‘Do you know what touched me most when I sat here at my writing desk for the first time again? 
I looked at the garden and saw it was the same as before. The garden does not need me. The trees are not there for me, they are just there. They do not love me, do not hate me either, they are. 
That I find extremely moving. That loving indifference consoled me. I sat down and it was as it was before. As if nothing ever happened. It will be like that also when I am gone. That I find marvelous.’ 
--Rutger Kopland (after a severe 2005 automobile accident)


--Rutger Kopland 
Then these sounds will be wind,
when they rise up from their place, then
they will blow away, will be wind. 
We have breathed and our breath was
as the sighing of trees around a house, 
we have murmured and our lips
murmured like a garden under rain, 
we have spoken and our voices
strayed like birds above a roof. 
Because we were searching for our name.
But only the wind knows the place
that we were, where and when.

[via poetry international


In The Morning
--Rutger Kopland (trans James Brockway)
There must be something as we go to sleep
we lay down and went to sleep  
what was it then – as the final words
for the world grew fainter and fainter:
moonlight: far-off a dog, quiet breathing,
odour of a man, a woman,
night and once again night  
that said, as even the last word night had been
put out: these are still our own arms
in which we fall apart into this black hole
this is still our own body  
that said something, while there were no more words left
there must be something now the word morning
slowly lights up and it becomes morning
that held us together and lets us go
as we lie here like this

[via poetry international rotterdam


[ Graceful Touch ; Tord Gustavsen Trio ]

p- Tord Gustavsen
b- Harald Johnsen
d- Jarle Vespestad

Painting: The Absinthe Drinker; Viktor Oliva


World's Bliss
--Alice Notely 
The men & women sang & played
they sleep by singing, what
shall I say of the most
poignant on earth the most glamorous
loneliest sought after people
those poets wholly beautiful
desolate aureate, death is a
powerful instinctive emotion—
but who would be released from
a silver skeleton? gems
& drinking cups—This
skull is Helen—who would not
be released from the
Book of Knowledge? Why
should a maiden lie on a moor
for seven nights & a day? And
he is a maiden, he is & she
on the grass the flower the spray
where they lie eating primroses
grown crazy with sorrow & all
the beauties of old—oh each poet's a
beautiful human girl who must die.


At last I find in my confused soul,
Dark with the dark flame of the cypresses,
The certitude that I cannot be whole,
Consummate, finally achieved, unless 
I be consumed and fused in the white heat
Of her sad finite essence, so that none
Shall sever us who are at last complete
Eternally, irrevocably one, 
One with the birdless, cloudless, colourless skies,
One with the bright purity of the fire
Of which we are and for which we must die
A rapturous strange death and be entire, 
Like syzgetic stars, supernly bright,
Conjoined in One and in the Infinite! 
--Samuel Becket


....[ Lake In the Moonlight ; Felix Heuberger (1930)]

[via wait-what?]


High Quality Information
--Gary Snyder 
A life spent seeking it
Like a worm in the earth,
Like a hawk. Catching threads
Sketching bones
Guessing where the road goes.
Lao-tzu says
To forget what you know is best.
That's what I want:
To get these sights down,
Clear, right to the place
Where they fade
Back into the mind of my times.
The same old circuitry
But some paths color-coded
And we're free to go.


I'm nothing. My ancestors' bones are not buried here. What do I know? If you want to talk about place, the sense of place, or the placedness of human beings prior to the mid-nineteenth centry, you're talking about something entirely different that we have almost no idea of.... 
The other side of it is that we are capable of beginning now to think of the whole Planet Earth as our place-- which nobody was quite up to before. They didn't have quite that much information. But saying that is not to free people to say, "I am a citizen of Plaent Earth, I am a member of this planet." They've got to prove it. It's too easy to say, "I am a citizen of the Cosmos, I live in the Universe, I am home here..." 
Well, come on, kid, show me how you do it. So you still can only know place specifically... You have to know the particulars. If you can begin to talk about the particulars, you might then be able to get a sense of what a larger planetary space might ultimately be. So it does come down to starting out with particulars, and being engaged with them. And that's really hard to come by.  
..........--Gary Snyder


From a 1988 discussion between Julia Martin and Gary Snyder, as found in the 2014 publication "Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism and Living in Places":

Snyder: I'm not interested in being a consistent poet speaking voice, speaking for my own sentiment and sensibilities. 
Martin: Because? 
Snyder: Because its not interesting! Its like talking about yourself. 
Martin: And what is interesting? 
Snyder: Talking about your nonself! When a bird flies across from one tree to another tree, you can be the bird flying across from one tree to another tree. You don't have to think about the bird, how you feel about the bird. No  difference between self and universe. So just shortcut that illusion. 
Martin: But 'self' informs the way you read the bird. 
Snyder: But you don't have to encourage it. Which isn't to say that sometimes poems aren't written in that first person. The point is to not let yourself be the main character of what you're thinking. If the sense of self is too narrowly located, then people sound like they talk about themselves all the time. 
Martin: Do you evolve conscious strategies other than your formal Zen practice for developing this sort of attitude? 
Snyder: Zen practice is not limited to sitting on a cushion in a zendo. That becomes a habit of life, that's true. 


Winter Haiku- 2014/15

silent oak tree,
unanimous echo

great noble beast,
from the darkest folds
a full moon rises

winter solstice-
a few last words
in noon time shadows

reflecting back
on the past year-
pale winter light

crystalline flakes 
day and night

howling wind
in a barren tree,
sudden memory

pink white and blues
pool in a silent view,
the sky in her voice

froth of thoughts
ride on westward wind-
i’ll have another

clumsy old humor,
my flailing strut
on sidewalk ice

fresh snow
clear sobriety
day light

coffee break-
another set of words
to lead elsewhere

cool frosted light
on the living room floor,
my hour in the moon

search helicopter
over black water
finds only winter

hard truths-
concrete sunlight
road salt dust

river ice
for moses

sub zero lows
with high clouds
in trailing bloom


Ebb of daylight address from tone of nightfall. When hard effort construction finally dilutes amidst evening of blue milk. A fateful weakness balancing out with the undertones of snow. What settles as drifts and couches, collected sediment, swarthy emotion to the few such things now said and done. Not in resolve, rather what’s prone toward depth upon the domestic realm. Consolation, perhaps. As well as endless phases of unreal clarity while aqueous and insubordinate. To the point where what truly consists, only simplest perspective. How near, how far, the pale moon’s faceless visage.



[ The Law of Falling and Catching Up ; Chick Corea ]


Around the Block
--Keith Waldrop 
I will go for a walk before
bed, a little stroll to settle
the day's upsets. One thing always
follows another, but
discretely-- tree after
telephone pole, for instance, or
this series of unlit houses. One moment follows
helplessly, losing its
place instantly to the next. Each frame
fails, leaving behind
an impression of motion. 
As for death, at the moment I
think it strangely overrated. 
Who now could build
houses like these? who
could afford to? They loom
in the evening of the
East Side, memory-traces
of sometime wealth. Dust
seems forever settling, but
must somehow recirculate. 
Once around the block
will do. Porch after porch projects
its columns, seeming one dark and
continuous dwelling. And fear continues,
eternal night shuttering each
source of light. How
remarkable, how remarkably
pleasant, not to be
asleep, still discriminating
dips in the sidewalk, reading
the differences between shadows.


From Keith Waldrop's memoir, “Light While There Is Light”:

My imagination is poor. In my dreams, for instance—where one would suppose wishes can be fulfilled without hindrance—if I dream the events this account describes, they are not usually changed, but in what should be a world nearer to the heart’s desire, they play again, just as I tell them here, exactly as already experienced. It is as if despairing, even of imaginary improvement, I contrive instead to set my affection on the damned world, this very world, as it was and as it is. 


Need not end. Indeed, nothing. Step
out. Grist for wits. Shadow of your
shell. Stand there. 
No other ground. No
other. And the world concerns you every-
where, but do not identify with it. 
Let light onto us. Flowers through the
gate, flowers skimming
the wall. A carpet of petal. 
Treasures below the earth. Neither in
this world nor another, guarding.
Nothing but fade and flourish. 
--from 'A Shipwreck in Heaven'; Keith Waldrop


[ Freedom ; loui jover ]...............

[via loui jover]


It is a lonesome Glee--
Yet sanctifies the Mind--
With fair association--
Afar upon the Wind 
A Bird to overhear--
Delight without a Cause--
Arrestless as invisible--
A Matter of the Skies. 
--Emily Dickinson


Wolf Cento
--Simone Muench 
What do we leave, living?
Always the silence remains kneeling--
each letter a closed house.
& what comes after, looking back
on the mind itself, looking for home
as night drifts up like a little boat
or a pattern of small flowers.
There a screen of vertical timber,
trees fade over into fog
just as bodies flow
safe from the wolf's black jaw.

Rumpus; NYTBR; [Pank] 


...Wolf Cento
...--Simone Muench

...I dream you into being—mongering wolf
...who stands outside the self, makes
...its way through the transparent world
...& its motions, its laughter & quarrels,
...its rows of teeth, its tears, its chiming of clocks.
...The pages turn. Words often fall between
...the rising walls where your shadow
...draws to an end.

...In some region of vellum & toccatas,
...it will be as it is in this life, the same room,
...simple rural day, & the cinema of sleep.
...Stories one has never read.
...More & more I see the human form,
...a nothingness which longs to be the sea.
...Lives infinitely repeated down to atomic thinness
...like footfalls in a strange house. If need
...be from nothingness, let today
...froth from your mouth.

...Sources: Jules Supervielle, Maxine Kumin, Yves Bonnefoy,
...Robert Fitzgerald,Tomas Transtromer, Pierre Reverdy, Sandor
...Csoori, Alain Delahaye, O.V. de L. Milosz, Tristan Tzara, Paul
...Eluard, Eugene Guillevic, Miklos Radnoti, Boris Pasternak

[via Four Way Review]


Pedestrian efforts line afternoon that presents, and is, by how? Thin shadows for a few working hours. Clouds of routine commentary actively grey. And so the best thoughts to be had are those to embody a cipher from inner minded nature. Where the reach for a constant while alive upon sightless wind touches on themes threadless, unifying sake, substantial variation. A being. An impulse bolting into horizon while novelty intones trees about the stance of our homes. Of what is sort of had, besides.   


[ Grey Tree ; Piet Mondrian (1912) ]


The Garden
--Fanny Howe 
Black winter gardens
engraved at night
keep soft frost
on them to read the veins
of our inner illustrator's
hand internally
light with infant etching.
Children booked
on blizzard winds
and then the picture
is blown to yonder
and out of ink:
the black winter verses
are buds and sticks.


The terms “power” and “authority” have pragmatically opposed meanings in the realms of politics and what we still ought to call “imaginative literature.” If we have difficulty in seeing the opposition, it may be because of the intermediate realm that calls itself “spiritual.” Spiritual power and spiritual authority notoriously shade over into both politics and poetry. Thus we must distinguish the aesthetic power and authority of the Western Canon from whatever spiritual, political, or even moral consequences it may have fostered. Although reading, writing, and teaching are necessarily social acts, even teaching has its solitary aspect, a solitude only the two could share, in Wallace Stevens’s language. Gertrude Stein maintained that one wrote for oneself and for strangers, a superb recognition that I would extend into a parallel apothegm: one reads for oneself and for strangers. The Western Canon does not exist in order to augment preexisting societal elites. It is there to be read by you and by strangers, so that you and those you will never meet can encounter authentic aesthetic power and the authority of what Baudelaire (and Erich Auerbach after him) called “aesthetic dignity.” One of the ineluctable stigmata of the canonical is aesthetic dignity, which is not to be hired. 
--from 'The Western Canon'; Harold Bloom

[via biblioklept]

I'll add on that today is Paul Auster's birthday, who can be quoted, similarly: the novel is really one of the only places in the world where two strangers can meet on terms of absolute intimacy. The reader and the writer make the book together. You as a reader enter the consciousness of another person, and in doing so I think you discover something about your own humanity, and it makes you feel more alive.