Tuesday, July 18, 2017

And another poem from 1993:  A 25-year Reunion Directory, when the catering groups for reunions were only starting up,  was mailed over three months after the event...



The arrival of the reunion directory

was supposed to culminate a series of four events.

I bought wool on sale

and sewed an A-line skirt,

gray plaid with a line of brown.

I biked in my black jeans for the Sunday

smelter smokestack demolition.


I stood two hours in cold on Sunday

in a clear view on a lot with many others,

until they set off charges in the stack

and a puff crawled up the base

and it began to tip, then collapsed

all in a shimmer, down, and that

was how it vanished.  Then I pedaled back.


I wore the skirt on Monday for the march

when they changed the name of K-Street

to Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.  It means

the area is African-American, now,

despite the Valhalla Temple.  Strange,

yet not at all, to walk below the temple

windows behind some Indians.


My mother would not have winked an eye.

And would have played piano,

my father filled prescriptions

where it is now Browne's Star Grill.


When the storm woke me

on Inauguration Day

I dressed in the skirt and a pink sweater.

In the cold and dark of the wind

a panel of fresh tar paper

blew off the roof past my window,

but my radio batteries were good.


Later, when I phoned about the directory, 

they explained rather riskily, already

over three months, they had been

out of power, like so many all weekend long.

This poem from 1993...

UNIVERSAL GRIND   October 21, 1993


Can opener wedged into

slit and slit only a dent

across the several gallon firmament.


Folger's Universal Grind

holds the larger plant up

to the kitchen light,


the Eastern Magician

carries the stars in a row.

But the sense within it


of the useless opener

thwarted and outsmarted

tinctures the idea of it.


Deaths falls out of the glass

like snow -  it fell and fell,

that box of candles


all the listed glass unwraps

tissue papers, all are crowds

of tears all balled


tear-filled hankies

on the floor.  Ice crackles

in the glass,  ice water


down again on the mat.

I want my pieces I've salvaged.

I dreamed last night


that a man carried off

my revere ware pots, I cried

those belonged to my mother.


And after it all, all pieces,

the sorrow chases me

without a brain, undoes


my strenuous agony,

the ministry, from its carport,

cries for charity.


My mind walks

to the cemetery again

to clear a leaf off our name.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Revision - Slideshow Audio

A day or two after I posted Vart skall jag köra hästar och vagn?   I revised.  Information had appeared on Facebook that pointed out changes necessary to improve the translation.  Also, I had seen the gap - between the two times the song was played - was too wide.  I had seen I wanted to enlarge the crops from the photo.  So I made a new copy from the song recording and made new slides with the improved translation.  So far I like the new version.

Friday, June 30, 2017

A Reeves Soundcraft Recording Disc contains two songs by the Order of Runeberg Choir:  Slumrande Toner and Vart skall jag köra hästar och vagn?  I did a slideshow audio for Slumrande Toner and posted it at Facebook earlier, yesterday I posted a slideshow audio for Vart skall jag köra hästar och vagn?  


Vart skall jag köra hästar och vagn?   was on the program at the April 30, 1955 Runeberg Songfest in Seattle.   This event was held at a Masonic Temple.


The song is not in the collected songbooks at the Scandinavian Immigrant Experience Archives and not on the internet.  Hasse Nygard shared a link to the three verses and the music through "Malax Bygden Forr och Nu" on Facebook.


It is possible that Order of Runeberg Choir Directors avoided the song  because of content.  A story had to be innocent of any wrong-doing, according to the principles of the Motion Picture Code established in the early 1930s.  Vart skall jag köra hästar och vagn?   is a song about a buggy ride. "The Surrey With The Fringe on Top" met the standard.  In Autumn, 1955, "Love and Marriage…" in a musical of Our Town, by Thornton Wilder, remained met the standard:  "...goes together like a horse and carriage.  Dad was told by mother, You can't have one without the other."


The buggy ride in Vart skall jag köra hästar och vagn?, is a duet about sexuality, and the couple portrayed is clearly not married.  It is possible that Order of Runeberg Choir directors avoided a song like this because of this content.


Much of the translation in the slideshow audio I did is from PLU Archives Director Kerstin Ringdahl.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Novels and Amber Alert and MILK CARTONS – Thirty and more years, since the 1980s milk cartons have spoken in kitchens of children's misfortunes.  The internet now provides Amber Alert.   

The novel I am reading right now is a re-read of a third volume in a mystery series, The Ruth Galloway series.  By Elly Griffiths.  The House At Sea's End, in its scope, also speaks out about children's misfortunes as it continues an exploration of an ancient history of archeological finds in Norfolk, England. 

The books' mild, forgiving approach, an approach of moderation in appeal, shape a character study of the earliest realities of a single mother and her child.  As a reader, I am made aware (The trap is set.) as the father initiates a rendezvous, near the time of the child's first birthday.  The single mother is a forensic archaeologist.

The series includes organic literary references; at one point, in a rowboat, Arthur Ransome's name rises.  Or the characters' goings about feel like Shakespeare's characters lost in a forest.   A new volume in the series is out and before I read it I wanted to re-read to remind myself of this story.  I think the Norfolk, England archaeology setting, the kind approach to the characters, and the stresses of our times make the mystery series important. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The New Park Footbridge Project Seems to Connect to A Previous Pedestrian Path From Point Defiance Park to Ruston Way


Other moments return to my mind at Point Defiance Park and at Ruston.  Among these: my father briefly worked at the smelter, and a member of my mother's First Lutheran Church confirmation class in 1927 ?, a Stanley Nelson, not the only Stanley Nelson, wrote poems of his work at the slag heap of the smelter, he was championed by his daughter Mary Ann Nelson and by Historian Tom Stenger.  My visits are seldom now, but an autumn or two ago as I walked toward the park entry an idea of Stanley Nelson's daughter became a spiritual guide:  I imagined that she, who became a college professor of children's literature, got off the bus where I just had, in a darkening Saturday afternoon, a child with a load of books that included some favorites of mine, the Dean Marshall series.


The nearby park from her childhood might have connected her to the meanings of nature in childrens' favorites.  And also returns to my mind a visit at Tom Stenger's house with her for snacks after the Memorial service for Stanley Nelson at the church after Stanley Nelson' s death.  Ruston had been home, I thought on June 3, 2017,  and looked up a steep newer street.  I left the new Number 15 Pierce Transit Line where above a Northwest Corridor passenger train vanished into the tunnel entry, at Yacht Club Road.


Among my mother's mementos is a 1930s photo on a newspaper magazine supplement front cover where she indicates where her father's fishing boat was moored, just off the edge.  One brother would drive her younger brother out to bring the fishing boat to the Old Town Dock, where everyone could get on so they could cross the bay to visit my grandmother's brothers-in-law, Birger and Eric, on Rosehilla Beach.  My mother's father died in 1931.


There is to be a pedestrian bridge from the park to Ruston Way.  I found one side of the bridge not far from the statue of the man who protected the peninsula of trees and established it as a city park.  I thought I could figure out where the other side of the bridge might be.  So walked down Yacht Club Road and took some pictures. 


The park has been separated from Ruston Way by the Smelter.  I found some three-year-old pictures from an October 2013 Walk and Bike along the waterfront in which I took my bicycle on the bus to the entrance to a hillside path just beyond the portables of the Science and Math Institute of Tacoma Public Schools.  Then a path traversed along the hillside to land at  the wide generous horizons of a spacious Waterfront.  Now the project removes a lot – path fences, trees, and portables and more. 


In my photo a pointy place recently advanced in the new bridge project can be viewed from both sides, Point Defiance, and Ruston Way.  Yes, the bridge seems to connect what had been the traversing pathway to the park.


A photo from 2013, October, shows a fence:  stories of my father say the fence style is a often-used fence style of the early settlers in Whatcom County, where he was born on the shores of Lake Whatcom.  (His family came there and bought a home from people retiring to town in Bellingham.  That was how my father happened to be born in a log cabin in 1902.)