Rhyming, Rilke, and Doggerel

Does rhyme move a poem along on its own accord? Is there a power that rhyme has that unrhymed poetry does not possess? It seems rhymed poetry can deliver a message in a way that communicates, if not in the most artful way possible. A person may tolerate a rhymed poem about a sheep, but will give up on unstructured sheep musings.

In a previous post on Rilke (internal link) I compared different translations of “I Live My Life in Ever Widening Circles” from his work The Book of Hours. See below.

The first translator rhymes his piece, forcing on him a more limited word palette than the others. This seems a more disciplined approach than free verse, in which nothing has to rhyme, just one thought after another.

Of course, poets like T.S. Eliot aren’t that concerned with rhyming. These people have mastered their craft and then go beyond what constrains the average writer. Like a musician who can hear any song and then instantly play it. For the rest of us, we’re still trying to find middle “C” on the piano.

Many, many years ago I wrote an ode to my fat cat Montel. It’s doggerel, but it is rhymed doggerel. Without the motive power of rhyme, I doubt anyone would finish the poem. Not if I lapsed into completely unstructured verse. Or, is it that a humorous poem always demands rhyme? Don’t know. Hmm.

Below my poem are several translations of Rilke’s poem.


“Montel’s a lug!”, I’ve heard it’s said, the neighbors say it’s true
But a lug is something heavy, something slow and clumsy, too
Montel is somewhat overweight but goodness aren’t we all?
Instead he’s quick and pretty slick, a cat that just won’t stall

He’s fast as summer lightning when the food dish hits the floor
Jumps right back like Fred Astaire, to miss the icebox door
Call him Beezelbub or Wysiwyg or even Hüsker do
But not a lug, on no, dear friend, a lug will just not do

A rapscallion pure and simple, he’s equipped with all the tools:
A tooth filled jaw and awesome claws; a mouth that barely drools
He’s the essence of a gato, although he lacks a tail
But where he lost it no one knows, although some think in jail

So keep that lug for lug nuts, or for lugs of pears and peach
But don’t tack it on to Montel for politeness you will breach
Lift your voice in song and praise for a cat that’s oh so true

A tough old mug, a kindly thug, but not a lug to you!


I Live My Life in Ever Widening Circles

by Rainer Maria Rilke

I live my life in circles that grow wide
And endlessly unroll,

I may not reach the last, but on I glide
Strong pinioned toward my goal.

About the old tower, dark against the sky,
The beat of my wings hums,

I circle about God, sweep far and high
On through milleniums.

Am I a bird that skims the clouds along,
Or am I a wild storm, or a great song?

Tr. Jessie Lamont

I live my life in ever widening circles, each superseding all the previous ones.
Perhaps I never shall succeed in reaching the final circle, but attempt I will.

I circle around God, the ancient tower, and have been circling for a thousand years,
and still I do not know: am I a falcon, a storm, or a continuing great song?

Tr. Albert Ernest Flemming

I live my life in widening circles that drift out over the things.
I may not achieve the very last, but it will be my aim.

I circle around God, around the age-old tower; I’ve been circling for millennia
and still I don’t know: am I a falcon, a storm, or a sovereign song?

Tr. Edward Snow

I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower. I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song?

Tr. Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows

I live my life in ever-widening circles
that stretch themselves out over all the things.
I won’t, perhaps, complete the last one,
but I intend on trying.

I circle around God, around the ancient tower,
and I circle for thousands of years;
and I don’t know, yet: am I a falcon, a storm,
or a mighty song.

Tr. fulicasenia http://lyricstranslate.com/en/translator/fulicasenia (external link)

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Notes to Other Writers Using Word and Acrobat DC

This discussion is what Americans call inside baseball. Every non-writer can safely tune out.

I’m using the latest version of Microsoft Office for the Mac, as well as the expensive Adobe Acrobat DC for creating .pdf files. After much experimenting I have found a way to preserve internal hyperlinks or bookmarks in a Word doc when converting that document to .pdf. Adobe doesn’t let you do that on its own.

Many people want my seventy five page Places to Visit or Collect in the Southwest file to have a table of contents. Fine. My preference for an electronic document is to hyperlink it, to make the TOC interactive. Click on a link in the TOC that says “Arizona” and “Whoosh”, you are taken immediately to the right page. I could make a TOC with every rock shop clickable and instantly locatable. I once did a forty page book proposal in this manner and it was actually fun to zoom around the document in this way. However.

I have distributed previous versions of this file as a .pdf to facilitate universal use. So, I started creating a hyperlinked TOC in the Word doc in which I create it. I’d later convert it to .pdf. After a half hour I converted a test document to make sure the links would all work. They didn’t. I then used the Mac’s native .pdf maker to convert the Word doc. That also failed.

After reading unhappy information on the web, I had an online chat with an Adobe rep who admitted that their top of the line program couldn’t keep Word’s hyperlinks when converting a document. He suggested that I create all the bookmarks in Acrobat, because Acrobat also has the ability to produce bookmarks. What nonsense.

No one creates a complicated, footnoted, hyperlinked doc in Acrobat, that’s the strength of Word. Adobe’s strength is supposed to be in creating .pdfs from other sources. For Adobe to say they can’t do a file conversion is like NASA saying they can’t track a satellite. I realized then that this problem was probably due to some squabble between Microsoft and Adobe. The disputes over the .pdf format began soon after Adobe created that file type, usually because a company didn’t want to pay Adobe royalties for using it.

I then turned to Google Docs, often my savior when it comes to converting files. I uploaded my test Word doc with its hyperlinks and then had Google convert it to .pdf. All links retained, all good. I then had Acrobat DC open the new .pdf and it recognized every internal link as well.  Saved it with Acrobat DC under a new name and that conversion also held. I’m now able to compose in Word like I want and then eventually have Acrobat put it into what is the original and most recognizable .pdf format.

What a waste of time. I hope this post gets out to the net to tell other writers that conversion is possible. I’ll try to write something more interesting in my next post. Anything would be an improvement. Would you like to read about the different qualities of sand?


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From My Book: Places to Visit and Collect in The Southwest

October 24, 2019

The latest version of this file will always be at my rockhounding site:


Here’s the latest version of my Places to Visit or Collect in the Southwest:






Update: November 7, 2019 — Version 10 is at my rockhound site. Many additions.

I do have a mobi or Kindle format for mobile but it is hosted at my rockhounding site, this personal blog website can’t host that kind of file:






These are places I visited or were recommended to me while traveling in the Southwest for my book. I mostly visited rock related places and ground open to collecting.

Weather wise, October may be the best time to travel the Southwest, followed by May.

It is impractical to visit every place you want to go because day after day you will find certain stores, mines, and museums closed.

Traveling Monday through Thursday is especially tough, my advice is to prospect or collect on those days and then try to visit businesses and museums closer to the weekend.

You will have to return to the Southwest to visit places closed on your first travel. I envy you.

Support Me at Patreon



Table of Contents

State Chapters

California (Southern)
Colorado (Southern)
Nevada (Southern)
New Mexico
Utah (Southern)

Map Stores

Desert Map and Aerial Photo – Palm Desert, CA
Wide World Maps & MORE! – Phoenix, Az (Central)
Wide World Maps & MORE! – Phoenix, Az (North)
Most BLM and USFS district offices sell local maps of areas they manage

Surveying Stores

Colton Surveying Instruments – Colton, CA

Rock, Gift, and Prospecting Shops by State


Sunshine Gallery and Gifts – St. David
Meteor Crater Gift Shop – Outside of Winslow
Rock-a-Buy – Duncan
Jim and Ellen’s Rock Shop – Cottonwood
The Gold Lady – Golden Valley / Kingman
The Miners Depot – Quartzsite
More shops in this file further on, to be hyperlinked soon . . .

California (Southern)

The Collector – Fallbrook
Desert Discoveries Rock Shop – Boron
Diamond Pacific – Barstow
Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society – Fallbrook
Minerals Unlimited – Ridgecrest
More shops in the text, working on hyperlinking . . . .

Colorado (Southern)

San Juan Gems – Cortez

Nevada (Southern)

Cactus Joes Nursery, Las Vegas
Rupprecht Estate Rock Yard – Las Vegas
Jewelry and Mineral of Las Vegas

Hidden Treasures Trading Company, Goldfield
Vanderford’s Gold Strike, Goldfield
Rock Chuck – Schurz

More shops in the text, working on hyperlinking . . .

New Mexico

Mama’s Minerals – Albuquerque
Mama’s Minerals – Santa Fe
New Mexico’s Mineral Museum and Gift Shop – Socorro
More shops in this file further on, to be hyperlinked soon . . .

Fee Digs, Tours, and Appointment Necessary Visiting
Courtland Ghost Town -Tours – Dig – Pearce, AZ
Gemfield Gem Claims – Dig – Goldfield, NV
Florence Mine – Tour – Goldfield, NV
El Dorado Canyon Mine Tours – Tour – Nelson, NV
Peridot Dreams – Tour or Surface Collect, San Carlos, AZ
Himalaya Mine – Screen Wash – Lake Isabella, CA
Oceanview Mine/Pala Chief – Dig – Wash Screen -Pala, CA
Ernst Quarries/Shark Tooth Hill – Dig – Bakersfield, CA
Questa Fire Agate Mine – Dig – Oatman, AZ
Blanchard – Desert Rose – Dig – Bingham, NM
Kelly Mine – Dig – Magdalena, NM
Prospecting or local rock and gem club membership often provide access to private fee digs


Many museums listed in the text, working on hyperlinking . . .


Many clubs listed in the text, working on hyperlinking. . . .

Organizations I Financially Support (external links):

MyLandMatters.org: http://mylandmatters.org/
Mindat.org: https://www.mindat.org/
Fluorescent Mineral Society: https://www.uvminerals.org/

Clubs I Belong To (external links)

Southern Utah Rock Club: http://www.southernutahrockclub.org/
Southern Nevada Gem and Mineral Society: https://www.snvgms.org/
Nye Gold Seekers: http://nyegoldseekers.org/

Businesses I Regularly Use and Endorse (external links)

Geological Specimen Supply: https://geologicalspecimensupply.com/?step=contact_information
Minerals Unlimited: https://mineralsunlimited.com/
KayGeeDeeMinerals: http://www.kaygeedeeminerals.com/

Arizona (and one exception in Utah) [back to top]

James Mitchell’s Gem Trails of Arizona is dated but essential.

Anyone traveling extensively off-pavement in Arizona should get an Arizona State Trust Land Permit. $15.00 for individuals. Rockhounding on Arizona State Trust Land is prohibited but stopping at any point on these lands constitutes a “use” and that use demands a permit. Determining where these properties exists while driving is nigh impossible, most are managed grazing land outside of small towns or settlements. Rather than guess, it may be easier just to get a permit.


Washington County (Utah)

BLM Arizona Strip Office
345 E Riverside Dr.
St. George, UT 84790

37°04.986′ N 113°34.611′ W


This office is physically present in Utah but manages Arizona land. They manage the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, a no collecting area, and the Virgin River Recreation Management Area in northwest Arizona, a noted rockhound area. The office has some nice rock and mineral displays.

On my last visit they requested that I fill out a rockhound permit when I asked about collecting. This form applied to casual use, not commercial operations which demands a permit. No other office has asked me to fill such a thing out and other BLM offices look at the document with curiosity. Many BLM and USFS offices act as their own fiefdom, drawing up practices and procedures to fit their particular area.

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Book Dead

“Dear Tom,

I finally got all of the decision-makers in the same room – (same virtual room – via telephone) who would be working on this book.  Unfortunately, the consensus was that we  probably wouldn’t make sufficient money to make the publication of this book a financial success.  And, as you know, we are a for-profit firm which is responsible to a board of directors who demand that we generate a positive return on investment on the books that we publish. . . .”

By way of background, I had a contract to produce a book on rockhounding and prospecting in the Southwest. I completed my MS under word count and before deadline. I had to beak my contract, however, because of the extremely unprofessional and underhanded practices of the publisher. I then sent the MS off to a local publisher.

I was told early on that the book would be expensive to make. The books’ dozens of photographs would be very expensive to publish. Maps, diagrams, and an index would need a graphic artist to produce. All costly, perhaps in the end too costly. The publisher did like my writing but in the end something has to make economic sense.

I’m launching a Patreon page on October 1st, with a great deal of my book over time free to download. No registration or e-mail needed on my free side. The first free file will be 12,000 words on places to visit and collect in the Southwest. I either visited these places or they were recommended to me. Rock shop info, fee/dig reviews, traditional collecting areas, BLM and USFS office locations, all arranged state by state, county by county. And GPS coordinates, too. No photos, though, not yet.

More later.

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Ken Burns’ New PBS Series on Country Music

Twentieth century American music began and ended with Hank Williams. Apologies to Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley.

I Saw the Light is America’s Amazing Grace. Your Cold, Cold Heart is the best song ever written about unrequited love. It is possibly the _best_ song ever written about love.

PBS is now airing a series on country music produced by famed documentary film maker Ken Burns. Despite narration more fitting the Nuremberg trials, the series shows great promise as a record of a musical and cultural institution unique to America.

The series was extremely fortunate to interview Merle Haggard before his death.

Paul Hemphill recently wrote that, “Country music isn’t really country anymore; it is a hybrid of nearly every form of popular music in America.” Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and groups like Lady Antebellum are now considered, in part, as country. It didn’t used to be that way.

Most country music acts now lack a violin or a fiddle as it is better called, and few have a steel guitar.  Taking those instruments out is like taking out a person’s lung. The patient lives on but true strength and vitality never returns.

Hank lives through his recordings and now in this film, the most painfully honest song writer who ever penned a verse. He sang Gospel as a true believer. He set millions to joyous dancing with a voice and lyrics relatable to everyone. He expressed sorrows we all feel but can’t articulate or won’t admit.

He also wallowed in self-pity and had an endless resentment and mad love for his wife whom he married twice. He let drugs and drink kill him at 29.

Thank you, Hank. And Rest In Peace.

You Win Again

by Hank Williams

The news is out, all over town
That you’ve been seen, a-runnin’ ’round
I know that I should leave, but then
I just can’t go, you win again

This heart of mine, could never see
What everybody knew but me
Just trusting you was my great sin
What can I do, you win again

I’m sorry for your victim now
‘Cause soon his head, like mine will bow
He’ll give his heart, but all in vain
And someday say, you win again

You have no heart, you have no shame
You take true love, and give the blame
I guess that I, should not complain
I love you still, you win again

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Pfeiffer Beach Sand, Monterey County, California

I’m trying to learn my microscope. These are single focus shots; as I learn more I will get to know photo stacking which will result in the entire field being in focus. If I do it right. If you enjoy these photos of California sand, there’s pictures of Hawaiian sand at my rockhounding site: https://southwestrockhounding.com/2019/09/14/hawaii-in-a-bottle/

I bought this Pfeiffer beach sand from RC at Geological Specimen Supply: https://geologicalspecimensupply.com/

Here’s what RC says about this sand:

“Sand is derived from whatever material is available. In this case, the probable source of this sand is the Big Sur River. Its watershed contains both garnetiferous schists of the Franciscan Complex and granitic rocks of the Salinian Block, where diorite contains a significant quantity of garnet. Pfeiffer Beach is primarily composed of quartz sand, but in areas the garnet has been concentrated by wave action. This sand is roughly half garnet and half quartz. We could have run it through a concentrator to increase the garnet content, but prefer that students see it as it was found on the beach.”

“A good question for students is, ‘What’s the pink stuff?’ This can lead to a discussion of what makes up sand. It’s unlikely they will have seen sand with garnet in it. It is slightly more dense than the quartz that makes up most of the beach sand in the U.S. The dark grains in this sand are derived from the Franciscan Complex, a chaotic assemblage of rocks that were scraped off the Farallon Plate as it subducted under the North American Plate during the late Mesozoic.”

Note the lone purple grain in the last photo. I’m trying to identify it. These are uncorrected for color, photographed under halogens and a little white LED. The white balance is driving me crazy. The garnet may ranges from ruby red to pink. The clear to white grains are quartz.

What the sand looks like before it is photographed. Just to give you a sense of scale.

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