“I sat on a gray stone bench
ringed with the ingenue faces
of pink and white impatiens
and placed my grief
in the mouth of language,
the only thing that would grieve with me.”—Lisel Mueller, from “When I Am Asked” (via proustitute)
“Whatever I looked at was alive, everything had a voice,
but I never found out were you a friend, an enemy,
was it winter, summer? Smoke, singing, midnight heat.
I wrote thousands of lines. Not one told me.”—Anna Akhmatova, from “Fragment, 1959,” trans. Stephen Berg (via proustitute)
"What things are steadfast? … Not the bride and groom who hurry in their brevity to reach one another. … Fearing madness in all things huge and their requiring… … We love a little, as the mice huddle…”
I found this poem a couple of nights ago, what a moment of serendipitous premonition. Had I known how perfectly it would fit this moment, 48 hours from when I first fell in love with it, I would have said: you say you are in love with these words, but you have no idea. You who barely tasted the air above the well of infatuation, beneath which a current runs to the oceans and other oceans. I would say, you are as brief, as contained, as mouse-like as this poem accuses you. You who wear the target this poem aims at, but have yet to feel the arrow’s sharp piercing. Even 48 hours from now, the silver will only have scraped by with barely a scratch.
But who listens to the poets? What I have now is infinitesimal compared to the seas; what I had then was smaller still. Somewhere on dimensions not mine, the gods are savoring all things huge and mad and ignited, rolling them around their tongues as occasional flames escape out of their lips. While I—while I—barely make it into the world of mice and men.
“I apologize to coincidence
I apologize to necessity
Let happiness try to receive the dead
Apologize to the war I steal him from
You must forgive this veil
It’s like a laughing time and again
I wanted to be everything
I know nothing can justify the veil
Be brave Let it descend”—Jorie Graham, from “Underneath (Calypso)” in Swarm (via proustitute)
“I am astonished in my teaching to find how many poets are nearly blind to the physical world. …At the beginning, they typically “see” things in one of three ways: artistically, deliberately, or not at all. …it is crucial that a poet see when she or he is not looking—just as she must write when she is not writing. To write just because the poet wants to write is natural, but to learn to see is a blessing. The art of finding in poetry is the art of marrying the sacred to the world, the invisible to the human.”—
“What things are steadfast? Not the birds.
Not the bride and groom who hurry
in their brevity to reach one another.
The stars do not blow away as we do.
The heavenly things ignite and freeze.
But not as my hair falls before you.
Fragile and momentary, we continue.
Fearing madness in all things huge
and their requiring. Managing as thin light
on water. Managing only greetings
and farewells. We love a little, as the mice
huddle, as the goat leans against my hand.
As the lovers quickening, riding time.
Making safety in the moment. This touching
home goes far. This fishing in the air.”—
we manage most when we manage small, linda gregg
Wow I love her. This is the last I’ll post for tonight though. Time to sleep and then move tomorrow 4 flights up!
We could have been mistaken for a married couple
riding on the train from Manhattan to Chicago
that last time we were together. I remember
looking out the window and praising the beauty
of the ordinary: the in-between places, the world
with its back turned to us, the small neglected
stations of our history. I slept across your
chest and stomach without asking permission
because they were the last hours. There was
a smell to the sheepskin lining of your new
Chinese vest that I didn't recognize. I felt
it deliberately. I woke early and asked you
to come with me for coffee. You said, sleep more,
and I said we only had one hour and you came.
We didn't say much after that. In the station,
you took your things and handed me the vest,
then left as we had planned. So you would have
ten minutes to meet your family and leave.
I stood by the seat dazed by exhaustion
and the absoluteness of the end, so still I was
aware of myself breathing. I put on the vest
and my coat, got my bag and, turning, saw you
through the dirty window standing outside looking
up at me. We looked at each other without any
expression at all. Invisible, unnoticed, still.
That moment is what I will tell of as proof
that you loved me permanently. After that I was
a woman alone carrying her bag, asking a worker
which direction to walk to find a taxi.
“You tell me that silence
is nearer to peace than poems
but if for my gift
I brought you silence
(for I know silence)
you would say
This is not silence
this is another poem
and you would hand it back to me”—The Gift by Leonard Cohen (via inherwar)