Sunday, March 21, 2010

Watch TV

DW and I got off to an early start today so we could take a hike to the summit of Mount Burdell in Olompali State Park not far from where we live. The weather was ideal for our purposes: cool and partly cloudy with gentle breezes.

The trail ascends very gradually about 8 kilometers and climbing almost 500 meters from the edge of the Petaluma River to the summit.

We enjoyed a leisurely lunch in a meadow that yielded inspiring views east to the Petaluma River as it winds its way into the San Pablo Bay. We saw many birds. Quite a number of turkey vultures circled overhead so many, in fact, that when I got home I took a few moments to pen my third Etheree poem. Here it is:

In the sky
Turkey vultures
Aerial TVs.
(Not television, no,
Not even good nature shows.)
Ponder real buzzands, beings who
Fly with such skill that they steal our breath
They circle toward heaven, they dine on death.

About the Etheree form:

Consisting of ten lines, the Etheree poem starts with a one syllable line, then adds one syllable per line, until the last line of ten syllables for an overall syllable count of 55. In other words the syllabic structure is as follows: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. It’s an uncomplicated, unpretentious form of poetry that has the quality of slowly opening, like a flower. No rhyming is required, but it's fun to work in a rhyme or two if you can.


Delwyn said...

Hi Dan

What a lovely walk...I wish I could have been there walking with you...and isn't it green. In previous photos I have thought your area to be dryer. Is this typical for the area where you walked?
That path through the trees calls to me. I can smell the vegetation and hear a bird calling...

I like your TV poem...Your TVs are much more entertaining.

Happy days

steven said...

dan i would've loved to come along for a walk with you and delwyn!!! the photography is so rich and filled with the sensory experiencing of the walk and the view!!! lucky lucky you!!! steven

Jim714 said...

Great post, wonderful Etheree. More poems please!

Seriously, I enjoyed the Etheree and the way you integrated rhyme. In a form with fluctuating lineation rhyme is a great way to define a line and clue the reader into the overall shape of the form. Well done.



Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Dan: What fabulous photos of your walk. How lush and green everything appears. Loved each shot, but especially the one from the meadow where you ate your lunch.

A great post rich with the enjoyment of the planet and life, juxtaposed against the poem about vultures and the last line "..they dine on death."

Jenny Stevning said...

Those photos are breathtaking!

Dan Gurney said...

Hi Delwyn,

It would be fun to walk with you and Jim. Maybe someday...

March is the greenest month of the year in these parts. We've had most of our rains for the whole year by now, a little under 1 meter of precipitation. We'll have a few more storms, not many, and then things begin to dry out. The grasslands go from green to brown in May.

Dan Gurney said...

steven, that would be quite a dream of a walk, you, Delwyn, me. It's a nice fantasy. I'm quite sure we'd all be pointing out amazing wonders to each other every few feet. I wonder if we'd make it to the summit?

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Jim,

Thank you for the remarks about the Etheree. After I wrote it I visited a website that seemed to presume to state rules for the Etheree: no meter, no rhyme. Such rule making seems unnecessary to me, and I enjoy the challenge of adding a rhyme here and there.

Dan Gurney said...

Bonnie, thanks for noticing the last line. It was the first that came to me, and prompted me to write the rest of the poem around it.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Jenny. Thank you for leaving a comment. I'm glad you liked the photos. Photos are one of the great things about blogs. They are so easy to include in a post, and they add a lot to the writing, I think.

Stream Source said...

Enjoyed the poem... vultures, stealing our breath, dining on death - hummmm, were you watching C-Span, too? ;-)

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, SS-- I don't have a TV.

Reya Mellicker said...

Lovely to walk with you, Dan. What a bunch of beautiful images. I remember that landscape very well. Spent a lot of time in Sebastopol during my years in San Francisco.

Enjoy your walk and stay away from TV's, please!!

Jim714 said...

Dan, a P.S. on the Etheree form. I finally located a used copy of one of Etheree's Taylor Armstrong's books (it might be a pamphlet), so it will be helpful to read what she had to say. From second-hand sources it seems she presented minimal parameters. My reading of "no rhyme" and "no meter" as meaning that neither of these are required, but I don't read these as forbidding their usage. At one Etheree site where the author uses a lot of rhyme the author has actually given names to rhyme-style Etheree, such as "New Moon Etheree". So I think usage of rhyme in Etheree is developing into a specific type of Etheree. This resembles the different rhyme schemes of the Sonnet so that one can speak of Shakespearean rhyme schemes and Petrachan rhyme schemes, etc. I think the Etheree is moving in that kind of direction.



Alden Smith said...

Great photographs Dan, what a lovely walk that must be! the country side looks very green and inviting.

I found the words "they dine on death" in your poem interesting. All carnivores 'dine on death' either by actively killing (Lions, tigers human beings) or dine on death by natural causes (Buzzards, Vultures) - I wonder if the latter get a bad press in our psyche because of our Victorian Work Ethic that says you must work very hard for your dinner?

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Reya—

Glad to have you along! Sebtown is a great town, with a great Mayor, my wife. If you come out west, you'll have to run back up here. We'll take you out for dinner, or have you here at the Mayor's house.


Dan Gurney said...

thank you for this, Jim. In these days, even if someone wanted to make up a rule about rhymes in Etherees I cannot imagine anyone following such a rule. I think people will rhyme or not, as their inspiration takes them. I'm not worried about the Etheree police showing up at my door for rhyming. Personally I really like the idea of including a rhyme somewhere in the Etheree form and I will probably continue to try for poems that include at least one rhyme. It's just more fun.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Alden--

I think we tend to put taboos on thoughts of death. But if you stop to think about it, even herbivores kill to live... they kill plants. And plants themselves thrive in soil that's filled with decaying plant and animal ancestors. Life pretty much implies death. As much as we relish eating, we abhor the idea of being eaten, and so, we like to just not think about it. Vultures have no such inhibitions; they just stick their heads right in the carcass and make no fuss or bother about the whole messy business of being alive. But to live is to take life. Facts of life, I guess.

Friko said...

Hi Dan,
I have just left a comment which has disappeared.
see what happens this time.

Friko said...

Well, this one has 'taken'.
I said, a wonderful series of pictures and a very interesting form of poetry. I have copied your instructions and will have a go myself.

Dan Gurney said...

Friko, that's great! It looks like the first comment got gobbled up by the mysterious internet. Anyway, I hope you try the Ehteree form. It's fun.