Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Never Give All the Heart

By: W.B. Yeats

Never give all the heart, for love

Will hardly seem worth thinking of

To passionate women if it seem

Certain, and they never dream

That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that's lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.

O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough

If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Loud Laugh that Spoke the Vacant Mind

“Thus fares the land, by luxury betrayed,
In nature's simplest charms at first arrayed;
But verging to decline, its splendours rise,
Its vistas strike, its palaces surprise;"
- Oliver Goldsmith, A Deserted Village

What I learned on my recent 3-week roadtrip is something I haven’t worked through. I didn’t keep a daily journal, so I already have some trouble remembering when I saw some strange never-visited cities in the vast American heartland - Billings Montana, Rochester Minnesota, Albert Lea South Dakota; Coeur D’Alene Idaho, Missoula Montana. I have millions of pictures of the sights I saw. Putting into words the things I learned will take a while, and might be facilitated by forgetting some details.

But meanwhile, the single most important thing I learned is that you CAN come home again – just don’t expect it to look like the land you called home as you grew up. After living in this place for most of my life, I think I have finally come home.

I have been reading Tony Judt’s “Ill Fares the Land” which got me searching for the Oliver Goldsmith poem A Deserted Village quoted in Judt’s title, and in the title of this post. Which got me thinking about what I saw and did on our roadtrip home from Atlanta to San Diego via the northern cross country highways. What we ever did before mapquest navigation, urbanspoon, radar weather and other magical apps like Talking Carl, not to mention the legendary Nascar app and the mythical app to find Christian churches, I will never know. Well, I did know once, but can’t remember. Nor can I imagine travel without my iphone. We checked in via the Book of Faces and this will help me to reconstruct our trip and match cities to pictures. Of course J (my travelling companion) took pictures with an iphone and thus has them ready to post to Flikr complete with tags showing date and location of picture.

But to get back to the blogging of RoadTrip2010: Two Californians Venture Across the Badlands in November. What were we thinking? I can attest however, that we are both outspoken, and posses (arguably intermittently vacant) minds, and that we laughed loudly.

As I read The Deserted Village, I saw a number of parallels between our road trip and the sights awaiting native of fictional Auburn who returns to his blissful childhood and finds it lost. Disclaimer: I have had my poetic license revoked for failure to distinguish cliché from wisdom, intentional torture of metaphors, and negligent spelling and grammatical fauxes pas. Nevertheless, I intend to post about the Roadtrip for a while as I digest the things to be remembered, forget the things to be forgotten, and try to blog what I might have learned and/or lost.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Albert Lea, Minnesota

We are stranded here in a hotel overlooking US Route 90 in western Minnesota. The Google says we are about 1,000 miles from Atlanta GA. Admittedly, we are attempting a dumb route to Berkeley, CA but we wanted to go north through Seattle WA.

The trip is still an adventure. I can't figure out how to upload pictures from my phone. Or I would post a bleakly beautiful view of an open pearls and snow falling sideways.

Testing mobile blogging.

This might just work.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Last Pain

This last pain for the damned the Fathers found:
"They knew the bliss with which they were not crowned."
Such, but on earth, let me foretell,
Is all, of heaven or of hell.

"Man, as the prying housemaid of the soul,
May know her happiness by eye to hole;
He's safe; the key is lost; he knows
Door will not open, nor hole close.

"What is conceivable can happen too,"
Said Wittgenstein, who had not dreamt of you;
But wisely; if we worked it long
We should forget where it was wrong.

Those thorns are crowns which, woven into knots,
Crackle under and soon boil fool's pots;
And no man's watching, wise and long,
Would ever stare them into song.

Thorns burn to a consistent ash, like man;
A splendid cleanser for the frying-pan:
And those who leap from pan to fire
Should this brave opposite admire.

All those large dreams by which men long live well
Are magic-lanterned on the smoke of hell;
This then is real, I have implied,
A painted, small, transparent slide.

These the inventive can hand-paint at leisure,
Or most emporia would stock our measure;
And feasting in their dappled shade
We should forget how they were made.

Feign then what's by a decent tact believed,
And act that state is only so conceived,
And build an edifice of form
For house where phantoms may keep warm.

Imagine, then, by miracle, with me,
(Ambiguous gifts, as what gods give must be)
What could not possibly be there,
And learn a style from a despair.