..........He was a wise man who invented beer. ~Plato..................
.......[ Juicy Tree ; Short's Brewing (Bellaire, MI) ]


Laugh & Be Merry
--John Masefield

Laugh and be merry, remember, better the world with a song,
Better the world with a blow in the teeth of a wrong.
Laugh, for the time is brief, a thread the length of a span.
Laugh and be proud to belong to the old proud pageant of man.

Laugh and be merry: remember, in olden time.
God made Heaven and Earth for joy He took in a rhyme,
Made them, and filled them full with the strong red wine of His mirth
The splendid joy of the stars: the joy of the earth.

So we must laugh and drink from the deep blue cup of the sky,
Join the jubilant song of the great stars sweeping by,
Laugh, and battle, and work, and drink of the wine outpoured
In the dear green earth, the sign of the joy of the Lord.

Laugh and be merry together, like brothers akin,
Guesting awhile in the rooms of a beautiful inn,
Glad till the dancing stops, and the lilt of the music ends.
Laugh till the game is played; and be you merry, my friends.

[via whiskey river]


Birds Know
--Charles Simic 
There's a pond, a man said,
Far back in these woods,
Birds and deer know about
And slake their thirst there 
In a water so cold and clear,
It's like a brand-new mirror
No one had a chance to look at yet,
Save, perhaps, that little boy, 
Who went missing years ago,
And may've drowned in it,
Or left some trace of himself
Playing along its rocky edges. 
I better go and find out,
This very night, I said to myself,
With my mind running wild,
And the moon out there so bright.

An earlier version can be found at Verse Daily. This final version, as well as Illegible Scribble from the post prior, are available in Simic's 2017 publication, Scribbled in the Dark.


Illegible Scribble
--Charles Simic 
These rags the spirit borrows
To clothe itself
Against the chill of mortality.
O barbed wire of crossed-out words,
Crown of thorns,
Camp meeting of dead wall reveries,
Spilled worry beads,
Fortune-teller's coffee dregs,
My footholds in the abyss.


Wanting It Darker
--Ben Ladouceur 

The sun time of the year died out and never might return.
We made fires big as coffee tables to approximate the sun.
I wanted to be a mountain.
I wanted us all countless mountains in a detailed painting.

Blood is everywhere as always.
But now it is blown further and oxygenated for longer.
Yet more sad word has come digitally.
We contain no blood with which to soften and warm the sad word.

Cold wind placed and places the house in its mouth.
We met the end numb and almost still.
Number meant less motion meant even number meant totally still.

The buildings stand still.
The buildings still stand.
The buildings like the builders take each other by the hand.

[via POETRY December 2017]


[ Some of My Best Friends are Blues ; Jimmy Smith ]

D- Donald Bailey
G- George Benson
K- Jimmy Smith


Always it’s cold on this mountain!
Every year, and not just this.
Dense peaks, thick with snow.
Black pine-trees breathing mist.
It’s summer before the grass grows,
Not yet autumn when the leaves fall.
Full of illusions, I roam here,
Gaze and gaze, but can’t see the sky. 
--Han-Shan (c.800)

[via Poetry In Translation]


This Morning
--George Scarbrough 
Getting out of bed, Han-Shan
Falls flat on his back between the bed
And the bureau for the second time in a week.  
He lies breathless, feeling no dismay, only
A sense of expectation confirmed: “I’m
Developing an intimacy with the earth,  
The old leveler,” he says, getting his breath
Back. “The world keeps going for my head,
The love of one sphere for another,” he
Supposes. “With heaven kicked out of the way.” 
He smiles at the egregious metaphor
And climbs the bedpost to a new erection,
But tempted to slide down again. Stepping
Gingerly, he makes his way to the kitchen,  
Wondering how many more falls he will be
Obliged to take before he is forced
To accept the stance and keep to the level. 

[taken from the Han-Shan Sequence]


The Traveler
--George Scarbrough 
Each morning before he gets up
To feed the chickens and milk the cow,
Han-Shan, propped among pillows, studies
The map of nameless places and lost
Addresses he keeps in his head: 
He might as well consult the veins
On the back of his gnarled hand
Or count the rows of hair
As if they were tree-lined avenues,
So little information they give. 
Somewhere in the maze of twists
And turns that leads his mind nowhere,
There is a valley of melons
And groves of plum trees:
Somewhere between the mountains. 
Farther, at the foot of an abrupt
Plateau, there are plats of yellow
Poppies that vie for attention:
But where? In what precinct?
What country? 
And where, in what latitude,
Under the first snow of the season,
Stand the young chestnut trees
That make so viable a plantation?
Where the venue of chestnut-fall? 
If there were only a fingerpost
Or marked stone on the river-road
To go by! If only he could remember
The man who gave him directions
With an ivory-ringed hand. 
Mists open and close like swept
Curtains, denying further inspection:
At the barn the young calf pleads
To be turned in with its mother.
The old mare drums a door 
With impatient hooves.
There is a sudden outcry
Amount the white hens.
First light is not the time
To reckon foreign geographies. 
Or tabulate the years in an age.
Yet as his feet grope in bedside
Darkness for his scattered shoes,
Han-Shan wonders if in that other
Realm the wheatfield is still on fire.


[ Village. Winter. ; Isaac Levitan (1888) ].........