the trick of finding what you didn't lose
(existing's tricky:but to live's a gift)
the teachable imposture of always
arriving at the place you never left
(and i refer to thinking)rests upon
a dismal misconception;namely that
some neither ape nor angel called a man
is measured by his quote eye cue unquote.
Much better than which,every woman who's
(despite the ultramachinations of
some loveless infraworld)a woman knows;
and certain men quite possibly may have
shall we say guessed?"
............................."we shall" quoth gifted she:
and played the hostess to my morethanme
--e. e. cummings
If I didn’t need
to do anything,
Would I oscillate
or three dimensions?
Would I summon
and change chirality
A massless particle
passes through the void
with no resistance.
Ask what it means
to pass through the void.
Ask how it differs
from not passing.
To Have Done Nothing
--William Carlos Williams
No that is not it
nothing that I have done
I have done
is made up of
and the diphthong
the first person
of the auxiliary
I have done
is the same
if to do
energy in vacuo
has the power
which only to
have done nothing
Even stillness will turn against you if you try to use it to ask directions.
Death needs us to love stillness, if we are to know how to give back our lives when the time comes.
Stillness loves that dream where you find the wooden box with no handles: you can't be expected to lift what you can't hold.
Loneliness is like stillness, except for the fear inside it.
Failure: no more interesting than success, but its one virtue is that it makes room for stillness.
Stillness: the art of making nothing out of nothing.
This morning is stillness: even the crow forgets to cry out at the injustice of it all.
Every stillness has a story behind it, an excuse for why it is so late in arriving.
Stillness: would I have traded it in for a happy life?
...........--from '29 Stillnesses'; Jim Moore
Today's Meditation: Happiness
In the end,
all that matters is light and dark,
and what's not finished between them.
As long as he stands back far enough, deeply
enough inside the room, he is fine, he gets
the point of things: how they come, then must go.
But the blue sea beyond the window: it has
always done this to him, always forced him
further into happiness than he thought he could stand to go.
It’s late and the furnace goes full blast
filling the room like a good joke.
I read aloud, pausing for rain.
If my pipe were alive
I could not hold it more lovingly.
Soon, I will make green tea
and pray that the flute song I barely hear
is not a signal for dawn
and is not a record, nor an answer
to any questions I might pose it.
--from 'Two Flute Songs', Jim Moore
Drinking Alone Beneath the Moon
--Li Po (trans. David Hinton)
Among the blossoms, a single jar of wine.
No one else here, I ladle it out myself.
Raising my cup, I toast the bright moon
and facing my shadow makes three,
though the moon has never understood wine,
and shadow only trails along behind me.
Kindred a moment with moon and shadow,
I've found a joy that must infuse spring:
I sing, and moon rocks back and forth;
I dance, and shadow tumbles into pieces.
Sober, we're together and happy. Drunk,
we scatter away into our own directions:
intimates forever, we'll wander carefree
and meet again in Star River distances.
Stuffing a crow call in one ear
and an unknown bird's in the other,
lying on the warm cellar door out of
the cool wind which I take small sparing
bites of with three toes still wet from the pond's
edge: April is so violent up here you hide
in corners or, when in the woods, in swales
and behind beech trees. Twenty years ago
this April I offered up my stupid heart to
this bloody voyage. It was near a marsh
on a long walk. You can't get rid of those
thousand pointless bottles of whiskey
that you brought along. Last night after
the poker game I read Obata's Li Po.
He was no less a fool but adding those
twenty thousand poems you come up
with a god. There are patents on all
the forms of cancer but still we praise
god from whom or which all blessings flow:
that an April exists, that a body lays itself
down on a warm cellar door and remembers, drinks
in birds and wind, whiskey, frog songs
from the marsh, the little dooms hiding
in the shadows of each fence post.
Some claim the origin of song
was a war cry
some say it was a rhyme
telling the farmers when to plant and reap
don’t they know the first song was a lullaby
pulled from a mother’s sleep
said the old woman
factor generating my delight in being
alive this springtime
is the birdsong
that like a sweeping mesh has captured me
like diamond rain I can’t
hear it enough said the tulip
lifetime after lifetime
we surged up the hill
I and my dear brothers
thirsty for blood
our beautiful songs
said the dog
In Every Life
In every life there’s a moment or two
when the self disappears, the cruel wound
takes over, and then again
at times we are filled with sky
or with birds or
simply with the sugary tea on the table
said the old woman
I know what you mean said the tulip
for instance a cloudless April sky
the approach of a butterfly
but as to the disappearing self
I have not yet experienced that
You are creating distinctions
that do not exist in reality
where “self” and “not-self” are like salt
in ocean, cloud in sky
oxygen in fire
said the philosophical dog
under the table scratching his balls
[ 1931 - 2015 ]
The Light Streams In
--Tomas Tranströmer (trans Patty Crane)
Outside the window is spring’s long animal,
the diaphanous dragon of sunshine
flowing past like an endless
commuter train—we never managed to see its head.
The seaside villas scuttle sideways
and are as proud as crabs.
The sun causes the statues to blink.
The raging conflagration out in space
is transforming into a caress.
The countdown has begun.
...Time has sporadically cast a few warm days into March,
...chances back to step into life in a mild void opposite
...to effort. No need for metaphor. Only a determined sun
...with molecular warmth contouring about the physical
...for the first time in months. Wide levity of feathered breeze
...as on through cellular layers astir above and below face
...reactions. A shared osculate which turns such moments,
...bound while open. Each initiatory step. When blind sight
...surpasses the fractured failing of all our interpretations.
‘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)
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]
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!
High Quality Information
A life spent seeking it
Like a worm in the earth,
Like a hawk. Catching threads
Guessing where the road goes.
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.
- blog list
return to center
beauty we love
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in a dark time
dark forces swing
poems & poetics
one poet's notes
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booth of conniving
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beyond the pale
isola di rifiuti
pics & poems
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chocolate chip waffle
dreaming in the deep south
this isnt happiness
mark on the wall
never ending story