Sunday, November 22, 2020


My Mom

Penny Arnold

Belfast, Northern Ireland, 6 January 1928 ~ Naples, Florida, 22 November, 2020   

Susan and I love that photograph of Mom, fully Ireland. There are no stonewalls anywhere in the world like the Irish ones. The Germans and Swiss have their own style, so do the Italians and certainly the Chinese (The Great Wall!) and Vermont has them as well and I’ve built plenty of them. But the Irish wall seems most in play not quite finished, as if the wall builder has gone off for a pint, or a smoke, or is visiting, and the walls wait there, centuries, for a completion and one will never come. Ireland ever growing. Very organic walls.

[ BA ]

On Raglan Road, The Dubliners
(Patrick Kavanagh)




The first time I read this little powerhouse engine

of a book I clearly had no idea what I was doing here —

I simply read the book with pleasure, but there is

no pleasure here (though there is), it's a workout,

and so for the second reading I spent two weeks

reading its railroad line 132 pages.

It may as well be 132 miles.

Never a slog. You won't believe

how well this writer will airlift you.

The third book in a straight line reading

I did over a month starting with Murnane, then Inger Christensen

and finishing with Hemingway, where I went from

A Moveable Feast straight back into the

short stories from Up In Michigan (which Stein disliked)

and then not messing around to The Big Two-Hearted River

(Kent and I believe the greatest fishing story ever written).

An onion sandwich, dipped in river water.

[ BA ]

Farrar, Straus, Giroux