Thursday, December 31, 2015

I Matter


I Matter

it was when she first dared
to see her truth
that the winds howled.
after a time,
it strengthened her
and she spoke her truth
and the earth shook.
and when finally,
she believed her truth -
the stars rejoiced,
the universe opened,
and even her bones
sang her song:
I Matter!
© Terri St. Cloud

I like the poem but I don't matter.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

the world darkens


It is hard to have hope. It is harder as you grow old,
for hope must not depend on feeling good
and there is the dream of loneliness at absolute midnight.
You also have withdrawn belief in the present reality
of the future, which surely will surprise us,
and hope is harder when it cannot come by prediction
any more than by wishing. But stop dithering.
The young ask the old to hope. What will you tell them?
Tell them at least what you say to yourself.

Because we have not made our lives to fit
our places, the forests are ruined, the fields eroded,
the streams polluted, the mountains overturned. Hope
then to belong to your place by your own knowledge
of what it is that no other place is, and by
your caring for it as you care for no other place, this
place that you belong to though it is not yours,
for it was from the beginning and will be to the end.

Belong to your place by knowledge of the others who are
your neighbors in it: the old man, sick and poor,
who comes like a heron to fish in the creek,
and the fish in the creek, and the heron who manlike
fishes for the fish in the creek, and the birds who sing
in the trees in the silence of the fisherman
and the heron, and the trees that keep the land
they stand upon as we too must keep it, or die.

This knowledge cannot be taken from you by power
or by wealth. It will stop your ears to the powerful
when they ask for your faith, and to the wealthy
when they ask for your land and your work.
Answer with knowledge of the others who are here
and how to be here with them. By this knowledge
make the sense you need to make. By it stand
in the dignity of good sense, whatever may follow.

Speak to your fellow humans as your place
has taught you to speak, as it has spoken to you.
Speak its dialect as your old compatriots spoke it
before they had heard a radio. Speak
publicly what cannot be taught or learned in public.

Listen privately, silently to the voices that rise up
from the pages of books and from your own heart.
Be still and listen to the voices that belong
to the streambanks and the trees and the open fields.
There are songs and sayings that belong to this place,
by which it speaks for itself and no other.

Found your hope, then, on the ground under your feet.
Your hope of Heaven, let it rest on the ground
underfoot. Be it lighted by the light that falls
freely upon it after the darkness of the nights
and the darkness of our ignorance and madness.
Let it be lighted also by the light that is within you,
which is the light of imagination. By it you see
the likeness of people in other places to yourself
in your place. It lights invariably the need for care
toward other people, other creatures, in other places
as you would ask them for care toward your place and you.

No place at last is better than the world. The world
is no better than its places. Its places at last
are no better than their people while their people
continue in them. When the people make
dark the light within them, the world darkens.



"2007, VI" ["It is hard to have hope"] by Wendell Berry. Text as published in This Day: New & Collected Sabbath Poems (Counterpoint, 2013).

Friday, December 25, 2015

some of them kings

this is my official favorite Xmas poem.  Ms. Oswald is a British poet who does a lot of gardening,sees nature more clearly than most.

Various Portents

By Alice Oswald
Various stars. Various kings.
Various sunsets, signs, cursory insights.
Many minute attentions, many knowledgeable watchers,
Much cold, much overbearing darkness.

Various long midwinter Glooms.
Various Solitary and Terrible Stars.
Many Frosty Nights, many previously Unseen Sky-flowers.
Many people setting out (some of them kings) all clutching at stars.

More than one North Star, more than one South Star.
Several billion elliptical galaxies, bubble nebulae, binary systems,
Various dust lanes, various routes through varying thicknesses of Dark,
Many tunnels into deep space, minds going back and forth.

Many visions, many digitally enhanced heavens,
All kinds of glistenings being gathered into telescopes:
Fireworks, gasworks, white-streaked works of Dusk,
Works of wonder and/or water, snowflakes, stars of frost . . .

Various dazed astronomers dilating their eyes,
Various astronauts setting out into laughterless earthlessness,
Various 5,000-year-old moon maps,
Various blindmen feeling across the heavens in braille.

Various gods making beautiful works in bronze,
Brooches, crowns, triangles, cups and chains,
And all sorts of drystone stars put together without mortar.
Many Wisemen remarking the irregular weather.

Many exile energies, many low-voiced followers,
Watches of wisp of various glowing spindles,
Soothsayers, hunters in the High Country of the Zodiac,
Seafarers tossing, tied to a star . . .

Various people coming home (some of them kings). Various headlights.
Two or three children standing or sitting on the low wall.
Various winds, the Sea Wind, the sound-laden Winds of Evening
Blowing the stars towards them, bringing snow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Various Portents by Alice Oswald

this is my official favorite Xmas poem.  Ms. Oswald is a British poet who does a lot of gardening,sees nature more clearly than most.

Various Portents

By Alice Oswald
Various stars. Various kings.
Various sunsets, signs, cursory insights.
Many minute attentions, many knowledgeable watchers,
Much cold, much overbearing darkness.

Various long midwinter Glooms.
Various Solitary and Terrible Stars.
Many Frosty Nights, many previously Unseen Sky-flowers.
Many people setting out (some of them kings) all clutching at stars.

More than one North Star, more than one South Star.
Several billion elliptical galaxies, bubble nebulae, binary systems,
Various dust lanes, various routes through varying thicknesses of Dark,
Many tunnels into deep space, minds going back and forth.

Many visions, many digitally enhanced heavens,
All kinds of glistenings being gathered into telescopes:
Fireworks, gasworks, white-streaked works of Dusk,
Works of wonder and/or water, snowflakes, stars of frost . . .

Various dazed astronomers dilating their eyes,
Various astronauts setting out into laughterless earthlessness,
Various 5,000-year-old moon maps,
Various blindmen feeling across the heavens in braille.

Various gods making beautiful works in bronze,
Brooches, crowns, triangles, cups and chains,
And all sorts of drystone stars put together without mortar.
Many Wisemen remarking the irregular weather.

Many exile energies, many low-voiced followers,
Watches of wisp of various glowing spindles,
Soothsayers, hunters in the High Country of the Zodiac,
Seafarers tossing, tied to a star . . .

Various people coming home (some of them kings). Various headlights.
Two or three children standing or sitting on the low wall.
Various winds, the Sea Wind, the sound-laden Winds of Evening
Blowing the stars towards them, bringing snow.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

I am Rilke's Panther


I am the most depressed I have ever been, and depression is my oldest, most frequently seen, friend. And I have been depressed this time much longer than ever before. And I don't think I am ever going to get to the end of this bout because my depression is situational, the result of losses I cannot accept.

Paradoxically, I am numb, yes, but I am also in excrutiating pain.

I often think "This is it, I'm a goner" but way in the back of my conscious mind, I whisper to myself "you test your glucose, inject insulin as needed, take your meds and eat healthfully, a part of you is still caring for you, all is not lost' but such thoughts enter, pierce me and, poof!, they re gone, like in Rilke's poem The Panther:

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly--. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.
~ Rainier Maria Rilke, The Panther
My faintly subtle sense that I am still taking care of myself enters, rushes down through my whole being, plunges into the core of me and is gone.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Big Heart

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 to impress the boy. 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.

I'd love you to love me

audio below lyrics:  song first done by band Cheap Tricks in 1977. Great lyrics. Great poem. Great love song. It's what I want.
I want you to want me
I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I'd love you to love me
I'm beggin' you to beg me
I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I'd love you to love me
I'll shine up the old brown shoes,
Put on a brand-new shirt
I'll get home early from work
If you say that you love me
Didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you cryin'?
Ohh, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you cryin'?
Feelin' all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dyin'
Ohh, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you cryin'?
I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I'd love you to love me
I'm beggin' you to beg me
I'll shine up the old brown shoes
Put on a brand-new shirt
I'll get home early from work
If you say that you love me
Didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you cryin'?
Ohh, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you cryin'?
Feelin' all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dyin'
Ohh, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you cryin'?
Ohh
Feelin' all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dyin'
Ohh, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you cryin'?
Ohh
I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I'd love you to love me
I'm beggin' you to beg me
I want you to want me
I want you to want me
I want you to want me
....
Songwriters
Nielsen, Rick
Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

hieroglyphic stairway

hieroglyphic stairway © Drew Dellinger

it's 3:23 in the morning
and I'm awake
because my great great grandchildren
won't let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?

surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?

as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?

did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?

what did you do'
once
you
knew?

I'm riding home on the Colma train
I've got the voice of the milk way in my dreams

I have teams of scientists
feeding me data daily
and pleading I immediately'
turn it into poetry

I want just this consciousness reached
by people in range of secret frequencies
contained in my speech

I am the desirous earth
equidistant to the underworld
and the flesh of the stars

I am everything already lost

the moment the universe turns transparent'
and all the light shoots through the cosmos

I use words to instigate silence

I'm a hieroglyphics stairway
in a buried Mayan city
suddenly exposed by a hurricane'

a satellite circling earth'
finding dinosaur bones
in the Gobi desert
I am telescopes that see back in time

I am the procession of the equinoxes,
the magnetism of the spiraling sea

I'm riding home on the Colma train
with the voice of the milky way in my dreams

I am myths where violets blossom from blood
like dying and rising gods

I'm the boundary of time
soul encountering soul
and tongues of fire

it's 3:23 in the morning
and I can't sleep
because my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the earth was unraveling?

I want just this consciousness reached
by people in range of secret frequencies
contained in my speech
~ Drew Dellinger

Saturday, December 05, 2015

I will come and find you

I WILL COME AND FIND YOU WHEN THE LOVE
I FIND INSIDE MYSELF IS EQUAL TO WHAT YOU OFFER
I will come and find you when the love
I find inside myself is equal to what you offer,
I have been so afraid in that outer world
in which you found me; one thing I know
that I do not need to ask you to wait.
I only want to tell you that here in the center
of my strength I am everything you have seen.
I will come in late September when the light
inside me and outside of me has changed utterly.
All of this will come true….

Excerpt from 'SEPTEMBER' :
From THE SEA IN YOU:
Twenty Poems of Requited and Unrequited Love’
© David Whyte and Many Rivers Press
Now Available at davidwhyte.com

great poem by Audre Lorde

I was going to die, sooner or later,
whether or not I had even spoken myself.
My silences had not protected me.
Your silences will not protect you….
What are the words you do not yet have?

What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day
and attempt to make your own,
until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?
We have been socialized to respect fear
more than our own need for language.
Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen?
Then push yourself a little further than you dare.
Once you start to speak, people will yell at you.
They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal.
And the world won’t end. And the speaking will get easier and easier.
And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision,
which you may never have realized you had.
And you will lose some friends and lovers,
and realize you don’t miss them.
And new ones will find you and cherish you.
And you will still flirt and paint your nails,
dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said,
“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”
And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty
that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth.
And that is not speaking.
by Audre Lorde