monday words #5

Odds are today’s poem is not unfamiliar to you.  It is one of my favorites and well-worth revisiting, however you take its meaning.  Enjoy.
The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost, 1916

monday words #4

Yeah, I know it’s Tuesday.  Deal with it.

Another one of my favorite poets is Emily Dickinson.  In high school, I thought it was fascinating how she rarely left the house and maintained contact with the outside world only through correspondence.

Hope is the thing with feathers 

by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

small but mighty

Coming off a monster weekend of playing hostess, I am compelled to come clean about something once and for all.  When people come over, I am swamped with the need to make excuses for my wee, tiny house.  Maybe not every time you come over, but for sure the first time.  It is small – there’s no way around it.  Nine hundred eighty square feet of small, not counting the garage, which will someday be living space but not now. It is especially small in the winter, when there’s no escaping outside. And if it is your first visit, as it was for two guests this weekend, I will feel especially drawn to offer apologies.  Which is so silly, because I’d wager that none of  the people I invite over are the sort of people who care at all about that sort of thing.

It is, I’m fairly certain, the smallest house of anyone we know, or at least those whose houses we have been to. It is bigger, however, than our brick duplex we lived in at Green Lake, where we BBQ’ed on the parking strip.  I remember some good times on that little grassy strip. And I’m pretty sure I made excuses about that too, but we were younger then and it seemed forgivable.  Now that we actually own a house, it seems like it should be grander, with granite counter tops and a dishwasher at least, another bathroom would be great. A kitchen more than 2 people can be in – and those two people are pushing it.

But the fact is we (by that I mean me) love to have people over, to feed them, to “entertain”.  Which I think is such a stupid, pompous word for it.  I’m not a circus performer, I don’t juggle.  I can usually make some edible food and keep your glass full.  I like to hear your stories and laugh.  By the time the first cocktail has kicked in, I have moved past my neurotic tendencies and can enjoy the night.

I have few memories of my parents having people over, but when they did I remember it being a loud, fun time. Then they stopped for some reason, or maybe only a few relatives on Christmas.  One of my favorite things about friends in my house is the memories we are making.  That is what makes my house larger than life, when I feel the walls expanding and stretching to make room for all the laughter and new friendships being made.  That’s what makes all the cleaning worth it and why I can get past my little personal pity party.  It’s true – size doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with it that counts.  I am looking forward to Easter Feaster and some hammy goodness with lots gin fizziness.  I WILL do a spring brunch this year, dammit.  And can’t wait for happy hours on the lawn.  And I promise not to utter a word about the size of my house.

By the way, chances are if you were a guest this weekend, I have some sort of Tupperware or china that belongs to you.  I seem to have come out way ahead in that category.


In honor of Valentine’s Day, here is a sweet bit from The Princess Bride that I love.

“That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying “As you wish”,

what he meant was, “I love you”.

And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back.”


monday words #1

Seeing as  Monday is usually a day when most of us could use a little pick-me-up, today I’m starting “monday words”.  Good stuff to get you through the start of the week.  It’s only fitting that we start with one of my favorite poets, e.e. cummings.  He lived from 1894-1962, and wrote plays as well as painted.  You can read more about him here.  I’ve always like his poems because they usually are interesting visually on the page.  He staggers words, often leaves out punctuation. They become something else altogether when read out loud.  Each word has a purpose.  Nothing is extra.  The one below is bit more traditional in form.   I hope it perks up your Monday.

[love is more thicker than forget]

by E. E. Cummings

love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail
it is more mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive
it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky



The cloud had turned on its V-8 engine

and started to swoop down on me like

some of those filthy seagulls but I

blew it back with a mighty gust

into the plaid-striped sky and made it cry

great big silver tears I thought it might

get its friends to gang up on me but I

was wrong

the cherry sun whisked in to save me

gathered me up in its shiny arms

and set me down, nicely bronzed, in Tralfamadore.



He saunters in from the open range

and plops himself down

on a counter stool,

ten-gallon straw hat always

in hand or on head.

He wears mahogany

polyester pants that cover

swinging limbs that constantly weave in and out.

I sigh and gather his usual –

year-old coffee (his whiskey),

spoon (his six-shooter), napkin (his bandana),

and water.

Gingerly I set it down

in front of him, waiting for his pained

eyes to focus.

Painstakingly polite, he thanks me

and empties the cream container

into his overflowing mug.  Reaching

into his fringed jacket,

he pulls out his cigarettes,

lights up a Marlboro

and breathes deeply, never failing

to exhale in my face

when I walk by, nauseating me.

I cough and gag, partly

from the smoke but mostly from disgust.

He drops ashes on the formica, oblivious

to the glass ashtray.

Oftentimes his friends will tag along –

Alice, who should be someone’s grandma

or the zoned-out hippie who says another planet

is coming to reform him.

All drink cream with coffee in it

bought with America’s money.

Cowboy Mike sometimes carries a model American flag

and waves it proudly, trying

to tell me about the war

but I never listen.

I block him out.

Then he carefully pays,

leaving a few pennies

in the puddle of coffee and ashes.

He turns and shuffles out the door

toward the road

and home.



the retarded child drew

a picture of a stallion

it was the blackest horse

with the meanest red eyes

I had ever seen.

Then, in broken wet speech

he told how only he could

ride it.

– Jim Van Sweden