Riverboat ride

Riding the Mississippi in a riverboat has been one of my fondest dreams since I was a small child. I don’t think there’s any other adventure on earth I’d rather try more than taking a boat the length of the Mississippi River.

I remember watching an old black and white cartoon when I was very young that had a tune about the Mississippi and in the process taught us how to spell it.


I can actually still hear the tune, it was so catchy. I learned how to spell Mississippi before I learned how to spell ‘cat’ with that cartoon. (This was the same set of cartoons that used to have ‘follow the bouncing ball’ for the songs — remember?)

And then there’s Mark Twain’s tales of the Mississippi River. From his book “Life on the Mississippi, Twain talked about being a riverboat pilot:

If I have seemed to love my subject, it is no surprising thing, for I loved the profession far better than any I have followed since, and I took a measureless pride in it. The reason is plain: a pilot, in those days, was the only unfettered and entirely independent human being that lived in the earth.

I sometimes think my inability to settle in one spot can be attributed, in some small part, to Mark Twain and the Mississippi River.

Photography Political

No stone step was harmed in the taking of this picture

“What did you do during the war, Auntie Shell?”

“Well, I took photos and wrote to a weblog.”


“Did this help win the war, Auntie Shell?”

“No, it had absolutely no impact on the war, whatsoever.”



outdoors Photography Places

Shaw Nature Preserve

I spent a wonderful, non-computer, non-war day at the Shaw Nature Preserve about 35 miles outside of St. Louis. The weather was very warm and starting to show a little of summer’s humidity. I had a amazingly relaxing day, and managed to find some photographs, which I’ve posted in separate entries (including a scene I spotted at a strip mall along the way that was too good to miss).

Some of the photos have complementary poems, all of which are new for me, except for the daffodil one by Wordsworth. I swear, he’s the only poet that ever wrote about daffodils. And you have to check out the poem “Daughters, 1900″. A perfect poem for a lazy warm spring day. Hopefully you’ll like the photos, too.

In two weeks time, the fields of Virginia Bluebells will be in bloom and I’ll pay another visit.



House on the Hill

They are all gone away,
The House is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.

Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill:
They are all gone away.

Nor is there one to-day
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.

Why is it then we stray
Around that sunken sill?
They are all gone away.

And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill:
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.

Edwin Arlington Robinson – “The House on the Hill” second version



Daughters, 1900

Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch,
are bickering. The eldest has come home
with new truths she can hardly wait to teach.

She lectures them: the younger daughters search
the sky, elbow each others’ ribs, and groan.
Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch

and blue-sprigged dresses, like a stand of birch
saplings whose leaves are going yellow-brown
with new truths. They can hardly wait to teach,

themselves, to be called “Ma’am,” to march
high-heeled across the hanging bridge to town.
Five daughters. In the slant light on the porch

Pomp lowers his paper for a while, to watch
the beauties he’s begotten with his Ann:
these new truths they can hardly wait to teach.

The eldest sniffs, “A lady doesn’t scratch.”
The third snorts back, “Knock, knock: nobody home.”
The fourth concedes, “Well, maybe not in church. . .”
Five daughters in the slant light on the porch.

Marilyn Nelson “Daughters, 1900″

(P.S. I like the other poems, but I adore this poem.)