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Location: Midwest, United States

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I’ve loved this poem from the very first read some three decades and countless connections ago:

The Silken Tent
By Robert Frost

She is as in a field a silken tent
At midday when the sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To every thing on earth the compass round,
And only by one's going slightly taut
In the capriciousness of summer air
Is of the slightest bondage made aware.

* * *

I think about connections often. Not in any epistemological sorta way, no’s always passion over pedantry for this pilgrim.
I think about the human connections that keep us tethered, grounded, rooted to the earth. Without them we’d surely be mere dander in the breeze. Our connections keep us sane and standing upright when we’ve lost our compass, our strength, our very will.

I think about connections and how they may begin with such amazing raw potential that one would swear the cables will come to be the stuff of braided steel. It’s a shock to find the ties were mere (or mebbe mutual) illusion/delusion...or expressions of hope beyond hope...
or...or...inexplicably keyed to bedrock of smoke.

The connections that mean the most are the true and time-tested bonds. The connections that we so desperately rely upon are those that have been tried and proven countless times, battered by both tempers and tempests, yet found ever resilient (though often frayed).

We need these tethers and the comforts they bring.

* * *

Gratuitous non-sequitor:

Things that kinda rattle in my brain:

"I was gonna send you a thank you card, but I remembered I forgot to buy stamps"

* * *


Blogger Cheesy said...

Yes comfort is the key word. at least for me. You HAVE to love Frost.

Into My Own

One of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as 'twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.

I should not be withheld but that some day
Into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e'er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew--
Only more sure of all I thought was true.

Wed Jun 17, 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Well, Queen Cheese, if we are to seriously converse about the lessons to be gleaned from tents and trees, then I offer you this (from my perennial favorite, May Swenson):

All That Time

I saw two trees embracing.
One leaned on the other
as if to throw her down.
But she was the upright one.
Since their twin youth, maybe she
had been pulling him toward her
all that time,

and finally almost uprooted him.
He was the thin, dry, insecure one,
the most wind-warped, you could see.
And where their tops tangled
it looked like he was crying
on her shoulder.
On the other hand, maybe he

had been trying to weaken her,
break her, or at least
make her bend
over backwards for him
just a little bit.
And all that time
she was standing up to him

the best she could.
She was the most stubborn,
the straightest one, that’s a fact.
But he had been willing
to change himself–
even if it was for the worse–
all that time.

At the top they looked like one
tree, where they were embracing.
It was plain they’d be
always together.
Too late now to part.
When the wind blew, you could hear
them rubbing on each other.

Wed Jun 17, 09:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like "All That Time" but it's so sad. Reminds me of my marriage, a sad thing indeed.

Wed Jun 17, 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Maybe so, Deb. Maybe so. For me, it all starts and ends with the first line: "I saw two trees embracing".

Wed Jun 17, 09:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another lovely post, Jonas.

There's a tree in this one too:


By May Swenson

Breathed the fog from the valley
Inhaled its ether fumes
With whittling eyes peeled the hills
to their own blue and bone
Swallowed piercing pellets of rain
caught cloudsful in one colorless cup
Exhaling stung the earth with sunlight
struck leaf and bristle to green fire
Turned tree trunks to gleaming pillars
and twigs to golden nails
With one breath taken into the coils
of my blood and given again when vibrant
I showed who's god around here

Wed Jun 17, 10:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We definitely need those connections to tether us to place. I value the people who I can fight with the most. I know it sounds odd but people who can bounce back from disagreements are the best friends of all.

Robert Frost was a genius. We will still be reading his poetry in 200 years.

Wed Jun 17, 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Well, now you've gone and done it, me jonesin' for May Swenson.

I felt compelled to do it: order another half dozen copies of her collection "The Complete Love Poems of May Swenson". I did that once, years ago, and shipped the copies to good hearts the world over. Never kept a copy for meself (stoopid me). It's time to make amend these old arrears (and keep a few copies on hand to offer as gifts...for true gifts they are indeed).

Wed Jun 17, 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I've been blessed, Selma. I have been truly blessed by friends who date back four decades and more. Without them, my Greek chorus, my luminaria, I would have gone lost and perished a long, long time ago.

Wed Jun 17, 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Lovely poetry... I have none to add but enjoyed the readings.

The ties that bind... the thread of love and trust that twines through relationships that last most of a lifetime... those are the fibers of our very being. They shore us up... strengthen our very core. Be they with family or with friends... or both. I have a friend who's been a part of my life for 37 years. We are still very close, despite living a few thousand miles apart.

Thu Jun 18, 12:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about this issue a lot lately, in terms of family and friendships and love relationships. Sometimes even time-tested connections fail - maybe they were weak in some unseen way to begn with. And other connections sem to hold through virtually anything. I know this - I have no gift at predicting which way it will go.

Thu Jun 18, 04:55:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I enjoyed this little sojourn down the poetry path myself, Ponita. Glad you came along.

I am most blessed in that I have a close circle of friends who've been propping me up for more than forty years.

You 'n me both, Citizen. You and me both.

Thu Jun 18, 02:42:00 PM  
Anonymous CK said...


I saw a birthday post on TM, and came here to leave a note, too, as well as ask about our mutual friends, Vid and Dana. And I see a poem about connections. How very right.

Thu Jun 18, 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

What a pleasant surprise, CK! As a matter of fact, Brother Vid and I will be spending the afternoon/evening today on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Connections. How very right.

Fri Jun 19, 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous CK said...

Tell Vid I say hello!

Fri Jun 19, 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Woman in a Window said...

So true, Jonas, but often times, as you say, they are so mutable. It's amazing really, that we rely on them at all.

Sun Jun 21, 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Interesting perspective Ms. WIAW. We all need ample stores of faith to go with those connections.

Mon Jun 22, 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Smiler said...

I've found over the years that sometimes the briefest of connections with an anonymous stranger who shares a bit of wisdom with you becomes more precious than some friendships which have ended up frittering away. I suppose because expecting nothing, owing nothing, that kind of connection can never let us down.

Sat Jun 27, 11:41:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Ah, Smiler! You're correct, of course. One must not dismiss any gumdrop of grace.

Sometimes it's the best nourishment available.

Sun Jun 28, 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

Sometimes I like it when my partner goes on a business trip. I enjoy feeling the pull of our bond, missing her.

Thu Jul 02, 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

"I enjoy feeling the pull of our bond"

Ah, yes, Maria. It comes through loud and clear in your blog posts.

(That's why I visit often)

Fri Jul 03, 10:22:00 PM  

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