Archive for the 'ars poetica' Category

Hearken, all who read here

April 23, 2015

I’ve been working for the past few months on a website – a real website! With my name and everything! – hence no updates. (Other causes for delay include and are not limited to: moving house, editing a book, working hard, being tired.) Rest assured (how many of you dear readers are there? 4? 5?) that there will be a link to click on in the near future, and that it will furnish you with a new and shiny space for which I will be queuing (ah!) posts.

But in the meantime, a note of wisdom from a favourite:

From The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems, ed. Jen Bervin and Marta Werner/via POETRY since 1912.

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To the New Year

January 1, 2015

By W. S. Merwin

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning
so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible



via the Poetry Foundation. Happy 2015, everyone. ♥

[little tree]

December 25, 2014

By E. E. Cummings

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see          i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don’t be afraid
look          the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i’ll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy
then when you’re quite dressed
you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they’ll stare!
oh but you’ll be very proud
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing
“Noel Noel”
Christmas in Innsbruck, 2009.

Nightrunning

July 4, 2014

Nightrunning

So much cold
even the moon can’t swallow it
or the harbour in its fishy dark. You
balance your breath like a bowl of dry
ice. It’s all a mistake, this body,
this job, this love. Somewhere inside
where the heart spins hard on its string
is an animal watching. It scratches
at night, perhaps a beak or a tusk,
is neither kind nor unkind, just restless.

So much rain
even the deepest hill can’t filter it
or the river with its open gills. You
carry your heart like a full dish of blood.
It’s all such a blessing, this body,
this job, this love. Somewhere inside
where the lungs stretch their intricate wings
is an animal watching. It wriggles
at night and shows its belly or its tender scales,
is neither kind nor unkind, just restless.

 

Tiffany Atkinson, via The Guardian.

Khaleesi Says

February 2, 2014

 

Khaleesi Says
Game of Thrones

In this story, she is fire born:
knee-deep in the shuddering world.

In this story, she knows no fear,
for what is fractured is a near-bitten star,
a false-bearing tree,
or a dishonest wind.

In this story, fear is a house gone dry.
Fear is not being a woman.

I’m no ordinary woman, she says.
My dreams come true.

And she says and she is
and I say, yesgive me that.

 

Follow
Game of Thrones

Follow where all is./Follow the transfused./Follow what is still and
what is still-attracting.

That light/That beauty/That love/That, that is massy-borne and
rising up, like a drifting star.

Like stars lift./Like lifting stars./Like the lifting of stars, I rose. I rise.

Rose. Rose. Like a thing beyond words: satiated.

Let lie in the ravage./Let lie in what is ravaged-wrought.

Why fear what hasn’t become?

I beckon, like light./Like a star, I will beckon./You will oblige./You
will lend the want. You will eclipse my blinding.

You will know nothing. Nothing. You will know nothing of what
has been dark.

 

Leah Umansky, “Khaleesi Says” and “Follow”, Poetry 203.4
(Jan., 2014): 314-15. I subscribed to Poetry late last year,
and it’s just about the greatest thing to discover in your
mailbox after a long day at work. ♥

A highly original woman

January 3, 2013

 

I remember the sky behind her was purple she
came towards me saying
Why are you alone in this huge blank garden
like a piece of electricity? Electricity?
Maybe she said cakes and tea true we were drinking gin it was long past
teatime but she was a highly original woman

 

Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red, Vintage: New York, 1999: 58.

Paris, Winter 1913-14

December 17, 2012

You, the loved one lost
in advance, you who never arrived,
I don’t even know what sounds you like best.
No longer, when the future crests toward the present,
so I try to discern you. All the great
images in me—the landscape widening far off,
cities and towers and bridges and un-
suspected turns in the path
and the forcefulness of those lands
once intertwined with gods:
they all mount up in me to signify
you, forever not here.


You are the gardens.
With such hope
I saw them. An open window
in the country house–, and you almost
stepped out pensively to meet me. I found streets, —
you had just walked down them,
and sometimes the mirrors in the merchants’ shops
were still drunk with you and with a start
reflected my too-sudden image. –Who knows
if the same birdsong did not ring through both of us
yesterday, each of us alone, at evening?

“Paris, Winter 1913-14.”

 

Rainer Maria Rilke, (Untitled),  The Poetry of Rilke, trans. and ed. Edward Snow, New York: North Point Press (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), 2009: 523.

And you are you, none other

September 22, 2012

 

Not for these lovely blooms that prank your chambers did I come. Indeed,
I could have loved you better in the dark;
That is to say, in rooms less bright with roses, rooms more casual, less aware
Of History in the wings about to enter with benevolent air
On ponderous tiptoe, at the cue “Proceed.”
Not that I like the ash-trays over-crowded and the place in a mess,
Or the monastic cubicle too unctuously austere and stark,
But partly that these formal garlands for our Eighth Street Aphrodite are a bit too Greek,
And partly that to make the poor walls rich with our un-aided loveliness
Would have been more chic.

Yet here I am, having told you of my quarrel with the taxi-driver over a line of Milton, and you laugh; and you are you, none other.
Your laughter pelts my skin with small delicious blows.
But I am perverse: I wish you had not scrubbed—with pumice, I suppose—
The tobacco stains from your beautiful fingers. And I wish I did not feel like your mother.

 

Oh, Edna. You’re a dependable trick.

“Rendezvous”, in Hunstman, What Quarry? (1939). via brklynGirl.

September 17, 2012

“Late August”, Margaret Atwood.

via Fox on the Run

Evenings

August 13, 2012

 

You don’t know nights of love? No
petals of soft words float on your blood?
No secret places on your body
throb with memories, like eyes?

Paris, summer 1909

 

Rainer Maria Rilke, The Poetry of Rilke, trans. and ed. Edward Snow, New York: North Point Press (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), 2009: 467.