Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Gods breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth;
Engine against th’ Almightie, sinners towre,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-daies world-transposing in an houre,
A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear;
Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heaven in ordinarie, man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bels beyond the starres heard, the souls bloud,
The land of spices; something understood.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
At Sestos Hero dwelt; Hero the fair,
Whom young Apollo courted for her hair,
And offered as a dower his burning throne,
Where she should sit for men to gaze upon.
The outside of her garments were of lawn,
The lining purple silk, with gilt stars drawn;
Her wide sleeves green, and bordered with a grove
Where Venus in her naked glory strove
To please the careless and disdainful eyes
Of proud Adonis, that before her lies;
Her kirtle blue, whereon was many a stain,
Made with the blood of wretched lovers slain.
Upon her head she ware a myrtle wreath,
From whence her veil reached to the ground beneath.
Her veil was artificial flowers and leaves,
Whose workmanship both man and beast deceives;
Many would praise the sweet smell as she passed,
When ‘twas the odor which her breath forth cast;
And there for honey, bees have sought in vain,
And, beat from hence, have lighted there again.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I being young and foolish, with her would not agree.
In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Sumer is ycomen in,
Loude sing cuckou!
Groweth seed and bloweth meed,
And springth the wode now.
Ewe bleteth after lamb,
Loweth after calve cow,
Bulloc sterteth, bucke verteth,
Merye sing cuckou!
Wel singest thou cuckou:
Ne swik though never now!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou wouldst wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calmed—see here it is—
I hold it towards you.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Created from clay the pot that holds our dinner
Made of vegetables and a little meat heated
On the stove with lines of gas buried and running
To the street to the main that remains in full flow
Supplying to all these houses on our block
And beyond out into worlds of ideas meaning
Someone thought of what to eat and how to cook it
And how to live in a way that is easy as pie
Though one hears complaining by and by
For reasons pertaining to freedom of the will,
Edwards’ essay on which I’m half-way through
In hope of learning something about why I am
The way I am and why everyone else is too
Because I’m curious and concerned and in want
Of a drink and a meal and a little space to think
Monday, June 14, 2010
Sometimes a man stands up during supper
and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.
And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead.
And another man, who remains inside his own house,
dies there, inside the dishes and in the glasses,
so that his children have to go far out into the world
toward that same church, which he forgot.
Trans. by Robert Bly
Saturday, June 12, 2010
A drapeless window. Away from kids
And wife for the weekend, the bed
Is quiet, the room unpressurized,
The house airy. I miss my life
As it is even for this short time
But this short time is a gift.
On the phone, I love you to each
Of the three. No faces to register.
Words like mortars flying
Toward a target obscured by a ridge
May or may not hit the target.
You must trust the coordinates, trust
Experience and expertise.
Friday, June 11, 2010
I get a break when the kids go down
And leave the house onto the path
I’m on each time I leave, with headphones
On, removing the right one when people
Pass by to say hi there, hello.
In fifty minutes or so I feel it
In my knee and sometimes ankle
And look into that bar I never enter
And walk on the pier and the water
When the moon’s full behind me now
By the shore is bright and slick,
Glassed-in and tinted purple.
I talked on the phone telling the person
I talked with about it once.
Fishermen leave so much trash
On the planks—plastic bags and cups,
Paper bags from dinner, styrofoam
Trays from frozen bait. It blows into
The ocean or will. I pick some up.
Someone seeing me will see it’s ok
To pick up trash you didn’t make,
The people who left it shamed by my act.
Nobody changes far as I can tell.
Surfing years before, a man in the water
Yelled at some others You’re not from here
Fuckin’ losers, get the fuck out of the water.
I wanted a gun. I wanted to see him cry.
I have few dreams, but the strongest I feel
Have to do with hurting people
Who should hurt, like you.
How many years I feel wronged,
Wrong myself. I know but what you don’t
I have this sense when you come
To me against me I hunger to unleash
Torrents of feeling true and therefore right,
Light by which comes the vaunted recognition
Of sin. I never will, who would hear it?
I fear it would when meeting air’s catalysis
Turn meaning that can’t be argued into
Banality by sound, by manifestation.
Let’s keep it mystery. Let’s keep quiet
Our misery, slow, decaying. I don’t want to.
I know I’m right. You know you are.
Can’t be helped. The feet each time
Pass over knotted planks, worn bricks
And lift over the aluminum threshold,
The brink of a house, and enter there
And there you are in bed awake of course.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Like lids and screws in our hemisphere.
In yours, you’ve got spiral variety.
And depending on the continent:
Dingo, hyena, or the maned wolf.
Dogs and dog-like creatures are where
My inclinations lean. It’s that pack-ness,
That loyalty to leadership.
This has its problems.
A boy scout in the Ozarks, I let
The leader take us down an unmapped
Path. We found the abandoned cabin
He knew as a kid now used by meth-
Heads. The dog guarding it
Was trained to attack by his master.
That cabin is now long-gone—
Tornadoes. I assume they turn the same
As all else up here, errant tops
Spinning right across the regions
Destroying evidence mindlessly.
Those killers won the lottery,
Burrowed in the earth like foxes.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
“If that’s what he means,” says the student to the poetry teacher, “why doesn’t he just say it?” “If God is real,” says the parishioner to the preacher, “why doesn’t he simply storm into our lives and convince us?” The questions are vastly different in scale and relative importance, but their answers are similar. A poem, if it’s a real one, in some fundamental sense means no more and no less than the moment of its singular music and lightning insight; it is its own code to its own absolute and irreducible clarity. A god, if it’s a living one, is not outside of reality but in it, of it (though in ways it takes patience and imagination to perceive). Thus the uses and necessities of metaphor, which can flash us past our plodding resistance and habits into strange new truths. Thus the very practical effects of music, myth, image, which tease us not out of reality but deeper and more completely into it.- Christian Wiman
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
I had this experience a couple of years ago where I got to sit in on the editorial meeting at the Onion. Every Monday they have to come up with like 17 or 18 headlines, and to do that, they generate 600 headlines per week. I feel like that's why it's good: because they are willing to be wrong 583 times to be right 17.
It kind of gives you hope. If you do creative work, there's a sense that inspiration is this fairy dust that gets dropped on you, when in fact you can just manufacture inspiration through sheer brute force. You can simply produce enough material that the thing will arrive that seems inspired.
- Ira Glass [more here]
Monday, June 7, 2010
Fearfully and wonderfully made the tiger
Moves through a fractured landscape
Toward the end it conceives of as
Perhaps unslakeable thirst for sleep
Coming on, a lightless canopy.
His teeth are dulled and fall out, and the leaps
He made toward prey are a memory
Muscles retain when the body will not comply.
This largest of cats starves.
There are 2,000 left in the wild, hunted
For bones used in Chinese Medicine,
Penises for aphrodisiacs. The fact
That people act against their interests
Is evidenced daily, everywhere.
This is not it. The tiger existed and exists.
In the shadow of trees near home is
A faint scraping. Unseen in their branches
Are wings. The word is always whispered,
World without end, though the life has not
Taken the expected form.—Overwritten
And underfunded. Poorly conceived.
A person must reach when learning
It's too late to buy a dog or start a hobby.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I used to take the waterslide
to work but now I take
the catapult. Sometimes I skip.
How the stars would be reflected
in the deep pools of your eyes
if not for the air pollution
and your two eye patches!
There's a flower
in the blue bottle that once
had Orangina in it. The flowers
are orange but the water
in the bottle only looks blue
because the bottle is blue.
Who thinks to put an orange drink
in a blue bottle? I’d like to meet this person
and interrogate him, tenderly.
Wisdom through Experience
Everybody thinks I’m great
until they marry me.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Deplane the sky.
The man in gray
Gets it home.
Sidewalk’s the same
Shade. Be sad for
All you’ve got's
A muffin unmarked
I’ll buy when I reach it.
Drive off, Man
In mercury suit slipping into
Away. Fly little birdie.
Sky's sky today.