VivTown, Population: 1

text, images, poetry, miscellany, marginalia

Monday, February 28, 2011

Leda and the Swan

During my lunch time walk, I saw a single white swan floating bright white against the dark waters of the channel.

Leda and the Swan by Peter Paul Rubens (1598-1600)

Leda and the Swan
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

— William Butler Yeats

posted by viv at 2:24 pm  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mandala gone awry

Wandering Mandala

posted by viv at 11:22 am  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dining Room Table

Everything but the dinner ware...

Everything but the dinner ware...

posted by viv at 7:56 am  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lots Blooming

Here’s what’s blooming in my house at the moment:

African VioletKalanchoepaper whitesamaryllis

posted by viv at 11:20 am  

Friday, February 18, 2011

Swimming to Happiness

Lion_s_Head___Br_49b1ae1b190c2I went swimming at the neighborhood Y after work tonight. It’s a humble, budget-challenged place. The ceilings leak when it rains and the lockers are rusty; the “indoor track” is so small you have to run around it 18 times to run a mile. But the staff is kind and I’ve been going there for so long that I can’t imagine swimming anywhere else.

Tonight I was the only person in the small, 4-lane pool. Over the years I’ve heard people who have gone there to swim complain about the short lane-lengths (a wet version of the indoor track) and the old, tired aquamarine blue and black tiles. Not me. This pool is an old dependable friend, always there for me when I’ve needed to move my limbs through the too-cold water to work out my worries and find my rhythm to happiness.

Mounted on the wall at the shallow end of the pool is a bronze lion head out of whose mouth flows fresh clean water. How cool is that? Upon entering and leaving the pool I bow  to him, the old guardian, placed there in the 1920s, emblem of perseverance and courage.

posted by viv at 6:32 pm  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Peace Pagoda

hermitA friend has invited me to take a drive to the  Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Massachusetts with him this weekend. Somehow this feels an apt journey after the amazing (miraculous!) events in Egypt. President Mubarak has finally fallen. May peace and the people and justice prevail.

Also just thinking of staying home. I am succored by my solitude right now. This morning, I drew the Hermit from the Tarot. Seemed right. Everything is telling me to Be Still. Do not run toward distractions. Even if the distraction is in the form of a Peace Pagoda.

posted by admin at 1:40 pm  

Thursday, February 10, 2011


summerstbridgeOn my way to work every morning, I walk across Fort Point Channel via the Summer Street bridge. On frigid February mornings, with salty high-velocity winds coming in off Boston Harbor, it feels nothing short of heroic to make it across without being blown away…

This morning I stopped midway,  lifted my arms  and faced the wind. I would’ve liked to fly away to Antartica — parachute myself into that unsullied landscape and walk for miles and miles in icy stillness and through the white upon luminous white until I could walk no more. Then, a dreamless nap until spring.

Now, warm in my cubicle, I’ve stumbled onto this poem by Tony Hoagland. It suits me perfectly today and saves me the time of having to write it myself.


I was feeling pretty religious
standing on the bridge in my winter coat
looking down at the gray water:
the sharp little waves dusted with snow,
fish in their tin armor.

That’s what I like about disappointment:
the way it slows you down,
when the querulous insistent chatter of desire
goes dead calm

and the minor roadside flowers
pronounce their quiet colors,
and the red dirt of the hillside glows.

She played the flute, he played the fiddle
and the moon came up over the barn.
Then he didn’t get the job, —
or her father died before she told him
that one, most important thing—

and everything got still.

It was February or October
It was July
I remember it so clear
You don’t have to pursue anything ever again
It’s over
You’re free
You’re unemployed

You just have to stand there
looking out on the water
in your trench coat of solitude
with your scarf of resignation
lifting in the wind.

You can listen to Tony Hoagland read it here.

posted by admin at 10:55 am  

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