Welcome to the second installment of A Gathering of Poetry.
Today, I am going to introduce you all to a poet I discovered late last month on the Poetry For All podcast. I had never heard of Rafael Campo but I was so enamored of the poem, Primary Care, that I checked out two of his books of poetry (and he is a prolific poet) and have been reading one or two every morning.
I tried to find online links to Rafael’s poetry and The Poetry Foundation just has two of his poems listed. My list of favorites are long in just the few weeks I have begun reading his poetry. He writes such beautiful poetry that moves me deeply.
I was going to share Primary Care, but you can listen to Dr. Campo read it here. I just love this poem… so much but I might love the poem I am sharing today the tiniest bit more and I hope you like it as well.
by Rafael Campo
I enter unexpectedly, and see
your hair cascading white-and-gray in loose,
long tresses down the full length of your back.
The nurse is bathing you in a honeyed light,
when sunrise in the hospital makes all
seem gorgeous, even the gleaming bedpan,
even the scuffed but bright linoleum,
even the faces peering into death.
Your heart is failing, yet you have the strength
to turn, your breasts still the world’s nourishment,
your eyes, though I have diagnosed in them
thick cataracts, alight again with youth’s
demure, coquettish indignation. “Please,
excuse me Doctor, I am indisposed!”
For just a moment, as you pull the sheet
to safeguard your imperiled modesty—
your operatic thighs, your blatant hips,
your ruined neck with its distended veins—
I think you are like Goya’s ageless nude,
eternal beckoning of human form,
inviolable, innocent, a gift
that both of us acknowledge, knowing that
such love is too sweet ever to be shared.
Nude from Alternative Medicine by Rafael Campo. Duke University Press copyright 2014.
This week I am profoundly grateful for the diversions that making brings… I needed diversions this week! And so I am sharing the plethora of them that have been entertaining me! Buckle in!
The sewing. Oh my. Well, there is a very good reason I keep sewing the same things over and over again… I have made the muslin… done the adjustments… and all future garments fit absolutely perfectly – no guessing – no hoping – no worries. Thus was the story for my 4th pair of Free Range Slacks. They are glorious and I have fabric coming to make one more pair for the winter! (No images here, but you will absolutely see me modeling them in Erie… I plan on posting some #PostcardsFromPresqueIsle on IG while we are away!)
Now comes the story of sewing a new-to-me pattern. With sketchy measurements (because deep arm scythes) here is my first try. It needed several adjustments. Sigh. While it is a wearable muslin, it feels very awkward on top… too loose… too much movement because it is so loose. (Good thing I have no shortage of sweaters to wear with it! Haha) I have made several adjustments to the pattern and think that my next attempt with corduroy will go much better. It calls for French Seams (which I did on the denim muslin) but I think that will be too bulky with the corduroy so I am going to give flat-felled seams a try and I think they should look and feel nice. AND!! I have plans for a fun little flannel inner pocket on the corduroy ones! The pluses though… I love the pockets, the details, and the style. Oh my are they all awesome! Stay tuned for the second go at this pattern.
Because packing my knitting is the first thing on my list for vacation…I pulled out the knitting bag that I used last year, and inside was a project I started on vacation in Erie and had not touched since! (Ravelry link) It looked easy but once I got through the “easy” lace portion and started on the “challenging” lace it became very clear that this was not vacation knitting. But I got it out and started again and made progress! I have completed the challenging lace and have started on the second (of 5) pattern repeat and things are going well. I am bringing this back to Erie and along with my in-process (but also forgotten) Close To You shawl. One of these projects is more likely to be finished than the other… if I do any knitting on vacation! Ha!
One would think a still life would be easy, but giving those stationary objects form and life is tricky!
Finally… there has been painting my friends! Pumpkins! Water! And FALL leaves! (I am also working on some grapes that Kym has challenged me with… stay tuned!) On Monday I bought a “travel palette” and yes… I am going to paint on vacation! Haha! (Honestly, my fear is falling behind in painting class and I won’t be able to get two paintings done in 2.5 days to meet the final class deadline for homework.) I am thinking about painting all.the.time. I am looking on YouTube at painting videos. I am looking on Pinterest at painting ideas. It has become a bit of an obsession and I am having so much fun!
I definitely think landscapes are my “sweet spot” and I so enjoyed painting this fall scene!
Whew… that’s a LOT of making! Hahaha!
How about a cool down with some reading?
I am currently still happily immersed in life with Ruth Galloway and I am loving it. So. Much. I also started Setsuko’s Secret and it is the perfect companion to the Sharon Says So podcast on the same topic. So much too unpack. These books are diversely different and that is a very good thing!
I had just one reading finish this week… and it left a very sour taste in my mouth. I should have listened to my inner voice that urged me to bail on this book early on in the listening. I know many of you loved Ozeki’s Book of Form and Emptiness… but me…not so much. I had hopes the Book Story would take over and I liked those parts of the book but ultimately it was an epic failure for me. But this is what makes reading so incredible… what I don’t care for, you might love! And there are so.many.books to read!
And there you have my very busy making week! As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!
See you back here tomorrow with A Gathering of Poetry!
I am convinced that most people do not grow up… We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias. — Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter
This, my friends, was a very challenging post to write. I struggled. Mightily. And so you will note that comments are closed for this exhibit. Sometimes words are not necessary, but rather to just stand in the stillness of the memories and be tender with the child inside.
I do not remember ever having a dream wanting to be anything growing up… I really just wanted to live in a safe place. A place with no violence. No uncertainty. No feelings of pending doom.
I wanted to survive.
I do not recall any “what do you want to be” conversations happening in my youth. And in looking back, I realize that those conversations/dreams/ideals are for the privileged.
Sometimes survival is the dream and I did survive…in the very best way.
Thank you so much for visiting the museum this month. I want to thank Kym for providing thought-provoking topics for us to unpack.
I will see you all back here on Wednesday with a bit of Unraveling!
First up… before any fun begins… I want to give a bit of a reminder to check your voting registration… in PA you have until October 24th to register to vote in the November election AND there is still time to get your mail-in ballot! You will find your state information here! There is so much that is not on the ballot, so who you vote for has never been more important.
No matter who you vote for, the most important thing is that you vote! (and with that I will get off my soap box and return you to your regularly scheduled blog post)
Now how about some excellent RIFFs for this chilly Friday!
A clip of the video below showed up in my Twitter feed one afternoon this week and I just needed more. I thought this might be the perfect way to usher in Friday. Brilliant, joyful, so uplifting and I believe that this was exactly what Mr. Vivaldi was hoping would happen with his music! This week, the Goede Hoop Marimba Band has given me the best “ear worm” ever! I hope you enjoy it as well!
Indigenous (Mapping) —
Steve had the day off on Monday for The Holiday Formerly Known as Columbus Day. In all honesty, I never spent much time thinking about the greatness of Columbus on this day. But recently I have been thinking much more about the silliness of celebrating a day of discovery of a land that was already discovered… and had been for roughly 25,000 years. I had so much fun with this map that NPR shared this week. It shows a well-inhabited North America… and drilling down to my neighborhood, I now know that I live on lands of Osage and Shawnee as well as the ancient tribe of Monongahela Indians.
But… this could have been written for me: “Good writing, I think, ultimately exists between the twin goal posts of as-few-words-as-you-need and as-many-words-as-you-want. I, a natural natterer, lean toward the latterer.”
I am thankful for Dryer’s reminder on my over use of very and actually… at least for the moment! LOL
(and) Finally —
A bit of a vacation blogging schedule notice. Next Thursday (10/20), we head off to my most favored of places on the planet – Mississauga Lands (otherwise known as Presque Isle in Erie, PA) for a bit of a rest and rejuvenation! There will be an Unraveled post on Wednesday (10/26) but that is it. I don’t know how much making and reading I will have accomplished while on vacation, but you never know… I might even surprise myself! Ha!
I will be here as usual next week. On Monday the docent will have a new Museum of Me exhibit, and of course, there will be some Unraveling on Wednesday. I will be closing the week out on Thursday with A Gathering of Poetry installment and I’d like to invite you all to join in with us and share a poem that you might have stumbled across recently. Or share a poem that is near and dear to your heart. Really. The more the merrier… life can never have too little poetry!
And with that I will let you all get on with your day! Happy Friday All!
October has a Gnome… and what a Gnome she is! Meet Gnutkin! She is all in for fall! She is based on this pattern from Imagined Landscapes… sans beard, but I made some Pippi Longstocking-esque Leicester Longwool braids… and these sweet acorns were the perfect adornment for her!
However… there has been some sewing! I have an almost completed pair of pants – they just need a waistband and hemming! Up next is a fill in denim tunic (thanks Kym for suggesting this one!) and one more Sew House Seven pattern made out of some challenging (slippery) fabric. I am still waiting on my corduroy from Blackbird Fabrics… sigh.
Several of you asked why all the procrastination on sewing. And honestly, it is 100% the set up of my sewing that is causing all the procrastination. Any amount of time sewing be it 5 minutes or an hour and I get a back ache. I have tried different chairs and nothing really works. I think the issue is the height of the table I sew on… so it is what it is. Anyways, that is the sticky-wicket in my sewing and the thing that causes all the procrastination. But I am gritting my teeth and powering through.
On the reading reviews… I am changing things up a bit here. Rather than posting the full review here (you can find the link to the review in the side bar to the right) I am just going to high-light my finishes and talk more about my current read. If you’d rather I’d go back to the “old way” of posting the full review here… please let me know in the comments!
It has been a very blah reading week for me. I have one finish: John Banville’s Ancient Light. I did not love it.
And my current read is not much better… I am listening to Ruth Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness. The narration is so incredibly horrible… this might be the most impossible narration ever. The contrived voices for so many of the characters in the book are so off-putting to me. My advice… read this one with your eyes because the story is fascinating. I am just half way through and should finish it up today, I hope!
With my eyes, I am reading The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths. It is the second book in the Ruth Galloway series… and I am loving it. I am reading this at night and I am about a quarter of the way in and so far… so very good! I needed a mystery and this one is a mystery and a bit of fascinating history!
I picked up a book from the library this week but I have not cracked it. I stumbled across it on Twitter of all places… Setsuko’s Secret by Shirley Ann Higuchi. It is her parents story of Heart Mountain and their experiences with Japanese American Incarceration during WWII. I am eager to sink into this book but I am waiting until I have all my sewing done! Ha!
And that is all I have for this week… as always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below!
Thank you and I will see you all back here on Friday!