Sunday, July 31, 2016


It's finally raining! Overnight!
I awoke and read a poem by Queneau about the rain.
A fine and silly and fully Parisian poem for a later BH.
We were climbing the mountains over the weekend
and noticed the exhaust and thirst of the trees, the earth.
Leaves that should have rotted into good soil compost last spring
with a rain that never came, are left, dry and out of place.
Trees are losing their leaves now, thirsty and spent.
Leaves shriveled falling to the ground, not quite August.
All wanting this rain.
I watch rain drip well off the steel roof I just put down.
Time to turn over side A to side B.

Shankar: double violin
Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, mridangam
Zakir Hussain, tabla
V. Lakshminarayana, conductor

Compositions by Shankar
Recorded November 1980

This album is dedicated to John McLaughlin


"In 1934, conservationist Aldo Leopold and his wife
Estella bought a barn — the remnant of a — farm and
surrounding lands in south-central Wisconsin. The entire
Leopold clan — five children in all — worked together
to put into practice Aldo's "land ethic", which involved
ecological restoration and sustainability. In the process,
they built more than a pleasant weekend getaway; they
established a new way of relating to nature. In 1948,
A Sand County Almanac was published, and it has
become a beloved and foundational text of the
conservation movement."

Leopold's youngest daughter's own memoir
can now be placed comfortably beside her father's

Friday, July 29, 2016



(and BOB's)


 IDA (4 months)

LAYLA (3 years)

Happy Birthday, Susan!



Thursday, July 28, 2016


Clinton or Trump

I mean, could it be

possibly worse?

We get two

baby boomers

from our generation

where one was a

prig in prep-school

& the other a
geek in big glasses 

who supported Nixon
and still loves Kissinger. 

Where are the real ones?
The versatile


well versed 


They killed them.

(look it up)


The House Was Quiet and
the World Was Calm

The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.

The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,

Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be

The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought

The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:

The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,

In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself

Is the reader leaning late and reading there.


W A L L A C E     S T E V E N S
The Palm at the End of the Mind

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Dear Michael,

I was actually turned on by Michelle Obama’s walk to the podium and her frisky look at her arrival. The hair and almost peek-a-boo was just right. Her mouth is enticing. It wasn't so much I was turned on as I felt a turn-on in the air and I was thrilled to know after eight years in the White House and dealing with literal pigs, she hasn’t lost her girlie ways, and she would call them girlie ways. And I was happy for Barack Obama that he had a partner this restoring and intelligent. She had the best speech of the night. I’m sorry but I find Elizabeth Warren what Donald Trump calls  “goofy” and in fact a little drippy, but also quick and sparky but all in bureaucratic motions. Cory Booker I am impressed by, have been for years, but he was forcing a civil rights speech down our throats and we have heard many many better. Bernie was okay. A lovely standing ovation for a very long time, but not as long as I remember chilled to the bone hearing Bobby Kennedy get at another convention once upon a time. I believe the audience cheered RFK for eleven minutes.

Debbie Wasserman Shultz can’t leave soon enough, she’s a pest, as was Howard Dean in the same DNC role. They are crooks who do rig the system. Hillary, if elected won’t change much at all. Of course she will have none of the gravitas of Obama, nor his patience and reserve in the right places. Trump has a very good chance of getting in. Many people will never admit to voting for him but there is a perverse nature to Americans brought up on entertainment and shlock. It’s been here now since we were teenagers. Instead of Trump I’d like to see the Republicans elect someone like Ike — an elder stationed male (or female) who knows the system and knows how it works. We have to see this country work right again, although I believe the people are mainly warped and tangled. The worker force is gone, kaput. Certainly we can find dozens who still work well but the machinery is corrupt and prejudiced and no gears work with that in the way. While you were having chocolates during the Dem convention so was I! And a few trail mix handfuls and I was paging slowly through this magnificent Blake book detailing his exodus with Dante (and Virgil). I went through all the book in three hours. I slept a little rocky myself and it may have been the warm night.

[ BA ]


Back Road Chalkie
July 2016

Monday, July 25, 2016


Senior Citizen

Probably 1,000 carpenters
Live in the southern part
Of this state, a lot of them
Hip and young with a brand new
Leather apron, heavy duty
Trucks, wives or companions
That are weavers or potters
Or dancers, and of course they
All have a story to tell.
Though yesterday I was in
An old woman’s house high off
From the back road, and she
Lived alone and missed all
Her grandchildren and braided
Rugs in the back of the house
With a hand needle and years
And years of wool, and the
Story she had to tell was
Already written in her choice
Of words, the rope of her hands,
And the scar above her left eye
Made thirty-five years ago
By the shuttle of a textile loom.

Back Road Caller

I came to have my chain saw fixed
And he did that, but
A half hour job
Stretched to three hours
Because he had to show me
All his new tools,
Plus his 75lb. bow
And the antlers from the buck
He shot last fall —
“Arrow went clean through”
Never mind the drawer
Of chewing tobacco
He offered me, and then
To his father, and we both
Politely declined a dip,
And as if that wasn’t enough —
He pulled out the flat
Enveloped reeds he used
For turkey hunting —
Tucked one up on the roof
Of his mouth and cupping
His hands chucked out a
Perfect few syllables
Which would have turned any
Bird’s head, and depending
On how he rolled his body
With a call he could make
It sound horny, but he
Only saved that one for
The summertime, when the
Weekend neighbor’s daughter
Came to visit all alone.


I’ve only been away one day
But already between the width
Of the stone wall gate
Spans the thinnest first strand of
A spider’s web, floating there
As the river fog this morning
In the valley — well enough to
Stoop beneath it,
Cause no harm.

Above the Valley
                        for Scott Tindall

Over 3,000 feet
Above the valley
Our eyes looking
Southward with an
Old man we came
Upon resting on a
Stump. We exchanged
Greetings in the warm
Light he enjoyed,
The leaves falling,
And asked where
He had hiked from.
And he stood up and
Pointed to a lake I knew
Far off in the lower hills
Catching the sun, saying
“The other lake after that” —
One I never knew of.
Then later in the day
Higher up from the old man,
Air sharp with balsam,
We looked back and saw how

His lake had lit up too.


Bob Arnold

photograph: "Berkshire from Greylock"
copyright 2015 by Two~Hands

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Friday, July 22, 2016



If there is a crash at an American airport, the wreck-
age is removed immediately so as not to alarm the
passengers on the flights that will come after.

       This is not true at Russian airports.

       While at some airports in the major cities, such
as Moscow or Saint Petersburg, the wreckage might
be taken away quite as if nothing had occurred, small
runways in Siberia are littered with failed flights,
their rusting hulks simply pushed to one side.

       On a recent flight from Nome to Chukotka, the
woman in the seat opposite us bench quite agi-
tated as we dropped rather peremptorily through
the dark skies. She began loudly praying to God for
deliverance. My companion remarked that her fear-
vent request was useless, as God had long ago turned
His great back on Russia. She might just as well
have prayed to the luxurious black sable coat that
enveloped her from chin to ankle. We had earlier
been half-hypnotized by its beauty, what my com-
panion had dared to describe as the glimmering,
endless depths in the fur of so many little animals.

                                                                C O A T


A much-admired artist was giving a lecture to a
large audience. His work was known for its peculiar
cold beauty and its intellectual craftsmanship. He
was the recipient of many awards and honors, He
had received the Academia Nazionale dei Lincei's
Antonio Feltrinelli International Prize and Grand
Prix des Biennales Internationales. He was named
Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the
French Ministry of Education and Culture.

       In his own country, he had received awards
from the Academy of Achievement, the American 
Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American
Academy. On one year alone, he won the triple crown
of appreciation and adulation by racing off with the
National Book Critics Circle Award, the National
Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize.

       At the point in his lecture where he was say-
ing that the representative element in a work of art is
always irrelevant, that for one to appreciate a work of
art one must bring to it nothing from life, no knowledge
of life's affairs and ideas, no familiarity with its emo-
tions and desires, he was seized by the most stupefying
boredom and he had to leave the stage.

                                             I R R E D U C I B L E


The Lord was in a den with a pack of wolves.

       You really are so intelligent, the Lord said, and
have such glorious eyes. Why do you think you're
hounded so? It's like they want to exterminate you,
it's awful.

       Well, sometimes it's the calves and the cows, the
wolves said.

       Of those maddening cows, the Lord said. I have
a suggestion. What if I caused you not to have a taste
for them anymore?

       It wouldn't matter. Then it wold be the deer or
the elk. Have you seen the bumper stickers on the
hunters' trucks —DID A WOLF GET YOUR ELK?

       I guess I missed that, the Lord said.

       Sentiment is very much against us down here,
the wolves said.

       I'm so awfully sorry, the Lord said.

       Thank you for inviting us to participate in your
plan anyway, the wolves said politely.

       The Lord did not want to appear addled, but
what was the plan His sons were referring to exactly?

                           F A T H E R S   A N D    S O N S


J O Y     W I L L I A M S
Ninety-Nine Stories of GOD
TinHouse Books