zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-24 03:50 pm
Entry tags:

my one hand holding tight / my other hand

won't you celebrate with me
by lucille clifton

won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

--

Or watch the poet read
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-23 12:54 pm
Entry tags:

I was glad

Dream Song 1
by John Berryman

Huffy Henry hid         the day,
unappeasable Henry sulked.
I see his point,—a trying to put things over.
It was the thought that they thought
they could do it made Henry wicked & away.
But he should have come out and talked.

All the world like a woolen lover
once did seem on Henry's side.
Then came a departure.
Thereafter nothing fell out as it might or ought.
I don't see how Henry, pried
open for all the world to see, survived.

What he has now to say is a long
wonder the world can bear & be.
Once in a sycamore I was glad
all at the top, and I sang.
Hard on the land wears the strong sea
and empty grows every bed.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-20 09:53 pm
Entry tags:

the body of the ploughed plains

In Memoriam, July 19, 1914
By Anna Akhmatova

trans. Stephen Edgar

We aged a hundred years and this descended
In just one hour, as at a stroke.
The summer had been brief and now was ended;
The body of the ploughed plains lay in smoke.

The hushed road burst in colors then, a soaring
Lament rose, ringing silver like a bell.
And so I covered up my face, imploring
God to destroy me before battle fell.

And from my memory the shadows vanished
Of songs and passions—burdens I'd not need.
The Almighty bade it be—with all else banished—
A book of portents terrible to read.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-19 07:08 pm
Entry tags:

and ay shall last

A Paraphrase on Psalm 114
by John Milton

When the blest seed of Terah's faithfull Son,
After long toil their liberty had won,
And past from Pharian fields to Canaan Land,
Led by the strength of the Almighties hand,
Jehovah's wonders were in Israel shown,
His praise and glory was in Israel known.
That saw the troubl'd Sea, and shivering fled,
And sought to hide his froth-becurled head
Low in the earth, Jordans clear streams recoil,
As a faint host that hath receiv'd the foil.
The high, huge-bellied Mountains skip like Rams
Amongst their Ews, the little Hills like Lambs.
Why fled the Ocean? And why skipt the Mountains?
Why turned Jordan toward his Crystall Fountains?
Shake earth, and at the presence be agast
Of him that ever was, and ay shall last,
That glassy flouds from rugged rocks can crush,
And make soft rills from fiery flint-stones gush.

[1624]
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-18 08:45 pm
Entry tags:

the tears they chose / themselves

A Cynic At Kilmainham Jail
by Eavan Boland

There is nowhere that the gimlet twilight has not
Entered, not a thing indeed to see
But it is excellent abroad for ghosts:
A gaslamp in the dark seems to make sea
Water in the rising fog--maybe
For those imprisoned here this was a small
Consoling inland symbol--
how could their way be
Otherwise discovered back to the western seaboard?
How could they otherwise be free in prison
Who for more than forty years have been shot through
To their Atlantic hearts?
                                                But in this wizened
Autumn dark, no worship, mine or yours,
Can resurrect the sixteen minds. O those
Perhaps (Godspeed them) saw the guns with dual
Sight--seeing from one eye with the tears they chose
Themselves the magic, tragic town, the broken
Countryside, the huge ungenerous tribe
Of cowards and the one eye laughing saw
(God help them) growing from their own graves to jibe
At death, a better future, neither tear nor flaw.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-17 09:23 pm
Entry tags:

bite

Lunch In A Jim Crow Car
by Langston Hughes

Get out the lunch-box of your dreams,
Bite into the sandwich of your heart,
And then ride the Jim Crow car till it screams
Then -- like an atom bomb -- it bursts apart.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-14 07:22 pm
Entry tags:

a waxen cell of the world comb

Beehive
by Jean Toomer

Within this black hive to-night
There swarm a million bees;
Bees passing in and out the moon,
Bees escaping out the moon,
Bees returning through the moon,
Silver bees intently buzzing,
Silver honey dripping form the swarm of bees
Earth is a waxen cell of the world comb,
And I, a drone,
Lying on my back,
Lipping honey,
Getting drunk with silver honey,
Wish that I might fly out past the moon
And curl forever in some far-off farmyard flower.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-13 08:32 pm
Entry tags:

bow-wow

Golden Retrievals
by Mark Doty

Fetch? Balls and sticks capture my attention
seconds at a time. Catch? I don't think so.
Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who's --- oh
joy --- actually scared. Sniff the wind, then

I'm off again: muck, pond, ditch, residue
of any thrilling dead thing. And you?
Either you're sunk in the past, half our walk,
thinking of what you can never bring back,

or else you're off in some fog concerning
--- tomorrow, is that what you call it? My work:
to unsnare time's warp (and woof?), retrieving,
my haze-headed friend, you. This shining bark

a Zen master's bronzy gong, calls you here,
entirely, now: bow-wow, bow-wow, bow-wow.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-12 08:22 pm
Entry tags:

the presence of still water

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-11 09:47 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

I Have Daughters and I Have Sons
by Robert Bly

1.

Who is out there at 6 A.M.? The man
Throwing newspapers onto the porch,
And the roaming souls suddenly
Drawn down into their sleeping bodies.

2.

Wild words of Jacob Boehme
Go on praising the human body,
But heavy words of the ascetics
Sway in the fall gales.

3.

Do I have a right to my poems?
To my jokes? To my loves?
Oh foolish man, knowing nothing—
Less than nothing—about desire.

4.

I have daughters and I have sons.
When one of them lays a hand
On my shoulder, shining fish
Turn suddenly in the deep sea.

5.

At this age, I especially love dawn
On the sea, stars above the trees,
Pages in “The Threefold Life,”
And the pale faces of baby mice.

6.

Perhaps our life is made of struts
And paper, like those early
Wright Brothers planes. Neighbors
Run along holding the wingtips.

7.

I’ve always loved Yeats’s fierceness
As he jumped into a poem,
And that lovely calm in my father’s
Hands as he buttoned his coat.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-08 06:07 pm
Entry tags:

tined forks

Divorce
by Billy Collins

Once, two spoons in bed,
now tined forks

across a granite table
and the knives they have hired.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-07 09:07 pm
Entry tags:

diversion after many kisses

Leaves
by Charles Simic

Lovers who take pleasure
In the company of trees,
Who seek diversion after many kisses
In each other's arms,
Watching the leaves,

The way they quiver
At the slightest breath of wind,
The way they thrill,
And shudder almost individually,
One of them beginning to shake
While the others are still quiet,
Unaccountably, unreasonably--

What am I saying?
One leaf in a million more fearful,
More happy,
Than all the others?

On this oak tree casting
Such deep shade,
And my lids closing sleepily
With that one leaf twittering
Now darkly, now luminously.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-05 09:22 pm
Entry tags:

through her skin / like an indolent sigh

Warming Her Pearls
by Carol Ann Duffy

for Judith Radstone


Next to my own skin, her pearls. My mistress
bids me wear them, warm them, until evening
when I´ll brush her hair. At six, I place them
round her cool, white throat. All day I think of her,

resting in the Yellow Room, contemplating silk
or taffeta, which gown tonight? She fans herself
whilst I work willingly, my slow heat entering
each pearl. Slack on my neck, her rope.

She´s beautiful. I dream about her
in my attic bed; picture her dancing
with tall men, puzzled by my faint, persistent scent
beneath her French perfume, her milky stones.

I dust her shoulders with a rabbit´s foot,
watch the soft blush seep through her skin
like an indolent sigh. In her looking-glass
my red lips part as though I want to speak.

Full moon. Her carriage brings her home. I see
her every movement in my head.... Undressing,
taking off her jewels, her slim hand reaching
for the case, slipping naked into bed, the way

she always does.... And I lie here awake,
knowing the pearls are cooling even now
in the room where my mistress sleeps. All night
I feel their absence and I burn.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-04 05:02 pm
Entry tags:

the fat king

Remembering In Oslo the Old Picture of the Magna Carta
by Robert Bly

The girl in a house dress, pushing open the window,
Is also the fat king sitting under the oak tree,
And the garbage men, thumping their cans, are
Crows still cawing,
And the nobles are offering the sheet to the king.
One thing is also another thing, and the doomed galleons,
Hung with trinkets, hove by the coast, and in the blossoms
Of trees are still sailing on their long voyage from Spain;
I too am still shocking grain, as I did as a boy, dog tired,
And my great-grandfather steps on his ship.
zarahemla: (glove - romeo and juliet)
2011-04-03 12:23 pm
Entry tags:

this elegy / would love to save everything

My Sister, Who Died Young, Takes Up The Task
by Jon Pineda

A basket of apples brown in our kitchen,
their warm scent is the scent of ripening,

and my sister, entering the room quietly,
takes a seat at the table, takes up the task

of peeling slowly away the blemished skins,
even half-rotten ones are salvaged carefully.

She makes sure to carve out the mealy flesh.
For this, I am grateful. I explain, this elegy

would love to save everything
. She smiles at me,
and before long, the empty bowl she uses fills,

domed with thin slices she brushes into
the mouth of a steaming pot on the stove.

What can I do? I ask finally. Nothing,
she says, let me finish this one thing alone
.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-02 01:23 pm
Entry tags:

hurry to where / they still sing.

Lead
by Mary Oliver

Here is a story
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
This winter
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.
A friend told me
of one on the shore
that lifted its head and opened
the elegant beak and cried out
in the long, sweet savoring of its life
which, if you have heard it,
you know is a sacred thing,
and for which, if you have not heard it,
you had better hurry to where
they still sing.
And, believe me, tell no one
just where that is.
The next morning
this loon, speckled
and iridescent and with a plan
to fly home
to some hidden lake,
was dead on the shore.
I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2011-04-01 06:10 pm
Entry tags:

sick of indoors

Skip, Barb, skip!!

High Water
by Jane Kenyon

Eight days of rain;
the ground refuses more.
My neighbors are all morose at the village store.

I'm sick of holding still, sick of indoors,
so I walk through the heavy-headed grasses
to watch the river reach
for the bridge's wooden planks,
bending the lithe swamp maples
that grow along the banks.

Nothing but trouble comes to mind
as I lean over the rusty iron rail.
I know of plenty, in detail, that is not
my own. I nudge a pebble over the edge.
It drops with a thunk into the water --
dark, voluminous, and clear,
and moving headlong away from here.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2010-09-07 08:42 am
Entry tags:

to air in the lung / let evening come

Let Evening Come
by Jane Kenyon

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don't
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2010-08-22 09:19 pm
Entry tags:

they get / all the way there

Osprey
by Kay Ryan

The great taloned osprey
nests in Scotland.
Her nest's the biggest
thing around, a spiked basket
with hungry ugly osprey offspring
in it. For months she sits on it.
He fishes, riding four-pound salmon
home like rockets. They get
all the way there before they die,
so muscular and brilliant
swimming through the sky.
zarahemla: (when harry met sally)
2010-08-22 09:16 pm
Entry tags:

no human angle

Crustacean Island
by Kay Ryan

There could be an island paradise
where crustaceans prevail.
Click, click, go the lobsters
with their china mitts and
articulated tails.
It would not be sad like whales
with their immense and patient sieving
and the sobering modesty
of their general way of living.
It would be an island blessed
with only cold-blooded residents
and no human angle.
It would echo with a thousand castanets
and no flamencos.