Saturday, August 15, 2015

Some Flowers

Nice Poppy - where I live

Nice flowers - where I live

This Summer there are some nice flowers where I live -

Poppies at the Duplex
of a Lodge Member A Year Back

Now the Library Will Close for Two Weeks to Install Radio Frequency Identification

Radio Frequency Identification

This is the Tacoma Public Library definition of the new system that will be installed while they remain closed for the next two weeks:  "RFID is a data collection technology that relies on radio waves to automatically identify items - which in the case of the library includes books, CDs, DVDs, videos, etc. The technology transfers data from an RFID tag to a reader and then to the library's circulation database. An RFID tag is placed on every library item with the barcode number of that item stored on the tag. RFID readers are placed at staff workstations, self check machines, and built into security gates. When the tagged item is placed near a reader, the barcode of that item is sent to the library's circulation system and the item is checked in or out."

Poem "Sorrow in the Bicycle Summer"

Yesterday evening I read this poem at the King's Books reading open mike, the poem was from 1990, twenty-five years ago, my first summer with an adult bike.


When I reach the red light just down at the park
The traffic light lands me, beaches me straddling
my middle bar, until the bicycle seat becomes
a place to sit, furniture I use while my mind drifts.
At the red light I forget I am on my bicycle
And across I notice the tree that rattles
Large feathers of leaves, the spine of a feather
And leaflets beside, and in the wind
The tree from top to low limbs over the curbs
and street can shimmer.  It is a black locust.
And it is my bicycle summer.
Now I am a person on a bicycle.
The swallows circled round my bicycle,
In the night are they asleep
or have they left us for the winter?  It was a lawn,
and a sun that was mercifully a part of the trees.
The sun a heart the leaves crowned,
The sun a heart the leaves screened.
Now the swallows will be gone
And sorrow is for anything, for our sad tables
turned over in the park, for a mislaid towel,
Or for a theorem long forgotten from school.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Edna St. Vincent Millary Pamphlet Removed From Tacoma Public Library

Among some of the Edna St. Vincent Millay work set up for sale by the Tacoma Public Library is a pamphlet of a poem that was read aloud by Ronald Colman on NBC on D-Day.  In the second section, the Prayer, hate can’t win is precursered.  The war rhetoric proclaimed an attack against hate, it is not an original language idea:

“Let us forget such words, and all they mean,
as Hatred, Bitterness and Rancor, Greed,
Intolerance, Bigotry…”

There is a comparison of attacks to rain, earlier this week at a potluck I overheard rain called Nature’s Waterboarding.  I took exception to this language used for rain.

“the downpour of the heavy, evil, accurate, murderous rain;”

I think the loathsome female creatures described are Harpies.  I include the complete text of this poem, over seventy years old. 

            by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Written by Edna St. Vincent Millary for exclusive radio use by The National Broadcasting Company...and read by Ronald Colman on “D-Day” - June 6, 1944 – over the NBC Network

They must not go alone
into that burning building!-which today
is all of Europe!  
that you go with them, spirit and heart and mind!
Although the body, grown
too old to fight a young man's war; or wounded
too deeply under the healed and whitened scars
of earlier battles, must remain behind.

You, too, may not be with them, save in spirit, you
so greatly needed here, here in the very van
and front of Duty,
to fashion tools and engines, and to engineer
their transport; build the ships and mine the coal
without which all their efforts would be worse than vain!

You men and women working in the workshops,
            working on the farms;
makers of tanks and of tractors, fitters of wings
to metal birds which have not left the nest
as yet, which yet must try their flight;
sowers of seed in season, planters of little plants
at intervals, on acres newly plowed
and disked and barrowed,
Out of the Tacoma Public Library
to feed a starving world;

You workers in the shipyards, building ships
which crowd each other down the ways;
you miners of coal in dark and dangerous corridors;
            who see the sun's
total eclipse
each morning, disappearing as you do under the earth's rim,
not to emerge into the daylight till the day's
over, and the light dim;

All you
without whose constant effort and whose skill -
without whose loyal and unfailing aid -
our men would stand
stranded upon a foreign and a hostile shore
without so much as a stout stick to beat away
Death or Pain:
bullets like angry hornets buzzing 'round the ears and the
            bewildered brain,
and from the sky again and yet again
the downpour of the heavy, evil, accurate, murderous rain;

You who have stood behind them to this hour,
move strong behind them now: let still
the weary bones encase the indefatigable Will.

But how can men draw near
so fierce a conflagration? - even here,
across a gray and cold and foggy sea
its heat is felt! - Why,
touch your cheek – is it not hot and tight and dry?

And look what light climbs up the eastern sky, and sinks
and climbs again!
Like the bright Aurora of the North
it floods and flushes, pulses, pales – then glows,
lighting the entire East majestically;
as if it were the sun that rose.
                                                                        I wish it were!
Have patience, friend; it yet may be.

Surely our fibre and our sinews, the backbone
and brain of us, are made of some less common stuff
than clay? - Surely the blood which warms the veins
of heroes at the front, our brothers and our songs,
runs also in our own!
And are we not then capable perhaps of something more courageous
            than we yet have shown?

Surely some talisman, some token of
our lofty pride in them, our heavy gratitude,
and so much, so much love,
will find its way to them!
Some messenger, the vicar and the angel
of what we feel,
will fly before them where they fly, before them and above,
like patron goddesses in wars of old,
cleaving with level lovely brows the hard air
before the eager prows,
lighting their way with incandescent wings and winged heel.

This is the hour, this the appointed time.
The sound of the clock falls awful on our ears,
and the sound of the bells, their metal clang and chime,
tolling, tolling,
for those about to die.
For we know well they will not all come home, to lie
in summer on the beaches.

And yet weep not, you mothers of young men, their wives,
their sweethearts, all who love them well -
fear not the tolling of the solemn bell:
it does not prophesy,
and it cannot foretell;
it only can record;
and it records today the passing of a most uncivil age,
which had its elegance, but lived too well,
and far, oh, far too long;
and which, on History's page,
will be found guilty of injustice and grave wrong.


Oh Thou, Thou Prince of Peace, this is a prayer for War!
Yet not a war of man against his fellowman.
Say, rather Lord, we do beseech
Thy guidance and Thy help:
In exorcising from the mind of Man, where she has made her nest,
a hideous and most fertile beast -
and this to bring about with all dispatch, for look, where even now
            she would lie down again to whelp!

Lord God of Hosts!  Thou Lord O Hosts not only, not alone
of battling armies Lord and King;
but of the child-like heart as well, which longs
to put away – oh, not the childish, but the adult
circuitous and adroit, antique and violent thing
called War;
and sing
the beauties of this late-to-come but oh-so-lovely Spring!
For see
where our young men go forth in mighty numbers, to set free
from torture and from every jeopardy
things that are dear to Thee.

Keep in Thy loving care, we pray, those of our fighting men
whose happy fortune it may be to come back home again
after the War is over; and all those who must perforce remain,
the mourned, the valiant slain.
This we beseech Thee, Lord.  And now before
we rise from kneeling, one thing more:
Soften our hard and angry hearts; make us ashamed
of doing what we do, beneath Thy very eyes, knowing it does
                        displease Thee.
Make us more humble, Lord, for we are proud
without sufficient reason; let our necks be bowed
more often to Thy will;
for well we know what deeds find favor in Thy sight and still
we do not do them.

Oh Lord, all through the night, all through the day,
keep watch over our brave and dear, so far away.
Make us more worthy of
their valor; and Thy love.

“Let them come home!  Oh, let the battle, Lord, be brief,
and let our boys come home!”
So cries the heart, sick for relief
from its anxiety, and seeking to forestall
a greater grief.

So cries the heart aloud.  But the thoughtful mind
has something of its own to say:
“On that day -
when they come home – from very far away -
and further than you think -
(for each of them has stood upon the very brink
or sat and waited in the anteroom
of Death, expecting every moment to be called by name)

Now look you to this matter well;
that they
upon returning shall not find
seated at their own tables, - at the head,
perhaps , of the long, festive board prinked out in prodigal array,
the very monster which they sallied forth to conquer and to quell;
and left behind for dead.”
Let us forget such words, and all they mean,
as Hatred, Bitterness and Rancor, Greed,
Intolerance, Bigotry; let us renew
our faith and pledge to Man, his right to be
Himself, and free.

Say that the Victory is ours – then say -
and each man search his heart in true humility -
“Lord!  Father!  Who are we
that we should wield so great a weapon for the rights
and rehabilitation of Thy creature Man?
Lo, from all corners of the Earth we ask
all great and noble to come forth – converge
upon this errand and this task with generous and gigantic plan:

Hold high this Torch, who will.
Lift up this Sword, who can!” 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Wheelock Library Sale - Later in the Afternoon

The weather is cool although it is sunny and nice.  After I walked downtown to buy two ears of corn at the downtown market, I wanted to take the opportunity that came up to get a bus right away to Wheelock Library.  I wanted to see if there were any old books on sale there.  The bus went through old town and I visited the Round Bank at Proctor before I went to the Library.

They did have one older book I saw, a Music Song Book of Stephen Foster, printed in 1946 and a gift in 1969.  The presence of a past where I once lived nearby me usually reminds me that the past is to be remembered in art. 

Usually the books up for sale at the libraries all the time remind me that, while times change, the books remain useful and tactilely perfect items, objects to admire and to read.  In the 1960s there were no tables of books for sale at the library.  I think it was over twenty years ago that they last sold older books. 

Older Material Up On Display For Sale at The Library

It was so long ago...Years and years have gone by since the library was letting go of older material.  (That was how I acquired Arthur Ransome's Secret Water.)  Older material is up on display for sale today.  As a person I wonder why these titles would go.   A poem by Richard Armour:  "Our furniture is much like us."   In this way, we are let go of... And another title, A Street in Bronzeville, by Gwendolyn Brooks....

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Not Privileged

One box mid-nineties
phone from 1974
To tell the truth, Long Live the Box!  Last Saturday at the church estate/garage sale I sold a box, but two remain.  I bought three alike because I liked them so much and could give them a home as storage/seating in the apartment in 1990. The apartment had a hallway between the room and the galley kitchen, a box fit beside the bathroom door (where I did some upper body weight exercises), and I needed other seating.    Now I am in a  small space.  Last Saturday I worked in the Book Department.

Quickly designed poster
On Facebook today a test about privilege indicates that at 27 out of 100, I am not privileged – however  67 (or so) out of a hundred, I still have individual examples of the box. 
One of the questions on the test was about was about:  I have worried about whether I could pay the rent.  The test results show, I am not privileged.  A question on the test was about public transit.  Today, we got out of the library basement tour at least forty minutes behind schedule.  In addition, the Number 13 bus from Downtown detoured to avoid the canopies over all the Art Festival at 26th and Proctor. After a walk I bought onions and cucumbers at the Proctor Market and was given a small container with a peach slice in it near the Supermarkets… 
Laura Jensen at library

One box July 2015 at sale

So…”You’re not privileged at all. You grew up with an intersectional, complicated identity, and life never let you forget it. You’ve had your fair share of struggles, and you’ve worked hard to overcome them. We do not live in an ideal world and you had to learn that the hard way. It is not your responsibility to educate those with more advantages than you, but if you decide you want to, go ahead and send them this quiz. Hopefully it will help.”Today After the meeting of the Friends of Tacoma Public Library Initiative group, the Library Manager brought a small tour group around, through spaces on the Third Floor and to the Pacific Northwest Room and to the Basement.  The basement has been a legendary place for me, this was the first time I was there.  Twenty-five Years ago after some weeks with a bicycle, I still was riding around.   Fifty years ago, after starting work at the McCormick Branch Library in July, I was still working there.  (I worked there two years, until I graduated from high school.)