where our lives meet, there is always time

“I haven’t written to you for a long time,” he scribbled in long hand, “it is not because I have forgotten our times. ” The letter came to a halt in the next white space, meant for paragraphs to be filled, stained with patches of water (something spilled?) mark. “It is Christmas Day and I think of you, standing under the tree outside my window, long hair blowing in the wind, with the kindest look in your smiling dark eyes, just as we first met.” Again, white empty spaces sprawled out where words could have spawned. “I pray you will soon read this friendly invitation and find time to meet your OLD spouse, waiting for love.”

On December 27 he received this —— She replied with a short poem/note below.

Where our lives shall meet

there is always time

icy springs to cross

sunny lanes to walk

yonder old hills for climber

a new river dam for fisher

neighboring wood to hunt

back yard red chili to plant

coops to mend

stocks to feed

glittering stars to behold

fluffy clouds for abode

two crystal glasses for us to clink

bountiful gleeful moments in the pink

mirths to laugh

tears to wipe

work to do

sweat a lot

chicken coop

duck pond

love

life

restored time

From me to you with old love.

This month’s photo challenge in square format from Becky#timesquare

afar and near in perspectives: two pictures

afar lake tahoeafar junction
I chose these two pictures because of the rather interesting perspectives. USA is full of interesting scenes even though I took these pictures at random. The people too. They are apart and dynamic and yet blend into the static presentation as parts of an integral whole. I can imagine individual stories in each small segment and yet I acknowledge that the sum total makes it a unique striking picture! The advantage of bigness of space —— near and afar.

another letter I shall not mail: a picture and a poem

Without the weekly-Photo-challenge some of us are feeling a bit lost regarding where to hang out and what to take a photo of. Admittedly many of us have lots of photos in our stock so we are not exactly all dry up and out of ideas. I have discovered that the world is not all that big and soon one traveler just runs out of a new place to go. Maybe I am just not motivated to move…(LOL) Of course I have the excuse that I have been busy with a practically round the clock project during the interval between the end of the daily/weekly prompt and now when I realize that my project is over and I do have an empty space in time into which I may slot a photo or two. Alas, the photo is just nowhere to be found.

So here I am looking at my old stocks. In my farewell post (weekly photo challenge “all times favorites) I inadvertently titled it “don’t look back, she says, I am not there.” A love story in suspense. Yet, here I am, looking back a bit. Maybe a picture and a poem to continue…a story.

20151129-17mile
2015 October

knowing
time
doesn’t ever glance backward
yet i stand here gazing forward
as if she may chime
a bell

no matter the distance
i shall keep my stance
in position
in case this station
will be called to mail

her call
i shall not refuse
or bid adieus

favorites: Don’t look back, she says, I am not there (love story)

The goodbye is too harsh and I can’t resist another post of more of my All-Time Favorites of some of the pictures I am sentimental about (which original stories/poems you may find in this blog by clicking on the caption below each picture).

a snowy slope 3
only way is up

2007 Fuji Mt n tree
this is a letter I will not send

this morning I fly alone
this morning I fly alone: a haiku

new-horizon
another shore beyond 1

another-shore-beyond
another shore beyond 2

nostalgia-family-car-1953
Don’t look back, she says, I am not there

a way ahead
how fleeting is evanescence?

waiting classic jazz
alas, the waiting was too long: for all that jazz

An interesting list of the above original captions (from my earlier weekly-photo-challenge posts):
the only way is up
this is a letter I will not send
this morning I fly alone: a haiku
another shore beyond
Don’t look back, she says, I am not there
how fleeting is evanescence?
alas, the waiting was too long: for all that jazz

random love, favorites for no reason

All-Time Favorites

favorite 20151030CAmirrored sky in waterMount Fuji20150529 tous les jours
these are some of my favorite memories
though you insist
I must say sorry
to have collated at random
with no momentum

here a story
there a story
too many
if any
perchance you remember too
just as I do

pictures
are good for goodbye
as time goes by
a rhyme you may find

forlorn love
hidden cove
once removed
now restored

so long
farewell
goodbye

awakening old sweet love

awakening poemAwakening old man’s heart
old wife fills his cart
with sweet warm tart

a long day ahead
make sure my hat is on your head
she bids goodbye
peering through the steamy dye

he grins as he chats
how can he forget her hat
last April’s gift
of old wife’s art?

Surely Spring has come
but why has this snow made its home
and won’t let go?

old man steadies his hand
firms the rein
never mind
a long day must end
and soon I’ll leave this cold
and be home with sweet warm wife.

beloved, this day you shall not fly alone (updated)

new life2018-02-17

this day I shall not fly alone
with new hope and not forlorn

living
dreaming
planning
parting

leaving behind
my depressed mind

stepping ahead
as my spirit heard you said

do not fear
for I have wiped away your every tear
go forth
as I have come forth

behold
here is My heart
as always of old
ever
never
leave

beloved
you are loved
so deep

so Sweet
this day you will not fly alone

Note added: a famous Christian man who lived for 99 years and is known to perhaps millions in this world died on 21st February 2018 . This poem was written and posted on the 16th five days before that day while fasting for Lent.

Beloved and a poet -a poem in a dream

poem for beloved2
waiting for my Beloved

Because the sky is so blue, the trees are so green and the clouds are marching pass, he just has to write to his Beloved.  So here comes the poem someone hands to me in a dream about this old love of a beloved and a poet.

I have to write to my beloved
before this song of spring kisses my heart
like countless encounters shoved
mercilessly repeating its depart

I can hear your distant song
clear as bells from yonder hill
here is my heart please don’t stay too long
though you must go, rest awhile, for all your dreams refill

You sing of life
you sing of hope
you sing of every dream I claim I am

I have to write to you my beloved
but I cannot say
what I have prepared for perchance
my head starts snowing
and frights away last year’s wee birds nesting
pulling out my roots from rooting
yet my lamp is still burning
my heart is never quenching
to dream the dream of immortalizing

winter’s paradigm shift: another perspective variation

winter snow and sodanother winter Variations on a Theme -marriage life
silly man stole my cat
where you’ve been hiding in your chat

not in syn my photoshop on my head
woman don’t be mad

hide you may
I don’t care
out and no
with your game of GO

woman woman not my fault
cat loves hunting with them snow
hear here she comes in now
meow meow meow fresh with last year’s sod

o plump kitty come to mom
get a hot bath snack from pa tom
rest your paws stay in bed
that’s my pet

old wife is content home has cat
me I like chat
game of GO
yes or no
wife replies no no no
while I say go go go

NOTE: The poem is as usual an impromptu piece of clean fun (with no hidden improper meaning) to go with the picture to break out of the winter paradigm. I used sections of three pictures initially and later reduced to two. I have changed the combinations many times until the scenery picture stood out and turned itself upside down and I logically moved it to the centre place. It significantly changes my strategy and flow to meet this week’s photo challenge.
Go is an abstract strategy board game for two players, in which the aim is to surround more territory than the opponent. The placement of a single stone in the initial phase can affect the play of the game a hundred or more moves later. A challenge to keep your brain active like other classic board games.

various perspectives on flowers: a poem

various perspectives flowers Variations on a Theme -marriage.
the wife loves flowers
higher or lower
she will climb or stoop
just to do a loop
not the hyperloop
deco her proper coop
do not touch my chicken coop you nincompoop
wife screams with her scoop

the wife just loves flowers
same as I love mower
my shinny new machine
can do any syn
grass or flower on auto power
sunrise or sunset
programmed to get set
everytime we chat

the wife loves flowers
sorry I need shower
no time to chitchat
got to do my bet

Notes:
I experimented with a picture taken of September flowers by simple and rather primitive copy and paste four times of  one selected section in oval through varying its sizes to show different perspectives. So the outcome is like the unplugged poem of a simple generic rural couple living their ordinary life each enjoying his /her hobby with different perspectives.
Note that even in rural life the guy has access to internet and chat etc.

What is the only true reality when it comes to the value of every person? (1)

rainny morning in parkevery investor knows that the value of anything is not the value we pay for at the moment we transact. it is another value we see in the unseen, a future value of the investment and this involves the crucial word “Growth“. without seeing a potential for growth we will not bother to invest. every human is born as an infant and the potential for growth is intrinsic in the person. it is an assumption that the person will grow in physical and other realms which will determine the worth of the person. when the investment/infant does not grow the potential worth is not materialized. what is the true reality when it comes to the value of every person? the value is always at the level where the individual has grown into. can a person not grow? of course anyone can choose to not grow to the potential each person is designed to become. stagnation or stuntedness are personal choices. i am not talking about physical aspect. there are many realms in our lives. we can find positive potentials in many realms. the key word is “GROW”. Just move on and you will not stagnate. i look forward to seeing many bountiful harvests for those who believe so that you may be a joyous blessing to others too.  (to be continued)

some words of wisdom to ponder on:
Genesis 2:9 The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit.
Genesis 26:13 He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow.
Proverbs 13:11 Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.
Psalm 90:12 Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.
Psalm 92:12 But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.

to love: this is a song I will not sing to you

a song of winterspring song

Growth

this is a song i would not sing
because the song has run away in sync
with other days i shall not bring

this is a song i should not sing
because its lyrics have bloomed into an early spring
here here i call in the midst of freezing
into a laboriously sculptured thing

there there replies the happy song to dare
unyielding crusty earth to break forth today
to quench upon the outpouring heavenly dew
that refuses my lingering sad adieu

much as i want to tell you about a cold alienating bland ordinary winter
my song rebels and sings of a fiery bonding love in many resplendent splendor
instead of decrepitating into ashy ice
my hibernating heart wakes to early rise
by your twin spade of starry eyes

no i will not say goodbye you say
no you will not say goodbye i say
yet this is a song i will not sing to you
the song is rewriting its lyrics anew

as i go
you grow

favorite poem rambling song to end 2017

summer snow

2017 Favorites.
they call to compose an official song
to cherish entrance of wintry solace long
why they never know it’s an impossible task
anyone with brain would always ask

how long is winter to be long
haha you must be joking all along
how wide is winter to be white
is he the old guy with snow whiskers uphill hiding a wife

she’s beautiful so so much
to be goggled at by many eyes
old guy loves wife so so much
he vows she’ll not be seen by any more disrespectful, aye

you want to hide Winter with her light
brilliantly glistening deep at night
or reverse her silky white waterfall
Nay, even Spring won’t do impossible chore

he cannot remember now
how she grows her pure white snow
when his matching whiskers start their show
It seems just yesterday they were both stage-fright-voices
so simple in love in spring in songs in dances

Rumors say of late a celestial laser show persistently brews on them
with dazed drooping eyes he now lisps new sounds
decked in red digital coat and virtual hat and geeky boots and all
i give you the official winter solace rap
nothing more nothing less on
eight foot long
as my elementary AI sleigh tap
with laser beaming Reindeer Day
begin our show show show
starring L E D Pivot Stel and Winter Wanda La La La

__________________________
Note: Towards the end of 2017 I switch to write funny/dramatic/satirical experimental poems telling a story. Is it a new direction? Or is it just an intermission? I would like to think it’s both.

cheeky rain cheeky poem

rain drops 2017 he wants to share the beautiful newly painted white pearl-glo wall
all ready for Christmas and the New Year toll
instead his phone chooses to display a mind
dropping rain drops on his file
why it’s not what I want to send to my love he cries
no it isn’t but this is far better, the phone replies
what, even rain drops on my window pane cliche?
long ago i saw a drama performed on stage called rain drops keep falling on my head
i didn’t understand why my ma sang in swimsuit with pa dressed in sailor uniform pouring buckets of cold water on her head. no, it’s mixed up with i’m singing in the rain with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. not that you nit, she says, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair.
Whatever you say. he says. She says, rain rain go away.
since i miss the moment of capturing the beautiful white glistening in the rain i just have to send this picture from a mysterious phone and say i love you rain don’t go today. last word he says. rain rain go away last word she says.
cheeky Cheeky rain

sometimes we just have to go

Sometimes we just not go the Serene way. a way ahead
sometimes we just have to go
often both of us could know
it’s a season to let go
behold all love must forego
for a way ahead
a watershed
not a tear is heard
nor a sound is smeared
because we wear mascara
to celebrate the last gala
dancing to end our tango
no pretense
not perchance
lest we should cross each other’s way
lo beyond and faraway
still in pain
all in vain
deep in love
that won’t just go

a reluctant winter transformation song

a reluctant Transformation song.
snowy
mirror mirror on the wall
fifty years have passed and i don’t even know
with wife always kneading sour dough
i go slow better lie low gentle as a doe
shoveling home this elusive summer snow

see how she could throw the dough
like a magical boomerang discus raw
swinging back and fro blow by blow
at some imaginary crow
precisely striking each moon-lit foe

mirror mirror on the wall
why i never know
that ages for some only stall and not grow
like normal tidal ebb and flow
winter spring with summer fall

roll over transformation onto his next winter dream

Transformation of a nerd
snowy winter
i wake to find this stranger’s face
so close i fear such lack of space
what are you doing here? i ask
familiar yet looking like a wrinkled mask

fifty years have passed and you never notice?
take a look you are not nineteen boy
the mirror is taken aback by my daily ploy
boy o boy you really need less practice

messing toothpaste all over my face
“i love her i love her not i love her i love her not…”
write a proper message of your life
not on mirror marinated with mint and old spice

boy, fifty years have long gone by and you don’t even notice

o wake up boy grow up
looking boldly into the mirror i see snowy ice cream
by chance someone must have overturned onto my temples their cup
not my favorite flavor i sigh and roll over

onto my next dream

P/S: this is a conversation between a dreamy boy who refuses to grow up and a mirror which reflects the boy fifty years from now.

an autumn story: must be prepaid

a Pedestrian
mining town sale
nothing is free son
all must be prepaid
a voice from behind the wooden wall warns.

mind your step son
on real snow must be prepared
as he trips his foot over a thorn

the glassy bottles rattle
as he glides across and prattles
leaving behind many feet long gutter

clash, crash, clatter, smash
gliding rolling sputtering
not to worry ma’am stop hollering

i got cash to pay
boy looks up into dad’s face bathed in bright sun ray

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I took this picture in a mining town which had stopped operation. It is now for tourists and perhaps movies shooting. The autumn had long gone or was never there due to high altitude. But I like to keep the title as autumn story. Why? Because autumn gives a sense of forlorn beauty, a time to let go, mellow down and rest with a good warm cup of _________(fill in your favorite drink) and listen to random poetry reading, good and bad. Poetry writing is a personal thing. But reading is even better because the sound is part of the fun and you do not have to commit anything except some minutes/seconds of your life.

autumn story: a man and a giant pan

old frying panHumboldt is a humble man
he lives alone with a giant pan
minding his business tending his sheep
never lazing or sneaking a peep

one night he counts and finds one short
leaving 99 behind with kind farmer Shultz
he calmly cleans his pan and drinks his port

he searches yonder with a daylight lamp
until reaching the darkest lair
of one ferocious beast that could prey
on his foolish simple little lamb

the monster may roar and paw while spewing names
brave farmer Humboldt lifts his pan and aims
once and twice and thrice he whams
the poor beast has nothing to defend against
this lopsided knock out match launched by
one humble man and a giant pan

(o what a heart-warming dawn, the Peeking villagers all rise and proclaim: humble Humboldt safely home with simple lamb and a giant pan)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I took this picture in an old mining museum. Somehow it turns out that the frying pan becomes the centre piece! So i decide to write a poem for it.

autumn story: an old love hat song

Just a Peek at autumn’s end.
mining townnever will I leave you, he said, not again
faded eyes blurring with moist drops
like rare autumn squinting sudden plops

(not even when fall comes to stay and/or if our hair should fall?)

no I will never leave you old, not again for gold,
see, all tidal waves are churning into buttery yuletide

putting down his battered hat
the prospector comes home.

(frantically digging cob-web caked in false gold teeth with man-made ivory-handled pick,
the wife wakes
and hears long-forgotten song
“Wherever I lay my hat that’s my home)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
By the look in your eye
I can tell you’re gonna cry
Is it over me?

If it is, save your tears
For I’m not worth it
You see

For I’m the type of boy who is always on the roam
Wherever I lay my hat that’s my home
I’m telling you that’s my home

You had romance
Did you break it by chance
Over me?

Young Paul – Wherever I Lay My Hat Thats My Home
(UK No. 1 single for three weeks in July 1983.)

autumn story: land’s end, lonesome cafe, something orange.

poem for autumnShe says, No one passes here anymore;
You know, less is more.

Continuing chattering,
her eyes not engaging, hands fluttering
like butterfly trapped
on fake glass map.

You shouldn’t be here, Peter.
Her fingers deftly whittle
away a wooden kettle.

Too late now
we are closing down,
Peter. (She throws a bone across the table)
No one passes by anymore;
Less is more.
(Something orange Peeks, stirs and darts away from behind the door label, “Do not disturb”)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I took this picture on a beautiful autumn day in November 2015. You may ask me, is there a real story behind the above attempt of a “poem”? My answer is, you are free to find your own story. I am OK with any interpretation.

Incidentally, I just watched a touching, hour-long interview with an award winning old poet who started writing poetry in her teen, I realize how far away from poetry I have strayed since teen. I prefer Haiku because it is short. But it is not as satisfying as writing a poem.

As the poet urges, there is something one just needs to express. She enjoys painting and music but she cannot be good enough to be a painter or a musician. So she writes poetry to present her painting and music. To her, every poem is a precious creation and needs to be birthed with the best she has inside, to become a positive encouragement to others who read it. If I were to use one word to describe her, I would use the word, “Genuine”. She is genuine about her limitation and her giftedness.

I only came across her poetry yesterday while doing a research on a writers’ festival in another city for someone. After reading some of her work, I mentioned that I would like to buy one of her volumes. Today I received the good news that someone who attended the festival today has bought an autographed print for me as a gift! (I am looking forward to read it when it arrives).

what we could have shared

Rounded
rounded window
One day I took note of a window scene in a black and white picture that accompanies a rather interesting story by a blogger I am following. It has the same style of another blogger who published a book of a collection of his blogs ten years ago. He wrote rather short sentences and someone from Japan did the photography. I dug out this book and just read “the people we could be”. So here I am, experimenting my own black and white attempt using Apple Photos. What I like about this picture is that almost everything in it has a round curve. There is a definite favor for roundness.
I originally took this picture in beautiful multi-colors in 2015 in an Italian Restaurant hidden in a small town in US. I was eating hot sausage sandwich alone after a rewarding hike. My best friend was on another mountain hike faraway. My friend would have liked to take a rest at this place and savor the food. Whilst I enjoy solitary travel and hiking, I sometimes like the silent company of someone familiar who enjoys the same ambience and taste. The silence is not broken and yet there is a veiled comfort of knowing that one is not alone in times of sudden need. I left this town shortly after.
P/s: Someone asks: why a sudden black and white? Well, after using many colors for too long I suddenly wake and notice that Black and White picture gives an expression of a mystery to ponder over. I quite like the short stories another travel blogger writes (in a different language) which I admit have influenced my change of taste.

A DICTIONARY FOR NAVIGATORS ON SPIRITUAL ROUGH WATERS 43: the victorious Giving

Windows of giving.
1 John 3:16Today we open the Book to the word GIVE. This could mean life and death. Without someone giving the right provision at the right time to another person selflessly, the would-be recipient may have perished. For example, giving of direction to the right road, giving of the right type and quantity of food, giving of warm and safe board and lodging in the freezing cold, and even giving of precious blood to save someone in critical need. Human have physical bodies and often the giving we need is in the physical.

There are other forms of giving too. For example, the ancient poet said,
“Your righteous testimonies are everlasting and Your decrees are binding to eternity; give me understanding and I shall live [give me discernment and comprehension and I shall not die].” (Psalm 119:144) This apparently refers to a higher wisdom and counsel which go beyond the human mind. To continue to keep up with the increasingly self-loving, crafty (multiplied exponentially by scientific and technological development), deceptive and unscrupulous physical world, an average human needs far more than what we have been taught by today’s education system or whatever words of wisdom (which often fall on deaf ears of today’s children) our parents have tried to impart to us based on what they had acquired and received. We can never catch up with the fast and ever-changing physical world.

But human nature has not changed. Survival strategies in a normal community are often based on generic inbuilt concepts of good and bad. How to decide what is good or bad? Often decisions are based on a number of generic social economic factors: agreed definition and standard of morality, code of ethics for economic conduct, code of social/relationship interactions with one another in the same community. By mutual adherence to such agreed beliefs and practices the family/community members can continue their peaceful co-existence.

One key success factor is giving. The ability and willingness to give (often more than what is required by legal binding covenant) enhances the quality of living together. It requires a higher belief and value system to give unconditionally and selflessly. One cannot give what one does not have. If a person gives at the expense of another person then it is not giving. The ultimate value behind giving has to be love. A love higher than human love.

Where does such a love come from? This spirit-mind man looks at this from a Christian perspective. Our God has revealed to us that He is love. He has demonstrated love historically by giving to us His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and atone for us so that we can freely and boldly interact with God as children of the righteous God through Jesus (now the resurrected Christ). Our human mind cannot understand this completely but it does not stop us from receiving this love by faith. His kind of love is pure and without selfish agenda. How do we apply to others? We are human. Every born again Christian is also given the Holy Spirit who lives in us and gives us strength to apply God’s love for others. This means we are supernatural and not just human when it comes to applying God’s goodness.

Why do we not see this wonderful powerful supernatural love manifesting in all Christians? As we are human, we can be hindered by our flesh (hampered by un-renewed mind which in turn controls our body and emotion). Some may be subject to the influences of demons. The Bible clearly records instances of demons influencing people’s lives. Persistent seeking an intimate relationship with God through reading and applying His words, prayers and worship, and fellowship with other Christians who similarly seek God and love God are ways to establish a firm foundation in one’s relationship with God. Transformation of our character comes as a process as our minds are being renewed. God’s presence becomes real and clear in our mind. In times of uncertainty we walk by clarity in decisions and not confusion.

Why do we focus on talking about the kind of love Christians can give to others in this world? Christians remained the largest religious group in the world in 2015, making up nearly a third (31%) of Earth’s 7.3 billion people, according to a new Pew Research Center demographic analysis. Just imagine the supernatural power of love manifesting together by a third of the earth’s population!

Yes, giving is required of every Christian. The only force that compels us is the love of our God, who loves us so much and whom we are to love in return. Are lovers fools? Yes, in the eyes of those who have never encountered this love we are fools. We are fools for Christ’s sake. (1 Corinthians 4:10)

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
1 John 3:16 This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave his life for us. So we should give our lives for each other as brothers and sisters.

Matthew 5:42-44 (Jesus says,)
Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,…”

Isaiah 11:2 English Standard Version (ESV)
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

alas, the waiting was too long: for all that jazz

Waiting at a period eating place which features songs from a past era. The light jazz music brings back the old time for those of a certain age. Interestingly the young millennial (a third generation of my extended family) who introduced me to this place is only in late twenties and happened to like the food and wine. We waited for at least half an hour for the six-nine pm crowd to leave to get to our reserved seats. It was certainly a popular place for private chill. There were not less than five rounds of “happy birthday” songs to five separate groups of diners during our rather hurried brief stay. I gobbled up my salad as I was in a hurry due to other engagements. The poor millennial had to gulp down the wine and pack home the pork rips. Well, I may return for the music if I happen to pass that place again. But the waiting was too long for this traveler. (Sigh)

Love textures: O my Luve’s like a red, red rose

Textures of red. texture of red
This picture was taken this morning when I saw a glimpse of red in a little park. Whilst this is not a red rose, I would share a touching sentimental poem about red love.

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.
A Red, Red Rose

Poet: Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796)
Biography Summary (Quoted from Scottish Poetry Library online)
If ever a poet understood the character of his nation, he was Robert Burns. The language he was most fluent in wasn’t so much Scots or English – it was the language of the heart. All too human in his personal life, he carried that humanity over onto the page. Nothing was too small or too large to escape his notice, from a mouse in the mud to God in his heavens. A poet for all seasons, Burns speaks to all, soul to soul.

Bible verse on the color red and the love of God:

Colossians 1:13-15 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

sometimes we cross a bridge and do not look back

crossing an old wooden bridgeSF Bay bridge2I always find Bridges fascinating. Each one encompasses three main phases of life: beginning, ending and in-between. Some bridges we cross for a temporary purpose and we cross back after we have fulfilled that purpose. Some bridges we cross but never intend to return. Some we cross at predictable regular intervals like the crossing is an extended part of one’s being. Some we just never cross. Perhaps we do not have the opportunity to do so in this life. Is there a bridge I must cross but with great reluctance and a sense of immense loss? Yes. I believe the bridge is called “Goodbye, my love.” (Somehow I suspect everyone who loves has a bridge by this name)

a transient Christmas eve in 2007

It was a Transient  moment in time in 2007 and we were in a tourist bus.a transcient mountain moment We were on a tour bus. The mountain seemed so near all of a sudden. So were you. I thought for a moment that time had stood still and we would never age, or that we would slowly grow old together taking our own time. We went to the usual tourist attractions. Good food, drinks, hot springs, gardens, night life in the cities etc. Why do I dig out this ten year old picture and try to recall the mountain today? After parting for so long? I have been pondering on a word lately . It is called, “lingering”, and it means “lasting for a long time and slow to end.” But sadly it does end in the end. Time sets a limit for phases of life, no matter our perception and determination to hold fast, and in reality its name is called, “transient”, which means lasting only for a short time, fleeting, passing, impermanent. Someone may say that a mountain is unlike a man. It will remain after the human travelers are gone. Yes, for a time. Yet, if you consider the real age of the creation you will agree that a mountain too has a limit in time. I still keep the pictures of you smiling and posing with the beautiful snowy mountain in the background. It was such a clear day. You looked so young and happy. Ten years. So soon. So transient. Today you told me in tears that you could not bear to have me vanishing from your life, living alone somewhere…Yes, we both need a miracle. We both believe in miracles. Memories are miracles. Like the lilac bedroom paint you liked so much, with the name “Forget-me-not”.

I admit that sometimes I cannot help but recall the lingering lyrics from a song by Garfunkel,

When the singer’s gone
Let the song go on…

But the ending always comes at last
Endings always come too fast
They come too fast, but they pass to slow
I love you, and that’s all I know

old friends framed in time together

old friends copy
Old Friends.

A picture on the wall of a mining museum. A man and his dog. From the background it appears they sat for this portrait in the artist’s studio. How long had they been patiently sitting together in this posture? How many sessions? Perhaps not too long. In real life how long had they been friends? I recall two faithful dogs (our longstanding family friends) we used to have as kids. They were mother and son, the son lived about fifteen years, the mother lived eighteen years. They accompanied us growing up. After they were gone, I do not remember my parents keeping another dog.

random thoughts, pictures and colors of friends

Friend is a word we often use to depict any kind of relationship. I decide to use a set of pictures from the coloring book to show what we can make of friendship. We start with plain colorless pages. The relationship adds colors, some messy, some quite beautiful. We can have entirely different tastes like the two houses in a picture or we can have exactly the same appearance and lifestyle like the two adjoining wooden doors. Yet we are still different. You cannot be me and I cannot be you. There is always a boundary between us no matter how buddy we are. We may be close enough to takeover a friend’s role sometimes if needed, like helping one another in crisis. When things resume normal we each return to doing our own stuff, staying at a distance. That is the unspoken realist’s rule of friendship. On the other hand there is a friendship that calls for more, and it borders the common ground of love. That is another story.

how fleeting is evanescence?

How short or fleeting is the time span of Evanescence ? Can anyone give a definition in exact measurement?

I encountered this question when visiting an old abandoned/transformed mining town. How short is short? We just cannot tell. For the miners who used to live there during boom time, some might have thought the precious ores would last a long time in their own life span. Others might have joined much later and perhaps sensed time ticking away and soon they would have to move on. They were not alone. History does not change much. Any man would know soon that we are not getting younger. Man’s glory fades with time as the source we consider precious (in this case, valuable ores) depletes.

I quote excerpts from Wikipedia: “Virginia City was the prototype for future frontier mining boom towns, with its industrialization and urbanization. It owed its success to the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode. After a year in existence, the boomtown had 42 saloons, 42 stores, 6 restaurants, 3 hotels, and 868 dwellings to house a town residency of 2,345. At its height in 1863, the town had 15,000 residents. The mines’ output declined after 1878, and the city itself declined as a result. As of the 2010 Census the population of Virginia City was about 855. Today, Virginia City is but a shadow of its former glory…”

For those interested in knowing more about the historical and mining background of the above photos, here are some links to wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_City_Historic_District_(Virginia_City,_Nevada)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comstock_Lode
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_City,_Nevada

taking root: the use of heritage

 Heritage I decide to share a few pictures of silver vessels from the heritage I came across recently. The owners passed on long ago and they left behind items which were kept in boxes for many decades. The items looked used but later possibly with the demise of the original masters (great grand parents) were packed up and stored away. No one seemed to notice their existence until I was led to dig them out of their dusty boxes. I brought them back to the heirs and they are not selling. As I mentioned in my previous post they are of value in terms of sentiments to those who inherit them. Although some individuals do not speak of their feelings, some do take grief seriously and for quite sometime. The man of the house passed away over a year ago and he left behind a very small family.

At first I thought they would rather sell off whatever old stuff they inherited as they had left home long ago and hardly returned. I even offered to get them restored to their original shine and was surprised when the new owners said they wanted to keep all.

I start pondering over the issue of root. We do not come from nowhere. We all have ancestors. Sometimes I wonder what they were like but most time I find it hard to even imagine their lives. Some families keep old photos and some keep old things. The things may or may not be of significant monetary value but they mean something to the descendants. And that meaning is very personal. Because they do not say why they decide to keep, I have not ventured to ask for a reason. No, I am not a nosy parker. I would like to know because I like to put pieces of history together so they form a complete picture like jigsaw puzzles. The whole piece of picture makes sense only when all the missing pieces are found and fit perfectly into the empty spaces which otherwise leave gapping holes. Once I spent half a year in a sibling’s house and witnessed the laborious way in which the whole family pooled their effort to identify the right spaces to fit the pieces which somehow seemed impossible to fit anywhere. Everyone who walked pass the puzzle tried to have a go at it in vain. Some pieces were dismantled and reassembled. Sometimes someone stayed up until the early hours staring at the pieces for inspiration. When the picture was finally completed they framed it up and celebrated the victory!

In a way we rely on disjointed pieces of old things to compile and preserve our own history. The root is never separated from the stems. Time is not really made of unconnected pieces. It’s just we cannot see the whole picture as each of us stands on a single spot at any one time on the time continuum. As we increase in our speed of life travel on this continuum we find it harder and harder to slow down and look back.

I like to think that this is why the millennials decide to keep something like old tea canisters or coffee cups made of comparatively more lasting matters, so that they can take a break at intervals on the very fast track. By the way, in UK I often have tea breaks and in US I have coffee breaks. In China? Both, these days.

whose heritage?

heirloom
Heritage
means something that is handed down from the past: as a tradition, a national heritage of honor, pride, and courage; something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; ; something reserved for one: the heritage of the righteous; something that has been or may be inherited by legal descent or succession. any property, especially land, that devolves by right of inheritance.

It is no coincidence that I recently came across a small heritage through a relative. The items are not exactly that old. The original owners lived around the time when the formation of the Republic of China as a constitutional republic put an end to 4,000 years of Imperial rule. The Qing dynasty, (also known as the Manchu dynasty), ruled from 1644–1912. I brought some of them back to the heirs who have confirmed that they are not selling. The above photo shows two Chinese Swatow (Shantou) Pewter Tea Caddy Containers (possibly a hundred or less years old), a Vintage Chinese Hand-carved Cork Art and a collection of modern poetry published in 1987 included because they were found together.

According to China Daily, Shantou people “drink more tea than anyone else in China. Shantou became a city significant in 19th-century Chinese history as one of the treaty trading ports established for Western trade and contact, sited both American and British Consulates. Today the historic quarter of Shantou features both Western and Chinese architecture. Online source states that about 2% of the population belongs to an ‘organized’ religion, with 40,000 Protestants, 20,000 Catholics and 500 Muslims.

What are the real values of heirlooms? No one can place any intrinsic value on any item except the heir herself/himself. In this case, I have checked the websites of some auction houses and found varying values have been cited on similar items. But the final word is from the heirs and they say, “No, we intend to just keep them.”

I try reading up the history of those who fled the strategic trading and battle port occupied by the Japanese army during 1939-1945 and moved to the rest of the world. I cannot imagine how they could have carried and preserved heavy tea canisters and other intricate sets of silver and beautiful fragile bone China tea sets which I have also found in that house.

There are many things we do not understand about the generations before us. I cannot understand their values and priorities. Perhaps I am too engrossed in the modern technology-savvy world in which we give high value to anything close to ‘weightlessness’. We grumble about a laptop weighing 3lbs and above. On the other hand, we do not mind going to the gym to lift heavy metal to get our muscles in tune.

Well, here are some realistic observations from a book I am reading, by a futurist.
“…For example, today’s high school students have a hard time understanding why Columbus risked life and limb to find a shorter trade route to the spices of the East. Why couldn’t he simply go to the supermarket, they ask, and get some oregano? But in the days of Columbus, spices and herbs were extremely expensive. They were prized because they could mask the taste of rotting food, since there were no refrigerators in those days. At times, even kings and emperors had to eat rotten food at dinner. There were no refrigerated cars, containers, or ships to carry spices across the oceans.) That is why these commodities were so valuable that Columbus gambled his life to get them, although today they are sold for pennies…”

Yet, on the other hand, the futurist admitted this, “…The point is: whenever there is a conflict between modern technology and the desires of our primitive ancestors, these primitive desires win each time. That’s the Cave Man Principle.” ”
― Michio Kaku, Physics Of The Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny And Our Daily Lives By The Year 2100

Agree. I would rather take a cup of hot tea with a spot of fresh milk than staring at the cold laptop in the cold, unheated cave. You know, the value of a laptop easily depreciates to zero within a couple of years. But a tea canister appreciates its value with decades/centuries and is still going strong.

A love called graceful and not let go (two poems)

star1jpg-6311515c13a99e7c(I translated, re-written and re-named this love song. I call it Gracefully love)

Even if I should come once to
this planet
in one dash
one kairos moment
in one billion years
joining you so brief
for all its sweet tears
and all its grief

Well, let all that must happen
happen in a flash
let me bow
humbly down
thanking all the stars
holding you  I won’t let go

penning this poem now
with an unseen hand
slowly growing old
holding you  I won’t let go
=======================

(1983 Taiwan Campus Folk Song) The original love poem was written by the Mongolian painter/poet/writer MuRong Xi , music by Su Lai  作詞:席幕容,作曲:蘇來

假如我來世上一遭,只為與你相聚一次;
只為了億萬年的那一剎那,一剎那裡所有的甜蜜與悲淒。

那麼就讓一切該發生的,都在瞬間出現;
讓我俯首感謝所有星球的相助,讓我與你相遇,與你別離。

完成了上帝所作的一首詩,然後再緩緩地老去;讓我與你相遇,與你別離。

(Poem II) “Since we parted –2” (I translated this second poem, rewritten, but tried to follow the original pattern of her thought)

And now I realize
what we have slowly squandered off
is one life we both have loved
our whole life, my beloved!
Parted
now
I
then
know

别後——之二 ◎‪‎席慕蓉 (MuRong Xi wrote this poem during her grief for the demise of her husband)
原來
用整整的一生來慢慢錯過的
竟是我們這唯一僅有的
整整的一生啊!

別後

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Blogger’s notes: photo credit goes to La Center’s Greg Marshall who photographs a universe most never imagine. By training, Marshall is an electronics engineer and computer-imaging expert, but the stars have led him into art. He catches images many light years away. I got it at random while browsing.

The poems are about love and loss. Instead of choosing sentimental pictures I decided to use the stars of the universe. The first poem took on a new meaning…I then decided to alter the poem to a hopeful end. A happy and prosperous Lunar New Year for my Asian friends!

If I forget your name? Never

I too feel fascinated by some names, especially the names of shops or brands. Here are some Names which I found a year ago in my last visit to a shopping mall in CA. Shops are named: Pink in Life, The Picture People, Walking Company. I particularly like the idea of a shop named “Things Remembered”. We all have things we do not forget. There was an old song titled, “Don’t forget to remember”. Love is something hard to forget. Humans are by nature remembering creatures. The older we get the more we have accumulated things we like to remember in our memories, some vivid, some vague. Some real and some imagined. Some with sad endings, some good. I stumbled on a Tv program that helped long separated old friends to find each other after decades. Quite touching stories emerged. When I grow old enough perhaps I too write a letter to the long lost one and ask for an appointment with a poem.

If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda

If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.
Pablo Neruda

Listen to a reading of the beautiful poem at the following link:
https://youtu.be/hWI9J5HFRfI

Notes about the shop: Things Remembered began over 40 years ago as a small engraving and services shop called “Can Do”. And today, Things Remembered has grown into the nation’s leading, and most successful, retailer of personalized gifts. (online information quoted)