Cast Net - May 2021
Bay St. Louis artist/photographer Kat Fitzpatrick shares items of note from around the Internet - funny, inspirational and entertaining.
- reviews, photography and poetry by Kat Fitzpatrick
iPhone: Night Photography
My morning practice of rising before dawn and heading out in the dark to see the world through the “eyes” of my iPhone has sustained me over the last year. The high sensitivity of the camera allows me to take photos at night.
The combined beauty and rhythms of the natural world have provided much needed instruction on living with extreme change and isolation. I share my daily “catch” with an online community. Though I cover the same physical ground every day, there are secrets that reveal themselves to the faithful and the very lucky.
I have been both. Finding the small visual gifts left out by “Santa” gives each morning the feel of Christmas. Reading and writing poetry, distills the magic into tiny decanters that can summon the moment back from memory into focus.
An Other Day by Kat Fitzpatrick
Driving toward sunrise in the dark
An uh-oh sound
my tire feels something beneath
At the edge,
between wild grass and street, I stop the car to see.
to help if I can.
A gray armored dillo with eyes open
Her hairy dull and plated back shows cracks/
red meat beneath like a small watermelon dropped on the floor
What have I done?
It is a wound I cannot heal.
It is too late for that
(though my mind is still sorting through bandage options)
I place my fingers on her head in benediction
Asking forgiveness. Offering blessing
Really looking now, I see the dark stain close to her mouth and realize it is not fresh.
My tire was only the most recent assault.
I don’t feel relief, only a mourning in my heart now
By the loss
of my small neighbor.
I pull her body off the road and into the grass.
My hands hold onto the memory
the feel of her dry tail is seared into my fingertips
the sweet furrow between her black eyes...
my hands refuse to forget (though I wish they would)
Sun rising red with remembering
It is an Other day
Carrying forward the loss of a small newly loved one
who is now (through memory and this poem)
a part of me
The Pleasure of the Poetic
The first link is to a blog post by photographer David Duchemin, who describes the connection between poetry and photography. He includes a favorite poem by two-time Poet Laureate, Billy Collins.
I’ve also includeda link to an article about Collins. Each Tuesday and Thursday, the poet (AKA Professor Bebop) hosts a 25-minute show on Facebook that has become a favorite afternoon delight.
It opens with him playing music and telling stories about his favorite jazz artists, then reading poetry. He combines favorites by other poets as well as his own. There may or may not be a common theme. It feels intimate and funny and like a visit with a favorite friend.
One of my favorite books in recent memory is by writer Richard Goodman, called “French Dirt.” It details a year’s sojourn in an old stone house in the French countryside. The span of a year is only enough time to scratch the surface of a community and to befriend some of its people.
Through the help of his neighbors, Goodman is able to realize a long-held dream of having a garden of his own someday. As a longtime resident of New York, that had been a dream deferred... until France.
Author of several other books, Goodman also co-edited ”The Gulf South: An Anthology of Environmental Writing” with Tori Bush, 2021. Available at Pass Christian Books on Scenic Drive.
If you are an aspiring writer, he is teaching an online workshop in June. Click here for details.
Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts
This story blew me away. Artist Bill Traylor was a former slave who became a widely respected and collected artist. This is a film I can’t wait to see. Read more here.
My Octopus Teacher
“My Octopus Teacher” just won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. One of my favorite movies, ever. You will feel weightless as you witness the growing relationship between a free diver and an octopus of great personality, intelligence and... warmth. Available on Netflix.
Miserere mei, Deus (Have Mercy on Me, O God)
At one time, this piece of music could only be performed in the Sistine Chapel during Holy Week. It is said that 14-year-old Mozart was so transfixed when he heard it, he went back to his lodgings and transcribed what he had just heard. He went back later that week to make sure he had gotten it all down correctly. Copying this music was a crime punishable by excommunication by the Pope, though Mozart got away with it. It is also why it survives to this day.
That soaring soprano line is so pure, goosebumps, always.
"Mighty" Malaco Records
This “catch” tells the story of Mississippi’s own Malaco Records. You may not have heard of them before, but they are mighty!
Our Lady of Prompt Succor
Growing up in New Orleans, all Catholic boys and girls were familiar with the story of “Our Lady of Prom Sucker”(at least that's what our child ears heard). As we grew, we also learned the words “Prompt” and “Succor,” and their meaning... immediate help.
As the story is told, a small statue of Mother Mary holding the infant Jesus was brought to New Orleans by an Ursuline nun in the 1700s. She was called “Sweetheart.”
In 1788 there was a devastating fire that raged through the city. A group of believers gathered in the chapel of the convent to pray for deliverance. The little statue was placed in a window facing in the direction of the fire, about a block away. To the astonishment and relief of those gathered, the wind reversed direction – and the fire put itself out.
On the website, there is also a great story about her contribution to the outcome of The Battle of New Orleans. I’ll leave you to discover that for yourself!
There is a bell on the Divine Word Seminary grounds (near the grotto of Lourdes) dedicated to Our Lady of Prompt Succor.
And for a rousing finish: ”Pride (In the Name of Love). This song will get you moving!
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