Songs and Poetry

Ilan Kroo

Angels in the Eddies
Watching Our Children Grow
Love and Thin Air
You're History
Sonnet #747
California Solstice
The Wizard
Holiday Verse
The Fall
Fire in the Mountains
Night Eagles
Lazy Northern California Sunshine on Ya Day
The Laws of Physics
Calling Me Home
Why I can't quit.
Tis the season.
Statue of Liberty
Blink
Fork on the Left
What Better Time Than This
Winter Toast

Angels in the Eddies

Intelligent design or cosmic dice,
Whatever brought us here, well here we are.
Not isotropic goo, all fire, all ice
But spectral lines and wishes on a star.

Perhaps if entropy were really high
We wouldn't wonder if our lives made sense,
Or how we came to be, or when, or why
A certain order grows in turbulence.

And so our ancient goal, our grail, our call,
Must be to keep the chaos wolves at bay
Creating things when nothing's there at all
And mourning when it finally slips away
As autumn fades and snow is crystalized,
Our destiny is to be organized.

Watching Our Children Grow

Now and again, I think I can see
Something looking like a mystery
Usually, though, it looks like work to me:
Watching our children grow.

Every day, seems they're in that mood
Maybe sleepy or in need of food
Looking to start another family feud.
Watching our children grow.

Smallish condo on leasehold land
Trike in the kitchen, need a minivan
Living room littered with a box of crayons.
Watching our children grow.

He stuck his tongue out and he widely grinned
I asked him why and he pulled it back in,
He said, "Want to do that? I was licking the wind."
Watching our children grow.

I remember back when things were new
Could taste the sweetness in the morning dew
Our lives were simple and our cares were few.
Now we're watching our children grow.

Sometimes I see it in the corner of my eye
Like the faintest star in the evening sky
You don't see it unless you don't try.
Watching our children grow.

It's a hint of you and a hint of me
Still's something of a mystery
They say it runs in the family,
Watching our children grow.


Love and Thin Air

Our beginning was heady, those memorable days,
Though we really weren't ready, not in so many ways.
From the moment we met, from our first tentative kiss
I thought, "it's not gonna get any better than this."

Now I don't love you like I used to -- and it's time you should know
Though it's probably something that's beginning to show,
How could I have imagined, more than ten years ago...
Just how far love would take us and how much it would grow.

On our first date in the mountains, we said "Let's hope that it clears
So we can see through the clouds and the subsequent years."
Looking back now its clearer, its a view that we share
It's a decade of landscape through love and thin air.

Now I don't love you like I used to -- it's time you should know
Though it's probably something that's beginning to show,
How could I have imagined, more than ten years ago...
Just how far love would take us and how much it would grow.

Now we wake up each morning, try to open our eyelids,
We look over at each other, and we look at our kids.
How could this ever have happened, how'd we get here from there?
Making this home and our family, out of love and thin air.

And I don't love you like I used to -- it's time you should know
Though, I hope that by now it's beginning to show
It's much more than we imagined a decade ago,
Just how far love would take us and how much it would grow.

Now we wake up each morning, try to open our eyelids,
We look over at each other, and we look at our kids.
How could this ever have happened, how'd we get here from there?
Making this home and our family, out of love and thin air.

You're History

Amazing how one day we just appear.
Then overnight, it seems, we're history.
This fate of ours, this cosmic mystery
sends chills through me: of joy and sometimes fear.

I think sometimes about a boy I knew.
Someone I would not recognize today
If not for a few memories and our name.
We live not just one life, but quite a few.

We are the children of our former years
And with our parent's lives we are combined:
Grandfather's stories seem as real as mine.
Not GrandPa, nor the boy, have disappeared.

So when I say I'm history, that's right,
But history is more than overnight.


Sonnet #747

Pacific waters kilometers below
And waves in clouds a thousand meters high
Stretching between edges of the globe
The oceans of the sea and of the sky.

And I float freely here above it all
Part aerodynamics, part champagne
Keeping me from danger, from the fall
Here it only pours, it doesn't rain.

And when the fuel is low and glasses dry
We sink into the thicker air below
Descending through the turbulent grey sky
The seats go up; the flaps go down; we slow.

We hit the ground, and bounce, spoilers extend,
As waking shocks the dream and brings its end.


California Solstice

It won't snow here; the winter months bring rain.
No snowmen here, no sleighbells in the night.
And though we dream that Christmas will be white,
We don't wake up to find the world has changed.

And yet the morning lasts throughout the day.
The sun illuminates the hills; they glow
With winter light as pure as powder snow.
The sunset lingers, finally giving way.

And while the view of lights through frosted glass
Can make a house seem warmer than it might
Our thoughts of friends will do well for tonight.
We let good cheer, if not the snow, amass.
I hope, my point, this sonnet has implied:
We need not freeze, to feel that warmth inside.


The Wizard

The wizards left us long ago, and I
Know now how much we've lost to history.
Their eyes could focus sharp the mystery
In simple things and would let nothing by.

I looked into such eyes though, yesterday
Where images, like raindrops, were distilled
From seas of time. I saw bright moments stilled
In silver rhyme, so they could not slip away.

Familiar things, these days, seem strange to me:
I feel the pull of stars through years of space
And hints of understanding from a face
Amidst the surf.  These, I must squint to see;
They fade in waves.  From time to time they rise
In silver foxes, seals, and wizards' eyes.


Holiday Verse

Four raincoats drying in the hall,
And cards on counters, taped to walls.
This time of year we think of friends,
And all that's happened since last year's end:

When Laurel first began to walk
-Now she runs and loves to talk,
And Elliot turned three this year,
Full of life and free of fear.

With Laurel at NITC and Elliot at Bing,
Getting out in the morning is no easy thing.
' Guess we've always packed in as much as we could,
While once it was hiking, now it's parenthood.

Sharon works mornings, then works afternoon.
A.M. out at NASA, but starting real soon,
She'll be running our company half of the day
Then running our family: director of play.

And Dad's doing more than just reading Babaar,
With his research at school and an SBIR.
'His' SWIFT was successful in 1993,
With stories in print and Ilan on T.V..

Now it's almost vacation, we're inside for the storm,
Making hot cocoa and just keeping warm.
We're thinking about you, and wish you good cheer:
Happy holidays, and a splendid next year.


The Fall

From time to time we find ourselves in awe
Of winter peaks, or maples in the fall,
Or countless wonders that we always call
the most amazing thing we ever saw.

The more we see, the less we are surprised.
And so we feel that wonder less and less:
"Oh yes, it's grand, but frankly, I confess,
It's not so far from what I had surmised."

Just when I thought I had it figured out,
This mystery of life too thinly veiled,
He changed the plot; he looked at me; he wailed.
I'd no idea what it was all about.

I look at him and marvel at it all
At Elliot and maples in the fall.

Fire in the Mountains

There's a place I used to know quite well
In the Oregon Cascades,
With old growth fir and juniper,
And ferns in spots of shade
For the things that I was given there
I never could repay,
So when I found that it was gone
I felt suddenly betrayed.

There was a fire in the mountains;
There was a woman, was a friend.
In all the time I'd spent up there
I never realized, how soon it would end.

It must have started in the valley floor
I saw it move across her face
It spread among the underbrush
Leaving ashes in their place
A hundred years of history
Vanished without trace
Except the scars of those few days
Which time would not erase.

There was a fire in the mountains;
There was a woman, was a friend.
In all the time I'd spent up there
I never realized, how soon it would end.

There really wasn't much to see,
That you could call a warning.
There was even less that I could do
When I awoke to smoke that morning.
Well, I always knew the danger there
When things began to dry
But when the sky grew dark with smoke
I was never more surprised.

There was a fire in the mountains;
There was a woman, was a friend.
In all the time I'd spent up there
I never realized, how soon it would end.

I've started walking other trails now,
That I walked some time ago.
Places that I've left behind
And some I've never known.
And though I loved that place so well
And hate to see it go
They say when forests do burn down
It lets a healthier one grow.

There was a fire in the mountains;
There was a woman, was a friend.
In all the time I'd spent up there
I never realized, how soon it would end.


Night Eagles -- A Lullaby

Draw pictures of eagles 
On the backs of your eyes,
Follow them up
In the clear desert skies,
And circle away,
Circle away.

Imagine the wind
As it blows through your hair,
The sun on your back,
And the cold of the air
On your tears,
On your tears.

Then tightes the muscles
In your powerful wings
And dive...
Can you hear the wind sing
In your ears,
In your ears?

How long will it be
'Til a foolish care
Becomes too much weight
And you fall from the air,
Crashing down
Crashing down... to bed.

Now you're lying
Awake once again,
Trying to sleep.
But you stumble when 
You try so hard.
You always stumble
When you try so hard.

Just draw pictures of eagles
On the backs of your eyes,
Your troubles can't travel
Nearly so high.
Tonight you're an eagle,
Tonight you're an eagle.

Draw pictures of eagles 
On the backs of your eyes,
Follow them up
In the clear desert skies,
And circle away,
Circle away.


Lazy Northern California Sunshine on Ya Day

Sittin here singin,
Just started thinkin,
My eyes blinkin in the sun
Sittin here thinkin
That I should be thinkin
About something else.

Oh on a lazy Northern California sunshine on ya day.
I set my thoughts to wonder on whatever comes my way.

Well I think people should
Spend some time in the woods
And consider where, if they could, 
They would go.
It's days like today
That make people say
They say I keep wasting my time
But I won't be like the man
Who has made up his plan
But never sees the mountain that he climbs.

Oh on a lazy Northern California sunshine on ya day.
I set my thoughts to wonder on whatever comes my way.

People say don't take life so serious
There things that to you may seem mysterious
There things you can't understand and you'll become delerious
If you try.
Well, I'm afraid I can't agree
When the things I feel and see
Come together and keep telling me to try.

On days like lazy Northern California sunshine on ya days.
I set my thoughts to wonder on whatever comes my way.

Sittin here singin,
Just started thinkin,
How much I enjoy the summer sky
It's good to spend a day
With nothing much to say
Just lookin at the way a hawk will fly

Through a lazy Northern California sunshine on ya day.
Just set my thoughts to wonder on whatever comes my way.


The Laws of Physics

Well gravity's got its rules, it has to obey,
Now that Mr. Einstein has had his say.
But we don't interact in such a simple way;
I don't love you a fourth as much 
When you're twice as far away.

No I don't  believe in the inverse square law
When it comes to me and you
I can be bombarded by thousands of miles
And the memories of the loves I've been through
Well you'd better not anticipate
Our love will dissipate
And scatter off into the blues
'Cause I don't believe in the inverse square law
When it comes to me and you.

Now I must admit to a bit of confusion
When it comes to the principle of Pauli exclusion
What he had to say I really don't recall
But when you're two places at once
You're not anywhere at all.

No I don't believe in Bose-Einstein statistics
When it comes to you and me
I can be surrounded by hundreds of ladies
In all their finery.
But you'd better not anticipate
Our love will dissipate
In the light of someone new
'Cause I don't believe in Bose-Einstein statistics
When it comes to me and you.

So no one tell me what's bound to happen
Fate don't stand at windows 'rumblin and wrappin'.
Our lives are not determined
Half as much as I am
To stay close to you.

No I don't  believe in the laws of physics
When it comes to me and you
I can be bombarded by thousands of miles
And the memories of the loves we've been through
Well you'd better not anticipate
Our love will dissipate
And scatter off into the blues
'Cause I don't believe in the laws of physics
When it comes to me and you.


Calling Me Home

Been wondering round the last few years
Under sunny skies and an occasional tear
I like what I'm doing here, just fine
You won't see me complaining 'bout
California sunshine.

But give me Oregon rains,
Those stay inside days,
Like the last line of my favorite poem
Yeah, the rain is falling 
And I hear it calling me home.

The rain is falling 
And I hear it calling me home.
There's just so long I can wander
Just so long I can roam, all alone
When the rain is falling 
And I hear it calling me home.

Now I'm sitting inside watching the day roll by.
There's little wonder, the rumbling thunder
Has taken so long to fly.
I may be wet in California,
But I'm in Portland in my mind.

When rain is falling 
And I hear it calling me home.
There's just so long I can wander
Just so long I can roam, all alone
When the rain is falling 
And I hear it calling me home.

Now I can picture a pair of old wine glasses
And half of a bottle of wine
They're sitting on the top of a table by the window
As the sun starts trying to shine.
They're catching the light that was caught be the raindrops
And sparkling in your eyes
Then I try to come back to this dark cold evening
Lord, I really have to try

Because the rain is falling 
And I hear it calling me home.
There's just so long I can wander
Just so long I can roam, all alone
When the rain is falling 
And I hear it calling me home.


Why I can't quit.

I watched the sunset from the top of a ridge in the Sierra foothills.
The evening breeze was warm and carried the now familiar scent of partly dried grasses.  
Swallows circled in the last thermals of the day chasing the insects
that were carried higher than they might have cared to go.  
I thought back a few hours and looked down on myself from 'two grand over', 
my eyes focussed on the closest features to detect the drift, 
my ears ringing some from the continuous sound of the wind, 
my arms braced for the next 'pop'.  
A red tail hawk rises quickly a few hundred yards south and I turn to follow.  
The distant snow-covered mountain range tilts as I turn to core the lift.  
I circle and relax.  These sights and sounds awaken me;  I feel a part of the place. 

I suppose the metaphysical aspects of hang gliding are to be found to some degree 
in backpacking, climbing, Zen, or perhaps certain drugs.  
If this kind of transcendental "nonsense" were all there was to hang gliding I could quit. 

As I circle I think about other things as well. 
The change in washout with angle of attack actually improves the span loading of these wings.  
The low bar pressure achieved by some of the designs is acceptable 
only because of the increased stability at low alpha 
-- produced by the variable camber that reflex bridles create.  
On no other aircraft has aeroelastic tailoring been so effectively applied.  
It must be the reduction in Cnb due to sweep with decreasing CL 
that causes this dutch-roll mode at high speeds. 

There is something about this thinking on both sides of the brain at once 
that is hard to do without. 

I suppose that there are safer sports:  
computer hacking, watching T.V.,  even wind surfing or skiing.  
I must say that this is hang gliding's major detraction for me.   
But it is not dangerous enough to give up.  
I shudder to think what life would be like if we were to abstain 
from everything which held some risk.  
As someone has said, "some people tip-toe through life in order to arrive at death safely."    
For some the danger is an attraction: not for me.  If it were just a cheap thrill, I could quit.   

This is not what attracts me to the sport.  
Rather, it is finding myself out on a ridge in the Sierra foothills at sunset, 
enjoying the smell of the air, the challenge of the aerodynamics, 
and the company of those who do too.


Statue of Liberty

I remember the statue of liberty
It was bronze, eight inches tall
It must have cost at least five dollars, back
When that didn't seem so small.

I had to beg for you to buy me one
And I was thrilled you finally did
I don't know why now that should make me cry
You were forty; I was a kid.

How could that be so long ago?
Seems like just the other year
When we waited to see if it would snow.
I was young and you were here.

I'm playing with my daughter now
At the San Francisco zoo.
Says she'd really love that toy giraffe
And it makes me think of you.

I wonder if she'll remember this
If she'll cry or if she'll laugh
Some night when she is forty five
And she thinks of that giraffe.

How could that be so long ago?
Seems like just the other year
When we waited to see if it would snow.
I was young and you were here.


'Tis the Season

The sun now climbs just higher than the trees,
To whom the shorter days contain a code,
Their leaves, like stars, arranged upon the road
In constellations shifting with the breeze.

It's that time of year when children don't get bored
Inside the house discovering old toys,
When girls are queens, and princes, once just boys,
Defend their Lego castles from the Zord.

But also it's the time that we step back.
We wonder at the stars in darkest night,
And how our friends and family make it bright;
It's great that there are stars admid the black.

May dark grow light and wonders never cease,
And may next year bring happiness and peace.



Blink

Somehow Decembers always mark the years,
While other months fly by before they're here.
It's Winter when we get the chance to think
About the things, unnoticed when we blink.

Like kids who once reached up to find our hand,
Now wondering why we don't understand.
And friends we talked with just the other day.
How could that possibly have been last May?

But now the full moon shines before the storm.
Forecast says teens, but now the fire's warm.
What better time to think of winters past,
New chances, and old friendships that will last.

And as wind cries and snow starts to appear
I promise not to blink again next year.



Fork on the Left


Fork on the left, spoon next to the knife
Rules of the road, suggestions for life
But the critical concepts, to avoid utter disaster 
Aren't quite the things that we're taught how to master...

You've got to learn how to smile, at just the right time
How to tell if that girl is just too good at lyin'
You've got to learn how to talk and when to be quiet
When you really should land and when you can fly it...
Fly it home.

You might know that not much, really goes with white zin
And that how to say thank you depends on the country you're in
But the important decisions can't be condensed in a rule
Or a curricular aspect of primary school...

You've got to learn how to smile, at just the right time
How to tell if that girl is just too good at lyin'
You've got to learn how to talk and when to be quiet
When you really should land and when you can fly it...
Fly it home.



What Better Time Than This


What better time to pause, and start to think
About the years now gone and yet to come
As sunsets linger turning clouds to pink
And children sing, 'a rup pa pum pum'

What better time to stay inside and play
A winter novel and a cup of tea
December winds can howl throughout the day
Relentless, but they're no concern to me.

What better time to spend among our friends
And talk about those things that matter most
We stay long after solstice night descends
Until no one can make another toast.

And though there've been some moments I will miss,
I cannot think what better time than this.




Winter Toast

It's felt this way since first I can remember:
A certain scent, a color in the light,
The smell of rain that's fallen in the night.
I'd know without my Pilot, it's December.

Some thirty, forty years ago, we'd wake
Each day, these days, and pray for fallen snow
Then open eyes as wide as they could go
To see the world iced, like frosted cake.

Now that we say we know what life's about,
We write down lists of all that lies ahead:
Review the paper, make the gingerbread.
We sometimes leave the most important out.

To all that we can't name, a winter toast:
It's things not on the list that matter most.