Tag Archives: io

Diary: specs, tea, cards & usual annotations from the fog

Everything old was new again / same as it ever was, same as it never was.

Various annotations Nov. 25~27ish

Glasses: my super cool vintage clubman glasses are broken after some roughhousing with kid (and also from being old) / back up pair gives headaches & delicate. This means, going to spectacle shopping again. Yes, I’ve spent approximately 14% of my lifetime earnings on glasses.

these old soldiers, purchased in Guam 1994 with brand-new “transitions” tech, re=fitted last year but alas, the frames too fatigued and broken twice

My back-up pair (purchased in Victoria) never quite dialed in with lenses maybe because wide-ish and so my don’t call me lazy left eye is always pulling to the side ?? the frames were bought with insurance meaning came from the “b-pile” and are flimsy :(

currently wearing these specs, just not *great* though (i am the one on the left)

Circumnavigation: Progress on my poetry book project has kind of stalled out due to some logistical complications of broken spectacles. That said, I did a tremendous amount of work getting a new routine going for transcriptions and definitely have a foundation laid as I’ve sorted out my concept.

current work bench set-up for poetry book project

Visitor: And, hey! we have our first foreign tourist guest coming tomorrow since the “before times“ (we had another international guest but technically on a business visa).

So, i’ll take bus into city to meet up > streetcar to lunch with a view of the castle > coffee in the park > bus back to the house, wife will probably make tea, check out barn studio ++ make a woodstove fire nabe (stew) pot with duck meat. Mac the goat farmer & in-laws will join the festive board.

more sundry tasks of late:

  • new orthotic inserts for shoes, great!
  • made chicken stock from beauty beer can roast chicken
  • ordered new year cards and stamps
  • IV “cocktail” infusion
  • brought in firewood
  • called a friend

Further details

Specs: Ordered new glasses from a very specialized optometrist with a store started by his great grandfather in the 1800s, yes, 130 years ago. Also had an interesting assortment of clocks/watches and a Yamaha hi-fi similar vintage to mine. Head spinning from all the eye tests. Now home in bed resting.

Ole Eye guy put me through extensive battery of tests. Optometrist, ophthalmologist, opticians etc. are always fascinated/amused/amazed by my eyes. Left eye w/ astigmatism and surgery, is my weak eye but also dominant. Eyes constantly switch back-&-forth but never work in tandem.

a variety of uninspiring frames but fortunately i have a “face for glasses” so will work it out

Selection of frames was certainly * not fantastic* but over 50 years of doing this, I’m good at sorting through and finding something unique, utilitarian and features my pretty face rather than specs. Also smart enough to know chasing around to different stores is fools errand.

previous time spec shopping – didn’t buy any of these and instead retro-fitted olden set, sharing to show my consistency with documenting process

PS grew up wearing “executive bifocals” with heavy glass lenses with straight across lines like maybe your grandpa rocked. As such, I truly celebrate all advancements in optical technology. Lenses are so much lighter and thinner now. But still hard getting “centerpoint” dialed in

#daveo50 ~ 1972 / Lansing, Michigan

Have a week to wait for manufacture (incredible variety of coatings, filters and customizations possible now, not to mention the thinness of the lenses!) and then these two will retire to the crate of disused soldiers. Sigh. $10000s spent on finicky eyes. Skimping is unwise.

My prescription is really weird so lenses always come in at waaaay too much + due to the changing nature of my eyes, usually have to swap out every two or three years :( I “joke“ that I bought boats for optometrists & paid for orthodontists for the children of ophthalmologists.

i used to donate old glasses until the opticians & eye doctors told me “don’t bother, nobody is going to be able to use these, nobody” / maybe eventually will make a spectacle spinning mobile.

Park and Trucks (and cheese): While I was doing my thing at the old-timey optical, my darlings hit up a park for a session & a snack.

There is not a “shovel car” driven by which goes unacknowledged, nor no dump truck, ambulance, fire truck nor crane. He also watches the video of his mom operating a front digger frequently :)

Now one of them is snoring next to me :)

Tea ceremony: In another topic, my darling wife went to a special ceremony tea today // she was the only one they are under probably 70 years old… They all adore her for carrying on the tradition of making tea, rocking kimono etc. She came home with all sorts of treats including yuzu miso(!)

my tea teacher

this little selfie snapshot hardly does her justice but I just love that she keeps me in the loop with her activities when she’s out and about.

Oh here is wagashi:

yes, wagashi “sweets’ at tea ceremony. plating is important

She’s gonna host her own tea ceremony here at the house this month… I really look forward to her doing more in the future… {Now if we can just get that land and make our own tea house & garden hmmm}

I also told preschool wanna be Santa Claus again this year but have to make a few changes. Last year was lots of loud music, bright lights as well as 1-on-1 interaction with the kids which basically gave me a virus salad that laid me out for a month and a half. :( #delicate

Letters: Two absolutely fantastic and heart-touching pieces of mail today from domestic correspondents, yep, from inside dear Japan archipelago from folks “met” here on beleaguered Twtr. Just read both and a little bit spun out by the thoughtfulness and candidness.

New Year Cards: In a sorta semi-related topic: going to try to keep nengajyo / New Year’s cards to 100 domestic and 100 international this year. Ordering the “special magic number“ ¥63 stamps for domestic + ¥70 stamps for international as post office doesn’t generally have sufficient stock.

2021 Insta-Lindas New Year card

Anyhow, I’ve ordered the New Year’s cards and really looking forward to sharing with you.

2020 Time Traveler New Year card

The “usual“ in that there’s fantastically cute picture on the front and quirky poetry and stamp art on the back / but you know, sort of different, I guess :-) the thing that’s different this year is did them all digital and outsourced printing. previous years made all analog and printed at home running through cartridges and making extra complicated this year is a tiny bit more clip arty but will all be hand-addressed/finished w/ <3

New Years Greetings / 2019 + Reiwa 2

The previous “Linda Lindas/Insta“ and “Time Travelers“ and *pink collage* were pretty solid. I hope it makes its way to your refrigerator with a very nice magnet.

The photo we are using this year has been circulated before but was just too good to pass up the chance for a print run with it :-) #hint

Lit mags: Annnnnd I finally received the poster for my Paris Review subscription (which i bought instead of renewing NHL live :)) / glad it was properly shipped in a tube as well

paris review poster (need to find a quality poster frame plan as i have a lot of posters)

I really love getting high-quality print magazines in the mail. Alas, the postage to Japan often makes us a little bit expensive for a pensioner like me but still…

As for Ichiro: 29 months old now, really understanding he’s learning “two codes“ with a different languages/ we’re reading Tintin books (among many others) and in the bath he asks me to do voices for Snowy, Tintin and Captain Haddock (“Blistering barnacles! Thundering typhoons!“)

my lil superstar, at the optical, wondering when he gets specs
Easier: Nov 26

Dear Wonders,

Caught up dishes and laundry, and took out compost.

Plus had a pleasant phone conversation and transcribed one draft poem.

Now resting in bed eating a dried persimmon.

“Things are gonna get easier…“

Ty, dvo
For you & me “Ooh Child”

Bonus:

Halloween out n about / minimal effort, moderate fun (w/ magic darling duo)

Canada Japan Friendship Society, Tsuchida branch

Briefly: Evidence of us doing the Halloween rounds this afternoon / including the magnificent Taroman pumpkin shriveling into repose & our “bare minimum yet very effective” costumes of a ragtag baseball squad

It seems we live in a Ghibli theme park

The neighborhood has four “official” trick-or-treat stations, specifically available from 1 PM till 2:30 PM.

After hitting up a couple, I pulled out the pumpkin to the stoop, set up a lawn chair and added chaos into the well-ordered routine with spontaneous station number five while my darling duo hit up a couple of others, returning beaming with treats while I am a few twizzlers lighter after visits by a young surgeon (with stethoscope and spectacles in his pocket), a young police officer, a couple of cats, a little bear, and a few middle-age neighborhood guys shutting down the other stations.

Why yes we do matchy matchy looks

Noting that station number one had a great persimmon tree and issued scissors to bring a few of these wonderful fruit home which look like tiny little pumpkins. We use them all sorts of ways including my fermented vinegar.

Pumpkin looking a little worse for wear, hopefully the wild boar will come make short work of it

The nice lady there took a snapshot of the three of us & the husband there asked when we’re having another baby 🙂

There they are!

Really nice to see a little bit of liveliness in the neighborhood after, you know… “all of this“ / glad to be able to chitchat with folks as I’m still a bit of a mystery in the area but Ichiro is clearly famous(!)

Ichi was Concept Director for the pumpkin which was modeled after his favorite program, the super campy 70s crazy art collage by Okamoto Taro “Taroman”
Supporting evidence of above: Ichiro at Taroman exhibit in Osaka

Diary: fevers, poetry schemes, & a crane lands yonder

Diary notes, new week ahoy:

a crane alighted on the neighbour’s rooftop while I sat awaiting trick or treaters

Oh noes, Ichiro has a bit of a fever, not super high but too high for the nursery school protocols 😞 we enjoy being careful. really.

Mondays are grocery delivery and “garbage out” day, plus I have a huge stack of cardboard to break down, mostly from ordering records even though “and really try not to order a lot of records“ / In other words, I’m really not good at not buying records.

This month, November, my “big project” is to assemble a poetry book so going to tidy up the studio, set up a standing desk bench and work along with that for a few hours every day as possible in between hospitals and other tasks.

As such, I will slow down on my “clearing out the backlog of the creative life archive” project for the time being but still post occasionally diaries and updates from the poetry project.

And continue to fam a little flame of the Kerouac in Kobe campaign (You’ve seen the video right? Read the interview? Seen the video about the interview about the video?)

The project is long overdue and I want to make it “for Stanley” – reminding myself to not worry about the design, publishing, distribution etc. until after I have a manuscript made just how I want to make it.

Will be a mix of freeverse poetry pulled from journals, diaries, scrapbooks (mostly from the recent “missing years” but a few other eras which fit in), plus maybe some snippets from letters, diary musings, and what not. Sort of an almanac of personal archaeology.

For starters: a few tasks to get my studio set up for writing project, ergo:

(File under) Environment:

  • Prepare bench area – cut & install support leg / tidy up
  • Set up tea & incense station
  • Calligraphy mantras, hang
  • iMac at appropriate height
  • Meta-documentation device, maybe

I’ve got a whole plan written down, even printed it out, have records on standby, talked to the family and have some meal prep in the freezer done.

This might not all happen, life has a way of getting in the way especially with “the illness” but intentions are powerful and here we are.

So we go on…

[update: As for the kiddo, he hit up the doctor, got some medicine, fever still sort of rising and got yet another C 19 test. Resting now. I feel like I’ve seen this movie before.]

[update, again: leg support installed on the bench successfully, a bit of sweeping and rearranging, tea tray assembled, groceries delivered, groceries ordered, trash prepared, laundry sorted]

Diary: Photo evidence, Tintin, Unicorn, Dead shows + passports, typography, telephones / annotations from usual days

Why yes, I am very official, thank you for asking.

Licensed to hug with Diplomatic Immunity (adding to passport collection)

Entered the TinTin phase of Ichiro’s life:

Well blistering barnacles, no internationally minded youth misses out on that goodness that is Tin Tin, I have a complete collection including the “rather awkward” ones written in that *cough cough* colonial European mindset.

Hergé’s leather satchel of supplies

We’re enjoying Tintin in Tibet right now (and I’m up playing the friendship angle and downplaying the plane crash angle considering our upcoming travel at his fascination with airplanes).

Yesterday, after seitai, we stopped at a secondhand shop to purchase a couple more dining room chairs, shelf and whatnot… The secondhand stores here are really fantastic and we furnished our house in our eclectic style thanks to these treasure troves, but the point is: There was a model ship, triple masted, vaguely like The Unicorn, on a shelf and while we were purchasing the other larger items I said “and I will take that as well!” (pretending I’m paying in US dollars so I’m getting a great deal – macro economic currency humour is great right?)

Brought it home and a little guy right away realized that it was “just like Tintin” and the Unicorn. He examined it very carefully, which was a relief because he’s at that stage were smashing things is a lot more fun :)

Speaking of: here at my “creative life archive” (fancy name for a blog) scheduled on the 31st is a photo of me doing my best to dress up as tin Tintin in the crappy suburbs in probably 1978, my glasses kind of ruining the whole thing and spent the night trying to explain to people who I was… people would say “Rintintin the dog?” I would roll my eyes and sadness/discussed and stumble away with my crappy candy wishing i could go live in some exotic land.

Also at this aforementioned “don’t call it a blog“ is field notes from a Hergé museum exhibit in Quebec city with loads of his original sketches but even better for me, ephemera, his supplies, kit bag, inspiration items all that kind of stuff. Have you seen it? I mean I expect everyone has seen every post that I put out there so I mean, you must have :-) geez, there is even a [TinTin Fun category]

Photographic Evidence

Picked up 2 family studio portraits (1 of the three of us and 1 of wife as a young girl with mother, father and younger brother) we had matted, edged (filleted?), framed and holy smokes, so great! Fancy times & so worth it. Going to make a gallery on a wood panel wall soon.

One is the three of us is from the “time traveler“ series a couple years ago / matted with burgundy, gold edge and carved up wood frame and looks quite Taisho era: mysterious and majestic.

Time Traveler Family, v. 1 (this pose with burgundy-ish mat an brown carved frame and gold edges, such fancy!)

The wife & in-laws photo has kind of a mirror image pose with “lost in Showa” beige vibes + kimono splash. Both F-i-L and I have rather “serious/neutral” expressions, both photos have baby feet and Mothers with Fujii-family trademark short-cut hair.

Will hang up soon and will look so great. Next up: photo shoot with Grandparents and us all together… so we go on #AxeHandles

Hospital Switcheroo

Not of particular interest to anyone but, for the record: Finished hopefully-last visit to the “big city hospital” it’s shiny and efficient however from now, the diligent if a-bit-worn Okayama University Hospital with their MECFS program is my primary point of contact and care.

Reminder of this article about MECFS in The Atlantic (i’ve printed it and taken to Doctors) by Ed Yong is really worth reading to understand a bit about the weird medical conundrums which me and many many deal with. Oh and a great recap by someone called Heather about “10 things i wish people knew about ME“.

Grateful Dead Dave’s Picks

Trying *not* to buy too many records of late due to impending trip (more later) but the new “Dave’s Picks” Grateful Dead is from the Eugene 1990 shows, ergo:

Also Neal Casal “Illuminations for the Dead” which was made special for the set break music at the Grateful Dead 50th anniversary shows – instrumental, ethereal, atmospheric – but sadly Neal packed it in shortly thereafter :(

And Dan Mangan’s new offering “Being Somewhere” is en route, just missing “Postcards and Daydreams” to complete my vinyl archive including the 10 year reissues for “Nice Nice Very Nice” and “Oh Fortune”

Also listening to Television (as discussed in recent “Rock and Beat Generation” video – piqued by great article in The Ringer by Elizabeth Nelson, ergo:

Aside: Need to re-up my cardigan stash with 2+ decent wool all-around-ers.

Current are a little bit too shabby (even for my “weary/eccentric community college prof” style) & cotton ones are quickly becoming inadequate for season.

i mean, who is even who here?

Now, how do I do this without leaving the house?

Note: I like “aged/classic“ communication methods but what I don’t miss: long distance phone bills (remember being stiffed so many times cause i was the sucker with a Sprint card). And my seitai Dr just gifted me a classic black rotary phone! Will sit like a noble buffalo in the studio so i can call you whenever i can’t.

(pending) Book project

Pals have namechecked for #NaNoWriMo( which is awesome National Novel Writing Month campaign) but I’m not attaching my star to it because I’m physically incapable of sitting at a chair and banging out 50,000 words // my head has the stories no doubt but the body won’t cooperate so instead I’m using the month to assemble poems like Lego bricks and hide out in the barn

It’s really also a “mental reset“ from this year of endless paperwork, I mean so much paperwork and so many hospital visits.

The good news is: the recent medication/IV routine and seasonal weather changes here have given me a little bit of a spark / Summer was brutal, typhoon season crushed what was left of my head, but now it’s chilly, crisp and sunny. So aside from a neighbour (probably 3 km away) trimming their grass requiring me to close the window, I’ve managed to patch together a couple “good days” in a row. Just writing this though I feel like I’m jinxing it. But, I’ll eat my oatmeal and head to work at a standing bench desk with records playing and probably record somekind of meta-documentation (unsurprisingly) and see how we roll on.

So, recap: Planning on spending November in the barn assembling a book of poetry, with snippets of letters, maybe some musings, prose riffs… I’m not sure yet but… Importantly, I want the book to “look and feel beautiful”.

I’m not sure what I will do for publication whether that’s self/on demand, shop it out to a boutique publisher but it’s really important to me that it’s typeset to look timeless and dammit, gorgeous and be printed on paper stock with a nice hand.

I think I will add in some black-and-white Lomo images just for atmosphere in section breaks but stay away from color so it doesn’t become an unwieldy expense for people to collect/purchase.

Mostly I just don’t want it to look like that sort of “I made this book in Word and sent it as a PDF“ typography style if you know what I mean. Margins, gutters, typefaces are all very important but I don’t really have the true skills.

Anyhow, i’m making the book for Stanley (before he heads off to sea)

yes, he is all of this and more more more

Ikebana & Bento / brief notes from a day out {now with snapshots!}

Diary notes:

Rode bus into city with my 2 darlings to see an ikebana exhibit (Ryoko’s ceremony teacher had a piece on exhibit – no photos allowed) at a high floor in a department store.

“Noise pollution“ is huge problem for me even with earplugs. Ditto with flouro lighting.

Then acquired various bento/snacks and a street car ride for a picnic in the park with a friend.

Saw our funny passport photographer fellas shooting a kimono girl.

On bus ride home, a man gave us nice food.

Definitely more people out n about in city recently than previous couple of years (unsurprisingly of course).

Especially enjoy seeing other parents with similar age kids as we share a common experience of babies in this weird time.

Also many new art Installations around. {“Do we dream under the same sky” exhibition currently}

Now home resting… Was a lot for me but did it. #mecfs

Still quite warm and sunny here in Okayama. My outfit was sharp (natch ;)) but a bit too hot.

Tonight we’ll carve the pumpkin + noted community Halloween event on 10/30.

No accompanying photos. approximate location denoted.

Bonus: Triptychs of postbox and payphone (should be separate post, eventually will)

Chooglin’ through September, logistics & whatnot

Chooglin’ On -– not on the Canadiana tracks this time, rather balancing logistical and creative life in a cottage in Japan

Are you there pals? It’s me, daveo.

So many actions yet forward momentum doesn’t feel forward.

I think its a matter of expectations and “how my brain is a little bit broken” / I purchased a book about brains and whether or not one’s might be broken (or specifically how it is not). Have yet to read.

Regardless, when making a laundry list of “things ticked off list” – this month was spectacular! Especially when gauged against my *cough* priorities for the year:

  1. Be a great hubbo and papa
  1. Take steps forward for health
  1. Sort out life admin stuff for the long haul

I.e. Intake to new speciality clinic at Okayama University Hospital plus a follow-up visit, seitai x2, a few walks, cleaning ancestors graves, surviving typhoon warnings (really hard for me), stepping up emergency preparedness, passports, taxes, applications, translations, certifications, notarizations, tickets punched, forms filled out, tolls paid.

Truthfully these “life admin” tasks often feel redundant at least and ridiculous at times (noting: there is a choice to fly under the radar though once you surface, you’d best be prepared to deal with the consensus reality) but very required and somehow I do have latent paperwork genetics(?) from both strands tailored for the task when the brain is firing. Problem is the brain doesn’t always fire. (Did you read that article from the Atlantic I’ve been bouncing around?)

I mean, loads of all of the above PLUS the “creative life” goodness which sometimes feels elusive happened, ergo: An online poetry reading with really fantastic collaborators; a poem in a poetry book which sits on my (one of my several) desk(s); 50+ posts in this very archive – including some detailed mixed-media diaries of healing ramble, stories of adventures, usual ephemera, artifacts, collections and more sort-ganizing in ongoing semantic nuance; solid handful of video storytimes with arts and crafts, stories and poems; many conversations, some of them quite lengthy, with friends – both foreign and domestic – by telephony.

This is even before we dig into Ryoko’s singing performance, various rehearsals, and loads of arboristing and landscape designing. She amazes me with her patience, creativity, strength and sweetness regularly. 

And more important than any of this is playtime with Ichiro almost every morning before school and wonderful hot bathtime every single night. We do puzzles, play music on ukulele, piano and drums, all the words tumble out of his mouth but the songs even moreso. And He looks through the scrapbooks of his art and always pulls a book out of his pile eager to explore the words both in English and Japanese. While on the logistical errand to the big gray city of Osaka, we went to a museum exhibit which was especially for him, for us too but for him, was some kind of amazing heaven of Okamoto Taro.

++ Almost all meals prepared at home, laundry is always caught up dishes almost always, house generally tidy despite an active toddler and two parents with many hobbies. 

So when to lay it all out, the score is rather high but at the same time, and very eager to do more big creative things. I know they wait patiently amidst stacks of furious notebooks, sheets of unfiltered papers, digital documents with various suffixes –and I know the time is coming as I think about these projects all the time in the long hot baths. Will you read them if I make them? The words in the books that is?

Now the weather will cool, I will get IVs on the weekly, drink magical traditional Chinese medicine potions, other “off label/experimental” medications, I will find my peace, and I will pluck the things as ripened.

I didn’t even mention the wild boar attack.

Let’s make a start! Tomorrow comes photographs and possible live Jazz in the streets.

We will travel by bus. the three of us together. October ahoy! 

Equinox at Ohaka, saying respectful hellos to the ancestors

The both of them are so adorable, me, I’m just glad to be here

Friday, Sept 23: Equinox day walk up to the ancestral graves for cleaning, incense and fresh flowers… as is tradition. We tended to several generations in Tsuchida, Okayama.

Note we are wearing our “family tie-dye tartan” made by brother Dan (wiped me out so back home to rest fckn #mecfs :()

Continue reading Equinox at Ohaka, saying respectful hellos to the ancestors

Ichiro in the summer (with cicadas & fish)

Snippets from the park a few weeks ago with my pal Ichiro.

This is what Japan sounds like in the summer with the cicadas in full voice. Dig the vintage vibes as a playground equipment, does it remind you of 1979?

PS yes, he’s rocking tiedye & trucker hat & Canada shorts like so cool right? #io

Since were here, here he is at a community center (Mama’s client where we were delivering an invoice) checking out the fish tank. Dude loves to check out the fish that’s for sure.

Art: Michal, Ichiro, Noriko paintings on display at Tsuchida Cottage

what a corner! / #swoon

Ichiro art hanging between 2 masters / Michal Korman (L) & Noriko Miyake (R) at Tsuchida Cottage.

Captured before moving this Ichiro art assortment to a scrapbook.

Musing: fires, volcanos, axe handles & cycle of children

This shelf, containing “danger on peaks” was itself dangerous and not aesthetically pleasing so now it is a garden planter box

March 13, 2022: I went to sleep last night – first night without a fire in the stove for some time – on tatami mats reading “Danger on Peaks”, dedicated to Carole, woke up as my Ryoko took little Ichiro to school, recalling Gary writing about being a 63-year-old stepdad taking a 10-year-old to school in the carpool, and thinking of myself at 10 years old on 95th Ave. in Surrey, getting ready for church the Sunday morning when Mt St Helens erupted, remembering the feeling of the unusual rumble (was not an 18 wheeler), and thinking of Gary coming down the mountain as a 13-year-old to learn that Japan was bombed and “nothing will grow there for 70 years“ and how Hiroshima is just down the road from me, indeed wonderful noodles, activists & parks.

Poured fresh French Press coffee, and picked up my robot and read Wang Ping’s remarkable recounting moments with the axe handle, with the boy-now-man (about my vintage) who the axe handle was created with, with the poet (who had been just up the road in Kyoto, probably pass through here at some point), together throwing hatchets into a stump, then into a barn (no food allowed to prevent pests, like my kura), pulling out Ezra Pound and Han Shan, pages falling open to the exact place, and marveling at the un-coincidence of it all. Such treasure.

It’s all about the cycles as Gary said to Lew. Or was that vice versa?

Also, Ichiro – a year and a half old – loves no toy more than the brush and scoop to clean the woodstove & darling Ryoko now has the skill to light the store with a single match with help from my special arts and crafts made from egg cartons, soy paraffin and sawdust learned from my mother, her ashes on the altar.

Hail the fire queens, axe carvers, and pantry mice!

Axe Handles
BY ©1983 GARY SNYDER

One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
We cut it to length and take it
With the hatchet head
And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle
With the hatchet, and the phrase
First learned from Ezra Pound
Rings in my ears!
"When making an axe handle
                               the pattern is not far off."
And I say this to Kai
"Look: We'll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with—"
And he sees. And I hear it again:
It's in Lu Ji's Wên Fu, fourth century
A.D. "Essay on Literature"-—in the
Preface: "In making the handle
Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand."
My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen
Translated that and taught it years ago
And I see: Pound was an axe,
Chen was an axe, I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.