Wednesday, August 31, 2016


It is something of a pattern
Rise, wash, work
Drive, work, eat
Drive, eat, rest
With interludes of family
And friends
Chips amid the dough
And I am growing fat on eating of it

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Rain has been falling
On the Texas Hill Country
In August
And without Katrina's cousins
Coming to call

It is a rarity

The rain is not the only thing
That has been dripping

Noses do not water hayfields
Although they may water
Because of them

Monday, August 29, 2016


Something has happened
That I ought to have expected

Whether from my students
Or my daughter's teachers'
Something has come home
I would rather not have here
And it is taking up residence
In the lot of us

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Two sets of snores
Out of rhythm
Out of pitch
But soothing in their cacophonous dissonance
Because as long as both are playing
Their players are well
And it is with that
That I am concerned

Saturday, August 27, 2016


The Hill Country
Has been seeing
In August
Those who have been here
It is strange to see
But good to see
So long as it rains as it has rained
And not in other places
Or as in other times
I am not complaining
I am pleased to see
The hills of oak and cedar
Still green
Instead of
As is normally the case
And I have to hope
The wildflowers will

Friday, August 26, 2016


Things return to
Normal or as close to
Normal as they are
Ever going to be

I am still adjusting
To the changing rhythm
Of the work of every day
That has not settled yet

I am getting started
Once again I'm working
Pushing back the boundaries
Of the human darkness

I am seeing
A dim lamp-light gleaming
The old image striving
Not to be snuffed out

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Sending the kid off
On the first day
Was hard
And much is made
Of sending the kids off
For their first days
And rightly
But nobody says
The second day
Is no easier
And they ought to do so

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


I rode in
Coming in from the range
Into the town
Leaving behind what is best
In my life
And heading off
To help others find
Something good in their lives
And now I am tired
I will do it again
And again
And again
And I will be happy about it

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Something about
Extra sounds
Keeps the caffeine from
Sinking in

In the quiet
I feel it
Within me
Touching every part of me
Mouth to throat to belly
And thence
To all places
Enlivening all
Liquid sunlight distilled from dark brew
Opening all the flowers within

Monday, August 22, 2016


There are sounds
The occasional car racing by
Far too quickly for a residential street
The refrigerator
And I am not about to chase it down
The whispered wavering noise
Of a ceiling fan
Settling of boards
And the bed
And those in it
As my daughter
Not yet fully awake
Climbs in beside my wife
And submerges again
Into the somnolent sea

I add to the chorus
Percussive hand-work annotating
Contribute to the quiet symphony

Sunday, August 21, 2016


There is
Just a
Little bit
Until the term begins
And I am enjoying

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Something easy to
Is the need to
Pay the bills
But I should have remembered
Since yesterday was
Pay day
Pay the bills day
Would have to be

Friday, August 19, 2016


Twenty-five hours of work
Twenty-four hours of time
Is it any wonder
That matters progress
As they have been doing?

Thursday, August 18, 2016


I am trying to
Settle into a pattern
But it is not working
There is too much noise
And it keeps things from
Lining up
As they ought to
As they must
If I am to establish
Once again

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


The race is not yet
Started, but I am run
Ragged already

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


It is clear
That work is resuming
That I will soon be
In the classroom
Maugre the objections
Of some
Whose words I still have

(Worry not
I'll not be back
The one good thing to come from there
I have
And she yet sleeps
In the next room)

I am once again
Enjoying the quiet
Earlier in the day
A breath before
Plunging in
And starting

Monday, August 15, 2016


Looking back over what I have written
Some things stand out
But not for the reasons I would have

They are not bad reasons
Those obvious things
They do what I want them to do

What stands out
Is not what I would have stand out
At least
Not on its own

I suppose I simply
To do better

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Every time
I think I have seen
The nadir of stupidity
I find
I am wrong

Perhaps I am falling
And need a mirror
To see
What I think
I have seen

Saturday, August 13, 2016


This is
The kind of thing
That gets me in trouble
Trying to write
Amid many

I should have woken

Friday, August 12, 2016


I just read Willard Dix's 4 August 2016 Forbes piece, "So Your Kid's a Medieval Studies Major? Relax," here. In it, Dix makes the point that a student's major is not the determiner either of the whole set of courses to be taken or the career path to be followed after graduation. Often, he points out, major coursework is a small part of the overall curriculum. Often, too, as Dix notes, incoming students are unsure of what it is that they want to do; college is, in large part, about exploration, so having students take a number of courses across fields is helpful. And even in the majors that do prescribe narrower courses of study, there are summer and extension programs available, so that students need not be defined wholly by their majors. Emphasized is the idea that careful attention and interpretation are key--and every major offers a view on providing both.

Some problems do emerge from the article. One that comes to attention for me is the thwarted promise of the title; only in it is medieval studies referenced. At one level, the title lies; titles are supposed to indicate both content and approach, and while the latter is conveyed, the former is not. At another level, though, the use of "medieval studies" in the title is troubling; it marks medieval studies as shorthand for perceived uselessness. As a medievalist, I resent the implication; I and others argue at great length (here, for example) that the medieval continues to influence what goes on, whether in popular culture or in global political affairs. Understanding what was helps us understand what is, which is far from useless. Too, medieval studies is inherently interdisciplinary; it is not possible to understand the literature without understanding the music, the art, the architecture, the theology, the economics, the military and political histories, the materials conditions, and so forth. Synthesizing information, perhaps more than simply paying careful attention and applying methodical interpretation, is vital to the current multimedia climate, and medieval studies specializes in that very thing. To call it useless, then, rankles. (And there is the tendency to have medieval studies programs at the graduate, rather than the undergraduate, level; graduate majors are not quite the same thing, just as graduate school is not quite the same as undergraduate.)

Even with such a problem, though, the core message of the article is a sound one. We are not our majors only. We are not our careers only--even those of us in academe, where that is uncomfortably close to true. And what will be needed is not something that always emerges from current conditions. Trying to train for it in college, trying to use today's methods for tomorrow's challenges, is not necessarily the best way to go about things. And since Dix's article appears in Forbes, it is in a position to have some impact on more general audiences; I am given to understand that Forbes carries a fair bit of social cachet. For it to speak kindly of non-career-driven majors, then, is a good thing. Perhaps it will make easier some of the work that I will have to do in the weeks to come.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


There is
Of course
Work to do today
And I am not sure how I feel about it

I am glad
I have it to do
It gets me
Of what I need

On the other hand
I am not so happy to
To get
What I get
From it
But I am working on that problem

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


I hear tubas
Sounding low
A minor change from the deeps
And I look for the fin

The new term approaches
And I wonder if it will
Swallow me whole
Or chew upon me
Leaving a bloody pulp behind--
But not for long

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


There is something
In the world today
I am not sure what it is
But things
As if the walls are moving

Monday, August 8, 2016


There remains much to do
And little time
Since work will be staring up again
And I worry that
I am not ready

Sunday, August 7, 2016


There are many roads
Many of them
I have not taken

The number of them
Drops by one

I am not sure
If it will help
But I expect it will be

Saturday, August 6, 2016


I read a thing
That says
A day came
When my parents
Put me down
And never picked me up again
And another day will come
When I do the same

I understand it
I know that it happened
I know that it will happen again
And again
And I know it is as
It must be

But there is still something
About it

Friday, August 5, 2016


I brought out an old essay
To my students
And they liked it

They also pointed out
Problems with it
When I asked them
Which is rare

I may return to essay writing
In this place
To borrow from a movie
Since I am a
Man of the West
Today is not that day

I think it obvious

Thursday, August 4, 2016


What a relief
It is
To be able to write
And post
When advertised

It is not a triumphant return
It is not an ovation
But it still feels damned good

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


I know that this is also posted belatedly. Again, though, the post title reflects its composition.

I hear complaints
About not knowing
What is being taught

It seems
The point
Has been missed
And by quite a ways

I sometimes wonder
Who took the shot
Because I keep seeing
In my hands
A gun
And smoke is yet rising from its barrel


I know that it is posted belatedly. The post title reflects its composition.

With a new place
Comes a new mailbox
And in the new mailbox
There was mail

It was not mine

Coupons and fliers abound
In what I found

So do legal notices
W-2s and car registrations
Summonses from departments of health
And child welfare

There are a few notes
From funerary services
As well

I know what story they tell me
As I mark on some
Not at this address
Not anymore
And throw the rest away
Leaving my mailbox

Monday, August 1, 2016


Of course
There are delays
I misremember things
And other things
Because I do