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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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

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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

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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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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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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Gus, A Portrait


A Portrait of Gus

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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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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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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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