The White Horse
--D. H. Lawrence

The youth walks up to the white horse, to put its halter on
and the horse looks at him in silence.
They are so silent, they are in another world.


Water streams down the mountain,
Clouds return to high caves,
When people can match
the clouds and water,
Iron trees will blossom,
and everywhere will be spring. 
— Ci'an Shoujing (mid 12th c)

[via daily zen]


--D. H. Lawrence

Slowly the moon is rising out of the ruddy haze,
Divesting herself of her golden shift, and so
Emerging white and exquisite; and I in amaze
See in the sky before me, a woman I did not know
I loved, but there she goes and her beauty hurts my heart;
I follow her down the night, begging her not to depart.


[ Bicycle Acrobats ; Charles Demuth (1917) ].........


Come On!
--William Carlos Williams 
A different kind of thought
...............................and more desperate
like that of
...............Sergeant So-and-So
...............................at the road
in Belleau Wood:
...............Come on!
...............................Do you want to live
...............................is the essence
of poetry
...............But it does not
take the same form.
...............For the most part
...............................it consists
in listening
...............to the nightingale
...............................of fools.


The Gentle Rejoinder
--Williams Carlos Williams 
These are the days I want to
give up my job and join
the old men I once saw
on the wharf at Villefranche
fishing for sea-snails,
with a split-stick,
in the shallow water-- 
.....................I know
something else you could catch,
she said, in the spring
as easily, if you
wanted to. But you probably
don't want to, do you?


--William Carlos Williams 
If I
could count the silence
I could sleep, sleep. 
But it
is one, one. No head even
to gnaw. Spinning. 
If I
could halt the glazed
spinning, surface of glass, 
my mind
could shove in its fingers
and break apart 
the smooth
singleness of the night--
until sleep dropped as rain 
upon me. 


[ March ; Edward Gordon ]..........

[via lilacs and wild geese]


Haiku- Winter 2018/19

moonless and snowless,
a winter night slumbers
without its magic

the farmer’s US flag,
side of a produce truck
en espaƱol

dry gulch road,
sunset fills in the trees above
squaw hollow creek

black cat black cow,
a rooster crowing with the dogs,
christmas eve morn

fresh barbwire cuts
on the neck of the barn dog,
his steaming chortle

wind turbines
spinning in fallow fields-
dust to dust

Chicago rust belt,
ghosts in the fluorescence 
of the Amtrak cars

new years day,
the sky only manages a few
fresh flakes of snow

slowly the snowfall
sifting about passwords
for tomorrow’s landscape

after the blizzard,
a canvas, a page, a space
fulfilling sunshine

scent of wood smoke,
snow that tickles my face
erases my footsteps 

what is solitude-
a rabbit and blue moon light
upon the snow

another cold day-
joy of complaining about
unimportant things

all those sad songs
across the dial of the FM radio-
slushy roads

friday afternoon,
shadows in the office
settle down into place

Those italicized denote an annual holiday road trip to visit family in rural Oklahoma.


A Gratitude 
Those fading pickets of winter,
when thin, unrecoverable time
all too easily buried down swift
to forgetfulness, as white snow 
solely stood for the mass of itself,
dormancy in every personal crutch
until presence redefined
through barricaded color, distal 
by stillness, like pale windows
girded with embittered ice. It was
only the rations of song, native
waters of mountainous blood, 
to remain pliable script within,
to hold fast through the limits of life,
to grip the adamant heart brought
with the sun burgeoning shadows. 


[ Allen Ginsberg ]

[via death & skulls]


The Crack
--Denise Levertov 
While snow fell carelessly
floating indifferent in eddies of
rooftop air, circling the black
a spring night entered
my mind through the tight-closed window,
a loose Russian shirt of
light silk.
...............For this, then,
that slanting
line was left, that crack, the pane
never replaced.


February Evening in New York
--Denise Levertov 
As the stores close, a winter light
....opens air to iris blue,
....glint of frost through the smoke
....grains of mica, salt of the sidewalk.
As the buildings close, released autonomous 
....feet pattern the streets
....in hurry and stroll; balloon heads
....drift and dive above them; the bodies 
....aren't really there.
As the lights brighten, as the sky darkens,
....a woman with crooked heels says to another woman 
....while they step along at a fair pace,
...."You know, I'm telling you, what I love best
....is life. I love life! Even if I ever get
....to be old and wheezy—or limp! You know?
....Limping along?I'd still ... " Out of hearing.
To the multiple disordered tones
....of gears changing, a dance
....to the compass points, out, four-way river. 
....Prospect of sky
....wedged into avenues, left at the ends of streets, 
....west sky, east sky: more life tonight! A range 
....of open time at winter's outskirts.


Marvellous Truth, confront us
at every turn,
in every guise, iron ball,
egg, dark horse, shadow,
of breath on the air,
in our crowded hearts
our steaming bathrooms, kitchens full of
things to be done, the
ordinary streets. 
Thrust close your smile
that we know you, terrible joy. 
--from Matins; Denise Levertov 


Taking the hands of someone you love,
You see they are delicate cages...
Tiny birds are singing
In the secluded prairies,
And in the deep valleys of the hand. 
--Robert Bly


As we walk we enter the magnetic fields of other bodies, and every smell we take in the communities of protozoa see; and a being inside leaps up toward it, as a horse rears at the starting gate, When you and I come near each other, we are drawn down into the sweetest pools of slowly circling energies, slowly circling smells. 
......Each living thing throws itself down before the dawn,
......And the night opens itself out behind it,
......And inside its own center lives! 
So the space between two people diminishes; it grows less and less; no one to weep; they merge at last. The sound that pours from the fingertips awakens clouds of cells far inside the other's body, and beings unknown to us start out on a pilgrimage to their Savior, to their holy place. Their holy place is a small black stone that they remember from Protozoic times, when it was rolled away from a door. 


Love Poem in Twos and Threes
--Robert Bly 
What kind of people
Are these? Some stammer
Of land, some
Want nothing but light--
No house or land
Thrown away for a woman,
No ample recklessness.
How  much I need
A woman's soul, felt
In my own knees,
Shoulders and hands.
I was born sad!
I am a northern goat
Of winter light,
Up to my knees in snow.
Standing by you, I am
Glad as the clams
At high tide, eerily
Content as the amorous
Ocean owls. 


[ He Puts on His Coat and Leaves ; Jason Moran (2006) ]


When I go musing all alone
Thinking of divers things fore-known.
When I build castles in the air,
Void of sorrow and void of fear,
Pleasing myself with phantasms sweet,
Methinks the time runs very fleet.
..All my joys to this are folly,
..Naught so sweet as melancholy.
When I lie waking all alone,
Recounting what I have ill done,
My thoughts on me then tyrannise,
Fear and sorrow me surprise,
Whether I tarry still or go,
Methinks the time moves very slow.
..All my griefs to this are jolly,
..Naught so mad as melancholy.
When to myself I act and smile,
With pleasing thoughts the time beguile,
By a brook side or wood so green,
Unheard, unsought for, or unseen,
A thousand pleasures do me bless,
And crown my soul with happiness.
..All my joys besides are folly,
..None so sweet as melancholy.
When I lie, sit, or walk alone,
I sigh, I grieve, making great moan,
In a dark grove, or irksome den,
With discontents and Furies then,
A thousand miseries at once
Mine heavy heart and soul ensconce,
..All my griefs to this are jolly,
..None so sour as melancholy.
Methinks I hear, methinks I see,
Sweet music, wondrous melody,
Towns, palaces, and cities fine;
Here now, then there; the world is mine,
Rare beauties, gallant ladies shine,
Whate'er is lovely or divine.
..All other joys to this are folly,
..None so sweet as melancholy.
Methinks I hear, methinks I see
Ghosts, goblins, fiends; my phantasy
Presents a thousand ugly shapes,
Headless bears, black men, and apes,
Doleful outcries, and fearful sights,
My sad and dismal soul affrights.
..All my griefs to this are jolly,
..None so damn'd as melancholy.
Methinks I court, methinks I kiss,
Methinks I now embrace my mistress.
O blessed days, O sweet content,
In Paradise my time is spent.
Such thoughts may still my fancy move,
So may I ever be in love.
..All my joys to this are folly,
..Naught so sweet as melancholy.
When I recount love's many frights,
My sighs and tears, my waking nights,
My jealous fits; O mine hard fate
I now repent, but 'tis too late.
No torment is so bad as love,
So bitter to my soul can prove.
..All my griefs to this are jolly,
..Naught so harsh as melancholy.
Friends and companions get you gone,
'Tis my desire to be alone;
Ne'er well but when my thoughts and I
Do domineer in privacy.
No Gem, no treasure like to this,
'Tis my delight, my crown, my bliss.
..All my joys to this are folly,
..Naught so sweet as melancholy.
'Tis my sole plague to be alone,
I am a beast, a monster grown,
I will no light nor company,
I find it now my misery.
The scene is turn'd, my joys are gone,
Fear, discontent, and sorrows come.
..All my griefs to this are jolly,
..Naught so fierce as melancholy.
I'll not change life with any king,
I ravisht am: can the world bring
More joy, than still to laugh and smile,
In pleasant toys time to beguile?
Do not, O do not trouble me,
So sweet content I feel and see.
..All my joys to this are folly,
..None so divine as melancholy.
I'll change my state with any wretch,
Thou canst from gaol or dunghill fetch;
My pain's past cure, another hell,
I may not in this torment dwell!
Now desperate I hate my life,
Lend me a halter or a knife;
..All my griefs to this are jolly,
..Naught so damn'd as melancholy. 
--from The Anatomy of Melancholy; Robert Burton 


The Mailman
--Franz Wright 
From the third floor window
you watch the mailman’s slow progress
through the blowing snow.
As he goes from door to door 
he might be searching
for a room to rent,
unsure of the address,
which he keeps stopping to check 
in the outdated and now
obliterated clipping
he holds, between thickly gloved fingers,
close to his eyes 
in a hunched and abruptly
simian posture
that makes you turn away,
quickly switching off the lamp.

A March 4, 1964 letter from James Wright to Franz Wright available at The American Reader


Raven's Last Dream
--Red Hawk 
Raven was in a deep sleep,
dreaming the world. He saw things
and they happened, He dreamed things
and they came to life. He hardly knew
where to begin or what to do  
once the world was. At last He understood
Fodder’s dilemma. It troubled Him,
made Him restless, disturbed His sleep.
Then the terrible thing happened:
He had a thought. 
Everything dream? He wonder.
Then the worst thing happened:
He had another thought, one thought
following the other.
Who dreaming Raven? He wonder and 
this woke Him up.
He looked up, He looked down, He
looked all around.
Don’t know, He say and
He couldn’t get back to sleep.


[ Vignette X ; Laurie Steen (2017) ]........

[via L'arbre Dans L' Art]


From a 2015 interview with Mary Oliver at On Being:

Ms. Tippett: I just love — I just want to read these. This is from Long Life also. “The world is: fun, and familiar, and healthful, and unbelievably refreshing, and lovely. And it is the theater of the spiritual; it is the multiform utterly obedient to a mystery.” 
Ms. Oliver: Yeah. Well, you know, and it is. We all wonder, “Who is God? What’s going to happen when we die?” All that stuff. And I don’t think it’s — maybe it’s never nothing. I’m very fond of Lucretius. 
Ms. Tippett: Say some more. 
Ms. Oliver: Lucretius says just everything’s a little energy. You go back, and you’re these little bits of energy, and pretty soon you’re something else. Now that’s a continuance. It’s not the one we think of when we’re talking about the golden streets and the angels with how many wings and whatever, the hierarchy of angels. Even angels have a hierarchy. But it’s something quite wonderful. 
The world is pretty much — everything is mortal. It dies. But its parts don’t die. Its parts become something else. We know that when we bury a dog in the garden and with a rose bush on top of it. We know that there is replenishment. And that’s pretty amazing. What more there might be, I don’t know. But I’m pretty confident of that one.


The Storm
--Mary Oliver (1935 - 2019)
Now through the white orchard my little dog
....romps, breaking the new snow
....with wild feet.
Running here running there, excited,
....hardly able to stop, he leaps, he spins
until the white snow is written upon
....in large, exuberant letters,
a long sentence, expressing
....the pleasures of the body in this world. 
Oh, I cold not have said it better