Monday, January 24, 2011

Somewhere in the World

Somewhere in the World by Linda Pastan

Somewhere in the world
something is happening
which will make its slow way here.

A cold front will come to destroy
the camellias, or perhaps it will be
a heat wave to scorch them.

A virus will move without passport
or papers to find me as I shake
a hand or kiss a cheek.

Somewhere a small quarrel
has begun, a few overheated words
ignite a conflagration,

and the smell of smoke
is on its way;
the smell of war.

Wherever I go I knock on wood—
on tabletops or tree trunks.
I rinse my hands over and over again;

I scan the newspapers
and invent alarm codes which are not
my husband's birthdate or my own.

But somewhere something is happening
against which there is no planning, only
those two aging conspirators, Hope and Luck.

"Somewhere in the World" by Linda Pastan, from Traveling Light. © W.W. Norton & Company, 2011. Reprinted with permission

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What We All Once Were

What We All Once Were - Christopher Murphy (For the Warner, Stampul, Seibel and Murphy Families)

Because they're beautiful (ALL of them)
Because they make life bearable.
Because they're innocent
And because they're not.

Because they laugh without sadness,
Because their faces are unmarked by sneers.
Because they run for no reason,
Because they jump on you
Without guilt
While you're sleeping.

Because they make you tired ( a good tired)
Because they pick you up.
Because they'll throw a block at your head
Out of love.
Because they'll hug a porcupine
Given half a chance.

Because they really sleep,
Because their dreams are vivid
And unknowable.
Because their faces are tatooed with food,
And because they're beautiful (ALL of them)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

One of Mine - 1985

Morning sun dancing on the table,
Bright now that autumn's come.

It's quiet here. So good to be
In the kitchen this September,
With bread baking in the oven.

Warm yeast odors fill the room,
The kettle sings in happiness,
Nothing bad can happen
When a person's baking bread.


January 2011

January 2011

I watch with jaundiced eyes
The melancholy days of winter
I am so soul-weary
Of the gray, the dirty white,
The sameness of the landscape.

The sounds of January
Fill the air -
snow plows, shovels,
Moaning winds,
The crunch of tires on crusty snow.

Tomorrow more snow will fall
It will bring momentary whiteness
To bleak January days.
But will soon turn again
To gray and dirty white.

I long for one glimpse
of crocus purple,
of daffodil yellow,
But I know in my soul
The wait will be long

And soul-weary.

Mary Murphy

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Zero Holding

Zero Holding by Robyn Sarah

I grow to like the bare
trees and the snow, the bones and fur
of winter. Even the greyness
of the nunneries, they are so grey,
walled all around with grey stones —
and the snow piled up on ledges
of wall and sill, those grey
planes for holding snow: this is how
it will be, months now, all so still,
sunk in itself, only the cold alive,
vibrant, like a wire — and all the
busy chimneys — their ghost-breath,
a rumour of lives warmed within,
rising, rising, and blowing away.

"Zero Holding," by Robyn Sarah, from The Touchstone. © House of Anansi Press, 1992.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

We met at the end of the party - Philip Larkin

We met at the end of the party
When all the drinks were dead
And all the glasses dirty:
'Have this that's left', you said.
We walked through the last of summer,
When shadows reached long and blue
Across days that were growing shorter:
You said: 'There's autumn too'.
Always for you what's finished
Is nothing, and what survives
Cancels the failed, the famished,
As if we had fresh lives
From that night on, and just living
Could make me unaware
Of June, and the guests arriving,
And I not there.

Philip Larkin -

Saturday, January 1, 2011


From The Writers' Almanac: 15 -- by Charles Wright

You still love the ones you loved
back when you loved them—books.
Records, and people.
Nothing much changes in the glittering rooms of the heart,
Only the dark spaces half-reclaimed.
And then not much,
An image, a line. sometimes a song.

Car doors slam, and slam again, next door.
Snow nibbles away at the edges of the dark ground.
The sudden memory of fur coats,
erotic and pungent,
On college girls in the backseats of cars, at Christmas,
Bourgeois Americana, the middle 1950s,
Appalachia downtown.

And where were we going? Nowhere.
Someone's house, the club, a movie?
See the pyramids along the Nile,
WKPT, I'm itching like a man on a fizzy tree.
It didn't matter.
Martin Karant was spinning them out,
and the fur was so soft.

"15" by Charles Wright, from Littlefoot. © Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007. Reprinted with permission.