Because what you face in your life is bigger than you can handle. It is. Go to a place with shadows and privacy, and just start talking. There is some ancient Friend that wants to hear from you. No more dogma than that. Use your simple, holy, words. Then sit. Go for a walk. Let in. Martin Shaw. Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen.
To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness — and our ability to tell our own stories. In contemplative meditation we use our thinking mind to develop insight and to focus on positive qualities like love and compassion. Thinking in the form of anxiety, worry, calculating, regret, guilt, paranoia, pride, envy, aggression, and craving etc. In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed. I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be.
To oppose something is to maintain it…You must go somewhere else; you must have another goal; then you walk a different road. Le Guin. Dreaming, waking or in between in any part of the multiverse in any body, in any life you are invited to play a memory game. Sam Hamill: Approaching Winter Solstice A bitter wind out of the north, gulls frozen to their icy perches, and a lone tug inching its way across the bay.
On the eastern horizon, the great mountain in a robe of new snow, the sky turquoise blue. I have come far enough to know the snows that bury dreams and wishes, the blizzard in the soul that cries for the warm embrace of love in the harshest season. But the world remains silent, but for moaning winds and the faint drone of mindless traffic in the distance. Who am I now, old and weathered, almost worn out, but still that hunger, that faint light burning?
I am a seeker, a wanderer in a world I never imagined. A soul seeks itself in a kindred soul, the need for a touch, a knowing glance that makes the fire roar. May the gods chew my gnarled bones when that time comes, but in this soul there still is a story waiting to be told, still a mystery to unfold, still a spark in the tinder of unknowing. Nuthatch Logic Today, in the wood, I decided to converse with nuthatch. It must be hard to think. To make bread or love, to dig in the earth, to feed an animal or cook for a stranger — these activities require no extensive commentary, no lucid theology.
All they require is someone willing to bend, reach, chop, stir. Most of these tasks are so full of pleasure that there is no need to complicate things by calling them holy. And yet these are the same activities that change lives, sometimes all at once and sometimes more slowly, the way dripping water changes stone. In a world where faith is often construed as a way of thinking, bodily practices remind the willing that faith is a way of life. You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing. Bees Jane Hirshfield In every instant, two gates.
One opens to fragrant paradise, one to hell…. Mostly we go through neither. Mostly we nod to our neighbor, lean down to pick up the paper, go back into the house. But the faint cries—ecstasy?
Or did you think it the sound of distant bees, making only the thick honey of this good life? On fighting fascism: The first and possibly most important thing we can do is to resist accepting narrow definitions of everything. Let the nuances of supple understanding infect ideology. If carried out on a mass scale, this will force the government to deal with our stupendous diversity, which makes us far less easily manipulated. The most important role for future government is to provide scaffolding that supports the formation of deeper networks that can respond to every world issue thoroughly and efficiently.
That loosens the release valve of the human will and lets it find coordinated integration into the Network-will. We cripple ourselves by only gazing from within our caves of reflection. If we would see with the eyes of freedom, we must be as open and as unceasing as the Sea. Intimacy is seeing the other as they truly are. We make it so very difficult, shrouded in games and avoidance and so much noise. A masquerade ball masquerading as a complex interplay.
No expectations. No mechanisms. No armor. True nakedness. Here I am. Here you are. Here we are. Our most profound prayers hardly reach our lips; they are made with our entire being. Every one of us is called upon, perhaps many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job…And onward full-tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another—that is surely the basic instinct…Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris.
Time to take this life for what it is. We intuit our natures becoming resonant with one another according to the grain of the way we are made. Nothing forced or wanted until it ripens in our own expectant hands. Sensations, from the beginning, involve a sort of doing.
This means that, in an important sense, it is your doing self that brings your core self into being. You are responsible at the very deepest level for what it feels like to be you. But then, for your next trick, well, how about spreading some of that soul dust onto the things around you?
Remember, too, that it is your mind that projects phenomenal qualities onto external objects. If you only knew it, you yourself are responsible for the feel of the world. There never is. Mercifully, the inner conversation is canceled by the white noise of winter. I am neither the mind, the intellect nor the silent voice within. And now, gentle reader, in what name — in whose name — do you come to idle with me in this luxurious and dwindling realms of aimless privacy?
Anything you lose comes round in another form. If Love were not always a step ahead how would it ensure we kept up the chase? How admirable! These nights are gifts our hands unwrapping the darkness to see what we have. And the night smells like snow. Walking home for a moment you almost believe you could start again.
And an intense love rushes to your heart, and hope. I believe in the soul. Years ago someone told me that Flaubert said the objects we are drawn to are not haphazard, they are material expressions of something intangible but vital that our soul wishes to bring to our attention, they are clues, in other words, and we should decipher them as such. One Last Thing by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer Let us lace our words with light— the fragrant light we carry in our flesh. Even the darkest words can be said with light, can be spoken with a seam of radiance, spoken as if the whole world depends on us finding that inner shine.
Real seeing requires a flair for the unseen; real listening, a flair for the unspoken. A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and many others; the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is the imagination. When thinking leads to the unthinkable, it is time to return to simple life.
What thinking cannot solve, life solves, and what action never decides is reserved for thinking. If I ascend to the highest and most difficult on the one hand, and seek to eke out redemption that reaches even higher, then the true way does not lead upward, but towards the depths, since only my other leads me beyond myself. But acceptance of the other means a descent into the opposite, from seriousness into the laughable, from suffering into the cheerful, from the beautiful into the ugly , from the pure into the impure.
The Apple Tree Wendell Berry In the essential prose of things, the apple tree stands up, emphatic among the accidents of the afternoon, solvent, not to be denied. The grass has been cut down, carefully to leave the orange poppies still in bloom; the tree stands up in the odor of the grass drying.
The forked trunk and branches are also a kind of necessary prose—shingled with leaves, pigment and song imposed on the blunt lineaments of fact, a foliage of small birds among them. The tree lifts itself up in the garden, the clutter of its green leaves halving the light, stating the unalterable congruity and form of its casual growth; the crimson finches appear and disappear, singing among the design. What the kitchen witch said Begin at the tips: the tops of stems erecting their cities in the blue spring. Things have to be clipped at the seed-head, at the bud: like witches, plants must be kept down.
Correct the bolt, unpick the stalk — parch it to a wand on the hot sill — twist off the stamen, wash its peppery stain from your hands. Save the blooms. Everything damp: cut any plant and it will bleed. Your lungs are like two charmed hands, open to the stink of sage, to dill, the clean bright peal of mint. To seal the charm, you dig. First a seed dib, then a pothole, soon a pit. First, roots, their shapes like tongues and hands cut off. The small, brown teeth of seed. Keep going: pull back the curtains of soil, put down the strong, white ladders of your hands.
Hit the shocked mirror of water, and go on. Hit bedrock, break it, get buried alive. Keep going. I know that if anyone can take it, it is you. As sentient beings we have wonderful backgrounds. These backgrounds may not be particularly enlightened or peaceful or intelligent. Will you use your voice to seek advantages for yourself? Or will you use your voice to bear witness to the truth?
Will you use your eyes to delight in beautiful things? Or will you use your eyes to see the suffering of the poor and oppressed? Inside every orator of our time there is always a clumsy journalist. The important thing is to speak well: with liveliness, thought, and grace. The rest will be given us as a gift. Remember the landscape of your birth. Love your body and its memory of this place. Know true north and follow the red cord of passion. Listen to tree talk, water words, the voice of raven and hummingbird, and trust these at least as much as human speech.
When the trees drop their leaves, let go of all you have outgrown. When the earth lies cold and still, rest. Blossom in season. When they tell you that you must kill for your country, or pay for the killing, talk back. Be faithful to what you love. Celebrate beauty every day. When I am with you, we stay up all night. Praise God for those two insomnias! And the difference between them. Three points for an authentic spiritual practice: 1 You need some shut up time. Doing it once might open your heart and eyes.
Has happened. But most of us need to return and return and return. The brain is a great liar. We tell ourselves all sorts of stories about what we need and deserve, only some of which are true. Also along the spiritual way we have lots of experiences. Mostly of limited or actually no value on the way. Someone who has walked the way before you, who you have some trust in, and who is willing to say the hard truth now and again, is worth their weight in gold.
All things already rest: darkness and morning light, flower and book. When profound delicateness meets profound delicateness, with almost nothing happening, everything that matters most is happening: the exquisiteness of meeting. We wanted to unite all the people who were writers, who were musicians, who were artists, to demonstrate that the West and the United States was devoted to freedom of expression and to intellectual achievement, without any rigid barriers as to what you must write, and what you must say, and what you must do, and what you must paint, which was what was going on in the Soviet Union.
I think it was the most important division that the agency had, and I think that it played an enormous role in the Cold War. The ancients mirrored nature to find their wholeness, and that is what we need to do to find ours as well. When we move closer to wholeness, we feel stronger about who we are, we know better what we love, and how best to offer that in service to the world… — Valerie Shively. I am not an advocate of suffering to become the best version of yourself. The best version of yourself is healthy and happy. The best version of yourself loves to be active, play in the sunshine, and create beautiful, wholesome meals.
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. And you know what you know. The tasks that have been entrusted to us are often difficult. Almost everything that matters is difficult, and everything matters. Solstice is a good time to resolve to be close to the rhythms of nature in the coming year—to learn from them how to be. In the point of rest at the center of our being, we encounter a world where all things are at rest in the same way. Then a tree becomes a mystery, a cloud a revelation, each man a cosmos of whose riches we can only catch glimpses.
The life of simplicity is simple, but it opens to us a book in which we never get beyond the first syllable. So long as I have questions to which there are no answers, I shall go on writing. Our ideas and opinions and words only matter in so far as they are in service of repairing the soul of the divine world. Otherwise, we are as lightly here and as insubstantial as snowflakes. I try to think about life. The old alchemists standing Near their stoves hinted at it a thousand times. A four-year-old speaks some ancient language. We have lived our own death a thousand times. Each sentence we speak to friends means the opposite As well.
Mothers again and again have knelt in church In wartime asking God to protect their sons, And their prayers were refused a thousand times. By the end of summer, she Has dipped her head into Rainy Lake a thousand times. Would you Do that again? I would, a thousand times. If you are in shock at the loss of an illusion, remember that your former ignorance was not as good as you remember it.
I will live as if your world has ended, as indeed it deserves to end. I will live as if my gesture of refusing your world has destroyed it. Stand by the river, invoke the owls. Invoke winter, then spring. Let any season that wants to come here make its own call. After that sound goes away, wait. A slow bubble rises through the earth and begins to include sky, stars, all space, even the outracing, expanding thought. Come back and hear the little sound again.
How you stand here is important. How you listen for the next things to happen. How you breathe. How strange that the story is most true when it falls silent. Now I am the simple who rose up and lived; each day a blank, each night a catacomb. Lie down on the frozen drum-skin of the reservoir, in the immensities of the absences of the grasses, in the perfect ignorance of the wind. You have had to begin over. You have had to empty your life of astonishing things, to give up what the lost cannot be given.
You have had to hand your vengeance to the great gods. Come, now: it is after every hour. You have salvaged them in darkness and done harm. Come, now: it is after every after. Real love is one that triumphs lastingly, sometimes painfully, over the hurdles erected by time, space and the world.
May we all grow in grace and peace, and not neglect the silence that is printed in the centre of our being. It will not fail us. Very sensitive, creative people have experiences of an extraordinary nature. Their quiet and passive openness allows fine energy to enter them. They use this energy to produce great works of creative expression, but their mechanism may not be strong enough to take in this refined energy in quantity.
It accumulates, until it becomes strong enough to tear them apart. It is possible to determine in an abstract way the creative potential of a human being as a function of their physical strength and sensitivity. Sensitivity allows them to absorb a refined energy; strength enables the integration of that refined energy into the physical structure. But neither is useful without the other. Something that remained astonishing in this year of the greatest excitements, upheavals and disappointed expectations in his life was his capacity for concentration, his openness to intellectual matters, and the harmoniousness of style in his letters.
There was in him a store of profound serenity — only poorly described by the word stoicism — that remained untouched by the awkward situations in which he found himself at that time and the upheavals designed to throw his existence off course. But know this: that its boundaries, like theirs, are imaginary and political. That I have never known a Mormon I did not like immensely, except certain senators.
This can be explained. It is history. That Idaho has in its history elected senators of considerable greatness, but not for a long time, not, at least, for most of my life here and none of yours. That the state is an embarrassment and a joy. It has been dragged into the century before this one now well under way, its notions of liberty circumscribed by fearful ideas of stricture and malignity, usually religious, which in this republic have not, will not, and cannot be explained.
That its rivers are among the purest and most beautiful in the same republic. That it was established by the republic it hardly seems to want to be a part of anymore. That it has a town called Dixie and a river called the Secesh, short for secessionist, but also a Yankee Fork of the Salmon, and that the Salmon is its greatest river, named for a noble anadromous fish most wild examples of which are gone from it.
That this is in part the fault of the republic it once prided itself on belonging to. That it is not universally but all too abundantly racist. Neo-Nazis and Confederates walk its occasional streets believing Hawaii is a nation on the continent of Africa. Its huckleberries are unparalleled, its mountains spectacular, and deer are its most numerous citizens. Some of its human citizens would rather deer vote than anyone who is not white.
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That television was invented here, for which the state will neither be given credit nor forgiven. That at its least elevations the temperature will reach degrees every summer, and at certain of its summits the snow, until recently, never went away. That its hot summer afternoons are indolent and perfect, winter nights cold and often ridiculous with stars.
It lies athwart the Rockies, it is desert and peak, tundra and valley, prairie and canyon and forest. Its beauty can afflict you like a virus. That much of its populace is poor and that it is determined to keep it that way. That it is for sale and boasts more millionaires per capita than any other state. That its name means nothing but scans the same as Illinois, where I was born and one of you were, which can be explained, though Illinois cannot. That Idaho, like all the other states, is history and toil, that massacres occurred here too.
That most of its people are kind, like most people everywhere. That I have for most of my life been in the employ of it and been made to feel all the while something very like an enemy of the state. That for some reason I cannot leave, though my own parents are aging or infirm many miles away. This can be explained but not to my own satisfaction. I feel filial guilt. Two of you have happily left the state already and the other aspires to.
That of the forty-two people named Robert Wrigley in the republic, I am the only one in Idaho. There are probably more Wrigleys in Chicago than Johnsons in Idaho. That Chicago cannot be explained. There are Dick Johnsons in the nation, five in Idaho. That the name Dick Johnson consists of two euphemisms for penis, and that such a diminutive as Dick, when your surname is Johnson, can in this way be explained. There is a domestic rose called Crepuscule, while these are wild and called Rosa woodsii.
That you are the only Jordan Wrigley in the republic, that your older brother is one of only five Philip Wrigleys and that Philip Wrigley was one of the richest men in the nation the year of my birth. As for Jace, the youngest of you, he is the only one anywhere—thus once you were all the only Philip, Jordan, and Jace Wrigleys in Idaho, as I am the only Robert. This can be explained, this too is history, which, like the boundaries of Idaho, is imaginary and political to the extent that every polity is a political construct and therefore imaginary, with the force of law.
That law is itself imaginary and if not universally agreed upon nevertheless occasionally enforced. There was, until overturned, a law forbidding a man marrying another man here, or a woman another woman. And there was once, and not all that long ago, a law forbidding the marriage of a Mormon to a non-Mormon, also one forbidding the harvesting of fish with electrical current or dynamite.
That this, all of it, can be explained. There are cedar trees on this mountain older than Chaucer and pine trees older than Whitman. That the state, though it might claim otherwise, does not care for schools and teachers. That in its Platonic way, the state also does not much care for poets, and that in this regard it is like the others. That the only true city in Idaho has a river with trout.
That sometimes the moon risen over the mountain summit to the East can bring me almost to tears. The most beautiful place I have ever been is here, and I would pinpoint it for you but not in this particular document, lest others, in light of my selfishness, should go there. That I do not understand this impulse to explain that which cannot be.
It is possible you might have been better off, had you been raised elsewhere, though I do not think this is true, beyond certain measures economic and cultural. There are things that cannot be explained which are vastly superior to those that can. This document is in some way my form of prayer, and I pray most often to certain trees. Seeing a mountain lion when you are alone in the woods is a terrifying benediction.
I hope you remember the afternoon we watched from our porch above the river twelve bald eagles circling in the sky above us. The sound of a wolf howling is a miracle many in the state would exterminate. That it seems I cannot help myself. As one of you has said, living in the state is like living in an abusive relationship: there is always the hope it will get better.
A woman once said to your mother raising children in this place is child abuse. That we understand ourselves to be lucky somehow. There is a place we hunted for arrowheads and hunting for arrowheads is illegal. We did not know this, and I found a white one.. We were lucky. A man came from upriver that day, walking along to shore to reach us. He looked away, out over the river. That allusions are how writers congratulate themselves.
Arrowheads are made of flint: quartz, obsidian, jasper, or chert. That making an arrowhead requires two tools, a hammerstone and a billet, usually antler. Also enormous patience and skill. There are likely thousands in that place along the river, lost among chips, fragments, and pebbles.
Today I am in the little building I built almost entirely by myself, though each of you helped me some. That what I mean to say, is that love is undertaken, and borne, that it is beyond explanation and not worth living without. That I am by turns misanthropic and generous, and this is something I might explain. That I have been awakened in one-man tent by the howl of a wolf, that I have been awakened in a one-man tent by a bull moose splashing in a mountain lake, that I have been awakened in a one-man tent with a desperate need to pee, and that soon I stood peeing at the edge of camp and looked up to see a bear risen manlike on its hind legs— it seemed hypnotized by a swirl of yellow butterflies just above its nose.
That it ran when it saw me there. It leaped a fallen log as gracefully as a steeplechase thoroughbred and made no sound at all. That the central Idaho wilderness is where God lives, which is to say, nobody. That the central Idaho wilderness is larger than many eastern states. That Connecticut cannot be explained. Nor most especially Rhode Island, not being an island at all.
That according to current actuarial charts, I have just sixteen more years to live in Idaho. This can be explained, it is meant as homage, it is history. It is also a species of historical rapaciousness that makes me uneasy. That I like to walk in the woods at night, because it is impossible not to be a little frightened by the dark.
There are very few darknesses in the republic so deep as those we may seek out and abide in here. The man from the electric company thought I was crazy, when I asked that the dusk-to-dawn yard light be removed. That by darkness I mean nothing metaphorical, and that by metaphorical darkness I mean such darkness as is universal, historical, and political. Also that the measure by which I love hating money is the obverse of how much I like having it.
I do not know what liquidity has to do with money. This is something I wish I could explain. The song of the brown-headed cowbird is sweet and liquid, and the many-noted call of the meadowlark makes me entirely glad. The bugle of a bull elk is ethereal, and the scream of a mountain lion primal, and once at a bar, given the choice of being killed by a grizzly bear or dying in a head-on collision, I said bear, and this is explainable.
I am now recovered from such romantic nitwittery. Your mother would rather sleep outdoors than in, and that her elegance mystifies those who know this mystifies me. That for me this is only explainable in terms of Idaho. Years ago I glanced up from a page to see out the window a bald eagle, holding its place in the air, in the midst of a snowstorm on the Clearwater. It was most surely not the case it turned to look at me, though it seemed to, before it slanted and soared back down to the river.
Sometimes on my walks along the shore, I used to lie next to the shallows, just so that I could see how the current in the middle was several feet above my head. That I have killed a dozen rattlesnakes for straying into the yard you played in, and that I have skinned one and hung its skin on the wall above my desk, for which I will not be forgiven. Once I found a dead calf moose so festooned with ticks it looked scaled instead of furred. That I have found nearly every animal in these parts dead, except the raven. That I have imagined myself dead in the woods and not been dismayed by the thought.
That, as you know, I collect bones and make widgets and bird perches from them. This spring there has been a raven who likes to sit on the porch rail of my shack, and I thought for quite a while he was watching me, before I realized it was his own reflection that fascinated him. The fascination of birds is magical. When the deer here are fatting up in the fall, I can hear them chew the withered, nutmeg-smelling dry blossoms of the shrub called oceanspray. That in winter I will often have an apple with my lunch and toss the core toward the usual two or three does who take shelter in the thicket just west of the shack.
There are fewer people in this vast imaginary polity than in the miniscule borough of Manhattan. That all of this is meant as explanation of here, this place, which is called Idaho, green and golden, and I am in the mercy of its means. Fern Hill Road is a scant twenty miles from where I sit today, on Moscow Mountain, and these few acres where I am are called mine, upon which—I tried to count them once— there are more than four hundred trees.
That it seems what is most beloved in Idaho is what is also most resented: that it is America, and American. This too can be explained; it is history, which is political. That everything American is political, even its trees: the immense cedars older than Chaucer, these hemlocks and pines. Seconds ago an enormous crack of thunder came, though the sky here is clear.
The storm is out of sight, north of the mountain, but as its hard wind comes on, it sounds like no other wind in the world. And that, my dears, may not be true, but it can be explained. That unlike me the trees here know only here and do not hear their music. The wind is bound for Montana heedlessly and without knowing how or why.
There is a mathematical formula to calculate the weight of clouds, but there is no formula to measure love not even mine for you, though it seems more than the planet itself nor for this place, where I have, as we say, put down roots. I opened my eyes and there they were. Wind riffled their fur, their black noses twitched. When I lifted my head they ran away, and when I rose to a sit I saw a trout seize a fly from the surface of the shallows just as the reflection of a many-tonned cloud passed overhead.
This is simply what happened, but it may also be why. I fell asleep on that rock because I was exhausted from the hike in. I had never been so weary in my life before. I was alone and very lonely, only one of you was yet born and he was still a baby. Nevertheless I vowed that you, then you, then you, would see and know such things as these in your lives, that they might be a counterweight against the other, outer, imaginary and all-too-real nowhere such a nowhere could survive in.
Just remember: that in another history, someone else was here. That some mountain lakes and certain rivers are hardly different now than then, when someone shaped this perfect white arrowhead from quartz. Dust by Dorianne Laux Someone spoke to me last night, told me the truth. Just a few words, but I recognized it. I knew I should make myself get up, write it down, but it was late, and I was exhausted from working all day in the garden, moving rocks. Now, I remember only the flavor — not like food, sweet or sharp. More like a fine powder, like dust. Ends and beginnings — there are no such things.
There are only middles. Ode to Fire Ode to Heat Half my wintertime life, or so it seems, I spend standing beside our old Round Oak stove—which stands at the center of our house—hands behind my back, resting on my butt, palms out, warmth of the fire in the woodstove working its way into my body. Then turn around and bake the other side.
Too hot? Just move a step or two away. Oh, now I sing praises to a wood fire, to the heat this smoky burning liberates, the heat that keeps us warm all winter. Oh, praise this primordial fire, praise heat in its most basic form: the blessed warmth that comes from our old, wood burning, Round Oak stove. People will insist on giving me books. I would wrestle with the dark angel until he dislocated my hip. For he is also the light and the blue sky which he withholds from me. Shards of the shattered vase will rise and reassemble on the table. Plastic raincoats will refold into their flat envelopes.
The egg, bald yolk and its transparent halo, slide back in the thin, calcium shell. Curses will pour back into mouths, letters un-write themselves, words siphoned up into the pen. My gray hair will darken and become the feathers of a black swan. Bullets will snap back into their chambers, the powder tamped tight in brass casings. Borders will disappear from maps. Rust revert to oxygen and time. The fire return to the log, the log to the tree, the white root curled up in the un-split seed. When you return, sweaters will unravel and wool grow on the sheep. Rock will go home to mountain, gold to vein.
Wine crushed into the grape, oil pressed into the olive. Night moths tucked close into cocoons, ink drained from the indigo tattoo. Diamonds will be returned to coal, coal to rotting ferns, rain to clouds, light to stars sucked back and back into one timeless point, the way it was before the world was born, that fresh, that whole, nothing broken, nothing torn apart. Love demands a complete inner transformation, for without this we cannot possibly come to identify ourselves with our [neighbors].
We have to become, in some sense, the person we love. And this involves a kind of death of our own being, our own self. No matter how hard we try, we resist this death: we fight back with anger, with recriminations, with demands, with ultimatums. We seek any convenient excuse to break off and give up the difficult task. The essential conditions of everything you do must be choice, love, passion. When you understand interconnectedness, it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying. I believe the problem is conditional as opposed to being something inherent in mankind.
Because of the media, the way the world is perceived is as a place where resources and time are running out. You have to make room for it, learn its language, relate to it, learn from it. The Shadow is juicy stuff. This is why paying attention to your dreams, writing your dreams down, working with your dreams, and bringing the insights of your dream-awareness into your daily life as a practiced second-attention might even save your life someday.
It has your shape. It gets longer during the day. At night, it becomes so big and so long you become your Shadow. I like roses. I like you. It falls asleep. At night, then, the Shadow creates the dreams. It corrects your daytime intelligence. You see, your Nighttime Person overhears what your Daytime Person says.
There are two things that are quite interesting about Zen masters, men and women, who reach 60 and 65 and a certain level. They just laugh. They have ceased telling these optimistic lies during the daytime, so there is nothing to correct at night. I, who even as a child had been so distrustful of music not because it took me out of myself more powerfully than anything else, but because I had noticed that it did not put me back where it had found me, but left me deeper down, somewhere in the heart of things unfinished.
My poems are more my silence than my speech. Just as music is a kind of quiet. Sounds are needed only to unveil the various layers of silence. All that was needed was a series of victories over your own memory. To gain your own voice you have to forget about having it heard. Become a saint of your own province and your own consciousness. We name us and then we are lost, tamed I choose words, more words, to cure the tameness, not the wildness.
That the interior landscape is a metaphorical representation of the exterior landscape, that the truth reveals itself most fully not in dogma but in the paradox, irony, and contradictions that distinguish compelling narratives — beyond this there are only failures of imagination: reductionism in science; fundamentalism in religion; fascism in politics.
I always wrote. I wrote from when I was That was therapeutic for me in those days. I wrote things to get them out of feeling them, and onto paper. So writi…ng in a way saved me, kept me company. All this is true, but why are people incapable of ascribing to the natural world the kind of mystery that they think they are somehow deserving of but have never reached?
Listen—something else hovers out here, not color, not outlines or depth when air relieves distance by hazing far mountains, but some total feeling or other world almost coming forward, like when a bell sounds and then leaves the whole countryside waiting. To all appearances, the artist acts like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out to a clearing. This is where we are at right now, as a whole. No one is left out of the loop. We are experiencing a reality based on a thin veneer of lies and illusions.
A world where greed is our God and wisdom is sin, where division is key and unity is fantasy, where the ego-driven cleverness of the mind is praised, rather than the intelligence of the heart. I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me — shapes and ideas so near to me — so natural to my way of being and thinking… I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us, even in the leafless winter, even in the ashy city. I am thinking now of grief, and of getting past it; I feel my boots… trying to leave the ground, I feel my heart pumping hard. I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome.
go to link I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings. I think it is very important not just to wait for the external buddhas and teachers. We also need to understand that we have an inner Buddha or an inner teache…r. That means we need to be the ones who make the effort. We need to create the opportunities, or produce the good energy, without always waiting for someone to arrive and intervene from the outside. I think it is very important to produce this by yourself, because, actually, you are the Buddha. Not such an effective buddha, perhaps, but… a buddha, a small Buddha.
Our Buddha is like a child, not yet grown up enough to do more, so we need to nurture our inner Buddha, our child Buddha. Even when hatred burns hottest and the tug of tribalism is at the most primal, we must resist the urge to turn in. We must resist the urge to demonize those who are different. The sacrifice made here, the angst of war, reminds us to seek the divine spark that is common to all humanity. December 27, Freedom of the heart is not found by looking up , it is right here — woven beneath our feet. Perhaps the history of the errors of mankind, all things considered, is more valuable and interesting than that of their discoveries.
Truth is uniform and narrow; it constantly exists, and does not seem to require so much an active energy, as a passive aptitude of the soul in order to encounter it. But error is endlessly diversified; it has no reality, but is the pure and simple creation of the mind that invents it. In this field the soul has room enough to expand herself, to display all her boundless faculties, and all her beautiful and interesting extravagancies and absurdities.
Rough as the road ahead is likely to be, we need to lead with joy and optimism. The first job of activists is to inspire people. The key to victory lies in how we answer the question of who we will become in the process of struggle. This is particularly true in very dysfunctional families where ideas of healthy functioning are turned upside down. In these families, members often repress their authentic feelings and turn against anyone who reminds them of their unresolved issues and patterns. You are truly not alone.
Most great creators and paradigm shifters were met with fiery resistance by those afraid to grow. Whatever you do, do not allow your voice to fade away in the face of their messaging. No one has the right to bury them under a bushel of shame. No one! And remember- what is crazy to an unconscious person is often brilliantly sane to one who is awakening. Without you, we are lost. Relationship is not a project, it is a grace. It has little to do with our intentions, expectations, and moral requirements.
Look carefully around you and recognize the luminosity of souls. Sit beside those who draw you to that. Let no young man delay the study of philosophy, and let no old man become weary of it; for it is never too early nor too late to care for the well-being of the soul. All of our karma has to be met.
And yet, no one is given more than it can bear to carry. We are given the time we need to turn away from selfish ways and return home like the prodigal son. Reincarnation is not a way to avoid responsibility. It is a way to allow us enough time to correct our mistakes. For no reason, you accept the way of being lost, cutting loose from all else and electing a world where you go where you want to. Arbitrary, sound comes, a reminder that a steady center is holding all else. If you listen, that sound will tell where it is, and you can slide your way past trouble.
The New Song W. Merwin For some time I thought there was time and that there would always be time for what I had a mind to do and what I could imagine going back to and finding it as I had found it the first time but by this time I do not know what I thought when I thought back then there is no time yet it grows less there is the sound of rain at night arriving unknown in the leaves once without before or after then I hear the thrush waking at daybreak singing the new song.
Like dreams, myths are productions of the human imagination. Their images, consequently——though derived from the material world and its supposed history——are, like dreams, revelations of the deepest hopes, desires and fears, potentialities and conflicts, of the human will——which in turn is moved by the energies of the organs of the body operating variously against each other and in concert. Every myth, that is to say, whether or not by intention, is psychologically symbolic. Its narratives and images are to be read, therefore, not literally, but as metaphors.
A spirit that lives in this world And does not wear the shirt of love, Such an existence is a deep disgrace. Be foolish in love, Because love is all there is. There is no way into presence Except through a love exchange. If someone asks, But what is love? Answer, Dissolving the will. True freedom comes to those Who have escaped the questions Of freewill and fate. Love is an emperor. The two worlds play across him. He barely notices their tumbling game. Love and lover live in eternity. Other desires are substitutes For that way of being.
How long to you lay embracing a corpse? Love rather the soul, which cannot be held. Anything born in the spring dies in the fall, But love is not seasonal. With wine pressed from grapes, Expect a hangover. But this love path has no expectations. You are uneasy riding the body? Travel lighter. Wings will be given. Be clear like a mirror Reflecting nothing.
Be clean of pictures and the worry That comes with images. Gaze into what is not ashamed Or afraid of any truth. Contain all human faces in your own Without any judgement of them. Be pure emptiness. What us inside that? You ask. Silence is all I can say. Lovers have some secrets That they keep. Somebody once told me the definition of hell: On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become. Dreams give you a glimpse into your myth, your life collapsed into now, a picture of where your soul is tonight. For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen, that color of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away.
The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. Then you are still alive. Only a little. And then,. I do not mean to depress you. Men have to hear before they see. Sacred vows. Dropped shirts. Women do not speak to men. They are overheard. Sadness mounts people. Around the burn-scar high. And the come cries and salt hair-smells of lovemaking. Secret fiction, holy matrimony, longest short story the troth two lovers pledge to one another is none.
He is no good with words. Ask any true lesbian. He should take a poetry workshop with Adrienne Rich. He should try using the world less and words more. Little cramped words scrawling all over the paper Like draggled fly's legs, What can you tell of the flaring moon Through the oak leaves? Or of my uncertain window and the bare floor Spattered with moonlight?
Your silly quirks and twists have nothing in them Of blossoming hawthorns, And this paper is dull, crisp, smooth, virgin of loveliness Beneath my hand. I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart against The want of you; Of squeezing it into little inkdrops, And posting it. And I scald alone, here, under the fire Of the great moon.
One must have a mind of winter To regard the frost and the boughs Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;. And have been cold a long time To behold the junipers shagged with ice, The spruces rough in the distant glitter. Of the January sun; and not to think Of any misery in the sound of the wind, In the sound of a few leaves,. Which is the sound of the land Full of the same wind That is blowing in the same bare place. For the listener, who listens in the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is. Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?
They took my lover's tallness off to war, Left me lamenting. Now I cannot guess What I can use an empty heart-cup for. He won't be coming back here any more. Some day the war will end, but, oh, I knew When he went walking grandly out that door That my sweet love would have to be untrue. Would have to be untrue. Would have to court Coquettish death, whose impudent and strange Possessive arms and beauty of a sort Can make a hard man hesitate—and change.
And he will be the one to stammer, "Yes. Thompson gointa come upstairs and brain me with a mop don' smell too nice even though she hang it headfirst out the winda and I had to check on William like to burn hisself to death with fever boy so thin be callin all day "Momma! Sing to me? Am I gone die? In her room at the prow of the house Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden, My daughter is writing a story. I pause in the stairwell, hearing From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.
Young as she is, the stuff Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy: I wish her a lucky passage. But now it is she who pauses, As if to reject my thought and its easy figure. A stillness greatens, in which. The whole house seems to be thinking, And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor Of strokes, and again is silent.
I remember the dazed starling Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago; How we stole in, lifted a sash. And retreated, not to affright it; And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door, We watched the sleek, wild, dark. And iridescent creature Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove To the hard floor, or the desk-top,. And wait then, humped and bloody, For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits Rose when, suddenly sure,. It is always a matter, my darling, Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish What I wished you before, but harder.
Try this:. Follow this to its natural conclusion—dead end. Cross over the man-made beach, 26 miles of sand. Bring only. On the dock. This was once a love poem, before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short, before it found itself sitting, perplexed and a little embarrassed, on the fender of a parked car, while many people passed by without turning their heads. It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement. It remembers choosing these shoes, this scarf or tie. Once, it drank beer for breakfast, drifted its feet in a river side by side with the feet of another.
Once it pretended shyness, then grew truly shy, dropping its head so the hair would fall forward, so the eyes would not be seen. IT spoke with passion of history, of art. It was lovely then, this poem. Under its chin, no fold of skin softened. Behind the knees, no pad of yellow fat. What it knew in the morning it still believed at nightfall. An unconjured confidence lifted its eyebrows, its cheeks.
The longing has not diminished. Still it understands. It is time to consider a cat, the cultivation of African violets or flowering cactus. Yes, it decides: Many miniature cacti, in blue and red painted pots. When it finds itself disquieted by the pure and unfamiliar silence of its new life, it will touch them—one, then another— with a single finger outstretched like a tiny flame.
Sundays too my father got up early and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. When the rooms were warm, he'd call, and slowly I would rise and dress, fearing the chronic angers of that house,. Speaking indifferently to him, who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well. What did I know, what did I know of love's austere and lonely offices? I love the hour before takeoff, that stretch of no time, no home but the gray vinyl seats linked like unfolding paper dolls.
Even the lone executive who has wandered this far into summer with his lasered itinerary, briefcase knocking his knees—even he has worked for the pleasure of bearing no more than a scrap of himself into this hall. I would like to watch you sleeping, which may not happen. I would like to watch you, sleeping. I would like to sleep with you, to enter your sleep as its smooth dark wave slides over my head.
I would like to give you the silver branch, the small white flower, the one word that will protect you from the grief at the center of your dream, from the grief at the center. I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. But with the sentence: "Use your failures for paper. Whose far side I begin now to enter— A book imprinted without seeming season, each blank day bearing on its reverse, in random order, the mad-set type of another.
December 12, April 4, To call this memory offers no solace. I, a woman forty-five, beginning to gray at the temples, putting pages of ruined paper into a basket, pulling them out again. Watching Picnic again for the umpteenth time. We need more trains. The tin-roofed stations in red brick or the grand multi-track white terminals.
He was a closet case. He left by train but the train was a bus. Mysteries unfold on trains. Strangers disembark often enough to disrupt your day. My chief fear on trains is not murder nor stumbling into the wrong berth. There is no wrong berth. I hate memory. My first train memory is the circus puffing by on its way to winter in Florida.
There are no giraffes in most circuses, so I was obviously a forlorn child. Lonesome whistle. Did Hank Williams wake to the crossing guard blinking its red light across his face at night through a window he hoped someday to climb out. Trains are sad as elephants. Lumbering along. Or pulling down tents. Where do people who are wrong for each other meet but in the movies or on trains. Passing through. Let him ruin your weekend but not your life. You came in out of the night And there were flowers in your hands, Now you will come out of a confusion of people, Out of a turmoil of speech about you.
I who have seen you amid the primal things Was angry when they spoke your name In ordinary places. I would that the cool waves might flow over my mind, And that the world should dry as a dead leaf, Or as a dandelion seed-pod and be swept away, So that I might find you again, Alone.
I look for words in the dark, silently describing to myself the particular conditions of the weather on the morning I saw you most recently— the wind, its patterned disarray— my mind elsewhere, distracted, lyrical, while the pianist plays an encore. Mozart was born on this day years ago. All day I have been ungenerous, resentful, impatient. In between movements, no applause but the old ladies cough loudly, violently. We cannot last forever. I loved music before I loved books. I loved Mozart before I loved you. On Uranus, a quarter of my weight is meat, or an awareness of myself as flesh.
On Venus the light would produce a real volume around me that would make me look happy in photographs. This is how it is with quantity in any life. Think of the most beautiful horse in the world: a ridiculously beautiful golden horse, with a shimmering coat; it would weigh no more than an empty handbag on Mars. You need to get real about these things. Before the divorce. Before the new apartment. Before the new marriage. Before the apple tree. Before the ceramics in the garbage.
Before the koi were all eaten by the crane. Before the road between us, there was the road beneath us, and I was just big enough not to let go: Henno Road, creek just below, rough wind, chicken legs, and I never knew survival was like that. If you live, you look back and beg for it again, the hazardous bliss before you know what you would miss. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom?
Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries? Does my haughtiness offend you? Does my sexiness upset you? I rise I rise I rise. Noticed because. The composer shows how. Likes gesture. To hold. And the bees.
A threatened thing. A no-one-knows-why. And I, for a moment, pinned to the ground. Pinned and spinning in the sound of it. I was born among the bodies. I was hurried forward, and sealed a thin life for myself. I have shortened my name, and walk with a limp. I place pebbles in milk and offer.
We can not live on cold blood alone. In a dream, I am ungendered, and the moon is just the moon having a thought of itself. I am a wolf masked in the scent of its prey and I am driven—hawk like—to the dark. I have grasped my eager heart in my own talons. I am made of fire,. I am made of smoke and all smoke passes through me. Now the bodies are just calcified gravity, built up and broken down over the years. Somewhere there are phantoms having their own funerals over and over again. The same. The same moon rolling down the gutter of the same sky.
Somewhere, a tired man. God is a performing artist working only with. Death is just a child come to take us by the hand, and lead us gently away. Fear is the paralyzing agent, the viper that swallows us living and whole. And the devil,. You—my dark friend. And me. She takes my hand in the dream I am very young as we watch the children disembark. I ask her: But will they be loved? The hurt itself will be a kind of attention. At first, he careens away, then back toward us only to ascend, blacking out the sun until he climbs high enough that he is swallowed by it altogether.
Never ever again to see you? An error, I aver. I know death is absolute, forever, the guillotine — gutting — never to which we never say goodbye. So I never see you is not a thing or think my mouth can ever. Will I ever really get never? Nothing, never—ever. Garden of rock. Garden of brick and heather.
Garden of bar fights. What secret had Nietzsche discovered when he walked the Turin streets before he flung his arms around a horse being beaten and collapsed into a decade-long coma? Clinging to the cowering brown beast, he said Mother, I am stupid. Wild hair and a three- piece tweed suit constrained the body that held the mind that knew too much.
Why am I mining dead men for answers when they were all as mad as I am? The horse, his eyes hollow as those of the Burmese elephant that Orwell shot decades later, had the look of every betrayed creature. The look that turns to recognition, to resignation, to an eye reflecting a field full of fallen horses. I dreamed that I was a rose That grew beside a lonely way, Close by a path none ever chose, And there I lingered day by day.
I dreamed that you were a bee That one day gaily flew along, You came across the hedge to me, And sang a soft, love-burdened song. The wisteria wonders. The woman wonders too. The river is raw tonight. The river is a calling. The wisteria wants the river. The woman unlaces the light across her body.
It is free to house the night sky. I send it out toward a mirror some distracted bored cosmonaut dropped on an asteroid hurtling vastly closer to our star. No one watches me watching thousands of television hours, knitting a golden bobcat out of tiny golden threadlets. They call her plain but to me her name sounds full of distant messages beamed a thousand years ago, only now to flower.
Crazed bee, I know the name of the plant you are in! Also, the jay is not blue, nor the sky or indigo bunting, within particles and feathers sun gets lost making expert holographers out of us all. Passarina, I saw your dull blaze from the railing flash and an insect disappeared. Afternoon once again slipped into the gas station like it did those old days it had a body that moved and smoked among the people, whistling a cowboy song concerning long shadows, happy and unfree.
So improbable! To have met you at all and then to have been told in your soft young voice so soon after meeting you: "I love you. I was, in that moment, new; you were 19; I was 22; you were impulsive; I was there in front of you, with a future that hadn't yet been burned for fuel; I had energy; you had beauty; and your eyes were a pale blue, and they backed what you said with all they hadn't seen, and they were the least ambitious eyes I'd known, the least calculating, and when you spoke and when they shone, perhaps you saw the feeling you caused.
Perhaps you saw too that the feeling would stay. I watch a woman take a photo of a flowering tree with her phone. I have taken photos of a sunset. I think I believe this. Sunset the word holds more than a photo could. Since it announces the sun then puts it away. We went to the poppy preserve where the poppies were few but generous clumps of them grew right outside the fence like a slightly cruel lesson.
I watched your face, just out of reach. The flowers are diminished by the lens. The woman tries and tries to make it right bending her knees, tilting back. I take a photo of a sunset, with flash. I who think I have something to learn from anything learned nothing from the streetlight that shines obnoxiously into my bedroom. This is my photo of a tree in bloom. I see your gray eyes Looking out to sea In those Rockport summers, Keeping a distance Within the closeness Which was never intrusive Opening out Into the world. And what I remember Is how we laughed Till we cried Swept into merriment Especially when times were hard.
And what I remember Is how you never stopped creating And how people sent me Dresses you had designed With rich embroidery In brilliant colors Because they could not bear To give them away Or cast them aside. I summon you now Not to think of The ceaseless battle With pain and ill health, The frailty and the anguish. No, today I remember The creator, The lion-hearted. Will labor to appear in bursts of as Or under , will command the color green. To work with from or of or in in staves And paragraphs, will demarcate the limits.
From the fire. What words you speak I too Have spoken of: of of , the turning back ,. The opening beyond and up above us, The movement forward and the reasoning Behind. I know that the horizon falls out Of perspective, that toward music the sea. Will harken back and find in language No beauty save impermanence, a minor awe. I walked to the end of the pier and threw your name into the sea, and when you flew back to me— a silver fish—I devoured you, cleaned you to the bone. I was through. But then you came back again: as sun on water.
I reached for you, skimmed my hands over the light of you. And when the sky darkened, again, I thought it was over, but then, you became water. I closed my eyes and lay on top of you, swallowed you, let you swallow me too. And when you carried my body back to shore— as I trusted that you would do— well, then, you became shore too, and I knew, finally, I would never be through. What torture lurks within a single thought When grown too constant; and however kind, However welcome still, the weary mind Aches with its presence.
Dull remembrance taught Remembers on unceasingly; unsought The old delight is with us but to find That all recurring joy is pain refined, Become a habit, and we struggle, caught. You lie upon my heart as on a nest, Folded in peace, for you can never know How crushed I am with having you at rest Heavy upon my life. I love you so You bind my freedom from its rightful quest. In mercy lift your drooping wings and go. The eye chews the apple, sends the brain an image of the un-apple.
The eye is the most deceptive organ in the body. Followed closely by the hand, which refuses to accept that touch comes down to the repulsion of electrons, so that when I hold the hand of the person I love, mostly I am pushing him away. Which has something to do with the striking resemblance between a bag of individually wrapped candies and the human heart. The sticky glass of their shattering. And still the fireflies glow with their particular sorrow.
The police tape separating the mind from everything that is not the mind proves imaginary. My eyes find the face of the person I love and pull out their fork and knife. Every way ends, every road, every foot-path leads at last to the hill-crest— then you retrace your steps, or find the same slope on the other side, precipitate. O for some sharp swish of a branch— there is no scent of resin in this place, no taste of bark, of coarse weeds, aromatic, astringent— only border on border of scented pinks.
Are not, by far, the great number of artisans and some artists who exercising their creativity for the sake of entertainment and mainly commercial purpose? While waiting for other patronage I made oil copies of prints after Teniers, the dullest of a school which had noble members in its ranks. Caless, Bryn. The ego likes to die on stage according to its own plot: under the limelight and with the fixed attention of the world. The whole house seems to be thinking, And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor Of strokes, and again is silent.
Have you seen fruit under cover that wanted light— pears wadded in cloth, protected from the frost, melons, almost ripe, smothered in straw? Why not let the pears cling to the empty branch? All your coaxing will only make a bitter fruit— let them cling, ripen of themselves, test their own worth, nipped, shrivelled by the frost, to fall at last but fair With a russet coat. Or the melon— let it bleach yellow in the winter light, even tart to the taste— it is better to taste of frost— the exquisite frost— than of wadding and of dead grass.
For this beauty, beauty without strength, chokes out life. I want wind to break, scatter these pink-stalks, snap off their spiced heads, fling them about with dead leaves— spread the paths with twigs, limbs broken off, trail great pine branches, hurled from some far wood right across the melon-patch, break pear and quince— leave half-trees, torn, twisted but showing the fight was valiant.
O to blot out this garden to forget, to find a new beauty in some terrible wind-tortured place. Materials for Teachers Materials for Teachers Home. Poems for Kids. Poems for Teens. Lesson Plans. Teach this Poem. Poetry Near You. Academy of American Poets. National Poetry Month. American Poets Magazine. Concordance [Our conversation is a wing] Mei-mei Berssenbrugge. Concordance [Working backward in sleep] Mei-mei Berssenbrugge. Kaddish, Part I Allen Ginsberg. Think Tank [excerpts] Julie Carr. Van Jordan. A Hand Jane Hirshfield. Affirmation Donald Hall.
All She Wrote Harryette Mullen. Appeal to the Grammarians Paul Violi. April Inventory W. At Baia H. Audience Mei-mei Berssenbrugge. Ballad Sonia Sanchez. Bone Claudia Emerson. Brief Lives [excerpt] Ken Chen. Ceriserie Joshua Clover. Colosseum Katie Ford. Credo Matthew Rohrer. Curve of Pursuit Bin Ramke. Dawn James Laughlin. Days of Rome Gerard Malanga. Death Fugue Paul Celan. Do not go gentle into that good night Dylan Thomas.
Dream Song 1 John Berryman. Dream Song 29 John Berryman. Dream Song 4 John Berryman. Dulce et Decorum Est Wilfred Owen. Easter, W. Einstein Defining Special Relativity A. Evening Gail Mazur. Failing and Flying Jack Gilbert. First Gestures Julia Spicher Kasdorf. Floater Debra Nystrom. Found Poem Howard Nemerov. Four Poems for Robin Gary Snyder. Fugue of Death Paul Celan. Goblin Market Christina Rossetti. Going There Jack Gilbert. Grief Puppet Sandra Beasley. Having it Out with Melancholy Jane Kenyon.
Heron Michael Longley. Home is so Sad Philip Larkin. I measure every Grief I meet Emily Dickinson. I rose from marsh mud Lorine Niedecker. Ideal Mei-mei Berssenbrugge. In a Station of the Metro Ezra Pound. In Louisiana Albert Bigelow Paine. In the great snowfall before the bomb Lorine Niedecker. In the Waiting Room Elizabeth Bishop. In View of the Fact A. It's all I have to bring today 26 Emily Dickinson. Joey Awake Now Glyn Maxwell.
Journey aka OR7 Gerard Malanga. Kindness Naomi Shihab Nye. Koi Katie Ford. Lights Out Edward Thomas. Lion and Gin Dennis Hinrichsen. Losing Track Denise Levertov. Lost Fugue for Chet Lynda Hull. Moreover, the Moon Mina Loy. My Brother's Mirror Donald Platt. My Philosophy of Life John Ashbery. Of Memory and Distance Russell Edson. Question May Swenson. Remember Christina Rossetti. Render, Render Thomas Lux.
Self-Portrait as Miranda Geri Doran. September 1, W. Sestina: Altaforte Ezra Pound. Sick Shel Silverstein. Sitting Outside W.
Six Words Lloyd Schwartz. Ski Lift to Death! Matthew Rohrer. Charles Bukowski. Still A. Suicide of a Moderate Dictator Elizabeth Bishop. Te Deum Charles Reznikoff. Tear It Down Jack Gilbert. That time of year thou mayst in me behold Sonnet 73 William Shakespeare. The Bistro Styx Rita Dove.
The Cabbage Ruth Stone. The Definition of Love Andrew Marvell. The Embrace Mark Doty. Joshua Beckman. The Language of Love Rodney Jones. The Letter Amy Lowell. The Mystery of Meteors Eleanor Lerman. The Portrait Stanley Kunitz. The Reading Club Patricia Goedicke. The Secret Denise Levertov. The Snow Man Wallace Stevens. The Song of Wandering Aengus W. The Writer Richard Wilbur. Theories of Time and Space Natasha Trethewey. There's a certain Slant of light Emily Dickinson. This Morning Charles Simic. Those Winter Sundays Robert Hayden.
Toad Diane Seuss. Vacation Rita Dove. Variation on the Word Sleep Margaret Atwood. Visits to St. Elizabeths Elizabeth Bishop. Vocation Sandra Beasley. What the Angels Left Marie Howe. When Ecstasy is Inconvenient Lorine Niedecker. Windows Linda Bierds. Yellow Bowl Rachel Contreni Flynn. Yes Denise Duhamel. Wild Silk Brian Russell. Passing Through D. Francesca Ezra Pound. Birthday Richie Hofmann. Still I Rise Maya Angelou.
The Carolina Wren Laura Donnelly. The Children TJ Jarrett. Ever Meghan O'Rourke. Ghost Eden Erika Meitner. The Awakening James Weldon Johnson. Proportion Ben Doller. Birds of Texas Matthew Zapruder. Poem to First Love Matthew Yeager. Utopian Alicia Ostriker. A Sunset Ari Banias. Hunter Phillip B. For My Mother May Sarton. The Burden Sara Nicholson. The End of the Pier Nicole Callihan. A Fixed Idea Amy Lowell. I am reminded via email to resubmit my preferences for the schedule Chen Chen. Ars Poetica Leslie McGrath. Electrons Ruth Madievsky. Sheltered Garden H.
What I'm telling you [excerpt] Shara McCallum. I want a red dress. I want it flimsy and cheap, I want it too tight, I want to wear it until someone tears it off me. I want it sleeveless and backless, this dress, so no one has to guess what's underneath. I want to walk down the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store with all those keys glittering in the window, past Mr. I want to walk like I'm the only woman on earth and I can have my pick. I want that red dress bad. I want it to confirm your worst fears about me, to show you how little I care about you or anything except what I want.
When I find it, I'll pull that garment from its hanger like I'm choosing a body to carry me into this world, through the birth-cries and the love-cries too, and I'll wear it like bones, like skin, it'll be the goddamned dress they bury me in. Postulate whether the friendship is fulfilling. Words spoken with force create particles. My last thoughts were bitter and helpless. Poem by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge Illustration by Kiki Smith Working backward in sleep, the last thing you numbed to is what wakes you.
What if that image were Eros as words? What would it be like if you contemplated my words and I felt you? Animals, an owl, frog, open their eyes, and a mirror forms on the ground. An owl opens its eyes in deep woods. For the first time, I write and you don't know me. Milkweed I touch floats. It leaps about me, as I go out and walk the street, look back over my shoulder, Seventh Avenue, the battlements of window office buildings shoul- dering each other high, under a cloud, tall as the sky an instant—and the sky above—an old blue place.
Toward the Key in the window—and the great Key lays its head of light on top of Manhattan, and over the floor, and lays down on the sidewalk—in a single vast beam, moving, as I walk down First toward the Yiddish Theater—and the place of poverty you knew, and I know, but without caring now—Strange to have moved thru Paterson, and the West, and Europe and here again, with the cries of Spaniards now in the doorstops doors and dark boys on the street, fire escapes old as you —Tho you're not old now, that's left here with me— Myself, anyhow, maybe as old as the universe—and I guess that dies with us—enough to cancel all that comes--What came is gone forever every time— That's good!
That leaves it open for no regret—no fear radiators, lacklove, torture even toothache in the end— Though while it comes it is a lion that eats the soul—and the lamb, the soul, in us, alas, offering itself in sacrifice to change's fierce hunger--hair and teeth—and the roar of bonepain, skull bare, break rib, rot-skin, braintricked Implacability.
We are in a fix! And you're out, Death let you out, Death had the Mercy, you're done with your century, done with God, done with the path thru it—Done with yourself at last—Pure —Back to the Babe dark before your Father, before us all—before the world— There, rest. No more suffering for you. I know where you've gone, it's good. To go where? In that Dark--that--in that God? A Lord in the Void?
Like an eye in the black cloud in a dream? Adonoi at last, with you? Beyond my remembrance! Incapable to guess! Not merely the yellow skull in the grave, or a box of worm dust, and a stained ribbon—Deaths- head with Halo? Is it only the sun that shines once for the mind, only the flash of existence, than none ever was?
Nothing beyond what we have—what you had—that so pitiful—yet Tri- umph, to have been here, and changed, like a tree, broken, or flower—fed to the ground—but made, with its petals, colored, thinking Great Universe, shaken, cut in the head, leaf stript, hid in an egg crate hospital, cloth wrapped, sore—freaked in the moon brain, Naughtless.
No flower like that flower, which knew itself in the garden, and fought the knife—lost Cut down by an idiot Snowman's icy—even in the Spring—strange ghost thought some—Death—Sharp icicle in his hand—crowned with old roses—a dog for his eyes—cock of a sweatshop—heart of electric irons. All the accumulations of life, that wear us out—clocks, bodies, consciousness, shoes, breasts—begotten sons—your Communism—'Paranoia' into hospitals. You once kicked Elanor in the leg, she died of heart failure later.
You of stroke. Is Elanor happy? Max grieves alive in an office on Lower Broadway, lone large mustache over midnight Accountings, not sure. His life passes—as he sees—and what does he doubt now? Still dream of making money, or that might have made money, hired nurse, had children, found even your Im- mortality, Naomi? I'll see him soon. Now I've got to cut through to talk to you as I didn't when you had a mouth. And we're bound for that, Forever like Emily Dickinson's horses —headed to the End. They know the way—These Steeds—run faster than we think—it's our own life they cross—and take with them.
Magnificent, mourned no more, marred of heart, mind behind, mar- ried dreamed, mortal changed—Ass and face done with murder. In the world, given, flower maddened, made no Utopia, shut under pine, almed in Earth, blamed in Lone, Jehovah, accept. Nameless, One Faced, Forever beyond me, beginningless, endless, Father in death. Tho I am not there for this Prophecy, I am unmarried, I'm hymnless, I'm Heavenless, headless in blisshood I would still adore Thee, Heaven, after Death, only One blessed in Nothingness, not light or darkness, Dayless Eternity— Take this, this Psalm, from me, burst from my hand in a day, some of my Time, now given to Nothing—to praise Thee—But Death This is the end, the redemption from Wilderness, way for the Won- derer, House sought for All, black handkerchief washed clean by weeping —page beyond Psalm—Last change of mine and Naomi—to God's perfect Darkness--Death, stay thy phantoms!
II Over and over—refrain—of the Hospitals—still haven't written your history—leave it abstract—a few images run thru the mind—like the saxophone chorus of houses and years— remembrance of electrical shocks. By long nites as a child in Paterson apartment, watching over your nervousness—you were fat—your next move— By that afternoon I stayed home from school to take care of you— once and for all—when I vowed forever that once man disagreed with my opinion of the cosmos, I was lost— By my later burden—vow to illuminate mankind—this is release of particulars— mad as you — sanity a trick of agreement — But you stared out the window on the Broadway Church corner, and spied a mystical assassin from Newark, So phoned the Doctor—'OK go way for a rest'—so I put on my coat and walked you downstreet—On the way a grammarschool boy screamed, unaccountably—'Where you goin Lady to Death'?
I shuddered— and you covered your nose with motheaten fur collar, gas mask against poison sneaked into downtown atmosphere, sprayed by Grandma— And was the driver of the cheesebox Public Service bus a member of the gang? Thou hast forgotten me, Akhilleus. Never was I uncared for in life but am in death. Accord me burial in all haste: let me pass the gates of Death.
Shades that are images of used-up men motion me away, will not receive me among their hosts beyond the river. I wander about the wide gates and the hall of Death. Give me your hand. I sorrow. When thou shalt have allotted me my fire I will not fare here from the dark again. As living men we'll no more sit apart from our companions, making plans.
The day of wrath appointed for me at my birth engulfed and took me down. Thou too, Akhilleus, face iron destiny, godlike as thou art, to die under the wall of highborn Trojans. One more message, one behest, I leave thee: not to inter my bones apart from thine but close together, as we grew together, in thy family's hall. So may the same urn hide our bones, the one of gold your gracious mother gave. Because a razor cuts across a frame of film, I wince, squinting my eye, and because my day needs assembly to make sense of the scenes anyway, making a story from some pieces of truth, I go outside to gather those pieces.
Thousands of moments spooling out frames of mistakes in my day. As if anyone's to blame, as if anyone could interpret the colliding images, again and again, dragging my imagination behind me, I begin assembling. I don't know anything, so I seek directions, following the path of ants from your palm, out the apartment door to a beach. Is this where I'm supposed to ask if my hands on you bend some light around shade?
Maybe I'm not ready for the answer. They say art imitates what we can sculpt or write or just see when we turn ourselves inside out. I can't turn my eye away from the sight of failure. The rain pelts rooftops. I listen to the song, thinking when the sun comes back, beating down the door in my head, I'll salvage whatever sits still long enough for me to render, before anyone knows what really happened. In Africa the wine is cheap, and it is on St. Mark's Place too, beneath a white moon.
A hand is not four fingers and a thumb. Nor is it palm and knuckles, not ligaments or the fat's yellow pillow, not tendons, star of the wristbone, meander of veins. A hand is not the thick thatch of its lines with their infinite dramas, nor what it has written, not on the page, not on the ecstatic body. Nor is the hand its meadows of holding, of shaping— not sponge of rising yeast-bread, not rotor pin's smoothness, not ink.
The maple's green hands do not cup the proliferant rain. What empties itself falls into the place that is open. A hand turned upward holds only a single, transparent question. Unanswerable, humming like bees, it rises, swarms, departs. Everything the same, including sunlight, because it would be hard on a young girl to go so quickly from bright light to utter darkness Gradually, he thought, he'd introduce the night, first as the shadows of fluttering leaves.
A replica of earth except there was love here. Doesn't everyone want love? And when one turns, the other turns— That's what he felt, the lord of darkness, looking at the world he had constructed for Persephone. He wants to say I love you, nothing can hurt you but he thinks this is a lie, so he says in the end you're dead, nothing can hurt you which seems to him a more promising beginning, more true.
To grow old is to lose everything. Aging, everybody knows it.