In the Face of Grief

I met Elizabeth several years back when I received a request to use a photo I had taken for a series of frankly silly pictures she was featuring on a Flickr page.  Through that request I started reading her blog and being struck by the humour and grace with which she greeted much of what the world handed her – good and bad.  And often the bad was extremely bad – and often she turned that into a source of creativity.  In response to yesterday’s sadness in Boston she wrote a poem that expresses the “communal national grief” that is being felt by so many.  She has given me permission to post her  poem as a way of allowing you and I share that grief.


The Thorn Tree

The thorn tree in my yard
is six feet high and wide, with a crop
of inch-long needles bristling
along its branches. Yet it holds, within it,
a flock of trilling fluttering
sparrows. When I walk by
they quiet. But one foot past and they begin
again, caroling and chuckling.
In its dangerous arms they dart, turn,
then light unscathed
beside spiked teeth that bite me
bloody when I have tried
to trim it. I am so blundering, so
soft, so easy to wound.
The small deft birds laugh
behind my back and I long
for their winged grace
in this world of thorns.

April 15, 2013


 March 2012 – Her Word’s Say It All
October 2010 – Job’s Wife

April 16 – 1170 BC – The calculated date of the Greek king Odysseus‘ return home from the Trojan War.

My Mame – Back Where She Belongs

And speaking of the great Angela Lansbury, I found this draft that I had forgotten about in the archives.

My friend Blake was in New York a few weeks ago and managed to get tickets for the opening night of Deuce, the new Terrance McNally play starring Angela Lansbury and Marion Seldes. He took this great shot of the incredible Angela as she was leaving for the opening night party. She wasn’t signing autographs but she turned to the crowd and called out: This is my night to howl! Blake says the cheers at that point where almost as loud as the applause at the curtain calls.
Angela Lansbury leaves the Music Box TheaterAt 82 she still looks great and Blake says that both woman were wonderful but Lansbury has that magic on stage that says “Star.”


I remember the first time I saw her on stage – Mame during the Boston try-out in 1966. It had be a disastrous few days. I headed for Boston and a drama school audition at MIT – I was all set to become the Michael Redgrave of my generation – notice not the Olivier or Gielgud, I knew my limitations.

I was eighteen and terribly naive. It was my first time flying and I honestly believed they brought a new airplane out for each flight – duh well 33 years in the airline business taught me better than that. I won’t go into the gruesome details but that three days involved lying to my boss about where I was going; getting stacked up over JFK and missing my flight to Boston; losing my ticket in the transfer terminal; buying a new one on North East Airlines; having just enough money for a cab to my hotel in Cambridge and to get into Boston the next day; gave a horrible audition where I blew the test piece to hell; a call to my bank in Toronto for a draft; their call to my boss that cost me my job.

Angela Lansbury - MameAs I said it was a disastrous few days. Except my wanders through Boston took me past the Schubert Theater and a brilliant yellow poster announcing: Angela Lansbury as Mame, a New Musical. I had really loved Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame and really hated Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate (one of the greatest portrayals of evil in the cinema.) How could that horrid woman be the aunt that we all knew we were meant to have? I bought a ticket in the balcony – what would it have been $1.50 maybe $2.00 and strangely, considering it became the hardest ticket to get in New York, I don’t remember it being a full house.

– Overture!
– Voice over reading of Patrick’s father’s will.
– First scene – Patrick and Gooch (Jane Connell) outside Beeckman Place.
– Party scene with Vera Charles (Bea Arthur) centre stage and then…

And then this woman appeared at the top of a spiral staircase in a backless gold lame jump suit, a trumpet in her hand and as she descended began singing, radiating love, joy and that magic that says “star.” And for the next three hours every disaster disappeared.

28 gennaio – San Tommasso d’Aquina

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Jerry and I get around. In 2011, we moved from the USA to Spain. We now live near Málaga. Jerry y yo nos movemos. En 2011, nos mudamos de EEUU a España. Ahora vivimos cerca de Málaga.

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To live is to battle with trolls in the vaults of heart and brain. To write; this is to sit in judgment over one's Self. Henrik Ibsen

I'll think of something later

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