today i read

by Lisa Jarnot

Lake of Fire

I will make you understand, I, being who I am will
make you understand who I am, on a Sunday,
in the rain, when the ice is melting on the stoop,
beside the white water lily, having been made
to understand that I will make you understand, 
making you this, the one who understands, having
understood, standing by it, in the rain, understanding
where I stand I stand near you, the stoop, in the rain,
by the lily, who I am, making sense, understandable,
and smart, and also lovely, that you understand
that it is this, lovely, the truth, in understanding,
having said it, having been understood, like the
rest of the universe, stoop-like, egyptian, with a
lake of fire and the lilies and the train, beautiful,
happy, gleeful, joyed, and understood, this, I am,
who am to you who understands.

From the book Ring of Fire

today I read

Today I read a poem by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer on her blog called…

Getting to I Don’t Know

Sometimes, too certain I know what love is,
I miss love.
It’s like thinking water is waves,
not seeing water is also the depths of ocean,
the muscle of river, the body, the air,
ice, snow, fog, clouds, mist.
Sometimes, longing to hear certain words,
I neglect to hear the words that are spoken.
Or craving a certain touch, I disregard
all other touch, and my skin believes it is starving.
There is beauty beyond beauty, love beyond love,
opening beyond opening, an apple inside apple.
Let my prayer be I don’t know.
Let me find the door inside the door,
the glimmer inside the glimmer,
the human inside this woman.
The god inside of god.



today I read

Found Text

The deer mistook their reflections for deer
and the deer mistook their reflections for
other deer and the deer apparently
mistook their reflections for sheep and
what the deer mistook their reflections for
isn't certain and the deer were removed
from the scene, being deer, before being
removed and mistaking reflections of the
other deer for the sheep the deer were
removed and the deer deciding to join
them joined the deer having mistaken
reflections of sheep for the deer in the
plate glass window

by Lisa Jarnot (from her book Ring of Fire)

Today I heard

Today I heard Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer read Ugly Things by Teresita Fernández

Ugly Things

In an old worn out basin
I planted violets for you
and down by the river
with an empty seashell
I found you a firefly.
In a broken bottle
I kept a seashell for you
and coiled over that rusty fence
the coral snake flowered
just for you.
Cockroach wing
carried to the anthill:
that's how I want them to take me
to the cemetery when I die.
Garbage dump, garbage dump
where nobody wants to look
but if the moon comes out
your tin cans will shine.
If you put a bit of love
into ugly things
you'll see that your sadness
will begin to change colour.

Live action at the Vulturama drama

Back Yard Biology

A short (1 min) video captured the interaction of Griffon and Cinereous Vultures coming to bait left for them at a private hide near Monfragüe National Park in the Extremadura region of Spain. White Storks also tried to capitalize on the feast, with little success. Previous visitors to the hide a couple of weeks ago had to wait three hours for the vultures to arrive, but they were already camped in the trees overlooking the “feasting” area, and came to the bait within a minute.

This is a large file, so it might take a while to load, especially if your internet is running slowly. Hover your mouse (PC) or touch the screen (i device) to access the menu in the bottom right corner where you can zoom to full screen (right-most icon), view in 1080p resolution, or slow down the action (left-most item indicated by 1X). The noises you…

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Today I read (again)

I thought it was interesting to contemplate this piece of writing through the lens of members of society griping about mask mandates intended to protect public health.

A snippet from On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

….

The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with[Pg 18] any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to some one else. The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

It is, perhaps, hardly necessary to say that this doctrine is meant to apply only to human beings in the maturity of their faculties. We are not speaking of children, or of young persons below the age which the law may fix as that of manhood or womanhood. Those who are still in a state to require being taken care of by others, must be protected against their own actions as well as against external injury. For the same reason, we may leave out of consideration those backward states of society in which the race itself may be considered as in its nonage. The early difficulties in the way of spontaneous progress are so great, that there is seldom any choice of means for overcoming them; and a ruler full of the spirit of improvement is warranted in the use of any expedients that will attain an end, perhaps otherwise unattainable. Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end. Liberty, as a principle, has no application to any state of things anterior to the time when mankind have become capable of being improved by free and equal discussion. Until then, there is nothing for them but implicit obedience to an Akbar or a Charlemagne, if they are so fortunate as to find one. But as soon as mankind have attained the capacity of being guided to their own improvement by conviction or persuasion (a period long since reached in all nations with whom we need here concern ourselves), compulsion, either in the direct form or in that of pains and penalties for non-compliance, is no longer admissible as a means to their own good, and justifiable only for the security of others.

It is proper to state that I forego any advantage which could be derived to my argument from the idea of abstract right, as a thing independent of utility. I regard utility as the ultimate appeal on all ethical questions; but it must be utility in the largest sense, grounded on the permanent interests of man as a progressive being. Those interests, I contend, authorise the subjection of individual spontaneity to external control, only in respect to those actions of each, which concern the interest of other people. If any one does an act hurtful to others, there is a primâ facie case for punishing him, by law, or, where legal penalties are not safely applicable, by general disapprobation. There are also many positive acts for the benefit of others, which he may rightfully be compelled to perform; such as, to give evidence in a court of justice; to bear his fair share in the common defence, or in any other joint work necessary to the interest of the society of which he enjoys the protection; and to perform certain acts of individual beneficence, such as saving a fellow-creature’s life, or interposing to protect the defenceless against ill-usage, things which whenever it is obviously a man’s duty to do, he may rightfully be made responsible to society for not doing. A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury. The latter case, it is true, requires a much more cautious exercise of compulsion than the former. To make any one answerable for doing evil to others, is the rule; to make him answerable for not preventing evil, is, comparatively speaking, the exception. Yet there are many cases clear enough and grave enough to justify that exception. In all things which regard the external relations of the individual, he is de jure amenable to those whose interests are concerned, and if need be, to society as their protector. There are often good reasons for not holding him to the responsibility; but these reasons must arise from the special expediencies of the case: either because it is a kind of case in which he is on the whole likely to act better, when left to his own discretion, than when controlled in any way in which society have it in their power to control him; or because the attempt to exercise control would produce other evils, greater than those which it would prevent. When such reasons as these preclude the enforcement of responsibility, the conscience of the agent himself should step into the vacant judgment seat, and protect those interests of others which have no external protection; judging himself all the more rigidly, because the case does not admit of his being made accountable to the judgment of his fellow-creatures.

taken from: https://gutenberg.org/files/34901/34901-h/34901-h.htm

Today I Heard

Aimless Love,

read by the author, Billy Collins (purchased on Audible)

This morning as I walked along the lake shore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table

In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor's window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.

This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion, 
or silence on the telephone.

The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.

No lust, no slam of the door---
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida. 

No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor---
just a twinge every now and then

for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.

But my heart is always standing on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.

After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,
so patient and soluble, 
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.