Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Love's Philosophy by Shelley

The fountains mingle with the river 
   And the rivers with the ocean, 
The winds of heaven mix for ever 
   With a sweet emotion; 
Nothing in the world is single; 
   All things by a law divine 
In one spirit meet and mingle. 
   Why not I with thine?— 

See the mountains kiss high heaven 
   And the waves clasp one another; 
No sister-flower would be forgiven 
   If it disdained its brother; 
And the sunlight clasps the earth 
   And the moonbeams kiss the sea: 
What is all this sweet work worth 
   If thou kiss not me?


Shelley's statue at the Bodleian Library in Oxford


Monday, July 13, 2015

Antigonish by Hughes Means

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today,
I wish, I wish he'd go away...

When I came home last night at three,
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall,
I couldn't see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don't you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don't slam the door...

Last night I saw upon the stair,
A little man who wasn't there,
He wasn't there again today
Oh, how I wish he'd go away...

Used as a theme in the new book by Owen Sheer, I Saw A Man -

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Wisteria can pull down a house

Wisteria can pull down a house by Marge Piercy

The wisteria means to creep over the world.
Every day its long tendrils wave in the breeze,
seize the bench under its arbor, weave
round the garden fence obstructing
the path. Its arbor’s long outgrown.

Such avidity. Such greed for dominance.
It has already killed the Siberian irises
it shadowed, stealing all their sun.
Should I admire or resent? Neither.
I go out with loppers and hack and hack.

If it could, it would twine around my neck
like a python; like an angry giant squid
it would pull me into a strangling embrace.
I will grow back, it swears, and outlive you.
Its vigor outdoes mine. It will succeed.

“Wisteria can pull down a house” by Marge Piercy from Made in Detroit.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Maybe Alone On My Bike

Maybe Alone On My Bike
by William Stafford

I listen, and the mountain lakes
hear snowflakes come on those winter wings
only the owls are awake to see,
their radar gaze and furred ears
alert. In that stillness a meaning shakes;
And I have thought (maybe alone
on my bike, quaintly on a cold
evening pedaling home), Think!—
the splendor of our life, its current unknown
as those mountains, the scene no one sees.
O citizens of our great amnesty:
we might have died. We live. Marvels
coast by, great veers and swoops of air
so bright the lamps waver in tears,
and I hear in the chain a chuckle I like to hear.

“Maybe Alone On My Bike” by William Stafford from The Way It Is.

Friday, June 19, 2015

In Bed With A Book

by Mona Van Duyn 
 
In police procedurals they are dying all over town,
the life ripped out of them, by gun, bumper, knife,
hammer, dope, etcetera, and no clues at all.
All through the book the calls come in: body found
in bed, car, street, lake, park, garage, library,
and someone goes out to look and write it down.
Death begins life’s whole routine to-do
in these stories of our fellow citizens.
Nobody saw it happen, or everyone saw,
but can’t remember the car. What difference does it make
when the child will never fall in love, the girl will never
have a child, the man will never see a grandchild, the old maid
will never have another cup of hot cocoa at bedtime?
Like life, the dead are dead, their consciousness,
as dear to them as mine to me, snuffed out.
What has mind to do with this, when the earth is bereaved?
I lie, with my dear ones, holding a fictive umbrella,
while around us falls the real and acid rain.
The handle grows heavier and heavier in my hand.
Unlike life, tomorrow night under the bedlamp
by a quick link of thought someone will find out why,
and the policemen and their wives and I will feel better.
But all that’s toward the end of the book. Meantime, tonight,
without a clue I enter sleep’s little rehearsal.

“In Bed With A Book” by Mona Van Duyn from Near Changes. © Knopf, 1992.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Peacock's Eye

The Peacock's Eye by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Mark you how the peacock's eye°
Winks away its ring of green,
Barter'd for an azure dye,
And the piece that's like a bean,
The pupil, plays its liquid jet°
To win a look of violet.

Friday, June 12, 2015

It Is Raining On The House of Anne Frank

It is raining on the house
of Anne Frank
and on the tourists
herded together under the shadow
of their umbrellas,
on the perfectly silent
tourists who would rather be
somewhere else
but who wait here on stairs
so steep they must rise
to some occasion
high in the empty loft,
in the quaint toilet,
in the skeleton
of a kitchen
or on the map—
each of its arrows
a barb of wire—
with all the dates, the expulsions,
the forbidding shapes
of continents.
And across Amsterdam it is raining
on the Van Gogh Museum
where we will hurry next
to see how someone else
could find the pure
center of light
within the dark circle
of his demons.

“It Is Raining on the House of Anne Frank” by Linda Pastan from Carnival Evening. © Norton, 1998.