Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Poetry Bus - Living Water

Ooooh I am very late for the Poetry Bus! I was so busy painting yesterday I forgot to be at the bus stop on time for posting!

Dana at Bug's Eye View listed several prompts for this weeks poem. I chose the first:

In the first chapter of Isaiah God is having a fit. Quit giving me burnt offerings! Stop trampling my courts! Why do you even think I want that stuff? I am weary of bearing them… Wash yourselves! And then in verse 18 God says, "Come now, let us argue it out…" (NRSV) Now, you might not be a religious person, but I'm sure that even so you have wanted to argue with God (or Allah or the sun or your own super ego) in some manner. If you choose this prompt I'd like you to tell us about that argument.

Praying For Rain

My thoughts are as dry as the grass

They crackle underfoot and

Swirl about with the dust

While my eyes consider each cloud

For rain potential

The drought extends beyond the weather

And meager moisture is not enough to drink

The spirit begins to whither within me

It curls like parched leaves

And recedes with the water in the pond

Leaving an expanded beach around it

That only if I were not so thirsty

I might explore for revealed possibilities

Instead I listen for distant thunder

And test the wind for improvement

Until I finally reach out

To God

And discover yet again the

Living Water that falls like rain

Pouring hope upon the desert I

Have withdrawn to until in it’s fullness

It spills forth in streams that lead me back

To the knowledge that He will let it rain

When it is time

And all my thirst beyond my need

For Him

Is self induced

And ill advised

Cynthia Ann Conciatu

Stop by Dana's place for more Poetry Bus passenger presentations!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Postcard Friendship - You Must Remember This

Today in History, November 26, 1943, the Warner Bros; film, Casablanca was released and went on not only to become the Academy Award winning movie for the year, but also one of the greatest films of all times.

Captain Renault:[to Ilsa] I was informed that you were the most beautiful woman ever to visit Casablanca. That was a *gross* understatement.

A perfect pairing of Humphrey Bogart as Rick, a cynical ex-patriot and saloon owner in Casablanca and Ingrid Bergman as the beautiful Ilsa the only woman he ever loved unexpectedly reunited and trapped in Casablanca.

Capt Renault: What in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?
Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Capt. Renault: The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.
Rick: I was misinformed.

The film, although not historically accurate, was filmed during WWII, coincidentally on the heals of the American invasion of Nazi occupied North Africa. The film was all but completed when the invasion took place.

Rick: ...it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

Rather than rewrite - which would have meant most of the film would have to be chucked into the waste-bin, it was decided to continue with the story as told and mention the American invasion along with the sounds of canon fire. The tension implied in the film, of trapped people trying to get out of Europe ahead of and in spite of the Nazi's, brought home the reality of the times to the audience.

As it was, most of the script was being written or rewritten during the filming. The ending scene was rewritten several times, and after the picture was thought to be complete, Bogart and Henreid were called back to add the "final" final scene.

Major Strasser: We have a complete dossier on you: Richard Blaine, American, age 37. Cannot return to his country. The reason is a little vague. We also know what you did in Paris, Mr. Blaine, and also we know why you left Paris.
[hands the dossier to Rick]
Major Strasser: Don't worry, we are not going to broadcast it.
Rick: [reading] Are my eyes really brown?

The perfect pairing

Rick: Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.

If you've not seen this film, please do. You'll appreciate the timeless filming in dramatic shadow and light, and ingenious orchestration of music, the wartime requirement costumes by Orry-Kelly, made of cotton and without unnecessary zippers or metal pins. The closing airport scene uses a small scale cardboard cutout of the airplane meant to take Ilsa and Rick out of Casablanca. The director, Frank Capra, wanted men "working" on the plane to make the scene more realistic. Midgets were used so the airplane would appear to be scale.

Capt Renault: Ricky, I'm going to miss you. Apparently you're the only one in Casablanca with less scruples than I.

Wartime censorship and restrictions and moral censorship affected the filming, costuming, script and location shots at every turn. Everything normally used in building a movie set was needed for the war effort. Saving nails, using materials from other sets, renting bamboo chairs for the bar scenes was a necessity. Censorship by the military meant no filming at bridges, tunnels, or most landmarks including airports. Moral censorship made script changes necessary - innuendo was used to tell many of the side stories.

Senor Farrari: Might as well be frank, monsieur. It would take a miracle to get you out of Casablanca, and the Germans have outlawed miracles.

In the original script Rick was to kill an unarmed Major Strasser. However, having the hero kill anyone in cold blood - even a Nazi - would not get past the censors. The Major was given a gun in that scene. The same scene shows one of the major "goofs" in the filming as the epaulets on Major Strasser's coat disappear and reappear between shots

Louis, I believe this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

My sources for this post include my multiple viewings of Warner Brother's, Casablanca, the book, Casablanca Behind the Scenes, by Harlan Lebo, www.imdb.com, and, of course, Wikipedia.

Here's looking at you, kid!

Stop by and visit our host, Beth Niquette at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy for more Postcard Friendship Friday fun!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Poetry Bus Rides in the Ice Age

Our Poetry Bus driver this week, Enchanted Oak, has charged us with this assignment:

"This week I provide the prompt for the world-famous Poetry Bus, created by the world’s most famous blogger, Totalfeckineejit. For bus tickets this week, I have decided to require…

Poems that address your existence on this earth. Good, bad, or indifferent, tell us something, anything, about your life here."

I changed my ticket slightly and wrote about existence in general. I revamped a poem I wrote about 10 years ago.

I've long ago stopped wondering about my existence and instead wonder, if having had the opportunity to exist, will I be remembered when I am gone. Or rather, will I have done something in life to deserve being remembered.

Ice Age

While reflecting upon the meaning

Of our existence

As countless others have before me

I’ve determined the enlightened

Who find purpose in our being

Are just as right

As those naysayers who do not

And the stoics who walk the median

Cloaked neither in hope nor in despair

For we are but faint tracings in the snow

That drift in time and melt away

And disappear into the warmth of an endless spring

Some of us, however, leave footsteps as we pass

That are firm enough to endure

Beyond their season

Pressed solid by the weight of goodness

And fixed deep within the earth

To become the path of others

Cynthia Ann Conciatu

Stop by Enchanted Oak for more existential musings!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sepia Saturday Meets the Poetry Bus - Free!

Covered bridge - Shelburne Falls Massachusetts 1967

Muse Swings in "Burn Notice" albeit slanty sunglasses is posing here. Cousin Diane Candela is leaning (not such a good idea) on the side of this lovely covered bridge. The picture taker is our host for the week, Madelyn LeMay.

As I was preparing my post for the Poetry Bus I realized these pictures are so freakin' old I might as well blend them in with my Sepia Saturday post.

Our Poetry Bus assignment per this week's host, Karen of Keeping Secrets:
The challenge for passengers this week will be to write about one of the following:
(1) a time you had to choose between two clearly divergent paths; (2) a time you were called to walk a path you didn't choose for yourself; or (3) a time you refused to travel the path you were called to follow. If these won't work for you, write anything about a choice you made. Drop me a note here when your poem is ready, and I'll link on the sidebar.

In the words of that great word person Yogi Berra, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

This assignment brought to mind my 1967 trip to Shelburne Falls (I was 22, okay? Fine!),

and a literal path of discovery - with pictures to boot!


Beyond the creaky covered bridge

that still echoes of dank footfalls in my mind

confetti leaves crackle

beneath my feet

eyes rise to cornflower blue jays

that fly like bits of

sky between arched branches

warmth from filtered sun mosaics play

upon my face and

just here I find a tiny trace that cuts

between the trees

no city curbs


white lines or flashing signs

say I may or may not walk here

so I do

follow the mossy winding path

hear mixed octaves of a tiny brook and bend

to the cold bright skittering surface

city fingers touch

and taste sweet water

that runs free

and free

and free

Cynthia Ann Conciatu 11/12/10


City Girl meets country water- free of pipes, free of chemicals and free of charge - Shelburne Falls

Sepia Saturday:

An aMUSEing City Girl with "Twiggy" hairstyle in fetching Pendelton Pea Coat, cable-knit fisherman's sweater, cranberry wool slacks and penny loafers - sans pennies - arrives in Shelburne Falls, MA, to eat more oysters and fried clams than she has ever seen in one place before. She discovers delicious Indian Pudding and finds out that cranberries don't grow in bags.

Her travels take her to a Vermont Maple Sugar farm, the Atlantic Ocean, The House of the Seven Gables, Plymouth Rock , the artist colony of Newport, the hairpin curves of the Mohawk trail and discovery trips into the woods and antique shops of the countryside.

Moments after the above picture is taken two German shephards come running and barking up the hill. City Girl's choice of remaining as stock still as an urban fire hydrant work. The dogs find her to be far too stylish and boring. After a few sniffs of Faberege's Tigress eau de cologne they dash off to find something far more interesting to harass. Like a cow.

Thanks for stopping by my two-fer post!

My Indian Pudding recipe is HERE,

More Sepia Saturday can be found HERE

and the Poetry Bus stop is HERE

and don't forget to buy cranberries for turkey day! They grow in a bog - not a bag.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday - ICEBERG AHEAD!

Huge Iceberg near Battle Harbor Labrador
Dr. Grenfel's Mission Steamer "Strathcona"

Today in History: November 12, 1956, the world's largest observed iceberg was spotted by the U.S.S. Glacier in the South Pacific ocean off Scott Island in the Antarctic. The size was 280 long X 60 miles wide - about the land size of Belgium. The iceberg pictured here is a much earlier berg, and though quite massive is small compared to the 1956 monstrosity.

This beautiful iceberg floated off Labrador around 1909 based on the postmark of Jun 2, 1910.

If you look carefully you will see the hospital ship Strathcona passing through the arch. Dr. Grenfel (Sir Wilfred Grenfel) took quite a risk, sailing through the opening in the berg. What he and his crew saw was just the "tip of the iceberg".

In 1892 and for many years after Dr. Grenfel provided much needed healthcare to fisherman, settlers and aboriginal people on Newfoundland. He founded hospitals, churches and orphanges and provided many other services in the area he served. This quote is ascribed to him:

"The service we render to others is really the rent we pay for our room on this earth. It is obvious that man is himself a traveler; that the purpose of this world is not 'to have and to hold' but 'to give and serve.' There can be no other meaning."

What lies below is very dangerous, and many ships have been badly damaged and/or sunk by the unseen. Only about 1/9th of the mass is visible.

The RMS (Royal Mail Ship)Titanic is just one notable example of the dangers icebergs present. Lessons learned from the sinking of this huge vessel brought about many new safety measures and seafaring laws in hopes of avoiding such a tragic and unnecessary loss of lives.

Per Wikipedia:

The International Ice Patrol is an organization with the purpose of monitoring the presence of icebergs in the northern Atlantic ocean and reporting their movements for safety purposes. It is operated by the United States Coastguard but is funded by the 13 nations interested in trans-Atlantic navigation.

It was established in 1914 in response to the sinking of the RMS Titanic. According to the Patrol's Deputy Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Gabrielle McGrath, "The primary mission of the Ice Patrol is to alert any sea craft traveling the great circle shipping lanes between Europe and the major ports of the United States and Canada of the presence of any icebergs there.

This is thought to be the iceberg that sunk the Titanic. The dark edge is red paint scraped from the ship.

The NIC , U.S. National Ice Center, monitors ice bergs world wide now. Most of their notifications, data and information come from polar circling satellites and remote sensors.

Iceberg - New Foundland (c. 1911)

The iceberg shown on this postcard looks much like the remains of the Battle Harbor iceberg.

The word iceberg is from the Dutch, ijsberg, meaning "ice mountain". They come in many sizes; the smallest is called a growler (less than a meter to 16 meters) and successive sizes are called bergie bits, small, medium, large and very large. Even growlers can cause major damage to a ship.

These mountains of ice are not necessarily quiet. They are filled with pockets of air compressed over thousands of years. As they melt the released air fizzes and pops and the sound is called a Bergie Seltzer.

This "iceberg" in Detroit is an annual winter sight. The water is purposely left running and each year a beautiful ice cathedral is formed.

For more Postcard Friendship Friday fun stop by Beth's at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy.

As always most of the information in this post results from an out of control train of thought process that leads me from one subject to another. I reference on-line (heavy on Wikipedia) and "on-hand" source material plus the vast wealth of completely useless trivia I have accumulated in me brain over the years. Pictures are unceremoniously and shamelessly lifted from flickr and Wikipedia. Postcard images are used with kind permission from www.cardcow.com

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Poetry Bus gets a Soaking (For Monday November 8th)

Jessica Maybury of A Perfect Fourth has given us the challenge for Monday, November 8. She says:

"Years ago my friend S bought me a book to read in the bath. It was waterproof and contained stories or poems about bathing or water or swimming pools etc etc. So that's my challenge; allow me now to compile a collection of poetry about bathing. Or the sea. Or swimming pools. Or the layout of your bathroom. I want senses and unwound feelings inside."

So there it is. I'm on the bus early. Within moments of reading Jessica's request I recalled an interesting bathing experience from my childhood:

Summer Bath

In the coolness of the basement
utilitarian in it's time -
next to the coal bin scattered
with crunchy black crumbs -
near the washing machine
with the wringer I
had learned the hard way
not to put my fingers in -
around the corner
from the summer stove
that kept heat out of the kitchen -
just feet below laughing young parents
slapping euchre cards against an
oilcloth table cover -
sat cousin Grace and I
ages three
maybe four
soaking like last week's linens
up to our necks in
tepid water
on either side of the double laundry tub
comparing raisiny fingertips
testing the gritty texture of the Fels Naptha bar
and discussing just what might happen
if we poured some bluing in the water

Cynthia Ann Conciatu

For more Poetry Bus Bathing go HERE!