New Civilization News: Tagliabue: Coming Up To Summing Up    
 Tagliabue: Coming Up To Summing Up4 comments
picture26 Feb 2004 @ 01:21, by Richard Carlson

At that pond
the frog is growing old now---
among fallen leaves.

---Buson

How could there be any question of acquiring or possessing, when the one thing needful for a man is to become---to be at last, and to die in the fullness of his being?

---Antoine de Saint-Exupery

One day, while Nan-Ch'uan was living in a hut in the mountains, a strange monk visited him.
Nan-Ch'uan greeted him saying, "Please make yourself at home," and then left to work in the fields. He worked hard all day and came home hungry and tired.
The stranger had cooked a big meal for himself, threw out the leftover food and broke the utensils, and went to sleep. When Nan-Ch'uan stretched himself out to sleep, the monk got up and left.
Years later, Nan-Ch'uan told this story to his disciples, commenting, "He was such a good monk, I miss him even now."

---Zen koan

Celestial Beings Sing and Dance for the Holy Couple
Miniature Painting On Paper, Kangra School
Artist Kailash Raj

There is a slight difference in the latest sheaf of poems from John Tagliabue, my beloved mentor and friend from college days. Hard to believe we've known each other some 45 years---and have laughed and cavorted the whole way. The difference is an aura of summing up that pervades the poems and commentary. Well, that's a big difference right there: commentary. He not only tells us his references, but journals off into the people and places right there at the poem...or on the back of them really. He sometimes does that at his poetry readings, but not so much in letters. He knows I put some of them up on the Internet...and even though he refuses to get involved in computers, he likes what I'm doing.

"Dear Richard Carlson, what a fine name; I was looking for a piece of paper & found in the divine disorder of my Studio some of your 'Tagliabue Updates'---so I thought I'll send that dear student, antic student, actor & so forth more poems; yes, I'd like my poems to be updated beyond my mortality. As surprised I tell everyone I'm 80 & a half! and since November I've been Annoyed Disturbed by the Consequences of Bell's Palsy, the left side of my face was paralyzed, but better now (though the left eye still damaged & my eyesight is even worse). More difficult for me to read---but I continue to write (yesterday wrote 'Passa Tempo' on the other side; the other also written recently. I wrote probably more than 300 last year; usually don't count or organize...but I send some gladly to Responsive You... For a long time now I can't get the urge & action to send poems to magazines or the editors,---only letters & poems to friends. I'm self-critical of this, but feel pleased, free, that I continue to write letters & in my notebooks. Just re-read the 3rd poem on the other side; sometimes Pen leads me to Panic Discharges. Pots & Pans or the Good Pan. I like the motions of the upstart Gods, much ye olde Greek culture..."

The poems "on the other side"~~~

notes and poems beyond age 80........................................................

1.

Nice when the casual nurses seem good natured as
they do this morning

So many people on their way out, old folks, waiting in
doctors' offices,
millions of them all over the world, often with pictures
of Monet up on the wall,
dear old dilapidated folks and all kinds of joking, as
the destined ones
get ready for another blood test or to hand in their
stool samples;
all of us more or less like fatalistic stunned passengers
in the lobby of an
Outward Bound Ship.

2.

I've seen pictures of those saints carrying their own eyes in a plate or carrying their own breasts in a plate and I suppose there are those that carry other parts of their operated upon bodies to the Creation; the Imagists of India have Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva in the Dance; others also are assisting in the operation; the palpitating Heart too is an Offering. In the universe in Darkness or on Fire we are bound to offer ourselves up in part or complete; we must make offerings of every part of our bodies, they are gems, pastime of the Complex and Changing Motion, Creation, Destruction - here's an Ear, here's a Tongue, here's a Speech preciously needed by our relatives in despair and the dance. The Sun Itself is sending up miles of flames, of particles in rampage. And Job had some complaints a while ago.

3.

Passa Tempo

Instruments of pastime, of
passion, expression, felt necessity, day after day,
decade after decade - pen, paper, imagined people -
we writers have ours - all others in all occupations
and moods
have theirs, pianists have their grand pianos,
comedians
have their harmonicas, brick layers their trowels,
tight rope
walkers have tight ropes, and so on, plus we
all have
our fantasies, routines. Amazing. Amazing as the
globe turns
as our molecules burn, as our sentiments urge us
to attend
our Instruments. Pen, you've come in handy
countless
times; and, comrades, you who too must work,
honor your
instruments, laugh with respect at your pastime.

"Now next day...letter continues...Feb. 18
it snowed last night....beautiful as in Maine often to see the whole world covered with snow. Years ago when I was in Maine I was surprised by a tel. call from Coleman Barks saying he liked my poems & later sending me his Rumi translations. Wonder how & where he is now---he was in Georgia I think.
Now I have other letters
to write---but got
the urge to Update you with notes,
love, poems. John"

February notes and poems; praise and thanks...................................

1.

What is this profit motive that leads people to
commerce competition anxiety madness sadness ?
give me a prophet motive that leads us to
lyricism kindness generosity.

2.

Meet Rumi at the door laughing

You can ask this star or that star
concerning people and paintings and other
important messages intimate and transforming
that you meet, that you fortunately astronomically
astrologically or by good chance met; "Why did we meet ?"
You'll never know. But take Rumi's Advice:
"Meet them at the door laughing, / and
invite them in. // Be grateful for
whoever comes, / because each has
been sent / as a guide
from beyond."
And welcome Coleman Barks the translator of
these words in also.

3.

Rumi:
"How can anyone say what happens, even if each of us
dips a pen a hundred million times into ink ?"

I dip more than a thousand times into a small lake.
it is like consciously unwilfully making love.
One can even be accustomed to satisfaction
even before one is born.

Is that what we're up to ?

4.

February

Rumi helps make room
for Valentine wishes. We don't mind
being roomy.

Selections from the 2004 NOTEBOOK .........................................

*

To miss a chance / to dance / that's sort of tragedy.

*

With eyes opened or closed

To see the rails
of travails relatively smoothly
is a desire to be desired; do you know the
melodious
sounds of the wheels produced by the needs ? let
your fellow and sister
friends ride your train of thought so they will hear
optimistic energy
and see scenery to help them love the world and to
the mystery next
to them. Tangible and yearning with a sense of expectation,
destination,
you seek a contact as you enjoy the voyage. At any age seek for
hints and good feelings
from any page you are reading or any beloved you are warmly thinking of.

"Glad that I gave a Poetry Reading in Athens...
Glad Grace & I
went various times to
various islands---
beautiful!---& to
mts & monasteries &
to much Great Greek art---on various good luck occasions. Proud of this."

Thanking a Classical Conqueror in N.J. English

I can't forget it,
I hear it resounding, the thunderous waves,
the way Achilles, supremest boldest samurai,
clashed with,
fought clamorously, a River, Xanthos, WOW !
undaunted
bold one recorded by blind and supremest Homer.
Would that
vigor vitality ongoing determination could lead me
with the
help of some god or goddess to stride and battle on,
battle
against droopiness, the heartache and the thousand
natural shocks
that flesh is heir to; modern man in search of a
soul and
some sort of victory Hamlet gets into my stream of
consciousness;
anyway - you see I'm no Beowulf or Achilles,
I often enough
modern moan to be or not to be. Anyway, glad
to have heard
again from you, classical clear resounding Accomplished
Homer. Deprived
by my New Jersey High School of a Classical Education
I can't even say
Thank You
in Greek.

This is me, Richard, talking again: and so he goes on, always in company and dance with his beloved bride, Grace from Eternity...she of lovely smile and everpresent quiet, she who drove him everywhere because he couldn't get around to learning the operator's manual, she who inspires his every breath and dream. His poems come on typed pages, reproduced here as well as I can given the limitations of whatever venue in which you are reading. He cuts the pages to roughly the size of the poems, whatever they may be...and then writes stuff in pen on the backs in an increasingly difficult scrawl---but diligence and time and squinting usually pay off. When you open a Tagliabue letter, invariably poems tumble out like falling leaves. This is appropriate, since one of his favorite images is of the Chinese poet who drifted in a little boat each day, writing his poems on leaves and dropping them over the side. John has given his lifetime to dropping wise leaves of trees and grass over his side and into the stream of us students and friends and loved ones to catch and gather. And he often writes poems about us readers...and it is good to finish with one, which he introduces here in his letter:

"Thoughts of the somewhat distant past mentioned on the other side---related to classes given in Beirut
Pullman, Washington
Alfred, NY
Univ. of Pisa
" " Tokyo
Indonesia Univ
Jakarta Univ
Natal, Brazil
Shanghai
Bates College
Madrid
where else?
not in chronological order"

Vast, major and minor, wide-spread audiences;
"the varied carols I hear"

Audiences from the past, many thousands in all,
students
seated in classes, some small, many crowded,
some sloping up,
some eager, admiring, some sleepy, some bored, some
even hostile,
many taking notes, some very inspired, some even
adoring,
of course I had my performances, but they were
more or less
attending, responding, some even for all of life !
some
that I danced with, many that I recited poems for,
some
that confessed and cried to me, some that comitted
suicide,
some that had books published, some that won prizes,
some that
dedicated their books to me, some that have written
to me about
their chidren graduating from college, some that went
on Protest marches
years ago with me, some who graduated more than
50 years ago
still now and then going on Protest marches. some
that write
me about their grandchildren being born, some of
us still
very excited by Hopkins, Keats, Whitman, Dostoyevsky,
Rilke, many
many from my Shakespeare classes where I was most
often
passionate, it varied day after day, month after
month,
year after year - for 44 years in many countries,
East and
West, audiences ! in various stages of sleep, enlightenment,
some annoyed,
some with great love, all of them together like a great vast
orchestra with
various abilities; seeing their reactions at times was like
being on a
plane refueling while high in flight, the audience all together
of all races
and religions many of them Appreciated and Cheered by the
Whitman in me.


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4 comments

27 Feb 2004 @ 02:14 by jazzolog : So What Does The Guy Look Like?
An actual, if tiny, photo of John Tagliabue finally has appeared on the Internet. Since I like the Indian art up there so much, I decided to use it instead to illustrate my very first "Tagliabue Update," which you kindly could click right here~~~ [link] It's the 3rd entry down.  


27 Feb 2004 @ 04:49 by Ashanti @196.21.43.5 : Love it!
Love it all! Thanks so much for gifting us all with your superb writings and logs. :-)  


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