Friday, December 20, 2013

had I not been awake by Seamus Heaney

Had I not been awake
HAD I NOT BEEN AWAKE I WOULD HAVE MISSED IT,
A WIND THAT ROSE AND WHIRLED UNTIL THE ROOF
PATTERED WITH QUICK LEAVES OFF THE SYCAMORE
AND GOT ME UP, THE WHOLE OF ME A-PATTER,
ALIVE AND TICKING LIKE AN ELECTRIC FENCE:
HAD I NOT BEEN AWAKE I WOULD HAVE MISSED IT,
IT CAME AND WENT SO UNEXPECTEDLY
AND ALMOST IT SEEMED DANGEROUSLY,
RETURNING LIKE AN ANIMAL TO THE HOUSE,
A COURIER BLAST THAT THERE AND THEN
LASPED ORDINARY. BUT NOT EVER
AFTER. AND NOT NOW.


©I tend to repost beloved poems. Poems are not meant to be loved only once, just like lovers do not make love only once.

I love this one and it feels at least tangentially related to winter solstice, holy nights and even Santa Claus. If I am not awake, I miss so much.

I never considered becoming a poet and now I think that's who I am supposed to be. George Eliot has a famous quote that says 'it is never too late to be who you were supposed to be". Could it possibly be true that it is ot too late for me?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

moon poem by Robert Frost

By Robert Frost (1874 – 1963)

Ive tried the new moon tilted in the air
Above a hazy tree-and-farmhouse cluster
As you might try a jewel in your hair.
Ive tried it fine with little breadth of luster,
Alone, or in one ornament combining
With one first water-star almost as shining.

I put it shining anywhere I please.
By walking slowly on some evening later
Ive pulled it from a crate of crooked trees,
And brought it over glossy water, greater,
And dropped it in, and seen the image wallow,
The color run, all sorts of wonder follow.

a moon poem by poet Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy – The Bees
The Bees is a whole book of poems that I have not yet read. /this is just one poem. Give someone you love the book sometime, even yourself.


Darlings, I write to you from the moon
where I hide behind famous light.
How could you ever think it was a man up here?
A cow jumped over. The dish ran away with the spoon.
What reached me were your joys, griefs,
here’s-the-craic, losses, longings, your lives
brief, mine long, a talented loneliness. I must have
a thousand names for the earth, my blue vocation.
Round I go, the moon a diet of light, sliver of pear,
wedge of lemon, slice of melon, half an orange,
silver onion; your human sound falling through space,
childbirth’s song, the lover’s song, the song of death.

a moon poem at the full moon

Full Moon and Little Frieda

A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket
And you listening.
A spiders web, tense for the dews touch.
A pail lifted, still and brimming mirror
To tempt a first star to a tremor.
Cows are going home in the lane there, looping the hedges with their warm wreaths of breath
A dark river of blood, many boulders,
Balancing unspilled milk.
Moon! you cry suddenly, Moon! Moon!
The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work
That points at him amazed.
–Ted Hughes, from Wodwo (1967)

Mr. Hughes was married to Silvia Plath.

The Collected Works of Anne Sexton

©

Sometimes I feel uncomfortable sharing Sexton's poems. She wrote a lot about sex, altho always sexy love, not just sex. Erotic, that might be the word. She was a then-rare female poet that wrote erotically.

Last winter, I had one of the best social outings of my whole life. My friend Marc came over to see me in Berkeley. I made soup that happened to turn out especially well. You know how it is with soup when you don't follow recipes. With his fist taste, his eyes widened, his beautiful blue eyes, he smiled and said 'the broth is particularly tasty'.   It was.  I have made many batches of the same soup since but never achieved the height of that broth.  Sigh.

Then we walked over to Moe's. When he secretly moved to San Francisco, hiding his move from me while regularly assuring me that he loved me unreservedly, he moved in secret. I was very hurt that he moved in secret. And he wouldn't tell me where he lived for eight months. That hurt me too.  I loved him too much, though, to refuse to see him even though he had hurt me. He had hurt me other times in the past, I had let him know I was hurt and that just pushed him away, typically for very long stretches.  He doesn't seem to see that disenaging is a form of retaliation, an unkindness.  I am supposed to be hurt, say nothing, choke down any treatment he deigns to bestow and if I assert myself and squeak out "But your behavior hurts me" he withdraws more.

So it was a kind of miracle that he came to my home for soup.  In the past, he had flatly refused to come to my home, telling me he was afraid of me, afraid to be alone with me. He once said if I wanted to be alone with him, I should rent the party room in my building. How would he be safer alone in the party room than alone in my living room? And  what exactly did he fear I might do?  I had already known him six years at this point and had not, and still have not, made any sexual passes at him. What did he fear?

Anyway. When he made his secret move to SF, he sold 25 boxes of books to Moe's. They pay more if ou take store credit so he took a huge store credit. I suggested after my soup that we walk over to Moe's and maybe I'd find a book or two to buy, give him the money and he could convert some of that store credit into cash.  I didn't erally want to buy any books. But I did buy two books. The Collected Works of Robert Frost and The Collected Works of Anne Sexton.  He paid with his store credit. He also bought a bunch of books, including ones about mushrooms. Sigh again. I had asked him to go mushrooming with me. He disclosed that day at Moe's that it had been a great year for mushrooms and he described going up north to forage. I asked him "Did you go alone?"  "No", he said, "I took a friend."  A knife in my heart, that friend. Why not go mushrooming with me? What's wrong with me?  I bet her went with Her Holiness. the saintly psychotic who has neve spoken a harsh word to him, the perfect pragon he sometimes has sex with. But me? he is afraid to give me a hug. years went by without a hug. As he left after a miserable sixtieth birthday lunch this past August, I impulsively asked for a hug. I instantly regreted it. His hug was awful. He has hugged me happily, eagerly, in years past. He has aked for hugs in years past.  But this August, on that fateful last day that I will ever see him because he treated my sixtieth birthday like an irritating scheduling detail and not a milestone birthday, he put one hand on each of my arms for a second. Less than a second if that is possible. He did not actually give me a hug. It sure seemed like he was afraid to just give me a hug.









The Big Heart by Anne Sexton

© I copyright my words, not Ms. Sexton's poem, of course.

The Big Heart by Anne Sexton. . . When I was in law school, I had a phase when I was obsessed with Yeats and Sexton. I once found Sexton's Collected Poems, used, for seven dollars in a book store near the U. of MN and I remember that I caressed the book standing on the ladder in that bookstore, loving it even before I hopped down and paid for it. I wonder what happened to all my poetry? I was obsessed with Yeats because the boy I was then in love with was obsessed with Yeats. I never won the boy but I had a good time with Yeats. I made my mother give me Yeats Collected Works for Christmas. Yeats?!   Mom had never heard of Yeats and thought my request was silly. I had to argue for it. How I wanted that book! And how I love Yeats. 

Seven dollars was a lot for a used book in the seventies but it was Sexton, after all.

Big heart,
wide as a watermelon,
but wise as birth,
there is so much abundance
In the people I have:
Max, Lois, Joe, Louise,
Joan, Marie, Dawn,
Arlene, Father Dunne,
And all in their short lives
give to me repeatedly,
in the way the sea
places its many fingers on the shore,
again and again
and they know me,
they help me unravel,
they listen with ears made of conch shells,
they speak back with the wine of the best region.
They are my staff.
They comfort me.
They hear how
the artery of my soul has been severed
and soul is spurting out upon them,
bleeding on them,
messing up their clothes,
dirtying their shoes.
And God is filling me,
though there are times of doubt
as hollow as the Grand Canyon,
still God is filling me.
He is giving me the thoughts of dogs,
the spider in its intricate web,
the sun
in all its amazement,
and a slain ram
that is the glory,
the mystery of great cost,
and my heart,
which is very big,
I promise it is very large,
a monster of sorts,
takes it all in--
all in comes the fury of love.