Originally aired: Sunday 10 June through Sunday 12 August 2007

This topic contains 464 replies, has 53,609 voices, and was last updated by  Sven2 1 year ago.

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    Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand
    – Plato

    Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash
    – Leonard Cohen

    Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance
    – Carl Sandburg




    –Louise Gluck

    Each year, on the same date, the summer solstice comes.
    Consummate light: we plan for it,
    the day we tell ourselves
    that time is very long indeed, nearly infinite.
    And in our reading and writing, preference is given
    to the celebratory, the ecstatic.

    There is in these rituals something apart from wonder:
    there is also a kind of preening,
    as though human genius has participated in these arrangements
    and we found the results satisfying.

    What follows the light is what precedes it:
    the moment of balance, of dark equivalence.

    But tonight we sit in the garden in our canvas chairs
    so late into the evening –
    why should we look either forward or backwards?
    Why should we be forced to remember:
    it is in our blood, this knowledge.
    Shortness of the days; darkness, coldness of winter.
    It is in our blood and bones; it is in our history.
    It takes a genius to forget these things.



    Highway Apple Trees

    –Rhina P. Espaillat

    Nobody seeds this harvest, it just grows,
    miraculous, above old caps and cans.
    These apples may be sweet. Nobody knows

    If they were meant to ripen under those
    slow summer clouds, cooled by their small green fans.
    Nobody seeds this harvest, it just grows,

    nodding assent to every wind that blows,
    uselessly safe, far from our knives and pans.
    These apples may be sweet. Nobody knows

    what future orchards live in cores one throws
    from glossy limousines or battered vans.
    Nobody seeds this harvest; it just grows,

    denied the gift of purpose we suppose
    would give it worth, conferred by human hands.
    These apples, maybe sweet (nobody knows),

    soften and fall, as autumn comes and goes,
    into a sleep well-earned as any man’s.
    Nobody seeds this harvest, it just grows.
    These apples may be sweet. Nobody knows.



    Thanks for the invite to this site, sven. I’ve missed the poetry.



    Welcome, Eccles, good to have you here with us.
    I read poetry every day, developed the (bad?  ???) habit since the days of “Algon” that Walkara started and tirelessly supported.
    Hope you like some of my choices and would share yours.



    Pray for Peace

    –Ellen Bass

    Pray  to whomever you kneel down to:
    Jesus nailed to his wooden or  plastic cross,
    his suffering face bent to kiss you,
    Buddha  still under the bo tree in scorching heat,
    Adonai, Allah. Raise  your arms to Mary
    that she may lay her palm on our brows,
    to  Shekhina, Queen of Heaven and Earth,
    to Inanna in her stripped  descent.       
    Then pray to the bus driver who takes you to  work.
    On the bus, pray for everyone riding that bus,
    for  everyone riding buses all over the world.
    Drop some silver and  pray.
    Waiting in line for the movies, for the ATM,
    for  your latte and croissant, offer your plea.
    Make your eating and  drinking a supplication.
    Make your slicing of carrots a holy act, 
    each translucent layer of the onion, a deeper prayer.
    To  Hawk or Wolf, or the Great Whale, pray.
    Bow down to terriers and  shepherds and Siamese cats.
    Fields of artichokes and elegant  strawberries.
    Make the brushing of your hair
    a prayer,  every strand its own voice,
    singing in the choir on your head.
    As  you wash your face, the water slipping
    through your fingers, a  prayer: Water,
    softest thing on earth, gentleness
    that  wears away rock.
    Making love, of course, is already prayer.
    Skin,  and open mouths worshipping that skin,
    the fragile cases we are  poured into.
    If you’re hungry, pray. If you’re tired.
    Pray  to Gandhi and Dorothy Day.
    Shakespeare. Sappho. Sojourner Truth.
    When  you walk to your car, to the mailbox,
    to the video store, let  each step
    be a prayer that we all keep our legs,
    that we  do not blow off anyone else’s legs.
    Or crush their skulls.
    And  if you are riding on a bicycle
    or a skateboard, in a wheelchair,  each revolution
    of the wheels a prayer as the earth revolves:
    less  harm, less harm, less harm.
    And as you work, typing with a  new manicure,
    a tiny palm tree painted on one pearlescent nail
    or  delivering soda or drawing good blood
    into rubber-capped vials,  writing on a blackboard
    with yellow chalk, twirling pizzas–
    With  each breath in, take in the faith of those
    who have believed  when belief seemed foolish,
    who persevered. With each breath out,  cherish.
    Pull weeds for peace, turn over in your sleep for  peace,
    feed the birds, each shiny seed
    that spills onto  the earth, another second of peace.
    Wash your dishes, call your  mother, drink wine.
    Shovel leaves or snow or trash from your  sidewalk.
    Make a path. Fold a photo of a dead child
    around  your VISA card. Scoop your holy water
    from the gutter. Gnaw your  crust.
    Mumble along like a crazy person, stumbling
    your  prayer through the streets.



    The Pistachio Nut

    –Robert Bly

    God crouches at night over a single pistachio.
    The vastness of the Wind River Range in Wyoming
    Has no more grandeur than the waist of a child.

    Haydn tells us that we’ve inherited a mansion
    On one of the Georgia sea islands. Then the last
    Note burns down the courthouse and all the records.

    Everyone who presses down the strings with his own fingers
    Is on his way to Heaven; the pain in the fingertips
    Goes toward healing the crimes the hands have done.

    Let’s give up the notion that great music is a way
    Of praising human beings. It’s good to agree that one drop
    Of ocean water holds all of Kierkegaard’s prayers.

    When I hear the sitar give out the story of its life,
    I know it is telling me how to behave-while kissing
    The dear one’s feet, to weep over my wasted life.




    –Louise Gluck

    What follows the light is what precedes it:
    the moment of balance, of dark equivalence.

    Thanks for posting this. It reminded me of Cass’ Camera. What I mean is that at first I thought of Cass’ Camera as a lens through which we see the world as it should be, but then, that would be Pollyanna’s camera, I suppose, not Cass’. Perhaps Cass’ camera is a lens which views the world honestly in the sense that what we see isn’t filtered and distorted by chattering commentary or by twenty-five years of resentment, grudges, myths, memes, and conditioning as it was for the Yost family when we first met them. There was so much baggage between them every sentence seemed loaded, every glance and gesture charged, like tasering old wounds. I’ve been thinking that for me, Cass’s camera has become the ability to simply see the world clearly, from “the moment of balance.”

    Or something like that.

    I guess.

    It seems hardly a day goes by when I don’t think about this remarkable series.



    What We Miss

    Sarah Manguso

    Who says it’s so easy to save a life? In the middle of an interview for
    the job you might get you see the cat from the window of the seven-
    teenth floor just as he’s crossing the street against traffic, just as
    you’re answering a question about your worst character flaw and lying
    that you are too careful. What if you keep seeing the cat at every
    moment you are unable to save him? Failure is more like this than like
    duels and marathons. Everything can be saved, and bad timing pre-
    vents it. Every minute, you are answering the question and looking
    out the window of the church to see your one great love blinded by
    the glare, crossing the street, alone.



    Welcome, Eccles, good to have you here with us.
    I read poetry every day, developed the (bad?  ???) habit since the days of “Algon” that Walkara started and tirelessly supported.
    Hope you like some of my choices and would share yours.

    I do. I will. Thanks.

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