Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Taking the Hands" - Robert Bly,

Taking the hands of someone you love,
You see they are delicate cages . . .
Tiny birds are singing
In the secluded prairies
And in the deep valleys of the hand.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nadine Gordimer said,

"Truth isn't always beauty, but the hunger for it is."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Georgia O'Keeffe said,

"I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life — and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do."

"Autumn's Day" - Ted Berrigan

AFTER RILKE
Lord, it is time. Summer was very great.
Now cast your shadow upon sundials.
Let winds remind meadows it is late.

Mellow now the last fruits on the vine.
Allow them only two more southern days.
Hasten them to fulness, and press
The last heavy sweetness through the wine.

Who has no home can not build now.
Who dwells alone must now remain alone;
Will waken, read, write long letters, and
Will wander restlessly when leaves are blowing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Cat in Iraq - Ryan Alexander

She came to me skittish, wild.
The way you’re meant to be,
Surrounded by cruelty.
I did not blame her.
I would do the same.

A pregnant cat, a happy distraction
Some sort of normal thing
Calico and innocent.

The kittens in her belly said feed me.

And I did.

She crept with careful eye,
body held low to the dirt,
snagged a bite,
and carried it just far enough away.

She liked the MREs
the beef stew, the chicken breast, the barbeque pork,
But she did not like canned sardines.
I do not blame her.
I would do the same.

She came around again and again
finally deciding that I was no threat
That this big man wasn’t so bad.

I was afraid to touch her as the docs warned us
Iraqi animals were carriers of flesh-eating disease.
I donned a plastic glove and was the first to pet
This wild creature who may be

The one true heart and mind that America
Had won over.

After a while I forgot the glove and enjoyed
The tactile softness of short fur,
Flesh-eating bacteria be dammed.

Her belly swole for weeks
And she disappeared for some days
Until her kittens were safely birthed
In the shallow of a rusted desk
In the ruins that lined the road behind us.

She came around again slim
With afterbirth still matted to her hind legs
She was back again, but not quite as often
She came to eat and for attention
But there was nursing to be done.

One day she crept up with a kitten in her mouth
She dropped it at my foot and stared up at me
She expected something, but there was nothing I could do
The young black and white kitten was dead
It’s eyes not yet opened.

It looked like some shriveled old wise thing
Completely still, mouth puckered
Small body curled and limp.

She let me take the baby without a fight
She knew, but seemed unaffected.

She fetched me a gift,
A lesson,
among the worried nights
Shot nerves from poorly aimed mortar rounds:

Everything dies
the evil, the innocent
Her baby and
me

I thought I should say a prayer and bury
This poor little thing
But I did for it what will be done for me

I laid it in the burn can amongst the ash
And said I’m sorry.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Carl Sagan said,

"What an astonishing thing a book is. It is a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts, on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person. [...] Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. Books are proof that humans are capable of working magic."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"See High Above" - Malena M├Ârling

    You step outside
into the early morning
         in autumn—

And at the exact same instant
    a scrap of paper
floats over—

         High in the blue
blustery library
    of the air—

You look up
         and you see it rushing
and lifting

    even higher
into the transparent layers
         of the sky—

And at once,
    you know
it is a message—

         A message
that there is no message.
    The scrap of paper

is just a scrap of paper!
         It is weightless
and free—

    The world is just
the world—
         And you are exactly

who you are—
    Also floating now
high inside

         the invisible
balloon of
    another moment.