Archive | July, 2011

B side. Reading Rilke

27 Jul
Rilke writes such fine poems.  Here’s one from/for the love of your life:

Love Song

How shall I hold on to my soul, so that
it does not touch yours? How shall I lift
it gently up over you on to other things?
I would so very much like to tuck it away
among long lost objects in the dark,
in some quiet, unknown place, somewhere
which remains motionless when your depths resound.
And yet everything which touches us, you and me,
takes us together like a single bow,
drawing out from two strings but one voice.
On which instrument are we strung?
And which violinist holds us in his hand?
O sweetest of songs.

Thanks to Cliff Crego for the translation on


Wie soll ich meine Seele halten, daß
sie nicht an deine rührt? Wie soll ich sie
hinheben über dich zu andern Dingen?
Ach gerne möchte ich sie bei irgendetwas
Verlorenem im Dunkel unterbringen
an einer fremden stillen Stelle, die
nicht weiterschwingt, wenn diene Tiefen schwingen.
Doch alles, was uns anrührt, dich und mich,
nimmt uns zusammen wie ein Bogenstrich,
die aus zwei Saiten eine Stimme zieht.
Auf welches Instrument sind wir gespannt?
Und welcher Geiger hat uns in der Hand?
O süßes Lied.

1907, 1908

See also Ahead of all parting: The selected poetry and prose of Rainer Maria Rilke, Stephen Mitchell ed. and trans., Modern Library, 1995, 615 pgs.

More Wisconsin madness

21 Jul

From Jon Richards, my former Lawrence student, now State Representative for Waukesha, Wisconsin:

Tonight, Assembly Republicans jeopardized extended unemployment benefits for struggling Wisconsin families after voting to pay private partisan attorneys $395 an hour in taxpayer money to gerrymander legislative districts behind closed doors. When will it stop?

B side. Reading Navano myths

20 Jul

Aileen O’Bryan.  The Dîné: Origin Myths of the Navaho Indians.  Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 163.  1956.

Book plate: Withdrawn, [portrait of Collis Huntington], Huntington Free Library and Reading Room [Bronx]. Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation.

Frontis by Gerald Nailor, “First Man, pine tree and white corn; First Woman, yucca and yellow corn.”  Wouldn’t you like to see this in color!

Gerald Nailor, First Man...First Woman

How did this book end up for sale on  Collis Huntington founded the library in 1892; his adopted son Archer added the Museum and Heye Foundation in 1930.  The Library gave the Museum’s collection of artifacts to the Smithsonian in 1990.  In 2004, after several years of legal wrangling, the library of the Museum and Foundation went to Cornell University.  Dispite the small-minded law suits, the Smithsonian hasn’t been particularly bookish for decades.  In March 2011, the modest library in the Museum’s Washington, D.C., Reading Room was disbanded.   The Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian still doesn’t have a on-line catalogue of books.

The text was narrated by Sandoval to the author and San Ahkeah, Sandoval’s nephew, who interpreted.   O’Bryan quotes Sandoval in the Preface: “So you must write down all that I will tell you; and you must have it made into a book that coming generations may know this truth.” In Australia, these sorts of texts are only available to people who have been initiated; they are said to be “sacred and secret.”

B-side. Be a friend at your nearest museum

19 Jul

We’re friends of the Norton Simon Museum.  For less than $50 a year, we can walk in any day to look at a single painting or check their latest exhibit.  It’s like we own the place and are kind enough to let everyone else come too.

Vermeer, Woman with a Lute

Vermeer, Woman with a Lute

You can’t loose as a museum member.

Vermeer’s Woman with a Lute is on loan from the Met.  It’s not the best Vermeer, but since we’re members, we could wander in, look at it, talk about it a bit, and leave.  For free.

Notes on the buffalo

10 Jul

I’m not yet very good at figuring out how to do this correctly–now the Buffalo sign photo is up there, but I can’t seem to write anything about it along with the photo post. ANYWAY: we saw this great stencilled buffalo with black and white rays, signed “CC”, on the temporary sign leading onto the 210 freeway at Marengo Ave. in Pasadena. I wonder how long it’s been there, and who did it? A Native American group?

A buffalo in Pasadena

10 Jul
Buffalo stencil

Street art stencil on sign at 210 onramp, Pasadena

St. Arbogast

4 Jul





George just discovered that one of the patron saints for his birthday is an Irish one who became the bishop of Strasbourg, St. Arbogast. For some reason this interests him immensely. He was particularly intrigued by this account:

The accepted date for Arbogast’s arrival in Alsace is 550. His bishopric was preceded by a sojourn in the forest of Hagenau. This dense oakland, the haunt of anchorites, was called the Sacred Grove of Northern Alsace. Within it Arbogast had his cell. An oak tree of huge dimensions marks the spot. Indicative are the hamlets Saint-Arbogast and Chene (=oaktree) on the road from Strassburg to Weissenburg/Wissembourg.

Now he wants to know about the Forest of Hagenau…