Saturday, June 07, 2014

Painting the Barn White


Here ia another of my mother's slides from, perhaps, the summer of 1956. The barn hasn't been painted for a long time (ever?) and is soaking up the paint. The house was built between 1860 and 1870 and the barns must have some later. I looked them up on Google Earth (from the air!) and it looks like one of the barns (there were of them, placed in an L-shape) has been torn down. I did a lot of painting, too, before I left home in rural New York State to attend the alma mater of my parents, the University of Arizona. I painted the clapboards of the addition to the house (one coat of linseed oil, two coats of white paint) for $1 per hour, which I saved for college. The year before I had painted the metal roof of the house, one section at a time. I've been telling the story of what we call The Farm in this blog over many posts. To find them put "the farm" in the search box at the upper left.

Far away in Scandinavia, a nightingale is singing in this poem by Tomas Transtromer. Like this blog, this poem is also about time and memory. Unluckily, I haven't been able to find anything about Badelunba.

The Nightingale in Badelunba

In the green midnight at the nightingale's northern boundary. Heavy leaves hang in a trance, the deaf motorcars rush toward the neon-line. The voice of the nightingale does not step aside, it is as penetrating as the crowing of a cock, but lovely, and without vanity. I was in prison and it visited me. I was sick and it visited me. I wasn't aware of it then, but I am now. Time streams down from sun and moon and into all the tick-tock, tick-tock-thankful clocks. But just here no time exists. Except for the voice of the nightingale, the raw resounding tones that hone the pallid scythe of the night sky.

Tomas Transtromer, from Inspired Notes; poems of Tomas Transtromer, translated by John F. Deane, Dedalus Press (Irelnad) 2011, page 47.

Write a paragraph-poem about time, memory, birdsong and/or the distant past. Try to coin some hyphenated words like "neon-line" or "tick-tock-thankful." And sleep well!


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