Saturday, 11 November 2017

Rest




Untitled - Jeffrey Yang

west of rest is sleep
east, dream
where waters meet
north, emptiness,
south, wakefulness,
and out, rising up
to the stars, peace.


Friday, 10 November 2017

Losses

 Image result for castaway

Losses - Kay Ryan

Most losses add something—
a new socket or silence,
a gap in a personal
archipelago of islands.

We have that difference
to visit—itself
a going-on of sorts.

But there are other losses
so far beyond report
that they leave holes
in holes only

like the ends of the
long and lonely lives
of castaways
thought dead but not.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Region November

 Image result for november night

 'Deeplier, deeplier, loudlier, loudlier,
The trees are swaying, swaying, swaying...'


The Region November - Wallace Stevens

It is hard to hear the north wind again,
And to watch the treetops, as they sway.

They sway, deeply and loudly, in an effort,
So much less than feeling, so much less than speech,

Saying and saying, the way things say
On the level of that which is not yet knowledge:

A revelation not yet intended.
It is like a critic of God, the world

And human nature, pensively seated
On the waste throne of his own wilderness.

Deeplier, deeplier, loudlier, loudlier,
The trees are swaying, swaying, swaying.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Language of Love

Image result for pink window flowers


Permanently - Kenneth Koch

One day the Nouns were clustered in the street.
An adjective walked by, with her dark beauty.
The Nouns were struck, moved, changed.
The next day a Verb drove up, and created the Sentence.

Each Sentence says one thing - for example,

"Although it was a dark rainy day when the Adjective walked by,
I shall remember the pure and sweet expression on her face
until the day I perish from the green, effective earth."

Or, "Will you please close the window, Andrew?"

Or, for example, "Thank you, the pink pot of flowers on
the window sill has changed color recently to a light
yellow, due to the heat from the boiler factory which
exists nearby."

In the springtime the Sentences and the Nouns lay silently on the grass.
A lonely Conjunction here and there would call, "And! But!"
But the Adjective did not emerge.

As the adjective is lost in the sentence,
So I am lost in your eyes, ears, nose, and throat -
You have enchanted me with a single kiss
Which can never be undone
Until the destruction of language.


Sunday, 5 November 2017

Night Life

 Image result for porch at night


The Night, The Porch - Mark Strand

To stare at nothing is to learn by heart
What all of us will be swept into, and baring oneself
To the wind is feeling the ungraspable somewhere close by.
Trees can sway or be still. Day or night can be what they wish.
What we desire, more than a season or weather, is the comfort
Of being strangers, at least to ourselves. This is the crux
Of the matter, which is why even now we seem to be waiting
For something whose appearance would be its vanishing—
The sound, say, of a few leaves falling, or just one leaf,
Or less. There is no end to what we can learn. The book out there
Tells us as much, and was never written with us in mind.
 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Full Moon Self

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'There's no material as variable as moonlight...'

There's a lovely full moon out tonight. Make or do with it what you will.
 
Full Moon - Alice Oswald 

Good God!
What did I dream last night?
I dreamt I was the moon.
I woke and found myself still asleep.

It was like this: my face misted up from inside
And I came and went at will through a little peephole.
I had no voice, no mouth, nothing to express my trouble,
except my shadows leaning downhill, not quite parallel.

Something needs to be said to describe my moonlight.
Almost frost but softer, almost ash but wholer.
Made almost of water, which has strictly speaking
No feature, but a kind of counter-light, call it insight.

Like in woods, when they jostle their hooded shapes,
Their heads congealed together, having murdered each other,
There are moon-beings, sound-beings, such as deer and half-deer
Passing through there, whose eyes can pierce through things.

I was like that: visible invisible visible invisible.
There's no material as variable as moonlight.
I was climbing, clinging to the underneath of my bones, thinking:
Good God! Who have I been last night?

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Riddle

Image result for graveyard with trees in sunlight


Richard Wilbur - Riddle

Where far in forest I am laid,
In a place ringed around by stones,
Look for no melancholy shade,
And have no thoughts of buried bones;
For I am bodiless and bright,
And fill this glade with sudden glow;
The leaves are washed in under-light;
Shade lies upon the boughs like snow.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Samhain

Image result for halloween samhain

Samhain - Annie Finch
 

(The Celtic Halloween)
 
In the season leaves should love,
since it gives them leave to move
through the wind, towards the ground
they were watching while they hung,
legend says there is a seam
stitching darkness like a name.

Now when dying grasses veil
earth from the sky in one last pale
wave, as autumn dies to bring
winter back, and then the spring,
we who die ourselves can peel
back another kind of veil

that hangs among us like thick smoke.
Tonight at last I feel it shake.
I feel the nights stretching away
thousands long behind the days
till they reach the darkness where
all of me is ancestor.

I move my hand and feel a touch
move with me, and when I brush
my own mind across another,
I am with my mother's mother.
Sure as footsteps in my waiting
self, I find her, and she brings

arms that carry answers for me,
intimate, a waiting bounty.
"Carry me." She leaves this trail
through a shudder of the veil,
and leaves, like amber where she stays,
a gift for her perpetual gaze.


Monday, 30 October 2017

Halloween Mask

Image result for halloween scream mask

The scariest thing of all? Not demons, but human nature.

 
Empire of Dreams  - Charles Simic 
On the first page of my dreambook
It’s always evening
In an occupied country.   
Hour before the curfew.   
A small provincial city.   
The houses all dark.
The storefronts gutted.

I am on a street corner   
Where I shouldn’t be.   
Alone and coatless
I have gone out to look
For a black dog who answers to my whistle.   
I have a kind of Halloween mask
Which I am afraid to put on.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

The Haunted Chamber

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'Each heart has its haunted chamber...'

Perhaps the most haunting thing of all - the ghosts we keep in our own hearts.


The Haunted Chamber - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Each heart has its haunted chamber,
  Where the silent moonlight falls!
On the floor are mysterious footsteps,
  There are whispers along the walls!

And mine at times is haunted
  By phantoms of the Past
As motionless as shadows
  By the silent moonlight cast.

A form sits by the window,
  That is not seen by day,
For as soon as the dawn approaches
  It vanishes away.

It sits there in the moonlight
  Itself as pale and still,
And points with its airy finger
  Across the window-sill.

Without before the window,
  There stands a gloomy pine,
Whose boughs wave upward and downward
  As wave these thoughts of mine.

And underneath its branches
  Is the grave of a little child,
Who died upon life's threshold,
  And never wept nor smiled.

What are ye, O pallid phantoms!
  That haunt my troubled brain?
That vanish when day approaches,
  And at night return again?

What are ye, O pallid phantoms!
  But the statues without breath,
That stand on the bridge overarching
  The silent river of death?

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Bluebeard

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A short and sharp take on the Bluebeard story by Sylvia Plath. 


Bluebeard - Sylvia Plath

I am sending back the key
that let me into bluebeard’s study;
because he would make love to me
I am sending back the key;
in his eye’s darkroom I can see
my X-rayed heart, dissected body:
I am sending back the key
that let me into bluebeard’s study.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Incantation

 Image result for autumn leaves and moon
 
It's almost Halloween... when the 'witchery' of autumn is in plain sight. 

from Incantation - George Parsons Lathrop
When the leaves, by thousands thinned,
A thousand times have whirled in the wind,
And the moon, with hollow cheek,
Staring from her hollow height,
Consolation seems to seek
From the dim, reechoing night;
And the fog-streaks dead and white
Lie like ghosts of lost delight
O’er highest earth and lowest sky;
Then, Autumn, work thy witchery!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

After the Storm

Image result for stars


May Perpetual Light Shine - Patricia Spears Jones

We have encountered storms 
Perfect in their drench and wreck
 
Each of us bears an ornament of grief
A ring, a notebook, a ticket torn, scar
It is how humans know their kind—
 
What is known as love, what can become  
the heart’s food stored away for some future
Famine
 
Love remains a jewel in the hand, guarded
Shared fragments of earth & air   drift & despair.
 
We ponder what patterns matter other than moons and tides:
musical beats—rumba or waltz or cha cha cha
cosmic waves like batons furiously twirling
colors proclaiming sparkle of darkness
as those we love begin to delight
in the stars embracing
 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Storm Warnings

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We are currently in the middle of a hurricane in Ireland. (Ireland!)

Stormy weather always makes me think of this poem.

Storm Warnings - Adrienne Rich


The glass has been falling all the afternoon,
And knowing better than the instrument
What winds are walking overhead, what zone
Of grey unrest is moving across the land,
I leave the book upon a pillowed chair
And walk from window to closed window, watching
Boughs strain against the sky

And think again, as often when the air
Moves inward toward a silent core of waiting,
How with a single purpose time has traveled
By secret currents of the undiscerned
Into this polar realm. Weather abroad
And weather in the heart alike come on
Regardless of prediction.

Between foreseeing and averting change
Lies all the mastery of elements
Which clocks and weatherglasses cannot alter.
Time in the hand is not control of time,
Nor shattered fragments of an instrument
A proof against the wind; the wind will rise,
We can only close the shutters.

I draw the curtains as the sky goes black
And set a match to candles sheathed in glass
Against the keyhole draught, the insistent whine
Of weather through the unsealed aperture.
This is our sole defense against the season;
These are the things we have learned to do
Who live in troubled regions.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Night


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It Is Difficult to Speak of the Night  - Jack Gilbert

It is difficult to speak of the night.

It is the other time. Not
an absence of day.
But where there are no flowers
to turn away into.
There is only this dark
and the familiar place of my body.
And the voices calling out
of me for love.
This is not the night of the young:
their simple midnight of fear.
Nor the later place to employ.
This dark is a major nation.
I turn to it at forty
and find the night in flood.
Find the dark deployed in process.
Clotted in parts, in parts
flowing with lights.
The voices still keen of the divorce
we are born into.
But they are farther off,
and do not interest me.
I am forty, and it is different.
Suddenly in mid passage
I come into myself. I leaf
gigantically. An empire yields
unexpectedly: cities, summer forests,
satrapies, horses.
A solitude: an enormity.
Thank god.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Grief

Image result for small boat on the ocean

For the week that's in it. 


Grief - Raymond Carver

Woke up early this morning and from my bed
looked far across the Strait to see
a small boat moving through the choppy water,
a single running light on. Remembered
my friend who used to shout
his dead wife’s name from hilltops
around Perugia. Who set a plate
for her at his simple table long after
she was gone. And opened the windows
so she could have fresh air. Such display
I found embarrassing. So did his other
friends. I couldn’t see it.
Not until this morning.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

October, Daphne's Month

Image result for autumn goddess

'Autumn Goddess' by Moon Dreamer

Posted this one before, but it's so beautiful it merits a reposting. 


October

How suddenly
the woods
have turned
again. I feel

like Daphne, standing
with my arms
outstretched
to the season,

overtaken
by color, crowned
with the hammered gold
of leaves.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Letter in October

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A Letter in October - Ted Kooser

Dawn comes later and later now, 
and I, who only a month ago 
could sit with coffee every morning 
watching the light walk down the hill 
to the edge of the pond and place 
a doe there, shyly drinking, 

then see the light step out upon 
the water, sowing reflections 
to either side—a garden 
of trees that grew as if by magic— 
now see no more than my face, 
mirrored by darkness, pale and odd, 

startled by time. While I slept, 
night in its thick winter jacket 
bridled the doe with a twist 
of wet leaves and led her away, 
then brought its black horse with harness 
that creaked like a cricket, and turned 

the water garden under. I woke, 
and at the waiting window found 
the curtains open to my open face; 
beyond me, darkness. And I, 
who only wished to keep looking out, 
must now keep looking in. 

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Into October


Image result for october

'the colors of returning...'


Into October - WS Mervin

These must be the colors of returning
the leaves darkened now but staying on
into the bronzed morning among the seed heads
and the dry stems and the umbers of October
the secret season that appears on its own
a recognition without a sound
long after the day when I stood in its light
out on the parched barrens beside a spring
all but hidden in a tangle of eglantine
and picked the bright berries made of that summer

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Blackberry Eating

Image result for blackberries




Blackberry Eating - Galway Kinnell

I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinched,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy, black language
of blackberry-eating in late September.



Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Autumn Poem

Image result for leaf falling from tree



Autumn Poems - Nikki Giovanni

the heat
you left with me
last night
still smolders
the wind catches
your scent
and refreshes
my senses

i am a leaf
falling from your tree
upon which I
was impaled

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

How To Be Old

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How To Be Old - May Swenson 

It is easy to be young, (Everybody is,
at first.) It is not easy
to be old. It takes time.
Youth is given; age is achieved.
One must work a magic to mix with time
in order to become old.

Youth is given. One must put it away
like a doll in a closet,
take it out and play with it only 
on holidays. One must have many dresses
and dress the doll impeccably
(but not to show the doll, to keep it hidden.)

It is necessary to adore the doll,
to remember it in the dark on the ordinary
days, and every day congratulate
one's aging face in the mirror.

In time one will be very old.
In time, one's life will be accomplished.
And in time, in time, the doll–
like new, though ancient–will be found.


Monday, 25 September 2017

The Midnight Club


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The Midnight Club - Mark Strand

The gifted have told us for years that they want to be loved
For what they are, that they, in whatever fullness is theirs,
Are perishable in twilight, just like us. So they work all night
In rooms that are cold and webbed with the moon’s light;
Sometimes, during the day, they lean on their cars,
And stare into the blistering valley, glassy and golden,
But mainly they sit, hunched in the dark, feet on the floor,
Hands on the table, shirts with a bloodstain over the heart.


Friday, 22 September 2017

Autumn Equinox

Image result for autumn leaf with heart

I love the idea of 'stillness' in this poem. Isn't the equinox  a time of stillness before the change in seasons? A moment of pause, surrender, reflection. 


Autumn Refrain - Wallace Stevens

The skreak and skritter of evening gone
And grackles gone and sorrows of the sun,
The sorrows of the sun, too, gone . . . the moon and moon,
The yellow moon of words about the nightingale
In measureless measures, not a bird for me
But the name of a bird and the name of a nameless air
I have never--shall never hear. And yet beneath
The stillness that comes to me out of this, beneath
The stillness of everything gone, and being still
Being and sitting still, something resides,
Some skreaking and skrittering residuum,
And grates these evasions of the nightingale
Though I have never--shall never hear that bird.
And the stillness is in the key, all of it is,
The stillness is all in the key of that desolate sound.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Beautiful Changes

Image result for blue lucernes

The season of beautiful changes: autumn.


The Beautiful Changes - Richard Wilbur

One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides   
The Queen Anne’s Lace lying like lilies 
On water; it glides 
So from the walker, it turns 
Dry grass to a lake, as the slightest shade of you   
Valleys my mind in fabulous blue Lucernes. 

The beautiful changes as a forest is changed   
By a chameleon’s tuning his skin to it;   
As a mantis, arranged 
On a green leaf, grows 
Into it, makes the leaf leafier, and proves   
Any greenness is deeper than anyone knows. 

Your hands hold roses always in a way that says   
They are not only yours; the beautiful changes   
In such kind ways,   
Wishing ever to sunder 
Things and things’ selves for a second finding, to lose   
For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Autumn Note



My default autumn feeling.



Autumn Note - Langston Hughes

The little flowers of yesterday
Have all forgotten May.
The last gold leaf
Has turned to brown.
The last bright day is grey.
The cold of winter comes apace
And you have gone away.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Autumn Love Song

Image result for autumn leaves

cruelly, love - ee cummings

cruelly, love
walk the autumn long;
the last flower in whose hair,
they lips are cold with songs

for which is
first to wither, to pass?
shallowness of sunlight
falls, and cruelly,
across the grass
Comes the
moon

love, walk the
autumn
love, for the last
flower in the hair withers;
thy hair is acold with
dreams,
love thou art frail

-walk the longness of autumn
smile dustily to the people,
for winter
who crookedly care.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Frog Autumn

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Frog Autumn - Sylvia Plath 

Summer grows old, cold-blooded mother. 
The insects are scant, skinny. 
In these palustral homes we only 
Croak and wither. 

Mornings dissipate in somnolence. 
The sun brightens tardily 
Among the pithless reeds. Flies fail us. 
The fen sickens. 

Frost drops even the spider. Clearly 
The genius of plenitude 
Houses himself elsewhere. Our folk thin 
Lamentably. 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Light of September

Image result for light of autumn

I may have posted this poem before, but it's so beautiful, I'll post again. 

To The Light of September - WS Mervin

When you are already here 
you appear to be only 
a name that tells of you 
whether you are present or not 

and for now it seems as though 
you are still summer 
still the high familiar 
endless summer 
yet with a glint 
of bronze in the chill mornings 
and the late yellow petals 
of the mullein fluttering 
on the stalks that lean 
over their broken 
shadows across the cracked ground 

but they all know 
that you have come 
the seed heads of the sage 
the whispering birds 
with nowhere to hide you 
to keep you for later 

you 
who fly with them 

you who are neither 
before nor after 
you who arrive 
with blue plums 
that have fallen through the night 

perfect in the dew

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Rainy Night

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One good thing about the rain - poetry.


Last Night the Rain Spoke To Me - Mary Oliver

Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,

what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again

in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,

smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches

and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing

under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,

and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment,
at which moment

my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars


and the soft rain—
imagine! imagine!
the wild and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.