Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Day 803: Autumn Day


The last day of September is here, Autumn is truly here.


Autumn Day - Rilke

Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,
and on the meadows let the wind go free.   

Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine;
grant them a few more warm transparent days,
urge them on to fulfillment then, and press
the final sweetness into the heavy wine. 
 
Whoever has no house now, will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone,
will sit, read, write long letters through the evening,
and wander along the boulevards, up and down,
restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Day 802: September Plowing

 '...oh it is the autumn light/that brings everything back in one hand/the light again of beginnings...'

This poem reminds me so much of Albert Camus' quote that 'Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.'  For WS Mervin, Autumn is a new beginning too. 
 

September Plowing - WS Mervin

For seasons the walled meadow
south of the house built of its stone
grows up in shepherd's purse and thistles
the weeds share April as a secret
finches disguised as summer earth
click the drying seeds
mice run over rags of parchment in August
the hare keeps looking up remembering
a hidden joy fills the songs of the cicadas

two days' rain wakes the green in the pastures
crows agree and hawks shriek with naked voices
on all sides the dark oak woods leap up and shine
the long stony meadow is plowed at last and lies
all day bare
I consider life after life as treasures
oh it is the autumn light

that brings everything back in one hand
the light again of beginnings
the amber appearing as amber

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Day 801: Seasonal Adjustment

 '...how the vivacity of what was is married/to the vitality of what will be...'

Some people love the approaching season, some people loathe it. If you find it hard to adjust to the seasonal change, the following poem from Mary Oliver is a balm for the transition. As she says - what else to do but accept the season 'if the love one claims to have for the world/be true.' Exactly.


Lines Written in The Days of Growing Darkness - Mary Oliver

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends

into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don't say
it's easy, but
what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?

So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Day 800: The 'Wasted' Life

This poem has a certain startling ambiguity, a bit like Frost's 'The Road Not Taken.' When Wright says unexpectedly at the end that he has 'wasted his life', after recounting to us all the details of his pastoral surrounding scene, lying in a hammock, taking it easy, we wonder is this what he means. For to notice everything with this attention is surely not wasteful, but quite the opposite? 

This poem was quoted by author David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas) in a recent article series in The Atlantic, which asks writers to talk about their favourite passages from literature. Mitchell talks about how this poem urges us to stay inside the moment. You can read his discussion of the poem here: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/09/the-simple-profound-act-of-perceiving-the-world/380659/


Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota - James Wright

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,   
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.   
Down the ravine behind the empty house,   
The cowbells follow one another   
Into the distances of the afternoon.   
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,   
The droppings of last year’s horses   
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.   
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Day 799: Sunflower Sutra

 'We’re not our skin of grime...we’re golden sunflowers inside...'

Don't be alarmed by the length of this prose poem (or the somewhat graphic language), by the
best-known of the Beat poets, Allen Ginsberg. Within the seeming rambling, there is wisdom.


Sunflower Sutra - Allen Ginsberg 

I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the box house hills and cry.
Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed, surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of machinery.
The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that stream, no hermit in those mounts, just ourselves rheumy-eyed and hung-over like old bums on the riverbank, tired and wily.
Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust—
—I rushed up enchanted—it was my first sunflower, memories of Blake—my visions—Harlem
and Hells of the Eastern rivers, bridges clanking Joes Greasy Sandwiches, dead baby carriages, black treadless tires forgotten and unretreaded, the poem of the riverbank, condoms & pots, steel knives, nothing stainless, only the dank muck and the razor-sharp artifacts passing into the past—
and the gray Sunflower poised against the sunset, crackly bleak and dusty with the smut and smog and smoke of olden locomotives in its eye—
corolla of bleary spikes pushed down and broken like a battered crown, seeds fallen out of its face, soon-to-be-toothless mouth of sunny air, sunrays obliterated on its hairy head like a dried wire spiderweb,
leaves stuck out like arms out of the stem, gestures from the sawdust root, broke pieces of plaster fallen out of the black twigs, a dead fly in its ear,
Unholy battered old thing you were, my sunflower O my soul, I loved you then!
The grime was no man’s grime but death and human locomotives,
all that dress of dust, that veil of darkened railroad skin, that smog of cheek, that eyelid of black mis’ry, that sooty hand or phallus or protuberance of artificial worse-than-dirt—industrial—modern—all that civilization spotting your crazy golden crown—
and those blear thoughts of death and dusty loveless eyes and ends and withered roots below, in the home-pile of sand and sawdust, rubber dollar bills, skin of machinery, the guts and innards of the weeping coughing car, the empty lonely tincans with their rusty tongues alack, what more could I name, the smoked ashes of some cock cigar, the cunts of wheelbarrows and the milky breasts of cars, wornout asses out of chairs & sphincters of dynamos—all these
entangled in your mummied roots—and you there standing before me in the sunset, all your glory in your form!
A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden monthly breeze!
How many flies buzzed round you innocent of your grime, while you cursed the heavens of the railroad and your flower soul?
Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a flower? when did you look at your skin and decide you were an impotent dirty old locomotive? the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and shade of a once powerful mad American locomotive?
You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a sunflower!   
And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me not!
So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck it at my side like a scepter,
and deliver my sermon to my soul, and Jack’s soul too, and anyone who’ll listen,
—We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not dread bleak dusty imageless locomotives, we’re golden sunflowers inside, blessed by our own seed & hairy naked accomplishment-bodies growing into mad black formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our own eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sitdown vision.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Day 798: Letting Go


A metaphorical translation of Autumn would be all about letting go. May Sarton explores this idea here tenderly. 



from The Autumn Sonnets - May Sarton

If I can let you go as trees let go
Their leaves, so casually, one by one,
If I can come to know what they do know,
That fall is the release, the consummation,
Then fear of time and the uncertain fruit
Would not distemper the great lucid skies
This strangest autumn, mellow and acute.
If I can take the dark with open eyes
And call it seasonal, not harsh or strange
(For love itself may need a time of sleep),
And, treelike, stand unmoved before the change,
Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,
The strong root still alive under the snow,
Love will endure - if I can let you go. 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Day 797: Autumn Walk


Walks are loveliest in Autumn when the beauty and melancholy of nature's surroundings mix to make a reflective promenade.

A Late Walk - Robert Frost

When I go up through the mowing field,
The headless aftermath,
Smooth-laid like thatch with the heavy dew,
Half closes the garden path.

And when I come to the garden ground,
The whir of sober birds,
Up from the tangle of withered weeds
Is sadder than any words.

A tree beside the wall stands bare,
But a leaf that lingered brown,
Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought,
Comes softly rattling down.

I end not far from my going forth
By picking the faded blue
Of the last remaining aster flower
To carry again to you.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Day 796: Porch Swing in September


The seasonal shift has really begun to set in now. Have you felt it yet? Subtle, but sure. 
 


Porch Swing in September - Ted Kooser

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

Monday, 22 September 2014

Day 795: Gathering Hay


I love the sight of hay bales in fields. They seem to embody so much,  the timely practice of reaping and sowing, and gathering the harvest for the season to come. But to Paul Muldoon here, they're something entirely more loaded.
 

Hay - Paul Muldoon

This much I know. Just as I'm about to make that right turn
off Province Line Road
I meet another beat-up Volvo
carrying a load

of hay. (More accurately, a bale of lucerne
on the roof rack,
a bale of lucerne or fescue or alfalfa.)
My hands are raw. I'm itching to cut the twine, to unpack

that hay-accordion, that hay-concertina.
It must be ten o'clock. There's still enough light
(not least from the glow

of the bales themselves) for a body to ascertain
that when one bursts, as now, something takes flight
from those hot and heavy box-pleats. This much, at least, I know.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Day 794: The Human Season


 A poem for the Autumn Equinox, which is today.


Immortal Autumn - Archibald MacLeish
I speak this poem now with grave and level voice   
In praise of autumn, of the far-horn-winding fall.

I praise the flower-barren fields, the clouds, the tall   
Unanswering branches where the wind makes sullen noise.

I praise the fall: it is the human season.
                                                                  Now
No more the foreign sun does meddle at our earth,   
Enforce the green and bring the fallow land to birth,   
Nor winter yet weigh all with silence the pine bough,

But now in autumn with the black and outcast crows   
Share we the spacious world: the whispering year is gone:   
There is more room to live now: the once secret dawn   
Comes late by daylight and the dark unguarded goes.

Between the mutinous brave burning of the leaves   
And winter’s covering of our hearts with his deep snow   
We are alone: there are no evening birds: we know   
The naked moon: the tame stars circle at our eaves.

It is the human season. On this sterile air
Do words outcarry breath: the sound goes on and on.   
I hear a dead man’s cry from autumn long since gone.

I cry to you beyond upon this bitter air.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Day 793: The Art of Disappearing

'You’re trying to remember something/too important to forget...'

This poem could also be called 'Advice for Writers' or 'On Cultivating Solitude for Success.' There are many brilliant truths here eloquently and originally delivered, making it both laugh-out-loud funny accurate  and deadly serious. Mission for the week: 'Walk around feeling like a leaf'. Yes.



The Art of Disappearing - Naomi Shibab Nye

When they say Don’t I know you?

say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.

Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say we should get together.
say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them any more.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Day 792: Now I Become Myself

 


Now I Become Myself - May Sarton

Now I become myself. It's taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
"Hurry, you will be dead before-"
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Day 791: Windflowers

John William Waterhouse 'Windflowers' 

Riddle-some, rhythmic, and redolent, Carl Sandburg:



Love Is a Deep and a Dark and a Lonely - Carl Sandburg

love is a deep and a dark and a lonely
and you take it deep take it dark
and take it with a lonely winding
and when the winding gets too lonely
then may come the windflowers
and the breath of the wind over many flowers
winding its way out of many lonely flowers
waiting in rainleaf whispers
waiting in dry stalks of noon
wanting in a music of windbreaths
so you can take love as it comes keening
as it comes with a voice and a face
and you make a talk of it
talking to yourself a talk worth keeping
and you find it to be a hoarding
and you give it away and yet it stays hoarded

like a book read over and over again
like one book being a long row of books
like leaves of windflowers bending low
and bending to be never broken

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Day 790: Dance the Orange


I'm reading a very interesting book right now on the origin of colours for painting. In the chapter on orange, this poem by Rilke was mentioned. I was so intrigued by the title I just had to seek it out. And what a joy it is.


Dance the Orange (from The Sonnets to Orpheus I, 15) - Rilke

Wait ... that taste ... it's already flown.
... just a little music, a stamping, a drone:
You warm maidens, you silent maidens,
dance the taste of fruit we experience!

Dance the orange. Who can forget it?
How, drowning in itself, it struggles to
deny its sweetness. You possess it.
It preciously converts itself to you.

Dance the orange. The warmer season
weave around you, so it ripely shines
in the air of its homeland! Radiant, reveal
fragrance after fragrance! Create the liaison
between the pure, forbidding rind,
and the juice, with which this happy fruit is filled!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Day 789: Pity Me Not


The coming of autumn is complimented by the loss of love in this lamentative sonnet from Edna St Vincent Millay, whose range of work is often tinged by heartbreak, but heartbreak that finds the most beautiful words to express itself. 

What I like about this poem is how her sadness is offset by the repeated defiant refrain of 'pity me not.' This is heartbreak that is haughty, that has reached its apex and now is content with the way of the world. As seasons change, so do feelings and there's also a sense of acceptance in something just as great as romantic love - love of the world itself. For a poet, this is compensation enough. Oh and those last two lines - a sharp retort to her romantic self and a wise truth not many of us are willing to admit.


Sonnet 29 (Pity Me Not) - Edna St Vincent Millay 

Pity me not because the light of day
At close of day no longer walks the sky;
Pity me not for beauties passed away
From field to thicket as the year goes by;
Pity me not the waning of the moon,
Nor that the ebbing tide goes out to sea.
Nor that a man’s desire is hushed so soon.
And you no longer look with love on me.
This have I known always: Love is no more
Than the wide blossom which the wind assails.
Than the great tide that treads the shifting shore.
Strewing fresh wreckage gathered in the gales:
Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
When the swift mind beholds at every turn.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Day 788: Moon in Virgo


This poem is just too good to have only posted once here. Fitting I think, for this time of year.

 

Moon in Virgo - James Lee Jobe

You are not beaten. The simple music rises up,
children’s voices in the air, sound floating out
across the land and on to the river beyond,
over the valley’s floor. No, you cannot go back
for those things you lost, the parts of yourself
that were taken, often by force. Like an animal
in the forest you must weep it all away at once,
violently, and then simply live on. The music here
is Bach, Vivaldi; a chorale of children, a piano,
a violin. Together, they have a certain spirit
that is light, that lets in light, joyful, ecstatic.
“Forgive,” said The Christ, and why not? Every day
that you still breathe has all the joy
and murderous possibilities of your bravest dream.
Forgive. Breathe. Live. The moon has entered Virgo,
the wind shifts, blows up from the Delta, cools this valley,
and you are not beaten; the children sing, it is Bach,
and you are brave, alive, and human.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Day 787: Song for Autumn


Leaves falling from trees in Autumn often invokes sadness, a sense of loss and regret in us - but Mary Oliver presents a convincing argument for the contrary here quite beautifully.


Song for Autumn - Mary Oliver

In the deep fall
    don't you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
    the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
    freshets of wind? And don't you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
    warm caves, begin to think

of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
    inside their bodies? And don't you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
    the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
    vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
    its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
    the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Day 786: Sometimes the Heart is a Shallow Autumn River



Sometimes the Heart is a Shallow Autumn River - Jane Hirshfield

Is rock and shadow, bird.
Is fry, as the smallest fish are called,
darting in the pan of nearness.

The frog’s flawless interpretation of the music “Leaf”
is a floating black-eyed emerald
slipped between the water and its reflections.

And caution, and hope, and sorrow?
As umbrellas are, to a mountain or field of grass.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Day 785: September Midnight

 

This mid-season at the moment, is always a strange time of year. Everything hums with change.

 
September Midnight - Sara Teasdale 

Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,
Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
Ceaseless, insistent.

The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples,
The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence
Under a moon waning and worn, broken,
Tired with summer.

Let me remember you, voices of little insects,
Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,
Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed and heavy.

Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,
While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,
As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,
Lest they forget them.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Day 784: Indian Summer Days


We're having a lovely end-of-summer encore of sun here in Ireland at the moment. We know it won't last, but it's delightful while it does. A last hurrah of summer yes, a chance to say a proper farewell.
 


130 (Indian Summer) - Emily Dickinson

These are the days when Birds come back
A very few—a Bird or two
To take a backward look

These are the days when skies resume
The old—old sophistries of June
A blue and gold mistake

Oh fraud that cannot cheat the Bee
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief

Till ranks of seeds their witness bear
And softly thro' the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf

Oh Sacrament of summer days
Oh Last Communion in the Haze
Permit a child to join

Thy sacred emblems to partake
They consecrated bread to take
And thine immortal wine!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Day 783: Harvest Moon Magic


Moon Goddess ~ Josephine Wall

I just can't let the harvest moon go by without posting this poem by Carl Sandburg in homage (yes, I posted it before here, but Sandburg never gets tired.)


Under the Harvest Moon - Carl Sandburg
 
Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the gray mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers.

 
Under the summer roses
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Day 781: Harvest Moon

 'Let's go out and feel the night...'

Now if this song doesn't pass for poetry, I don't know what will! It certainly has all the trademarks: laden lyrics, memorable and affecting tone and tune (just listen to that harmonica!), even metaphor, that lends itself to an overall result of magic

I think this song, like no other poem, perfectly captures the romance and the meaning  behind the harvest moon. Enjoy.




Harvest Moon - Neil Young

Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleepin'
We could dream this night away.

But there's a full moon risin'
Let's go dancin' in the light
We know where the music's playin'
Let's go out and feel the night.

Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon.

When we were strangers
I watched you from afar
When we were lovers
I loved you with all my heart.

But now it's gettin' late
And the moon is climbin' high
I want to celebrate
See it shinin' in your eye.

Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Day 780: Moon Love

'Big Moon Hug'  by Jerry Kirk @Fine Art America
There's a gorgeous harvest moon up in the sky tonight. So go on and indulge your moon-loving inner child, as Billy Collins rightly advises here. 


Moon - Billy Collins

The moon is full tonight
an illustration for sheet music,
an image in Matthew Arnold
glimmering on the English Channel,
or a ghost over a smoldering battlefield
in one of the history plays.

It’s as full as it was
in that poem by Coleridge
where he carries his year-old son
into the orchard behind the cottage
and turns the baby’s face to the sky
to see for the first time
the earth’s bright companion,
something amazing to make his crying seem small.

And if you wanted to follow this example,
tonight would be the night
to carry some tiny creature outside
and introduce him to the moon.

And if your house has no child,
you can always gather into your arms
the sleeping infant of yourself,
as I have done tonight,
and carry him outdoors,
all limp in his tattered blanket,
making sure to steady his lolling head
with the palm of your hand.

And while the wind ruffles the pear trees
in the corner of the orchard
and dark roses wave against a stone wall,
you can turn him on your shoulder
and walk in circles on the lawn
drunk with the light.
You can lift him up into the sky,
your eyes nearly as wide as his,
as the moon climbs high into the night.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Day 779: The Crystal Gazer


 Lyrical, lovely wisdom. 


The Crystal Gazer - Sara Teasdale

I shall gather myself into myself again,
I shall take my scattered selves and make them one,
Fusing them into a polished crystal ball
Where I can see the moon and the flashing sun.

I shall sit like a sibyl, hour after hour intent,
Watching the future come and the present go,
And the little shifting pictures of people rushing
In restless self-importance to and fro. 


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Day 778: Let's Live Suddenly Without Thinking


Let's.




let’s live suddenly without thinking - ee cummings

let’s live suddenly without thinking

under honest trees,
                        a stream
does.the brain of cleverly-crinkling
-water pursues the angry dream
of the shore. By midnight,
                                a moon
scratches the skin of the organised hills

an edged nothing begins to prune

let’s live like the light that kills
and let’s as silence,
                            because Whirl’s after all:
(after me)love,and after you.
I occasionally feel vague how
vague idon’t know tenuous Now-
spears and The Then-arrows making do
our mouths something red,something tall

Friday, 5 September 2014

Day 777: Ode to Ocean


I woke up this morning with the hypnotic notes of 'Oceans' from Coldplay stuck in my head. (Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axWQoA1Psh0)  And this poem by Mary Oliver seems the perfect accompaniment. 
 

Ocean - Mary Oliver

I am in love with Ocean
lifting her thousands of white hats
in the chop of the storm,
or lying smooth and blue, the
loveliest bed in the world.
In the personal life, there is

always grief more than enough,
a heart load for each of us
on the dusty road. I suppose
there is a reason for this, so I will be
patient, acquiescent. But I will live
nowhere except here, by Ocean,
trusting
equally in all blast and welcome
of her sorrowless, salt self.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Day 776: The Leaky Faucet


Ah, the comfort of things. Taken to a new endearing level here by Ted Kooser.


The Leaky Faucet - Ted Kooser

All through the night, the leaky faucet
searches the stillness of the house
with its radar blip: who is awake?
Who lies out there as full of worry
as a pan in the sink? Cheer up,
cheer up,
the little faucet calls,
someone will help you through your life.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Day 775: To the Light of September


WS Mervin's subtlety of touch always makes for a powerful result, redolent in beauty. 



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

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Day 774: Glad for Gladiolis


Gorgeous gladiolis are in season right now and I have a bunch at home that have me reeling in daily delight. Each morning, there are new blossoms opened out on their tall stalks, like ever-reaching floral beanstalks.  The endearing term 'glads' says it all in this poem - they truly are flowers to be glad of.

And did you know? Gladioli are named for the shape of their leaves - from the Latin word 'gladius' meaning sword (as in gladiator). Symbolizing strength and moral integrity, according to the language of flowers gladioli also represent infatuation, with a bouquet conveying to a recipient that they pierce the giver’s heart with passion. Ah. 


Gladioli - Gottfried Benn

(translated by Michael Hofmann)

A bunch of glads,
certainly highly emblematic of creation,
remote from frills of working blossom with hope of fruit:
slow, durable, placid,
generous, sure of kingly dreams.

All else is natural world and intellect!
Over there the mutton herds:
strenuous ends of clover and daggy sheep—
here friendly talents,
pushing Anna to the center of attention,
explaining her, finding a solution!

The glads offer no solution:
being—falling—
you mustn’t count the days—
fulfillment
livid, tattered, or beautiful.
 

Monday, 1 September 2014

Day 773: September


Prose writer John Updike does a fine job here of evocatively describing September. School, ripe fruit and that feeling of a brand new start, yes, September is all about new beginnings. Being an eternal student, I don't think I'll ever be able to stop seeing September as a new 'semester', a brand new learning year. Bring on the new books, yay! 


September - John Updike

The breezes taste
of apple peel.
The air is full
of smells to feel -
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
burning brush,
new books, erasers,
chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
well-honeyed hum,
and Mother cuts
chrysanthemums.
Like plates washed clean
with suds, the days
are polished with
a morning haze.