2024-05-19

 
[ Open Door on a Garden ; Konstantin Somov (1934) ]


2024-05-17

 
--Wendell Berry

One faith is bondage. Two
are free. In the trust
of old love, cultivation shows
a dark graceful wilderness
at its heart. Wild
in that wilderness, we roam
the distances of our faith,
safe beyond the bounds
of what we know. O love,
open. Show me
my country. Take me home.


2024-05-15

 
--Wendell Berry

From the porch at dusk I watched
a kingfisher wild in flight
he could only have made for joy.

He came down the river, splashing
against the water’s dimming face
like a skipped rock, passing

on down out of sight. And still
I could hear the splashes
farther and farther away

as it grew darker. He came back
the same way, dusky as his shadow,
sudden beyond the willows.

The splashes went on out of hearing.
It was dark then. Somewhere
the night had accommodated him

—at the place he was headed for
or where, led by his delight,
he came.


2024-05-13

 
--Wendell Berry

If you are not to become a monster,
you must care what they think.
If you care what they think,

how will you not hate them,
and so become a monster
of the opposite kind? From where then

is love to come—love for your enemy
that is the way of liberty?
From forgiveness. Forgiven, they go

free of you, and you of them;
they are to you as sunlight
on a green branch. You must not

think of them again, except
as monsters like yourself,
pitiable because unforgiving.


 


2024-05-11

 
[ Lying Cow ; Vincent van Gogh ]


2024-05-09

 
--Gerald Stern

I love the cows best when they are a few feet away
from my dining-room window and my pine floor,
when they reach in to kiss me with their wet
mouths and their white noses.
I love them when they walk over the garbage cans
and across the cellar doors,
over sidewalk and through the metal chairs
and the birdseed.
—Let me reach out through the thin curtains
and feel the warm air of May.
It is the temperature of the whole galaxy,
all the bright clouds and clusters,
beast and heroes,
glittering singers and isolated thinkers
at pasture.


 

2024-05-07


--Lisel Mueller

How swiftly the strained honey
of afternoon light
flows into darkness

and the closed bud shrugs off
its special mystery
in order to break into blossom

as if what exists, exists
so that it can be lost
and become precious

2024-05-05


We Have Not Long to Love
--Tennessee Williams

We have not long to love.
Light does not stay.
The tender things are those
we fold away.
Coarse fabrics are the ones
for common wear.
In silence I have watched you
comb your hair.
Intimate the silence,
dim and warm.
I could but did not, reach
to touch your arm.
I could, but do not, break
that which is still.
(Almost the faintest whisper
would be shrill.)
So moments pass as though
they wished to stay.
We have not long to love.
A night. A day...

 

2024-05-03

 
RIP Dickey Betts
[ In Memory of Elizabeth Reed ; 4/20/1979 Capitol Theatre ]


2024-05-01

 
--Miroslav Holub

They sap man’s substance
as moon the dew.
A rope grows erect
from the crown of the head.
A black swan hatches
from a pebble.
And a flock of angels in the sky
is taking an evening class
on the skid pan.

I dream, so I dream.
I dream
that three times three is nine,
that the right-hand
rule applies;
and when the circus leaves
the trampled ground will
once more overgrow with grass.

Yes, grass.
Unequivocal grass.
Just grass.


2024-04-29

 
--Miroslav Holub

Fish
    always accurately know where to move and when,
    and likewise
    birds have an accurate built-in time sense
    and orientation.

Humanity, however,
    lacking such instincts resorts to scientific
    research. Its nature is illustrated by the following
    occurrence.

A certain soldier
    had to fire a cannon at six o’clock sharp every evening.
    Being a soldier he did so. When his accuracy was
    investigated he explained:

I go by
    the absolutely accurate chronometer in the window
    of the clockmaker down in the city. Every day at seventeen
    forty-five I set my watch by it and
    climb the hill where my cannon stands ready.
    At seventeen fifty-nine precisely I step up to the cannon
    and at eighteen hours sharp I fire.

And it was clear
    that this method of firing was absolutely accurate.
    All that was left was to check that chronometer. So
    the clockmaker down in the city was questioned about
    his instrument’s accuracy.

Oh, said the clockmaker,
    this is one of the most accurate instruments ever. Just imagine,
    for many years now a cannon has been fired at six o’clock sharp.
    And every day I look at this chronometer
    and always it shows exactly six.

Chronometers tick and cannon boom.


2024-04-27

 
--Miroslav Holub

We have
a microsopic anatomy
of the whale
this
gives
Man
assurance
William Carlos Williams

We have   
a map of the universe
for microbes,
we have
a map of a microbe
for the universe.

we have
a Grand Master of chess
made of electronic circuits.

But above all
we have
the ability
to sort peas,
to cup water in our hands,
to seek
the right screw
under the sofa
for hours

This   
gives us
wings.


2024-04-26

 
[ Untitled ; Stanley Boxer (1958) ]




2024-04-24

 
--e.e. cummings

spring!may--
everywhere's here
(with a low high low
and the bird on the bough)
how?why
--we never we know
(so kiss me)shy sweet eagerly my
most dear

(die!live)
the new is the true
and to lose is to have
--we never we know--
brave!brave
(the earth and the sky
are one today)my very so gay
young love

why?how--
we never we know
(with a high low high
in the may in the spring)
live!die
(forever is now)
and dance you suddenly blossoming tree
--i'll sing

 

2024-04-22

 
--e.e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)


2024-04-20

 
--e.e. cummings

i am a little church(no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying
– i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april

my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth’s own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying)children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness

around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope, and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains

i am a little church(far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish)at peace with nature
– i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing

winter by spring, i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness) 

 

2024-04-18

 

[ In the spring in the park, near the children's
pendulum ; Alfred Freddy Krupa (1992) ]


2024-04-16

 
--Donald Justice

R. B. VAUGHN speaks:
“After so many years of pursuing the ideal
I came home. But I had caught sight of it.
You see it sometimes in the blue-silver wake
Of island schooners, bound for Anegada, say.
And it takes other forms. I saw it flickering once
In torches by the railroad tracks in Medellín.
When I was very young I thought that love would come
And seize and take me south and I would see the rose;
And that all ambiguities we knew would merge
Like orchids on a word. Say this:
I sought the immortal word.”
                              So saying he went on
To join those who preceded him;
                              and there were those that followed.


2024-04-14

 
--Donald Justice

This poem is not addressed to you.
You may come into it briefly,
But no one will find you here, no one.
You will have changed before the poem will.

Even while you sit there, unmovable,
You have begun to vanish. And it does not matter.
The poem will go on without you.
It has the spurious glamor of certain voids.

It is not sad, really, only empty.
Once perhaps it was sad, no one knows why.
It prefers to remember nothing.
Nostalgias were peeled from it long ago.

Your type of beauty has no place here.
Night is the sky over this poem.
It is too black for stars.
And do not look for any illumination.

You neither can nor should understand what it means.
Listen, it comes without guitar,
Neither in rags nor any purple fashion.
And there is nothing in it to comfort you.

Close your eyes, yawn. It will be over soon.
You will forget the poem, but not before
It has forgotten you. And it does not matter.
It has been most beautiful in its erasures.

O bleached mirrors! Oceans of the drowned!
Nor is one silence equal to another.
And it does not matter what you think.
This poem is not addressed to you.


2024-04-12

 
--Donald Justice

It's not a landscape from too near.
Like sorrows, they are require some distance
Not to bulk larger than they are.
The risk is, backing off too far.
But finger trees are hand from here,
The wounds of mines, the growth of pines
Both appear and disappear.
There's but a shagginess remains,
An olive or a purple haze,
The nice unshaven atmosphere
Of average faces, average hills.

Whatever goats are dancing there,
Being all invisible,
Animate objects of a will
Contemplative without desire,
Suffer no vertigo at all
But dance until our spirits tire,
Or dine forever, or until
The speculative garbage fail--
Tin cans and comic books-- which small
Imaginary campers there
Forgot against this very hour.



2024-04-10


[ Galloping Horse ; Xu Beihong (1937) ]



2024-04-08


--Rae Gouirand

In the dream, matter was mine.
The muscle, the teeth, the breath rushing

out of burned throat and through
those teeth into air, where it became

indistinguishable. On my legs, I raced,
the machinery of my animal syncing

lift and drop between front and back,
the pairs oddly right, as though

I've had them in waking, as though I've
known a horse's run from inside.

But that wasn't the plot. Just
as I knew I was that, just as I could

hold it in my mind at the same time
I could simultaneously express

I was born to move like this,
I felt concrete beneath

my landings, and the approaching
vibration of metal wheels faster

than I could make my mind
my legs, and those, those red roads

under me, those fine bones under
the balance of my animal, entered

the field of what could undo them,
were subject to what could undo them ,

and their running turned—and
there was my heart, racing for

the red cave where I had lived,
no longer a place I could rest

my word for myself. There are
two ways a horse can run: from

accord, and from will. One is
the way a living thing runs.


2024-04-06


--Rae Gouirand

Now where are all my new recipes?
Now where is my smoother leather?
Now where is my little breeze? I have
been keeping these straps up far too long.

Time to upright the shelves
of references. I'll hide the remains.
I'll fling open this window & wave
geraniums above the avenue. Set my eyes

on the night & get caught up in it.
Reminder of the stitches to be removed.
Reminders of devotions. Let's not neglect
the long dusty lines settled into the carpets. Let's

pretend to be putting it all back
where it came from. I'll be signing
my name at the bottom of these letters.
Doyenne of a mind. Surrounded on all sides.

 

2024-04-04

 
--Rae Gouirand

What if: stone is what
you get. A gun of stone. What if

the table beneath it were:
& the walls catching the sound. What

if no one knew: you were
around. If people came: from stone

& found only that.
What if stones were: deaf & mute

& cold. What could be
warmed. What word would you hurl.

At what would you point
your blood. Of what is a stone:

composed: what holds what
to itself. What is there to break it

& why when it goes does it
go only: to smaller ones. A stone

has no center but itself. It only
breaks; it does not change. It only

goes from one to many. Stones
always exist. Stones always exist.

Stones always exist. Stones
always exist. There is no way out of this.


2024-04-02


[ Gray Morning ; Henry Villierme ]


2024-03-31

 
--William J. Harris

Why did it
take all
day
to get nothing
accomplished

Why, I could
have started
at noon
& saved a lot
of time

2024-03-29

 
--William J. Harris

As long as people
continue to wear
ears
there won’t
be much
peace and quiet
in this world.


2024-03-27

 
--William J. Harris

Garbage trucks
Groaning

Garbage cans
Banging

Car alarms
Sounding off

Noisy pushy
Birds

Waking me at
Dawn

With their
Smartass songs


 

2024-03-25


[ Rhythmic Composition ; Ernst Wilhelm Nay (1951) ]


2024-03-23

 
--John Brehm
       
So sexy to slide under-
neath a river,
to sit inside this
snakelike sub-
marine-like
subway car and
freely imagine
the world above—
the Brooklyn
Bridge invisibly
trembling with the
weight of its
own beauty,
the East River
still guided by
the grooves
Walt Whitman's
eyes wore in it,
the bulldog tug-
boats pushing the
passively impressive
broad-bottomed
barges around,
and the double-
decker orange
and black Staten
Island Ferries,
with their aura
of overworked
pack-mule
mournfulness,
and beyond them
the Atlantic Ocean
which I lately learned
was brought here
by ice-comets three
billion years ago,
which explains
a few things, like
why everybody
feels so alienated,
and of course
the thoughts being
thought by every
person in New
York City at
this moment—
vast schools of
undulating fish
curving and rising
in the cloud-swirling
wind-waved sky,
surrounded by
the vaster emptiness
of nonthought
which holds them
and which they try
not to think
about and you
lying in bed in
your sixth-floor
walk-up sublet
on St. Mark's Place—
such a breath-
taking ascension!
imagining me
rising now to meet you.