Tuesday, June 28, 2016


for Kim in a cast, and Susie's helping hand

for my Irish mother (Belfast)

Monday, June 27, 2016


any old fella. . .

Jack Belden

Uncle Jack is what the young kids
Around here call him, even though he
Isn’t really their uncle but rather
Their own parents’ uncle and usually
They just called him Jack. His name
Doesn’t come up too much when I’m
Working with my neighbors.
There are three houses of the same family
Up the dirt road running alongside
French Brook. The brook eventually
Climbs higher into the next town of
Cheshire and Jack drinks from this brook.
The dirt road winds around Church Mountain
And swings back into the village
Passing through the covered bridge
And over the waterfall,
Forks then into two roads like a wishbone
That provides travel for a dozen families.
They hardly ever come down our road
Which follows the river, and I don’t
Think anyone knows Jack Belden up there.

The three houses on Jack’s back road
Are the homes for two of his nephews
And his sister; Jack’s small trailer
Is hidden in a hollow from them all.
He never married, doesn’t own a car,
Hikes to Brattleboro 12 miles away or
Picks up a ride with the rural mailtruck.
One day walking home from work
I was 500 feet behind Jack who had just
Left the mailtruck in the covered bridge
And was stalking down the muddy river road.
Middle of the season. A warm day.
The buckets on the roadside maples
Brimming with sap.
A mile down the road
And still a distance between us
I watched him abruptly stop,
Look both ways (but not behind him),
Let down his burlap sack of groceries
From his shoulder, then walk to
One of the trees and remove a bucket,
Drink for a good half-minute
Wipe his mouth with his sleeve
Hang the bucket back
Then continue the remaining mile to home.
I thought all about that yesterday —
It was eight years ago. He was 75 years old.

Today I’m tapping the same trees
On the farmer’s land Jack drank from.
The mud is deep and the day is warm,
Not much has changed.
But I heard and couldn’t believe
That Jack has been in the hospital
Since January, the month we broke
All records for freezing temperatures.
I recall one night sitting with neighbors
Already reminiscing about
The headaches of busted water pipes
Depleting cordwood and icy roads,
But no talk about Jack —
The whiskered old man who walks.
Everett, his nephew, told me
As we filled our aprons with tap spouts
That Jack’s gas ran out in the trailer
During one of those real cold nights.
30 below. His feet froze.
They amputated the gangrene from all his toes.
Shut out all the lights to any more walking.

I wonder what this all means —
We worry about water pipes bursting,
But a quarter-mile away
Jack loses his toes.
It wasn’t brought up at town meeting this year.
Jack’s photograph doesn’t grace
The inside town report bulletin
As one of the patriarchs of Guilford.
Yet, he knows his territory —
Takes a leak outside his trailer door
Like any liberated yankee.
Quietly living so that you
Don’t know that he lives.
Showed me once how to
Crush an early shad bud
Between my fingers
For the first scent of spring.


Bob Arnold
Where Rivers Meet

Friday, June 24, 2016


1940 ~ 2016


H E N R I     M I C H A U X

This situation of not having a very large audience
has something good in it too. I mean that it educates
you in a certain way: not to consider that great audiences
are the most important reward on this earth.
I consider that even if I have three people who read
me. I mean really read me, it is enough. That reminds
me of a conversation I had once upon a time during
the only glimpse I ever had of Henri Michaux. It was
when he had a stop-over in Athens, coming from
Egypt, I think. He came ashore while his ship was in
Piraeus just in order to have a look at the Acropolis.
And he told me on that occasion:" You know, my dear,
a man who has only one reader is not a writer. A man
who has two readers is not a writer either. But a man
who has three readers (and he pronounced "three
readers" as though they were three million), that man
is really a writer.

 — G E O R G E     S E F E R I S

George Seferis, 1920

from Sweet Theft
a poet's commonplace book
J.D. McClatchy
Counterpoint 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016



Seagull Books 2016

"The composer Karlheinz Stockhausen who composed his
series Moments between 1962 and 1969 and later wrote the
work SATURDAY FROM LIGHT defined his concept of
their characteristics, moments can be as long or as short as
one likes', he added. In so doing, he referred to a dispute he
once claimed to have had with Werner Heisenberg (when
he was staying at the Siemens studio for electronic music in
Munich). And it may be he misunderstood him, at least to
the effect that — in the same way that at the level of Planck
space the beginning of the world repeats itself in every tem-
poral interval of now-time, in other words, the universe
renews and produces itself at the elementary level from one
second to the next while still possessing a beginning and a
distant future, as far, that is, as light has been able to travel,
meaning that all things have a life in duration and a life in
the moment — everything that can enter into the sounds of
a piece of music always does so in a two-fold manner: as a
now and as a duration, as a puncture and as an entire piece.

— Can a sound also be rooted in both?

— No.

— Why not?

— Because our access to the moment and our access to
the end of the world belong to two different worlds.

— Parallel worlds?

— Antiworlds! "

A L E X A N D E R     K L U G E

M O R E !