Saturday, 28 February 2015

Day 955: Farewell February

Goodbye February!

February - Boris Pasternak

February. Get ink. Weep.
Write the heart out about it. Sing
Another song of February
While raucous slush burns black with spring.

Six grivnas* for a buggy ride
Past booming bells, on screaming gears,
Out to a place where rain pours down
Louder than any ink or tears

Where like a flock of charcoal pears,
A thousand blackbirds, ripped awry
From trees to puddles, knock dry grief
Into the deep end of the eye.

A thaw patch blackens underfoot.
The wind is gutted with a scream.
True verses are the most haphazard,
Rhyming the heart out on a theme.

*Grivna: a unit of currency.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Day 954: The City in Winter

'New York Snow Scene' - RS Riddick

New York is still reeling from snow storms and exceptionally bad weather, the worst in 28 years. This poem seems appropriate - from a quintessential New York poet.

A City Winter - Frank O'Hara

I understand the boredom of the clerks
fatigue shifting like dunes within their eyes
a frightful nausea gumming up the works
that once was thought aggression in disguise.
Do you remember? then how lightly dead
seemed the moon when over factories
it languid slid like a barrage of lead
above the heart, the fierce inventories
of desire. Now women wander our dreams
carrying money and to our sleep's shame
our hands twitch not for swift blood-sunk triremes
nor languorous white horses nor ill fame,
but clutch the groin that clouds a pallid sky
where tow'rs are sinking in their common eye.

My ship is flung upon the gutter's wrist
and cries for help of storm to violate
that flesh your curiosity too late
has flushed. The stem your garter tongue would twist
has sunk upon the waveless bosom's mist,
thigh of the city, apparition, hate,
and the tower whose doves have, delicate,
fled into my blood where they are not kissed.

You have left me to the sewer's meanwhile,
and I have answered the sea's open wish
to love me as a bonfire's watchful hand
guards red the shore and guards the hairy strand,
our most elegant lascivious bile,
my ship sinking beneath the gutter's fish.

How can I then, my dearest winter lay,
disgorge the tasty worm that eats me up
falling onto the stem of a highway
whose ardent rainbow is the spoon's flat cup
and in the vilest of blue suited force
enamored of the heated needle's arm
finds the ministrant an own tongue's remorse
so near the blood and still so far from harm,
thus to be eaten up and gobbled down
volcanoes of speedometers, the strike
that heats the iris into flame and flow'rs
the panting chalice so a turning pike:
you are not how the gods refused to die,
and I am scarred forever neath the eye.

What are my eyes? if they must feed me, rank
with forgetting, in the jealous forest
of lustrous blows, so luminously blank
through smoke and in the light. All faint, at rest,
yet I am racing towards the fear that kills
them off, friends and lovers, hast'ning through tears
like alcohol high in the throat of hills
and hills of night, alluring! their black cheers
falling upon my ears like nails. And there
the bars grow thick with onanists and camps
and bivouacs of bears with clubs, are fair
with their blows, deal death beneath purple lamps
and to me! I run! closer always move,
crying my name in fields of dead I love.

I plunge deep within this frozen lake
whose mirrored fastnesses fill up my heart,
where tears drift from frivolity to art
all white and slobbering, and by mistake
are the sky. I'm no whale to cruise apart
in fields impassive of my stench, my sake,
my sign to crushing seas that fall like fake
pillars to crash! to sow as wake my heart

and don't be niggardly. The snow drifts low
and yet neglects to cover me, and I
dance just ahead to keep my heart in sight.
How like a queen, to seek with jealous eye
the face that flees you, hidden city, white
swan. There's no art to free me, blinded so. 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Day 953: The Wonder of Writing

Isn't writing - actual handwriting - something wonderful?  I think so. Howard Nemerov here agrees.
Writing - Howard Nemerov
The cursive crawl, the squared-off characters   
these by themselves delight, even without   
a meaning, in a foreign language, in
Chinese, for instance, or when skaters curve   
all day across the lake, scoring their white   
records in ice. Being intelligible,
these winding ways with their audacities   
and delicate hesitations, they become   
miraculous, so intimately, out there
at the pen’s point or brush’s tip, do world   
and spirit wed. The small bones of the wrist   
balance against great skeletons of stars   
exactly; the blind bat surveys his way   
by echo alone. Still, the point of style   
is character. The universe induces
a different tremor in every hand, from the   
check-forger’s to that of the Emperor
Hui Tsung, who called his own calligraphy   
the ‘Slender Gold.’ A nervous man
writes nervously of a nervous world, and so on.

Miraculous. It is as though the world
were a great writing. Having said so much,   
let us allow there is more to the world   
than writing: continental faults are not   
bare convoluted fissures in the brain.   
Not only must the skaters soon go home;   
also the hard inscription of their skates
is scored across the open water, which long   
remembers nothing, neither wind nor wake.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Day 952: The Wind, The Sun & The Moon


The Wind, The Sun and The Moon - Anne Stevenson

For weeks the wind has been talking to us,
Swearing, imploring, singing like a person.
Not a person, more the noise a being might make
Searching for a body and a name. The sun
In its polished aurora rises late, then dazzles
Our eyes and days, pacing a bronze horizon
To a mauve bed in the sea. Light kindles the hills,
Though in the long shadow of Moelfre
Winter won't unshackle the dead house by the marsh.

Putting these words on paper after sunset
Alters the length and asperity of night.
By the fire, when the wind pauses, little is said.
Every phrase we unfold stands upright. Outside,
The visible cold, the therapy of moonlight.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Day 951: Epilogue

This poem featured in the book 'All The Bright Places' which I've just finished reading (but have  not finished mulling over - utterly heartbreaking and thought-provoking.) And this poem has so much food for thought - what do we leave behind us when we die? How is art a measure of what was lived? If we are just 'facts' of existence, how can there be personalities, how do we matter? Do our stories count?

Epilogue - Robert Lowell

Those blessèd structures, plot and rhyme—
why are they no help to me now
I want to make
something imagined, not recalled?
I hear the noise of my own voice:
The painter’s vision is not a lens,
it trembles to caress the light.
But sometimes everything I write   
with the threadbare art of my eye
seems a snapshot,
lurid, rapid, garish, grouped,
heightened from life,
yet paralyzed by fact.
All’s misalliance.
Yet why not say what happened?
Pray for the grace of accuracy
Vermeer gave to the sun’s illumination
stealing like the tide across a map
to his girl solid with yearning.
We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Day 950: Good Morning

Sometimes mornings can be...meh. And at others they can be super-productive, inspiring, full of possibility, as Billy Collins captures here in zesty fashion.

Morning - Billy Collins

Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,

then night with his notorious perfumes,
his many-pointed stars?

This is the best—
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espresso—

maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitamins—
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,

dictionary and atlas open on the rug,
the typewriter waiting for the key of the head,
a cello on the radio,

and, if necessary, the windows—
trees fifty, a hundred years old
out there,
heavy clouds on the way
and the lawn steaming like a horse
in the early morning. 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Day 949: New Day, New Dawn

Happy new day!
Dawn Revisited - Rita Dove
Imagine you wake up
with a second chance: The blue jay
hawks his pretty wares
and the oak still stands, spreading
glorious shade. If you don't look back,

the future never happens.
How good to rise in sunlight,
in the prodigal smell of biscuits -
eggs and sausage on the grill.
The whole sky is yours

to write on, blown open
to a blank page. Come on,
shake a leg! You'll never know
who's down there, frying those eggs,
if you don't get up and see.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Day 948: Snowdrop

The snow is  making a comeback. No!

Snowdrop - Ted Hughes

Now is the globe shrunk tight
Round the mouse’s dulled wintering heart.
Weasel and crow, as if moulded in brass,
Move through an outer darkness
Not in their right minds,
With the other deaths. She, too, pursues her ends,
Brutal as the stars of this month,
Her pale head heavy as metal.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Day 947: The Beauty of Birdsong

Birdsong is one of the greatest every day treasures of the world isn't it? It never ceases to amaze me - or ee cummings either. 

humble one(gifted with - ee cummings

humble one(gifted with

illimitable joy)
bird sings love's every truth

beyond all since and why

asking no favor but

(while down come blundering
proud hugenesses of hate

sometimes called world)to sing

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Day 946: Riches

Lovely and true, as are all of Sara Teasdale's musings. Thoughts, like any wealth, must be 'spent' to be truly enjoyed. To be miserly with them just won't do.

Riches- Sara Teasdale
I have no riches but my thoughts,
     Yet these are wealth enough for me;
My thoughts of you are golden coins
     Stamped in the mint of memory;
And I must spend them all in song,
     For thoughts, as well as gold, must be
Left on the hither side of death
     To gain their immortality.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Day 945: The Whole Soul

 'I write what's given me to write.' 
~ Philip Levine, 1928-2015

RIP Philip Levine, former American Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prizewinner, who died on Saturday. His poem 'The Whole Soul' fits neatly into today - Ash Wednesday's - discourse.

The Whole Soul - Philip Levine

Is it long as a noodle
or fat as an egg? Is it
lumpy like a potato or
ringed like an oak or an
onion and like the onion
the same as you go toward
the core? That would be
suitable, for is it not
the human core and the rest
meant either to keep it
warm or cold depending
on the season or just who
you're talking to, the rest
a means of getting it from
one place to another, for it
must go on two legs down
the stairs and out the front
door, it must greet the sun
with a sigh of pleasure as
it stands on the front porch
considering the day's agenda.
Whether to go straight ahead
passing through the ranch houses
of the rich, living rooms
panelled with a veneer of fake
Philippine mahogany and bedrooms
with ermined floors and tangled
seas of silk sheets, through
adobe walls and secret gardens
of sweet corn and marijuana
until it crosses several sets
of tracks, four freeways, and
a mountain range and faces
a great ocean each drop of
which is known and like
no other, each with its own
particular tang, one suitable
to bring forth the flavor
of a noodle, still another
when dried on an open palm,
sparkling and tiny, just right
for a bite of ripe tomato
or to incite a heavy tongue
that dragged across a brow
could utter the awful words,
"Oh, my love!" and mean them.
The more one considers
the more puzzling become
these shapes. I stare out
at the Pacific and wonder -
noodle, onion, lump, double
yolked egg on two legs,
a star as perfect as salt -
and my own shape a compound
of so many lengths, lumps,
and flat palms. And while I'm
here at the shore I bow to
take a few handfuls of water
which run between my fingers,
those poor noodles good for
holding nothing for long, and
I speak in a tongue hungering
for salt and water without salt,
I give a shape to the air going
out and the air coming in,
and the sea winds scatter it
like so many burning crystals
settling on the evening ocean.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Day 944: Pancake Poetics

Happy Pancake Tuesday!

Mix a Pancake - Christina Rosetti
Mix a pancake,
Stir a pancake,
Pop it in the pan;
Fry the pancake,
Toss the pancake—
Catch it if you can. 

Monday, 16 February 2015

Day 943: February Despair

'February, month of despair,/with a skewered heart in the centre.

Hmm, what's your assessment of this month so far, good or bad? For it can certainly be both,
standing as it is with one foot in lingering winter and the other in a possible spring. I agree
wholeheartedly with the last line here - enough with the waiting, 'make it be spring'!

February - Margaret Atwood 

Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,   
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries   
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am   
He’ll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,   
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,   
declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,   
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here   
should snip a few testicles. If we wise   
hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,   
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s love that does us in. Over and over   
again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing   
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits   
thirty below, and pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries   
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Day 942: Heart of Joy

Yesterday we celebrated romantic love. Now for a different more potent kind: joy. Awe. Agape. Sheer glad-to-be-aliveness. This poem is radiant with it.

Ah, Ah - Joy Harjo 

Ah, ah cries the crow arching toward the heavy sky over the marina.
Lands on the crown of the palm tree.

Ah, ah slaps the urgent cove of ocean swimming through the slips.
We carry canoes to the edge of the salt.

Ah, ah groans the crew with the weight, the winds cutting skin.
We claim our seats. Pelicans perch in the draft for fish.

Ah, ah beats our lungs and we are racing into the waves.
Though there are worlds below us and above us, we are straight ahead.

Ah, ah tattoos the engines of your plane against the sky—away from these waters.
Each paddle stroke follows the curve from reach to loss.

Ah, ah calls the sun from a fishing boat with a pale, yellow sail. We fly by
on our return, over the net of eternity thrown out for stars.

Ah, ah scrapes the hull of my soul. Ah, ah.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Day 941: Valentines

Happy Valentine's! To celebrate I'm posting 3 lovely Valentines poems from Ted Kooser, celebrating love in all its different manifestations.

The poems come from Kooser's delightful collection of love poems called 'Valentines', compiled from years of writing an annual love poem on Valentine's Day and posting it to female friends (which soon evolved into a practice that took in a wider email list of fans.)  I can't think of a more lovely idea for Valentine's than to pen a poem for whoever you love, or better still, for the cause of love in general. As Kooser says of the day: 'It's a poet's holiday. It's not tied up with anything other than expressions of sentiment.'

*You can read about Ted Kooser's Valentines idea: here

In A Light Late-Winter Wind - Ted Kooser

In a light late-winter wind
the oak trees are scattering valentines
over the snow - dark red
like the deep-running, veinous blood
of the married, returning
again and again to the steady heart.

This leaf is yours, friend,
picked from the heart-shaped hoofprint
of a deer. She stood here
under the apple tree during the night,
kicking up sweetness, her great eyes
watching the sleeping house.


New Potato - Ted Kooser

This is just one of the leathery eggs
the scuffed-up, dirty turtle of the moon
buried early in spring, her eyes like stars
fixed on the future, and, inside its red skin,
whiteness, like all of the moons to come,
and marvelous, buttered with light.


If You Feel Sorry - Ted Kooser

If you feel sorry for yourself
this Valentine's Day, think of
the dozens of little paper poppies
left in the box when the last
of the candy is gone, how they
must feel, dried out and brown
in their sad old heart-shaped box,
without so much as a single finger
to scrabble around in their
crinkled petals, not even
one pimpled nose to root and snort
through their delicate pot pourri.
So before you make too much
of being neglected, I want you
to think how they feel.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Day 940: The Sub-Song

'...crying, I fly, I can sing, I am here, I exist,/ perpetually...'

What a great analogy this poem makes. The idea of birds practicing their song in winter (a 'sub-song' is a subdued form of birdsong, heard in winter) as warm-up for the brighter days ahead, compared with singletons keeping their sense of self intact and substantial, singing their own 'sub-song' as they meander the world alone is ingenious. As a singleton with Valentine's Day approaching, I can heartily relate! How about you?

The Sub-Song - Kit Wright

I thought it a piece of fancifulness
when first I heard it mentioned:

the sub-song of the wintering bird:

but no, it's a scientific
classification of sound, denoting

a drowsily territorial
foreshadow, rehearsal or update,

sung past the leafless tree
in a minor key.

With no particular

Or recitative between arias,
summer and summer,

song of the slumbering, fixate

I think I have caught the sub-song sounded
in various winter bars

by singletons with their beaks buried under

their shoulders, or in supermarkets,
wobbling alone a trolley,

with one wheel
out of true:

far from the buzzard's mew
or the squawk of hawk on wrist,

crying, I fly, I can sing, I am here, I exist,

but it might have been nothing, or there again,
might have been me.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Day 939: Firstlings

'(Out upon Winter! Down with Sorrow!)
These are the things that I know are true.'

Have you come across any signs of spring yet? Lovely February sentiments here - that is the turn away from winter and hopeful gaze toward the warm bright days of spring now on the horizon. 

Firstlings - Louise Imogen Guiney

In the dregs of the year, all steam and rain,
In the timid time of the heart again,
When indecision is bold and thorough,
And action dreams of a dawn in vain,

I saw high up over Bloxham vale
The ploughshare tilt to the next long trail,
And, spying a larder in every furrow,
The wagtails crowd like a dancing hail!

A second wonder there on the hill:
Beneath the hedge, I saw with a thrill
The budding primroses laugh good-morrow
From a deep cradle rocked by a rill!

Wagtail smart in his belted blue,
Primrose paying her gold ere due,—
(Out upon Winter! Down with Sorrow!)
These are the things that I know are true.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Day 938: The Green Hat

This poem always reminds me of a surreal painting á la Magritte or some like. As it 'tumbles along' it gathers meaning as it does momentum. Beguiling.

The Hat - Matthew Sweeney 

A green hat is blowing through Harvard Square
and no one is trying to catch it.
Whoever has lost it has given up –
perhaps, because his wife was cheating,
he took it off and threw it like a frisbee,
trying to decapitate a statue
of a woman in her middle years
who doesn’t look anything like his wife.
This wind wouldn’t lift the hat alone,
and any man would be glad to keep it.
I can imagine – as it tumbles along,
gusting past cars, people, lampposts –
it sitting above a dark green suit.
The face between them would be bearded
and not unhealthy, yet. The eyes
would be green, too – an all green man
thinking of his wife in another bed,
these thoughts all through the green hat,
like garlic in the pores, and no one,
no one pouncing on the hat to put it on.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Day 937: Winter/Spring Poem

I love this short and extremely sweet little poem. How it moves so subtly and swiftly from winter wonder to thoughts (and hopes) of spring. 

Winter Poem - Nikki Giovanni

once a snowflake fell
on my brow and i loved
it so much and i kissed
it and it was happy and called its cousins
and brothers and a web
of snow engulfed me then
i reached to love them all
and i squeezed them and they became
a spring rain and i stood perfectly
still and was a flower

Monday, 9 February 2015

Day 936: Midwinter Spring

from Little Gidding - TS Eliot

Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.
When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,
The brief sun flames the ice, on pond and ditches,
In windless cold that is the heart's heat,
Reflecting in a watery mirror
A glare that is blindness in the early afternoon.
And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or brazier,
Stirs the dumb spirit: no wind, but pentecostal fire
In the dark time of the year. Between melting and freezing
The soul's sap quivers. There is no earth smell
Or smell of living thing. This is the spring time
But not in time's covenant. Now the hedgerow
Is blanched for an hour with transitory blossom
Of snow, a bloom more sudden
Than that of summer, neither budding nor fading,
Not in the scheme of generation.
Where is the summer, the unimaginable
Zero summer?

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Day 935: The Meaning of Existence

Hmmm, the conflict between thought and feeling, knowledge and sensation, the analytical mind versus the natural all-knowing body.

The Meaning of Existence - Les Murray

Everything except language
knows the meaning of existence.
Trees, planets, rivers, time
know nothing else. They express it
moment by moment as the universe.

Even this fool of a body
lives it in part, and would
have full dignity within it
but for the ignorant freedom
of my talking mind.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Day 934: Welcome


A buzzing Saturday wake-up-and-live poem!

Welcome - Stephen Dunn

if you believe nothing is always what’s left
after a while, as I did,
If you believe you have this collection
of ungiven gifts, as I do (right here
behind the silence and the averted eyes)
If you believe an afternoon can collapse
into strange privacies-
how in your backyard, for example,
the shyness of flowers can be suddenly
overwhelming, and in the distance
the clear goddamn of thunder
personal, like a voice,
If you believe there’s no correct response
to death, as I do; that even in grief
(where I’ve sat making plans)
there are small corners of joy
If your body sometimes is a light switch
in a house of insomniacs
If you can feel yourself straining
to be yourself every waking minute
If, as I am, you are almost smiling . . .

Friday, 6 February 2015

Day 933: February Evening in New York

Poems about February have a distinctly optimistic air - despite the fact of lingering winter. Case in point - this poem from Denise Levertov.

February Evening in New York - Denise Levertov 

As the stores close, a winter light
    opens air to iris blue,
    glint of frost through the smoke
    grains of mica, salt of the sidewalk.
As the buildings close, released autonomous   
    feet pattern the streets
    in hurry and stroll; balloon heads
    drift and dive above them; the bodies   
    aren't really there.
As the lights brighten, as the sky darkens,
    a woman with crooked heels says to another woman   
    while they step along at a fair pace,
    "You know, I'm telling you, what I love best   
    is life. I love life! Even if I ever get
    to be old and wheezy—or limp! You know?   
    Limping along?—I'd still ... " Out of hearing.   
To the multiple disordered tones
    of gears changing, a dance
    to the compass points, out, four-way river.   
    Prospect of sky
    wedged into avenues, left at the ends of streets,   
    west sky, east sky: more life tonight! A range   
    of open time at winter's outskirts.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Day 932: Essay on Clouds

' clouds are not about about...'
Don't you just love clouds? Watching, describing and even muse-making them? 

I do. And I just love this poem from The New Yorker last week - a  poem that adds more conjecture to the canon of cloud poetry, while cleverly comparing us to them in the doing. The result: a wafting philosophical meditation on ourselves, via our fluffy canopy.

Essay on Clouds - James Richardson

Maybe a whale,  
as Hamlet mused, or a camel or weasel,  
more likely a hill,

or many hills (with clouds,
as with us, true singletons are rare).  
Mostly we compare them

to silent things, sensing
that thunder is something else
that gets into thema stone, a god

and, as for what they want to say, aeromancy, 
which presumed to interpret,  
never caught on. After all,

clouds weren’t reliable predictors
even of rain, and if they had a message  
for us, we guessed,

it would hardly be practical:  
clouds are not about  
about, showing instead
boundless detail without specificity.  
Whales, sure (which might in turn be  
blue clouds), but we don’t say

How very like a screwdriver,  
or my house, or my uncle, or certainly
how unlike my uncle. For though a blend

of winds we don’t at our level  
necessarily feel lends them
amazing motion, that’s not the same as

intention, so failure
is not in question. We wouldn’t say  
That cloud is derivative, jejune,

disproportionate, strained, in the wrong place,  
or (since they affirm nothing)  
That cloud is wrong,

though truly they often bear down
on exactly the wrong momentthat overcast,  
is it one cloud or ten thousand

that makes everything feel so gray
forever? From inside, of coursethink  
of flying through one

a cloud has no shape. As with us: only  
when someone looks hard, or we catch  
our reflections, do we solidify as


and plummet. Large clouds can weigh  
more than a 747, yet not one
has ever crashed, so admirably

do they spread their weight, a gift
it is not too much to hope  
we could possess, since according to Porchia

we are clouds: If I were stone  
and not cloud, my thoughts,  
which are wind, would abandon me. O

miracle not miraculous! Everything  
we know well  
lightens and escapes us, and isn’t that

when we escape? So, just as  
Old and Middle English clūd  
meant rock or hill, but now

means cloud, really I mean
in exactly the same way that stone  
got over being stone

and rose, we rise.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Day 931: The Balance Wheel


I love the language in this poem. And the sentiment. Especially the wistful perfection of that last line.

The Balance Wheel - Anne Sexton

Where I waved at the sky
And waited your love through a February sleep,
I saw birds swinging in, watched them multiply
Into a tree, weaving on a branch, cradling a keep
In the arms of April sprung from the south to occupy
This slow lap of land, like cogs of some balance wheel.
I saw them build the air, with that motion birds feel.

Where I wave at the sky
And understand love, knowing our August heat,
I see birds pulling past the dim frosted thigh
Of Autumn, unlatched from the nest, and wing-beat
For the south, making their high dots across the sky,
Like beauty spots marking a still perfect cheek.
I see them bend the air, slipping away, for what birds seek.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Day 930: On the Wing

Yes, Spring is on the wing. Winter cannot endure forever no matter how much it seems like it!

Aux Imagistes - William Carlos Williams

I think I have never been so exalted
As I am now by you,
O frost bitten blossoms,
That are unfolding your wings
From out the envious black branches.

Bloom quickly and make much of the sunshine
The twigs conspire against you
Hear them!
They hold you from behind

You shall not take wing
Except wing by wing, brokenly,
And yet—
Even they
Shall not endure for ever.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Day 929: Snowdrop Blaze

'and from the earth presentiments are rustling
as cheeky snowdrops hoist their periscopes..'
It's snowdrop season! February's mascot flowers are here signalling spring. Perhaps the most hopeful flower there is, their potency as a symbol is well evoked here in this poem. 
Snowdrop Blaze - Rg Gregory
from late december onwards the day comes back
but not till february do we see those glimpses
that let us take deep darkness off the rack
and shake it free of lethargy that cramps us
through those dim months we're made amanuensis
to what loud rain and bitter spells dictate
we seek bed early and must get up late

long january's puffing in the right direction
but its early mornings keep that midnight feel
it still is subject to the date's dejection
but once it's over - see how light can steal
through cracks of trees and curtains - beneath the keel
of the eastern skyline (rocking like a boat
surprised so early to find itself afloat)

and from the earth presentiments are rustling
as cheeky snowdrops hoist their periscopes
within a week a mass of them is bustling
and white becomes the flavour of the slopes
and people flock invigorating hopes
seasons (they say) have forfeited effect on
one snowdrop-look and instantly dejection

is whipped (though biting winds and brooding skies)
away from the pure white cream the eyes are lapping
a frisson blooms as every bloodstream tries
to come to terms with its own natural sapping
and from the earth reorganise that mapping
that reaches out to plot those far endeavours
a spirit yearns for (wishing its forevers)

so walk away - no spread of simple flowers
can change the limitations we must live with
snowdrops come and go - our fickle powers
play havoc with the talents we can thrive with
it's just that february comes and lo - forthwith
for one brief snowdrop moment there's a blaze
that lights the world up with its splash of praise

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Day 928: Hello February

Helloo February, prelude to spring. Yes, after endless hibernation, things are finally beginning to stir.

February (from The Months) - Linda Pastan

After endless
on the windowsill,
the orchid blooms—

embroidered purple stitches
up and down
a slender stem.
Outside, snow

melts midair
to rain.
Abbreviated month.
Every kind of weather.