adventures in dysthymia

Monday, April 30, 2007

RHYME TIME

A couple or so years back I discovered the Analog X free rhyming dictionary on line and passed the link along to some of my friends. I downloaded it and have been using it ever since, despite some shortcomings. It does well enough.

Anyway...while visiting the folk music site/discussion board, Mud Cat (I drop by most days), I ran into a link for another free rhyming dictionary -- of sorts -- at the Brian McGill site. Some of you may know of McGill; I won't say anything one way or the other about him or his work. So I downloaded the software.

First, it's a pretty big download. What do you get after an hour and a half waiting on a dial-up connection? A rather bloated version of Note Pad with an integrated rhyming dictionary and thesaurus. The rhyme part seems okay. The thesaurus is inadequate by my standards (no antonyms, far as I can tell) and definitely a lot slower than having a decent print version sitting on your desk. Too bad the rhyming dictionary is part of the 'Verse Perfect' editor and not stand-alone. As it is, I'll probably delete the program and stick to my regular word processor (which has far more features), use the Analog X dictionary, and keep the good old Webster's Collegiate Thesaurus in easy reach.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

STRAY

If I am not one to stray,
it is not that I am better
nor more moral than some other
man. Oh no, I am but one
without longing for the new,
no desire to change my way.
There is nothing I more cherish
than this well-worn ease of us.

Fully, would I know you, yet
who could, in a lifetime, hope
to explore another’s soul,
all that lies behind the mask
of familiarity?
A lifetime and more, I ask,
to complete such welcome work,
knowing for this was I born.

If I am not one to stray,
it may simply be that I
came to focus, vision tunneled,
seeing nothing else and seeking
nothing else. You’ve set my way,
bound it with the woven pattern
of your fingers, slowly, gently,
tracing paths from here to there.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

I'm not sure if this is a finished poem (in terms of length, that is...I'm never done finagling with 'em) but I have an aversion to 'running on' and perhaps repeating myself. Better too little than too much!

Friday, April 20, 2007

A pair of poems on the occasion of my 57th birthday:

TITI

When the titi loses
its fragrance, it means
only that gardenias
will soon bloom.

Today resents not
tomorrow’s arrival
nor do the seasons
regret their change.

The titi tree may be
taller next year
but its flowers will be
just as fragrant.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

The titi (pronounced tie-tie) is a small tree fairly common here in the Florida Panhandle. Right now it is loaded with small fragrant white blossoms.

FLOATS

Root beer floats are de rigueur
at the folk festival,
although I prefer a Coke
over my ice cream, usually.

Oh, yes, it will hit that proverbial
spot, halfway between
the Seminole camp and the Suwannee.
That’s a long walk,

on a Memorial Day weekend,
a long hot walk toward Summer
and the music of fireflies
in the Florida twilight.

I’ve walked it more than once
or twice, a lover at my side;
the lovers have walked on
but not the remembering.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

This poem references the Florida Folk Festival. I've been there...what, six times? Yeah, I counted 'em on my fingers. Number Seven coming up soon!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Enough with the wintery weather in April! We can bring back Spring now, okay? I need more beach time! I think I need me a new surfboard; all mine are pretty deteriorated after the several years they sat while I did the caregiver thing...but they cost more than a decent computer!

Which is understandable, considering the hand work involved. I built a dozen boards or so in my younger days and can appreciate the effort shaping and glassing requires. Maybe I'll try my hand at it again some day. Like I have the time!

I do intend to make time to get over to White Springs on May 5th. Yes, I'll really make it this time...I hope. It's been a mighty long time since I dropped in at the First Saturday Coffeehouse. Now that I've announced it all over the place, I guess I have to show, right?

Speaking of White Springs, it's only a little over a month till the Florida Folk Festival once again rolls around. I intend to be there for all three days (May 25-27) if I can swing it i.e. arrange for someone to look in on my mom while I'm gone. Trying to take her along to Willfest was a bit of a disaster and we had to leave early...anyway, I intend to be traveling and camping with my niece and nephew, Mean Mary and Frank James, who made the cut as performers this year (and, of course, I didn't). They're part-time residents here at Peanut Road and part-time up in Tennessee.

Incidentally, Mary is getting married next week! Congrats Mean Mary and Johnny. Should I call him 'Mean Johnny' now? And while we're on celebrations...my birthday is this Saturday! I was already officially older than the hills so I don't worry about adding years anymore. Y'know, once you get past a certain point, you almost want to flaunt it! But not around young ladies, of course...then you shave a few years off...

A bit of news about my store -- Cafe Press, which powers the shop, apparently had some problems with their storage and lost a bunch of people's images, including some of mine. They say they'll get 'em back. I hope so, don't want to have to reload images and redo the stock. I'll probably have some more designs up before long -- I tend to do it in 'fits.'

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

SWEETER

My sister offered the use
of a tiller but I,
being old-school, prefer
a shovel, a rake, my hands.

I’ll not be hurried; the garden
and I will take our time,
finding the way to summer
along these new-sprung roads.

Will you taste July
with me? It promises
to be sweeter this year
than any I have known.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

Gee, I seem to have gardening on my mind all the time since I moved to the country! Well, that and recording. I've been spending far too much time hanging around at recording message boards like Gearslutz...once I get my studio into better shape I'll be doing more and talking less.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

TO SPEAK

The colors are gone, the colors
that spoke for me. I have
no violets of yesterday,
no deepening sunset blues.

I no longer paint.
I have forgotten how
to give a brush stroke its voice,
pigment its arguments.

I have forgotten how
to believe I’ve something
to say at all. Did I
ever find my words,

ever fill my silence?
The old paintings are dumb,
now, daubs that hold
no meaning, that never held

meaning, for all I can tell.
They are but the life’s work,
evidence of the inchoate
struggle of the soul.

Stephen Brooke ©2007