September 30, 2014

Max’s Musings

By Max Molleston

When did you attend your library book sale? Mine was in Coralville, where Rhoada and I live, a few months in the past. Wait! My last was in Lake Forest, Illinois in the middle of September. The occasion was a lot of Molleston birthdays together. Some by marriage, some just plain Mollestons. A great time to tell stories and remember more of them. All of us attending as birthday boys and girls were in our 70s, except my sister-in-law at 85. All of us are readers, so why not make the Lake Forest Library Annual Book Sale. We did. Others of the troupe, some five of us, worked the many other venues, but the poet in me demanded that I ask a lady, “Where is it?” It was smaller than I expected. Poets generally feel their preoccupation needs to receive more attention. What did I obtain? Sweeney Astray, the late Seamus Heaney run through key medieval Irish poetry. This will take some delicious time to consume. Dylan Thomas, from 1934 to 1952, selected. This is, I think, my second rendition of Thomas, from one publication or another, maybe an anthology. He remains a great read. Someone who can interpret what it seems Thomas wanted to pass along to history is often in demand. Included is a volume from Mary N. Waters, Into the Universe. My sister-in-law Sally, celebrating her 85th birthday, indicates Mary N. Waters is a poet from Arkansas, where Sally was born and has resided most of her life. ” We’re All Here” ends like this:

Be gentle with others…
and with yourself.
In the end, although it’s sometimes not apparent,
we’re all here learning how to love.

There is a “thick” paperback of the collected poems of the American citizen and west coast college professor Czeslaw Milosz. His poetry, some translated, some his effort in America, is prime reading for anyone wanting to know and understand more about poems and poetry and it’s poets. Have you read “ Rivers Grow Small”? A few lines here from the poem.

When for the first time I swam across the lake
it seemed immense, had I gone there these days
it would have been a shaving bowl
between post-glacial rocks and junipers.

He composed the poem in Berkeley, California in 1963. He taught at “Berkeley” much of his life in the United States. Milosz published fifteen other volumes, some via translation, and earned a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980. He is not hard to comprehend and is rich in expression.
Other jewels from the Lake Forest, Illinois library sale into my hands include Favorite Poems Old and New, selections by poet Helen Ferris, aimed at young readers. Not long ago, I included a poem about a child who listened to relatives saying who she looked like. Remember? “But I want to look like me” by Dorothy Aldis. A couple more. Cowgirl Poetry, this one a verse from Australian Mary Hannah Foote. Called a classic, in “Aussie” literature.

Where The Pelican Builds

The horses were ready , the rails were down, but the riders
lingered still — One had a parting word to say
And one had his pipe to fill. Then they mounted, one with a
granted prayer, and one with a grief unguessed; “ We are going”
they said as they rode away, where the pelican builds her nest.

Last poetry find was a “like new” bound copy of Leaves Of Grass, the Whitman landmark in poetry from American language of the time. My second copy, a Barnes and Noble Book. Just for reading, a volume by Alistair Cooke titled Six Men, and The Story of Philosophy, written by Will Durant in the 1920s. Durant continued to research and write history. I have an expanded volume published in 1935, relating the earliest civilizations in what was termed the east, but began in the middle east. These books of poems, and their authors, and those just mentioned, may keep me reading for months. Please join me here in November. We hope to be able to pull some good stuff from the new books of poetry in my possession and from the prose forms in the last books I wrote about.

Filed Under: Personal Growth