The Wisdom of “The Fields”

The Fields
by Witter Bynner

Though wisdom underfoot
Dies in the bloody fields,
Slowly the endless root
Gathers again and yields.

In fields where hate has hurled
Its force, where folly rots,
Wisdom shall be unfurled
Small as forget-me-nots.

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Joy in Solstice

Such gleeful delight. What a way to greet Solstice! Thank you, Gus.

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Kasha Yokai – Death Flame Cat

Read more here.  See some beautiful modern work realted to this here, here, and here.

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On the lawn last night around 8:30 or so, as I was sitting in a camping chair with my cat Gus on my lap, I noticed him glancing suddenly off to the right, as if something were moving about in the dark.  I thought I also heard an unexpected sound, so I turned on my flashlight.  Through the beam a rather large bat abruptly flew, heading south.  I turned off the flashlight and I watched as the bat spiraled up towards the lambent moon, which softly glowed under a thin veil of cloud from behind the still tulip tree.  It was a marvelously poignant Halloween image, this rather large bat flickering moonward into the shadowy drooping  branches of the tulip tree whose leaves lightly trembled in a damp whisper of a breeze.

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My Favorite Mortician

Caitlin Doughty

All her delectable videos are here.



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A Shakespeare’s Halloween

Of His Bones

Recipe for “Double, Double Toil and Trouble”

A Morsel of Dust

The Lifting Shroud

Incantation of Confounding

When They Appear

How It Seems in the Shadow

What Comes this Way?



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The Devil’s Trill

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Halloween Fire Dance

Click for more Art By Kevin Trammel

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Halloween Nap

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What Comes this Way?

It is now dead midnight.
Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.
What do I fear? Myself?

-Richard III, Act V, scene v

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How It Seems in the Shadow

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

-Macbeth, Shakespeare
Act V, Scene 5
Macbeth on the death of his wife and queen.

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When They Appear

A mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome, 
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets;
As stars with trains of fire, and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star 
Upon whose influence Neptune’s empire stands
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse.
And even the like precurse of fierce events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on, 
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climature and countrymen.

-Horatio, commenting on the significance of
first seeing the Ghost of the King, Hamlet’s father
Act I, Scene I

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Incantation of Confounding

Up and down, up and down,
I will lead them up and down: 
I am fear’d in field and town:
Goblin, lead them up and down.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act III, Scene 2

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The Lifting Shroud

My fairy lord, this must be done with haste,
For night’s swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora’s harbinger;
At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to churchyards: damned spirits all,
That in crossways and floods have burial,
Already to their wormy beds are gone;
For fear lest day should look their shames upon,
They willfully themselves exile from light
And must for aye consort with black-brow’d night.

-Puck, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare

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A Recipe for Halloween Fun

Crème Du Halloween
by Kevin Trammel

One gob pickled innards,
Ten drops black bat glop,
An ooze of dead men’s gizzards—
Stir, pour, and chop.

Add a pinch of spider’s eyes,
Garnish with false alibis,
Serve atop aged, rotting flesh.
Best when eaten fresh.

A note to the prudent host or hostess:
If your guests should hesitate,
And grimace, gasp, wax quite irate,
Bring out the severed fingers plate,
With chocolate sauce and sugar cake.

Bon Appetite!


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A Clod of Dust

Gravedigger’s scene from Hamlet, Shakespeare

How long will a man lie i’ the earth ere he rot?

First Clown
I’ faith, if he be not rotten before he die–as we
have many pocky corses now-a-days, that will scarce
hold the laying in–he will last you some eight year
or nine year: a tanner will last you nine year.

Why he more than another?

First Clown
Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade, that
he will keep out water a great while; and your water
is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body.
Here’s a skull now; this skull has lain in the earth
three and twenty years.

Whose was it?

First Clown
A whoreson mad fellow’s it was: whose do you think it was?

Nay, I know not.

First Clown
A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! a’ poured a
flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same skull,
sir, was Yorick’s skull, the king’s jester.


First Clown
E’en that.

Let me see.
(Takes the skull)

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at
it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your
gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment,
that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one
now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen?
Now get you to my lady’s chamber, and tell her, let
her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must
come; make her laugh at that. Prithee, Horatio, tell
me one thing.

What’s that, my lord?

Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’
the earth?

E’en so.

And smelt so? pah!
(Puts down the skull)

E’en so, my lord.

To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may
not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander,
till he find it stopping a bung-hole?

‘Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.

No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with
modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it: as
thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried,
Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of
earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he
was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter flaw! …


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Recipe for “Double, Double Toil and Trouble”

A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron boiling. Thunder.

Enter the three Witches.

1 WITCH.  Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.
2 WITCH.  Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin’d.
3 WITCH.  Harpier cries:—’tis time! ’tis time!
1 WITCH.  Round about the caldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.—
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot!
ALL.  Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
2 WITCH.  Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
ALL.  Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
3 WITCH.  Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf;
Witches’ mummy; maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark;
Root of hemlock digg’d i the dark;
Liver of blaspheming Jew;
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse;
Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips;
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,—
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingrediants of our caldron.
ALL.  Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
2 WITCH.  Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
from Macbeth


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Of His Bones

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

(The Tempest)

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Venus and Luna

This is what Venus and the Moon cooked up last Sunday (July 15) for all to see in the late evening sky. This was taken in Northern California, in the Sierra Foothills.

These two have been performing a marvelous dance all week, with Venus moving off to the south, parallel to the horizon, but not too far away, and then coming back again so that last night she was directly below the moon on a perpendicular line up from the horizon. It’s been beautiful and profound to watch. Sappho would have been giddy with wonder and would have written many poems of two sweet souls at play in the gardens of love.

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Haiku Morning

overcast like mourning robes
five white horses on a small hill
tears of rain soft upon the window

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