Thursday, November 17

I worried about rain and I worried about lightning

But I watched them off, to the light of the morning
Marking the slope, slung low in the highlands

Bon Iver, "00000 Million"

Thursday, August 25

all is not well

                                   I have been wondering
              What you are thinking about, and by now suppose
                                   It is certainly not me.
              But the crocus is up, and the lark, and the blundering
                                   Blood knows what it knows.
It talks to itself all night, like a sliding moonlit sea.

                                   Of course, it is talking of you.
              At dawn, where the ocean has netted its catch of lights,
                                   The sun plants one lithe foot
              On that spill of mirrors, but the blood goes worming
                                   Its warm Arabian nights,
Naming your pounding name again in the dark heart-root.

                                   Who shall, of course, be nameless.
              Anyway, I should want you to know I have done my
                                   As I'm sure you have, too.
              Others are bound to us, the gentle and blameless
                                   Whose names are not confessed
In the ceaseless palaver. My dearest, the clear unquarried blue

                                   Of those depths is all but blinding.
              You may remember that once you brought my boys
                                   Two little woolly birds.
              Yesterday the older one asked for you upon finding
                                   Your thrush among his toys.
And the tides welled about me, and I could find no words.

                                   There is not much else to tell.
              One tries one's best to continue as before,
                                   Doing some little good.
              But I would have you know that all is not well
                                   With a man dead set to ignore
The endless repetitions of his own murmurous blood.

Anthony Hecht, "A Letter"

Saturday, August 6

Oh my dear, my dear

Perhaps your casual glance
will settle from time to time
on the sea's travelling muscles
that flex and roll their strength
under its rain-pocked skin.
And will see where the salt winds
have blown bare the seaward side
of the berry bushes,
and will notice
the faint, fresh
smell of iodine.

Anthony Hecht, "Message from the City"

Tuesday, May 17

no more

No more lines on the luminescence of light, of whatever variation.
No more elegies of youth or age, no polyglottal ventriloquism.
No more songs of raw emotion, forever overcooked.
No more the wisdom of banality, which should stay overlooked.
No more verbs of embroidery.
No more unintentional phallacy.
No more metaphor, no more simile. Let the thing be, concretely.
No more politics put politically: let the thing be concretely.
No more conditional set conditionally — let the thing be already.
No more children pimped out to prove some pouting mortality.
No more death without dying — immediately.
No more poet-subject speaking into the poem-mirror, watching the mouth move, fixing the thinning hair.
No more superiority of the interiority of that unnatural trinity — you, me, we — our teeth touch only our tongues.
No more Gobstoppers: an epic isn’t an epic for its fingerprints.
No more reversals of grammar if as emphasis.
No more nature less natural; no more impiety on bended knee.
No more jeu de mot, no more mot juste.
No more retinal poetry.

Vanessa Place, "No More"

Sunday, May 8

American truths

Shit, money, and the Word, the three American truths, powering the American mobility, claimed the Slothrops, clasped them for good to the country's fate.

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

on breakfast

Now there grows among all the rooms, replacing the night's old smoke, alcohol and sweat, the fragile, musaceous odor of Breakfast: flowery, permeating, surprising, more than the color of winter sunlight, taking over not so much through any brute pungency or volume as by the high intricacy to the weaving of its molecules, sharing the conjuror's secret by which - though it is not often Death is told so clearly to fuck off - the living genetic chains prove even labyrinthine enough to preserve some human face down ten or twenty the same assertion-through-structure allows this war morning's banana fragrance to meander, repossess, prevail. Is there any reason not to open every window, and let the kind scent blanket all Chelsea? As a spell, against falling objects...

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

Sunday, April 24

- Hölderlin

"If having gone so far from one another
On distant ways, if across all the ways
And all the time, you know me still who was
Your partner in those days in all the sorrow,
Then something after all is left of it all.

Where's she who loved you waiting for you now? -
Here in the Civic Garden, just as before,
Here where in memory once again we're meeting,
In the dusk, as before, and after all the sorrow,
Beside the flowing black original river.

There were those moments, I remember there were those moments,
When you, so closed up in yourself, were able,
With me, to be, if, just for a moment, less so.
There was something good about that, for you, for me.
The time went by as if there was no trouble.

I remember how you showed me all those places
That though this was my country I had never
Visited or seen as through your eyes,
The open fields, and also the hidden places
Looking from concealment out over the sea.

Was it in springtime then? Was it in summer?
The nightingales and the other birds were singing
And the fragrance of the trees was all around us;
And the hyacinth, the violets, the tulips,
Green ivy on the housewalls, green the shadows

Of the pathways where we walked together then,
Thinking it all, after all, was possible.
It wasn't that you were different than you were,
Nor I than I, but that we were for awhile
All right together in our separate selves..."

David Ferry, "She Speaks Across the Years"

This Christian fuss

                                          This Christian fuss -
Nothing but words of shadow and grief -
What can I say through them that speaks to you?
Less than the water draining away down the runnels.
An old abandoned mill wheel, the trunk of a tree,
Markers of the limits of the world...
A pile of litter shakes and disintegrates...
At night the porcupines come out, seeking
A trickling of water to pity them...They join
My waking vigil to your deep dreaming sleep.

David Ferry, "News from Mount Amiata"

Sunday, April 17

it must be believed and it must be lived

So also is love known by its own fruit and the love of which Christianity speaks is known by its own fruit - revealing that it has within itself the truth of the eternal. All other love, whether humanly speaking it withers early and is altered or lovingly preserves itself for a round of time - such love is still transient; it merely blossoms. This is precisely its weakness and tragedy, whether it blossoms for an hour or for seventy years - it merely blossoms; but Christian love is eternal. Therefore no one, if he understands himself, would think of saying of Christian love that it blossoms; no poet, if he understands himself, would think of celebrating it in song. For what the poet shall celebrate must have in it the anguish which is the riddle of his own life: it must blossom and, alas, must perish. But Christian love abides and for that very reason is Christian love. For what perishes blossoms and what blossoms perishes, but that which has being cannot be sung about - it must be believed and it must be lived.

Soren Kierkegaard, Works of Love (26)

How can we better compare this love in words and speech than with the leaves of the tree; for words and expressions and the inventions of speech can also be a mark of love, but they are uncertain. The same words in one person's mouth can be very significant and reliable, in another's mouth as the vague whisper of leaves; the same words in one man's mouth can be like "blessed nourishing grain," in another's like the unfruitful beauty of the leaves.

Ibid (29)

yet we drop them away

In a right inventory, every man that ascends to a true value of himself, considers it thus; First, His Soul, then His life; after his fame and good name: And lastly, his goods and estate; for thus their own nature hath ranked them, and thus they are (as in nature) so ordinarily in legal consideration preferred before one another. But for our souls, because we know not, how they came into us, we care not how they go out; because, if I aske a Philosopher, whither my soul came in, by propagation from my parents, or by an immediate infusion from God, perchance he cannot tell, so I think, a divine can no more tell me, whither, when my soul goes out of me, it be likely to turn on the right, or on the left hand, if I continue in this course of sin. And then, for the second thing in this inventory, Life; the Devil himself said true, skin for skin, and all that a man hath, will he give for his life; indeed we do not easily give away our lives expresly, and at once; but we do very easily suffer our selves to be cousened of our lives: we pour in death in drink, and we call that health, we know our life to be but a span, and yet we can wash away one inche in ryot, we can burn away one inch in lust, we can bleed away one inch in quarrels, we have not an inch for every sin; and if do not pour out our lives, yet we drop them away.

John Donne, "A Sermon Preached at Greenwich, Aprill 30. 1615"