Thursday, November 19, 2015

Business Plan

Lately, I have been trying to be practical.  I have concentrated my attention on the business aspects of my artist endeavors.  I even began composing a business plan this week.  

For a break though, I composed a little poem.  The opening quatrain makes an allusion to a famous statement made by George Balanchine - "I don't create.  Only God creates.  I simply arrange."  Forgive me Mr. Balanchine if that is not verbatim.  

I like to think there is music in everything.  

Business Plan

Music is not a thing, it is a way;
the universe is entirely complete,
a perpetual motion machine,
the novelty is how it is arranged.

The ideas arise in everyone's minds
and they arise quickly and are as quickly gone
and with what we do, consider how it is done,
and how the multitude of ideas harmonize.

Between the margins of losses and gains
for any enterprise to be sustained
the primary concern is the way we engage
and success is defined in the manner of exchange.

So take note of the score on this page
and as much as what, consider how I say,
the melodic arrangement of language
is the musical way I communicate.

And when you try to balance the means to the end
keep in mind the way we comprehend
so what we accomplish is what we intend,
for the greatest benefit - the means are the end.

poem composed before noon, 11/19/15
in The Cartography Room, NYPL
Garrett Buhl Robinson

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Vive la France

My heart is broken for Paris,
my heart is broken for France,
my heart is broken for Humanity.

La Mer

for Claudine Armand

Receding inside the room of my mind
where I open my eyes into a place
I have never been, through the window's light
I look out on the sea from Saint-Nazaire.

Listening to the music play
on the radio's crackling frequency
I let my mind drift out upon the waves
in a vessel composed from a symphony.

The winds blow the foam from the crests of the waves
that rise like mountains then suddenly drop
plunging down slopes of crescendos' staves
with strings bowing into darkening troughs.  

On the swirling sea beneath the roiling clouds
my eyes stay fixed on the horizon's line
narrowing to a point on the stalwart prow
where the gathered sea meets the open sky.

And even on oblivion's cold void,
a single speck on the immensity,
there are endless bridges of harmonic chords
in the spanning beauty of Debussy.  

Garrett Buhl Robinson

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Compassionate Song

As I have mentioned before, for the past eight months or more, I have concentrated all my attention on the upcoming performance of my musical. From this, I had to divert my thoughts from my devotion to composing poetry. Occasionally though, I am brushed by the wings of the muses and immediately my attention turns toward the swift flight that lifts my thoughts into the bright, soaring heights where the music resides.

The other day, this occurred through one of my correspondences. I received an email from a friend and I was astounded at the compassion I felt in her message. The next day I responded and explained this to her. Then later that day, while I strolled through the Soho, a colorful string appeared in my thoughts and began weaving its way through my mind in the most musical ways while outlining some of the warmest images, threading together what I had felt frayed in dismay. 

Then riding the J Train back to the Jamaica Center, I composed this sonnet in my little notepad above the old brick buildings of Williamsburg on a gorgeous day.

- For Lee Christine Brownlee

Stumbling through the woods on a moonless night
among the fronds of ferns and mossy stone
I found a plume fallen long ago,
the only trace of a trackless flight.
Then with some twigs from the forest floor
still wet and green from last year's spring
and an unraveled quilt's colorful string
I wove a nest I left above the old barn's door.
Although empty when I turned away
I hoped some saddened thought would settle there
and find comfort from the frosty air
cupped inside the tender weave of strays,
then with the next day's warming light
dive into the bottomless sea of sky.

Garrett Buhl Robinson

Thursday, July 30, 2015

New Postcards for Musical

I decided to use a brighter image and edit the text in hopes of improving the postcards for the Musical.  
If anyone has any comments or criticisms, they would be greatly appreciated.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Trussville Tribune Article!

Thank you June Mathews for the wonderful article in my hometown newspaper - The Trussville Tribune!
Photo by Bob Kidd

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Mind Is a Metaphor

Maps Are Metaphors

Standing Out from the Slush Pile
Photo by Garrett Buhl Robinson
I have often thought of topography
to map the rough terrain of my life
where tight increments of lines steeply climb
and swiftly slide through creases of ravines
washing with the watersheds as they spread
in fanning planes that slip beneath the sloughs
of a glassy lake where the soft plop
from a raindrop sends ripples on the body
of water's settled, reflective repose
so the whole sky begins waving overhead.

Or perhaps these rings of lyrics outline
a mountain, tightening as they rise,
narrowing to one peak from every side
like the opening of an eye.

Garrett Buhl Robinson
July 20, 2015

This poem has an interesting story to it.  The conception actually arose from a typographical mistake that I made on another posting when I was recapping a conversation I had with a mathematician last week.  One of the topics we discussed was topology, although I actually used the term topography in the post.

The next day I was considering correcting this mistake, but when I arrived in the Cartography Room of the New York Public Library, the idea for a poem arose in my thoughts and I decided to draft it out.  Later that day, I had the opportunity to sit down and polish the draft, smooth out some of the seams and develop some more of the images.

As I have commented before, I have become particularly fascinated lately with how various media provide unexpected perspectives.  I hope that the closing of the poem provides some poignancy to the insight as it arises.

In this modified sonnet - the sextet is actually attached to the opening quatrain.  I used an encapsulated rhyme scheme to mimic the layout of topographical maps and the appearance of ripples on the surface of a body of water.  Then of course, the final stanza draws the alternations into a unified whole.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Shirley Parker Levine's Watercolor Paintings from the NYPL

Shirley Parker Levine, with the New York City Urban Sketchers, honored me yesterday by making me a subject for one of her watercolor paintings.

Shirley's work can be found at