Les Semaines


what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout



Christmas Eve, and dinner (brisket) is in the oven, smelling wonderful. Mom is in the shell chair, Dad is on the other side of the chewsterfield with me, Jim just coaxed Sophia into lying on him. Mom and Dad are reading. I'm typing. The tree is lit (I need more lights for it, but not this year). We also have a decorated door lit. Jim just picked up his book. I think I'll put this down and pick up the one I'm reading, too.

Had a phone call from Morocco today.

So then there was Christmas Day.

And then Boxing Day, when we picked up Christina (flying in from London, after a trip Morocco and from Bulgaria where she's currently living).

Then there were several days of eating way too much rich food, watching Mom and Dad walk their little lamb-like dogs, sleeping, and talking.

Sunday morning Mom and Dad left for home, taking the dogs woith them and suddenly the house seemed to double in size.

I feel really boring and don't have much to say, as I've been busy cooking and cleaning and looking after people and talking and reading and sleeping, and making copious pots of tea. And that has been my holiday.

My mother gave me a chilkat bag she wove herself. It all started about 15 years ago when she gave me one we'd woven for Christmas and then took it back and promised another. It took this long for her to re-learn how to do it and to complete it.

The loom at the beginningHere are the beginnings of the weaving, at my parent's old house, where I grew up.


Mother weaving the handleMom waving the bag's handle, using her recumbent bicycle as ballast.


Mom weavingMom weaving.


Our Xmas treeWe actually had a tree this year, for the first time in years. I just wanted the scent of it in the house.


Sophia and presentWe're all worn out from the whole gift exchange thing.


last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing


Not much listening while my parents were here. A bit of holiday stuff, a bit of Mae Moore, a bit of Billie Holiday, a bit of Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends ("the timeless chart-topper" as the sticker says) that Jim got me for Christmas, and in honour of Christina's visit, a revisit of the lovely astonishing harmonies of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Tom de Haan's A Mirror For Princes is a thoughtful, reflective novel of a former king, who is now living incognito and humbly in a mountain village, telling the story of his life. It is a fantasy only in that the world it is set in never existed and the religion isn't recognizable. His father was a distant relative of the former dynasty and had taken over the country. Hard to get a clear picture of how good a ruler his father was--he certainly was harsh, though the son certainly thought so. The novel is about his youth, his three brothers whom he loves dearly, his sister, and his father's scheming mistress--and how he himself becomes king. A interesting story of intrigues. At the end of it, though, I'm not sure how to feel about it--either the past of the future of the main character or of his country.

Pauline J. Alama's The Eye of Night was an interesting quest-tale about a failed priest, a small battered woman, and a beautiful, mindless woman. They have to travel north at the bidding of an ancient egg called The Eye of Night. What interested me about this was the relationships between the characters and how the beauty in the story was vacant. This does bog down in a couple of places, particularly at the end.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Nope. This is as much writing as I've done these days.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

February 1987

1497. The few things we can do about evil
February 16, 1987

Not prayer. Supplication
cannot harm the evil one.
Nor tears. They are only
our own balm our own healing
and make us more human
not him.
Sorry is the same,
but gives us some power.
And hatred makes us his.
So what can we do?
Is it enough to create
what small beauty we can
to create our own lives like flowers?
I wonder what changes
and what changes nothing.
Knowledge may break him.
Knowing him, speaking his name
scalds him with his own pain.
Embracing him our arms
become his own burning him
as he would others. Our arms
loving him holding him as he
would were he able begins
his deep change.
Hold him, hold him I say
with whatever love you can gather
tht is our strength. Hold him
and say that you will not let him go
Except he bless you. [1]

1498. Rites of beauty
February 16, 1987

Cloud and sky at day's end
still luminous but heavier now.
I've been here dreaming all day.
With nothing with something with nothing
to say. The book of knowledge
I will write will explain
the rites of beauty
acceptance and all. [2]

1499. To practice opening
February 16, 1987

I am dividing myself into
packages to give away
to strangers on the street
some now some later
some dreaming on the street.
what is simple? What begins
what can be begun?
All I have is questions
when I want to find
where my life should begin
(How I assume that it hasn't
How I assume that this I live
is not my own.) There must be something
bigger, better, more right
and honest.
Perhaps my insistence
will help create this world.
Perhaps if I force it to be
it will. [3]

1500. Writing a lot
February 16, 1987

But none of it poems.
Zach is angry at something, keeps forcing me to listen to what he won't say.
He is angry of his fear of outside
Angry that he must have fear
Angry that he is kept away.
Angry that whatever he must have
is denied. Angry, too, at the pent up fire that's himself.
I know this because I know myself. [4]

1501. Lines I must not know
March 15, 1987

These the lines I must not know
in the night. Cars hiss in the sputtering
rain, the silence between the clock's
clicking. O my darling, where am I now? Hidden in a small green chair at the end
of the world in this someone I sometimes
inhabit (she's cruel) from whom I'd
like to wander one not trapped like in
this night. Not locked behind her brow.
O the dreams I'd give her, if she'd
just let me go, but she's not one to bargain
she's the practical one to say a bird in
the hand and all that rot. So here I
stay and here she holds me, wringing
out of me what little she can. I am not
sweet in this sterility. Nor am I.

I'm wasting time; let's go to bed.

1502. Night Alone
April 30, 1987

Rain tonight that sounds like leaves like something turning over in the wind moving somewhere. And it's dark--the way night settles in lightly, comeing to roost in wide branches. I'm thinking of myself, nesting in a high place surrounded by the leaves. It's a passage of wind, this night. It's rain and why I dream here by my one light, cat spread out on my lap, warm as her sleep is, dreaming too. What I am making here is the making this this night and this moment I am alive. In it, I live. And I say it.


1. This poem, rather dramatically revised, became "Electra to Orestes: Against the Furies" in Spells for Clear Vision.

2. Nothing ever became of this.

3. Or this.

4. I used the last line of this.

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