Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking for followers!

Happy New Year, everyone! In 2015 I am more intentional about looking for followers on this blog and Facebook. If you don't mind doing so, I will gladly reciprocate!  Thanks!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Can a picture connect various points of one's life?

Carol Worthington Levy  "Road to Assisi"

     I had heard of Assisi before I took an art history course in Italian Renaissance Art from Dr. Eugenio Battisti at Penn State in 1972. The animated professor, speaking in Italian-accented British English,  prepared me well for my first trip to Europe in 1973. Previously in my education art had been for those who could actually paint, draw, or sculpt. As Dr. Battisti moved us from Cimabue and Giotto onward, I learned how to appreciate art. When I went to Rome nad Florence, I knew what to see. 
      On my third trip to Europe in 1976, I actually spent some time in Assisi. A 200 Lira miniature of St. Francis of Assisi graced my office wall at UC-Irvine when I returned to the States, which gave my then Doktorvater proof that I had become Roman Catholic.
     I had long stopped writing poetry when my good friend Carol made us a present of the above picture. Too many sermons, papers, and what-not crowded my time; anyway the Muse was not speaking to me. But something about this picture made me write poetry again. 
     What poetry does a poet actually read? I picked up some books at the recent Local authors workshop in Columbia, South Carolina, recently. One of them was Henry Sloss' The Threshold of the New, University of South Carolina Press, 1997. Sloss had been an expatriate in central Italy for over a decade, and I was intrigued by the book. 
     Maybe all of this will inspire me to write again of Umbria and Tuscany. 

     Here is what I wrote about 14 years ago inspired by the painting. My students would tell you that is ekphrasis!  


Vineyards climb the hillsides, stretching to the sun
slender, towering trees surround the towered abbey
clear blue sky reaches to the Umbrian plain below.

There are several roads to Assisi; some quicker than others,
some easier to travel, some never taken
the way up from San Damiano is arduous
for both body and soul.

One pauses now and then up the mountain to rest
and to glimpse far off in the distance past the
vineyards and villages.

For now the city is the immediate goal
to look at the Giottos in a cool afternoon in the Duomo
but to where will one later be beckoned?
not the destination, but the journey, matters most.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Is "O Come, All Ye Faithful" ("Adeste Fidelis") subversive?

     If I had only know this when I was writing for my high school newspaper! This has been one of my favorite Christmas hymns, maybe because of the two years I spend learning Latin. I wondered if the author and composer, John Francis Wade, was an ancestor of Philadelphia station WFI's disc jockey Long John Wade. Although I am not British by ancestry, I do confess to being an Anglophile, and loved the tales and ballads about Bonnie Prince Charlie Stuart.

     A few months ago I even had two separate dreams about all of this, one of which I included in a poem. My wife shakes her head at all of this. She she is partially of Scots ancestry, I suppose she knows best. In one dream, I was plotting for the Pretender's (James "III's") cause. In the second I was with the Prince during the '45 trying to persuade him to take another route through England.

     Years later I learn this very stirring hymn was written to encourage Jacobites that there was an heir to the throne who would restore the Stuarts. I post a few links about that, and also a solo performance by Friar Alessandro.

     My UK friends and readers can safely sing this song without risk of treason against the Crown. the House of Hanover proved to be better rulers, but part of me will always wonder....... - about the gymn from the Daily Mail the Friar sings

Finally, my poem about the two dreams in one night:

Two Dreams in One
Somebody tell me the purpose of dreams!
Divine disclosure of mysterion,
Daytime fears shrouded in nocturnal forms,
Perhaps stagnated Freudian stages
Relentlessly chasing the recumbent
Ego within a seven-hour span.

Last week I guided a group to Berlin
On a high-speed train early in the day.
Like Vonnegut’s hapless Billy Pilgrim,
Suddenly I became unstuck in time,
Finding myself in a wig in London,
A Tory MP and deeply enmeshed
In Jacobite intrigue so that “James III”
Could leave the quotation marks in St. Germain
And not be the king across the water/

Although I prefer the train to treason
I would accept either one if only

Somebody tell me the purpose of dreams!

For the record, I would rather be in Berlin.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

1611 Wallace Street, Philadelphia

The Metropolitan of Wallace Street

A few Baltic households remained,
Interspersed throughout the barrio:
Bodegas and the Roberto Clemente Center
Between churches built by Russians,
Swedes, and Lithuanians two generations ago.

Re-gentrification rolled slowly from the west
Around the Art Museum, heading
Block by block toward North Broad,
Adding another ingredient to the mix.

In the 1600 block of Wallace Street
Gold-blazoned letters and Slavic cross
Announced the Holy Resurrection Cathedral
Inside the red-brick row house next to the
Vacant lot and music-blaring bodega.

From what once was a living room
The Divine Liturgy was served weekly to
Family and anyone who wandered in.
Metropolitan Trevor, Archbishop of Wallace Street
And renegade non-canonical Orthodox
Held forth with bargain-basement vestments,
A button-festooned miter and minimalistic icons

Late evening, humid or frigid, he walked
The nearby streets, consoling the
Derelict and drugged,
Pressing five dollar bills into hands,
Offering brief words of consolation,
A shooting star over a desperate earth.

During daylight standing with
Those who tried to temper abuse and
Ravages of urban living and
Herding the far-flung cats of
His nebulous jurisdiction.

On my last visit, again pleading with me to
Follow his course in any way I chose,
Standing with him at the altar for
The first and last time
Presiding over a dwindling flock on
A sweltering August morning.

When newsletters and notes no longer to
The Land of Enchantment came
I called to learn why, never expecting to
Hear how cancer short-circuited
Career and family to oblivion.
Halfway-reconciled to all he loved,
And to the God whose light nonetheless
Shone through the fully-human
Yet touched by the divine,
Metropolitan of Wallace Street
Asked for a cigar and soon
Passed from one life to the next.

Arthur Turfa © 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Winter Solstice song from Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull has one foot in the folk tradition. Dave Pegg of the Fairport Convention also played bass with Tull for several years. "Songs from the Wood", released in 1977, reaches beyond folk to the Celtic/British pagan tradition. While not my cup of tea at all, I do like the song so enjoy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" /"Sleepers Awake"

   Philipp Nicolai was a Lutheran pastor in Westphalia, Germany, during a time of plague. His poem, which he set to music (J.S. Bach based Cantata 140 on it later), has become a beloved Advent hymn. When I learned the hymn during my seminary days (more precisely in the basement of my fieldwork parish in St. Louis) I was astounded with the text. the music speaks for itself.

   My previous studies of the German Baroque, which was a hot topic back in the day for Germanisten, always were presented from the following point of view. There was some good poetry, but people had to adhere to dogma of the Reformation or Counter-Reformation, which diminished the poetic quality in all but a few instances.

   However, I began to see that was not the case, I present the original, an English translation, and a link to an organ instrumental. Whatever one believes or does not believe, my wish is that he or she can simply enjoy the artistry if nothing else. I shall place the music first:

1. "Wachet auf," ruft uns die Stimme
Der Wächter sehr hoch auf der Zinne,
"Wach auf du Stadt Jerusalem!
Mitternacht heißt diese Stunde!"
Sie rufen uns mit hellem Munde:
"Wo seid ihr klugen Jungfrauen?
Wohlauf, der Bräutigam kommt,
Steht auf, die Lampen nehmt!
Macht euch bereit zur Hochzeitsfreud;
Ihr müsset ihm entgegengehen!"
2. Zion hört die Wächter singen,
Das Herz tut ihr vor Freuden springen,
Sie wachet und steht eilend auf.
Ihr Freund kommt vom Himmel prächtig,
Von Gnaden stark, von Wahrheit mächtig;
Ihr Licht wird hell, ihr Stern geht auf.
Nun komm, du werte Kron,
Herr Jesu, Gottes Sohn!
Wir folgen all zum Freudensaal
Und halten mit das Abendmahl.
3. Gloria sei dir gesungen
Mit Menschen- und mit Engelzungen,
Mit Harfen und mit Zimbeln schön.
Von zwölf Perlen sind die Tore
An deiner Stadt, wir stehn im Chore
Der Engel hoch um deinen Thron.
Kein Aug hat je gespürt,
Kein Ohr hat mehr gehört
Solche Freude.
Des jauchzen wir und singen dir
Das Halleluja für und für.

Wake, awake, for night is flying;
The watchmen on the heights are crying:
Awake, Jerusalem, at last!
Midnight hears the welcome voices
And at the thrilling cry rejoices;
Come forth, ye virgins, night is past;
The Bridegroom comes, awake;
Your lamps with gladness take;
Alleluia! And for His marriage feast prepare
For ye must go and meet Him there.
Zion hears the watchmen singing,
And all her heart with joy is springing;
She wakes, she rises from her gloom;
For her Lord comes down all glorious,
The strong in grace, in truth victorious.
Her star is risen, her light is come.
Ah come, Thou blessèd One, God’s own belovèd Son:
Alleluia! We follow till the halls we see
Where Thou hast bid us sup with Thee.
Now let all the heavens adore Thee,
And saints and angels sing before Thee,
With harp and cymbal’s clearest tone;
Of one pearl each shining portal,
Where we are with the choir immortal
Of angels round Thy dazzling throne;
Nor eye hath seen, nor ear hath yet attained to hear
What there is ours, but we rejoice and sing to Thee
Our hymn of joy eternally.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Local Authors Workshop

Wonderful time at the Richland County (South Carolina) Public Library's Local Author Showcase! I made some new friends, bought some books, and picked up some tips for next year when I will be there.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Zappa and Beefheart "Torture Never Stops"

     The song could be ripped from this week's headlines, but it is of course much older. the song actually appeared on Zoot Allures in 1976.  In the light of recent revelations about post-9/11 "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques", the song bears deserves remembrance.
     On a personal note, had I not transferred US Army Reserve units in 2002, I would have been in Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. There but for the grace of God.....

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Jim Morrison Birthday 8 December 1943

     Handsome as Adonis, destructive as Dionysus, but creative as Apollo: so can one sum up Jim Morrison of the Doors. Many speculate on what John Lennon, murdered this date in 1980, might have become. I also speculate on what might have been Morrison's future. Certainly he was well-read and talented. Most of what he wrote came in a burst of around 18 months. I suspect he would have had a few more bursts in him, had he not died in Paris right before my high school graduation in 1971.

    I always liked the lyricism of "The Crystal Ship" from the eponymous debit album from 1967. While there are certainyl songs that are played more frequently, this one always pleased me. Perhaps this side of Morrison might have appeared more often had he mellowed.

   Enjoy the song!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

More on Rilke

From the Sonnets to Orpheus, #3:   Original

A sample of the cycle at the close of the weekend.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Rainier Maria Rilke born 5 December 1875

Rainer Maria Rilke was born 5 December 1875 in Prague. I took a seminar on him at UC-Irvine ages ago, led by Egon Schwarz. I wish I remembered more about it, as I have come to a greater appreciation of Rilke. I did re-connect with Dr. Schwarz in St. Louis (he was visiting from Washington University) when I started seminary

   Rilke's Orpheus sonnets also have been influential for me, especially the concept of "singing is being/ Gesang ist Dasein"

   During that pivotal senior year in high school when I was permitted to spend a lot of time in the library (officially the Instructional Materials Center) I also read a dual-language version of his "Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph von Rilke/ The Lay of the Love and Death of Cornet Christoph von Rilke".

    During one of the times reading, one of the librarians came and demanded of me, "Arthur! What are you doing here? " I innocently answered, "Reading". I explained that my teacher allowed me to be there, and I had a daily study hall also. She was not impressed.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Poets Community will lead you to R.G. Kirk's great community!     Check it out!

Cover photo

Frank Zappa - 21 years since his passing

     Zappa died on 4 December 1993. I remember playing Hot Rats that evening; that was the first vinyl I could find in my collection. He died too early, and I often wonder what he would be doing musically and politically had he indeed lived.
     Elsewhere I have spoken about my meeting the band at Penn State in April 1973, which netted me an autograph from Frank. Tonight I want to speak about the picture.
     What is generally not known is how much of an influence and inspiration Zappa was in Eastern Europe, starting from the Cold War. Vaclav Havel, playwright-turned-politician from the former Czechoslovakia attested to this fact. Artists longing for freedom on all levels sensed a vitality and creativity unlike anything they had ever known.
     The picture is from the eastern part of Berlin. I would post my own picture, but the when I was in town for a seminar in 2011, time was tight and the only day I had to take the picture of the street from the Marzahn district was the day before I flew out. I spent most of the morning and early afternoon with some friends from the seminar touring the vast Museum of German History, and ending up going to a late lunch with them.  Ach, next time! The weather was nto so great then, anyway.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mark Twain born 30 November 1835

     There is a picture of Twain in my classroom, from a series of Great American Authors. Occasionally someone remarks that I resemble him. Usually that means that it is time for me to get a haircut, because when the white shows and curls over my ears and collar, that is when I need a trim.

    Twain (born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri), wrote some poems, but is of course far better-known for his novels and short stories. My fourth-grade teacher read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to us, and all of the boys dreamed of rafting on the Mississippi. The nearby Monongahela was not as exotic, but it did flow into the Ohio, which in turn flow into the Mississippi. We contented ourselves with roaming the woods.

     He skewered the excesses of The Gilded Age; I wish he could shed lite on our current state of affairs! I offer one of his many famous quotes:
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

Friday, November 28, 2014

William Blake, poet, artist, visionary, was born in London, England, 28 November 1757. Here is the text for his beloved "Jerusalem". Blake alludes to the legend that Joseph of Arimathea took the young Jesus on trips to Britain (Joseph supposedly having interest in some mines there). However, Blake talks also about the negative effects of the Industrial Revolution.  If only Blake could talk with Pope Francis and Senator Bernie Sanders!    I

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Lovely Tribute from Amrita Valan on Seriousl Lovers of Poetry

When I saw this, I was thrilled, honored, and humbled. Actually, I still am. What a joy to be part of so many communities stretching all over the globe!

I share my first tribute ever from Amrita Valan as posted on the Serious Lovers of Poetry site. Thanks, Amrita! 
Arthur Turfa
Warren Goff
Existentialist or absurdist
Isms are minor dust motes in your dreaming eyes
You see through life and all its lies    -  Amrita Valan, Seriousl Lovers of Poetry Facebook Group.

Amrita honored a group of us, and I am sure that I speak for all included when I offer her my thanks.Below is a picture of the interior of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Church in Paincourtville, LA. My wife and I visited there this summer and I have written about the church.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pearls Before Swine's musical setting of W.H. Auden's "Footnote"

Not quite a significant song, but I was fascinated by a contemporary group writing music for a poem whos author was still alive and who appeared in my textbook.

Rapp went on to be a lawyer, but I liked Pearls Before Swine. They really did not tour, but maybe tht added to their mystique.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Promotion at Words on Fire google+community

I am extremely honored to have been promoted to Owner at Words on Fire on Google+, along with a few other fine poets: M Macharia and Frederick Andrews. Thanks, Michael David Saunders Hall!    This is not our logo, but it is impressive!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Berlin Wall Opens

A Quarter Century after the Wall Fell

Early each November
Watching programming she knows
And never could forget:
A cast of dour, sullen satraps
Reading from scripts others wrote
Totally incapable of ad-libbing
To hundreds of thousands
Totally tired of hearing mendacity.

Her tears flowing like the Elbe
Northwestward, through the border
Whose permanence was endured,
She sits a half-day’s drive
From when she watched long ago.

Born the year the Wall arose
That decisively sundered the city,
She waited in line for a future
Drabber than what she deserved
But as inevitable as the next dawn.

Sudden stumbling toward unity
Granted her what she most desired.
Her tears are not only for the past,
But also for the unexpected life she has.

Arthur Turfa © 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Significant Song Number 12
"Are You Sure Hank Done it This Way?"   Waylon Jennings 1975

     I wish I had caught this when it was released. Springsteen broke out that year, and as a graduate student living all right but not comfortably well at University of California-Irvine, I could not afford all o fthe records I wanted to buy. Actually I was slowly replacing what was lost in my move West from Pennsylvania (sad story).
     Waylon wrote this song which took the glitzy trands in Country music to task. He was moving toward Outlaw status, and wrote this really as a rock song. When I reflect on how something is deviating from its roots nowasays, this song comes to mind.
      For me, it was important to find out how something or some movement was done from the beginning. German historian Leopold von Ranke concentrated on "wie es eigentlich gewsen" (how it actually was), and I felt that way long before I knew about him.
     As a teenager that interest led into the early years of Christianity (it srill does). Concerning poetry, it is in searching older forms but also caputring newer inspirations to retain their vigor and freshness.
     Enjoy the song!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Significant Song Number 11

Joni Mitchell turned 71 on 7 November. Born in Fort MacLeod, Alberta, Canada, she deftly weaves through musical genres and has always been esteemed for her lyrics. "Song for a Seagull", her first album, especially shiens in that regard; she dedicated it to an English teacher.  Tom Rush covered this song well, but I do homage to the songwriter now. Since I have written lyrics for one song, (that's an earlier post!) I hope do some small fraction as well as those whom I admire.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dulce et decorum est

Kenneth Branagh reads Wilfred Owen's classic poem "Dulce et decorum est". Owen died in combat 4 November 1918 in Belgium one week before the Armistice. My great-uncle Edmonds Schollaert died in France of pneumonia a month before that. My only quibble with the recording is the non-classical pronunciation of "Dulce", which should be "Dule-Kay".

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sonnet for All Saints Day caption
Sonnet for All Saints Day

Annually attention focuses
On those beyond our communication.
Spaces imbued now with their silence,
Hallowed for one or hallowed for many.
The consolation is we must not wait
That long; whenever necessary we
Can commemorate them upon hearing
A certain song, seeing a photo or place.
Not yet can the dividing veil rise up
So that we now see as clearly as they.
But the veil acquires a translucency
Allowing a glimpse of uncreated light.
For an instant, eternity flows through.
We behold in them what we shall become.

Arthur Turfa, © 2014

Significant Song Number 10

The Mothers of Invention

from the double album "Freak Out"

I had known about protest music before 1966, but not with a rock beat. Here was actual social commentary and satire interwoven with good contemporary music, not something good to an old-fashioned beat!

The more I listened to the Mothers and learned about Zappa, the more I was excited. In 1973 I actually met the band when they played Penn State. Using my campus radio station credentials (which consisted of, "I'm with WDFM"), I managed to hang out with the band for a bit over two days and received Zappa's autograph, which hangs framed on my wall. My son says that when I do not need it anymore, it is going on Ebay in an instant.

Zappa evolved into a type of statesman, astounding many but not me. What i took from this is that I should not be afraid of who I am or what I think. that was a good message for a teenager/young man, and is not bad today!

Friday, October 31, 2014

31 October. Octopowrimo

Waves of Renewal

History flows in five hundred year waves
As I learned  as an undergraduate.
A few years more and we commemorate
95 Theses nailed on  church door
Amidst searches for lodging, friends,
Announcements for disputations
And similar convocation.
Miles away I wonder if anything
Slouches  toward Wittenberg
To catch a coming wave.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

28 October Octopowrimo

A Day after Sylvia Plath's Birthday

You felt the men in your life let you down;
in some ways you were right
but in others shared the culpability.
Perhaps had you written a poem to Ted
some of the anger increasing in you
might have escaped and granted
you more time, more writing.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dylan Thomas Centennary
I read this in high school and began to appreciate poetry that did not rhyme or exist in four-line stanzas.

Octopowrimo 27 October

27 October

A century ago this day
Dylan Thomas drew breath.
For far too short a time
he invited us into his world
telling us of Wales
as only a Welshman can,
using the mastery and majesty
of language and sound
to sweeten our lives.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

26 October Octopowrimo

Reformation Sunday

A quick scan of the anthem before singing
reveals familiar hymnody
recalls others like it
sung in far-off places.

By no means a musicologist
I repeat what I hear
until with confidence and
enough proficiency
add my own spin to it
joining my voice to others,

This is the root of traditio
passing it on to others.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Octopowrimo 25 October

This Time Last Year

This time last year was reconnection.
In some cases, like sitting in
the cafeteria or hanging ot
in the mall after school,
In others attempting to gather
wisps of memories of sitting
in some class or another.
But what matters most of all
is that we are watching the
memorial slideshow
pausing at each picture
remembering them as
they were once and
ever will be to us.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Continuation 23 October----Octopowrimo

The Twelve Bridges Road

If you are going to the Eccentricity
you travel the Twelve Bridges Road;
some of them are span a creek
or a tributary stream
but the one over the Broad River
stretches out in the sunlight,
a slender ribbon between
widely-separated bluffs.

Coming from the old place

the route was shorter
but not as interesting.
Flatness between fields
punctuated by crossroads.

But now out of friendship 
and a sort of obligation
I travel the Twelve Bridges Road

Not being told some things,
but expected to know them.
Not being told other things,
because I am not in the loop,
I offer pieces of the puzzle
but some are working on it
with pieces unknown to me
in clandestine conversations
while I am on the Twelve Bridges Road.

At some point you must realize
the road only goes so far.
Eventually you sense that
there are others roads to travel
and that you will never
resolve the enigma.

Since then I have never traveled
along the Twelve Bridges Road
through forest and crossroad
across streams, the North Tyger
or descended from the ridge
downward toward the Broad River.

Other roads delight me
and I roam to other places.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

22 October continuation Octopowrimo

Continued from 21 October.....

If you are going to the eccentric place
you travel the Twelve Bridges Road;
some of them are span a creek
or a tributary stream
but the one over the Broad River
stretches out in the sunlight,
a slender ribbon between
widely-separated bluffs.

Coming from the old place
the the route was shorter
but not as interesting.
Flatness between fields
punctuated by crossroads.

But now out of friendship 
and a sort of obligation
I travel the Twelve Bridges Road

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Twelve Bridges Road- Draft Octopowrimo 21 October

This will be over several days' time:

If you are going to this  county seat
you travel the Twelve Bridges Road;
some of them are span a creek
or a tributary stream
but the one over the Broad River
stretches out in the sunlight,
a slender ribbon between
widely-separated bluffs

Collaboration with Denise Baxter Yoder

I merely wrote the lyrics, and she did all of the magic! Thanks, Denise!

Monday, October 20, 2014

20 October Octopowrimo

Newly-mown fields offer some perspectives
to me as I drive by late afternoons.
Dotted with circular bales of hay
resembling loose wheels from some
wagon that is nowhere in sight,
offering a manicured look,
But I know the grass slowly grows
waiting for the wind to blow through it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

At the Lakeshore- 19 October OctopowrimoAcross the blue-green water before usAcross

My dog and I, standing at the lakeshore
on a sunlit October afternoon:
the brisk, autumnal air reminded us
that the new season was well underway.
Across the blue-green water before us
blazed several clusters of distant trees
red-orange-yellow interspersed by green
of Southern pines among the hardwoods.
Pausing, looking, savoring the moment,
the Husky in her relishing coolness,
the pragmatist in me realizing
that the once-distant is now much closer.
She in her way, and I in my own way
acknowledge what waits as we head for home.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

18 October Octopowrimo

Catching the afternoon sunlight
Trees stretch skyward in colors
Of gold, red, orange and constant green.
Barely a ripple on the waters,
Nor sound here or over there.
Serenity spreads as far as eye can see.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

14 October Octopowrimo

The music we hear tonight live
we heard long ago
in halcyon times
of learning about each other.
Now the music
reminds us of those times
and of how our lives
have been sweetened
by the people we are

Monday, October 13, 2014

13 October Octopowrimo

To slake artistic thirst
only Castalia's springs
will satisfy.

Hurry then!
We shall go
and savor the taste
of inspiration
at its very source.

Friday, October 10, 2014

10 October Octopowrimo

A burst of velocity between treetops
framing the exit ramp
Southbound geese in uneven chevron
I wanted to head whence they came

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Octopowrimo 9 Oct

Asking which name I use decades later
causes me to wonder if you remember
what you so long ago used.
History's curse and blessing is memory.
What went awry becomes a wry moment in today.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Octopowrimo 8 October

Variations on a theme
that was discordant the first time.
Different composers attempt
melody but mire in cacophony.
Oblivious the band plays on.

Monday, October 6, 2014


For 7 October:

Gonzo-like hammering on the keyboard
in hopes of ome spark catching fire
and flaring across the universe
for admiring minds to ooh and ah
seeking temporary relief from
constant anxiety. Poets do their best.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

5 Octopowrimo

Slender narrow yellow fringe
shimmers in the east.
Pastures and farmland await dawn
in autumn coolness.
The stars have moved on
so blue skies may fill the heavens.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Telos of Time

The Telos of Time
If all time is indeed
Eternally present, somehow
Past and present coexisting
With future that has been
Will have been
And contained in every moment
That was, is, or will be,
How is any moment discerned?

Am I soaking my sneakers
In morning’s dew
In early coolness
With the sunrise over the hill
And sitting in the den
Composing these lines
As darkness shrouds the tall pines
Or as I do whatever it shall be
In the years granted
Wherever, however I will spend them?

Blissfully unaware of the connection
We remain
Separating them by tenses and times
Compelling time into a flowing stream
Into whose waters we step only once
At any given time.

Every so often, some of us
Glance at distant stars
Whose fleeting constellations
Show connections we perhaps
Suspected and set our course anew

At the axis mundi
Where the veil between
Eternity and time
Is somewhat lifted,
We experience the
Moment above time,
The transcendent moment
Where Creator and creature
Redeemer and redeemed,
Sanctifier and sanctified
From all places and times,
Host holding a host
Shatter time as it is measured
Transitioning into timelessness.

Through action long ago
Continuing, never repeated,
We stand on the verge
Of was-is-will be and
Never-changing now
Ever onward-rushing
To consummation.

© Arthur Turfa, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014



From close by I behold them:
Deftly turning above the surface,
Gliding in and out of it,
A blur of bluish-purple.
Blending with the sky.
Honey-hued skin beaded with water
Catching the afternoon sun
Glowing with transient diamonds
In beauteous evaporating evanescence 
The naiads take their leave.
© Arthur Turfa, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Leonard Cohen from THE GUARDIAN

Cohen has evolved into a towering figure in the arts. Here is an article from The Guardian.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ted Hughes' "Birthday Letters"

   I am savoring these poems. Hughes has an innovative style and I believe I will experiment with it as soon as the muse strikes me. Hughes was Poet Laureate when he broke his silence about his marriage to Sylvia
Plath through these poems. He always addresses her as "you" in them.
   Ironically and interesting enough, a poet friend of mine is reading Plath's journals right now.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bruce Springsteen's "Into the Fire"

     Springsteen captures the pathos and tragedy of 9/11 by focusing on the valiant firefighters who went up to their deaths while trying to save lives. The music of the refrain assumes a defiant pose and suggests to e that the last chapter in this book has yet to be written.
     During the 1970s roch and roll was moribund. Springsteen came out of nowhere and revivifed the genre, saving it from the mindlessness of disco. I cannot imagine a disco song that could speak to eloquently to the 9./11 events, or anyhting of important; certainly nothing beyond shaking one's booty all night uh-huh uh-huh.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Moderator at Words on Fire

I am thrilled and honored to be one of several new moderators at the google community's Words on Fire. Thanks for the offer, and I look forward to it! It is always nice to be recognized by peers, and to have fine poets pay you this great honor.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Manuscript sent off!

Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint, they tell me. I sent off my final manuscript of "Poems of Places and Times, Reflected", and now we will see what needs to be edited or otherwise changed before projected release date on April 7, 2015 by eLectio Publishing! Thanks to all who helped me along, and to those who have asked about it!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Significant Song Number 9:   "Thick as a Brick" and "A Passion Play" by Jethro Tull

     Appearing one after the other in 1972 and 1973, these two concept albums had different receptions. "Thick as a Brick" fared better than "A Passion Play", but I enjoy them both. Ian Anderson and the rest of the band took their music to the concept album with an extended song or songs centered around one idea. Certainly they were not the first to do so, but the albums are intriguing.
     The parody of a small town newspaper works well, especially with its scandal. From my literature classes, I knew what a passion play was, and appreciate the treatment given the genre here. Actually there were many medieval and baroque tales of people after their death, related so that the audience would avoid their fate.
     I liked to let one of them play while I am doing other work; I do not want to be searching for something every five minutes or so. Last week Sirius XM played the entire "A Passion Play" remastered version, and I appreciated it all over again.; except for the spoken part about a hare losing his spectacles. When visiting London, I remember seeing the Fulham Road, but do not remember rushing!
    Perhaps some of my longer poems or cycles have been inspired by these concept albums. I cannot say for sure, but I never tire of listening to them.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Revolution Shmevolution
   (inspired by S.L. Weisend)

The revolution will not be televised at all,
(nor will it even\r taken place)
not even on PBS, where Boomers relive
the pasts they wished they had experienced/

The revolution almost happened
but it cut too deeply into party time
and Disco was more fun than protest songs
and the Beatles broke up anyway.
(Who could dance to Sgt. Pepper?)
Most people graduated and looked for work
even without mountains of crushing debt
like their children and children’s children have.

No one misses the revolution
Dennis Hopper went on to vote for W.
Everyone watches reality television,
voyeurism of celebrities and pseudo singer/dancers.
In Andy Warhol’s American
everyone had 15 minutes of fame.
In today’s America
Everyone has a diagnosis.

Revolution sounds communist anyhow,
or at least like Democrats and pinkos,
and everyone wants their slice
of the American Pie before illegals
or the Federal government takes it.
Entitlements are no good, but
some people want theirs all the same.

There won’t be a revolutions
but plenty of time for high desert standoffs
with flags waving and microphones
flanking the AK-47s
which are essential to freedom
so long as the right people have them
and those who want social justice
better duck before it hits the fan.

The world does not end with a bang
But with whimpering phone calls
To talk show radio hosts before
They cut to commercials
For ginseng, gold coins, and
Rabid political attack ads
Droned into ears in
crescendos of cacophony
until it seems true enough
Mistah Kurtz- he still dead!

Reviews Are So Very Important to Writers, and So Hard to Get

      When my first poetry book was published seven years ago, I dutifully asked readers/friends to review it. That book, Places and Times, ...