Archive for April, 2011

(photo by Yours Truly the Jitterbugger, taken at the Fort Worth Water Gardens)

And click here for a trippy, dreamy song of the sort that your longtimers of the Jitterbug cult know is the Jitterbugger’s favorite kinda song.

“maggie and milly and molly and may”
by E. E. Cummings


maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

“Afternoon on a Hill ”
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down!


“Kentucky River Junction”
by Wendell Berry

to Ken Kesey & Ken Babbs
Clumsy at first, fitting together
the years we have been apart,
and the ways.

But as the night
passed and the day came, the first
fine morning of April,

it came clear:
the world that has tried us
and showed us its joy

was our bond
when we said nothing.
And we allowed it to be

with us, the new green


Our lives, half gone,
stay full of laughter.

Free-hearted men
have the world for words.

Though we have been
apart, we have been together.


Trying to sleep, I cannot
take my mind away.
The bright day

shines in my head
like a coin
on the bed of a stream.


You left
your welcome.


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Hat tip to my buddy Charlise Hill Larson (check out her blawg here) via Marilyn Bennett (who blawgs here) . . .

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A good cover of one of my favorite songs from His Greatness, but then—most any song by His Greatness Mr. Dylan is a fave of mine.

This song is featured on the soundtrack of the movie “Barney’s Version,’ a terrific movie with the always terrific Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman. (Or was it some other indie movie–I see way too many indie movies and oh well–that’s one of the great things about life in Dallas, Tx–it has four great indie movie venues: two Angelickas, a Magnolia and the old Inwood too.)

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Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. [my italics for emphasis] They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”

— Ezekiel 16: 49

Somehow the scripture above–and scripture from Isaiah 58 which I invite you to click here to read and reflect on— seem appropriate in view of all the hostility and prejudice toward the poor and the homeless nowadays.

Whatever your opinion about government’s role in helping or not helping the homeless and the poor and the working poor and the marginalized and the most vulnerable among us–the very people Jesus and all the prophets and the early Christians stood up and fought (with no weaponry but spiritual weaponry) for, and suffered and died for–I hope, if you’re a Christian, you know that nowhere in the Bible does the Bible say, “The Lord helps those who help themselves.”

Yet hardly a week goes by that I don’t hear someone invoke that phrase as being scriptural. It’s not only not in scripture anywhere in the Holy Bible, it’s not even remotely scriptural. It runs contrary to the unconditional love and outreach of Christ. Jesus and the early churchers never said to anyone who was down and out, “For God’s sake, get up off your lazy ass and help yourself.”

Look, I’m too hard and driven a worker to promote laziness and that’s by no means my intent here. But my point is that Jesus and the early churchers never denied reaching out in love to anyone whether they were able bodied and not helping themselves or not.

And anyway, as MLK Jr. said, “It’s a cruel thing to tell someone to lift himself up by the bootstraps when he has no boots.”

I have a homeless friend–one of many homeless friends–named Cecil. He was a construction worker before he had an accident that broke every bone in his body. He had no health insurance. His employer went to the hospital to see him once and never went back to see him again.

He stands at a traffic light on days when he’s able to get up from the camp he’s made by the side of a creek. A lot of days he can hardly move at all, but whenever he can he stands at the light and people like me give him money. (Don’t send me your emails chiding me for giving money to a homeless guy. I don’t give money to every homeless guy or gal on the street but sometimes do contrary to what many who work with the homeless advise.)

Cecil, like so many of the homeless, is a good man (who doesn’t smoke or drink, if you must know). So back in the very cold of our very cold winter I sought him out at his creek camp a few times to let him know the weather was about turn critically cold so that he could be prepared. One time I actually went to his camp and persuaded him to come stay at my place lest he freeze to death. Some people think that’s a crazy thing to do, to bring a homeless guy into your home, but it is scriptural after all. (Again, see Isa. 58.)

Fellow Christians, please–there’s enough hostility and prejudice toward the poor and the hungry and the homeless and the immigrants out there without Christians joining in on the hostility. And while I’m not suggesting that everyone should bring the homeless home with them, I do suggest we all, at the least, pray for the poor and homeless and the immigrant–or better yet pray with them– and help the poor and the homeless and the immigrant. Get to know some homeless folks and poor folks and hear their stories and you’ll be blessed.

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Click here for more such weirdness . . .

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The words ‘religion’ and ‘Christianity’ are so encrusted with horrible meanings, and I suspect it’s part of that encrustation that permitted Hitler and the concentration camps. I don’t know how we’re going to get rid of all that stuff, to a view that all human beings matter. And particle physics says nothing is without a purpose, everything has an impact.”

— the late and the great Madeleine L’Engle


As long as this deliberate refusal to understand things from above, even where such understanding is possible, continues, it is idle to talk of any final victory over materialism.”

—C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory


A Parable of a Sunflower”
(an excerpt)
Sister Louise Sharum

St. Scholastica Monastery
Fort Smith, Ark.

Oh, how I care!
As I look at it there
wilting in the sun
it has depended upon
its whole life long.
I grieve with compassion.

tears well up within me
when suddenly I recognize
that what I see faintly imaged
in my feeling for my flower
is the heart of God,
who notices and cares
when we are young
and when we grow old
and begin to die
slowly, slowly.

God may think it best
not to prop us up
but rather
will be there
to gather us into His arms
when all our strength
is gone
and our work is done.

The seed we have become
will break forth then
into the new creation
of unending life—
our faces ever to the Sun.

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Julian Assange gets my vote for Man of the Century. He’s shed so much light on the dark secrets of dirty corporations and banks (my behemoth Bank of America included) and dirty governments including Uncle Sam’s that it’s small wonder he’s been smeared and demonized by the likes of Bill O’Reilly–he who is American’s National Judge and Jury who so casually calls for Assange’s execution while at the same time reporting on dirty secrets exposed by the Wiki Leaks guy that make libruls look bad and conservatives look good.

Talk about talking out of both sides of the mouth–there’s an awful lot of that where the Wikie Leaks leaks are concerned. The O’Reillys and politicians of all stripes want Assange killed or imprisoned for life–everybody wants to kill the messenger–while they milk the material Assange has leaked to advance their own agendas.

Meanwhile, the other Wiki Leaks guy sits in a military prison being tormented like a political prisoner in a Third World Country while President Obama assures us that his military guys have assured him that the guy is being treated real good.

A pox on all their houses–and most especially the White House.

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What is the use of prayer if at the very moment of prayer, we have so little confidence in God that we are busy planning our own kind of answer to our prayer?

— From Thomas Merton’s Thoughts in Solitude

Click here from more on Merton from his friend Jim Forest’s web site.

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The mysterious and mystic and deep contemplative Christian L.K. –who longtimers here at the blawg know to be a flaming sixties librul (Joan Baez Div.: you know the type)–she who is our research assistant and sometimes contributor here at the blawg that is saving the world–she alerted us, via Garrison Keillor’s “the Writer’s Almanac,” that it was on this day in 1968 that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his powerful and final speech.

King was a latter-day biblical prophet who made the story of Moses his own. And a prophet’s words are timeless, fit for all times and all struggles for peace with justice.

Click here for a soulful version of Dion’s wonderful tribute to Lincoln, King and Kennedy and reflect on King’s words below.

It was on this day in 1968 that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his final speech in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had come to support striking sanitation workers.

He said: “The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land; confusion all around. That’s a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. … Something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee — the cry is always the same: ‘We want to be free.'”

And …
“We’ve got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh’s court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that’s the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain unity.”

And …
“Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.”

And …
“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!”

The next day, he was assassinated.

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Don’t laugh, kids–you’ll age into this kind of music yourself some day.

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