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Woods like riprap

I’ve been reading Gary Synder’s poetry for while now. I saw him at the Acton-Boxborough high school when he accepted the Robert Creeley poetry award last year. He was fine — a unassuming poetry master reading from his work of the years.  I like his approach to poetry and the more I read the more I like it. It is visceral and direct, unpretentious and as natural as a rock.

For example, this is the first poem in his collection Riprap:

Down valley a smoke haze
Three days heat, after five days rain
Pitch glows on the fir-cones
Across rocks and meadows
Swarms of new flies.

I cannot remember things I once read
A few friends, but they are in cities.
Drinking cold snow-water from a tin cup
Looking down for miles
Through high still air.

I can’t comment on this but will instead quote Mr. Synder himself:
“There are poets who claim that their poems are made to show the world through the prism of language. Their project is worthy. There is also the work of seeing the world without any prism of language, and to bring that seeing into language. The latter has been the direction of most Chinese and Japanese poetry.

In some of my riprap poems, then, I did try for surface simplicity set with unsettling depths.”

And succeeded, I think.

Then the last time I was in Seattle, my daughter, a recent creative writing Master, took me to a little book store — Pilot Books — that specializes in poetry. I bought Ezra Pound’s gem of a book,” ABC of Reading.” I just strated reading it and come to find this:

“The Egyptians finally used abbreviated pictures to represent sounds, but the Chinese still use abbreviated pictures AS pictures, that is to say, Chinese ideogram does not try to be the picture of a sound, or to be a written sign recalling a sound, but it is still the picture of a thing; of a thing in a given position or relation, or of a combination of things. It means the thing or the action or situation, or quality germane to the several things that it pictures.”

Gary writes in the 50th Anniversary edition of  Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems that Ezra Pound introduced him to Chinese poetry. And a whole lot more I suspect. It will be great fun and throughly enjoyable to find more connections between these two as I continue to read them both.

Burges Pond Fall 2007This is my best Canon G9 image yet. I’m very pleased with it.Shot in jpeg still it responded well to post processing in PS CS II. I’m working on my Westford Regional Art Event entries and of course next years Westford Conservation Trust calendar.The photo was taken in Westford’s East Boston Camps conservation area. The pond is Burges Pond, a lovely one in the middle of the 300 acre conservation land. Its clear and clean and very natural despite use by boys and girls camps for about 40 years.Please let me know if you like this one. I really do.

“Night Walk” Photograph copyright Frank Winters a Canon G9 image

Night Walk

Luke 17:20, 21:

“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, the kingdom cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here, or lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

In the Baha’i writings the thirteenth Hidden Word says:

“O Son of Spirit!

I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightenment from anyone beside me? Out of the clay of love I molded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his journal:

“The highest revelation is that God is in every man.”

And in his essay Nature he recounts a transcendental experience:

“Standing on the bare ground,–my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,–all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball. I am nothing. I see all. The currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God”

I believe that these passages refer to the same truth. That God is within each of us and that by turning within we may find God.

The quote from Baha’ullah is particularly interesting. Taken as a whole it seems to recount humankind’s evolution and self invention through Nature and the acquisition of knowledge. Nature is the clay of love. The essence of knowledge refers to the source of mankind’s mental growth and spiritual evolution as well as the process of discovery through science and intuition.

The Lord’s prayer says “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread…” Baha’is believe this refers to the time when Baha’ullah came to fulfill the prophecy. Many Christians believe this refers to a future time when Christ will return in the glory of the father and bring about the kingdom of God on earth.

But the kingdom of God is within you says Jesus. Baha’ullah says find Me within you. Emerson says he and all of us are the part and parcel of God.

That’s enough for me. The good news is that the kingdom can come for us in the here and now as can eternity, just as our daily bread comes. However, the kingdom is in the future for most of us because we have not achieved what Buddha called nirvana. But his views will wait for another time!

I am pleased to have reached this conclusion after thinking about these and other passages for months if not years. While I am open to finding a different meaning to them I find this understanding clear and helpful. Meditation will now be easier, I think.

A primary difficulty for me in accepting the Baha’i faith as the basis for belief is in the concept of the Covenant which says that God will send messengers every thousand years or so and humankind will accept and follow them. Baha’i believe that no direct contact with God is possible. All knowledge from God must come through a Manifestation, they believe — because that’s what Baha’ullah taught even though he also wrote the thirteenth Hidden Word.

Many Baha’is over the years have told me that they respect or are fond of Emerson yet he taught just the opposite from this fundamental (and somewhat fundamentalist) Baha’i belief. I think this is because Baha’i beliefs are inconsistent internally. Look at them or interpret them one way and they are aligned, for example, with Emerson. Take another look and they are not. But I imagine this is true of organized religion generally. (Of course I am not nearly knowledgeable enough to know if this is true.)

I’m interested in knowing what others think about this. What did Jesus mean? Are the passages above saying the same or similar things, or not? Do you feel that the Kingdom of God could possible be within you?

Box Car Colors

This is a photo that I took last fall in EBCs. I like it. Its the best one with a train element that I’ve taken there so far (I think). I used my still new Canon G9.

I like the way the box car blends with the trees of fall. The train seems almost a part of nature there in our EBCs conservation land.

I hope you enjoy it!

BTW — Sorry to have been a non-blogger for a few weeks. I’ll do better this year — I promise!

Keyes Brook

This image was made on Friday October 19th in the rain. Its Keyes Brook near Nutting Road, taken from the trail/power line access road (old trolley line) that runs from Graniteville to Route 40 near Nabnasset Lake. I like the realistic look of this image. So far I love my G9!

Comments re the (simple) image are welcome.



Nabnasset Lake (G9 Test)

Nabnasset Lake, Westford Massachusetts

The photo above is my first attempt using my new Canon G9.

The camera is Canon’s latest offering in their ‘G’ series — highly capable ‘point and shoot’ (P&S) cameras. But this one I think is a break through.

For lots of information about the camera please go to dpreview.

This camera reminds me of the early days of 35mm reportage as practiced to perfection by Henri Cartier-Bresson. He discover the Leica ‘mini-cameras’ in around 1932 and started using it because of the freedom and portability it afforded. The mini-cameras were dismissed by purists and in fact much of the photographic community at the time as being too small to be ‘real cameras.’ These early Leicas fit in the hand, where very easy to use and were only slightly larger than the G9.
Many photographers today don’t think its possible to do real work with a P&S camera but others love the freedom and portability. So I wonder of a new age of photographic freedom has begun.

Photo journalists are using P&S cameras more now and I think with this camera — 12 mega pixels, ISO 80 – 3200, raw file capability, manual focus made usable by the 3 inch screen of crystal clarity. One really exiting capability is the zoom — optical zoom is 6X giving a 35mm -210mm capability. Then if you want the digital zoom kicks in seamlessly up to 24X! I haven’t tried anything ‘serious with the 24X zoom and I don’t expect the quality to be really great but with this camera in a photo journalists pocket there are many shots to be had that would be impossible with a lesser P&S or a bulky SLR. With 12 meg resolution a digital zoom becomes a useful tool whereas on, say a 5 mp camera it might not be.

I usually don’t write about technology but I felt this was occupying a bit of my time lately and has got me quite excited so…

Next I’m expecting an upgrade to Photoshop — necessitated by my desire to use PS to down load and process raw files from the G9 (those clever devils at Adobe only release software for new camera raw files in the latest upgrade — that’s ok ’cause I wanted to upgrade anyway..)

If you have a G9 or an opinion about P&S cameras please comment!

Edit: Here is a review of the G9.

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