moist?
But the spud had sprouted, sent runners amok.
You never know in these flatland burley
counties if your manual skills will bloom
as sawbones or private gardener. Deftly,
I removed the obstruction and took it home.
I’ve raised a whole colony in my window box,
and bake, fry, or boil, I’m proud as hell
of this year’s crop. The woman paid her bill
with eggs and applejack. Life is a paradox.
Now I’ve got to rush back and tend my flock.
Got appointments at four — a pregnant lady,
a leg to set, twins to inspect for chicken pox,
and Marvin with his routine emergency.
I guess you could say my practice is thriving.
Drop by, and I’ll fry you up some shallot
hash browns in Margie’s seasoned skillet,
a flavor I can promise is sure to revive
any ailing soul. Where do I get my onions?
Don’t ask. The whole sweet world is a garden.
(R. T. Smith [source])