Loved one lost

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Paris, Winter 1913-14

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,
do 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?

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

via Make Bright the Sparrows

And also this version, which is quite different.

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December 19, 2012. Tags: , . poetry. Leave a comment.

Tide


Sun Screen
by Ariana Reines, from Mercury

The size of what I know does not blow
Up enough to redeem the inadequacy of this

Moment where I can be seen
Seeming complete as a photograph is finished and hides

Everything, well not everything but so
Much of what I meant the moment it was taken

You have plenty of time is what everybody says, the stupidest
Thing I’ve ever heard

I don’t even fucking
Have time to write this right now

My scythe
Flashing in the dark

My love
Rotting on the vine

August 3, 2012. poetry, writing. Leave a comment.

Obviously, doctor

The Letter
Linda Gregg

I’m not feeling strong yet, but I am taking
good care of myself. The weather is perfect.
I read and walk all day and then walk to the sea.
I expect to swim soon. For now I am content.
I am not sure what I hope for. I feel I am
doing my best. It reminds me of when I was
sixteen dreaming of Lorca, the gentle trees outside
and the creek. Perhaps poetry replaces something
in me that others receive more naturally.
Perhaps my happiness proves a weakness in my life.
Even my failures in poetry please me.
Time is very different here. It is very good
to be away from public ambition.
I sweep and wash, cook and shop.
Sometimes I go into town in the evening
and have pastry with custard. Sometimes I sit
at a table by the harbor and drink half a beer.

April 29, 2012. poetry, writing. Leave a comment.

Hope/Need

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
–Mary Oliver

March 1, 2012. poetry. Leave a comment.

Delicate are you, and your vows are delicate, too

No, I wasn’t meant to love and be loved.
If I’d lived longer, I would have waited longer.

Knowing you are faithless keeps me alive and hungry.
Knowing you faithful would kill me with joy.

Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, trans. Vijay Seshadri (full text at Make Bright The Sparrows)

November 30, 2011. Tags: , , . boys, poetry, writing. Leave a comment.

A line of poetry written with a splash of blood

“True beauty is something that attacks, overpowers, robs, and finally destroys.”

— Yukio Mishima

November 14, 2011. Tags: . writing. Leave a comment.

A Mighty Kindness


Zero Circle
by: Rumi (translation by Coleman Barks)

Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
to gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.

 

Image from American Vogue, January 2011

November 4, 2011. Tags: , , , , . poetry, writing. Leave a comment.

To Seek A Great Perhaps

The End
By Mark Strand

Not every man knows what he shall sing at the end,
Watching the pier as the ship sails away, or what it will seem like
When he’s held by the sea’s roar, motionless, there at the end,
Or what he shall hope for once it is clear that he’ll never go back.

When the time has passed to prune the rose or caress the cat,
When the sunset torching the lawn and the full moon icing it down
No longer appear, not every man knows what he’ll discover instead.
When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky

Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of cirrus
And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in flight,
Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing
When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end.

September 23, 2011. poetry. 1 comment.

The time for that

Staying After

I grew up with horses and poems
when that was the time for that.
Then Ginsberg and Orlovsky
in the Fillmore West when
everybody was dancing. I sat
in the balcony with my legs
pushed through the railing,
watching Janis Joplin sing.
Women have houses now, and children.
I live alone in a kind of luxury.
I wake when I feel like it,
read what Rilke wrote to Tsvetaeva.
At night I watch the apartments
whose windows are still lit
after midnight. I fell in love.
I believed people. And even now
I love the yellow light shining
down on the dirty brick wall.

-Linda Gregg

June 12, 2011. Tags: , . poetry. Leave a comment.

Circling each other

These quotes, or the vague ideas behind them, seem to be written on the back of my eyelids right now. I’m not feeling particularly dark. They’re just circling, neutrally and independently of me.

Taken from Orthodoxy, by GK Chesterton:

“Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin. It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take an interest in existence; the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life. The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world. His act is worse (symbolically considered) than any rape or dynamite outrage. For it destroys all buildings: it insults all women. The thief is satisfied with diamonds; but the suicide is not: that is his crime. He cannot be bribed, even by the blazing stones of the Celestial City. The thief compliments the things he steals, if not the owner of them. But the suicide insults everything on earth by not stealing it. He defiles every flower by refusing to live for its sake. “

Mad Girl’s Love Song
By Sylvia Plath

“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)”

March 6, 2011. Tags: , , , . poetry, writing. Leave a comment.

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