Saturday, February 27, 2010


Having figured out
the reason for existence,
answered all life's questions,
what reason have I
to exist anymore?

Oh, of course...
ice cream!

Stephen Brooke ©2010

Totally light-weight foolishness, just for the sake of posting something. Not that ice cream isn't as good an excuse as any to keep going!

Speaking of 'going,' I don't suppose I'll be going to the Will McLean Festival in a couple weeks. It kind of sucks being tied down -- not that I regret being in this caregiver situation -- as this will make the third year in a row that I'll miss it, after attending for five years (I think) in a row. The fact that it's been moved back south to the Sertoma Ranch just makes it even less likely.

So I'll miss seeing my folkie friends again this year. Shoot, I haven't even been able to get a Sunday afternoon arranged to go see Lucky Mud do their radio program in Panama. Maybe some other festival or event in the next few months will be possible. Of course, I really, really, hope to get to the Florida Folk Festival at the end of May, at least for one day. Missed it the first time last year in a long time. Since I'd started going in '01 -- that's when I was introduced to the Fla folk scene by my then girlfriend.

And it's been nice knowing these people. From my first folkie friends, Bettina Makley and Raven Stands Alone, right on down to all those I've met, in 'real' life or on line, since then. Anyway, I'll make the effort to get to White Springs this year. After all, my niece, 'Mean Mary' James will be performing again which gives me an extra incentive.

edit: oops, I pushed a 9 instead of a zero when I wrote how lone I'd been going to the Fla Folk Fest. It was 2001, not 1991! In '91 I was busy moving from Naples to Steinhatchee and playing country music.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

IT MAY have snowed less than a week ago but spring is back and I'm busy planting stuff. The greens I put in are coming up -- I should get a crop or two off of them before they bolt in the hot weather. Which comes early here!

Added four more blueberries to my patch, doubling its size. They seem to have thrived last year so I have hopes for berries in another year or two. The patch is about as large as I need or have room for so I won't add more. Though they will, of course, spread on their own some. I wish I remembered what varieties I planted last year (and which are which).

Also added another five mulberries to the row I started last spring. These are along the back way in -- which is actually down the south side but it leads to the back. Put in the freebie ash trees the nursery sent me along the south lot line too. I've been trying to grow some of the native wild cherries from seed to put there but as long as I have the ashes I might as well try them out. I have another couple of mulberries of a different variety on order; they'll go up closer to the house, probably by the bulb bed.

I'm giving the hazelnuts another try too. Haven't had much success with them here in the past but we'll see. I'd love to hedge the back line with them. And there are more Robin Hood Roses and Firethorn and figs on order. And pots full of nandinas I've grown myself. Lots to do in the upcoming weeks!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Did you ever wonder
why wenches wander,
why they cast an eye
on some lubberly guy
as soon as a man's at sea?

They promise their love
to the heavens above,
so tell me how
they can break their vow
as soon as a man's at sea?

Oh, as soon as a man's at sea,
they're loose and fancy-free;
they don their finery
and shed it readily!
Tell me just what sort
enters another man's port
and lies there in the lee
as soon as a man's at sea!

Did you ever wonder
why wenches wander,
and why a ring
doesn't mean a thing
as soon as a man's at sea?

We're stuck on a ship
for a damn long trip,
so what can we do
if they're untrue
as soon as a man's at sea?

Stephen Brooke ©2010

I've toying with the idea of writing a musical (working title is 'Piratic') for a couple years and this is one of the song ideas (not polished at all and perhaps needing expansion) for it. I'm much further along on the musical side of it than I am to working out any sort of plot!

Not exactly Valentine's Day material and a tad misogynistic, too boot. But then they're pirates...what do you expect?

Friday, February 12, 2010

SNOW DAY on Peanut Road

Florida snow is a pretty rare occurrence, even here in the Panhandle. I have seen only a few flakes since I left Ohio in '64 -- those were during the 'Storm of the Century' in 1993, down in Steinhatchee on the Big Bend Guld coast. Not much snow then but a pretty nasty (and deadly) weather event otherwise.

The forecast called for snow Friday morning and then it looked like it wasn't going to happen after all. But it did, it was just late! The rain started to turn to snow around 2:30 in the afternoon and tapered off into light rain by 4-ish. It may not have been much by the standards of folks up north but it certainly impressed us here.

Early on, a view from my front porch.

Really starting to come down now.

How many times in the past 70 years has there been snow on the roof of this old house?

Looking South across the fields.

And it's all over.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


There are no pills
for the fevers and chills,
the aches and the ills
of love.
No poultice, no potion,
no sweet soothing lotion
can calm the commotion
of love.

No medicine
can cure one when
he is or has been
in love.
For once you're a lover
you never recover,
you'll just have to suffer
in love.

Stephen Brooke ©2010

My customary light verse offering for Valentine's Day. I've had better ones, I know.
It's life's illusions I recall; I really don't know life at all.

by Joni Mitchell from the song Both Sides, Now. I never liked that song. I felt the lyric rather naive and cliched -- even as a rather naive teen, myself. What she is terming illusions I would call facets of reality. Alternative descriptions. After all, we can only know things by how we perceive them, by the metaphors we create to order our world.

Illusion is, itself, an illusion. We attempt to tell ourselves this is real and this is illusion but it's all, ultimately, real. And all illusion, as well. The thing is to attempt to understand our perceptions, to recognize the meanings of the illusions -- the metaphors -- that make up life.

To create our own metaphors in an attempt to better understand, for we can never directly experience 'reality.' This is why we have art, literature, religion. It's why we have science and even accounting -- they're all ways of ordering our existence and experience.

So look at 'both sides' and recognize that you do know life (or clouds or love). Not all of it but this much, this illusion.

Stephen Brooke ©2010
my feet hate shoes
they give 'em the blues
set my toes free
let them be
out in the open
that's what I'm hopin'!

And soon! I'm a board shorts and flip-flops sort of guy and I can't take much more winter. Even Florida winter -- though here in Baja Alabama aka the Florida Panhandle it's colder than the peninsula. There is actually snow forecast for tomorrow night. I'll have to make sure I take photos if it actually happens as this is an event that happens once every twenty years or so.

But hey, it's going on mid-February and spring will be on the way. I got my bulb garden dug and replanted and put in a crop of greens too. By the end of the month I should be planting trees and berries and such. All my nursery orders are in and will be arriving over the next month or so. (In fact the first arrived at my door today.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


It's the lesser of two evils,
The smaller of two sins,
Fate has left us no way out,
No way we can win.
There will be no going back
To what's already been;
Let's choose the lesser of two evils,
So we can start again.

vs 1.
It may be wrong, it may be right,
Who could ever say?
Neither one of us can find
Any other way.
The only thing I know for sure
Is that I cannot stay,
And that there is still the hope
For a better day.

We have given all that we can give,
Let's take tomorrow's promises and live.

vs 2.
You and I have our regrets
But love will sometimes die;
All that really matters is
We gave it our best try.
No telling why we grew apart,
No point in asking why;
Just let me kiss you one more time
Then we'll say good bye.

Stephen Brooke ©2010

Parts of this song must go back 20 years or so, as lines or phrases I jotted down. I've dabbled at writing it as a 'commercial' country song over the years. By now, of course, a song of this sort probably no longer be commercial! Anyway, much of the refrain and first verse were written ten to fifteen years ago.

So I pulled it out last year and messed with it, on and off, since. I think it's about as done as it deserves to be. It would not necessarily be performed in the order shown here, what with instrumental sections, repeats and so on. Assuming it actually were performed. Assuming I finished the music. It's really not 'me' anymore, as a writer.

Except for the bridge, which I wrote this morning! :)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

a few philosophical meanderings:

If the existence of God is the only thing that gives existence meaning, what then gives meaning to the existence of God? Ultimately, existence must be justified by existence ; the purpose of being is to be.

Now, whether that is enough is the unanswerable question. Being and non-being, the infinite and nothingness -- those are our choices. On or off. To be or not not to be.

There, indeed, is the rub for, if we exist as part of the infinite, 'off' becomes unobtainable. That we do exist can not be changed. We are; that is that. Our fear (or desire?) should not be nonexistence -- complete death -- but the nonacceptance of our being, our not-becoming.

So we may accept or reject our existence yet we will exist, regardless. Should we not then embrace existence wholly? I mean not this, our everyday life, though that should be lived in its entirety as well (as much as possible, of course). I speak of accepting our eternal existence, accepting the fact that we always were and always will be, outside of time, outside of this universe, as part of the totality of being.

Which may and properly should be called God. The 'Word' (logos, which can mean 'idea' as much as word) that was with God is not only Jesus but all of being.

I know that fighting against existence, embracing nihilism and rebellion, can be an attractive proposition. We didn't ask to exist, after all, did we? There is a part of us that yearns to embrace nothingness and the final peace it offers. An empty offer, offered by emptiness.

We can always end this life, this phase of our being. What, though, is the point? One might as well wait for it to end on its own and live it in the mean time. The pain, the joy -- they mean nothing and they mean everything. They are who we are, insignificant specks in the infinite yet every bit as important as each other insignificant speck.

I make no pretense of knowledge as to what comes next. I know only, believe only, that existence is, was, will be, that we are a part of the eternal God, one of the infinite persons in which 'he' manifests.*

What better choice is there but to recognize the infinite within us rather than deny it? What better choice but to become our true selves, who we are and more than we are?

Stephen Brooke ©2010

*God, of course, encompasses all things (and more!) and is therefore he, she and it.

Monday, February 01, 2010


Your rhyme scheme
is a crime scene,
said the poetry police.
It's doggerel,
as you know well,
this activity must cease!
Please desist
and don't resist,
no, not another verse.
When write is wrong,
the right to song
only makes things worse!

Stephen Brooke ©2010

Hey, at least I'm writing something...