When You Get Up to the City

Reading about this study of songbirds in European cities, a tune began niggling at my memory. Apparently, male great tits sing higher, quicker & louder in an urban setting than do their country cousins. Then I got it. I was thinking of Mose Allison’s lyric, “If You’re Goin’ Up to the City.” Mose sings from the point of view of a jaded, hip older cousin: “If you’re goin’ up to the city you better have some cash / ‘Cause people in the city don’t mess around with trash.” But I had to play the song–it’s on my hard drive–to get the exact verse I was looking for: “If you go up to the city you got to learn to shout / If you don’t stand up and holler you gonna get left out.”

Beginning Again

This is the new blog, not the same as the old blog(s). At least I hope not. As I wrote in the last post on Reading & Writing, I had grown weary of the political echo chamber & the tone of voice it requires to be heard there. Not that I ever thought of myself as a political blogger. And not that anyone paid attention. I feel best when I write about poetry or about the river, or about what I happen to be reading other than the NY Times. It’s just that it is terribly easy to link to a story in the Times, or on one of the political blogs & fire off a squib full of sulfurous outrage. There are just over a thousand entries on the old blog & (I just looked) two hundred-forty-four of them carried the “politics” category label. At best, those entries might take a piece of political language & turn it sideways to get a different perspective, but at worst they didn’t amount to much more than name calling. I have created a Politics category here, too, but I’m going to be very careful about how I use it.

I also wrote previously about some of the technical issues I was having with the old site. I’m not going to rehash them here. I will be messing around with the look & feel of this place probably well into the new year, but one thing I realized taking a couple of weeks off was that I like blogging. I have the habit.

In Theodore Roethke’s poem “Meditations of an Old Woman,” the title character describes herself as a “perpetual beginner.” Not a bad aspiration. It’s true that a weblog starts fresh every day, but I have felt the necessity to make a larger break than merely starting a new post with a new date at the top. This post represents the beginning of that new beginning, and attempt to refresh myself & my relation to my online writing.