Notes to Poem:
Catching a Poem

Peter Y. Chou

Preface: This poem's title "Catching a Poem" came from Ruth Stone (1915-2011) who would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape, and she had to get a piece of paper quickly to write it down. I thank Denise who emailed me this illuminating story (January 11, 2010) that inspired a web page on Ruth Stone "Poems". On January 27, 2014, I had a similar experience on Mozart's 258th birthday. Missing my bus on my way to Foothill College, led to a cascading of unexpected events and photographs that let this poem to blossom forth. Reading about the death of the Marlboro Man and the birthday of Mozart and the Macintosh Computer made me more mindful of many metaphoric connections. May these Notes capture some of the energetic spirit flowing through me that day.

Commentary on Poem "Catching a Poem":

"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" is playing
on KDFC celebrating Mozart's birthday
while I'm reading about Macintosh's
30th anniversary in the Mercury News.

Mozart at 5 years old
(Born January 27, 1756)

Apple Ad on (January 24, 2014)
celebrating Mac's 30th birthday

On Monday, January 27, 2014, 11:01-11:12 am, KDFC 104.9 FM radio celebrated Mozart's 258th birthday with André Previn playing 12 Variations on a French Nursery Theme K 265 (1781). Mozart composed this piece "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" when he was around 25 years old. (CD; YouTube). Mozart had photographic memory and could play a piece hearing it just once. While listening to Mozart, I read Sal Pizarro's "Macintosh's original family gathers to celebrate its 30th birthday" (San Jose Mercury News, 1-27-2014, B1, 3). Bill Atkinson who developed MacPaint and Hypercard said "We were making art." I also read Larry Magid's "Happy Birthday Mac! You changed the world" (SJ Mercury News, 1-27-2014, B7), telling how with a Mac, one could do graphics and typesetting in-house, saving thousands of dollars a year. Photo Sources: Five-year old Mozart (; Apple Ad on Mac's 30th birthday (

Bird of Paradise Plants
490 El Camino Real, Mountain View
Two buses passed me by on my walk from
Phyllis to Castro Street, so I have time
to take photos of Bird of Paradise plants
along Mountain View Physical Therapy.

Each day I take Bus #22 at Phyllis Avenue & El Camino Real, Mountain View to Showers Drive and transfer to Bus #35 to Palo Alto's Foothill College Middlefield Campus Computer Lab. I'll pick up Daily Post and Palo Alto Daily News in the free newspapers bins at Jack in the Box, Mountain View Physical Therapy, and KFC along El Camino Real. The walk to Castro Street takes ten minutes as I can catch the Express Bus #522 there. However, both Bus #22 and Bus #522 passed me by. Since there is a 20-minute wait for the next bus, I have time to take photos of the numerous Bird of Paradise plants at Mountain View Physical Therapy (490 W. El Camino Real). While there are four Bird of Paradise plants in my back yard apartment garden, only a few had bloomed. In addition to the photo at the left, here are three more photos of these wondrous Bird of Paradise blossoms (1, 2, 3). Photo Source: Bird of Paradise Plants (

A leafless Y-shaped Black Oak is by the bench
at Bush Ave & El Camino Real while I wait for
the next bus, and sun shines through pine trees
across the street near Tattoo Revolution Ink shop.

Leafless Y-Shaped Black Oak
at Bus #22 Bench, Bush Ave

Bus #22 Stop near
Bush Ave & El Camino Real

Sun Shines Through Pines
across El Camino Real

Tattoo Revolution Ink, Inc.
557 W. El Camino Real, Mtn View
Since I had 20 minutes to wait for the next bus, there was spare time to take photos by the ECO Lube Center bus stop at 500 W. El Camino Real. I often wondered whether the Tattoo Revolution Ink Shop across the street from the bus bench was a print shop. So I visited the store the next day on January 28 (12:30-12:40 pm) and was surprised it was a place for body tattoos. The giant Revolution Ink banner poster was an attention grabber on entering the store. I had a short pleasant chat with the proprietor Leo Cardenas, who allowed me to take photos of his store. When I requested a business card, Leo said he had none. But after I told him about my acquaintance with the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, Leo gave me his card showing the Green Goddess Tara (or Black Tara?). Photo Sources: Y-Shaped Black Oak (; Bus #22 Stop (; Sun Shines Through Pines (; Tattoo Revolution Ink (; Skull Banner Poster (; Tatoo Samples & Tibetan Masks (; Snake & Skulls Tattoos (; Business Card (

Revolution Ink Skull Banner Poster
557 W. El Camino Real, Mtn View

Tattoo Samples & Tibetan Masks
Tattoo Revolution Ink, Inc.

Snake & Skulls Tattoos on Wall
Tattoo Revolution Ink, Inc.

Revolution Ink
Business Card

The Daily Post tells me that Marlboro man
Eric Lawson died from respiratory disease
and before me is an empty Marlboro pack
with three cigarettes from recent smokers.

Marlboro Man Ad
showing Eric Lawson

Marlboro Man Eric Lawson
Washington Post (1-27-2014)

Empty Marlboro Cigarette Pack
at Bus Stop, Bush Ave & El Camino Real
Eric Lawson, who portrayed the rugged Marlboro man in cigarette ads during the late 1970s, died January 10 at his home in San Luis Obispo, California. He was 72. The cause was respiratory failure because of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Others who pitched Marlboro brand cigarettes have died of smoking-related diseases. They include David Millar, who died of emphysema in 1987, and David McLean, who died of lung cancer in 1995. While reading this news, I noticed an empty pack of Marlboro by the bench with cigarettes tossed by smokers before boarding the bus. Photo Sources: Marlboro Man Cigarette Ad (, Washington Post); Empty Marlboro Cigarette Pack (

I've sat at this bus bench dozens of times
and only today did I notice the pine tree top
shaped like the double-eagle coat of arms
of Austria— Is Mozart talking to me?

Double Eagle Emblem
on Pine near Tatto Ink Shop

Double-Eagle Emblem
on Top of Pine Tree

Coat of Arms
of Austrian Empire (1815)

1850 Austria Stamp 3 Kreuzer
Scott #3 (Double-Eagle)

The Bus #22 stop near Bush Ave on El Camino Real is halfway between Phyllis Ave & Castro Street. I've sat on this bench dozens of times and just noticed the top of the tall pine tree across the street is shaped like the double-eagle coat of arms of Imperial Austria. This recognition came from my stamp collecting days. Since Mozart is born on this day in Salzburg, Austria and lived later in Vienna, I wonder whether he's talking to me. Photo Sources: Double-Eagle Emblem on Pine (; Detail of Double-Eagle Emblem (; Coat of Arms of Austria (; 1850 Austria Stamp (

My mind flies back 42 years to Salzburg
visiting Mozarts Geburtshaus in August '72
seeing his harpsichord and violin, then
watching a puppet show of The Magic Flute.

Mozarts Geburtshaus
No. 9 Getreidegasse, Salzburg

Mozart's Harpsichord
at Mozarts Geburtshaus

Mozart's Magic Flute (1791)
Stage Set (1815)

In August 1972, on my first trip to Europe, I toured with my sister and brother-in-law, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. One of our stops was Salzburg, Austria where we visited Mozarts Geburtshaus at No. 9 Getreidegasse. I lingered on in the Harpsichord room where Mozart composed many of his music. Afterwards we went to a puppet show showing Mozart's The Magic Flute. I learned later of the Masonic symbolism in this opera and that Mozart was a Freemason. Photo Sources: Mozarts Geburtshaus (; Mozart's Harpsichord (; The Magic Flute (

Young Mozart at the Piano with
right hand in Wisdom Mudra pose
It's Mozart's 258th birthday
and Macintosh's 30th anniversary.
I was upset in missing my bus
but happy in catching this poem.

The 20-minute wait for the next Bus #22 allowed me to relax and take photos of the Bird of Paradise plants. While writing these Notes, I came across "Young Mozart at the Piano" with right hand in wisdom mudra pose. I had included this image in my WPI intersession workshop (Jan. 14-16, 1980) "Wisdom Mudra in Art, Philosophy, and Albert Einstein" with many Einstein photos in this pose. Steve Jobs had gone to India for enlightenment. So it's not surprising to find a photo of him with his hand in mudra pose. Image Source: Young Mozart at the Piano (; Steve Jobs (

Steve Jobs with left hand
in Wisdom Mudra pose

— Peter Y. Chou
    Mountain View, 2-13-2014

| Top of Page | Catching a Poem | Poems 2014 | Poems 2013 | Poems 2012 | Poems 2011 | Poems 2010 |
| Haikus 2014 | Haikus 2013 | Haikus 2012 | Haikus 2011 | CPITS | Books | A-Z Portals | Home |

© Peter Y. Chou, Wisdom Portal
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (2-13-2014)