Friday, May 10, 2013

Toddler Guns/Bill Edelen on Dogs, etc/Jack Crimmins & Rebecca del Rio/

(P1) Political

About Crickett Rifles For Toddlers

From Mother Jones May 1 2013

On Tuesday, inside a rural Kentucky home, a five-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his two-year-old sister. The boy had been playing with a .22 caliber single-shot Crickett rifle made and marketed for kids. The children's mother was reportedly outside the house when the shooting took place, and apparently didn't know that the gun contained a shell.

"Just one of those crazy accidents," said the Cumberland County coroner, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The Pennsylvania-based maker of Crickett rifles, Keystone Sporting Arms, markets its guns with the slogan "My First Rifle." They are available with different barrel and stock designs, including some made in hot pink to appeal to young girls.

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(P2) Philosophical

Edelen At 91

Poetry, Puppies, and Pleasure
by William Edelen

On the 17th of July, coming  up fast, I will have been on this earth 91 years. On that date in the West Texas town of Stephenville a star danced and I made my entrance into this world in 1922. That city is known today as ‘the cowboy capital of the world.’” Those lazy, hazy days of summer for me will be filled with the pleasure of  poetry and my two four legged soul mates who share my home with me… I named them TAI and CHI. Brown and white Shih-Tzu’s, litter mates, brothers. Abundant joy and the celebration of life is constant in their presence.

They will compliment my other hours relishing good poetry and poets who, to me, are the language and breath of life. It is as Octavio Paz has written “there is more truth to be found in poetry than in all the philosophy ever written” …and again “when you say ‘life is marvelous, you are saying a banality.’ But to make life a marvel, that is the role of poetry.”  That opinion from a Nobel Prize winner in Literature and Poetry, from a poet called “the soul of Mexico” touches my mind and heart and receives from me a solid YES in affirmation.

Or my being totally absorbed in almost everything written by United States Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz, who was twice appointed to that distinguished position. When he died a few years ago, at age 100, he was given full page treatment in both the LA Times and the NY Times.

His poetry is breath-taking and his essays on life and writing and meaning and reality are as stimulating as anything I have read in years. When I read his poem on “The Layers” to my Sunday Symposium the response was without precedent. Everyone wanted a copy and we printed about 200 copies to pass out the next week. When I started reading to them “The Wellfleet Whale” about a 63 foot finback whale foundered on the beach, gasping for life, I could not finish the poem I was so choked up. Kunitz received the Pulitzer and the Bollingen Prizes, the National Medal of the Arts, Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and where would the listing of honors end?

What puts my brain into overdrive are his insights into life and words, language and meaning. Listen to this: “poetry is language surprised in the act of changing into meaning.” Kunitz wrote much about animals, nature, plants and his beloved garden. In my study is an extensive library.  My favorite section is my shelves of heroes and role models of brilliant poets and their equally brilliant writing. Emerson, Whitman, Sandburg, Frost, e.e.cummings, Mary Oliver, Neruda, Neihardt, Paz. Rumi, Merwin, Gary Snyder, Marquez, Jim Harrison, Billy Collins, Maya Angelou, Rita Dove… and where would it end?…the monumental influence on my life of the vision, thoughts, and ideas of writers of the language of the soul and life.

They will be filling my lazy and hazy days of my birthday summer, along with the sensational new poet, Sherman Alexie, a Spokane Indian born on the Spokane Indian Reservation. I suggest “Blasphemy” and “The Business of Fancydancing”
And always around to remind me to live in the NOW, and enjoy the moments as they come to me, one by one,  are my two bouncing and joyful four legged puppies, Tai and Chi, offering me their “unconditional love” even if I am late on feeding them. Science today is confirming what many of us have long known. The relationship between animals and the human animal is psychic, mystical, and mind boggling. Mark Twain said it well: “man is the only animal that blushes, or needs too.” Think of this and weep:  other than humans, no other animal runs torture experiments on other animals. There is a spiritual and protoplasmic relationship between all living organisms. Nobel Prize scientists are writing today using that kind of language. Of course, the American Indian has known that for thousands of years.

Remember, the little chipmunk is of the same dust as we, He drinks the same waters, breathes the same air, needs the same oxygen, is warmed by the same sun and was created by the same first source. “A human is ethical only when he considers every living cell, plant or animal, sacred and divine” wrote that giant scholar and humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer.

A New York Times article on the “animal connection “recently was on the health benefits of having a dog or cat.  I loved this paragraph: “Don’t worry about cardiovascular workouts, oat bran, or an aspirin. To live longer and heal faster, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and have a far better chance of surviving a heart attack, get a dog.  Dogs should be making house calls and making the rounds of wards.”
What a beautiful 91st summer I will have this year, filled with fairly good health, joy, love, writing, my Sunday Symposium, surrounded in my library study by profound and brilliant poets… with two little four-legged bouncing Shih-Tzu’s filling every room with the message “this moment… NOW… is all we have… this is IT …now enjoy…”

Meister Eckhart gives me my final word for this column and this day and this life. “IF THE ONLY PRAYER YOU SAY IN YOUR LIFETIME IS ‘THANK YOU’… THAT WILL SUFFICE.”
So to the cosmic Mystery… THANK YOU.

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(P3) Poetical



spirit calls out your name
when lightning flashes
spirit makes a trail

and okay sometimes we catch a glimpse
Yeats' wife begins dictation
on the train outside San Bernardino

years later we listen and
fall inward to

your life is gold within
sun behind clouds
still gives off light

is it too easy to say
life is blessed
and has freedom gone hidden

what is death
dark stone in the center of the path

    - Jack Crimmins

The Dark Stone

for Jack Crimmins

There in the path, it waits
The dark stone, in the center–
The place we hoped never to arrive.

Life is littered with so many losses,
Dark stones, scattered in the fields and paths,
Betrayals by death, dishonesty, disappointment.

What happens if we meet that stone with wonder,
Walk to its cruel center, sit in its
Sorrowful presence?

Here, yes here, in the heart of
Fear, disillusion, chaos and
Confusion, peace arrives, a soft surprise.

- Rebecca del Rio

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barb bits said...

And we are afraid of letting kids play with toy guns?

Jack Crimmins said...

Hey Ed, thanks so much! Very cool.

Rebecca del Rio said...

Thanks for the posting/promo, Ed. Hope your readers enjoy the poems. As to kids with guns: our capacity for self-and-other delusion in the interest of making-money never ceases to confound (and horrify) me.

Unreasonable woman said...

Thanks for the Crimmins post. It is really lovely. My father (from Texas) celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday. He has become sullen and totally self-absorbed and generally unpleasant to be around, so It's nice to see how different it can be. I imagine some of it is biological, but I'd attribute much of it to the notion that Crimmins spent his life doing his passion, while my father (like too many people) spent it doing what he felt obligated to do. My dad does have a dog - complains about it mostly!

Gayle Swift said...

Guns and children a terror, Bill uplifting and poems inspiring,
thank you, G

lucille said...

Ed, Americans are strange "that way" because they think they can defend themselves and guns are part of that. Guns are part of being independent, protecting YOURSELF. Yes, it is the people who want guns, who want to be safe not only from intruders but from anyone they disagree with. How to change a deep rooted opinion. Seeing the towers fall didn't do it, soldiers with trama didn't do it, dead children didn't do it. It is only the violence in oneself that one need fear. Americans are fearful, thus the bravado over owning a gun. Lunacy as we can clearly see from the evidence. A cure, take out of the culture the things that support this opinion, P

ossible? I don't know. and please, I need yr regular email address, my list of contacts was hacked and destroyed by Yahoo.

htc said...

very nice post