Saturday, December 25, 2010
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
There were three or four barred owls calling to one another, swooping silent from tree to tree this morning. Better get the camera fixed if I've any hopes of getting shots like this one from a few years ago.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
She is neither pink nor pale,
And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
And her mouth on a valentine.
She has more hair than she needs;
In the sun 'tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of colored beads,
Or steps leading into the sea.
She loves me all that she can,
And her ways to my ways resign;
But she was not made for any man,
And she never will be all mine.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
by Carl Sandburg
I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o'-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Besides the Autumn poets sing (131)
Monday, October 11, 2010
Spell for Encanto Creek
by Mark Jarman
Tall blades of tufted grasses, keep on flowing.
Towhees like good ideas, keep on flowing.
Pooled water, black in shadow, green in sunshine,
With wild olives bending down to drink,
Those figures coming daily to the bridge
To look at their two shadows on your surface,
Keep them returning, keep them coming back.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
The Wild Swans at Coole
by W. B. Yeats
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine and fifty swans.
The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold,
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.
But now they drift on the still water,
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes, when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?
The Signature Mark of Autumn
by Gary Young
The signature mark of autumn has arrived at last with the rains: orange of
Saturday, October 2, 2010
In my precoffee grogg, I misread the first line as "O hushed October morning wild," which was perhaps just more appropriate given the whipping winds & sheets of rain that ushered in my favorite month.
by Robert Frost
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
To-morrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
To-morrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know;
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
For the grapes' sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes' sake along the wall.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
This Is Just to Say
by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Why I Am Not a Painter
by Frank O'HaraFrank O'Hara
Friday, September 10, 2010
Bird Stealing Bread
by Iron & Wine /Sam Beam
Tell me, baby, tell me
Are you still on the stoop
Watching the windows close?
I've not seen you lately
On the street by the beach
Or places we used to go
I've a picture of you
On our favorite day
By the seaside
There's a bird stealing bread
That I brought
Out from under my nose
Tell me, baby, tell me
Does his company make
Light of a rainy day?
How I've missed you lately
And the way we would speak
And all that we wouldn't say
Do his hands in your hair
Feel a lot like a thing
You believe in
Or a bit like a bird
Out from under your nose?
Tell me, baby, tell me
Do you carry the words
Around like a key or change?
I've been thinking lately
Of a night on the stoop
And all that we wouldn't say
If I see you again
On the street by the beach
In the evening
Will you fly like a bird
Out from under my nose?
Monday, August 30, 2010
by Edward Hirsch
You're sitting at a small bay window
in an empty café by the sea.
It's nightfall, and the owner is locking up,
though you're still hunched over the radiator,
which is slowly losing warmth.
Now you're walking down to the shore
to watch the last blues fading on the waves.
You've lived in small houses, tight spaces—
the walls around you kept closing in—
but the sea and the sky were also yours.
No one else is around to drink with you
from the watery fog, shadowy depths.
You're alone with the whirling cosmos.
Goodbye, love, far away, in a warm place.
Night is endless here, silence infinite.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Spring Day [Bath]
by Amy Lowell
The day is fresh-washed and fair, and there is a smell of tulips and narcissus in the air.
The sunshine pours in at the bath-room window and bores through the water in the bath-tub in lathes and planes of greenish-white. It cleaves the water into flaws like a jewel, and cracks it to bright light.
Little spots of sunshine lie on the surface of the water and dance, dance, and their reflections wobble deliciously over the ceiling; a stir of my finger sets them whirring, reeling. I move a foot and the planes of light in the water jar. I lie back and laugh, and let the green-white water, the sun-flawed beryl water, flow over me. The day is almost too bright to bear, the green water covers me from the too bright day. I will lie here awhile and play with the water and the sun spots. The sky is blue and high. A crow flaps by the window, and there is a whiff of tulips and narcissus in the air.
Rugelah, 5 A.M.
by Sondra Gash
The house is dark and breathing
deep under the covers.
I tiptoe to the kitchen,
lift bowls from the shelf,
mix cream cheese and butter.
Flour dusts my fingers
as I roll dough into a circle,
spread blackberry jam
with the back of a spoon
the way Mama taught me.
I work quickly, leaning over,
sprinkling nuts and raisins
on top, my hands
shaping ovals, folding,
Lights sifts through the windows
And I think of Mama, coming
home after so many months,
how we baked before dawn,
I, barefoot, she in nightgown
and slippers. Now I slide
the tray into the oven
and glide through the quiet
to wait for the raising.
Monday, August 9, 2010
There came a wind like a bugle
'Had I not been awake...'by Seamus Heaney
Had I not been awake I would have missed it,
A wind that rose and whirled until the roof
Pattered with quick leaves off the sycamore
And got me up, the whole of me a-patter,
Alive and ticking like an electric fence;
Had I not been awake I would have missed it
It came and went so unexpectedly
And almost it seemed dangerously,
Returning like an animal to the house,
A courier blast that there and then
Lapsed ordinary. But not ever
Afterwards. And not now.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
by Anne Higgins
Suddenly it is August again, so hot,
I sit on the ground
in the garden of Carmel,
picking ripe cherry tomatoes
and eating them.
They are so ripe that the skin is split,
so warm and sweet
from the attentions of the sun,
the juice bursts in my mouth,
an ecstatic taste,
and I feel that I am in the mouth of summer,
sloshing in the saliva of August.
Hummingbirds halo me there,
in the great green silence,
and my own bursting heart
splits me with life.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman
A man and a woman and a blackbird
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Beyond the Pane
Saturday, May 22, 2010
by January Gill O'Neil
I remember picking up a fistful
of sand, smooth crystals, like hourglass sand
and throwing it into the eyes of a boy. Johnny
or Danny or Kevin—he was not important.
I was five and I knew he would cry.
I remember everything about it—
the sandbox in the corner of the room
at Cinderella Day Care; Ms. Lee,
who ran over after the boy wailed for his mother,
her stern look as the words No snack formed on her lips.
My hands with their gritty, half-mooned fingernails
I hid in the pockets of my blue and white dress.
How she found them and uncurled small sandy fists.
There must have been such rage in me, to give such pain
to another person. This afternoon,
I saw a man pull a gold chain off the neck
of a woman as she crossed the street.
She cried out with a sound that bleached me.
I walked on, unable to help,
knowing that fire in childhood
clenched deep in my pockets all the way home.
Friday, May 21, 2010
People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains,
at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers,
at the vast compass of the ocean,
at the circular motion of the stars,
and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.
~ St. Augustine
Sunday, May 9, 2010
To My Mother
Today’s your natal day,
Sweet flowers I bring;
Mother, accept, I pray,
And may you happy live,
And long us bless;
Receiving as you give
Friday, April 30, 2010
by James Schuyler
The morning sky is clouding up
and what is that tree,
dressed up in white? The fruit
tree, French pear. Sulphur-
yellow bees stud the forsythia
canes leaning down into the transfer
across the park. And trees in
skimpy flower bud suggest
the uses of paint thinner, so
fine the net they cast upon
the wind. Cross-pollination
is the order of the fragrant day.
That was yesterday: today is May,
not April and the magnolias
open their goblets up and
an unseen precipitation
fills them. A gray day in May.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
by Izumi Shikibu
in the world
is usual today.
the first morning.
Come quickly—as soon as
these blossoms open,
This world exists
as a sheen of dew on flowers.
these pine trees
keep their original color,
is different in spring.
Seeing you is the thread
that ties me to this life—
If that knot
were cut this moment,
I'd have no regret.
I watch over
the spring night—
but no amount of guarding
is enough to make it stay.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
by Salvatore Quasimodo (1901-1968)
translated by Gian Lombardo
Everyone’s always alone on the earth’s breast
pierced by a ray of sunlight:
and suddenly it’s evening
Ed è subito sera
Ognuno sta solo cuor della terra
traffito da un raggio di sole:
ed è subito sera
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I have to tell you
by Dorothea GrossmanI have to tell you,
Monday, April 26, 2010
by Andrew Joron
The pilot alone knows
That the plot is missing its
Why isn't this "ominous science"
itself afraid, a frayed
Pray, protagonist —
Prey to this series of staggered instants.
Here the optic
Paints its hole, its self-consuming moment.
It is speech, dispelled, that
begs to begin to ache.
So that wind accelerates to wound, a dead sound
enlivened by the visitation of owls.
As pallid as parallel, the cry
Of the negative is not the negative
of the cry — an irreparable blessing —
A green world's
"sibilant shadows" where
The syllables of your name are growing younger.
As involuntary as involuted, "who"
returns its noun
to each tender branch
That noon breaks into no one.
Point of view
Hovers, a circular cloud, over evacuated
That heard its herd bellow below
the terraced cities, the milled millions
as sold as unsouled, ghost-cargos.
A symptom of the Maddening —
Woman undressed of her flesh.
to Thou, & the flag of Thou.
How the fallen state
Meets the starry horizon, veil
against witness, hunger against void.
outermost Other —
Of the transparent Earth. Unspeculated
Streaked with mirror & stricken words.
You are neither the torn, nor the thorn.
You are the many-petalled
melting point of repeating decimals. . .
Has been burned into voice, a day-dark ribbon.
All signal is this
Sunday, April 25, 2010
by Mary Oliver
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Poem in the Manner of a Jazz Standard
by David Lehman
I've got five dollars and my love to keep me warm
I've got the world on a string and you under my skin
You're the cream in my coffee and driving me crazy
You couldn't be cuter and go to my head
Love is here to stay and just around the corner
Where or when I take my sugar to tea
All I do is dream of you, all of you,
You took advantage of all of me
Don't blame me or worry 'bout me
It had to be you and might as well be spring
Let's get away from it all, fall in love, face the music
And dance with me, let's do it
I got rhythm and the right to sing the blues
She didn't say yes she's funny that way
I believe in you were never lovelier
My melancholy baby my shining hour
Friday, April 23, 2010
Ode to Chocolate
I hate milk chocolate, don't want clouds
of cream diluting the dark night sky,
don't want pralines or raisins, rubble
in this smooth plateau. I like my coffee
black, my beer from Germany, wine
from Burgundy, the darker, the better.
I like my heroes complicated and brooding,
James Dean in oiled leather, leaning
on a motorcycle. You know the color.
Oh, chocolate! From the spice bazaars
of Africa, hulled in mills, beaten,
pressed in bars. The cold slab of a cave's
interior, when all the stars
have gone to sleep.
Chocolate strolls up to the microphone
and plays jazz at midnight, the low slow
notes of a bass clarinet. Chocolate saunters
down the runway, slouches in quaint
boutiques; its style is je ne sais quoi.
Chocolate stays up late and gambles,
likes roulette. Always bets
on the noir.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
"Kado kado no"
by Issa (1763-1827)
Kado kado no
Geta no doro yori
At every doorway,
From the mud on wooden clogs,Spring begins anew.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
by John Milton (1608-1674)
Lie scatter’d on the Alpine mountains cold;
Ev’n them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our Fathers worship’t Stocks and Stones,
Forget not: in thy book record their groans
Who were thy Sheep, and in their antient Fold
Slain by the bloody Piemontese, that roll’d
Mother with Infant down the Rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubl’d to the Hills, and they
To Heav’n. Their martyr’d blood and ashes sow
O’er all th’Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple Tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundredfold, who, having learnt thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian wo.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
by Antonio Machado
Walker, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more.
Walker, there is no road, the road is made by walking.
Walking you make the road, and turning to look behind
you see the path you never again will step upon.
Walker, there is no road, only foam trails on the sea.
Monday, April 19, 2010
by Jeff Daniel Marion
In the back of the junkhouse
stacked on a cardtable covered
by a ragged bedspread, they rest,
black platters whose music once
crackled, hissed with a static
like shuffling feet, fox trot or two-step,
the slow dance of the needle
riding its merry-go-round,
my mother’s head nestled
on my father’s shoulder as they
turned, lost in the sway of sounds,
summer nights and faraway
places, the syncopation of time
waltzing them to a world
they never dreamed, dance
of then to the dust of now.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
In Our Room
by W. S. Di Piero
On the strip between the lakes
I look for some trace of you
in everything that moves.
At the tip of its wake, a coot's
bone bill points through
the leaves' sponged-ink shade,
slate feathers splitting the air;
the water quivers, bright
as your bath-drenched hair
shaking off silvered bits.
A tern pulls up, tilting
through the spreading light,
then drops beak and body fast.
Two dark swifts dip past
swamp oaks like brown
twilight in our room, blinds
barring your face, while your lips
closed on some dream sound,
some word I didn't catch,
a wood-duck's straight-seamed wedge,
a cowbird shuddering from
the lake on loose bent wings.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
My wife is not afraid of dirt.
She spends each morning gardening,
stooped over, watering, pulling weeds,
removing insects from her plants
and pinching them until they burst.
She won't grow marigolds or hollyhocks,
just onions, eggplants, peppers, peas –
things we can eat. And while she sweats
I'm working on my poetry and flute.
Then growing tired of all that art,
I've strolled out to the garden plot
and seen her pull a tomato from the vine
and bite into the unwashed fruit
like a soft, hot apple in her hand.
The juice streams down her dirty chin
and tiny seeds stick to her lips.
Her eye is clear, her body full of light,
and when, at night, I hold her close,
she smells of mint and lemon balm.
Friday, April 16, 2010
by Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Something startles me where I thought I was safest,
I withdraw from the still woods I loved,
I will not go now on the pastures to walk,
I will not strip the clothes from my body to meet my lover the sea,
I will not touch my flesh to the earth as to other flesh to renew me.
O how can it be that the ground itself does not sicken?
How can you be alive you growths of spring?
How can you furnish health you blood of herbs, roots, orchards, grain?
Are they not continually putting distemper’d corpses within you?
Is not every continent work’d over and over with sour dead?
Where have you disposed of their carcasses?
Those drunkards and gluttons of so many generations?
Where have you drawn off all the foul liquid and meat?
I do not see any of it upon you to-day, or perhaps I am deceiv’d,
I will run a furrow with my plough, I will press my spade through the sod and turn it up underneath,
I am sure I shall expose some of the foul meat.
Behold this compost! behold it well!
Perhaps every mite has once form’d part of a sick person—yet behold!
The grass of spring covers the prairies,
The bean bursts noislessly through the mould in the garden,
The delicate spear of the onion pierces upward,
The apple-buds cluster together on the apple-branches,
The resurrection of the wheat appears with pale visage out of its graves,
The tinge awakes over the willow-tree and the mulberry-tree,
The he-birds carol mornings and evenings while the she-birds sit on their nests,
The young of poultry break through the hatch’d eggs,
The new-born of animals appear, the calf is dropt from the cow, the colt from the mare,
Out of its little hill faithfully rise the potato’s dark green leaves,
Out of its hill rises the yellow maize-stalk, the lilacs bloom in the door-yards,
The summer growth is innocent and disdainful above all those strata of sour dead.
That the winds are really not infectious,
That this is no cheat, this transparent green-wash of the sea which is so amorous after me,
That it is safe to allow it to lick my naked body all over with its tongues,
That it will not endanger me with the fevers that have deposited themselves in it,
That all is clean forever and forever,
That the cool drink from the well tastes so good,
That blackberries are so flavorous and juicy,
That the fruits of the apple-orchard and the orange-orchard, that melons, grapes, peaches, plums, will
none of them poison me,
That when I recline on the grass I do not catch any disease,
Though probably every spear of grass rises out of what was once a catching disease.
Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient,
It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such endless successions of diseas’d corpses,
It distils such exquisite winds out of such infused fetor,
It renews with such unwitting looks its prodigal, annual, sumptuous crops,
It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts such leavings from them at last.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Making Juiceby Laura Whalen
Then, squeezing out the liquid from each half,
as I am only learning to do…
by Frank O'Hara
It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don’t know the people who will feed me
I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly new world writing to see what the poets
in Ghana are doing these days
I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)
doesn’t even look up my balance for once in her life
and in the golden griffin I get a little Verlaine
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or
Brendan Behan’s new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don’t, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness
and for Mike I just stroll into the park lane
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a new york post with her face on it
and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 spot
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
by Wendy Videlock
Beneath her nest,
a shrew's head,
a finch's beak
and the bones
of a quail attest
the owl devours
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
|by Fred Chappell|
The children race now here by the ivied fence,
Sunday, April 11, 2010
by Marina Tsvetayeva
Poems grow in the same way as stars and roses,
Or beauty of no use to a family.
O all the wreaths and apotheoses
One answer: —from where has this come to me?
We sleep, and suddenly, moving through flagstones,
The celestial, four-petalled guest appears.
O world, grasp this! By the singer—in sleep—
The stars' law, and the formula of the flowers.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
The Fragment of Statue
by Stan Rice
How is it
Full of its power
And chin of
Not that the whole
Would not have
How does the fragment
Friday, April 9, 2010
A Remedy for Insomnia
by Vera Pavlova
Not sheep coming down the hills,
not cracks on the ceiling—
count the ones you loved,
the former tenants of dreams
who would keep you awake,
once meant the world to you,
rocked you in their arms,
those who loved you . . .
You will fall asleep, by dawn, in tears.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
The Poet Speaks to His Beloved on the Telephone
by Federico García Lorca (1898-1936)
translated by Francisco Aragón
Your voice watered the dune of my chest
in that sweet wooden booth.
South at my feet it was spring,
north near my face flowered a fern.
In that narrow space a radiant pine
sang, though with no seed nor dawn.
And my cry hung for the first time
a wreath of hope on the roof.
Sweet and faraway voice flowing for me.
Sweet and faraway voice tasted by me.
Faraway and sweet voice, muffled softly.
Faraway, like a dark wounded deer.
Sweet, like sobbing in the snow.
Faraway, sweet: lodged in the marrow!
El poeta habla por teléfono con el amor
Tu voz regó la duna de mi pecho
en la dulce cabina de madera.
Por el sur de mis pies fue primavera
y al norte de mi frente flor de helecho.
Pino de luz por el espacio estrecho
cantó sin alborada y sementera
y mi llanto prendió por vez primera
coronas de esperanza por el techo.
Dulce y lejana voz por mí vertida,
dulce y lejana voz por mí gustada,
lejana y dulce voz amortecida.
dulce como un sollozo en la nevada,
¡lejana y dulce, en tuétano metida!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
On the Grasshopper and Cricket
by John Keats (1795-1821)
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper's—he takes the lead
In summer luxury,—he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun,
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The Apple Trees at Olema
by Robert Hass
They are walking in the woods along the coast
and in a grassy meadow, wasting, they come upon
two old neglected apple trees. Moss thickened
every bough and the wood of the limbs looked rotten
but the trees were wild with blossom and a green fire
of small new leaves flickered even on the deadest branches.
Blue-eyes, poppies, a scattering of lupine
flecked the meadow, and an intricate, leopard-spotted
leaf-green flower whose name they didn't know.
Trout lily, he said; she said, adder's-tongue.
She is shaken by the raw, white, backlit flaring
of the apple blossoms. He is exultant,
as if some thing he felt were verified,
and looks to her to mirror his response.
If it is afternoon, a thing moon of my own dismay
fades like a scar in the sky to the east of them.
He could be knocking wildly at a closed door
in a dream. She thinks, meanwhile, that moss
resembles seaweed drying lightly on a dock.
Torn flesh, it was the repetitive torn flesh
of appetite in the cold white blossoms
that had startled her. Now they seem tender
and where she was repelled she takes the measure
of the trees and lets them in. But he no longer
has the apple trees. This is as sad or happy
as the tide, going out or coming in, at sunset.
The light catching in the spray that spumes up
on the reef is the color of the lesser finch
they notice now flashing dull gold in the light
above the field. They admire the bird together,
it draws them closer, and they start to walk again.
A small boy wanders corridors of a hotel that way.
Behind one door, a maid. Behind another one, a man
in striped pajamas shaving. He holds the number
of his room close to the center of his mind
gravely and delicately, as if it were the key,
and then he wanders among strangers all he wants.
Monday, April 5, 2010
by Ted Kooser
The first warm day,
and by mid-afternoon
the snow is no more
than a washing
strewn over the yards,
the bedding rolled in knots
and leaking water,
the white shirts lying
under the evergreens.
Through the heaviest drifts
rise autumn's fallen
bicycles, small carnivals
of paint and chrome,
beginning to turn
in the sun. Now children,
stiffened by winter
and dressed, somehow,
like old men, mutter
and bend to the work
of building dams.
But such a spring is brief;
by five o'clock
the chill of sundown,
darkness, the blue TVs
flashing like storms
in the picture windows,
the yards gone gray,
the wet dogs barking
at nothing. Far off
across the cornfields
staked for streets and sewers,
the body of a farmer
missing since fall
will show up
in his garden tomorrow,
as a tulip
Sunday, April 4, 2010
by Mary Oliver
The grass never sleeps.
Or the roses.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.
Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.
The cricket has such splendid fringge on its feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows it never sleeps.
Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did, maybe
the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn't move,
the lake far away, where once he walked as on a
lay still and waited, wild awake.
Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be a part of the story.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
by Yosa Buson (1716-1783)
translated by Robert Hass
Having reddened the plum blossoms
the sunset attacks
oaks and pines.
Friday, April 2, 2010
The Saints of April
by Todd Davis
Coltsfoot gives way to dandelion,
plum to apple blossom. Cherry fills
our woods, white petals melting
like the last late snow. Dogwood's
stigmata shine with the blood
of this season. How holy
forsythia and redbud are
as they consume their own
flowers, green leaves running
down their crowns. Here is
the shapeliness of bodies
newly formed, the rich cloth
that covers frail bones and hides
roots that hold fervently
to this dark earth.
--For Jack Ridl
Thursday, April 1, 2010
and you splash away
into the ocean.
My curls loosen
in the wind, tangling
into briny ropes of seaweed,
and I am unsure
of the source of salt
on my cheeks.
This is how we pass the afternoon.
shiver in the spray,
a flightless bird
bound to this rock,
as you disappear
into the next brackish swell,
and then another,
to the strange frothy rhythm
of wave over stone.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
by Mary OliverThere isn’t anything in this world but mad love. Not in this world. No tame love, calm love, mild love, no so-so love. And, of course, no reasonable love. Also there are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving. But, who wants easier? We dream of love, we moon about, thinking of Romeo and Juliet, or Tristan, or the lost queen rushing away over the Irish sea, all doom and splendor. Today, on the beach, an old man was sitting in the sun. I called out to him, and he turned. His face was like an empty pot. I remember his tall, pale wife; she died long ago. I remember his daughter-in-law. When she died, hard, and too young, he wept in the streets. He picked up pieces of wood, and stones, and anything else that was there, and threw them at the sea. Oh, how he loved his wife. Oh, how he loved young Barbara. I stood in front of him, not expecting any answer yet not wanting to pass without some greeting. But his face had gone back to whatever he was dreaming. Something touched me, lightly, like a knife-blade. I felt I was bleeding, though just a little, a hint. Inside I flared hot, then cold. I thought of you. Whom I love, madly.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
by Kay Ryan
The great taloned osprey
nests in Scotland.
Her nest's the biggest
thing around, a spiked basket
with hungry ugly osprey offspring
in it. For months she sits on it.
He fishes, riding four-pound salmon
home like rockets. They get
all the way there before they die,
so muscular and brilliant
swimming through the sky.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Happiness Makes Up in Height for What It Lacks in Length
by Robert Frost
Oh, stormy stormy world,
The days you were not swirled
Around with mist and cloud,
Or wrapped as in a shroud,
And the sun's brilliant ball
Was not in part or all
Obscured from mortal view—
Were days so very few
I can but wonder whence
I get the lasting sense
Of so much warmth and light.
If my mistrust is right
It may be altogether
From one day's perfect weather,
When starting clear at dawn,
The day swept clearly on
To finish clear at eve.
I verily believe
My fair impression may
Be all from that one day
No shadow crossed but ours
As through its blazing flowers
We went from house to wood
For change of solitude.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
The First Spring Day
I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,
If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,
If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun
And crocus fires are kindling one by one:
Sing, robin, sing;
I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring.
I wonder if the springtide of this year
Will bring another Spring both lost and dear;
If heart and spirit will find out their Spring,
Or if the world alone will bud and sing:
Sing, hope, to me;
Sweet notes, my hope, soft notes for memory.
The sap will surely quicken soon or late,
The tardiest bird will twitter to a mate;
So Spring must dawn again with warmth and bloom,
Or in this world, or in the world to come:
Sing, voice of Spring,
Till I too blossom and rejoice and sing.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
A Clear Midnight
This is thy hour, O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou
Night, sleep, and the stars.
Monday, March 8, 2010
had left uneaten for five days
and would have left five more before throwing it away.
It is early March now. The winter of illness
is ending. Across the valley
patches of remaining snow make patterns among the hill farms,
among fields and knolls and woodlots,
like forms in a painting, as sure and significant as forms
in a painting. The cake was stale.
But I like stale cake, I even prefer it, which you don't
understand, as I don't understand how you can open
a new box of cereal when the old one is still unfinished.
So many differences. You a woman, I a man,
you still young at forty-two and I growing old at seventy.
Yet how much we love one another.
It seems a miracle. Not mystical, nothing occult,
just the ordinary improbability that occurs
over and over, the stupendousness
of life. Out on the highway on the pavement wet
with snow-melt, cars go whistling past.
And our poetry, yours short-lined and sounding
beautifully vulgar and bluesy
in your woman's bitterness, and mine almost
anything, unpredictable, though people say
too ready a harkening back
to the useless expressiveness and ardor of another
era. But how lovely it was, that time
in my restless memory.
This is the season of mud and thrash, broken limbs and crushed briers
from the winter storms, wetness and rust,
the season of differences, articulable differences that signify
deeper and inarticulable and almost paleolithic
perplexities in our lives, and still
we love one another. We love this house
and this hillside by the highway in upstate New York.
I am too old to write love songs now. I no longer
assert that I love you, but that you love me,
confident in my amazement. The spring
will come soon. We will have more birthdays
with cakes and wine. This valley
will be full of flowers and birds.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Ode: Intimations of Immortality (excerpt)
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight
To me did seem
Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it has been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more!
The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath pass'd away a glory from the earth.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
There ought to be a word
for the way you know how to get some place
but don't remember the names of streets
the number of turns and blinking yellow lights
so that if someone asked
you really couldn't say
except you know the road starts out straight
and when it's sunny the branches blink across
the windshield making you want to rub your eyes
then the road turns sharply uphill past a red barn
where a black dog jumps out to race you for a quarter mile
and finally recedes in the mirror like a disappointment
and you remember the road dips downhill
into the shadows of the morning
where you hear Bach's unaccompanied 'cello
and understand what a good fit the 'cello makes
in the hollow of the body
where grief begins and for an indeterminate time
the road winds vaguely past
houses people road signs
while time hums in your ear and you remember
the dream you left behind that morning
which had nothing
to do with where
you are going
Monday, February 8, 2010
This moment I have set myself to copy some verses out fair. I cannot proceed with any degree of content. I must write you a line or two and see if that will assist in dismissing you from my Mind for ever so short a time. Upon my soul I can think of nothing else. The time is passed when I had power to advise and warn you against the unpromising morning of my Life. My love has made me selfish. I cannot exist without you. I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again — my Life seems to stop there — I see no further. You have absorb'd me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving — I should exquisitely miserable without the hope of soon seeing you. I should be afraid to separate myself far from you. My sweet Fanny, will your heart never change? My love, will it? I have no limit now to my love ... I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion — I have shudder'd at it. I shudder no more. I could be martyr'd for my religion — love is my religion — I could die for that. I could die for you. My Creed is Love and you are its only tenet. You have ravish'd me away by a Power I cannot resist; and yet I could resist till I saw you; and even since I have seen you I have endeavored often "to reason against the reasons of my Love." I can do that no more — the pain would be too great. My love is selfish. I cannot breathe without you.
Yours for ever
-John Keats to Fanny Brawne
Thursday, January 28, 2010
this Friday morning, to whoever is cooped up
in house or office, factory or woman
or street or mine or harsh prison cell:
to him I come, and, without speaking or looking,
I arrive and open the door of his prison,
and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,
a great fragment of thunder sets in motion
the rumble of the planet and the foam,
the raucous rivers of the ocean flood,
the star vibrates swiftly in its corona,
and the sea is beating, dying and continuing.
So, drawn on by my destiny,
I ceaselessly must listen to and keep
the sea's lamenting in my awareness,
I must feel the crash of the hard water
and gather it up in a perpetual cup
so that, wherever those in prison may be,
wherever they suffer the autumn's castigation,
I may be there with an errant wave,
I may move, passing through windows,
and hearing me, eyes will glance upward
saying, "How can I reach the sea?"
And I shall broadcast, saying nothing,
the starry echoes of the wave,
a breaking up of foam and of quicksand,
a rustling of salt withdrawing,
the grey cry of sea-birds on the coast.
So, through me, freedom and the sea
will make their answer to the shuttered heart.