Humility Or Humbug 2011

It’s a rainy, thund’ry day here in Härryda, Sweden (where Kent and I live in the country).  The telephone is out.  Somebody’s or somebodies have stolen the copper cables that have been hanging temptingly for months now  (we live in a sad, corrupted conscience-free world).  So here I was, doing the dishes,  energized by coffee and wondering about the difference between humility and insecurity, they looking very much like each other.

Humility Or Humbug


It was a humdrum day.

Nothing on my mind,

I looked up humble

Where I found humdingers:



For fingers.

Not a humph of sound,

For, humanized I pondered on

The difference ’tween

Low self-esteem

And lack of self-importance:

One, humility,

The other, well, –

Just plain old insecurities.

It is a fine line, hard to recognize.

The insecure seem often humble

And the humble insecure.

Good to analyze,

Who is the one to tell?


Then we come to arrogance.


Humility Or Humbug 7.5.2011

A Sense Of The Ridiculous; Circling Round Vanities; Circling Round Reality;

Arlene Corwin










No, the grass is never greener.  Stay home and enjoy your Detroit could-be paradise.  Help it along.

By the way, I worked in a wonderful jazz club in the 50’s!  I don’t remember the name, but Detroit was the place then.

Comment by Sue Shoemaker on Tuesday
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In your intro, Arlene, you mention someone stealing copper cables.  Being from MI … we have heard so much about the destruction of old homes and other properties due to the theft of copper lines in Detroit.  It’s interesting to hear that this is not just a Detroit or even just a USA phenomena.  Sometimes it is easy to think that the ‘grass is greener’ in other places in the world.

Comment by ARLENE CORWIN on Monday
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Pardon if this comes into your mail more than once.

Out this week –

Vaguely About Music

Arlene Corwin

The seventh in a series circling around some aspect of life: time, woman, the creative process, mysticism, vanity, our times and culture,Vaguely About Music deals with aspects of jazz, performance, criticism, celebration, mourning – all to do with music, the players, the performance.

Available on,, Barnes& Noble.

Also available as ebook

Comment by ARLENE CORWIN on July 7, 2011 at 10:31
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I forgot to mention, – as a starting point I was fooling around with the hum’s.  So in the seriousness of the message is the fooling around-ness too.  Even in the most serious matters there must be and is fun – and (conversely) and perhaps even more important, even in the fun and under the fun lies always the serious.  Contiguous walls. (see next blog).


Arlene, Sweden

Comment by Marian Van Eyk McCain on July 6, 2011 at 20:48
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“…within the nowness of seconds, if you live in them, there is wisdom, and in that wisdom, security.” That’s a really profound statement, Arlene. I like it. And as Sue so rightly says, control is a total illusion.

Yes, that’s the beauty of poems. They are like Rorschach blots in the way they trigger associations, impressions, ideas, insights…

Comment by Sue Shoemaker on July 6, 2011 at 19:01
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Not sure where I first heard the phrase … THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL … but it seems to relate to the discussion here.  When speaking of “security” and/or “change” … as much as we would like to think that we have “control” over these things … the fact of the matter is that the idea of CONTROL is just an ILLUSION.

Comment by ARLENE CORWIN on July 6, 2011 at 18:47
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As the I Ching or Book of Changes says, there is nothing else but change.  So, of course, all things being dynamic, there can’t be security (as we usually use the word) absolute.  But within the nowness of seconds, if you live in them, there is wisdom, and in that wisdom, security.


And no, it isn’t what I meant in the poem, but your (Betty) and Marian’s response show what delicious things can come from a little poem.



Comment by Marian Van Eyk McCain on July 6, 2011 at 8:51
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That is SO true, Betty. And I guess that’s why Voltaire called life “a daring adventure.” Facing that, square on, is what ‘radical aliveness’ is all about.


Comment by Betty Taylor on July 5, 2011 at 23:24
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There is no such thing as “security” in this life and it’s pursuit is a fruitless dead-end.

Think of all the empires built upon our fears and our pursuit of security–insurance businesses, financial markets, hospitals and health care businesses, nursing homes–the list goes on and on. We invest precious dollars in a futile attempt to ensure our safety. Life is not safe. Investing in these things out of fear becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. We end up creating the end we fear.

I know this may not be the  road you were going down, but this is what your post stimulated in me.




Adding Photos


There are two kinds of photos on Elderwomanspace:

–       …


Created by Marian Van Eyk McCain Aug 12, 2009 at 1:25pm. Last updated by Marian Van Eyk McCain Nov 29, 2010.

Starting Point

Welcome to Elderwomanspace. This is YOUR network. If you are new here and/or are not already familiar with the way social networks operate,click here to read my note ‘Getting Started’. If you plan on inviting others into the network, be sure and click hereto read the ‘Invitations’ note first. There…Continue

Created by Marian Van Eyk McCain Mar 19, 2010 at 2:45pm. Last updated by

I Spend My Life Diminishing 2012

I Spend My Life Diminishing


I spend my life diminishing

Weight, mail, new sites;

Old clothes, jeans, skirts,

The umpteen shirts and blouses,

Socks, worn panties,

Jackets, coats:

They pile up.

They’ve piled up.


The circle of close friends

I really care for –

It’s expanded.

This formatted


Two thousand twelve,

This way of life that’s ‘up’ and ‘more’,

This juncture

In which more is less –

No, more is much too much too much

Which piles up:

It piles up

To want reduction. 

Is rejection

A solution?


I Spend My Life Diminishing 4.23.2012

Circling Round Egos;

Arlene Corwin


To Row Is Perverse 2012

To Row Is Perverse


Let’s row in reverse.

Why is the rowing

Always done backwards?

Why are we forced

To look over our shoulder

To get to the shore!

And what a hard way

To avoid hitting shoal,

Know where we’re going

To get to a goal.

To row is perverse.


To Row Is Perverse 4.23.2012

A Sense Of The Ridiculous;

Arlene Corwin

This Is The Now 2012

This Is The Now


This is the now –

Not less worthy than

The other now when

I was writing verse a now ago.


Albert standing on a branch

Poking paw into its pine-ey needles,

Hunting something I can’t see.

Does he hear something?

It’s inaudible to me.


Pine branch lying on the lawn.

How can Albert find so many holes to claw?

Endless variations on a theme,

His every motion synchronized.

AH!  I see!  The schemer!

It’s a mouse.


Fifteen minutes later:

He’s still at it.

In my anti- nature-has-its-ways-

I’ve piled more branches on the first.

Instinct-Albert isn’t peeved.  He doesn’t curse.

He vaults the mini-Everest.

Front, back, aha, he’s got the drift,

Trying (not-too-hard) to lift

a branch.

Believe you me, they’re heavy.


Albert is relentless, ready, tail swishing.

Poor, poor mouse,  I wish

That I could make it so you lived to see

Another day!

(Albert, why

are you not tired out

or losing focus?)

Systematic, specialized par excellence

This game of cat and-nows.


This Is The Now 3.26.2012

Circling Round Nature; Cat Book;

Arlene Corwin

In Every Meteor & Stone 2012

In Every Meteor & Stone



Never ending nebulosa:

Nursery of death becoming life.

Orion Nebula – new generations:


And planets

Meter-less as life.


Why should I be apprehensive,

Worry about dying when

Life is

In all the universe

All of the time

In every meteor and stone.


Every meteor and stone –

Just think.


In Every Meteor & Stone 4.16.2012

Birth, Death & In Between II; Nature Of & In Reality;

Arlene Corwin

The Conclusions That We Draw 2012

The Conclusions That We Draw

We read into it what we are:

nothing more.

We interpret:

nothing more.

In touch, sight, sound

We listen with our backgrounds,

Enjoy through aptitudes,

Construe according to proclivity

And time of life; the acme

Of all prefaces that takes in every truckload

Of the word.

The Conclusions That We Draw 2.28.2012

General Prefaces; Vaguely About Music; Circling Round Reality;

Arlene Corwin

No Background Music 2012

            No Background Music


There’ll be no background music then;

Valleys that refuse to sing,

Glens that ring out nothing –

Dales too. 



How to get used to the mute


No angel choir,

No Gabriel to tootie toot.

There being so much music

In the background –

Does that frighten you?


No Background Music 2.11.2012

Vaguely About Music II; Birth Death & In Between II; Our Times, Our Culture II;

Arlene Corwin

First Day Out 2012

First Day Out


Just in case I get a thought,

I’ve brought

My pen and laptop


The old-fashioned way.


Feb. twelve.  Light

Brighter over treetop and

I hear a saw afar; a farmer


Making preparation.

He wants light or wood.

And/or – that’s good.

Country dwellers – they’re so clever.


I sit.

Rooftop snow has almost hit me,

Missing by an inch.

Melt, melt…



Is story-telling:



But worth a word.


Another thud.

What luck!

I’m tucked under an eave

Exposed to ultra-violet

I need.

Light’s back and lengthening;

Apple cake inside is baking.

We will gain an hour next month.


Still, temperature demands

Two pairs of tights, leg warmers,

T-shirt, sweater, vest, coat, hat.

That’s that.

My first day out.


First Day Out 2.12.2012

Small Stories Book; Swedish Book; Circling Round Nature;

Arlene Corwin

An Intermediary Mood

An Intermediary Mood


How to tell who it is from,

From whom it comes,

The bubble in the mind?

How to know it’s You,

That what you’re saying’s true

For though

one needs relationship,

You are no thing.

One hopes the One one’s read about

With that authentic ring

Is angel on the shoulder

And one’s company in kind.


An Intermediary Mood 1.19.97(rediscovered 3.29.2012)

To The Child Mystic II;

Arlene Corwin

A Puff Of Air 2012

A Puff Of Air


I’ve analyzed accomplishment,

I’ve me-oh-my’d achievement;

I’ve listed fame and reputation,

How it feels and what it gives,

(how it felt and what it gave);

The money gain, and what it brought,

The flatter-satis-


That was sought

And won

And at the same time, none

of these.

Mostly, sometimes, always –


Every word a concept-phrase, a phase

And in the end, a puff of air;

An I-don’t really-care-it doesn’t-matter, patter

Glib, an empty fib, semantic gibberish,

Emptied, slowed,

With no place on this earth to go.

It isn’t pleasant.

Left inside – the present:

Not one bit of optimism,

[maybe just] a hint of hope;

All the rest a “Nope,

‘this is a puff of air” its definition.


Isn’t always fair

(With no one really to complain to.)


A Puff Of Air 3.26.2012

Revelations Big & Small; Circling Round Reality;

Arlene Corwin


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