Friday, December 10, 2010

Poem


The spirit
likes to dress up like this:
ten fingers,
ten toes,

shoulders, and all the rest
at night
in the black branches,
in the morning

in the blue branches
of the world.
It could float, of course,
but would rather

plumb rough matter.
Airy and shapeless thing,
it needs
the metaphor of the body,

lime and appetite,
the oceanic fluids;
it needs the body's world,
instinct

and imagination
and the dark hug of time,
sweetness
and tangibility,

to be understood,
to be more than pure light
that burns
where no one is --

so it enters us --
in the morning
shines from brute comfort
like a stitch of lightning;

and at night
lights up the deep and wondrous
drownings of the body
like a star.

-- Mary Oliver

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Surrounded by Wild Turkeys


Little calls as they pass
Through dry forbs and grasses
Under blue oak and gray digger pine
In the warm afternoon of the forest-fire haze;

Twenty or more, long-legged birds
all alike.

So are we, in our soft calling,
passing on through.

Our young, which trail after,

Look just like us.


-- Gary Snyder

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Power of Maples



If you want to live in the country
you have to understand the power of maples.
You have to see them sink their teeth
into the roots of the old locusts.
You have to see them force the sycamores to gasp for air.
You have to see them move their thick hairs into the cellar.
And when you cut your great green shad pole
you have to be ready for it to start sprouting in your hands;
you have to stick it in the ground like a piece of willow;
you have to place your table under its leaves and begin eating.

-- Gerald Stern



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"A World without Objects Is a Sensible Emptiness"



The tall camels of the spirit
Steer for their deserts, passing the last groves loud
With the sawmill shrill of the locust, to the whole honey of the arid
Sun. They are slow, proud,

And move with a stilted stride
To the land of the sheer horizon, hunting Traherne's
Sensible emptiness, there where the brain's lantern-slide
Revels in vast returns.

O connoisseurs of thirst,
Beasts of my soul who long to learn to drink
Of pure mirage, those prosperous islands are accurst
That shimmer on the brink

Of absence; auras, lustres,
And all the shinings need to be shaped and borne.
Think of those painted saints, capped by the early masters
With bright, jauntily-worn

Aureate plates, or even
Merry-go-round rings. Turn, O turn
From the fine sleights of the sand, from the long empty oven
Where flames in flamings burn

Back to the trees arrayed
In bursts of glare, to the halo-dialing run
Of the country creeks, and the hills' bracken tiaras made
Gold in the sunken sun,

Wisely watch for the sight
Of the supernova burgeoning over the barn,
Lampshine blurred in the steam of beasts, the spirit's right
Oasis, light incarnate.

-- Richard Wilbur


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Patience


What is the good life now? Why,
look here, consider
the moon's white crescent

rounding, slowly, over
the half month to still another
perfect circle --

the shining eye
that lightens the hills
that lays down the shadows

of the branches of the trees
that summons the flowers
to open their sleepy faces and look up

into the heavens.
I used to hurry everywhere
and leaped the running creeks.

There wasn't
time enough for all the wonderful things
I could think of to do

in a single day. Patience
comes to the bones
before it takes root in the heart

as another good idea.
I say this
as I stand in the woods

and study the patterns
of the moon shadows,
or stroll down to the waters

that now, late summer, have also
caught the fever, and hardly move
from one eternity to another.


-- Mary Oliver

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Brown Gold


The time of brown gold comes softly.
Oat shocks are alive in brown gold belts,
the short and shambling oat shocks
sit on the stubble and straw.

The timothy hay, the fodder corn, the cabbage
and the potatoes, across their leaves are
footsteps.

There is a bold green up over the cracks in
the corn rows where the crickets go criss-
cross errands, where the bugs carry packages.

Flutter and whir, you birdies, you newcomers
in lines and sashes, tellers of harvest
weather on the way, belts of brown gold
coming softly.

It is very well the old-time streamers take
up the old-time gold haze against the western
timber line.

It is the old time again when months and birds
tell each other, "Oh, very well," and repeat it
where the fields and the timber lines meet
in belts of brown gold hazes, "Oh very
well, Oh very well."

-- Carl Sandburg

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Cow in Apple Time


Something inspires the only cow of late
To make no more of a wall than an open gate,
And think no more of wall-builders than fools.
Her face is flecked with pomace and she drools
A cider syrup. Having tasted fruit,
She scorns a pasture withering to the root.
She runs from tree to tree where lie and sweeten
The windfalls spiked with stubble and worm-eaten.
She leaves them bitten when she has to fly.
She bellows on a knoll against the sky.
Her udder shrivels and the milk goes dry.

-- Robert Frost

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sunflower Sutra


I walked the banks of the tincan banana dock and
sat down under the huge shade of a Southern
Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the
box house hills and cry.

Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron
pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts
of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed, sur-
rounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of
machinery.

The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun
sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that
stream, no hermit in those mounts, just our-
selves rheumy-eyed and hungover like old bums
on the riverbank, tired and wily.

Look at the sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray
shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting
dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust--

--I rushed up enchanted--it was my first sunflower,
memories of Blake--my visions--Harlem

and Hells of the Eastern rivers, bridges clanking Joes
Greasy Sandwiches, dead baby carriages, black
treadless tires forgotten and unretreaded, the
poem of the riverbank, condoms & pots, steel
knives, nothing stainless, only the dank muck
and razor-sharp artifacts passing into the
past--

and the gray Sunflower poised against the sunset,
crackly bleak and dusty with the smut and smog
and smoke of olden locomotives in its eye--

corolla of bleary spikes pushed down and broken like
a battered crown, seeds fallen out of its face,
soon-to-be-toothless mouth of sunny air, sun-
rays obliterated on its hairy head like a dried
wire spiderweb,

leaves stuck out like arms out of the stem, gestures
from the sawdust root, broke pieces of plaster
fallen out of the black twigs, a dead fly in its ear,

Unholy battered thing you were, my sunflower O
my soul, I loved you then!

The grime was no man's grime but death and human
locomotives,

all that dress of dust, that veil of darkened railroad
skin, that smog of cheek, that eyelid of black
mis'ry, that sooty hand or phallus or protuber-
ance of artificial worse-than-dirt--industrial--
modern--all that civilization spotting your
crazy golden crown--

and those blear thoughts of death and dusty loveless
eyes and ends and withered roots below, in the
home-pile of sand and sawdust, rubber dollar
bills, skin of machinery, the guts and innards
of the weeping coughing car, the empty lonely
tincans with their rusty tongues alack, what
more could I name, the smoked ashes of some
cock cigar, the cunts of wheelbarrows and the
milky breasts of cars, wornout asses out of chairs
& sphincters of dynamos--all these

entangled in your mummied roots--and you there
standing before me in the sunset, all your glory
in your form!

A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent
lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye
to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited
grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden
monthly breeze!

How many flies buzzed round you innocent of your
grime, while you cursed the heavens of the rail-
road and your flower soul?

Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a
flower? when did you look at your skin and
decide you were an impotent dirty old locomo-
tive? the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and
shade of a once powerful mad American locomo-
tive?

You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a
sunflower!

And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me
not!

So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck
it at my side like a scepter,

and deliver my sermon to my soul, and Jack's soul
too, and anyone who'll listen,

--We're not our skin of grime, we're not our dread
bleak dusty imageless locomotive, we're all
beautiful golden sunflowers inside, we're bles-
sed by our own seed & golden hairy naked ac-
complishment-bodies growing into mad black
formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our
eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive
riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sit-
down vision.

-- Allen Ginsberg, Berkeley 1955

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ocoee Blues


video



Friday, July 23, 2010





once the Buddha was a box turtle
slowly crossing a mountain road
acceptance in every step