Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Current posts may be viewed at http://www.mimseybythesea.blogspot.com

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Guest Editor

When I was down in the Shire packing up my souvenirs, I came upon a poem Lucille had written to me. She was a law book editor and witty essayist. I asked her once to be a guest editor on the blob but she laughed that idea away. However, now that she doesn't have a say-so, I want her to be my guest. I'm certain if she decides to haunt me over this act of defiance, it will be in a delightfully Irish way. 

Just Desserts

This is not your birthday cake.
If you celebrated birthdays,
it would be your birthday cake.
But, since you do not celebrate
OCCASIONS, it is not your cake.
Besides, today is not your birthday.

It is my birthday cake,
or it would be, except that today
is not my birthday, either.
My birthday is next week,
when you will not be here.

Today is not the birthday of anyone
who lives in this house.
If we eat the cake tonight,
it will not be a birthday cake.

It will just be our desserts,
yours and mine.
Cake and frosting.
Billy Collins*

*O.K. Billy Collins did not write this poem.
And it is not actually a poem.

If I were Billy Collins, I would write
a poem for your birthday. Maybe.

I do not know if you even like Billy Collins.
Maybe he will write a poem for my birthday?

I do know that birthdays deserve celebration,
and you deserve poetry and cake and all things good. **

**The best I could do between the time I got home and the time your feet hit the stairs.~~H.

Honor Cunane
June 19, 2009     

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

As part of my D-Day memorial, I sat upstairs at the 59th Street Food Emporium. I decline to call the bridge by its new name: the Ed Koch as no mere mortal has the grandeur and grace of that bridge. I wondered what the small cafe used to be in the old days. The architecture is breathtaking with tall windows reminiscent of expecting a brigantine to sail by. The arched sandy brick ceiling is a masterwork suited to a cathedral. There are free magazines on the tables to read while lunching on the tasty salad bar choices from the floor beneath. Traffic cops bring newspapers for their breaks. I read the June issue of Elle featuring Kristin Stewart. The article on her agreed with my assessment that she is a great actress. Anybody who doesn't think so hasn't seen one of her indie movies. It's coincidental that this week I came upon a mystery by a Japanese/American writer set during WWII, Summer of the Big Bachi, and have been watching Land Girls on Netflix from the same time period. The death of Ray Bradbury added to my nostalgia. During the war my family was living in the Azores where the fighting seemed very close to my impressionable mind wary of thunderstorms and flares in the night. I wore a medal of the Queen of Heaven to protect me like a silver splinter of armor and prayed for the good fortune of all the world's children. June 6th is always a contemplative day for me. Ray Bradbury would have appreciated how it travels from long ago to right now carrying simultaneously with it all the intensity of loss and endurance and looking towards a bright tomorrow. Peaceful memories to you, also.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Since You Asked

My grandson asked, "If you were to pick a day in history you remember well, which would it be?" I thought over my choices: the Cuban Crisis; the fall of the Berlin Wall; the inauguration of the first Catholic president. His assassination was certainly a staggering event as I was on the Judah streetcar in San Francisco on the way to a pre-natal visit when I heard the news. On a brighter side, the first words uttered on the moon thrilled me. However, none of these compared to one day in May. 
   My father had been assigned earlier in the year of 1945 to Jerusalem. Our family was staying temporarily at the American School of Oriental Research, overlooking the Mount of Olives. Dr. Nelson Glueck, an archaeologist and friend, came to the door one day and whispered to my mother, "The war is over." And then he left. She turned to me, her eyes wide, "The war is over!!" I knew what that meant as for the two years previous my dad had been assigned by the U.S. State Dept. to Angra do Heroismo, a city in the Azores where the Army and Navy soldiers made our house their, "Home away from home." I had overheard many a conversation about the "European Theater," the losses of people we had known and I had once slipped onto a plane full of wounded soldiers on their way back to the States. The horrors of war were branded in my mind and remain vivid all these decades later. Being only six, I didn't register the date or time but I remember clearly the sudden optimism, the feeling thatnow things would be "all better." I remember it was the month of May because that was my mother's birthday month and somehow the celebration became mixed with the personal joy we had. My mother often remarked that Rabbi Glueck's reaction to the news was vastly different from people dancing and shouting in the streets but I felt the same way--
stunned.  There have been momentous days in my life but none have compared to that very quiet announcement by a man who would years later give the benediction at the swearing in ceremony of President John F. Kennedy.

...may the blessings of good memories 
and learned lessons be yours...
Sketch by Halit

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Friday Noon

Strolling along York Avenue, I noticed a cluster of buildings that seemed to fit in with the hospitals close by but had posters which indicated a wealth of what my daughter at age four called, "Distinguished Avocados." Rockefeller University overlooks the East River and has a history in science I did not know. It is a biomedical center with 73 laboratories devoted to basic and clinical research. 23 of its scientists have won a Nobel prize. However, the real surprise for me was the small recital hall with free recitals on Fridays at noon. Last Friday there was a group singing and playing my favorite kind of music (well, tied with my other all-time favorites). TENET, according to the New York Times is, "Sensational." SPIRITUS COLLECTIVE  "unites breath, spirit and inspiration to produce meaningful sacred music utilizing wind instruments, specifically period brass instruments (natural trumpet, cornett and sackbut). Combined with period strings and voices spiritus is a versatile ensemble, capable of recreating the vast and fascinating 17th century repertoire." Behind the performers, placed in a wide arc, were forty votive candles which were the perfect touch. It was so easy to imagine a side, or Lady chapel, in a country far away where the music filled the space for an hour or so of enchantment. I did not know the pieces but the words such as, "Sanctorum" sent me right back to my childhood when morning classes would be suspended to go pray and sing along the stone work corridors of the convent school. How lovely to feel the music shut out the world beyond the walls. A tiny glimpse of Heaven. The Friday Noon Recitals are gems, hidden just past the front garden. Are you as fond as I of beautiful things not seen from outside? A geode. A cavern. A pocketful of silver coins. 

...may the blessings of delightful surprises be yours...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Carolyn Meyer and Moi

  It was a dark and stormy night in Eureka, California. Earlier in the day, I had been to the wonderful Eureka library which resembled a ship builder's project with its strong wooden beams and its high windows looking out to an inlet of the bay. I had gone to see if there might be a DVD of The Phantom of the Opera. Just past the entrance, on the left, was the Young Adult collection, an unusual placement for a library. I have a great fondness for YA books. They are imaginative, compact, and tell a good story. A cover caught my eye, Loving Will Shakespeare. It showed a young couple appropriately dressed for his time, walking away from the reader, wrapped up in themselves, unconcerned about anything, briskly on their way to their destiny. I was not familiar with the author. I grabbed the book and headed for staying up late in the night reading this completely entrancing view of Shakespeare's youth. I looked up the website and discovered I could, "Contact." I wrote a short fan message. I like short as short doesn't interrupt a busy person and cuts to the chase, much like the writing of a YA book. I was pleased to receive a prompt reply. Today, some three years later I met Carolyn Meyer in person while she was visiting her agent in NYC. We talked of many things. I particularly liked learning about her family and her breaking into the writing world. And, of course, I had to tell her several of my stories. In our brief time together, I flashed back to that stormy night in Eureka, and thought about how, once again, the Keeper of the Universe had been working behind the scenes to arrange a lovely conjunction of friends at lunch. Who would have guessed such a possibility? I am currently reading The Bad Queen in which Carolyn Meyer has given us a perfect example of what she does best--putting herself into the setting and becoming the character. How does she do this?? How can she be Anastasia, Isabella, Catherine, Nannerl (Mozart's sister), and numerous others? The blurb says she has written 50 books. It was a rare and beautiful day in the Big Apple and I was privileged to meet the recipient of my fan letter, a generous and gifted writer with a deep and hearty laugh and a willingness to listen.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Blob

I am my brother's sister. I have started a new blob. This time it is only poems and essays and eventually, the one short story I wrote in 1964 on Clipper Street in San Francisco. http://innochronologicalorder.blogspot.com