Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Genes" - Sharon Dunn

My eleven year son wants to fish,
he owns two rods, one saltwater,
one freshwater. He loves knives,
Bowie knives, Swiss Army
knives, "Knives like this one?"
my brother says, opening his desk
drawer and taking out a small
jackknife with antler handle.
My boy camps outdoors, begs to sleep
outside, is always shooting
arrows, rubber band guns,
he is lashing together a fort
in the backyard. He sails,
swims, kayaks and wants
to know the stars.
The outdoor hunting genes
are in the dark men in my family.
Yet I believe he is a son of light.
His joy in reading, cooking
and piano are fanned
from the tinderbox
of his father's heart.
He will save rainforest,
he will grow vegetables,
keep horses, fly his own plane.
He will make his own brave life,
he will not remake our lives
nor redeem us, nor pity us.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Jim Henson said,

"The most sophisticated people I know; inside they are all children."

Friday, September 21, 2012

H.G. Wells said,

"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Cezanne's Seclusion" - Stephen Dobyns

"I have begun to think," he wrote in a late letter,
"that one cannot help others at all." This
from a man who once called friendship the highest
virtue. And in another he wrote: "Will I ever
attain the end for which I have striven so long?"
His greatest aspiration was certainty
yet his doubts made him blame himself wrongly,
perceiving each painting a disaster. These swings
between boldness and mistrust, intimacy and isolation
led him to stay at home, keep himself concealed,
becoming a sort of hermit, whose passion for the world
directed every brushstroke, changed each creation
into an expression of tenderness, which he dismissed
writing: "a vague sense of apprehension persists."

Friday, September 14, 2012

"Closing the Cabin" - Thom Tammaro

In the yawn of dusk,
We drift home in Minnesota autumn,
Reciting the litany once more:
Dock in; boathouse latched;
Rugs rolled; plugs pulled;
Windows hinged; floors swept;
Pilots out; pipes drained;
Faucets opened; doors locked;
Hummingbird feeder taken down;
Key hanging in its secret place.

In the flicker of lights near the city's edge
We talk easily, gather within
All that the summer has given:
A great fish, slender and shiny,
Diving for bottom; loons calling
In the still afternoon;
Stars swirling above the rooftops.
Near home, vees of geese circle,
Circle in the shadows above us.

Later that night, we pause
On the stairs — winterward —
Unlock that other season
Where little puffs of winter dust
Rise when we open the door.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"The Swan" - Mary Oliver

Across the wide waters
something comes
floating—a slim
and delicate

ship, filled
with white flowers—
and it moves
on its miraculous muscles

as though time didn't exist,
as though bringing such gifts
to the dry shore
was a happiness

almost beyond bearing.
And now it turns its dark eyes,
it rearranges
the clouds of its wings,

it trails
an elaborate webbed foot,
the color of charcoal.
Soon it will be here.

Oh, what shall I do
when that poppy-colored beak
rests in my hand?
Said Mrs. Blake of the poet:

I miss my husband's company—
he is so often
in paradise.
Of course! the path to heaven

doesn't lie down in flat miles.
It's in the imagination
with which you perceive
this world,

and the gestures
with which you honor it.
Oh, what will I do, what will I say, when those
white wings
touch the shore?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

D.H. Lawrence said,

"No form of love is wrong, so long as it is love, and you yourself honour what you are doing. Love has an extraordinary variety of forms! And that is all that there is in life, it seems to me."

"At the County Fair, 1956" - Charles Darling

For a nickel, a machine
called An Expression of Faith
would take your dime
and squash it.
All tubes and gears and lights,
the thing would groan, squeak,
fart, smoke, and finally drop
a little silver oval in your hands,
hot as a pistol,
with Jesus's face on one side
and the Lord's Prayer on the other.
I took my medallion
home for Grandma,
but she wouldn't keep it
because it was Catholic
and had "trespasses"
instead of "debts"
and left out the part
about the kingdom
and the power and the glory.
She gave it back
and I went downtown
and set it on the railroad track.
And after the train went by
I had a piece of silver
smooth as glass and that
says something about
power and glory, by God.

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Fargo" - John Updike

"The fertillest soil this side of the Tigris
and Euphrates"—so the schoolchildren
of the countryside are taught, of their land
flat as a checkerboard to the hem of the sky.
The giant sky, pale green at dusk, stays black
long after morning cow-milking time.
Wind is incessant in winter, so
that snow falls sideways, like arctic sunshine.
This land of Lutherans and sugar beets
thickens its marvelous thinness here at the edge
of a Red River whose windings alone
betray the rectilinear. Downtown,
parking space is no problem, and grain-fed health
rewards those God's grandeur does not drive mad.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

"New Religion" - Bill Holm

This morning no sound but the loud
breathing of the sea. Suppose that under
all that salt water lived the god
that humans have spent ten thousand years
trawling the heavens for.
We caught the wrong metaphor.
Real space is wet and underneath,
the church of shark and whale and cod.
The noise of those vast lungs
exhaling: the plain chanting of monkfish choirs.
Heaven's not up but down, and hell
is to evaporate in air. Salvation,
to drown and breathe
forever with the sea.

Monday, September 3, 2012

"The Night Piece" - Thom Gunn

The fog drifts slowly down the hill
And as I mount gets thicker still,
Closes me in, makes me its own
Like bedclothes on the paving stone.

Here are the last few streets to climb,
Galleries, run through veins of time,
Almost familiar, where I creep
Toward sleep like fog, through fog like sleep.