Poetry and The Path to A New Normal

The word Poetry sometimes embraces all the major genre  such as fiction, drama, literary history and literary biography.  This is a grave and extreme time which call for many artistic responses including responses which use words as the medium. Besides being the Earth Day of the Covid-19 Pandemic this was also an anniversary of the horrifying Earth Day of the  BP Oil Leak.  The two days are a strange contrast and there will be no place here to really discuss how different the two crises are. But both crises will be remembered here in this post about my own inner journey. But the Acadiana region and the world have always been important to me as has the great American natural heritage. I have responded to the crises and beauties of the natural order in words many times. Right now I am not writing so very much. Nor am I taking pictures during this challenging time.

I let  Earth Day pass without having commented upon it and uncelebrated on the screens of this blog or even noted in this blog this year.  I have left many things out in recent years — virtually everything . But here and here and here are links to the connections on the Earth Day theme in this blog in previous years. I did not post about Earth Day on Facebook either and there was also plenty to discuss. The world has responded to lessened pollution during the global slowdown.  Amazing observations of this phenomena have emerged from around the world.  I have watched a pair of owls killing and sharing their prey over several nights, a humming bird working a border of flowers around the oak tree  in front of the house I rent. The successes in my plantings and transplantings earlier this year. I may be making a mistake but I have been using this time as a time for giving, perhaps more than I can afford.

I am sharing some of those gifts here. But here is the relevant gift receipt for this particular crisis of the natural world and whatever opportunities may present themselves in this pandemic crisis. There are many worthy causes and I have given to many of them in small ways at various times. But we must do what we can to be people who address the needs of the planet we all share. A different type of person would look at my budget and say it was not responsible to for me to give anything. It might well be better citizenship to try and secure my wobbling financial survival. But I have lived on a different trajectory than merely securing myself for all of my life. So I gave a little to a cause that can afford to think large thoughts about the Earth’s problems.

The Nature Conservancy Logo
You Can Trust the Conservancy!
BBB Accredited Charity
Thank you, Frank!
Your gift of $25.75 ensures that the lands and waters you love get the protection they need.

I  am along way from putting together a coherent environmental program in this post. I have spelled out something closer in the model constitutions that were written to inspire a debate and dialog that never really ensued. The images below are more decoration than anything else but they illustrate a few connections to the Earth that have been highlighted in this blog.  I am leaving out many other things.

I was not in the mood to celebrate the rest the Earth is getting because the way it has come about depresses me in a number of ways.  Yet it is not possible for me to fail to celebrate this chance to see what a time of Natural Sabbath can do. It is one of the signs of hope in a troubled and troubling view of the future.

There is not a lot that is lighthearted in my experience of the pandemic and quarantine at this point. I hope that this is the worst my  experience gets — that I am not all that cheerful. I have plenty of time to reflect on the choices, actions and experiences that have gotten me to the place where I am in life. I really do not need  that because I have had so much time alone and have spent so much time focusing on what my own choices have and have not meant. I am aware, as I often have been; that I am not getting close to where I have felt the need to be in my life. because of the human crisis I also donated to a local cause helping to confront the coronavirus crisis head-on. Here is one of my receipts for that kind of thing. I replaced a few digits of the transaction ID with asterisks to protect myself and used a plain text facsimile of that receipt.

Donation Details
Date: April 23, 2020
Transaction ID: ****-9658-****-6886
Purpose: Acadian Museum
Reference: Sewing with Savoie
Donation to: Acadian Museum
Donation from: frank64summers3@gmail.com
Donation amount: $10.00 USD

There have been plenty of times when $36.00 would make a crucial difference in my own life. There will be plenty more times like that if I survive this current crisis and whatever crises are coming next. So why remain engaged. I am barely a blip on the economic screen — why try to live at all as a part of the solution?

As I often do, I am raising questions here that transcend anything I can address in this post. Only in reading a great deal of this blog can one answer the question of what I think are the reasons for myself or other individuals to connect with larger goals or issues when their lives are themselves not all that balanced and secure.

This is a time when among other things, I have begun an effort to self publish a novel. The fact that I am going that route is a pretty good indication that my life as a whole and my efforts with the novel have not been very successful. If one sells a novel and then later buys it back for self-publishing that can be a sign of success. If one writes a book for one’s business or nonprofit organization then self-publishing can be a sign of success. But to write a big challenging novel about big things and self-publish it is a sign that one is trying to wrap up one’s life’s work in a way that can make some sense and give humane dimensions to the misery of the hellish life one has lived. It is a rational effort to preserve some possibility of good and still be engaged in the present with the work that has consumed much of one’s past. But the company has a lot of appealing qualities and I am hopeful that we can hammer out the details and the novel can get a chance to sell at least a few legitimate copies.  It is not a prospect that excites euphoria and I am aware of more and more work on this endless project which does speak to many of my views about larger issues in the world,

But if in the end I am able to self-publish the novel along the lines that I have thus far negotiated then I will be happy to try to promote it within reason for the rest of my life and perhaps for the remainder of the life of this blog if it comes out while I still have a blog. For me the biggest  connection  of poetry with this crisis has been my spoof of Lying Eyes by the Eagles.

City girls just seem to find out early
How to open doors with just a smile
Wrap her hand and she won’t have to worry
She’ll dress up her face in the new style
Late at night a big old house gets lonely
I guess every form of refuge has its price
And it breaks her heart to think that there are only
A couple of items left for her to sanitize
So she tells her cat she must go out for the evening
To get supplies she knows are running down
The cat doesn’t know where she’s going as she’s leaving
She’s headed for the price-gouging side of town
You can’t hide your desperate eyes
And your smile behind a thin disguise.
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your desperate eyes.

On the other side of town a boy is waiting
With clorox wipes and bleach that he could steal
She drives on through the night anticipating
‘Cause he’ll make her house feel the way it used to feel
She rushes to his truck, they’re close together
She whispers that it’s only for a while
She swears that soon she’ll stay apart forever
She pulls away and leaves him with a smile
She gets home and pours herself a strong one
And stares out at the stars up in the sky
Another night it’s gonna be a long one
She draws the shade and hangs her head to cry
She wonders how it ever got this crazy
She thinks about the job she had at school
Did she get tired or did she just get lazy?
That job’s so far gone she feels just like a fool
My oh my, you sure know how to arrange things
You set it up so well, so carefully
Ain’t it funny how your new life sure did change things?
You try to be the girl you used to be
You can’t hide your cryin’ eyes
Your stock of tp is in demise.
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your cryin’ eyes
There ain’t no way to hide your cryin’ eyes


But even as i am struggling to reach the clam places where I do my best reading, I remain a person who has read a great deal. My life is a lot about reading and writing — but is not only about that.  I have spent a great deal of time on this blog. It is not entirely clear why I have done so but it is clear that I have pursued some causes and hobbies. I have also neglected some of these few areas that I am interested in beyond my own obligations day by day and year by year. There may never be a novel published which addresses my visions of what a responsible citizen of the the human race and Earth must deal with  — but I am working on it and I have spent real money as well as a vast amount of time on this project. The novel is much more complex than the current taste will support and there is no reason to believe that it will turn a huge profit as I have planned to release it but it is very important to me.

The Pandemic has felt like the best time so far to push to get this novel out in some form of publication before I die. But I am no going to discuss the details of the novel here. I am going discuss other literary works in this post and merely alert people that I hope to have a novel coming out soon.  It is a time to explore new aspects of the blog as we evolve into new manifestations of society, social distancing is something poets have dealt with.

Poets like Neruda have discussed why there is something special and worth noting about a man’s desire for and fondness for the woman too far away for him to touch. Many things good and bad can be said about love from afar. But Neruda simply attempts and honest contrast between love that is hot intense sex close at hand and the kind that brings a distant woman closer into his heart. It is a poem worth thinking about these days.

This blog is mostly in English but here is a Spanish Poem.

On the other hand we see the horrors that lurk in the pulling apart of people suggested in one of the most studied and analyzed poems in English. Do we allow this time to drive up ancient horrors suppressed by Christian civilization even more than recent decades have allowed such things? Do we allow the response to lose contact with the wiser minds that set the response in motion — like a falcon leaving its master and not returning? Do we hope mindlessly for some great fulfillment of prophetic potential like the second coming of Christ — when we ought to be seeking to avoid the cheap and tawdry catastrophes that may well beset us.

The Second Coming
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989)

So what will the new world order that is emerging look like? How can new art in words help a better order to emerge? As always I leave more question to answer and resolve few questions at the end of thispost.

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