Without a Prod, the Light Still Sings

Franz Marc, The Fate of the Animals

Monday Morning Musings:

And all being is flaming agony.”
–Franz Marc, killed in battle in WWI, this inscription on the canvas of his painting The Fate of the Animals

Do you need a prod?
Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
Let me be as urgent as a knife, then,
and remind you of Keats,
so single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
he had a lifetime.
Mary Oliver, “The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac,” from Blue Horses

“Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune

Caught between never
and never again, we watch
skies flame past sunset, colors
echoed in streaming blood—
as robin’s breast and blackbird’s wing

sing the red of spring.
Is it logic that we seek
in tumbling waves and earth’s spin?
The continuity
of sprouting green wakened seeds

though no blue horses
prance in meadow grass—never
separated from their young
by ricocheting shells,
they live on in painted visions

after the artist
is gone–a truth, as beauty
we see around us greening,
singing, winging light, echoes
of stars, their ancient dust within

A peaceful early morning.

our cells. We ingest
fallen traces of before,
tidbits of eternal time–
passages or gateways?
As gulls catch light with fish, swooping

from river surface
to rise in feathery clouds,
we glimpse blue obscured by grey,
till blue appears again.
Shadows walk hand-in-hand with light.

War and the seasons—things we can count on to appear
over and over again.

Daffodils almost ready to bloom

March is as capricious as ever. Winds blow in cold air, then warm. Today is unseasonably warm. It’s already 70 F, but we have a wind advisory, possible thunderstorms later, and then back to colder temperatures. We had hoped to do something outside yesterday, but though it was warm, it was damp and dreary, then windy.

We watched the movie After Yang (Showtime). It’s sci-fi only in that it concerns an android and is set sometime in the future, but it’s really a family drama. It is about what makes a family and what does it mean to be human, as well as exploring love and parenting. To complete our sci-fi Saturday and Sunday, we watched the new version of Dune (Amazon Prime rental, also on HBO max). I read the books a million years ago and saw the earlier movie. Of course, this was meant to be seen on a big screen, but it was well-done. The movie touches on the layers and allusions, and wars it seems still go on, even in the future.

33 thoughts on “Without a Prod, the Light Still Sings

  1. These words–“Caught between never
    and never again”–keep rolling around in my head. Your entire poem is lovely, as usual :-), and your photos make me smile, but the painting, the quotes, the illogic of the world right now. I frustrate myself trying to “understand” Putin. I hear some people say he is not crazy, he is simply acting (badly) out of pure hubris, that he wouldn’t want a nuclear war because he himself has children and possibly grandchildren. And yet, his actions suggest someone who is willing to destroy the world just to make a point. I had hoped that when tRump left office, we’d get to enjoy a bit more sanity and stability in the world, at least progress toward that.

    • Thanks so much, Marie.
      That phrase “Caught between never and never again” kept going through my head. I guess WWII and various Doomsday scenarios are dancing about in my subconscious mind. Yes, I hoped for a more sane world with the election of Biden. Listening to him now, it is nice to have a grownup in the room, even if everything is so crazy.

      • I listened to a podcast on Ukraine from the Commonwealth Club. The three panelists included a former US Ambassador to Ukraine, a former Deputy Secretary General to NATO, and a former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. All three said they felt the Biden Administration was acting appropriately, that, given Putin’s irrationality, being firm and consistent in response is crucial. That is a comfort, albeit small.

      • Yes, I agree.
        I watched historian Heather Cox Richardson’s interview with Biden. He was thoughtful, and he came across as such a decent person. SO different from the guy before him.

      • So many people are smarter than you-know-who. One of the speakers at the Commonwealth Club said that Putin became quite isolated during the first year of the pandemic and that he wrote some kind of polemic (?) on why Ukraine should be under Russia’s control. So maybe Putin has “pandemic brain.” Greg heard an analyst say that Putin is “an old man running out of time.” Whatever is driving him, I just wish someone could stop him. My wishful thinking is that the generals will start pulling troops out of Ukraine but keep Putin in the dark, much as he’s trying to keep the Russian people in the dark.

      • Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised. Do you get The New Yorker? The last couple of issues (March 7 and March 14) have insightful essays (mostly by David Remnick) about Putin. Insightful but not reassuring 😦

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