Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Horses and Men and Dogs and Women and Rain


We get downright barmy here in Altadena when there’s an inch of rain. We light a fire, muddle some grog, wax the skis. The dogs crawl into their dog beds, turn a suspicious eye to the door and say, “No, thanks. I can hold it for another 12 hours. At least, let me try...” And we don’t much relish the walk either, so just hope they try their very best.

I shake out the down comforter and lay it on the bed. I’ll have to put it away again by Friday.

Here, you’ve got to take your seasons as they come. We fried last January, had hail in March, drought in April, rain in June. Who knows if we'll have a winter, come winter. So damn it, I dusted off Carl because my toes were wet and cold. My toes were wet and cold because I learned, 12 hours in dog years is way too long.

Horses and Men in Rain by Carl Sandburg

Let us sit by a hissing steam radiator a winter’s day, gray wind pattering frozen raindrops on the window, And let us talk about milk wagon drivers and grocery delivery boys.

Let us keep our feet in wool slippers and mix hot punches—and talk about mail carriers and messenger boys slipping along the icy sidewalks.

Let us write of olden, golden days and hunters of the Holy Grail and men called “knights” riding horses in the rain, in the cold frozen rain for ladies they loved.

A roustabout hunched on a coal wagon goes by, icicles drip on his hat rim, sheets of ice wrapping the hunks of coal, the caravanserai a gray blur in slant of rain.

Let us nudge the steam radiator with our wool slippers and write poems of Lancelot, the hero, and Roland, the hero, and all the olden golden men who rode horses in the rain.

30 comments:

  1. Wow! Have you surgically enhanced that photo? Those crescents of silver on the pine tree are amazing! I took Abby out to Hahamongna in the rain but we didn't really enjoy it until we came upon 30 handsome young men clad in nothing but shorts running in the rain. I wish Petrea had been there to capture Roland and Lancelot and all the other young heroes from Occidental.

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  2. No Bellis, monkeys and canons. Always wanted to catch rain falling.

    What kind of dog is Abby?

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  3. Oh, my. I didn't know this poem and I need it. Thank you. Hiker, you always seem to be a step ahead. No, a full stride, a gallop.

    Bellis, thank you for thinking of me. I do happen to have a photo of the Occidental heroes in Hahamongna's setting sun, but not in the rain.

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  4. An exce!!ent begining, KB. Only, I wanted it to continue! So, let us add to your fine keyboardship:

    "Let us forsake working for the dreams of others, when we are still stuck in the nightmares of our own making.

    Let us bring around our pets, the homo sapien & de feline, to make our dogs life a heaven on earth - rather than the hell they often bring to us.

    Let us eat the delights or delicacies of comfort food, if they are to be our only comforts in this season of fire, rain, and mud.


    (And, let me take leave to smell out my next meal.)

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  5. I am loving this wee storm, and your poem is so charming. Can we hear about its origins?

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  6. Would it were mine. It's Carl Sandburg.

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  7. Hi Hiker, Abby's an aussie shepherd with a tail, or maybe a border collie with aussie shepherd fur. I don't know her exact origins, but she's a gal from Wrightwood via Craig's List. I got lucky!

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  8. Oh I don't know what to say, but as always I'll blather on regardless. We've had rain for what seems like 3 months. As long as it's not freezing rain, I just wade out there and try and get some halfway crappy shots for my blog and worry that the rain will chase the roaches inside. ( When it's dry, they claim the roaches come in for water. You can't please a damn roach!). Now should the temps ever, ever dip to say the 50's, we'll then it's time to drag out that pot and make some chili! That won't be anytime soon I"m thinking. Well you all just hunker down, throw another log on the fire and try and ride this thing out KB! And I liked Carl's poem. I think he and I were in school together.
    V

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  9. Poems like that make me miss living in a place with actual winter. Just a little though.

    Lovely photo. Yay rain!

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  10. Excusez moi, I forgot to comment on that fab rain shot. VERY nice effect. DId your camera get wet? I found disposable plastic condoms,I mean covers for cameras today. $ 6.95 for two. I think I"ll try baggies and if that doesn't work I might buy some. I'll get back with you on that. Have Phoeb and Albert gone potty yet???
    V

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  11. Virg, hence the wet feet. Might try those baggies next time.

    Amy, I know, be careful what you wish for, etc.

    Bellis, for some reason I thought you had an Aussie. I found Albert on the street; clearly, Craig's List is better.

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  12. 12 hours in people years is way too long to hang onto a tinkle. {That poem is almost as lovely as your photo.}

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  13. Your photo is awesome; Carl's poem is perfect. Odd how we don't think about poems like his until the weather drives us to it. Hmmmm, are we and/or our dogs meteorology driven?

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  14. I love Sandburg, but I didn't know this poem. Thanks for introducing us.

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  15. I love the photo!!! It's really raining.
    BTW - I came across this blog that you might like - http://dearoldhollywood.blogspot.com/

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  16. I'm aware of the rain but somehow feel I walked into the wrong room... Somewhere in the 50's developers started throwing up ranch houses on the cheap figuring humans had evolved out of the need for fire...thus I have no fireplace. Of course this doesn't explain the lack of a dog. The cat, on the other hand, has morphed into a heat seeking missile. This scares me.

    And the poem? reminds me of Altman's McCabe and Mrs Miller. Very grim despite the fact that I'm wearing fuzzy pink socks.

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  17. Wonderful post! I think I will go wrap up in my down comforter and tonight we will have a fire, a jug of wine...Paradise.

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  18. Uh wen ober to Pasadeena Now unt thar yew wuz.

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  19. I haven't seen the word "barmy" used in ages! I need to dust that one off and use it more often.

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  20. PIO: I think I've been reading too much Wodehouse.

    So, is that it for the rain? Hang up the skis and freeze the stew for another couple of months? Nice while it lasted.

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  21. Don't be coy. Where at Pasadena Now is you?

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  22. I think I got it: Take away and, and you got five.

    But I can’t (under)stand the rain.

    Hope the weather is better today.

    As always, wish you a good DAY!

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  23. Oh, do I love that poem. Gorgeous. And groovy wet photo, too.

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  24. You described my day in the rain perfectly!!! On Tuesday, when it was drizzling away giving us the impression that a real storm was brewing and winter was afoot, a clerk at a store told me it was supposed to be 85 on Friday...my cozy winter cocoon was suddenly smashed to smithereens....

    Guess that's why my flip flops are never out of reach...

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  25. For the record: IT's chilly enough today for .....CHILI!!! YES!!! It's in the crockpot as we speak. I'll have to go out and buy some cornbread to go with it. I don't make good cornbread you know. Well actually I don't even try. I might be ok but I'm not.

    Downside: It'll probably make the damn roaches want back in! Grrrr

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  26. V: Generally I like to make things from scratch (if you believe that one...) but I've found that the best cornbread, is a little box of Jiffy cornbread mix...mix it up...I add a can of sweet corn...and voila...almost southern cornbread!!!!

    BTW...it's Friday and it's 92 deg...guess those pesky store clerks aren't always right!!! And yes, I'm in my flip flops!!!

    wv: weerg...weird with an edge...

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  27. Chieftess,
    Well thank you. When will you get here? I'll leave the oven on.
    V

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