Friday, December 28, 2012

"buds so subtle / they know"


December, Outdoors

by John Updike
Clouds like fish shedding scales are stretched
thin above Salem. The calm cold sea
accepts the sun as an equal, a match:
the horizon a truce, the air all still.
Sun, but no shadows somehow, the trees
ideally deleafed, a contemplative gray
that ushers into the woods (in summer
crammed with undergrowth) sheer space.

How fortunate it is to move about
without impediment, Nature having
no case to make, no special weather to plead,
unlike some storm-obsessed old symphonist.
The day is piano; I see buds so subtle
they know, though fat, that this is no time to bloom.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Fire and Ice 
 
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Architecture of Snow

The Snowstorm

by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Come see the north wind's masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer's sighs; and at the gate
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,
The frolic architecture of snow.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Lunar Paraphrase 

The moon is the mother of pathos and pity.

When, at the wearier end of November,
Her old light moves along the branches,
Feebly, slowly, depending upon them;
When the body of Jesus hangs in a pallor,
Humanly near, and the figure of Mary,
Touched on by hoar-frost, shrinks in a shelter
Made by the leaves, that have rotted and fallen;
When over the houses, a golden illusion
Brings back an earlier season of quiet
And quieting dreams in the sleepers in darkness-

The moon is the mother of pathos and pity.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

In walks winter

Approach of Winter

 
by William Carlos Williams

The half-stripped trees
struck by a wind together,
bending all,
the leaves flutter drily
and refuse to let go
or driven like hail
stream bitterly out to one side
and fall
where the salvias, hard carmine,—
like no leaf that ever was—
edge the bare garden.



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Heedless grace

A November Sunrise

by Anne Porter
Wild geese are flocking and calling in pure golden air,
Glory like that which painters long ago
Spread as a background for some little hermit
Beside his cave, giving his cloak away,
Or for some martyr stretching out
On her expected rack.
A few black cedars grow nearby
And there's a donkey grazing.

Small craftsmen, steeped in anonymity like bees,
Gilded their wooden panels, leaving fame to chance,
Like the maker of this wing-flooded golden sky,
Who forgives all our ignorance
Both of his nature and of his very name,
Freely accepting our one heedless glance.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Now!

This Shining Moment in the Now

by David Budbill

When I work outdoors all day, every day, as I do now, in the fall,
getting ready for winter, tearing up the garden, digging potatoes,
gathering the squash, cutting firewood, making kindling, repairing
bridges over the brook, clearing trails in the woods, doing the last of
the fall mowing, pruning apple trees, taking down the screens,
putting up the storm windows, banking the house—all these things,
as preparation for the coming cold...

when I am every day all day all body and no mind, when I am
physically, wholly and completely, in this world with the birds,
the deer, the sky, the wind, the trees...

when day after day I think of nothing but what the next chore is,
when I go from clearing woods roads, to sharpening a chain saw,
to changing the oil in a mower, to stacking wood, when I am
all body and no mind...

when I am only here and now and nowhere else—then, and only
then, do I see the crippling power of mind, the curse of thought,
and I pause and wonder why I so seldom find
this shining moment in the now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Knitting and the writer

Covers

by Kathryn Cowles

I learn to knit so I can knit covers for things, easy things at first covers for my hands covers for my feet for my head and neck soon I am making covers for friends as well I am adept at covering I cover handles on doors I cover the tops of pots, themselves covers, covered with knit yarn, I cover things for my daughter, small things, I make a cover for her eye and a cover for the eye of her doll I make a cover for her doll covering the whole thing except for the eye, for which I have already made a cover, I cover her dollhouse in great patches I connect the patches I am on a roll, I learn to knit in my sleep with the aid of a sleep knitting machine I cover my bed over and over again at night I become more and more adept until I can knit covers for myself as I walk, slow business to be sure but faster and faster for I find I need always to be covered everywhere I go so I knit the cover and trail it behind me to cover where I've been. 


Monday, November 12, 2012

Choosing ice and fire

Opal

You are ice and fire, 
The touch of you burns my hands like snow. 
You are cold and flame. 
You are the crimson of amaryllis, 
The silver of moon-touched magnolias. 
When I am with you, 
My heart is a frozen pond 
Gleaming with agitated torches. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Put the needle on the record


Ode to the Vinyl Record

by Thomas R. Smith

The needle lowers into the groove
and I'm home. It could be any record
I've lived with and loved a long time: Springsteen
or Rodrigo, Ray Charles or Emmylou
Harris: Not only the music, but
the whirlpool shimmering on the turntable
funneling blackly down into the ocean
of the ear—even the background
pops and hisses a worn record
wraps the music in, creaturely
imperfections so hospitable to our own.
Since those first Beatles and Stones LPs
plopped down spindles on record players
we opened like tiny suitcases at sweaty
junior high parties while parents were out,
how many nights I've pulled around
my desires a vinyl record's cloak
of flaws and found it a perfect fit,
the crackling unclarity and turbulence
of the country's lo-fi basement heart
madly spinning, making its big dark sound.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

After the falling

The Fall Almost Nobody Sees

by David Budbill
Everybody's gone away.
They think there's nothing left to see.
The garish colors' flashy show is over.
Now those of us who stay
hunker down in sweet silence,
blessed emptiness among

red-orange shadblow
purple-red blueberry
copper-brown beech
gold tamarack, a few
remaining pale yellow
popple leaves,
sedge and fern in shades
from beige to darkening red
to brown to almost black,
and all this in front of, below,
among blue-green spruce and fir
and white pine,

all of it under gray skies,
chill air, all of us waiting
in the somber dank and rain,
waiting here in quiet, chill
November,
waiting for the snow.

Friday, November 2, 2012

November Night
by Adelaide Crapsey


Listen. . .
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Looking around the next bend...



This is as far as the light
of my understanding
has carried me:
an October morning
a canoe built by hand
a quiet current

above me the trees arc
green and golden
against a cloudy sky

below me the river responds
with perfect reflection
a hundred feet deep
a hundred feet high.

To take a cup of this river
to drink its purple and gray
its golden and green

to see
a bend in the river up ahead
and still
say
yes.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

All Hallow's Eve Horrors


Go on over to 
13 Stories 'Til Halloween 
and be properly petrified 
by prose and poetry.

Go on now

...if you're brave enough.

Yours truly contributed today.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Among other wonders...


A Prayer among Friends

by John Daniel

Among other wonders of our lives, we are alive
with one another, we walk here
in the light of this unlikely world
that isn't ours for long.
May we spend generously
the time we are given.
May we enact our responsibilities
as thoroughly as we enjoy
our pleasures. May we see with clarity,
may we seek a vision
that serves all beings, may we honor
the mystery surpassing our sight,
and may we hold in our hands
the gift of good work
and bear it forth whole, as we
were borne forth by a power we praise
to this one Earth, this homeland of all we love.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vespers

by Louise Glück

In your extended absence, you permit me 
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report 
failure in my assignment, principally 
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow 
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold 
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come 
so often here, while other regions get 
twelve weeks of summer. All this 
belongs to you: on the other hand, 
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots 
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart 
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly 
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of 
that term. You who do not discriminate 
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence, 
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know 
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible 
for these vines.


Monday, October 15, 2012


Back from the Fields

by Peter Everwine

Until nightfall my son ran in the fields,
looking for God knows what.
Flowers, perhaps. Odd birds on the wing.
Something to fill an empty spot.
Maybe a luminous angel
or a country girl with a secret dark.
He came back empty-handed,
or so I thought.

Now I find them:
thistles, goatheads,
the barbed weeds
all those with hooks or horns
the snaggle-toothed, the grinning ones
those wearing lantern jaws,
old ones in beards, leapers
in silk leggings, the multiple
pocked moons and spiny satellites, all those
with juices and saps
like the fingers of thieves
nation after nation of grasses
that dig in, that burrow, that hug winds
and grab handholds
in whatever lean place.

It's been a good day.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

the world too beautiful this year

God's World

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!
Long have I known a glory in it all,
But never knew I this;
Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart. Lord, I do fear
Thou'st made the world too beautiful this year.
My soul is all but out of me, let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Among the Rocks by Robert Browning


Among the Rocks
By Robert Browning

Oh, good gigantic smile o’ the brown old earth,
This autumn morning! How he sets his bones
To bask i’ the sun, and thrusts out knees and feet
For the ripple to run over in its mirth;
Listening the while, where on the heap of stones
The white breast of the sea-lark twitters sweet.

That is the doctrine, simple, ancient, true;
Such is life’s trial, as old earth smiles and knows.
If you loved only what were worth your love,
Love were clear gain, and wholly well for you:
Make the low nature better by your throes!
Give earth yourself, go up for gain above!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"A touch of cold in the Autumn night"


The Harvest Moon
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
  And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
  And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
  Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
  And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
  Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
  With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
All things are symbols: the external shows
  Of Nature have their image in the mind,
  As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
The song-birds leave us at the summer's close,
  Only the empty nests are left behind,
  And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cold autumn nights



Autumn
by T. E. Hulme

A touch of cold in the Autumn night
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer.
I did not stop to speak, but nodded;
And round about were the wistful stars
With white faces like town children. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Accepting the End of Summer

Porch Swing in September

by Ted Kooser

The porch swing hangs fixed in a morning sun
that bleaches its gray slats, its flowered cushion
whose flowers have faded, like those of summer,
and a small brown spider has hung out her web
on a line between porch post and chain
so that no one may swing without breaking it.
She is saying it's time that the swinging were done with,
time that the creaking and pinging and popping
that sang through the ceiling were past,
time now for the soft vibrations of moths,
the wasp tapping each board for an entrance,
the cool dewdrops to brush from her work
every morning, one world at a time.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Some reflection


Water Picture

by May Swenson
In the pond in the park
all things are doubled:
Long buildings hang and
wriggle gently. Chimneys
are bent legs bouncing
on clouds below. A flag
wags like a fishhook
down there in the sky.

The arched stone bridge
is an eye, with underlid
in the water. In its lens
dip crinkled heads with hats
that don't fall off. Dogs go by,
barking on their backs.
A baby, taken to feed the
ducks, dangles upside-down,
a pink balloon for a buoy.

Treetops deploy a haze of
cherry bloom for roots,
where birds coast belly-up
in the glass bowl of a hill;
from its bottom a bunch
of peanut-munching children
is suspended by their
sneakers, waveringly.

A swan, with twin necks
forming the figure 3,
steers between two dimpled
towers doubled. Fondly
hissing, she kisses herself,
and all the scene is troubled:
water-windows splinter,
tree-limbs tangle, the bridge
folds like a fan.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day of Grief
by Gerald Stern 

I was forcing a wasp to the top of a window
where there was some sky and there were tiger lilies
outside just to love him or maybe only
simply a kiss for he was hurrying home
to fight a broom and I was trying to open
a door with one hand while the other was swinging
tomatoes, and you could even smell the corn
for corn travels by wind and there was the first
hint of cold and dark though it was nothing
compared to what would come, and someone should mark
the day, I think it was August 20th, and 
that should be the day of grief for grief
begins then and the corn man starts to shiver
and crows too and dogs who hate the wind
though grief would come later and it was a relief
to know I wasn't alone, but be as it may,
since it was cold and dark I found myself singing
the brilliant love songs of my other religion.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Singing Streams


The Real Work

by Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II, Scene I [Over hill, over dale]
by William Shakespeare 

A wood near Athens. A Fairy speaks.

Over hill, over dale, 
Thorough bush, thorough brier, 
Over park, over pale, 
Thorough flood, thorough fire, 
I do wander every where, 
Swifter than the moon's sphere; 
And I serve the fairy queen, 
To dew her orbs upon the green: 
The cowslips tall her pensioners be; 
In their gold coats spots you see; 
Those be rubies, fairy favours, 
In those freckles live their savours: 
I must go seek some dew-drops here 
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear. 
Farewell, thou lob of spirits: I'll be gone; 
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Letting Go


Let The Day Go

by Grace Paley
              who needs it
I had another day in mind
something like this one
              sunny green the earth
just right having suffered
the assault of what is called
torrential rain the pepper
the basil sitting upright
in their little boxes waiting
I suppose for me also the
cosmos the zinnias nearly
blooming a year too late
forget it let the day go
the sweet green day let it
take care of itself


Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer Nights and Days
by Rachel Hadas 

So far the nights feel lonelier than the days.
In light, the living keep me company,
and memories of voices through the years.

Each summer threads a green familiar maze.
Emerging sun-struck, you can barely spy
the slow kaleidoscope of clouds and hours.

Those flannel nightshirts chilly sleepers wear
as summer wanes: I'm giving them away.
Pass it on: you keep at the same time.

A bough has broken from the Duchess tree.
Rain swelled the apples. Too much lightness weighs
heavy: the heft of the idea of home
tempered with the detachment of a dream,
or tidal pulls, like ocean, like moonrise.

Friday, June 22, 2012

And the Intrepid Anthurium
by Pura López-Colomé
translated by Forrest Gander
 

Two bumblebees
extract nectar,
sweet and bitter
from the center
of the rose-colored petals
of a flower which is not a rose.
Sated,
they thud against the picture window
again and again,
fixed on escaping
with their bounty inside them,
into the air behind them,
incognizant that the path to freedom
has been eclipsed,
incognizant
that they are drawn
to an illusion.
With the blood honey
in their guts
already a part of their
rapturous marrow.
And distinct.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

 It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free
by William Wordsworth 

It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquility;
The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the Sea;
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder—everlastingly.
Dear child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year;
And worshipp'st at the Temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Passage



In all the woods that day I was
the only living thing
fretful, exhausted, or unsure.
Giant fir and spruce and cedar trees
that had stood their ground
three hundred years
stretched in sunlight calmly
unimpressed by whatever
it was that held me
hunched and tense above the stream,
biting my nails, calculating all
my impossibilities.
Nor did the water pause
to reflect or enter into
my considerations.
It found its way
over and around a crowd
of rocks in easy flourishes,
in laughing evasions and
shifts in direction.
Nothing could slow it down for long.
It even made a little song
out of all the things
that got in its way,
a music against the hard edges
of whatever might interrupt its going.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


People Who Live

by Erica Jong
People who live by the sea
understand eternity.
They copy the curves of the waves,
their hearts beat with the tides,
& the saltiness of their blood
corresponds with the sea.

They know that the house of flesh
is only a sandcastle
built on the shore,
that skin breaks
under the waves
like sand under the soles
of the first walker on the beach
when the tide recedes.

Each of us walks there once,
watching the bubbles
rise up through the sand
like ascending souls,
tracing the line of the foam,
drawing our index fingers
along the horizon
pointing home.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Gather
by Rose McLarney

Some springs, apples bloom too soon.
The trees have grown here for a hundred years, and are still quick
to trust that the frost has finished. Some springs,
pink petals turn black. Those summers, the orchards are empty
and quiet. No reason for the bees to come.

Other summers, red apples beat hearty in the trees, golden apples
glow in sheer skin. Their weight breaks branches,
the ground rolls with apples, and you fall in fruit.

You could say, I have been foolish. You could say, I have been fooled.
You could say, Some years, there are apples.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Black Sea


One clear night while the others slept, I climbed
the stairs to the roof of the house and under a sky
strewn with stars I gazed at the sea, at the spread of it,
the rolling crests of it raked by the wind, becoming
like bits of lace tossed in the air. I stood in the long,
whispering night, waiting for something, a sign, the approach
of a distant light, and I imagined you coming closer,
the dark waves of your hair mingling with the sea,
and the dark became desire, and desire the arriving light.
The nearness, the momentary warmth of you as I stood
on that lonely height watching the slow swells of the sea
break on the shore and turn briefly into glass and disappear . . .
Why did I believe you would come out of nowhere? Why with all
that the world offers would you come only because I was here?

Monday, April 30, 2012



Purism
by Vona Groarke
The wind orchestrates
its theme of loneliness
and the rain
has too much glitter in it, yes.

They are like words, the wrong ones,
insisting I listen to sense.
But I too am obstinate.

I have white walls,
white curtained windows.
What need have I
of the night's jet-black,
outlandish ornament?

What I am after
is silence
in proportion
to desire,

the way music plumbs
its surfaces
as straight words do
the air between them.

I begin to learn
the simple thing

burning through
to an impulse at once lovely
and given to love

that will not be refused.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Night

by Carsten René Nielsen
translated by David Keplinger 

At night things become ever so smaller, our shoes and teeth, too, and everywhere in buildings screws turn a quarter of a revolution, but even if you press your ear against the wall, the sound is rarely heard. Always there is someone who plays the gelatin piano, someone who packs his pipe with snow, and on a radio channel from somewhere in the world, where the sun is already on its way up through the mist in the horizon: a gospel choir of hoarse, nearly inaudible women.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring conversation

Revival

by Luci Shaw

March. I am beginning
to anticipate a thaw. Early mornings
the earth, old unbeliever, is still crusted with frost
where the moles have nosed up their
cold castings, and the ground cover
in shadow under the cedars hasn't softened
for months, fogs layering their slow, complicated ice
around foliage and stem
night by night,

but as the light lengthens, preacher
of good news, evangelizing leaves and branches,
his large gestures beckon green
out of gray. Pinpricks of coral bursting
from the cotoneasters. A single bee
finding the white heather. Eager lemon-yellow
aconites glowing, low to the ground like
little uplifted faces. A crocus shooting up
a purple hand here, there, as I stand
on my doorstep, my own face drinking in heat
and light like a bud welcoming resurrection,
and my hand up, too, ready to sign on
for conversion.

"The sky has given over to its bitterness . . . "

Spring Storm
by William Carlos Williams

The sky has given over
its bitterness.
Out of the dark change
all day long
rain falls and falls
as if it would never end.
Still the snow keeps
its hold on the ground.
But water, water
from a thousand runnels!
It collects swiftly,
dappled with black
cuts a way for itself
through green ice in the gutters.
Drop after drop it falls
from the withered grass-stems
of the overhanging embankment.

Dear March - Come in!

Dear March - Come in - (1320)
by Emily Dickinson

Dear March - Come in -
How glad I am -
I hoped for you before -
Put down your Hat -
You must have walked -
How out of Breath you are -
Dear March, how are you, and the Rest -
Did you leave Nature well -
Oh March, Come right upstairs with me -
I have so much to tell -

I got your Letter, and the Birds -
The Maples never knew that you were coming -
I declare - how Red their Faces grew -
But March, forgive me -
And all those Hills you left for me to Hue -
There was no Purple suitable -
You took it all with you -

Who knocks? That April -
Lock the Door -
I will not be pursued -
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied -
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come

That blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame -

Hello, Spring! "When daffodils begin to peer..."

The Winter's Tale Act IV, Scene II [When daffodils begin to peer]
by William Shakespeare

A Road near the Shepherd's Cottage. Enter Autolycus, singing.

When daffodils begin to peer,
With heigh! The doxy over the dale,
Why, then comes in the sweet o' the year;
For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale.

The white sheet bleaching on the hedge,
With heigh! the sweet birds, O, how they sing!
Doth set my pugging tooth on edge;
For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.

The lark, that tirra-lyra chants,
With heigh! with heigh! the thrush and the jay,
Are summer songs for me and for my aunts,
While we lie tumbling in the hay.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

love in a cord of wood

The Winter Wood Arrives

by Mary Oliver

I think
I could have
built a little house
to live in


with the single cord—
half seasoned, half not—
trucked into the
driveway and


tumbled down. But, instead,
friends came
and together we stacked it
for the long, cold days


that are—
maybe the only sure thing in the world—
coming soon.
How to keep warm


is always a problem,
isn't it?
Of course, there's love.
And there's prayer.


I don't belittle them,
and they have warmed me,
but differently,
from the heart outwards.


Imagine
what swirls of frost will cling
to the windows, what white lawns
I will look out on


as I rise from morning prayers,
as I remember love, that leaves yet never leaves,
as I go out into the yard
and bring the wood in


with struggling steps,
with struggling thoughts,
bundle by bundle,
to be burned.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Useful

In Art Rowanberry’s Barn

by Wendell Berry

In Art Rowanberry's barn, when Art's death
had become quietly a fact among
the other facts, Andy Catlett found
a jacket made of the top half
of a pair of coveralls after
the legs wore out, for Art
never wasted anything.
Andy found a careful box made
of woodscraps with a strap
for a handle; it contained
a handful of small nails
wrapped in a piece of newspaper,
several large nails, several
rusty bolts with nuts and washers,
some old harness buckles
and rings, rusty but usable,
several small metal boxes, empty,
and three hickory nuts
hollowed out by mice.
And all of these things Andy
put back where they had been,
for time and the world and other people
to dispense with as they might,
but not by him to be disprized.
This long putting away
of things maybe useful was not all
of Art's care-taking; he cared
for creatures also, every day
leaving his tracks in dust, mud,
or snow as he went about
looking after his stock, or gave
strength to lighten a neighbor's work.
Andy found a bridle made
of several lengths of baling twine
knotted to a rusty bit,
an old set of chain harness,
four horseshoes of different sizes,
and three hammerstones picked up
from the opened furrow on days
now as perfectly forgotten
as the days when they were lost.
He found a good farrier's knife,
an awl, a key to a lock
that would no longer open.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"Winter is good - his Hoar Delights (1316)" by Emily Dickinson

Winter is good - his Hoar Delights (1316)
by Emily Dickinson

Winter is good - his Hoar Delights
Italic flavor yield -
To Intellects inebriate
With Summer, or the World -

Generic as a Quarry
And hearty - as a Rose -
Invited with asperity
But welcome when he goes.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Frost's snow dusting

Dust of Snow
by Robert Frost

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Edgar update

Edgar, with a blur of the little Lenore in the foreground

"All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe."

Jabberwocky
by Lewis Carroll

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Winter Twlight"

Winter Twilight

by Anne Porter

On a clear winter's evening
The crescent moon

And the round squirrels' nest
In the bare oak

Are equal planets.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

-10*F at the PSALM Arts Retreat, Speculator, NY (photos)

Every winter a group of artists retreat to the deepest Adirondack woods. At Camp Fowler they revel in the silence that only comes with that sort of cold.

Tenor Guitar Tuning Nob


-10*F But the sun still shines


Sub-zero Morning Mountain & Cabin



Frosty Milkweed Pods


Blurry Tenor Guitar Strings


Bark Aflame

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Edgar!

A Dream Within a Dream

by Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow—
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand—
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep—while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! Can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

starry nights in winter

Winter Heavens
by George Meredith

Sharp is the night, but stars with frost alive
Leap off the rim of earth across the dome.
It is a night to make the heavens our home
More than the nest whereto apace we strive.
Lengths down our road each fir-tree seems a hive,
In swarms outrushing from the golden comb.
They waken waves of thoughts that burst to foam:
The living throb in me, the dead revive.
Yon mantle clothes us: there, past mortal breath,
Life glistens on the river of the death.
It folds us, flesh and dust; and have we knelt,
Or never knelt, or eyed as kine the springs
Of radiance, the radiance enrings:
And this is the soul's haven to have felt.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

"may my mind stroll about hungry and fearless and thirsty and supple"

53

by E.E. Cummings

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
for even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile