the bats of halloween


Halloween, that time of ghoulish frights and tricks or treats. I don’t even like Halloween, but it seems to be the holiday that I celebrate. Or at least acknowledge. I send cards/CDs/candy and do a bit of baking. Or least I have but after this year will give much of it up. It has no meaning now.

The time, as poet Marin Sorescu commands, is nigh to learn flying blind: the future really is dark.

Let the bats teach us to see in that dark future.

DH Lawrence

At evening, sitting on this terrace,
When the sun from the west, beyond Pisa, beyond the mountains of Carrara
Departs, and the world is taken by surprise …
When the tired flower of Florence is in gloom beneath the glowing
Brown hills surrounding …
When under the arches of the Ponte Vecchio
A green light enters against stream, flush from the west,
Against the current of obscure Arno …
Look up, and you see things flying
Between the day and the night;
Swallows with spools of dark thread sewing the shadows together.
A circle swoop, and a quick parabola under the bridge arches
Where light pushes through;
A sudden turning upon itself of a thing in the air.
A dip to the water.
And you think:
“The swallows are flying so late!”
Dark air-life looping
Yet missing the pure loop …
A twitch, a twitter, an elastic shudder in flight
And serrated wings against the sky,
Like a glove, a black glove thrown up at the light,
And falling back.
Never swallows!
The swallows are gone.
At a wavering instant the swallows gave way to bats
By the Ponte Vecchio …
Changing guard.
Bats, and an uneasy creeping in one’s scalp
As the bats swoop overhead!
Flying madly.
Black piper on an infinitesimal pipe.
Little lumps that fly in air and have voices indefinite, wildly vindictive;
Wings like bits of umbrella.
Creatures that hang themselves up like an old rag, to sleep;
And disgustingly upside down.
Hanging upside down like rows of disgusting old rags
And grinning in their sleep.
In China the bat is symbol for happiness.
Not for me!


The Bat
Theodore Roethke

By day the bat is cousin to the mouse.
He likes the attic of an aging house.

His fingers make a hat about his head.
His pulse beat is so slow we think him dead.

He loops in crazy figures half the night
Among the trees that face the corner light.

But when he brushes up against a screen,
We are afraid of what our eyes have seen:

For something is amiss or out of place
When mice with wings can wear a human face.

Photo (c) 2009 Michael Pennay used under Creative Commons license.

Happy Halloween


I will post later with all the recipes and reflections on this, but here are some images of all the baked stuff I made this weekend – my last big bake, I do believe. I set it all up in the office and feel very… free.


Getting the big Halloween bake all set up in the office


Very basic Halloween decorations


How will I organize this??


Ready for their close-up: Coconut cream bar cookies


Chocolate chip cashew cookies – same recipe as the white chocolate macadamia cookies, only throw in chocolate chips and cashews instead of white chocolate and macadamia nuts




Mini pecan pie recipe… also these got some rave reviews



M&M cookies… same recipe as the white chocolate macadamia cookies


Chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips – same recipe as the chocolate mint cookies but with peanut butter chips instead of mint


Table 1 of 2: Getting rid of ingredients cookies rather than the Halloween-themed goods


The Halloween-themed spread



Chocolate cupcakes (which happen to be vegan – not by design, just coincidence) with grey vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream



Witch finger shortbread cookie recipe… they freak everyone out



Chocolate truffles: Very easy to make




Coconut dark chocolate bites recipe: I toasted the coconut and blitzed it in a food processor, which is not indicated in the recipe. I think it works better this way



Close-up: Candy corn cupcakes


The full spread: Halloween baking 2017


Happy Halloween 2017



crying in its dark thorns


Trying to Pray
James Wright
This time, I have left my body behind me, crying
In its dark thorns.
There are good things in this world.
It is dusk.
It is the good darkness
Of women’s hands that touch loaves.
The spirit of a tree begins to move.
I touch leaves.
I close my eyes and think of water.



Watch out for the gospel of the times…
Nicanor Parra
He who speaks doesn’t know
the Chinese sage keeps silent
more than 3 strokes of the pen is mastur-page-tion
2 parallel lines that always intersect
create a perfect marriage
a river that flows against its own current
never arrives at a happy end
everything is permitted
absolute freedom of movement
that is, without leaving the cage
2+2 doesn’t make 4:
once it made 4 but
today nothing is known in this regard


Ojo con el evangelio de hoy
el que habla no sabe
el sabio chino se mantiene en silencio
más de 3 sacudidas es página
2 paralelas que se cortan siempre
constituyen matrimonio perfecto
río que fluye contra su propia corriente
no llegará jamás a feliz término
todo está permitido
libertad absoluta de movimiento
claro que sin salirse de la jaula
2 + 2 no son 4:
……………….. fueron 4:
hoy no se sabe nada al respecto

Let go of me


Nadia Tuéni
In the heat of the sun,
with the wind round my neck
and rain whipping at my mouth,
in the heat of the sun,
I watch the walls of my memory sweat.
It was you who, just a step away,
held out your hair so that I might cling to it.
Discard, then, all these bullets
that kill or do not kill according to the rules of tenderness.
Now, let go of me, for I am sent reeling, my womb
red with the blood of us all.
And I laugh in the heat of the sun,
because madness garners the landscape,
Even you just a step away wear winter upon your face
so as to wrest from me my life’s breath
and hang it over the border.
So in the heat of the sun
I die of incoherence
in bursts.


En plein soleil,
avec le vent autour du cou
et fouets de pluie dans la bouche,
en plein soleil,
je regarde suinter les murs de ma mémoire.
Tu es celui qui, à trois pas,
m’as tendu ses cheveux pour que je m’y accroche.
Fais donc voler toutes ces balles
qui tuent ou ne tuent pas selon des règles de tendresse.
Lâche-moi à présent,
car je chavire de l’autre côté de mon ventre
rouge du sang de tous.
Et je ris en plein soleil,
parce que la folie moissonne le paysage,
Même toi à trois pas mets un hiver sur ton visage
pour m’arracher mon souffle et
l’accrocher à la frontière d’à côté.
Alors en plein soleil
je meurs d’incohérence
en éclats.

life may turn out better


A happy birthday wish to my dear friend T. May life turn out better.

Aleksandr Blok

It’s dark, despite the moon above.
For many, life may turn out better, –
Inside my soul, the spring of love
Will not replace the stormy weather.
The night’s spread out in the street,
And to my spirit’s muted stare,
That’s soaked in poison, hot and sweet,
It answers with a deathly glare.
I try to keep my passions down,
Out in the cold and dawning mist,
I wander, lost among the crowd,
Engrossed, with thoughts of only this:
It’s dark, despite the moon above.
For many, life may turn out better, –
Inside my soul, the spring of love
Will not replace the stormy weather.


Пусть светит месяц – ночь темна.
Пусть жизнь приносит людям счастье,-
В моей душе любви весна
Не сменит бурного ненастья.
Ночь распростерлась надо мной
И отвечает мертвым взглядом
На тусклый взор души больной,
Облитой острым, сладким ядом.
И тщетно, страсти затая,
В холодной мгле передрассветной
Среди толпы блуждаю я
С одной лишь думою заветной:
Пусть светит месяц – ночь темна.
Пусть жизнь приносит людям счастье,-
В моей душе любви весна
Не сменит бурного ненастья.