Moods are funny things...


I love moods.

I don't love being in them because usually that means I'm grumpy.

Moods are neat because they are mostly feelings, without a lot of facts set in concrete.

Consider, for example, this painting by Claude Monet.










Claude Monet was a major Impressionist painter, and this painting is a good example of an Impressionist painting. In the painting, you see an impression, not an actual, detailed picture. You get a certain feeling when looking at the painting; you don't say, "Wow, look at that cool bridge." You say instead, "Look at the light on the water, look at the light as it filters through the clouds, look at the faint suggestions of structures beyond the canvas." This painting makes you want to see farther into the picture. You want to see what is beyond that bridge, and you want to feel the damp chill of the fog that surrounds you. You want to listen to the fog and the river that flows past you. You want to be there.

I love Impressionist paintings (as if you couldn't tell), and I love the music of Impressionism too. I'm playing the Debussy Estampes right now, and for one, I love Debussy and always have. It lies well on the piano and just feels good to play. Sure, it has its share of "technical difficulties," but for some reason they don't bother me like they do in Romantic music. I'm also playing the Grieg Concerto in A minor right now, and it's a bit to chew on! (I have to admit that my strength is definitely not in technique but more in musicality.) I did find it very inspiring, though, when I went through the first movement, especially the cadenza, and analyzed a lot of the chord progressions. Suddenly, the cadenza took on a shape! Instead of it being a series of hard variations on some of the main themes of the movement that are somehow supposed to sound made-up, it had a line and a flow. I found it very helpful and inspiring (to analyze the chord progressions), and it helped me when I played it, to give the movement a sense of "wholeness" and continuity. Also, focusing more on the musical gestures actually helped all the technical stuff. Ok, enough about Grieg, back to Debussy. I love to listen to all the tone colors and sounds in Debussy. He had such a way of capturing feelings and moods. In the third movement of Estampes, Jardins sous la pluie (Gardens in the Rain), you can hear and see the rain-shower as a whole as well as individual little droplets detaching themselves, from the edge of the porch roof perhaps, and falling heavily down to the rain-puddle below. When the droplet touches the puddle, it makes a little, musical plink. Debussy has such a way of creating pictures in your mind!

As you might have guessed by this point, I love literature with moods. I mean, the Hardy Boys are great, but you don't get much of a mood out of them (even with all the big words; it seems that the authors decided not to use any words twice; thus for "said," you get: replied, answered, remarked, commented, added, teased, pointed out, cried, shouted, warned, etc.). I like poetry that gives you a strong mood when you read it. I once read Walter de la Mare's "The Listeners," and I was fascinated with the feeling he created with his choice of words, the rhythm, and the sound devices he used.

Ok, enough of other people's moods, it's time for me to make my own. Let me know how effective my moods are and the feelings they give you. A lot of times you have to read through the poem a few times to really let it sink in.

Here is the haiku that should have won the weekly haiku contest (instead of the dumb haiku I wrote that did). And no, haiku aren't supposed to rhyme.


Candlelight diffused,

Like mist, covers, envelops,

Yet illuminates.


Here is a poem I wrote last year. It doesn't have any meter that I can find (you'd think I'd know), but it does rhyme. (Wait, I just realized that each line has seven syllables, if that helps. Seven...what a random number.) (Don't pay attention to any of that when you're reading it, though.)


The night breeze wafts to and fro

Round dark shapes. Softly it blows.

The moon, pale silver sliver,

Sheds its light. The grass shivers

In the sweeping trail of wind

Which whispers of where it's been.

The silent moon bathes in light

Pools which reflect moonlight bright.

Softly, the night wind goes on,

Blows, departs, and it is gone.




Sorry, Steve. If this post was a little too dramatic for you, I'll have to do a lighthearted one next. The only problem is that I haven't written very much lighthearted stuff...



My favorite sports teams are the Colorado Rockies and anyone who is playing the Red Sox.

Yep, baseball, that's all. I'm determined not to start following anything else; I already waste enough time keeping up with baseball.

I'm beginning to think that my support is a curse to any team, though. Look at what happened to the Rockies... and the Rays, for that matter. Yes, I abandoned my loyalty to the National League and went for the Rays in the World Series. Face it, cowbells are cool, right? Well, I also have to point out that I wasn't into baseball last season, and the Rockies got to the World Series. See what a corrupting influence I have? (Let that be a warning to all of you readers:D)

Nice picture, right? Whenever I see this picture, I always think about how artistic it looks, almost as if it were posed. I guess it's just a case of being at the right place at the right time. (I bet that photographer got a raise:D)

Now you're probably wondering, "What in the world does all this have to do with your writing and poetry and other dumb stuff?"

Would it surprise you if I said that I wrote a poem about the Rockies? Ok, you probably think I'm a complete nut, but then, about everyone does and don't tell me I didn't warn you.

Ok, here's the scoop. I saw an announcement for a contest hosted by yourhub in which seven winners (selected periodically throughout the season) could win twelve Rockies suite tickets. All you had to do was write something about why you like the Rockies, or something to that effect. I immediately thought, "Ha, ha! I'll write something for the contest, and if for some reason I win, I can bring our whole family to a baseball game." (You have to keep in mind that at that point I had never been to a Major League baseball game.) I thought I had nothing to lose. Nothing to lose but time, it turned out. Four to eight hours later, I emerged from the office with a sonnet, no less, about the Rockies. Actually, it was two sonnets, only I didn't like the first one, so I wrote another. And by the way, that four to eight hours wasn't quite all in one chunk, and I can't remember exactly how long it was; it was probably more than four hours, but no more than eight hours. Anyway, all that to say, it took a long time. The sonnet I entered in the contest, in my humble opinion, "worked." (Most of the things I post will be things that "worked.")

I didn't win the contest. *insert sarcastic laugh and rant about how much I "respect" journalism* That's ok, though, because I actually did get to go to a baseball game this season, and it was a blast. The Rockies won 4-0!

Ok, this post is longer than I was anticipating, so I'd better get to the good stuff. (I know, I can hear your groans from here.)

Now, I know this is pretty dramatic, but it was good enough for the contest. Enjoy!..or not.

"Ode to the Rockies"

The Rockies, one with mountain peaks in fame
Which steeply rise midst valleys and dry plains
And are concealed oft by portentous rains,
They struggle to play worthy of their name.
Each player toils, and yet they lose the game;
Each man dejected walks away, hope wanes,
While nemesis rejoices o'er his gains,
Forgetting he has oft played much the same.
What matters it? Let trials and troubles come,
For they precede the glorious victory.
Did not Odysseus triumph through his woes?
And Theseus the Minotaur o'ercome?
So e'en if Rockies' triumphs hidden be,
There's hope when Rockies players swing and throw.

You know, there's no telling how badly the Rockies will play after I've written a sonnet about them.

Maybe I should start cheering for their opponents...