The California Poem
Let California awake us from our dressed-up stupor
by which I don’t get shit done
“For the names & the numbers of animals are as the names & numbers
& they are distracting me
— Eleni Sikelianos, “The California Poem”
“and then looks at
the stars” from the
bed in the ambulance
looks up at boughs of
trees shifting quickly
lit in blackness
blackening soft, deep
siren’s song—she died
several times that night
and only in the weeks
to come started and
started to come back
then forward which is
The tide-suck in the stomach as
the moon seduces the ocean away
from her love on the black land, my land.
-Mark McMorris, from “Reef: Shadow of Green”
Because they’re listening to Sainte Colombe’s “Les Pleurs”
because those they would love don’t
love them flee
because their neighbors are beset with illness/disease experience
pain in movement or
can’t move can only sit in gardens going to weeds
Niobe lost all her children
I am a liminal state and this is my program
— Dean Young, “With Hidden Noise”
Time present and time past
are both perhaps present in time future,
and time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present,
all time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
remaining a perpetual possibility
only in a world of speculation.
— T. S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton”. (via apatchworkapocalypse)
Ye blesséd Creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in you jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fullness o fyour bliss, I feel—I feel it all.
— William Wordsworth, Ode
Reminded of Shel Silverstein and his absurdity and disobedience toward childhood:I think he wanted to give kids a sense of life as a fairy tale, but a dark one. He didn’t want to whitewash things. Or leave kids unprepared to deal with trouble.
That’s his nephew, Mitch Myers, one of the managers of his collection. He and a team are preparing for the release of a new Silverstein book, Every Thing On It, and have been tasked with archiving his “collection:”One of the things you learn is that “polymath” doesn’t even begin to describe Silverstein. His creativity extended in so many directions that his archivists must be versed not just in turn-of-the-century world children’s literature, but Waylon Jennings’s deep cuts; not just in reel-to-reel tape preservation, but how to keep an old restaurant napkin scribbled with lyrics from falling apart. And you also learn that Silverstein seemed to have a terrific time drawing, rhyming, and singing his way through life.
Where the Sidewalk Ends — if there were books I lived by growing up — was a textbook. Permission for messiness, for non-easy stories, for seeing. I read its poems and drawings such that the pages were dirty and flimsy from study. I feared it, starting with the precarious cover, as much as I adored it. Life could be a fairy tale, a neatly bounded poem — but irreverent. And that was totally okay.
Apparently, Edinburgh has an anonymous book sculptor who has been leaving lovely creations in literary places all over the city. They call her the Library Phantom!
In short, though cultures have changed and will change, poems remain and explain; and there is no legitimate reason why criticism, losing sight of its durable and peculiar objects, poems themselves, should become a dependent of social history or of anthropology.
— Wimsatt and Beardsley, “The Affective Fallacy” (via watchoutchadbites)
Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn
Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth
This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.
Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit
of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated
And let my cry come unto Thee.
If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.
O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny
Will the veiled sister pray for
Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee,
Those who are torn on the horn between season and season,
time and time, between
Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait
In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose
O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her
And are terrified and cannot surrender
And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks
In the last desert before the last blue rocks
The desert in the garden the garden in the desert
Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.
O my people.