Thursday, November 25, 2010


Well, the house has emptied out as the rest of the family makes a trek to New Jersey and a gathering for Thanksgiving. It's a cold, raw, grey day, but the wood stove is kicking out a heat worth being thankful for. With age, I am less inclined to make energetic trips. I've laid in some good food for later and have a copy of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" which I would like to watch again ... all 228 minutes of it, assuming I can find the energy. Also, "The Godfather" is on television, so I am not short of enjoyable entertainment.

And I do wish those who are celebrating Thanksgiving, a happy and over-stuffed holiday.

It's nice to have a holiday that draws attention -- however thinly -- to thanks.



  1. Thanks, even if. Thanks, genkaku.

  2. Thanks genkaku, if. Thanks genkaku.

  3. Thanks for you and for this blog which enriches my day every day often more than once a day. I hope that health challenges ease a bit--at 62 post a couple of surgeries and the ritual of taking morning meds a bit more onerus, I can feel the big surrender underway. Though you might like this poem by Robert Cording--there's another one, Gift, I couldn't find that is in the same vein but of a man dying of cancer--just lovely. Here's Gratitude with appreciation:


    In his prison letters, Bonhoeffer is thankful

    for a hairbrush, for a pipe and tobacco,

    for cigarettes and Schelling’s Morals Vol. II.

    Thankful for stain remover, laxatives,

    collar studs, bottled fruit and cooling salts.

    For his Bible and hymns praising what is

    fearful, which he sings, pacing in circles

    for exercise, to his cell walls where he’s hung

    a reproduction of Durer’s Apocolypse.

    He’s thankful for letters from his parents

    and friends that lead him back home,

    and for the pain of memory’s arrival,

    his orderly room of books and prints too far

    from the nightly sobs of a prisoner

    in the next cell whom Bonhoeffer does not know

    how to comfort, though he believes religion

    begins with a neighbor who is within reach.

    He’s thankful for the few hours outside

    in the prison yard, and for the half-strangled

    laughter between inmates as they sit together

    under a chestnut tree. He’s thankful even

    for a small ant hill, and for the ants that are

    all purpose and clear decision. For the two

    lime trees that mumble audibly with the workings

    of bees in June and especially for the warm

    laying on of sun that tells him he’s a man

    created of earth and not of air and thoughts.

    He’s thankful for minutes when his reading

    and writing fill up the emptiness of time,

    and for those moments when he sees himself

    as a small figure in a vast, unrolling scroll,

    though mostly he looks out over the plains

    of ignorance inside himself. And for that,

    too, he’s thankful: for the self who asks,

    Who am I?—the man who steps cheerfully

    from this cell and speaks easily to his jailers,

    or the man who is restless and trembling

    with anger and despair as cities burn and Jews

    are herded into railroad cars—can

    without an answer, say finally, I am thine,

    to a God who lives each day,

    as Bonhoeffer must, in the knowledge

    of what has been done, is still being done,

    his gift a refusal to leave his suffering, for which,

    even as the rope is placed around his neck

    and pulled tight, Bonhoeffer is utterly grateful.

  4. Homage to My Father
    By Ray Ronci


    My father said:
    Fuck Father Farrell,
    what does he know, that old bastard!

    Study all the religions. Learn Italian.
    See Venizia, Firenze, talk
    to all kinds of people
    and never, never think you know more
    than someone else! Unless,
    unless they're full of shit.

    And if they are, tell them;
    and if they still don't get it, fuck it,
    there's nothing you can do about it.

    Learn how to bake bread.
    If you can make pasta and bake bread
    you can always feed your family,
    you can always get a job.

    Keep your house clean
    and don't worry what anyone else does.
    Cut your grass,
    prune your fruit trees
    or they'll die on you.

    Don't drink too much
    but don't always be sober --
    it makes you nervous.

    A couple glasses of wine,
    some anisette now and then,
    a cigar never hurt nobody.

    Nervous people always got an ache here,
    an ache there, they get sick,
    they die --

    Look at Father Farrell:
    he'll be dead in a year.

    Fuck him!

  5. Perfect--another Robert Cording poem:

    My Uncle's Parrot

    It's the voice I hear, the one that comes
    When my talk suddenly becomes preachy,
    And my class of freshmen begin to nod
    Their heads in assent as I'm delivering
    Some grand moral claim for Wordsworth's
    Leech-gatherer, or declaring there is a way
    To live out our lives hopeful and happy.
    Or it comes when my wife, stepping
    From a bath, her neck and belly and legs
    Diamonded in the bathroom light, stands
    Before me like some St. Agnes Eve vision,
    And I believe that, yes, our bodies are
    For climbing that ladder from pleasure
    To pleasure upwards to the sublime.
    Or when I see on the late night news
    How a whole town, businesses included,
    Turns out to re-erect a block of
    Tornado-tossed houses and think we could
    Learn to live in just that state of love,
    The beginning of what could be
    Endlessly multiplying loaves and fish.
    Or even when late at night, alone,
    Reading a good book and listening to
    Vivaldi's oboes, a cup of tea warming
    My hands, I suddenly think, then and there,
    That everything in my life has only had
    The illusion of significance, that
    The truth is absolute meaninglessness.
    At all those times and more, I hear
    The point-blank voice of my uncle's parrot
    Say, bullshit, the only word he could
    Ever teach it, though the parrot possessed
    An unerring sense of timing,
    A pitch-perfect ear for the exact moment
    In the conversation when its shrill trumpet
    Was required: bullshit, it blared again
    And again with the authority of a god
    Who knew, as Pascal said, how to keep faith
    And doubt off balance as he went on
    Balancing both sides of every equation.

  6. Bless this food and those who eat it, amen!

  7. To Genkaku & All On This Thanksgiving Day 2010:

    It was also a beautiful grey day here in Central New York. I took a walk along a creekside at Mill Run Park - it was all that I needed. Alas, the hips are getting painful.

    First, I, too am thankful for this blog which does replenish me every day as well.

    Second, thanks to all for everyone's postings today. I am especially glad to see Bonhoeffer's thanks reprinted here. Would that I could be so grateful!


    My plate is now empty,
    My hunger is satisfied.
    I am determined to live for the benefit of all beings.

    Happy Thanskgiving,


  8. Thanks for introducing me to the poetry of Robert Cording, most interesting. Snowed in past few days so I re-acquainted myself with the wisdom of Aldous Huxley and found the following while searching for his essay - The Best Picture- Piero's Resurrection,
    " religion all words are are dirty words. Anyone who gets eloquent about Buddha, or God, or Christ, ought to have his mouth washed out with carbolic soap"
    while these words are from his last novel "Island" and I am unsure how I got there but thought I'd share it, most sobering even if you are not drinking.
    Belated Thanksgiving wishes.

  9. Zen practice is the carbolic soap we all clean up with.