Wednesday, December 8, 2010

i carry your heart with me, by e.e. cummings

I know, it's not Valentine's Day or anything like that, but here is a poem for Daniel, because I love him.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                         i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

LARES by Fiona Benson

This was a poem-of-the-week that came up on my Facebook page.  Lares are ancient Roman household gods.

I keep going back to that bird, snagged
by a halter or skein of fibre or yarn
and strung from the gutter of the opposite house
where it quartered the wind, each bead of its spine
and the dead-drop of its skull
lit up against the breeze-block wall,
claws pushed out as if skidding to a halt
while its beak transmitted code.

I say a prayer to you, small ghost,
small noosed spirit of the eaves,
dangling from the prow of the house
singing all four winds, the spindle and pin
and needle and thorn of your hollow bones
riding you on air that is redolent with spores
after the fact of your scavenged heart,
the stolen tissues of your wings

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Walking the Dog by Howard Nemerov

Given to me by my Gmail account!  That is to say, the Gmail Quote of the Day, from Nemerov, ("A teacher is someone who never says anything once") prompted me to look him up, which lead me to this hilarious, beautiful, truly-truly poem:

Walking the Dog

Two universes mosey down the street
Connected by love and a leash and nothing else.
Mostly I look at lamplight through the leaves
While he mooches along with tail up and snout down,
Getting a secret knowledge through the nose
Almost entirely hidden from my sight.

We stand while he's enraptured by a bush
Till I can't stand our standing any more
And haul him off; for our relationship
Is patience balancing to this side tug
And that side drag; a pair of symbionts
Contented not to think each other's thoughts.

What else we have in common's what he taught,
Our interest in shit. We know its every state
From steaming fresh through stink to nature's way
Of sluicing it downstreet dissolved in rain
Or drying it to dust that blows away.
We move along the street inspecting shit.

His sense of it is keener far than mine,
And only when he finds the place precise
He signifies by sniffing urgently
And circles thrice about, and squats, and shits,
Whereon we both with dignity walk home
And just to show who's master I write the poem.


That's my dog Minnie in the picture.  She is a very fastidious person who prefers never to shit in the yard, but only outside of her home ground.  

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Taylor Mali: What teachers make

Click on the link below to see a video of a great poetry performance and an inspiration for teachers, shared with me by the partner of my heart, Daniel.  According to his TED website bio, Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the few people in the world to have no job other than that of poet.  He used to be a teacher.

Taylor Mali: What teachers make | Video on  

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

PEOPLE LIKE US by Robert Bly

There are more like us. All over the world
There are confused people, who can't remember
The name of their dog when they wake up, and people
Who love God but can't remember where

He was when they went to sleep. It's
All right. The world cleanses itself this way.
A wrong number occurs to you in the middle
Of the night, you dial it, it rings just in time

To save the house. And the second-story man
Gets the wrong address, where the insomniac lives,
And he's lonely, and they talk, and the thief
Goes back to college. Even in graduate school,

You can wander into the wrong classroom,
And hear great poems lovingly spoken
By the wrong professor. And you find your soul,
And greatness has a defender, and even in death you're safe.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Lark Ascending, by George Meredith

I post this in honor of all those whose life, love and beauty are torn from us by the rage and stupidity of war.

This stunning photograph of a skylark was taken by John Webley and is used with his permission.  Thank you, John.  Visit 15 Acres in Kent to see more of his award-winning nature photography.

There is a traditional belief that when a lark flies so high as to disappear from human view, it is about to die.  Ralph Vaughn Williams began composing his exquisite, poignant piece The Lark Ascending: Romance for Violin and Orchestra in 1914, in response to watching British soldiers embark for Europe. His awareness of what was about to be lost suffuses the piece with longing and regret.  Here is a link to a moving performance by Janine Jansen:
The Lark Ascending

He also drew inspiration from the following poem, The Lark Ascending, by Victorian poet and novelist George Meredith:

HE rises and begins to round,
He drops the silver chain of sound
Of many links without a break,
In chirrup, whistle, slur and shake,
All intervolv’d and spreading wide, 5
Like water-dimples down a tide
Where ripple ripple overcurls
And eddy into eddy whirls;
A press of hurried notes that run
So fleet they scarce are more than one, 10
Yet changingly the trills repeat
And linger ringing while they fleet,
Sweet to the quick o’ the ear, and dear
To her beyond the handmaid ear,
Who sits beside our inner springs, 15
Too often dry for this he brings,
Which seems the very jet of earth
At sight of sun, her music’s mirth,
As up he wings the spiral stair,
A song of light, and pierces air 20
With fountain ardor, fountain play,
To reach the shining tops of day,
And drink in everything discern’d
An ecstasy to music turn’d,
Impell’d by what his happy bill 25
Disperses; drinking, showering still,
Unthinking save that he may give
His voice the outlet, there to live
Renew’d in endless notes of glee,
So thirsty of his voice is he, 30
For all to hear and all to know
That he is joy, awake, aglow,
The tumult of the heart to hear
Through pureness filter’d crystal-clear,
And know the pleasure sprinkled bright 35
By simple singing of delight,
Shrill, irreflective, unrestrain’d,
Rapt, ringing, on the jet sustain’d
Without a break, without a fall,
Sweet-silvery, sheer lyrical, 40
Perennial, quavering up the chord
Like myriad dews of sunny sward
That trembling into fulness shine,
And sparkle dropping argentine;
Such wooing as the ear receives 45
From zephyr caught in choric leaves
Of aspens when their chattering net
Is flush’d to white with shivers wet;
And such the water-spirit’s chime
On mountain heights in morning’s prime, 50
Too freshly sweet to seem excess,
Too animate to need a stress;
But wider over many heads
The starry voice ascending spreads,
Awakening, as it waxes thin, 55
The best in us to him akin;
And every face to watch him rais’d,
Puts on the light of children prais’d,
So rich our human pleasure ripes
When sweetness on sincereness pipes, 60
Though nought be promis’d from the seas,
But only a soft-ruffling breeze
Sweep glittering on a still content,
Serenity in ravishment.

For singing till his heaven fills, 65
’T is love of earth that he instills,
And ever winging up and up,
Our valley is his golden cup,
And he the wine which overflows
To lift us with him as he goes: 70
The woods and brooks, the sheep and kine
He is, the hills, the human line,
The meadows green, the fallows brown,
The dreams of labor in the town;
He sings the sap, the quicken’d veins; 75
The wedding song of sun and rains
He is, the dance of children, thanks
Of sowers, shout of primrose-banks,
And eye of violets while they breathe;
All these the circling song will wreathe, 80
And you shall hear the herb and tree,
The better heart of men shall see,
Shall feel celestially, as long
As you crave nothing save the song.
Was never voice of ours could say 85
Our inmost in the sweetest way,
Like yonder voice aloft, and link
All hearers in the song they drink:
Our wisdom speaks from failing blood,
Our passion is too full in flood, 90
We want the key of his wild note
Of truthful in a tuneful throat,
The song seraphically free
Of taint of personality,
So pure that it salutes the suns 95
The voice of one for millions,
In whom the millions rejoice
For giving their one spirit voice.

Yet men have we, whom we revere,
Now names, and men still housing here, 100
Whose lives, by many a battle-dint
Defaced, and grinding wheels on flint,
Yield substance, though they sing not, sweet
For song our highest heaven to greet:
Whom heavenly singing gives us new, 105
Enspheres them brilliant in our blue,
From firmest base to farthest leap,
Because their love of Earth is deep,
And they are warriors in accord
With life to serve and pass reward, 110
So touching purest and so heard
In the brain’s reflex of yon bird;
Wherefore their soul in me, or mine,
Through self-forgetfulness divine,
In them, that song aloft maintains, 115
To fill the sky and thrill the plains
With showerings drawn from human stores,
As he to silence nearer soars,
Extends the world at wings and dome,
More spacious making more our home, 120
Till lost on his aƫrial rings
In light, and then the fancy sings.

Friday, February 12, 2010

In honor of Valentine's Day

The Clod and the Pebble
by William Blake

"Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a heaven in hell's despair."

So sung a little Clod of Clay,
Trodden with the cattle's feet,
But a Pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet:

"Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another's loss of ease,
And builds a hell in heaven's despite."

I SAY: Let me love someplace in-between, neither malleable as Clay nor hard as a Pebble; let me live with my Love neither in Heaven nor Hell, but here on earth. I would write this in verse if only I could. Amen.