“Between the Hours” Now Available for Purchase

Although I’ve recently begun to post again on Flowerwatch, I had stopped regularly putting up new content some time ago as I was preparing everything for publication in book form — I happen to be one who prefers to hold in his hands the tangible and tactile article! That volume is now available. It’s called “Between the Hours.” I’m so happy to have it completed and available for purchase. I’m confident that readers of my book will have an experience similar to mine and that of some friends and family members who have now been living with it for the past year or two. Their experience has been that it is pleasant to open it up at random, or to read page by page nightly. I’ve heard that it’s relaxing or inspiring. I’ve been very happy with these comments because I see no reason to publish works that don’t provide a real reward to readers, something that uplifts, soothes, relaxes, inspires, or brings other forms of pleasure that last longer than the time it takes to read a few words printed on a page.

Between the Hours is the fruit of my heart’s labors in this garden of earthly life. These poems arise from my interactions with the forces behind the visible while I’m out in the woods, the fields, the lawn or garden, or during the night in the company of stars and crickets. I hope that these treasures that were given me while engaged in such excursions might in turn purchase for the reader something of the peace and pleasure that they have for me in the silent moments of their creation.

Between the hours is a collection of two decades worth of the author’s poetry, writings, and art. The works have been integrated into a natural progression of time through the 24 hour cycle of the day, each period representing characteristic qualities of natural principle. In the early morning hours we find ourselves waking to a new day, new inspiration, new insights, new energy. In the late hours of the night, one finds the vastness of time and the cosmos overwhelming the senses and calling for a deeper, inward reach towards greater insight and a more whole perspective on one’s life. Between the Hours can be a night-stand book that will provide soothing relaxation, deep reflection, pleasant diversion, and new perspectives to fuel dreams and inspire action.”

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Flowing Down the River

When Princess Di was taken out of the world at a young age back in 1997, and around that same time Mother Teresa also, somehow it really hit me that the world was moving into a new era that would demand much more of each individual. It seems there is currently unfolding another such period of time, taking things up a whole step in significance and requiring a new degree of spiritual fortitude.

Of course, where much is demanded, much is also given. These dichotomies of destruction and renewal are like birth pains, it seems to me. While difficult, in order to bring about a new life they also seem to compel the soul perspective so that the mind may be relieved of the troubles of its unavoidably limited scope. If the spirit can be allowed to enter into the picture, then maybe the dust of the whirlwind will be transmuted into the descending gold of renewal. An age of greater balance could be the child that’s given.

In 1997, while I was musing over the significance of the passing of those two women, the following song, which I call “Flowing Down the River,” poured out through my fingers and streamed across the piano keys. The song, for me, was a kind of refuge and a reminder, a restorer and a comforter, through which I found myself deepening into the inner strength that is as great as one’s love. Having forgotten the song awhile back, it returned again recently. I spent some time last spring refining it a little, and then I made the following recording.

While I’ve written music ever since high school in the 80s, my life has placed other demands upon my physical resources and so I will ask for your forbearance: I’ve not been able to spend the time required to refine my performance skills! But, I wanted to share it now. I hope you enjoy it!

More of my music is here, if you’d like to explore further.

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When Love is New

When love is new
as the gods’ own dawn
it seems endless true,
innocent and pure as a faun.

True love ages well,
a vintage to keep and savor;
love that’s merely passion’s spell
will quickly lose its flavor.

A true heart fixed and full
will outlast time and grow;
the fainter kind can never pull
the weight of changes we all know.

Thing is, one may seem the other,
and seeming isn’t being;
life holds high a path of wonder,
the strong and true of heart alone exceeding.

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Same-Different*

What is the same, is never the same.
The different is just the same.

To a computer, nothing is the same as anything else.
Identity is a self-contained relation.
The one thing is itself, nothing else is it.
When “the thing that makes a difference” is abstract
and not a thing itself,
well, now there is a difference.

If presented things and told “One of these things
is not like the others” then you know already,
assuming your inquisitor is truthful,
that this is so… any difference, and all differences,
will suffice to answer.
“Oh, these things are not in the same space so they are not the same.”
“Oh, these things are slightly different shades
because the light on one is not the same as the other.”
“Ah, this one is not that one — they are thus different!”
“Aha, no thing is another thing, it is only itself!
Nothing is the same!”

On the other hand, if you ask, “Which are the same?”
you can make the wheels spin.
“This thing here is not that thing, they cannot be the same.
But these are the same in all aspects if not in fact, so they are the ‘same.'”
“This one thing is the same as something, that being itself.
It is the ‘same.’ Everything is the same.”

Assumptions are everything.
Hidden, grand, bold, obscure, blurred, amorphous, chimeric.

Did you mean ‘the same’ in aspect or in fact?
Did you mean identity or relation?
Did you mean abstract relation or concrete relation?

What about that abstraction?
“Oh, one moment… these things are the same
for they are in the same place at the same time,
they are on the same sheet of paper or video screen,
they are the same because I am viewing both now.
They are the same color.
They each are the same in that they have corners.
They are the same shape.”

Even things that are the same to one’s eye
may differ in the abstract.
Things that are the same are also different!
One, two… that’s two: they are not the same!
One, two… that’s two: they are the same, a single duality!

Human beings live in abstraction, computers do not.
We swim in seas of possibility and creativity.
We revel in change and sameness as they suit us.
We love, we live, we grow, we go on, problem or no.
We have no final goal, only the nowness of the now.

You see the problem?
The computer sees no problems, only answers.

_______________________________

*After reading the article “Same or Different? The Question Flummoxes Neural Networks.”

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For Us Travelers…

Stranger, rest your weary legs under the elm ; hark how sweetly the breeze murmurs in the green leaves ; and drink a cold draught from the fountain ; for this is indeed a resting-place dear to travelers in the burning heat.

-Anyte of Tegea (Translation by. W. R. Paton)

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Keep Always the Time Like This, Let Not Time Keep You

Ah! what a life were this! how sweet, how lovely!
Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade
To shepherds looking on their silly sheep,
Than doth a rich embroidered canopy
To kings, that fear their subjects’ treachery?
Oh yes it doth; a thousand-fold it doth.

–Shakspeare, Henry VI

Go beyond that locked-door clock: Read “Between the Hours” (click here for more)

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Being

Being is like a so radiant sun:
we shine… or we are not.

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Good Advice from Rumi for Mental and Spiritual Health

Ghazal 119

I don’t need
a companion who is
nasty sad and sour

the one who is
like a grave
dark depressing and bitter

a sweetheart is a mirror
a friend a delicious cake
it isn’t worth spending
an hour with anyone else

a companion who is
in love only with the self
has five distinct characters

stone hearted
unsure of every step

lazy and disinterested
keeping a poisonous face

the more this companion waits around
the more bitter everything will get
just like a vinegar
getting more sour with time

enough is said about
sour and bitter faces

a heart filled with desire for
sweetness and tender souls
must not waste itself with unsavory matters

– Rumi

Translated by Nader Khalili
Rumi, Fountain of Fire Cal-Earth, September 1994

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A Poem: The Native Land

Here’s a lovely poem that landed on my desk this morning when I opened a long-ago published book of Longfellow’s poetry. I’d opened to this page at random, and after a pleasant whiff of that wonderful bouquet of old bookstores, I saw I’d come upon the verses below. It was translated by Longfellow from the Spanish of Francisco De Aldana. I’m often surprised at the creative beauty and inspirational insight that lies hidden away in little bits of art like this one: libraries, old books gathering dust on some shelf in a used bookstore with creaky floorboards; books scattered on long tables at a fair. It’s a marvel…

__________________________________________________________

Clear fount of light! my native land on high,
Bright with a glory that shall never fade!
Mansion of truth! without a veil or shade,
The holy quiet meets the spirit’s eye.
There dwells the soul in its ethereal essence,
Gasping no longer for life’s feeble breath;
But, sentineled in heaven, its glorious presence
With pitying eye beholds, yet fears not, death.
Beloved country! banished from thy shore,
A stranger in this prison-house of clay,
The exiled spirit weeps and sighs for thee!
Heavenward the bright perfections I adore
Direct, and the sure promise cheers the way,
That, whither love aspires, there shall my dwelling be.

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Emerson on Strength

The good are befriended even by weakness and defect. As no man had ever a point of pride that was not injurious to him, so no man had ever a defect that was not somewhere made useful to him. The stag in the fable admired his horns and blamed his feet, but when the hunter came, his feet saved him, and afterwards, caught in the thicket, his horns destroyed him. Every man in his lifetime needs to thank his faults. As no man thoroughly understands a truth until he has contended against it, so no man has a thorough acquaintance with the hindrances or talents of men until he has suffered from the one and seen the triumph of the other over his own want of the same. Has he a defect of temper that unfits him to live in society? Thereby he is driven to entertain himself alone and acquire habits of self-help; and thus, like the wounded oyster, he mends his shell with pearl.

Our strength grows out of our weakness. The indignation which arms itself with secret forces does not awaken until we are pricked and stung and sorely assailed. A great man is always willing to be little. Whilst he sits on the cushion of advantages, he goes to sleep. When he is pushed, tormented, defeated, he has a chance to learn something; he has been put on his wits, on his manhood; he has gained facts; learns his ignorance; is cured of the insanity of conceit; has got moderation and real skill.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson: Essays, First Series

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Sight Without I’s

The light you see in a child’s eyes is the same light the child sees in everything.

As a child, the world looks ever fresh and vital because that light permeates their experience of life.

The same light exists still, in the same place — only time stands between us.

Time is but the dust of illusion, blowing across the mirror of truth.

The eye that sees — the child’s eye!

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Sky Full Blue and Clear

Who pays the fare for passage?
Who books the travel plan?
Who keeps the maps
and ensures the way is held true?
Who brings the rain and snow,
and who makes fire in the hearth?
Who will cut the chain
just before the tiger leaps?
Who will give speed to the chase?
When grace comes spilling in
like a kingdom of rose petals
                strewn across the lawn,
who stands holding the vessel
                                    of the sky?

-Kevin Trammel
11/26/2020

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Love’s Story

Why these tragic songs of love
that end with sorrows everyone knows?
Love answers all, even the questions
one hasn’t yet learned to ask.

_______________

-kt, 1/2020

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Into the Hearth the Mirror of Time

The Black-eyed Susans wept into the frosty glen
That winter met unvisited, untouched, untrod.
The sunlight caught in a cup of lily
Was drunk only by empty sky,
Which smiling held forth but its cold grace.
O, touch the soft shoulders of these two unknowing lovers
And pull their hair back from their eyes
And gaze into the depths of two souls’ uncast journies!

Away they went, those two, to travel far,
Later well met in wonder: they’d been given wings each.
They gazed one upon another with childlike delight
Moved by a spontaneous song of former warrior lovers.
Marvelous the might of those who walk their path!

The old lullaby of a love song dwindled in the hall…
And the wine! O, pass it round!
Come, let us hear that tune that flies on the air like incense.

 

-Kevin Trammel, January 2020

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Jami and Grace

Beloved
no fear if You break my heart a thousand times
but do not abandon me in contempt because of what I have here become
for in this garden every flower has its roots in dirt

_____________________________________________________
-tr. Vraje Abramian, “This Heavenly Wine”

Jami also says (ibid.) “… our Perfect Friend … has no one’s name in his book of judgement, and crosses out no one’s name in his book of Mercy.”

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Invasion

 

She pours out the
last grains of rice from a clay urn.
Gently she lays the cup inside
and rests the lid back in place —
its faint, empty drumming.
__________________

-KT, 1/27/2020; based on the film, Ip Man

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Blessings

One overcast day she felt sad and drove to the coast. There, six dolphins came in to play among the waves — on a single wave, six dolphins body-surfing!

Leaving, she felt whole again. She knew the dolphins had come for her and her heart sang.

I know a friend whose heart has walked the same path as my own though we’d parted some time ago… hearing of it, my heart sang.

-KT, from an old dusty journal from the Winter of 1987; West Coast memories

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Persimmons Once

I walked down to the orchard  today to see what had become of the few persimmons which we had left on the tree prior to the engaging activities of the holidays. The tree was barren but for the dry and empty “caps” of a number of the fruits that the birds must have devoured. What a delicious mid-winter feast they would have enjoyed. While the cold wind was blowing, while the snow was gathering ice on the branches, they ate of the glowing red fruit of summer that had lingered all the way to solstice. I came for persimmons but there were none to have. Instead, I enjoyed in reflection the delights of winter bearing birds coming to this precious tree for refreshment.

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Robbie – Portrait

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Robbie

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Gus, A Portrait

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A Portrait of Gus

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