Sunday, July 21, 2013

Panorama Practice under the Summer Sky

Yes, my angel, it really is that beautiful here in summertime! Meadow, trees and clouds, clouds, clouds! I stitched many shots together on my iPhone this afternoon to get this, And it is blessedly quiet, too. I feel very lucky to have spent time in such different parts of the country. Today I was putting more books away in the guest room which will soon have guests that need to walk where some boxes were. One box was all poetry books from a former neatening. It's been hard to find good large bookshelves any more. When I go into furniture stores, there are many TV stands and so forth, but actual books seem to be out of fashion. But I was delighted to find a copy of Road-side Dog, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1999, with an actual dog drawing on the front cover. This is a book of short pieces by Czeslaw Milosz, who is a great, great, great poet who writes in Polish, and lived in California for many years. I heard him read many times. He grew majestic eyebrows, the most spectacular I have ever seen on a person. He is the author of my all time favorite poem, "Encounter" which I put into this post. And also the compiler of The Book of Luminous Things, which is the source of many of the poems I have featured this year. Road-side Dog, seems to me the perfect size for a book of prose poems and short pieces like this; it is about 5.5 x 6.5 inches, which is ideal for a coat or jacket pocket. The paperback covers are softly flexible, not brittle; it is pleasant to hold in the hand. This is the very first piece in the book, on page 3, and explains the title.

Road-side Dog

" I went on a journey in order to acquaint myself with my province, in a two-horse wagon with a lot of fodder and a tin bucket rattling in the back. The bucket was required for the horses to drink from. I traveled through a country of hills and pine groves that gave way to woodlands, where swirls of smoke hovered over the roofs of houses, as if they were on fire, for they were chimneyless cabins; I crossed districts of fields and lakes. It was so interesting to be moving, to give the horses their rein, and wait until, in the next valley, a village slowly appeared, or a park with the white spot of a manor in it. And always we were barked at by a dog, assiduous in its duty. That was the beginning of the century; this is its end. I have been thinking not only of the people who lived there once but also of the generations of dogs accompanying them in their everyday bustle, and one night--I don't know where it came from--in a pre-dawn sleep, that funny and tender phrase composed itself: a road-side dog."

One of the great things I love about this is it takes me to a landscape where I have never been, traveling in a manner I have never traveled, and yet it is perfectly simple and easy to understand because of the clarity of the description.

Tonight I am also trying a bigger font; if it is too awful, I can always change back, and as Scarlett O'Hara once said, "I'll think about it tomorrow."


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