April 22, 2014

Lake Superior Magazine: Cloud Birds Book Review

Book Review by Mike Link from Lake Superior Magazine Feb/Mar 2013


http://www.lakesuperior.com/lifestyle/reviews/351reviews/

April 21, 2014

Consanguinity: Gladys Koski Holmes

Consanguinity by Gladys Koski Holmes
Bedding Plants by Gladys Koski Holmes
Gladys Koski Holmes (1932-2005)  lived almost all of her life in the same small community of Angora, on the edge of the Iron Range. Her work was drawn from her own experience in a familiar Northern Minnesota rural environment, and from roots that extend back through grandparents who emigrated from Finland. Koski earned a master's degree in art from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 1989.
Self Portrait by Gladys Koski Holmes
Iron Range Transition by Gladys Koski Holmes

 

Koski won the prestigious George Morrison Art Award in 2002 for significant artistic contributions to the arts of the Arrowhead Region. She has exhibited in a number of exhibitions in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Finland.

Consanguinity is in my private collection. Other photos are from an exhibition at Finlandia University in 2000. 

In Night Train Red Dust, the ekphrastic poem "Consanguinity" reflects both the image of her painting and my friendship with Gladys. Ekphrastic poems describe a piece of visual art -- and sometimes they correspond with the images or implied narrative.  My poem does this but it also has collected other images from one of her Mandalas (Bear) and other paintings.  


April 20, 2014

Video Poem: Tremont Hotel

This is a video poem "Tremont Hotel" originally presented at the Radio Pluto Exhibit at Prøve Gallery. It is also published in the book Night Train Red Dust: Poems of the Iron Range.
tremont hotel from Wildwood River on Vimeo.

On a historical note, the Tremont Hotel was one of the early lodgings available in Duluth. It was built in 1890.  In 1920, it became the Gardner Hotel.  In the 1980s, it was remodeled into a single room occupancy residence, and then it closed in 2008.  Now it has been sold to a developer to be rehabbed into apartments.  In the poem, the narrator's voice reflects stories of early Canal Park and its brothels.  Canal Park also had immigrant boarding houses where many Finnish men lived.

Video Poem: Was It I by Sheila Packa and Kathy McTavish

This is a video poem "Was It I" from the book Cloud Birds.
was it i / 2 from Wildwood River on Vimeo.

Lines in Poetry: Linkage Theory, Enjambment, and Associative Leaps

Paul Hurt from the UK focuses attention on the myriad ways to create a line of poetry:
         Applying Linkage Theory to poetry: 
The site is centred upon what I call 'Linkage Theory,' although I regard this theory as having a great number of practical applications. Innovations, I also believe, are far more likely to be made if a person thinks in terms of linkages and contrasts. In this site, I give some of the innovations I've made - but not all of them. 

I first began to formulate Linkage Theory as a result of intensive study of poetic forms. Some of my work on linkage and contrast in poetry and literary theory appears in this site, and is grouped on the left side of the Site Map. At this stage, I explored linkages between poetry and art and design, for example, by fragmentation of the poem, but later, I made a more intensive study of linkage and contrast in the visual arts, including work on the Set. Much of this work appears in the site too, and can be found on the right side of the Site Map. 

Chris Pulman, in 'The Education of a Graphic Designer,' writes 'If you ask why something works and you push back far enough, eventually everything seems to be based on contrast: the ability to distinguish one thing from another. Composition, sequencing, even legibility all rely on devices that affect the contrast between things.' (Quoted in the Web Style Guide). I later developed my ideas concerning contrast (and linkage) far beyond these origins. 

The next stage involved a great broadening of scope: the concrete linkages and contrasts of modern life, as well as technical extensions to linkage theory.
This is an interesting focus.  I've learned to "create tension between the lines," an adage from a writing teacher Wayne Moen.  The concept of linkage perhaps is related to the idea of "enjambment," the continuation of a sentence over a line break. The slight pause that a reader might make at the line break can introduce some ambiguity and perhaps make more meaning. Enjambment offers the poet an interesting rhythmic tool.  Hurt suggests that poetic lines should provide contrast in the way that they are sequenced as well as link both past and present.  Linkages are thus associations and evocative elements.  Hurt says:
I make the point that the artist should 'transform form.' I stress the exhilarating variety of forms available to the poet and the need for a wide variety of forms - free verse as well as strict forms of many different kinds, forms from the past which are still useful and completely new forms. I emphasize form here, but not at the expense of content.  
He offers a scientific sort of approach to literary arts, and he underlines the fact that form is as important as content, and it offers as many meanings.

Hurt, Paul.  Linkage Theory. 20 April 2014. Web. http://www.linkagenet.com/glossarylit.htm

Joseph Kalar: Sketch



Joseph Kalar: Sketch

In 1927-1935, Joseph Kalar, described as "a kind of north woods Rimbaud," began to write in poetry and short form prose called "proletarian sketches."  This depression era poet was from Biwabik, Minnesota--the Iron Range. In the introduction to the small volume of poems edited by Ted Genoways, an interesting biography and literary critique explains: "…the sketch allowed writers like Kalar to address proletarian issues without without either the aesthetic distance implied by poetry or the plot demands of a traditionally constructed piece of fiction. Genoways borrows a description from writer Douglas Wixson, "The plotless nature, the personal-narrative quality of the sketch, preserving accents and idioms, was a form suited to the needs of the nonprofessional writer."

In Papermill, there are several vivid sketches by Kalar.  Because I grew up near Biwabik, I was particularly intrigued by his writing. "Dust of Iron Ore" describes the mining location of Merritt (near Biwabik) and an area called "Chicken Town" where he lived as a boy with his family. His father worked in the underground iron mine.  
The miners, emerging like bats from shafts leading deep into the earth, were stained red and yellow with it, their clothes streaked and hardened with the dust, from which emanated a peculiar stink of dampness, sweat, and iron ore.
He continues the story describing the thousands of rats that swarmed the dump and the discovered of a man dead of suicide (by shotgun blast) on the dump. In "Mesaba Impressions" Kalar writes:
A man we all knew well and who was damned good to us kids got killed one day. The papers called it an unfortunate accident. It just happened that the shaft caved in. He sure was hurt some. I guess he only lived long enough to taste the iron ore in his mouth. Anyway his neck was all twisted to hell, his legs were broken, and his bloody guts hung over the top of his trousers.
Kalar captured the Iron Range's dialect and idiom. He used racial and ethnic slurs of the era and foul language that echoes the brutal work and life in a mining town.  The work was arduous and dangerous. The dust got into the lungs. Men suffered falls and crush wounds. They suffered from accidents with dynamite.  Before the unions forced a change, men were paid by the amount of ore that they took out of the mine.  They were not paid for the time they spent setting timbers in the deep shafts. Kalar used words like Bohunk (for Slovenian) and Wops (for Italians) and many other derogatory words to describe the many immigrants. He was not being derogatory, I believe because he saw these men as fellow-workers. In his poem, "Flagwaver:"

When I get patriotic, I go on a big drunk.
Let me tell you--
patriotism is a shot of now, a whiff of opium,
a mouthful of rotgut strong enough
to eat the brass pants off a monkey.
Let me tell you--
when the flag waves in redwhiteblue frenzy,
what fat men stand on platforms with them hooked
Napolean-wise in lapels of their coats
expounding landofffreemen,
telling me American is my sweetheart,
I get patriotic as hell,
I go on the big drunk.

The culture of the Iron Range continued to have these elements, the blue-collar, radical politics and drunken swagger. There were a lot of men like this. Biwabik, now a small town of about 1200 people used to have eleven mines.  At the beginning of the mining operations 1870-1910, the accident rates and deaths were alarming. The labor strikes and violence between union men and company guards are well documented.  The mining continued, when the rich iron ore was depleted, the underground mines were converted to open pit mines.  Iron ore mines became taconite plants. Still remaining is Kalar's derisive humor and spit of survival. Because of his poetry and sketches, we now have the images and insights of a proletariat poet.

For many years, Biwabik was held a giant Fourth of July celebration, the Calithumpian Parade. When I was growing up, it was the annual "big drunk." The crowds numbered in the thousands. Clown bands played their drums and horns. Men dressed up as women to entertain the crowd. It was outrageous, and political, and funny. An interesting detail about the British origin of the word Callithump: perhaps originated from "gallithump" to refer to a boisterous heckler or someone who disturbed the order at Parliamentary elections. This detail is from the "Weird Word" section of World Wide Words, and the definition references Biwabik, Minnesota.

In the context of Callithumpian, this poet was a boisterous disturber of the order, a proletarian writer. Unfortunately, he had difficulty making a living as a writer. During the depression, he travelled across the country, and then he came back to Minnesota to work in the lumbermill in International Falls. Slowly, his writing diminished. He married and had children. He made a run for office that was not successful. He climbed in rank at the lumbermill and his work demanded a lot of his energy. Kalar's work was nearly forgotten before the publication the University of Illinois Press brought out his work. One of my favorite poems is "Invocation to the Wind."  Here is an excerpt:

blow, blow into dusty corners,
reach cool fingers beyond cobwebs
festooning this dark room where
throats are choked with dust and
beauty shrivels like mushrooms
in dry cellar--blow, blow, blow
into factories with windows of dust
and a shuffling of feet tired
in silk stockings, and fingers
red at the tips--blow, blow into
jail, come like a draught of spring
water of faces hunkering against
steel bars--blow, blow into slums…

I pay homage to this poet. While I was growing up on the Iron Range, attending school in Biwabik, spending my teenage years trying to find a place that I fit--not at keg parties in gravel pits or on mine dumps--I wish I would have heard this voice. It offers a socio-political and artistic path for writers of the working class.



Work Cited

Kalar, Joseph. Papermill: Poems, 1927-35. Edited by Ted Genoways. University of Illinois Press. 2006. Print

Kalaidjian, Walter.  "About Joseph Kalar."  Modern American PoetryFrom American Culture Between the Wars: Revisionary Modernism and Postmodern Critique. Copyright © 1993 by Columbia University Press. Retrieved 20 April 2014. Web.  http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/kalar/about.htm

Other notes: (http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-cal1.htm)

April 17, 2014

A Call to Action: Wake Up and Be Creative


Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto, calls artists to help people find a story that reflects not dominion over nature but a story that reflects we are not separate. Paul Kingsnorth and the others of this project hope to break through denial and help people respond to the irreversible changes that climate change has already caused. The core of this plan is to do that through art and storytelling. The NYTimes recently published an article about Kingsnorth, but unfortunately, they portrayed the Dark Mountain project as a fringe group that conducts strange rituals; actually they were merely employing theater art.  Theater is powerful, even transformative. As for the New York Times, I'd reply, "In much Madness is divinest Sense," to quote a poem by Emily Dickinson.

I suggest that everybody read the Manifesto for themselves. It acknowledges a fact--civilization is fragile and easily disrupted. Kingsnorth has a new novel that explores the dystopian universe in 1066, the Norman invasion of England. Many citizens were murdered, and some fled into the wilderness in order to survive. His novel explores the aftermath of such an event. The book employed what Kingsnorth called a shadow language,  a blend Old and Middle English.  "How moste i lif?" a character asks a deer, who answers; "thu moste be triewe that is all there is."  Rather sound advice, I believe. Kingsnorth critiques our culture's tendency to believe in endless progress (industrial and technological) and think that we can control the environment. It's folly, he thinks. We would be better off to recognize the reality and live differently. This is an excerpt from the manifesto:

"So we find ourselves, our ways of telling unbalanced, trapped inside a runaway narrative, headed for the worst kind of encounter with reality. In such a moment, writers, artists, poets and storytellers of all kinds have a critical role to play. Creativity remains the most uncontrollable of human forces: without it, the project of civilisation is inconceivable, yet no part of life remains so untamed and undomesticated. Words and images can change minds, hearts, even the course of history. Their makers shape the stories people carry through their lives, unearth old ones and breathe them back to life, add new twists, point to unexpected endings. It is time to pick up the threads and make the stories new, as they must always be made new, starting from where we are."
The Manifesto further says: "Keyboards should be tapped by those with soil under their fingernails and wilderness in their heads."  One of the great blessings of living in northern Minnesota is that we have wilderness, and we have people who do work with their hands. We have the opportunity to lead with creativity.  

Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto. 2009.  Retrieved 17 April 2014. Web. http://dark-mountain.net/about/manifesto/

Daniel Smith, "It's the End of the World As We Know It...and He Feels Fine." New York Times. April 17, 2014.  Retrieved 17 April 2014.  Web.  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/magazine/its-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-and-he-feels-fine.html?hpw&rref=magazine

April 13, 2014

Webs: Transmedia and Poetry

Today, a group of artists gathered at the Prøve Gallery in Duluth to talk with Kathy McTavish about her recent transmedia or net-art exhibit that is on display in the gallery this month. She did a workshop and Q&A about the art, transmedia story-telling, new technologies, and the web.  This post reflects the day's conversations and the participants' next steps. I've included some useful links at the end of this article.  

At the art opening last Friday, I was one of the writers who could "input" text into the film generator.  Her art was the "origin of birds." This posting is about my experience with it, a meditation on the "origin of words." Entering words was addictive. My text was not the only text on the wall-- the generator was randomly combining live twitter feed, climate reports, data, and other phrases. A few other poets were entering phrases as well.  The effect was similar to spraying graffiti on a wall, only to have it drift away and be replaced by other graffiti.

On my computer, at her web-page, whatever I entered in the text box would appear in the projection on the walls. This was new! wild! Generally as a writer, I do my work in solitude at my desk.  In the film, the text was performing live. It was me performing live, actually, but because I was at a table in the corner, I was not visibly part of the exhibit. My words appeared whenever I pressed 'enter.'  I noticed interesting juxtapositions and flows. I had surprises and sudden flashes of inspiration.  It occurred to music (her compositions in cello were also part of the film).

Sometimes, I'd share my text box with friends. Cecilia Ramón sat down at my computer and translated the text she watched on the projection into Spanish for our viewing pleasure. The other designated poets showed some of their friends how to access the text entry point, so a number of people were participating at the same time. Some of the writing sparked material I intend to go back to when I'm at my desk. Some was silly or forgettable. It cascaded or even precipitated on the screen, like the live tweets.  My writing evaporated (much like the way that 'too much information' is ignored or disregarded in other settings). I did walk away with the appreciation of how poetry, with its concentrated form and powerful image and sound elements, makes an ideal text for video work.  

Kathy McTavish's work was an exploration of climate change, the effect of overwhelming news and data, and the individual walking through the world. In addition, the software she created suggested new ways to combine multiple elements. I went to her workshop because I'm interested in finding ways to take my poems and stories off the page and into new media.  

The web, of course, applies to the world wide web but the term also offers an image for the artist or storyteller.  A spider's web is circular with many connections.  Web art or story-telling similarly presents a nonlinear form with many entry points and multiple connections. It might be participatory.  Henry Jenkins defines transmedia as "the art of telling one story over multiple media, where each medium is making a unique contribution to the whole."  I found Henry's blog (he is an expert in transmedia) with a lot of fascinating interviews, ideas, and links. 

In the workshop, we discussed her work and some examples of i-documentaries. Kathy had an interesting phrase about some of the work by other artists as having "a hole in the center." Especially artists who are writing about or creating work about trauma or atrocity, the hole in the center could contain the unsaid, the unspoken or the disappeared. I understood how the image of web or circle can offer a useful format for many uses. Kathy also talked about semantic webs, CSS3, HTML5, and Javascript as tools.  

Other artists at the workshop: a musician, a visual artist, a digital media artist, a fiber artist, three poets. We decided to meet with our own work next time. We launched a research institute.  Each of us will create a web aspect of our own work over the next few weeks.  Individually, we will spend an hour with "The Hour of Code" or go online to the "Code Academy." We will each find a example of a transmedia project that inspires us or we might emulate.  Next week when we gather we will bring our concept.  Kathy will help us take it into a transmedia form, social media formats, or code. Individually, each of us will walk away with a web component for art.

Because my book of poems, Night Train Red Dust is forthcoming from Wildwood River Press, I am thinking about women's stories and the five noteworthy women from the past (1900-1930) that I told stories about in my book: Mary Bray, MD; Viola Turpeinen, musician; Rev. Milma Lappala, Unitarian minister; Meridel LeSueur, journalist and writer; and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, union organizer for the Wobblies, and my grandmothers.  These women have inspired me and deserve greater attention for their contributions.  So I thought about an i-documentary or a video story about these women. I look forward to seeing the work that emerges from our group.  Stay tuned! And thank you Kathy!

Here are some useful links:

Learn How to Code - (it's easier than you think!)
The Code Academy: http://www.codecademy.com/
An Hour of Code: http://csedweek.org/learn

For more information about Kathy McTavish
her Origin of Birds workshop:  http://originofbirds.blueboatfilms.com/workshopnotes.html
her website: www.cellodreams.com
Note - she will be available as a trainer or consultant. Contact her through her website.

For more information about Henry James (transmedia expert):
http://henryjenkins.org/

Examples of interesting transmedia work:
Tiffany Schlain, "From Neurons to Networks."  (10 minutes):
YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLp-edwiGUU
National Film Board of Canada https://www.nfb.ca/
Waterlife:  http://waterlife.nfb.ca/#/

April 2, 2014

The Blog Tour: Welcome!

What am I working on?

Night Train Red Dust: Poems of the Iron Range: stories of women’s, labor, immigrant and mining on the Iron Range in Minnesota. Forthcoming June 2014 from Wildwood River Press.

Love on the Iron Range: Liz, the main character, grows up on the Iron Range to work in a taconite mine and later, become a musician. This novel is structured with twelve linked stories (daughter, sister, mother) based on Minnesota’s Iron Range and its immigrant, women’s and labor history. Several motifs or images of engagement, rings, wedding dresses, birds, water-life, and naming connect the stories. The narrator’s names are various, and the structure of the narrative is musical.

Recent Collaborations: “Migrations:” A collaboration with Finnish composer Ollie Ortekangas who has been commissioned to create music for Osmo Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra. We also plan to work together on an opera. A collaboration with media artist and composer Kathy McTavish around her net - art installation “origin of birds.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I am from the Iron Range. It has geologic layers and friction between the natural and industrial. I excavate. There are fractures. Glimpses at objects often open up other perspectives and histories. I work out of certain tensions and silences. I search for structures instilled by my landscape: rivers, forests, and shorelines. I believe there is a connection between women and birds.

Because I grew up in two languages, I am influenced by the rhythms and culture of Finland, and also its modernism. Traditional forms in poetry do not appeal to me. I believe that writing is a physical art, that it must find ways to enter the body. Good art must “break something open.” 

In my fiction, the narrators have odd perceptual experiences. I explore obsessions. I discover that certain motifs or objects appear in different stories and they become visual languages. It happens subconsciously. My poems in Night Train Red Dust are driven. They are fast moving trains or rivers.  Previous books of poems:   The Mother Tongue poems are about growing up on the Iron Range and mother/daughters. Echo & Lightning explores bird migration as a language of women's intersections with the divine.  Cloud Birds explores women walking through violence and a story of immigration.    
Why do I write what I do?

Does any writer get to choose the material? I believe this is given. We can either accept it or reject it. Certain things haunt me: images, phrases, absences, and I write about them. I write about my dreams, I find patterns and I read a lot. 

How does your writing process work?

The process is always changing.  Each project has a new set of rules that I need to discover. It’s my job to follow and learn.  Carl Jung wrote “…a work of art is not transmitted or derived - it is a creative reorganization…. One might almost describe it as a living being that uses man only as a nutrient medium, employing his capacities according to its own laws and shaping itself to the fulfillment of its own creative purpose.” In some ways, this is alarming idea, but I do think that creative work does take a life of its own. It's wise to learn to nurture this plant and make it beautiful.

My process works best if I have more than one project going, because then if one needs time or I if reach an obstacle, then I can work on the other. Somehow they cross-pollinate. Sometimes I will take what I wrote in a poem and try to create a story from it or I will create a character based on favorite authors and add them to my fictions. I experiment and find what works the best. I like to wander through archives, scan microfiche newspaper files, and surf the internet. I fall into rabbit holes. I feel a personal mission to write women’s stories in order to honor and make those stories stronger. I am inspired by many great writers.

Other Blogs and Twitter Accounts
Thank you to Anne Higgins for inviting me into the Writer's Process Blog Tour
www.annesbirdpoems.blogspot.com

Here are some links to interesting writers who should get more attention:
 Kathleen Roberts, poet: https://twitter.com/sirenblaring
I recommend the poets Kirstin Dierking http://kkd.dierking.mobi/home and Diane Jarvi: http://dianejarvi.com
see what Kyle Elden has up on her "Grace Intoxicated" Blog:  http://graceintoxicated.blogspot.com/
and Kim Sisto Robinson: http://myinnerchick.com/





March 26, 2014

Origin of Birds: Circles Within Circles



A new net-art installation will be at the Prøve Gallery in Duluth. The opening is on April 11 at 7 pm with live music by the Cosmic Pit Orchestra.  "The Origin of Birds" is created by Kathy McTavish: it features her new film generator, text, and music. For more information: http://originofbirds.blueboatfilms.com/  and and http://www.provegallery.com/
 
Circles:

In the creation stories, both the bird and its egg arrived before the earth was made. According to an ancient Greek story, the god χάος (Chaos) was the first to emerge at the creation of the universe. Soon after her came Gaia (Earth), Tartaros (the Underworld) and Eros (Love). In many versions, Chaos then gave birth to the Birds. In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, God created birds of on the fifth day of creation.  

In the creation story of the Kalevala, in the beginning when the universe is only sky and water, a bird flies over the ocean looking for a place to build her nest. Ilmatar, the spirit of the air, has been swimming in the ocean because she had become bored in the sky. In addition, the wind or waves have made her pregnant. She has been pregnant for a long, long time. The bird —perhaps a Common Pochard, a medium sized duck known for its diving—needs a place to build a nest.  In order to help, Ilmatar raises her knee and shoulders above the surface of the water. The duck mistakes her for an island and builds a nest. When the duck broods upon the nest, the heat becomes so intense that Ilmatar can’t help but twitch her knee and this upsets the nest, and the eggs break. Here is an excerpt from the Kalevala Runo 1:  

            In the sand they do not perish,
            Not the pieces in the ocean;
            But transformed, in wondrous beauty
  All the fragments come together
  Forming pieces two in number,
  One the upper, one the lower,
  Equal to the one, the other.
  From one half the egg, the lower,
  Grows the nether vault of Terra:
  From the upper half remaining,
  Grows the upper vault of Heaven;
  From the white part come the moonbeams,
  From the yellow part the sunshine,
  From the motley part the starlight,
  From the dark part grows the cloudage;

After the fragments transform into earth and sun and sky, Ilmatar begins to shape the earth beneath her feet as if it were clay. She forms the rocks, reefs and deep parts of the ocean. She makes the shores and headlands and forest pillars of the sky.  After this work, finally her labor begins and she gives birth to an old man, a magic singer named Vainamoinen. This story was in the north.

Farther south, I found another creation story involving a bird and an egg.  In the Slavic story Песни птицы Гамаюн, The Song of the Bird Gamayun, creation begins with a golden egg.  Inside this egg was the supreme God, the parent of all life on earth, from his body comes the sun, moon, stars and earth. However, the earth sinks beneath the surface of the ocean and cannot be found. The Supreme God sends a duck to search for it. Three times she attempted this.  The first trip took a year, and she came back with nothing. The second trip took two years, and still nothing.  But after the third trip, which took three years, she came back with a branch from the earth. The supreme God rubs the branch inside his palms with an invocation. The wind blew and the branch fell into the ocean, and the sun shone, heating the water.  As the ocean evaporated the earth emerged and the moon cooled it off.

In these stories of lost and found, the earth is formed. In the first story, the eggs break accidentally. In the second story, the egg follows the normal course of development. A circle inside a circle forms the egg, two lines without beginning and end, but both breaking.

There is another circular story in our cultural history, the Buddhist tale of karma. The word karma means action, the sum of actions in a person’s life (and past lives) and the results. In other words, what goes around, comes around:  

Once there was a bhiksu [monk] who lived in the mountains and practiced sitting Zen. Every day at his noon meal he would give some of his food to the birds. The birds, therefore, always flocked around him. One day after the bhiksu finished his meal, he cleaned his teeth, washed his hands and picked up a pebble to toss. There was a bird on the other side of the fence where the bhiksu could not see him. When the bhiksu threw the pebble, it hit the bird in the head and killed it. That bird was reborn as a boar, which lived on the same mountain. One day the boar happened to climb a ledge above the bhiksu's hermitage and dislodged a boulder while grubbing for food. The boulder fell down and killed the bhiksu. The boar intended no harm. The boulder killed by itself.

The circles are linked vertically and horizontally. One circle, that of a person’s life from birth to death begins again at rebirth. The actions within this circle impact the lives of others. The intentional or unintentional action both circle into the world. According the Buddhist tale, “Doing good and setting one's sights on bodhi [enlightenment] is the behavior of one whose heart is awakened.” This tale shows that what comes first is not as important as what comes next.  

Sources: 

Buddhist Karma Tales.  See this website: http://www.floweringofgoodness.org/buddhist-scriptures-41.php

Lönnrot, Elias, compiler.  The Kalevala: or Poems of the Kaleva District. Translated by Francis Peabody Magoun, Jr.  Harvard University Press.  Print c1963.  Another version is available as a free e-book from http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5186.

Songs of the Bird Gamayan.  Slavic Creation Story.  Information available at http://russophilia.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/slavic-creation-myth-translated-from-songs-of-the-bird-gamayun/