Posts Tagged With: poetry

TAX DAY IS OVER, SORT OF.

We tend to think of taxes as our own personal burden. But,  tax accountants routinely give extensions to people so tax day can be different for some people. Good for them, because their work is so concentrated in three months, it is hard to get the job done. And it gives us a bit of extra time to gather our paperwork as well.

This poem has been around a lot. It has no attributable author and is presumed to be in the public domain but it kind of expresses most of the pain of paying our taxes.

Tax his land, tax his wage,
Tax his bed in which he lays.
Tax his tractor, tax his mule,
Teach him taxes is the rule.

Tax his cow, tax his goat,
Tax his pants, tax his coat.
Tax his ties, tax his shirts,
Tax his work, tax his dirt.

Tax his chew, tax his smoke,
Teach him taxes are no joke.
Tax his car, tax his grass,
Tax the roads he must pass.

Tax his food, tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.
Tax his sodas, tax his beers,
If he cries, tax his tears.

Tax his bills, tax his gas,
Tax his notes, tax his cash.
Tax him good and let him know
That after taxes, he has no dough.

If he hollers, tax him more,
Tax him until he’s good and sore.
Tax his coffin, tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he lays.

Put these words upon his tomb,
“Taxes drove me to my doom!”
And when he’s gone, we won’t relax,
We’ll still be after the inheritance tax.

As for me, I don’t mind paying as much as I mind the process because I’m not very mathematical and I hate DOING my taxes. I only met one man who claimed not to mind paying his taxes. His parents were immigrants from Portugal and he claimed to be ever grateful to live in a country like ours that provides us enough opportunity to earn a good living and pay taxes. He is unique. He is a friend gone, now. And I salute  his memory every year at tax time.  Larry Santos, a deputy sheriff from Alameda County.

 

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WE NEED A RAINY DAY.

There’s a song that starts I LOVE A RAINY DAY, … Well it’s cold and wet and miserable today, especially since I turned the pilot off on my heater and cleaned up my wood stove for warmer weather.

I can’t say I’m loving this rainy day, but we definitely need it. And, there is comfort to hanging out in your robe and slippers for half a day, to work on a project set aside and waiting. For me, a couple of unfinished rugs and one needing repair. And a chance to slog through saved scraps for quilts and begin another while other blocks lay forgotten and tucked away.

I took the time to read some poetry and I like this one enough to share. It is in the public domain.

Loveliest of Trees, The Cherry, Now

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

By A. E. Housman

And, another:

I normally don’t like poems that don’t rhyme, but this one reminded me of journey’s I’ve had on trains and it was just as described in this narrative poem.

The Dining Car of the Southern Crescent, By John Campbell

The Southern Crescent
snakes its way through
the rolling fog shrouded
piedmont landscape;
a young man on spring break,
returning home from
college, crosses the creaky
passageway that leads from
Pullmans to the dining car.

Breakfast smells give rise to
an ambitious order of fresh coffee,
country ham with red eye gravy,
grits, scrambled eggs and
biscuits with blackberry jam.

The waiter, agile and accomplished,
dressed in a white starched apron,
steadies himself against the swaying
motion of the train; with serving tray
in hand and balanced, he places the
piping hot breakfast on a table decked
with a linen table cloth, pewter
creamers, thick silverware, coffee
cups and saucers and plates etched with
a crescent moon insignia; a small
bundle of daffodils sit in a crystal
vase near the window.

The young man with the vittles before him,
relishes a feeling of adult composure
and delight. “How could life be this good?”
A breakfast fit for a king, waiters
eager to please, railway views of
rural Carolina: tenant shanties,
grazing black angus, abandoned junkyards,
brownstone depots and sleepy towns.

He, still unfamiliar with the niceties
of the wealthy elite, or even the
acquired dignities of his college
professors, avows, while pouring
coffee from a silver carafe into
a Syracuse China cup, that the
dining car of the Southern Crescent
is a place of utmost refinement.

 

John Campbell’s poem was delivered to my mailbox by A Poem A Day, that I subscribe to. His poem is available framed from Poem A Day, and is not in the public domain.

 

 

 

 

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CLOUDS.

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One cloud black and brooding, maybe hiding thunder and lightening along my road, as I drove to the dump. We rarely see a a building cumulus, those rare beauties of the sky.

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Gotthold called  them chariots of the sky. I turned around to take the picture before they disappeared.

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By the time I reached the highway, they were bigger, bolder. Again I stopped and thought what beauty, and how much better they would look without the interference of signs and telephone poles and wires. So, I decided to look up a poem about clouds. I couldn’t find any that weren’t ominous. Though I own 34 books of poetry. I was stunned when I counted them. I didn’t take the time to look in every book, but each time I pick up a tome, I’ll be chasing clouds.

 

 

 

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ANNIVERSARIES OF THE HEART

I love this poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It really suits my feelings at the end of a year. I miss those family members gone, and as I go through the rituals of Christmas and the new year, I think of them, little memories tickle in, mostly sweet, some regrets. And, I appreciate the sentiment of “anniversaries of the heart.” Here then, the poem. And, a ritual my mother and I shared for more years than I can remember.

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;—
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;—a fairy tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

img178Orella Elizabeth Moore around 1970 (Copy)

My mother was a hard-working person, who tried to make everyone’s dreams come true at Christmas. She cooked enough on Christmas to practically keep all of us full until the New Year. An early riser, she would get up before everyone and savor those early morning moments with her first cup of coffee and the crossword puzzle from the morning paper. Other than that, she rarely took time off for herself, but the week between Christmas and New Years was hers. She’d set up the card table and begin a jigsaw puzzle. Anyone and everyone could take part. If someone dropped in, she would engage them in the puzzle. Time floats away as you concentrate on working a puzzle and she chose them to be challenging. Then on New Year’s day, the puzzle finished, we took down the tree and put the ornaments away. I kept that ritual going in my home after she died but then, somewhere, I stopped working puzzles. And this year, for the first time, I missed putting my ornaments away yesterday.

A couple of days after Christmas, I got into my stuffed full quilting closet and there, the “anniversaries of the heart”, lay hidden. Memories came pouring out. Lacey doilies she had crocheted. Patches she had made for a bedspread. Her handwriting on wisps of paper pinned to fabric describing its future use. Her button collection.

I kept scraps from clothing she wore or made for my daughters. The closet had so many unfinished dreams, I’ve yet to finish the job.

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With most of the material and stuff I’d put into the closet gone, it is looking much neater on this side. My sewing machine is giving me trouble and out of the closet. I gotta find something better.

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On this side of the closet, those nicely closed drawers were so stuffed full, the bottoms were warped and the drawers couldn’t close.

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My office is practically unnavigable for the stuff I unloaded from that closet. Yes, it was full of unfinished projects, but marvelous memories it contained have inspired me anew to finish them. Thanks Mom. Thanks Henry.

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TO MISSING FAMILY MEMBERS.

Thanksgiving day, we will be missing several family members. Some years are like that. But, Doug, my son building my house in Oregon, though within driving  range, and a famous cookie baker, is missing and we will sorely miss him. So, this old Edgar Guest poem seemed a proper tribute. He will join folks at the grange and help them cook. Another of his talents.

THE COOKIE JAR   by Edgar Guest

You can rig up a house with all manner of things,
The prayer rugs of sultans and princes and kings;
You can hang on its wall the old tapestries rare
Which some dead Egyptian once treasured with care;
But though costly and gorgeous its furnishings are,
It must have, to be homelike, an old cookie jar.

There are just a few things that a home must possess,
Besides all your money and all your success—
A few good old books which some loved one has read,
Some trinkets of those whose sweet spirits have fled,
And then in the pantry, not shoved back too far
For the hungry to get to, that old cookie jar.

Let the house be a mansion, I care not at all!
Let the finest of pictures be hung on each wall,
Let the carpets be made of the richest velour,
And the chairs only those which great wealth
can procure,
I’d still want to keep for the joy of my flock
That homey, old fashioned, well-filled cookie crock.

Like the love of the Mother it shines through our years;
It has soothed all our hurts and dried away tears;
It has paid us for toiling; in sorrow or joy,
It has always shown kindness to each girl and boy;
And I’m sorry for people, whoever they are,
Who live in a house where there’s no cookie jar.

Cedric is the chief pie baker and he, along with daughter Virginia, who prepares a pear tart every year,  and grandsons Owen and Theo, who supply lots of  noise and fun,  are in Australia. We will miss you so much.

Daughter-in-law Laurie has stepped into the gap, and is preparing the pies.

Kristanne and Austin and Mason, will also be absent. It feels downright cruel to be missing so many at this family time of year. When it comes to the clatter round the table, the dogs and yak and fun;  the card games and a bit of wine. we’ll try, but without Kristanne,  and Austin and Mason to banter, we feel a loss for those missing three.

This poem FAMILY, by Suzanne Comer Bell describes it perfectly.

Inside a house they reassemble—
food an operation on the table,
dogs sealed against the back steps
waiting for the blessed day’s remains,
and a world of neighbors knows
to leave their gifts and wishes at the door—
then they eat and eat, clear, clean the table,
move to the kitchen and rumble family tales
til the ancestors sound, drown the silver clatter—
no bounds here to joyful noise because it’s family—
then disappear, each wandering off
to a silent, private nest, where
inside the cocoon of sleep will grow
the shapes and skills of being in this family.
One by one they’ll wake to a new world,
take ball, gun, racquet, cards—some
instrument of fun to play with another—
and the skills of this family bloom, reborn
in their memory, in the movement of hands, voices, feet,
the presence of children coming of age or an aunt
who carries the same genes of natural talent,
some newly awakening, some reawakening,
recognizing themselves in the mirror
of each other’s faces. Then they’ll line their shoes
by the door, warm up the leftovers—
do it all over again.

© Suzanne Comer Bell.

 

While I complain about being bereft of family, I know how very lucky we are and we will be giving thanks and  counting our blessings for our cups runneth over.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE.

 

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NO REST FOR THE WICKED.

My mother and her sisters, my aunts, always left little quotes at the bottom of their letters and cards. It was always fun to read them. And, my mother was full of homey homilies like, No rest for the wicked, or Itchy palm? You’re going to get some money; Cold feet, warm heart; Itchy nose? You are going to meet a stranger; Always eat a little sour with your sweet; Waste not want not.

Her sayings came so automatic, kind of a mixture of advice, superstition, moral admonitions. Who knows where they came from>  It was just a part of her personality. I miss her so much.

I chose the title because I’m so busy, super busy, I feel like the fox chasing his tail.

I’ll be absent these pages, off and on while I take a trip into the Bay Area working on a fundraiser for the archive. And, another trip to Oregon for a walk through on the house my son is building for me that will be wheelchair assessable. Then it is time to get ready for Thanksgiving that I’m hosting at my house.  So…

MY FEET

My Feet they haul me Round the House,
They Hoist me up the Stairs;
I only have to Steer them, and
They take me Everywheres!

This little ditty is by Gelett Burgess and I can think of a half-dozen verses to add to it to describe my life right now, but I’ll let it go at that.  Maybe some of you can add some verses if you are so inclined. This one is in the public domain and does not require permission.

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