Saturday, January 19, 2019

KYRIE CALLED LEBRON--stop the presses !!!


COSMIC SHIFT IN THE BASKETBALL UNIVERSE
My take on this is that Kyrie is having a slight shift towards maturity  something LeBron did a lot earlier in his life when he took on the support of his mother as a  teenager.  LeBron made  being a great player and a great team leader look easy.  Now that Kyrie is trying it on, he sees that it is hard because  the team members may not be thrilled to play second- or third or fifth fiddle to the  great Kyrie. 

 When I see my  beloved CELTICS in disarray I hear the wail of wounded egos.
Here's how the sports news  covered it.
Kyrie Irving admitted Wednesday night he recently reached out to LeBron James to both apologize for past misunderstandings and ask his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate for advice about leading a young Boston Celtics team.
 How did LeBron react to Kyrie's call?
Thanks to some great reporting, we have an idea: According to The Athletic's Joe Vardon, James was at an "upscale pizzeria" in Los Angeles on Sunday night when he got the call from Irving.
At the table with LeBron: none other than another ex-Cavs teammate, Kevin Love.
"LeBron looked down at his phone and he showed us,” Love told Vardon. “He was like, ‘I wonder what he wants?"
You can't make this stuff up.
The Cavs played the Lakers in L.A. on Sunday night, which explains the incredible coincidence that James was with his ex-Cavs teammate of several years when a third ex-teammate called him out of the blue.
LeBron's agent, Rich Paul, also was at the pizzeria -- as was the head of Nike basketball, Lynn Merritt, and several others -- and showed James' call history to Love, according to Vardon.
"Yeah, I haven’t really absorbed all of it yet,” Love told Vardon. “I was always close with Kyrie, we had a good relationship.
"I don’t know, I was having some vino and enjoying the night when LeBron showed me the call.”
James called Irving back "in private" and was "very appreciative" the ex-Cavs guard reached out to him, a source close to James told Vardon.

STAY TUNED AS WE WATCH HOW THE LAKERS ARE  WINNING GAMES WITHOUT LeBron..Kyrie could tell him where that leads
--MUTINY !

Sunday, January 13, 2019

THE MEANING OF JANUARY

JANUARY IS THE  TWO-FACED MONTH

Named  for the Roman God Janus who looked both forward and backwards, January is a month that  signals both endings and beginnings.
I myself have endured a long SENSE OF AN ENDING  and now I am struggling to  get a renewed sense of BEGINNING.

January

Helen Hunt Jackson
O Winter! frozen pulse and heart of fire, 
What loss is theirs who from thy kingdom turn 
Dismayed, and think thy snow a sculptured urn 
Of death! Far sooner in midsummer tire 
The streams than under ice. June could not hire 
Her roses to forego the strength they learn 
In sleeping on thy breast. No fires can burn 
The bridges thou dost lay where men desire 
In vain to build. 
                                O Heart, when Love’s sun goes 
To northward, and the sounds of singing cease, 
Keep warm by inner fires, and rest in peace. 
Sleep on content, as sleeps the patient rose. 
Walk boldly on the white untrodden snows, 
The winter is the winter’s own release.
Helen Hunt Jackson was a friend of the poet Emily Dickinson and  known  more for her novels than her poems.. But I  have always liked this poem, a sonnet she wrote,  about January because it captures the duplicity and complexity of that  time of the year.
In January I myself vacillate wildly between making plans for the future and summing up the meaning and  teachings of the past year.  I think that is where we should be: accepting the ambiguity of the time and the ambiguity of  our lives. The poem asks us to be where we humans  find it most difficult to be as we dread the future and lament the past, but cannot fully be present in the moment. As Jackson so wisely concludes:THE WINTER IS THE WINTER'S OWN RELEASE.

Friday, January 11, 2019

DEEP LAKE OF FEELING IN THE BUCKET

HE WOULD NEVER SPEAK TO THEM EXCEPT IN PARABLES. MATT 13:34

OR HOW THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD IS A MODEL 
FOR THE GREATEST SHORT STORY EVER WRITTEN

The use of parables is itself one of the mysteries of  the message in the New Testament. Jesus chose to tell stories and to allow  for  each listener to find his or her way into the stories at whatever level of understanding  he or she possessed. I find this when I read the story of the PRODIGAL SON. 
Another story that  resonates is the one about how the seed is cast on different  types of ground. Or the one about how the man  who is hired in the last hour of the day is paid as much as the workers hired at dawn. What is going on here?  The stories do not change so it must be that the reader is changing. 
 This is shown when you read  and then years later  return to the same story and it unfolds its meaning in a new and different light.  I must say that this is true of literature written by great writers like Shakespeare.  When I first read King Lear I thought it was a story about three daughters,  And later I saw that it was about not knowing who loves you. Now I find  reading it  to be unbearable, because I see that it is a profound exposure of the vulnerability and  helplessness and  oncoming madness of the aged. Because that is where I am now.

I  have found that some writers do see that their characters have  what I am calling a "deep lake of feeling." Chekhov is particularly adept at showing that deep lake that  surprises the very person that   embodies it. Because we all possess this deep lake of feeling, it is actually setting the hidden agendas of our lives and the mysterious motions of our pilgrimage here on earth. We read these stories and revere them without fully understanding why they speak to us so  profoundly.

I saw this when I taught a little short story by  Chekhov  "The Lady with the Dog" It is the story of how two married people meet at Yalta and begin an adulterous affair. This  act of treachery actually exposes the emptiness of their home lives; it is the beginning of their first authentic love experience.

'Yalta was hardly visible through the morning mist; white clouds stood motionless on the mountaintops. The leaves did not stir on the trees, crickets chirped, and the monotonous hollow sound of the sea, rising up from below, spoke of the peace, of the eternal sleep awaiting us. So it must have sounded when there was no Yalta, no Oreanda here; so it sounds now; and it will sound as indifferently and monotonously when we are all no more. And in this constancy, in this complete indifference to the life and death of each of us, there lies hid, perhaps, a pledge of our eternal salvation, of the unceasing movement of life upon earth, of unceasing progress towards perfection. Sitting beside a young woman who in the dawn seemed so lovely, soothed and spellbound in these magical surroundings—the sea, mountains, clouds, the wide open sky—Gurov thought how in reality everything is beautiful in this world when one reflects: everything except what we think or do ourselves when we forget our human dignity and the higher aims of our 
existence."

Chekhov frames a recognition which is the story's epiphany that we are  in an" unceasing progress towards perfection". And that  for him  is the "pledge of eternal salvation."

When I read this story and  when I tried to  penetrate its meaning in the classroom I do recall that  I was haunted by it. I knew that it contained a  deep truth about the depth of human feeling that we only rarely  access in our lives.  Extremes can show it to us--the death of a mother or the birth of our child or the death of a lover--these events shake us and  sometimes propel us forward in unplanned and unforeseen ways.

I do know that I often taught this story because it rewarded returning to it and students had  an intense reaction. It haunted me and I knew that it was a great short story.
So it did not surprise me when  I read recently that Nabokov considered it the greatest short story ever written."  I am sure Nabokov has read more than I and I happily accept his judgement  since it validates mine.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

SAYING YES IN THE BUCKET

STILL TIME TO TURN AROUND

Thinking of that Greek word METANOIA which is often translated into the English word  repent.  But repent does not say enough. Metanoia  describes a radical turn around.
The love of Jesus for each and every one of us  must be reflected back in some way by all of us.  When I wrote about Zaccheus the tax collector who is called down from the tree by Jesus to take Him home to dinner,  I was struck by the graciousness that Jesus shows him. The knowledge of his soul that he displays  brings Zaccheus to the instant recognition that he cannot and in fact he need not  hide anything from this  man.  So he immediately  volunteers to give up all his bad behavior and to make amends. Jesus does not prompt him; His Presence prompts him,  SO IT IS FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US.

From the very beginning, faith, hope, and love are planted deep within our nature—indeed they are our very nature (Romans 5:5, 8:14-17). But we have to awaken, allow, and advance this core identity by saying a conscious yes to it and drawing upon it as a reliable and Absolute Source. Image must become likeness.
Our saying “yes” to such implanted faith, hope, and love plays a crucial role in the divine equation; human freedom matters. Mary’s yes seemed to be essential to the event of Incarnation (Luke 1:38). God does not come uninvited. God and grace cannot enter without an opening from our side, or we would be mere robots. God does not want robots, but lovers who freely choose to love in return for love. And toward that supreme end, God seems quite willing to wait, cajole, and entice.
Here is how a great poet describes and reacts to the enticement of an ancient Greek understanding of GOD.

Archaic Torso of Apollo


like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could 
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.
Even here, or maybe especially here, we see that the poet ends with a recognition of the absolute necessity for us to change.  I remember the first time that I heard another great poet and translator RICHARD HOWARD  read this poem  at the salons he held at the University of Cincinnati when he was teaching there.  He stressed the directness and absolute  command  of the last five words of the poem:

YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR LIFE 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

STILL HOWLING IN PAWTUCKET

WONDERFUL NEW YEAR'S SURPRISE  IN THE BUCKET

My husband came into the  bedroom early close to 7 AM on the morning on January 2 to share some good news.  YOU ARE IN THE NEWSPAPER!!

I had been interviewed over the telephone by a young and talented writer for the Providence Journal.

She asked many questions and I answered as best I could. She  created a marvelous context for the poem and  explained the cultural context  of the Beatniks.  Here  it is. 

https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20190101/pawtucket-womans-poem-to-be-displayed-on-ripta-buses  

Monday, December 31, 2018

NEW YEAR'S GIFTS from Ardboe to the Bucket

The last day of 2018 brought a couple of unexpected gifts and I want to celebrate them here.

The first gift came via the internet and was a request from someone  I did not know to publish a poem that my mother had published  many years ago in "The POET'S Corner" of the Pawtucket Times.  This woman whom I did not know was asking  me as the poet's daughter and the supposed holder of copyright to  give permission  to publish it in Ireland on the COUNTY TYRONE Heritage site.

This request  would have pleased my mother and I felt her spirit hovering over us and bringing these things to pass. 

 I was so  glad to think that people in Ireland would be once again reading my mother's tribute to her first cousin.
We discovered Johnny Devlin--his mother and my mother's father Joe Coleman were brother and sister -- there when we went looking for what we feared were lost family connections in Ardboe in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. They opened their homes to us. My mother had loved watching and being included in the hereditary fisherman's life that they were still continuing on the Banks of Lough Neagh--the largest  lake in the British Isles. Lough Neagh is the place where eels returned every season and where  fishermen  for centuries since the time of  Saint Colmain and millennia before harvested on those shores.

Here is the poem _


An Ardboe Fisherman

Fisherman, loyal son of Ardboe
Reared by the shores of Lough Neagh
Poverty – ever your constant foe
Long ago caused you to stray.

Homesick – you returned to the old town
Walked to the diamond once more
Stood by the old cross of world renown
Vowed – never to leave this shore.

Out on the boat at the break of day
To haul in lines and the catch
Many a time you worked without pay
Bringing home a scanty batch.

Riding from Cookstown you’d fall asleep
Get soaked with the late night rain
Your old horse trudging hills low and steep
Till he brought you home again.

In your twilight years you sit and dream
Of those days when you were young
How you weathered the gales of life’s stream
And all your songs have been sung.

Daily you watch the sun rise and set
On the lough you love so dear
Able yet – to untangle life’s net
As you start another year.

Margaret Jenckes, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA

I love the fact that it is a perfect poem for New Years.  The poet imagines the fisherman untangling life's net  to prepare for the new year. 

When we had  visited and found our family on the lough shores, we did witness the daily routine of setting out vast nets with lines and baited hooks.Then when the catch was  drawn in the fishermen also  spent long hours sitting and untangling the lines and getting them ready to put out again.

In her poem Margaret imagines it as a metaphor for what we all do on a New Year's Eve-- reviewing the past and making the resolves and setting the goals for the coming year.
Of course, I sent  back an affirmative and the  person then   said that she thought that we were related.  I think she is right, and  again my mother has  brought the family that was lost to each other back together through her poetry. I hope that in the New Year I get to meet and speak to Mary Jarvis. 
 I was charmed when I first understood that the Irish I met in Ardboe used the word friend to mean family.
Never too late  in life to meet and  cherish a new FRIEND.


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Christmas Memory


CHRISTMAS WAS ALWAYS A MIXED BAG

I have already written about  the ways that my Aunt Grace provided  the food for our Thanksgiving and also our Christmas feasts.  But there is so much more to  Christmas than the  big meal which is really the entire focus of Thanksgiving.

We had various ways of preparing for Christmas.We thought a lot about Advent.  I also tried to go to daily mass.  Devotional aspects of the season increased after my father's departure in 1953.

Even before that sad event we celebrated or at least I did by saving whatever money I had and buying Xmas gifts.  Our gifts to each other were  not very glamorous. I would pace around Grants and Woolworth's looking at lipsticks for my Aunt Anna and  a perfume for my mother. I got my sisters paddle balls one year and that was a big hit. They could  play with them quite successfully. I had seen them borrow those of other kids, and I knew they could make the ball bounce off the paddle.
 I remember that when my friend Lucille came over to see  my tree and gifts and she looked at the three piles of  gifts that we had opened--one for each of us children. They were almost identical--pajamas, underwear, a new robe, socks. She said, "I see that you have a very practical Xmas." My mother laughed and my Aunt Anna said that she was rude. She was not, she was just being truthful.
We did not get toys. None of us cared about dolls.The only thing that I got that my sisters did not get would be paper doll books and coloring books. Our stockings were filled with an orange and an apple and some walnuts in the shell. Also sometimes hair ribbons or hair clips.
One winter I  had complained to my Aunt Grace that I had to wear some cast off hockey skates of Lucille's brother when we went to the  Blue Pond to skate.  I was amazed when new  lovely white figure skates showed up under the tree for me.There was no giver's name--these were from Santa.  My mother  warned me  not to whine anymore to  my Aunt Grace and I  knew what that meant.
Aunt Grace was always  my secret Santa.  
When  my father was still with us, I do recall some  sudden eruption of a great gift--like a tricycle. Later when I was about six, he brought in a large and gorgeous doll house. Somehow, there was some suggestion of  scandal  about these gifts--that he had won them in a card game or even stolen them.

 I remember that one Christmas morning he reached under his pillow and took out a small box and in it was a gold cross very plain and simple on a gold chain.  I still have that cross.