Monday, March 31, 2014

April - Emily Dickinson

An altered look about the hills;
A Tyrian light the village fills;
A wider sunrise in the dawn;
A deeper twilight on the lawn;
A print of a vermilion foot;
A purple finger on the slope;
A flippant fly upon the pane;
A spider at his trade again;
An added strut in chanticleer;
A flower expected everywhere;
An axe shrill singing in the woods;
Fern-odors on untravelled roads, --
All this, and more I cannot tell,
A furtive look you know as well,
And Nicodemus' mystery
Receives its annual reply

Emily Dickinson

Spring - Edna St Vincent Millay

Spring
    TO what purpose, April, do you return again?
    Beauty is not enough.
    You can no longer quiet me with the redness
    Of little leaves opening stickily.
    I know what I know.
    The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
    The spikes of the crocus.
    The smell of the earth is good.
    It is apparent that there is no death.
    But what does that signify?
    Not only under ground are the brains of men
    Eaten by maggots.
    Life in itself
    Is nothing,
    An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
    It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
    April
    Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

    Edna St. Vincent Millay

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Walking Away - C Day Lewis

It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –
A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.

That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.

I have had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still.  Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show –
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.

From C Day Lewis UK

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"Frankie Laine" by John Updike

Frankie Laine by John Updike

The Stephens' Sweet Shop, 1949.
Bald Walt at work, "butterflying" hot dogs—
splitting them lengthwise for the griddle
and serving them up in hamburger buns—
while Boo, his smiling, slightly anxious wife
(a rigid perm and excess, too-bright lipstick),
provides to teen-aged guzzlers at the counter
and in an opium den of wooden booths
their sugary poisons, milkshakes thick as tar
and Coca-Cola conjured from syrup and fizz.

A smog of smoke. The jingle at the back
of pinball being deftly played. And through
the clamorous and hormone-laden haze
your slick voice, nasal yet operatic, sliced
and soared, assuring us of finding our
desire, at our old rendezvous. Today
I read you died, at ninety-three. Your voice
was oil, and we the water it spread on,
forming a rainbow film—our futures as
we felt them, dreamily, back there and then.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Drinking Song - Yeats

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

— “A Drinking Song” (1916), by W. B. Yeats

Sunday, March 16, 2014

An Embarrassment - Wendell Berry

An Embarrassment by Wendell Berry

"Do you want to ask
the blessing?"

"No. If you do,
go ahead."

He went ahead:
his prayer dressed up

in Sunday clothes
rose a few feet

and dropped with a soft
thump.

If a lonely soul
did ever cry out

in company its true
outcry to God,

it would be as though
at a sedate party
a man suddenly
removed his clothes

and took his wife
passionately into his arms.

"An Embarrassment" by Wendell Berry from Leavings. © Counterpoint, 2010. Reprinted with permission.