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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Thursday, July 22, 2010

If It Be Your Will - Leonard Cohen

If it be your will
that I speak no more
and my voice be still
as it was before.

I will speak no more
I shall abide until

I am spoken for

if it be your will

If it be your will

that a voice be true

from this broken hill

I will sing to you
From this broken hill

all your praises they shall ring
If it be your will

to let me sing.

From this broken hill

all your praises they shall ring
If it be your will

to let me sing.

If it be your will
If there is a choice

let the rivers fill,
let the hills rejoice
Let your mercy spill

on all these burning hearts in hell
If it be your will

to make us well

And draw us near

and bind us tight.

All your children here

in their rags of light
in our rags of light -

all dressed to kill
And end this night

if it be your will

If it be your will.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vincent - Don McLean

by Don McLean

Starry, starry night

paint your palette blue and gray

look out on a summer's day

with eyes that know the

darkness in my soul.

Shadows on the hills

sketch the trees and the daffodils

catch the breeze and the winter chills

in colors on the snowy linen land.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me

and, how you suffered for your sanity

and, how you tried to set them free.

They would not listen - they did not know how.

Perhaps they'll listen now.

Starry, starry night

flaming flowers that brightly blaze

swirling clouds in violet haze reflect in

Vincent's eyes of China blue -
colors changing hue
morning fields of amber grain - weathered faces lined in pain
are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me

and, how you suffered for your sanity

and, how you tried to set them free.

They would not listen - they did not know how.

Perhaps they'll listen now.

For they could not love you

but still your love was true

and when no hope was left in sight on that starry, starry night

you took your life
as lovers often do.
But, I could have told you, Vincent
this world was never
meant for one as beautiful as you.

Starry, starry night

portraits hung in empty halls

frameless heads on nameless walls

with eyes that watch the world and can't forget.

Like the stranger that you've met;

the ragged men in ragged clothes,
a silver thorn and a bloody rose,

lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.

And now I think I know what you tried to say to me

and, how you suffered for your sanity

and, how you tried to set them free.

They would not listen
- they're not listening still.
Perhaps they never will.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Meet the newest Family Member - Hoagie

Well, this is Hoagie - at least that is what his name tag said. He came into my life last Saturday.

He is about 12 inches tall at the shoulder and
he has a black nose and is pretty muscular. That is why I think he is most likely a cross between a Bicon Friese and either a poodle or a miniature Schnauzer.

His coat is very fine and downy soft. The reason why I think he may have some Schnauzer in him is because his personality does
have a bit of an independent attitude and he is pretty active.

Thus far, he doesn't seem to have any bad habits other than his restlessness and established history of being a wanderer. I'm not worried about that however because he now has Poe and my property which was originally a horse facility is entirely fenced in and is secure enough to contain him.

I think this guy is used to taking mug shots...

Apparently, he likes to follow people home. He is a friendly little guy and, according to the lady who gave him to me, he has a problem with wanderlust. Her daughter picked him up in a Las Cruces animal shelter back in January of this year. As the story was related to me, Hogie was very ill. He was quite dehydrated and under weight, suffering from Distemper. His previous family spent a small fortune getting him back to health.

I got all this information about him the day his owner came to pick him up. While it was love at first sight for me, I did the right thing and called the owner listed on the name tag but I also mentioned to the lady that I would love to keep him if she ever felt like she wanted to part with him.

I got to spend some time with him for about an hour before Olivia came to pick him up. Sitting in my back yard at my table and typing away on my computer, Hogie sat on my lap. It was great having him - I could easily envision how he could be my muse. That is why I offered to take him off her hands.

She graciously declined but told me that she would relay my offer to her daughter who recently purchased a home in Belen and did not have her property fenced in order to keep Hogie safely.

Today, Olivia called me and, after Hogie's latest escape, she told me that her daughter was willing to yield ownership of this fine specimen to me. How could I refuse?

He is lovable and just happens to come from a home where the family owns pygmy goats. That is a huge plus because, I have three pet goats and a sheep. I think the stars were lined up for Hoagie and the goats and the sheep and Po, my black Lab and of course, me.
I have no intention of changing his name and must admit, after finding out what his name means, I love the name.

For those of you who know me, please tell me, how could I ever change that name?

Welcome home Hogie.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Broker - by John Grisham - My Review

This is the first book written by John Grisham that I have ever read. I am now a fan. His writing style is easy to take in and his background information about Bologna, Italy has inspired me to want to visit that place. I particularly enjoyed his background story about the town.

While Grisham states that he knows little about spy work, his skill as a writer made the story compelling enough to be believable. That's what good story tellers do; they are convincing. Because of that, not only do I want to travel to Italy, I want to learn Italian. It is a beautiful language and is so similar to Spanish that I don't think it is going to be all that tough to learn.

Sì, intendo imparare l'italiano e definitivamente leggerò più libri scritti da John Grisham.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - by Ken Kesey - My Review

" flew east,
one flew west,
and one flew over the cuckoo's nest."

I first read, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” when I was fourteen. I remember checking it out at the library and my only reason for picking it out was because I liked the name. The following year, Jack Nicholson starred as Randall Patrick McMurphy, the convict who decided to have himself placed in a psychiatric hospital in lieu of finishing out his prison sentence in a work camp.
While no book can ever be matched by a movie, and Hollywood's rendition was not all that bad, it never came close to what Ken Kesey was able to accomplish with his prose.

McMurphy’s fateful decision to take on the ward tyrant Nurse Ratched - a twisted woman whose sinister control was unchallenged untl Randall McMurphy came along. McMurphy's arrival exposed Nurse Ratched's manipulative nature and her undermining the patients ability to improve their situation. This placed McMurphy and Ratched on a collision course.

At first blush, McMurphy appeared on the surface to be self-centered. However, he was soon forced to decide whether to secure his personal interests or sacrifice them for the greater good of his fellow inpatients.

Kesey had a powerful influence on my love for books and, while I typically never re-read a book, I decided to give this book another go after finishing Wallace Stegner's, “On Writing and Teaching Fiction.”
Stegner is credited with having been a major influence on Ken Kesey who was a student of his at Stanford University where Kesey started his manuscript of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest.

In the thirty five years that have passed since I first read Cuckoo's nest, I am amazed at how much richer the story has become. At fourteen years old, I was particularly impressed by McMurphy's brash, devil-be-damned nature.

This time around, I was more affected by McMurphy's decision to take a stand. Because of that, the book was particularly disturbing. I suppose because with three and half of more decades of living under my belt, age has afforded me more opportunities to witness Man’s inhumanity to Man.

That said, I have seen far less McMurphy’s in my lifetime than I have seen people of the Nurse Ratched variety. McMurphys definitely seem to be waning in number.
I have always had an abiding respect for the McMurphys of the world - more so now that I am older. They are becoming rarer by the day while the Ratched mentality seem to be ever on the rise. I may not like the Ratcheds of the world but I certainly do understand them.

This book continues to be on my short list of books to read if I was forced to be marooned on an abandoned island. I appreciate Kesey because of his ability to point out the intrinsic value of all Human Beings and moreover, his literary admonition that we ought never dismiss people on the basis of our pre-determined, prescriptive notions that tend to be overly dismissive simply because we are obsessed with status and social standing.

It reminds me of Mohadnas K. Ghandi’s observation that, “All humanity is one undivided and indivisible family, and each one of us is responsible for the misdeeds of all the others. I cannot detach myself from the wickedest soul."

The sooner we all realize we are all in it together – it meaning life – the less we will be inclined to diminish one another and basing such dismissal on arbitrary criteria that serve whatever personal or group interest to our own end.

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