Saturday, September 7, 2019

Keeping Quiet


Now we will count to twelve 
and we will all keep still. 

 For once on the face of the earth, 
let’s not speak in any language; 
let’s stop for one second, 
and not move our arms so much. 

 It would be an exotic moment 
without rush, without engines; 
we would all be together 
in a sudden strangeness. 

Fisherman in the cold sea 
would not harm whales 
and the man gathering salt 
would look at his hurt hands. 

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire, 
victories with no survivors, 
would put on clean clothes 
and walk about with their brothers 
in the shade, doing nothing. 

What I want should not be confused 
with total inactivity. 
Life is what it is about; 
I want no truck with death. 

If we were not so single-minded 
about keeping our lives moving, 
and for once could do nothing, 
perhaps a huge silence 
might interrupt this sadness 
of never understanding ourselves 
and of threatening ourselves with death. 
Perhaps the earth can teach us 
as when everything seems dead 
and later proves to be alive. 

Now I’ll count up to twelve 
and you keep quiet and I will go.

--Pablo Neruda (Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto) (1904-1973), Chilean poet, politician, and diplomat

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Pastoral


The little sparrows
hop ingenuously
about the pavement
quarreling
with sharp voices
over those things
that interest them.
But we who are wiser
shut ourselves in
on either hand
and no one knows
whether we think good
or evil.
        Meanwhile,
the old man who goes about
gathering dog-lime
walks in the gutter
without looking up
and his tread
is more majestic than
that of the Episcopal minister
approaching the pulpit
of a Sunday.
        These things
astonish me beyond words.

--William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), from Poems of Gratitude (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets series), 2017

Monday, September 2, 2019

Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Blackbird

 
from Tweetapedia


  I 
Among twenty snowy mountains, 
The only moving thing 
Was the eye of the blackbird. 

  II 
I was of three minds, 
Like a tree 
In which there are three blackbirds. 

  III 
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds. 
It was a small part of the pantomime. 

  IV 
A man and a woman 
Are one. 
A man and a woman and a blackbird 
Are one. 

  V 
I do not know which to prefer, 
The beauty of inflections 
Or the beauty of innuendoes, 
The blackbird whistling 
Or just after. 

   VI 
Icicles filled the long window 
With barbaric glass. 
The shadow of the blackbird 
Crossed it, to and fro. 
The mood 
Traced in the shadow 
An indecipherable cause. 

   VII 
O thin men of Haddam, 
Why do you imagine golden birds? 
Do you not see how the blackbird 
Walks around the feet 
Of the women about you? 

  VIII 
I know noble accents 
And lucid, inescapable rhythms; 
But I know, too, 
That the blackbird is involved 
In what I know. 

  IX 
When the blackbird flew out of sight, 
It marked the edge 
Of one of many circles. 

  X 
At the sight of blackbirds 
Flying in a green light, 
Even the bawds of euphony 
Would cry out sharply. 

   XI 
He rode over Connecticut 
In a glass coach. 
Once, a fear pierced him, 
In that he mistook 
The shadow of his equipage 
For blackbirds. 

   XII 
The river is moving. 
The blackbird must be flying. 

   XIII 
It was evening all afternoon. 
It was snowing 
And it was going to snow. 
The blackbird sat 
In the cedar-limbs.

--Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), American poet, from Harmonium, 1923

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Late Fragment

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.


--Raymond Carver (1938-1988), American author and poet, from Poems of Gratitude (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets series), 2017


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Weeds


The Hubster dislikes
our Rose of Sharon trees—
he likens them to weeds.

Yet I am convinced
that it is always the “weeds”
who provide the most refuge
without asking anything in return.

In five minutes,
I watched six hummingbirds
zoom around the blossoms
as they jockeyed for a chance
at the waning late-summer blooms.

I watched cardinals
and Carolina wrens fight
over the ripening grape clusters
from the vine
that is supported by not one but two trees
along our fence—
trees that also give us privacy in our yard.

I watched butterflies—
humble little skippers,
but also hairstreaks, fritillaries,
swallowtails,
and oh my God, even a monarch,
once so ubiquitous
but now almost as surprising to see
as a Bengal tiger. 

Even on my deck I could hear
the thrum of probably thirty bumble bees
hovering like tugboats from blossom to bloom,
staying aloft
only God knows how.

We owe our lives
to the “weeds” of this world,
to their humble welcome
and hospitality.

The least we can do is call them beautiful.


-- L. K. S.
Photo taken this morning of a bumblebee on a Rose of Sharon and then using the Angel filter on Prisma.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Talking to Grief


Ah, grief, I should not treat you 
like a homeless dog 
who comes to the back door 
for a crust, for a meatless bone. 
I should trust you. 

 I should coax you 
into the house and give you 
your own corner,
 a worn mat to lie on, 
your own water dish. 

You think I don’t know you’ve been living
 under my porch. 
You long for your real place to be readied 
before winter comes. You need 
your name, 
your collar and tag. You need 
the right to warn off intruders, 
to consider my house your own 
and me your person 
and yourself 
my own dog. 

--Denise Levertov (1923-1997), Anglo-American poet, from Poems 1972-1982.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Monday Prayers (For Beginnings)


At every beginning
bless our dreaming
and our doing.

This day (week, month, year) lies before us,
full of the mundane and the miraculous,
the known and the unknown.

Be the breath we take before each step.
Be the source from which we draw strength.
Be the end toward which we direct our hope.

Open our eyes to all that is around us.
Open our ears to the song the soul yearns to sing.
Open our hearts to the love that lives through us,
Open our hands to the task the moment requires.

Let us do the one thing,
the thing before us,
as if all creation
and out very life
depend upon it,

as if You are bent over,
watching and listening
and willing us
to do it well.

--Carla A. Grosch-Miller,  from Psalms Redux: Poems and Prayers, 2017