Antihistaminosis Thursday, Feb 28 2008 

So many folks I know are down with the appezutix that this little ditty from the 90’s might cheer some flu-sick soul. I composed this in the fog of the antihistamine I was taking at the time for a sinus affliction.drixoral.jpg

Raindrops keep falling in my head
spouting antihistamine fog
left over from last night’s Drixoral
when I tried to sleep but didn’t,
and now my brain feels utter
behind bleary eyeballs
trying to focus but can’t on this manuscript
as I try to think but don’t
because all I feel is not thoughts
pushing me down in this chair
with excessive G’s like an astronaut
doing blastoff while
I am tired and lonely and depressed and dejected and fed up
knowing Sarah was right
when she told me to stay
because who knows what I’m missing
since the kids are not home at school
and she and I could be all by our lonesome selves
with an empty house all to our lonesome selves.

Too fast to catch, . . . or just “my best side?” Monday, Feb 25 2008 

running-away.jpgThe photo features me “running away” (at least from the camera) last Saturday morning at our community’s Five Loaves and Two Fishes 5K run to raise money for the local ministerial association’s food bank.  One can consider two possible explanations for this “going rather than coming”:

1.  I was streaking by so swiftly that the camera didnt have time to aim and focus;

2.  The person behind the camera believed this to be “my best side.”

I prefer the former explanation, but I fear the latter may be more plausible.

At least the effort benefitted a worthy cause.  We raised $2600 for local benevolence and enjoyed a radiant fellowship that crossed denominational lines among the Christian and charitable neighborhoods of our  community.   We sat down together for pancakes and sausage at the end of the race.

Everybody won!

A Gray Day, Cold and Monday . . . Friday, Feb 22 2008 

snow.gifOnce again, combing through the archives of that 05 journal, I came across “a draft of a draft” in the January 31 entry.   The lines that start off like the title above.  “Gosh,” I thought as I read that, “that’s a clever, well-turned phrase if I say so myself!”  (Nothing wrong with a self-admiration, right? Reading those lines reminded me, too, what we were dealing with then.  Sarah’s dad was in the hospital at the beginning of the end of that winter and spring’s final sojourn with illness.  I remember the feeling of those times when I read this, so here it is, a little improved from the original, and now added to the complete and unabridged portfolio of The Complete Works of David Pulling.

A gray day,

Cold and Monday.

A day for God to work his work

And me to witness

The healing hand.

Praise God

For sweetness,

For grace,

For rain,

For mud,

For glowing embers, 

or a  puppy dog’s creaking wicker basket. 

For health. 

Nothing’s for granted,

But To lean wholly

On everlasting arms .

“Boo Bear on Skates” Sunday, Feb 17 2008 

I can’t believe I never blogged this piece! I composed this when my 19 year old daughter was five or six. She was skating in the driveway, anxious for dear old “Pop” to admire her skatesmanship . . .

Boo Bear on Skates
December 1994
A barette-bound,
gleaming lights in Papa’s eyes.
Singing, spinning rollers
scruff and scrape
Teddy Bear arms
for hugging necks and puppy dogs
in tiny animated circles
“Watch, Papa!”Papa watches
girl swirl
about face
wispy golden bangs
dark arresting eyes–
dazzling oxymorons
amid finest fairest features of
cuddly cuteness.

(Come away, O human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery by the hand.
There is more weeping in this world than you will ever understand.)
–William Butler Yeats


The Power of the Dogs Saturday, Feb 16 2008 

“Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dogs.” Ps. 22:20.bad-dogs.jpg

“To All the Girls I Never Loved Before” Thursday, Feb 14 2008 

valentine.gifHappy Valentine’s Day to my Valentine, Sarah Ann!

Sonnet“To All the Girls I Never Loved Before”(Composed in November 1994)  

Yet still ablaze, passion’s glowing ember,

Diminished not by rude, mid-life season,

Oft prompts recall, fair dames remembered,

Who loved me never, whate’er their reason. 

In misty, vaporous scenes imagined,

Behold their damsel smiles and lusty lips!

And yet more, my troubled ‘membrance chagrined,

Those sassy flashes of lithe, narrow hips! 

But still can these alluring charms compare

To that young maiden claimed with nuptial oath?

Her midnight eyes and girlish figure rare

Still teach my manly pow’rs to counsel truth! 

So to ye cold flames from dark yesteryear,

You’ll ne’er have chance to Sarah Ann compare!

Standing on the rock . . . Tuesday, Feb 12 2008 

What did I write several years ago during 2005?   Here’s my journal entry from that fateful year.

Feb. 12, 2005

Where to start?

OK, softball. Ann played in all three games, including the last when the upperclassmen showed up after ACT testing.  She started and played while several upperclassmen sat the bench!   Coach Scott’s remarks after the game made it evident that he’s trying out some some younger players who could supplant some of the older ones.  That makes sense with some of the other comments Scott’s made to me over the last several weeks about the some of the older players (he’s not well-pleased) and the younger players (he has high hopes).  Apparently, Ann’s on the high hopes list.

She played well all three games.  The catch in center field in game 2 really boosted her fielding confidence—she needed that, b/c she was looking kind of tentative earlier.  Then in game 3 against a really tough Pineville pitcher, playing with the varsity, she got one of only two team base hits as she beat out a grounder to the  deep hole that the shortstop couldn’t manage.

Grandma’s 100th, Papaw’s fight back after the hospital episode, the kids’ blessings—where does it all shake out?  Seems like we live in a fallen world where the sun shines on the just and the unjust—blessings and curses, seemingly, falling to us all at once.  But how can we take it all as blessing?  Is that what Paul meant when he said “I have learned that whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content.”  I don’t know all the answers, but I hope God gives me the faith to live victoriously in this fallen world.  Thank God for the ultimate hope!  Thank God for the rock!  He is the rock!  And I stand on the rock!

Accidental Poetry Saturday, Feb 9 2008 

Accidental Poetry: “Accidentally yours . . . ?”

(This a warmed over re-post from lsuecomp.blogspot back in August ’06 when the hurricanes of ’05 were fresh on our memories.   Thank God for archives when the fount of invention is stymied by pressures beyond the writer’s control!)

Hopefully, one of the most reliable indicators of poetic impulse or instinct in a writer is the capacity to demonstrate not only a facility with words, but also a fascination with words–a “head full of logos,” as I once composed in a verse celebrating the creative impulse of language (that Greek word “logos” is so much richer than our boring English “word!”) .

Writers with this “head full of logos” show a propensity to erupt in spontaneous wordplay, even as they trudge through drafts of otherwise functional and/or transactional writing tasks– a memo, an email message, a note to co-workers, even a shopping list. This spontaeous wordplay often produces what I term accidental poetry: usually brief poetic expressions resulting from the writer’s recursive experimentation with revision and word possibilities.

For me, the process works this way: As I labor at a writing task, I occasionalyl get caught up in fanciful experiments with word sounds, phrasal rhythms, word combinations that produce alliteration or assonance, some clever way of turning a phrase, or even a combination of these strategies. This distraction begins as a sub-conscious and unintentional loss of focus as some interesting possibility leads me off task, but as I wake to find myself wandering off in that direction, instead of redirecting myself to the task at hand, I succumb to the impulse and “play!” Here’s an example of an “accidental” verse that spilled out of my keyboard yesterday as I posted a blog comment:

And what’s our cheer
this year

down here
along the Coast?
Death to hurricanes!
Of course, it’s not great poetry. But nor is it serious poetry– It’s just “accidental poetry,” a casual invention that’s sometimes cute and almost always fun, something to tuck away in a journal or a corner of the portfolio for future reference and further elaboration–or maybe never. But one way or the other, here I am with this “head full of logos!”

Any other “accidental” poets out there? I’d like to compare notes.

What y’all think of “y’all?” Tuesday, Feb 5 2008 

Want to turn heads in a small college town in Northern California? Go into the local Starbucks and ask the attendants, “How are y’all?”
The user of that contracted form of “you all” attains immediate recognition as one not from those parts, followed by the inevitable “Where are you from?” As a native Southerner, I experienced that reaction quite a bit in travels to other parts of the land.

So the question arises, especially for one rhetorically and poetically inclined in the profession of letters, “Is ‘y’all’ a legitimate word?” I’ve never thought of it as otherwise, but then again, I was raised in the Deep South.

Thus, I was gratified, at least according to one source, Wikipedia, that the word conforms to an acknowledged standard spelling (“y’all” as opposed to the incorrect “ya’ll“) and even an acknowledged possessive form: “y’all’s.” I was pleased to discover such linguistic acceptance., for like many Southerners, I feel compelled to be defensive about our speech and our usage because some non-Southerners judge our regional vernacular as sub-standard. They often base that judgment solely on our accent, even when we otherwise follow conventional usage standards for formal English.

Admittedly, Wikipedia consigns “y’all” to informal as opposed to formal usage situations. But I can live with that. I’m just pleased that credible sources accept and acknowledge our regional linguistic values and tradtions.

Now the next question: Why is the way we speak seemingly more important to Southerners than to other Americans? That’s a good question for a future blogservation. Maybe someone will have opinion and offer a post.

So what do y’all think about that?

Take us out to the ball game . . . Saturday, Feb 2 2008 

A year ago, I was blogging about the last season of high school softball. Scrolling through the blog archives of February-April 2007 sure brings back a lot of memories of ball parks and shivvering in lawn chairs on early spring nights and all the while celebrating the positive rewards of parenting when things go well with raising kids.

I told LSUE baseball coach and Athletic Director Jeff Willis sometime during that season that after softball, I’d like to help out with the LSUE program (I work at LSUE as an administrator). jeffwillisjune2004-1.jpgEven then, I was anticipating the withdrawal pangs of no-spring-sports after eight consecutive years of following first our son in high school baseball and then daughter Ann in softball and track. So Coach Willis (to the right) took me up on my offer and asked me to man the stadium mike in the press box to announce the LSUE games this season.

“Wow,” thought I. “Right down my alley.” When I was a kid, that’s the kind of job I dreamed about (except perhaps in the major leagues?).

But that wasn’t the end of it. Right before the season started several weeks ago, Coach Willis approached LSUE freshman daughter Ann to serve as the student trainer for the baseball team. He knew of her training experience in high school and her last summer’s experience working for a local physical therapist, so she joined the Bengal’s show, too. The picture below, in fact, shows her icing down Bengal right hander Josh Bailey’s arm after Josh tossed a trainer.jpgcouple of scoreless innings in the first game of a double-header this afternoon. (Bengals swept!)

At the same time, when LSUE Bengal baseball isn’t occupying our time this spring, we’ll not doubt visit some games with son Zach’s Crowley High School baseball team, where he’s as assistant coach.

So what is this?

Aha, ’tis this: A case of all of us finding ourselves where we seem destined to belong: on the friendly  field of athletic endeavor, parents and kids with new (and exciting) roles, delightfully discovering new phases of familiar patterns that we not long ago imagined to be dead and done.

Ah, yes–There shall be showers of blessing!

Play ball!