Friday, December 9, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Thus one would say that our oak forests, vast and indispensable as they are, were produced by a kind of accident, that is, by the failure of animals to reap the fruits of their labors. Yet who shall say that they have not a dim knowledge of the value of their labors?--that the squirrel when it plants an acorn, and the jay when it lets one slip from under its foot, has not sometimes a transient thought for its posterity, which at least consoles it for its loss?
Sunday, October 16, 2011
of Heaven to take over and proceed beautifully
as he lies dreaming in the lap of the world.
He knows the owls will guard the sweetness
of the soul in their massive keep of silence,
looking out with eyes open or closed over
the length of Tomales Bay that the herons
conform to, whitely broad in flight, white
and slim in standing. God, who thinks about
poetry all the time, breathes happily as He
repeats to himself: there are fish in the net
lots of fish this time in the net of the heart.
-- Linda Gregg
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The hatchet at my waist chops down the pines in the copse,
The gourd in my hand draws water from the homestead spring.
What do I care for the force of written words?
When the twisted tree at last shall be my body
Then I shall begin to live out my natural span.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Why do they come? What do they seek
Who build but never read their Greek?
The classic stillness of a pool
Beleaguered in its certitude
By aimless motors that can make
Only incertainty more sure;
And where the willows crowd the pure
Expanse of clouds and blue that stood
Around the gables Athens wrought,
Shop-girls embrace a plaster thought,
And eye Poseidon's loins ungirt,
And never heed the brandished spear
Or feel the bright-eyed maiden's rage
Whose gaze the sparrows violate;
But the sky drips its spectral dirt,
And gods, like men, to soot revert.
Gone is the mild, the serene air.
The golden years are come too late.
Pursue not wisdom or virtue here,
But what blind motion what dim last
Regret of men who slew their past
Raised up this bribe against their fate.
- Donald Davidson
Friday, September 2, 2011
My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.
-- Robert Frost
Thursday, August 25, 2011
The pig lay on the barrow dead.
It weighed, they said, as much as three men.
Its eyes closed, pink white eyelashes.
Its trotters stuck straight out.
Such weight and thick pink bulk
Set in death seemed not just dead.
It was less than lifeless, further off.
It was like a sack of wheat.
One feels guilty insulting the dead,
Walking on graves. But this pig
Did not seem able to accuse.
It was too dead. Just so much
A poundage of lard and pork.
It was not a figure of fun.
Too dead now to pity.
To remember its life, din, stronghold
On earthly pleasure as it had been,
Seemed a false effort, and off the point.
Too deadly factual. Its weight
Oppressed me--how could it be moved?
And the trouble of cutting it up!
The gash in its throat was shocking, but not pathetic.
To catch a greased piglet
That was faster and nimbler than a cat,
Its squeal was the rending of metal.
Pigs must have hot blood, they feel like ovens.
They chop a half-moon clean out.
They eat cinders, dead cats.
Distinctions and admirations such
As this one was long finished with.
I stared at it a long time.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
This isn't the wind in the willows
nor that of the eucalyptus
nor even the wind that brightens sails
and moves the slow windmills.
Nor is it the wind that moves the clouds
in summer's calendar
nor the dawn's wind
rising with the birds.
this is not the song of autumn
nor the warbling of lovers
who make love by moonlight.
This isn't the song of snow crystals
nor the alternating dance of day and night,
nor the slow rhythm of your breath
and my breath . . . listen:
It is the voice of the cities sick to death
--of steel sheets, rods and blocks--
the ubiquitous motor and the discord
of an epoch that's falling apart.
It is the trite humming that finds
an echo of change in the Apocalypse
the kingdom of speed
and the crossed signs of time.
It is the insensate noise of industry
--the factories exploited past reckoning--
traces of rot and insidious gases--
the factories, not you or I.
Uproar, friction and mist amid the machinery
--hideous shriek of this empty age--
in this bottomless barrel. It is
the international tongue of usury.
The new universal tongue:
esperanto of infamy
--wires, axes, chains--
the age of iron knows no other voice.
But the descent can't go on forever
because even noise has its limits . . . listen:
this is not the wind in the willows
nor that of the eucalyptus . . .
-- Alberto Blanco, trans. Julian Palley (dedicated to Gabriel Macotela)
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
He used to frighten me in the nights of childhood,
the wide adult face, enormous, stern, aloft.
I could not imagine such loneliness, such coldness.
But tonight as I drive home over these hilly roads
I see him sinking behind stands of trees
and rising again to show his familiar face.
And when he comes into full view over open fields
he looks like a young man who has fallen in love
with the dark earth,
a pale bachelor, well-groomed and full of melancholy,
his round mouth open
as if he had just broken into song.
- Billy Collins
Monday, July 4, 2011
do I baffle you, do I make you despair?
I, Americus, the American,
wrought from the dark in my mother long ago,
from the dark of ancient Europa --
Why are you staring at me now
in the dusk of our civilization --
Why are you staring at me
as if I were America itself
the new Empire
vaster than any in ancient days
with its electronic highways
carrying its corporate monoculture
around the world
and English the Latin of our days --
Great Oracle, sleeping through the centuries,
Awaken now at last
And tell us how to save us from ourselves
and how to survive our own rulers
who would make a plutocracy of our democracy
in the Great Divide
between the rich and the poor
in whom Walt Whitman heard America singing
O long-silent Sybil,
you of the winged dreams
Speak out from your temple of light
as the serious constellations
with Greek names
still stare down on us
as a lighthouse moves its megaphone
over the sea
Speak out and shine upon us
the sea-light of Greece
the diamond light of Greece
Far-seeing Sybil, forever hidden,
Come out of your cave at last
And speak to us in the poet's voice
the voice of the fourth person singular
the voice of the inscrutable future
the voice of the people mixed
with a wild soft laughter --
And give us new dreams to dream,
Give us new myths to live by!
-- Lawrence Ferlinghetti
(Read at Delphi, Greece, on March 21, 2001
at the UNESCO World Poetry Day)
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer.
The wind blowing, the leaves
shivering in the sun,
each day the last day.
A red salamander
so cold and so
easy to catch, dreamily
moves his delicate feet
and long tail. I hold
my hand open for him to go.
Each minute the last minute.
-- Denise Levertov
Sunday, March 20, 2011
A banjo maker in the mountains
when looking out for wood to carve
an instrument, will walk among
the trees and knock on trunks. He'll hit
the bark and listen for a note.
A hickory makes the brightest sound,
the poplar has a mellow ease.
But only straightest grain will keep
the purity of tone, the sought-
for depth that makes the licks sparkle.
A banjo has a shining shiver.
Its twangs will glitter like the light
on splashing water, even though
its face is just a drum of hide
of cow, or cat, or even skunk.
The hide will magnify the note,
the sad of honest pain, the chill
blood-song, lament, confession, haunt,
as tree will sing again from root
and vein and sap and twig in wind
and cat will moan as hand plucks nerve,
picks bone and skin and gut and pricks
the heart as blood will answer blood
and love begins to knock against the grain.
-- Robert Morgan
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
Freedom has its forms. However personalized, individuated or dadaesque may be the attack upon prevailing instituions, a liberatory revolution always poses the question of what social forms will replace existing ones. At one point or another, a revolutionary people must deal with how it will manage the land and the factories from which it acquires the means of life. It must deal with the manner in which it will arrive at decisions that will affect the community as a whole. Thus if revolutionary thought is to be taken seriously it must speak directly to the problems and forms of social management.
What social forms will replace existing ones depends on what relations free people decide to establish between themselves. Every personal relationship has a social dimension; every social relationship has a deeply personal side to it. Ordinarily, these two aspects and their relationship to each other are mystified and difficult to see clearly. The institutions created by hierarchical society, especially the state institutions, produce the illusion that social relations exist in a universe of their own, in specialized political or bureaucratic compartments. In reality, there exists no strictly "impersonal" political or social dimension; all the social institutions of the past and present depend on the relations between people in daily life, especially in those aspects of daily life that are necessary for survival--the production and distribution of the means of life, the rearing of the young, the maintenance and reproduction of life. The liberation of man--not in some vague "historical," moral, or philosophical sense, but in the intimate details of day-to-day life--is a profoundly social act and raises the problem of social forms as modes of relations between individuals.