December 10, 2003

Poetry locale [Filed under: Group Meetings]

Hey! Can we do poetry this week at our place? It would help me out and it looks like chez Jon and Sam is the place to be FRI night. If its inconvenient, though, no worries.

December 9, 2003

Stars [Filed under: Oliver, Mary]

To go along with the sun, here are the stars:


Here in my head, language
keeps making its tiny noises.

How can I hope to be friends
with the hard white stars

whose flaring and hissing are not speech
but a pure radiance?

How can I hope to be friends
with the yawning spaces between them

Where nothing, ever, is spoken?
Tonight at the edge of the field,

I stood very still, and looked up,
and tried to be empty of words.

What joy was it, that almost found me?
What amiable peace?

Then it was over, the wind
roused up in the oak trees behind me

and I fell back, easily.
Earth has a hundred thousand pure contraltos—

even the distant bird
as it talks threat, as it talks love

over the cold, black fields.
Once, deep in the woods,

I found the white skull of a bear
and it was utterly silent—

and once a river otter, in a steel trap,
and it too was utterly silent.

What can we do
but keep on breathing in and out,

modest and willing, and in our places?
Listen, listen, I’m forever saying,

Listen to the river, to the hawk, to the hoof,
to the mockingbird, to the Jack-in the pulpit—

then I come up with a few words, like a gift.
Even as now.

Even as the darkness has remained the pure, deep darkness.
Even as the stars have twirled a little, while I stood here,

looking up,
one hot sentence after another.

—from Stars in West Wind,
Houghton Mifflin, 1997

RE: Nephelidia [Filed under: Group Meetings.Swinburne, Algernon Charles]

I tell ya, I’m such a sucker for alliteration. (That and lights on trees in the winter.) So, needless to say, I enjoyed the Swinburne poem you posted Mike.

The snow is blowing out here in Nebraska, but not as high as the trees. That’s a good thing though since I intend to come home tomorrow. Thursday at Jon’s place sounds good to me.

See you all soon!

December 8, 2003

A little alliteration ala Swinburne [Filed under: Bishop, Elizabeth]

I apologize for being so out of things and unresponsive lately. I am so deeply drenched in the depths of the unpoetic and pathetic linguistic that the pressure is poised to prompt me to implode. But I’m hoping to take a break from it all for a couple hours to do our thing thursday night. Our place would be fine but lets keep it simple and do Jon’s unless he (or others) would prefer to come out to the palisades. And the poems Jon mentioned sound good to me. Oh and I heard this poem read recently and liked it. Its also contemporary and female (Elizabeth Bishop). ESSO was Exxon before it was Exxon.

Filling Station

Oh, but it is dirty!
—this little filling station,
oil-soaked, oil-permeated
to a disturbing, over-all
black translucency.
Be careful with that match!

Father wears a dirty,
oil-soaked monkey suit
that cuts him under the arms,
and several quick and saucy
and greasy sons assist him
(it’s a family filling station),
all quite thoroughly dirty.

Do they live in the station?
It has a cement porch
behind the pumps, and on it
a set of crushed and grease-
impregnated wickerwork;
on the wicker sofa
a dirty dog, quite comfy.

Some comic books provide
the only note of color—
of certain color. They lie
upon a big dim doily
draping a taboret
(part of the set), beside
a big hirsute begonia.

Why the extraneous plant?
Why the taboret?
Why, oh why, the doily?
(Embroidered in daisy stitch
with marguerites, I think,
and heavy with gray crochet.)

Somebody embroidered the doily.
Somebody waters the plant,
or oils it, maybe. Somebody
arranges the rows of cans
so that they softly say:

to high-strung automobiles.
Somebody loves us all.

December 6, 2003

Happy Birthday, Lawless [Filed under: Swinburne, Algernon Charles]

A poem in your honor:

(Read more…)