Thursday, June 5, 2008


WHEN: Whenever I feel I have something to say, which is likely to be frequently, but not every day. Life intrudes. A house guest for a few days, as of tomorrow will intrude. People take precedence - always.

WHERE: Here, though I've been told of other blog sites that may offer features I prefer. Blogspot is familiar and easy so far. If I grow technologically bold, I'll brag about it.

WHENCE: Whence comes this impulse? Partly I explored it under "why" but there's a bit more to say. In college a "New Critic" professor, James Cox -- red haired, freckled, young with a theatrical personality was perhaps more memorable than he knew. First of all he made the hair at the back of my neck stand up reading, Emily Dickinson's "I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died." One day he expounded on how our names influence and define us no matter that they are arbitrary. His example was that although Poe was a wonderful story teller, he was not a very good poet -- the problem was a "T" missing from his name. I recognized this as specious then. But an idea had be planted in my youthful mind and it sprouted like a bit of kudzu. Ah, so that's why birthdays are important, why I pay special attention to New Years. ... Well, I know it's not. And I know that now, simply getting older I mark the seasons, even the months and sometimes even the weeks with a feeling like a count down toward an unknown major event. Yes, the kudzu covers more and more of the fields.

Those casual, trying to be clever, those show-off words, little did he know. Little do any of us know which of our words had that little grenade embedded in them and which person -- child, sibling, student, friends, casual acquaintance -- remembers our words and how they have changed someone's life. Johnny Appleseed knew what he was sowing, we don't know. I think of that quite a bit.

For those who don't have a complete Emily Dickenson and aren't likely to Google the poem, here it is in it's wonderful terror-ibleness. It's #465

I heard a Fly buzz -- when I died --
the Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air --
Between the Heaves of Storm --

The Eyes around -- had wrung them dry --
And breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset -- when the King
Be witnessed -- in the Room --

I willed my Keepsakes -- Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable -- and then it was
there inteposed a Fly --

With Blue -- uncertain stumbling Buzz --
Between the light -- and me --
And then the windows failed -- and then
I could not see to see.

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