Wednesday, January 30
Whether or not they are of angels
or just the makeshift would-be
of human flight from humdrum
to grace, theirs is a sudden restlessness
on buoyant shoulders, an uplift
aimed at joy and making it.
So for every earthbound thought
there's the counter-weight,
a grief that covers its face in shame
then rises with the season
as if from sleep, unfolding wings
to journey through the brightness of the air.
-- John Mole
Posted by rb at 1/30/2008
Tuesday, January 29
It seems a flower, but not a flower;
It seems a mist, but not a mist.
It comes at midnight,
It goes away in the morning.
Its coming is like a spring dream that does not last long.
And its going is like the morning cloud. You will find it nowhere.
-- Bai Juyi
Translated by Ching Ti
Posted by rb at 1/29/2008
Monday, January 28
Sunday, January 27
My poetry is something that happens throughout the day. When I water the vegetables or wash dishes, poetry is born in me. When I sit down at the writing table, all I do is deliver the poems. Poetry comes as an inspiration and is the fruit of my mindful living. After a poem is born, I may realize that it helped me. The poem is like a "bell of mindfulness."
Sometimes you need to reread a poem you have written because it takes you back to a wonderful experience—it reminds you of the beauty available inside of you and all around you. So a poem is a flower you offer to the world, and at the same time, it is a bell of mindfulness for you to remember the presence of beauty in your daily life.
-- Thich Nhat Hahn be free where you are
Posted by rb at 1/27/2008
Wednesday, January 23
It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
-- Mary Oliver, from Thirst
No, but the soul
Empty of words and this weighted body
Succumb at last to the proud silence of noon:
Now we must sleep, forgetting blasphemy...
a faun's afternoon, translated by Alan Edwards
Posted by rb at 1/23/2008
Tuesday, January 22
The technology of silence
The rituals, etiquette
the blurring of terms
silence not absence
of words or music or even
Silence can be a plan
the blueprint to a life
It is a presence
it has a history a form
Do not confuse it
with any kind of absence
-- Adrienne Rich, from "Cartographies of Silence"
Posted by rb at 1/22/2008
Saturday, January 19
White Painting by Robert Rauschenberg (Guggenheim Museum)
Christopher Coppola's JC Meditation 001
In the nature of the use of chance operations is the belief that all answers answer all questions.
-- John Cage I-VI
In 1952, David Tudor sat down in front of a piano for four minutes and thirty-three seconds and did nothing. The piece 4'33'' written by John Cage, is possibly the most famous and important piece in twentieth century avant-garde. 4'33'' was a distillation of years of working with found sound, noise, and alternative instruments. In one short piece, Cage broke from the history of classical composition and proposed that the primary act of musical performance was not making music, but listening. [more]
John Cage's 4'33" by David Tudor
From a review of Evgeny Kissin: John Cage 4'33" (DVD): The Stokowski transcription is a first performance and therefore of great interest. It was his last work and only discovered well after his death in 1977. The orchestral size is the same as for his Bach transcriptions but with added tubas. Some may consider that this over-romanticises the purity of Cage's essentially classical conception but I enjoyed it immensely. With regard to the orchestra – who have to pass a large clock round every one of the players without making a sound in exactly 4’33" – this work brings as big a challenge to them as any of Ives’s more extreme utterances. The New York Philharmonic mostly manages it with aplomb (apart from one of the violas who almost dropped the clock) in what was apparently an encore after a stirring performance of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto. Serebrier (a protégé of Stokowski) presides with authority – he starts off with the clock and at the very end it finally reaches Kissin just before the crowd goes wild.
Art may be practiced in one way or another, so that it reinforces the ego in its likes and dislikes, or so that it opens that mind to the world outside, and outside inside. Since the forties and through the study with D.T. Suzuki of the philosophy of Zen Buddhism, I've thought of music as a means of changing the mind. I saw art not as something that consisted of a communication from the artist to an audience but rather as an activity of sounds in which the artist found a way to let the sounds be themselves. And, in being themselves, to open the minds of people who made them or listened to them to other possibilities than they had previously considered.
-- John Cage, quoted by Larry J. Solomon here
CRC Beta v0.01
The glittering dance of brilliants must be strung
On that dark thread of sadness which is time,
No matter what bright melodies are sung.
When great symphonic combers swell and climb
Then curl and, swooping, rush towards the shore,
We hear a faint and melancholy chime.
This might come from a drowned cathedral or
Be carried on the wind from inland tower
In market-place, or church on distant moor.
Beneath the surging glory and the power
Of Beethoven or Bach, or tenderness
Of Schubert lieder's frailer sonic flower
We hear the spectral sighing of distress,
For time is music's element and we
Know murderous time can offer no redress.
Yet which of us, I wonder, were he free
To choose, would wish away the voice that sings
The keening descant of mortality
Inseparable from all that music brings
Of love, heart-piercing truth, the tears in things.
-- Vernon Scannell
Wednesday, January 16
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning examines the effect of digital media tools on how people learn, network, communicate, and play, and how growing up with these tools may affect a person's sense of self, how they express themselves, and their ability to learn, exercise judgment, and think systematically.
The full text of each volume in the Series is provided for free and open access thanks to the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation. The full text of these chapters is openly available [here]
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning
Posted by rb at 1/16/2008
Friday, January 11
Wednesday, January 9
Tuesday, January 8
There where the waves shatter on the restless rocks
the clear light bursts and enacts its rose,
and the sea-circle shrinks to a cluster of buds,
to one drop of blue salt, falling.
O bright magnolia bursting in the foam,
magnetic transient whose death blooms
and vanishes—being, nothingness—forever:
broken salt, dazzling lurch of the sea.
You and I, Love, together we ratify the silence,
while the sea destroys its perpetual statues,
collapses its towers of wild speed and whiteness:
because in the weavings of those invisible fabrics,
galloping water, incessant sand,
we make the only permanent tenderness.
-- Pablo Neruda
Translated by Stephen Tapscott
Posted by rb at 1/08/2008