I have a great backlog of photos and do not feel very motivated to get them up, so perhaps this shot of a favorite subject taken on last Wednesday will prime the motivation.
OK, though much like Pope Benedict is soon to be this site is largely functioning as a Blog Emeritus to the new site I do want to use it from time to time, though, for special announcements, etc. Won’t you consider donating to this worthy project. I know a lot of people (including a ton of artists) are asking for your money these days, but I can vouch for these gentleman and their heart and vision and I want to promote their cause wherever I can.
Some gentlemen I know from church are part of an endeavor to create a business that does good by helping to foster new artists and to change the perception of a much maligned but amazing city, my city, St. Louis.
Would you watch the video on their page and consider donating? As a personal connection, the house that the video was shot in? Yup, that’s das Haus, my house, right in the middle of the aforementioned city. Check them out on Facebook here and the web here. Click on the image below to go to their fundraising page.
From their Indiegogo page:
“Hey there people. My name is Cardin Irakoze and I am one of the interns for Danger Schmanger. I’m originally from Congo. I have been in St. Louis for five years and the first thing I noticed about St. Louis the danger. It took me awhile to notice the beauty of St. Louis. The first thing I want other people to notice about St. Louis is the beauty not the danger. One of the best ways we can do that is through Danger Schmanger. One t-shirt can make a huge difference. We need your help. We need $4500 to finish buying equipment and things for our shop. And even if you can’t help us financially, you can still pray for us. Thank you.”
Cardin is an awesome kid studying at Forest Park Community College to do web design. We are truly privileged to be burning screens, pulling ink, and making T-shirts with him.
How it all works:
S M E A G O L
My dear Smeagol, indeed, you still are dear
To me, my son, please hear me if you may.
Turn from the dark, from things that crawl in fear
Of light into the earth. Look to the day,
Though it may hurt you for a while. Repent
Of whatever deed it is that chills your heart.
Warmth will return; the daylight is not spent.
My son, see light again. Come take your part
Again in wholesome meals, in wholesome talk
Around the table. I will make amends
If you will but start; just begin the walk
Towards your healing. There are much worse ends
My dear son, than to feel chastising pain.
Smeagol, repent. Come back to life again.
G O L L U M
If you have had a blog a while, it is interesting what things your stats page, which shows what searches led people to your site, will turn up from time to time. Here is a sonnet from 2004. Why republish? For more exposure, yes, but also a blog and its readers are like a river. You never step into the same river twice I have changed one word and removed some capitalization.
Imagine. Smeagol returns from the river carrying Deagol claiming he has drowned (I do not remember what the books say about when Gollum’s relations know he had murdered him). It soon becomes apparent, however, that all is not well, as Smeagol begins to isolate himself in the dark and transform into Gollum.
Imagine. Perhaps somewhere during this time, his mother speaks to Smeagol, prefiguring Gandalf’s and Frodo’s after him rather more severe, but still merciful approach to Gollum many years later, which is really a remarkable aspect of the books and films, all the more tragic for Gollum’s ultimate refusal to accept the offer.
Admittedly, I have rather spiritualized the plight of Gollum. However, though he is a far greater and subtler craftsman, do not think that Tolkien did not have such dynamics in mind, not allegorically (he steadfastly denied LOTR was allegory) but thematically speaking.
For a seminary class I took on Tolkien, we were permitted great latitude for our final project. It could be a formal paper or something more in the realm of creative writing. I chose to write poems on the Ringbearers in the the Lord of the Rings. In the Lord of the Rings, not counting the Elder Days, there are four ringbearers. Three we are familiar with because they are are the heroes; Bilbo, Frodo, and Samwise each bear the ring for a time. The saddest “ringbearer,” though, is Smeagol. He does not “bear” the ring out of goodness, as his desire to possess it for himself that rules him. However, in a very real sense he bears the ultimate effects of the ring in ways that the others only begin to feel. The true cost of the ring is borne out tragically in his spirit, mind, and body.
For Bilbo, Frodo, and Samwise, I crafted two sonnets each, one for before they took the burden of the ring and one for after they had endured and its destructive pull. For Smeagol, there was no “after” sonnet, but only the descent into Gollum and death. In the Lord of the Rings, we get whispers that Gollum may still be able to be redeemed. When I first read the books, I so hoped he would be. My sonnet envisions an imaginary speech either given to him by his mother after he first acquired the ring or perhaps a pleading by Gandalf in his firm but benevolent imprisoning of him.
I get a few video segments mixed up, sound almost stoned in others, call a cappuccino a latte, and have other assorted errors, but I am quite pleased with this video essay. Video work is quite the challenge compared to taking and editing stills or even writing essays in print alone, and this project combined them all. Enjoy a final piece of pumpkin on this Thanksgiving night.
as if a sun were
immanent beneath dim skies
season’s first grapefruit
-Its antecedent haiku here
We have fifteen haiku from 10 contestants for this contest. It is not too hard work to put on such contest, but even for a small one like this, it is tricky to keep track of email entries, so if I have forgotten your entry please let me know right away and I will get it up.
I thought about sneaking an entry of my own in, but I suspect that the judges, knowing me rather well, may have sniffed that out quite quickly. So here are my introductory haiku on the contest theme. If you wish to comment on these, do so here. If you wish to comment on the contestants’ haiku, please do so on the contest page. Enjoy!
the leaves translucent
stream glory upon glory;
trees like church windows
branches like leaden
window frames, bereft of glass,
gilt by warm creche light
After all the debate over American exceptionalism, after all the worry over the country lagging in various international rankings, in the basement of Christ’s Southern Mission Baptist Church, St. Louis, Missouri a pretty exceptional process was occurring this morning. In a fairly blighted portion of the city, in a building in which people can gather freely to vote or worship, a long orderly line of voters were exercising their right to be heard. As I stood in line, above the checkerboard linoleum floor, above the tables with the slight cardboard voting screens all akimbo, in the light streaming through plain protestant stained glass, a large banner left over from some long-forgotten pageant proclaimed “Worship the King!” I smiled and thought—after it all, after a revolution and 200 plus years of crawling toward a more perfect union—I am a Royalist at heart
Note:To those of you here for the photos–I wish I had my camera with me, it was an amazing shot (it may be time to get a smart phone)– please bear with a little religious and even littler amount of political sentiment. It will soon be over.