not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Friday, August 30, 2013

two distinct truths of summer

summer has a collar and a cuff

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Friday, August 23, 2013

the bloodcord snaps

"Poem For A Daughter" (and for a Son) by Anne Stevenson

"I think I'm going to have it,"
I said, joking between pains.
The midwife rolled competent
sleeves over corpulent milky arms.
"Dear, you never have it,
we deliver it."
A judgement years proved true.
Certainly I've never had you

as you still have me, Caroline.
Why does a mother need a daughter?
Heart's needle, hostage to fortune,
freedom's end. Yet nothing's more perfect
than that bleating, razor-shaped cry
that delivers a mother to her baby.
The bloodcord snaps that held
their sphere together. The child,
tiny and alone, creates the mother.

A woman's life is her own
until it is taken away
by a first, particular cry.
Then she is not alone
but a part of the premises
of everything there is:
a time, a tribe, a war.
When we belong to the world
we become what we are.

Monday, August 19, 2013

dear spectre of mist I know this is dreaming

from: Selected Poems, "Poems For Blok", by Marina Tsvetaeva
(translated by Elaine Feinstein)

from:  9

A weak shaft of light through the blackness of hell is
your voice under the rumble of exploding shells

in that thunder like a seraph he is announcing
in a toneless voice, from somewhere else, some

ancient misty morning he inhabits, how he
loved us, who are blind and nameless       who

share the blue cloak of       sinful treachery
and more tenderly than anyone loved the woman who

sank more daringly than any into the night       of evil,
and of his love for  you, Russia, which he cannot end.

from:  6

Thinking him      human      they
decided to kill him, and
now he's dead.  For ever.
-Weep.  For the dead angel.

At the day's setting, he
sang the evening beauty.

from :  10

Look there he is, weary from foreign parts,
a leader without body-guard

there - he is drinking a mountain stream from his hands
a prince without native land.

He has everything in his holy princedom there
Army, bread and mother.

Lovely is your inheritance.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


From: Diario de Poeta y Mar,  "Rose of the Sea", by Juan Ramón Jiménez
(translated by James Wright)

The white moon takes the sea away from the sea
and gives it back to the sea.  Beautiful,
conquering by means of the pure and tranquil,
the moon compels the truth to delude itself
that it is truth become whole, eternal, solitary,
though it is not so.


                                   Divine plainness,
you pierce the familiar certainty, you place
a new soul into whatever is real.
Unpredictable rose! you took the rose away
from the rose, and you could give back
the rose to the rose.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


 "A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket -

And you listening."

From: "Full Moon and Little Frieda", Ted Hughes

Thursday, August 8, 2013

i dream of absolution

it can not be given.  it must be earned.  the work is our own.

There appears to be a law that when creatures have reached the level of consciousness, as men have, they must become conscious of the creation; they must learn how they fit into it and what its needs are and what it requires of them, or else pay a terrible penalty: the spirit of the creation will go out of them, and they will become destructive; the very earth will depart from them and go where they cannot follow...

We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world.  And this has been based on the even flimsier assumption that we could know with any certainty what was good even for us.  We have fulfilled the danger of this by making our personal pride and greed the standard of our behavior toward the world - to the incalculable disadvantage of the world and every living thing in it.  And now, perhaps very close to too late, our great error has become clear.  It is not only our own creativity - our own capacity for life - that is stifled by our arrogant assumption; the creation itself is stifled.

We have been wrong.  We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us.  And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and to learn what is good for it.  We must learn to cooperate in its processes, and to yield to its limits.  But even more important, we must learn to acknowledge that the creation is full of mystery; we will never entirely understand it.  We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe.  We must recover the sense of the majesty of creation, and the ability to be worshipful in its presence.  For I do not doubt that it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.

Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace