Wednesday, September 30, 2009

819. Destruction - Joanne Kyger

First of all do you remember the way a bear goes through
a cabin when nobody is home? He goes through
the front door. I mean he really goes through it. Then
he takes the cupboard off the wall and eats a can of lard.

He eats all the apples, limes, dates, bottled decaffeinated
coffee, and 35 pounds of granola. The asparagus soup cans
fall to the floor. Yum! He chomps up Norwegian crackers
stashed for the winter. And the bouillon, salt, pepper,
paprika, garlic, onions, potatoes.

He rips the Green Tara
poster from the wall. Tries the Coleman Mustard. Spills
the ink, tracks in the flour. Goes up stairs and takes
a shit. Rips open the water bed, eats the incense and
drinks the perfume. Knocks over the Japanese tansu
and the Persian miniature of a man on horseback watching
a woman bathing.

Knocks Shelter, Whole Earth Catalogue,
Planet Drum, Northern Mists, Truck Tracks, and
Women's Sports into the oozing water bed mess.

He goes down stairs and out the back wall. He keeps on going
for a long way and finds a good cave to sleep it all off.
Luckily he ate the whole medicine cabinet, including stash
of LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, Amanita, Benzedrine, Valium
and aspirin.

Monday, September 28, 2009

818. Things of the Past - Theodore Weiss

“Your great-grandfather was . . .”

And Mrs. C, our tart old Scots
landlady, with her stomping legs,
four bristles sprouted from her chin-
wart, she who briskly
chats away
about Montrose, founder of her clan,
as though she’s just now fresh
from tea with him,
regards you
incredulously, a bastard gargoyle
off some bastard architecture,
one grown topsy-turvy:
“Not to know
your great-grandfather! How do
you live? O you Americans!”
cannot see what freedom it affords,
your ignorance,
a space swept
clear of all the clutter of lives
And yet who can dismiss
her words entirely? It burdens too,
this emptiness,
pervasive presence
not a room away that, no matter
how you hammer at its wall,
refuses to admit you.
As though
you woke and in a place you thought
then had a sense (what
is it that has been disturbed?)
of one you never met
yet somehow
knew—looks echoing among the dusty
that myopic glass
reflecting, like a sunset lingered
inside trees,
a meditative smile:
a breath warm to your cheek,
your brow:
the hand (whose?)
moving on your blanket in a gesture
that you fail to recognize

yet know it as you know
the taste through oranges of sun-
light current in them still—

then gone as you began to stir.
And for a moment dawn seems lost
as in a mist, seems wistful

for a feeling it cannot
achieve . . . the sun breaks through,
an instant medleying the leaves.

Friday, September 25, 2009

817. Am I Not Among The Early Risers - Mary Oliver

Am I not among the early risers
and the long-distance walkers?

Have I not stood, amazed, as I consider
the perfection of the morning star
above the peaks of the houses, and the crowns of the trees
blue in the first light?
Do I not see how the trees tremble, as though
sheets of water flowed over them
though it is only wind, that common thing,
free to everyone, and everything?

Have I not thought, for years, what it would be
worthy to do, and then gone off, barefoot and with a silver pail,
to gather blueberries,
thus coming, as I think, upon a right answer?

What will ambition do for me that the fox, appearing suddenly
at the top of the field,
her eyes sharp and confident as she stared into mine,
has not already done?

What countries, what visitations,
what pomp
would satisfy me as thoroughly as Blackwater Woods
on a sun-filled morning, or, equally, in the rain?

Here is an amazement–––once I was twenty years old and in
every motion of my body there was a delicious ease,
and in every motion of the green earth there was
a hint of paradise,
and now I am sixty years old, and it is the same.

Above the modest house and the palace–––the same darkness.
Above the evil man and the just, the same stars.
Above the child who will recover and the child who will
not recover, the same energies roll forward,
from one tragedy to the next and from one foolishness to the next.

I bow down.

Have I not loved as though the beloved could vanish at any moment,
or become preoccupied, or whisper a name other that mine
in the stretched curvatures of lust, or over the dinner table?
Have I ever taken good fortune for granted?

Have I not, every spring, befriended the swarm that pours forth?
Have I not summoned the honey-man to come, to hurry,
to bring with him the white and comfortable hive?

And while I waited, have I not leaned close, to see everything?
Have I not been stung as I watched their milling and gleaming,
and stung hard?

Have I not been ready always at the iron door,
not knowing to what country it opens–––to death or to more life?

Have I ever said that the day was too hot or too cold
or the night too long and as black as oil anyway,
or the morning, washed blue and emptied entirely
of the second-rate, less than happiness

as I stepped down from the porch and set out along
the green paths of the world?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

816. Memorandum Book - Primo Levi

Translated from the Italian by Ruth Feldman and Brian Swann
    In such a night as this,
Of north wind and rain mixed with snow,
There is someone who drowses in front of a TV,
Someone who resolves to rob a bank.
In such a night as this,
Distant as it takes light to travel in five days,
There is a comet that plummets onto us
From the black womb without height or depth.
The same one Giotto painted,
It will bring neither luck nor disasters,
But ancient ice and a reply, perhaps.
In such a night as this
There is a half-mad old man,
Fine metalworker in his day,
But his day was not our day,
And now he sleeps at Ports Nuova, drinks.
In such a night as this
Someone stretches out next to a woman
And feels he no longer has weight.
It's today that counts and not tomorrow,
And the flow of time pauses briefly.
In such a night as this
Witches used to choose hemlock and hellebore
To pick by the light of the moon
And cook in their kitchens.
In such a night as this
There's a transvestite on Corso Matteotti
Who would give a kidney and a lung
To grow hollow and become a woman.
In such a night as this
There are seven young men in white lab coats,
Four of them smoking pipes.
They are designing a very long channel
In which to unite a bundle of protons
Almost as swift as light.
If they succeed, the world will blow up.
In such a night as this
A poet strains his bow, searching for a word
That can contain the typhoon's force,
The secrets of blood and seed.

Friday, September 18, 2009

815. Cosmic Gall - John Updike

'Every second, hundreds of billions of these neutrinos pass through each square inch of our bodies, coming from above during day and from below at night, when the sun is shining on the other side of the earth.' - (from 'An Explanatory Statement on Elementary Particle
Physics,' By M. A. Rudermand and A. H. Rosenfeld, in American Scientist)

Neutrinos, they are very small.
They have no charge and have no mass
And do not interact at all.
The earth is just a silly ball
To them, through which they simply pass,
Like dustmaids down a drafty hall
Or photons through a sheet of glass.
They snub the most exquisite gas,
Ignore the substantial wall,
Cold-shoulder steel and sounding brass,
Insult the stallion in his stall,
And, scorning barriers of class,
Infiltrate you and me! Like tall
And painless guillotines, they fall
Down through our heads into the grass.
At night, they enter at Nepal
And pierce the lover and his lass
From underneath the bed –– you call
It wonderful; I call it crass.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

814. In Distress - John Wagoner

(Selected entirely from International Code of Signals, United States
Edition, published by U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office)

I am abandoning my vessel
Which has suffered a nuclear accident
And is a possible source of radiation danger.
You should abandon your vessel as quickly as possible.
Your vessel will have to be abandoned.
I shall abandon by vessel
Unless you will remain by me,
Ready to assist.
I have had a serious nuclear accident
And you should approach with caution.
The position of the accident is marked by flame.
The position of the accident is marked by wreckage.
I need a doctor. I have severe burns.
I need a doctor. I have radiation casualties.
I require a helicopter urgently, with a doctor.
The number of injured or dead is not yet known.
Your aircraft should endeavor to alight
Where a flag is waved or a light is shown.
Shall I train my searchlight nearly vertical
On a cloud intermittently and, if I see your aircraft,
Deflect the beam upwind and on the water
To facilitate your landing?
I do see any light.
You may alight on my deck; I am ready to receive you forward.
You may alight on my deck; I am ready to receive you amidship.
You may alight on my deck; I am ready to receive you aft.
I am entering a zone of restricted visibility.
You should come within visual signal distance.
I require immediate assistance; I have a dangerous list.
I require immediate assistance; I have damaged steering gear.
I require immediate assistance; I have a serious disturbance on board.
I require immediate assistance; I am on fire.
What assistance do you require?
Can you proceed without assistance?
Boats cannot be used because of weather conditions.
Boats cannot be used on the starboard side because of list.
Boats cannot be used on the port side because of list.
Boats cannot be used to disembark people.
Boats cannot be used to get alongside.
Boats cannot be used to reach you.
I cannot send a boat.
I require immediate assistance; I am drifting.
I am breading adrift. I have broken adrift.
I am sinking.
Did you see the vessel sink?
Is it confirmed the the vessel has sunk?
What is the depth of water where the vessel sank?
Where did the vessel sink?
I have lost sight of you.
My position is doubtful.
My position is ascertained by dead reckoning.
Will you give me my position?
You should indicate your position by searchlight.
You should indicate your position by smoke signal.
You should indicate your position by rockets or flares.
My position is marked by flame.
My position is marked by wreckage.
Are you in the search area?
I am in the search area.
Are you continuing to search?
Do you want me to continue to search?
I cannot continue to search.
I cannot save my vessel.
Keep close as possible.
I wish some persons taken off.
A skeleton crew will remain on board.
You should give immediate assistance to pick up survivors.
You should try to obtain from survivors all possible information.
I cannot take off persons.
There are indications of an intense depression.
The wind is expected to veer.
You should take appropriate precautions.
A phenomenal wave is expected.
I cannot proceed to the rescue.
I will keep close to you during the night.
Nothing can be done until daylight.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

813. Letters of the Dead - Wislawa Szymborska

Wislawa Szymborska - Letters of the Dead
from Wszelki Wypadek (Could Have), 1972
Translated from Polish by Vuyelwa Carlin

We read the letters of the dead like puzzled gods –
gods nevertheless, because we know what happened later.
We know what money wasn’t repaid,
the widows who rushed to remarry.
Poor, unseeing dead,
deceived, fallible, toiling in solemn foolery.
We see the signs made behind their backs,
catch the rustle of ripped-up wills.
They sit there before us, ridiculous
as things perched on buttered bread,
or fling themselves after whisked-away hats.
Their bad taste – Napoleon, steam and electricity,
deadly remedies for curable diseases,
the foolish apocalypse of St. John,
the false paradise on earth of Jean-Jacques . . .
Silently, we observe their pawns on the board
– but shifted three squares on.
Everything they foresaw has happened quite differently,
or a little differently – which is the same thing.
The most fervent stare trustingly into our eyes;
by their reckoning, they’ll see perfection there.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

812. Ode To Arnold Schoenberg - Charles Tomlinson

Ode To Arnold Schoenberg On a Performance of His Concerto for Violin

At its margin
the river's double willow
that the wind
disrupts, effaces
and then restores
in shivering planes:
it is
calm morning.
The twelve notes
(from the single root
the double tree)
and their reflection:
let there be
however the winds rout
or the wave disperses
remains, as
in the liberation of the dissonance
beauty would seem discredited
and yet is not:
it may be reachieved,
thus to proceed
through discontinuities
to the whole in which
discontinuities are held
like the foam in chalcedony
the stone, enriched
by the tones' impurity.
The swayed mirror
and the reflection
yields to reflected light.
Day. The bell-clang
goes down the air
and, like a glance
grasping upon its single thread
a disparate scene,
crosses and recreates
the audible morning.
All meet at cockcrow
when our common sounds
confirm our common bonds.
Meshed in meaning
by what is natural
we are discontented
for what is more,
until the thread
of an instrument pursue
a more than common meaning.
But to redeem
both the idiom and the instrument
was reserved
to this exiled Jew––to bring
by fiat
certainty from possibility.
For what is sound
made reintelligible
but the unfolding word
branched and budded,
the wintered tree
creating, cradling space
and then
filling it with verdure?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

811. Omen - Jon Swan

You will not even notice our departure.
The small, falling like plump leaves
among the fallen leaves,
will lie indistinguishable, each with his song
locked in his throat.
The large, unable to climb, to soar,
will invisibly die in their high places,
which only the few sure-footed among you could scale.
Only the tame, safe in your cages, will for a time, survive.

We have, it would seem, outlived our purpose,
whose strokes in the sky taught you symbols
to preserve what you thought.
In those days, we seemed lines drawn by a wise god
as we flew, flocked,
presaging more than a change in season.
Each savior in turn had his holy bird,
his practical, heavenly messenger descending
to peck a seed from the ear or to seal some voice as divine.

We, who announced the birth of each sun,
who once were, to the discoverer,
true sign of the unseen,
longed-for land ahead, now may announce no new thing
save this darkness
which we, at your bidding, must enter.
We fall, as pit-birds fell, silent.
Their silence was always clear warning to you to turn back.
But you, hacking at shadows, still fail to hear us though we
cease to sing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

810. You - Jorge Luis Borges

Translated from the Spanish by Alastair Reid
In all the world, one man has been born, one man has died.
To insist otherwise is nothing more than statistics, an impossible
No less impossible than bracketing the smell of rain with your
dream of two nights ago.
The man is Ulysses, Abel, Cain, the first to make constellations
of the stars, to build the first pyramid, the man who contrived
the hexagrams of the Book of Changes, the smith
who engraved runes on the sword of Hengist, Einar Tamberskelver
the archer, Luis de León, the bookseller who
fathered Samuel Johnson, Voltaire's gardener, Darwin
aboard the Beagle, a Jew in the death chamber, and, in
time, you and I.
One man alone has died at Troy, at Metaurus, at Hastings, at
Austerlitz, at Trafalgar, at Gettysburg.
One man alone has died in hospitals, in boats, in painful solitude,
in the rooms of habit and of love.
One man alone has looked on the enormity of dawn.
One man alone has felt on his tongue the fresh quenching of
water, the flavor of fruit and of flesh.
I speak of the unique, the single man, he who is always alone.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

809. 1938 - Pastor Niemöller

       'First they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the communists
And I did not speak out —
Because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out —
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me —
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.'

808. Ramon Gurthie - The Making of The Bear

Perhaps for fear of saying to oneself,
“Why you rather than another?” or asking
why it should be done at all,
it is not good to plan such things too long.

No question others had more craft than I.
I had waited for the Old One to give the sign
to one of us, half hoping still his choice
might fall on me. But lately he had turned
to graving stags and reindeer on bits of antler—
art that for all his pains my clumsy fingers
could never seem to master. In any case,
his choice for cavern walls ran to pregnant cows,
bison, and ponies. That, and more and more
he favored places not too hard to get at.
“What’s the harm in having good work seen?”

Meanwhile the first full moon of spring was near.
I can’t say why I chose the cave I did.
Passing that way one day, I’d seen it
and taken it for a badger’s hole until
I saw an owl rise from it and, listening close,
caught the voices of the water.

I set out before dawn and took along
well-scorched moss, and tallow, stone lamp, firestick
in a deer bladder lashed tight with pitched sinews.
The flint I carried in a pouch tied to my wrist.
I crawled with hips and belly till I came
into a place where I could squat. There I made
my first light. The water sounded fairly near,
though the first spur I took was full of twists
that led me farther from it. I turned back.
Now, inching on a ledge with steep-sloped roof,
I struck a fissure where the torrent spouted.
I whispered to the spirit, filled my lungs,
and plunged.
Swim? I doubt a salmon could
have swum it. I braced and fought for holds
in walls and ceiling to haul myself along,
still with no sign that anything but more
and wilder water lay ahead, a chance
a man must take. Half drowned, I reached a sweep
and lay there spewing out my lungs and caught between
terror of the dark and the solid feel
of rock beneath me. I could hope the bladder
still was staunch but dared not open it until
I knew my hands were dry. When at last I twirled
the firestick and coaxed the wick to flame,
I say the place was far too open
to waste good work on.

I edged my way along a slit so barred
by stone icicles that I would have given up
when almost now in reach, I saw the wall
that I have known since childhood
yet never seen before. I saw it now
even to the scratches other men,
knowing the place for what it was, had made
ages before me. Some of their animals were not
like ours–––one hairy beast with two horns on his snout
was half glazed over by a layer of stone-ice.
Many of them were drawn overlapping others—
as mine would sprawl on theirs. None of them
was anything the size that I intended.

The stone was even-grained would take flint clean,
and yet not soft enough to flake with time.
Pressing my back against the other wall
to have full arm-room, I sketched him in—
a bear as big as living. I worked fast,
paused only when the need was to renew
the wick and tallow. First I got the spine—
that line where limberness and strength
of any living beast is—cut firmly,
the head scaled in and forelegs placed
before the tallow failed.
Spilling down the torrent,
then guided most by slithering in my own tracks,
I found my way out—into moonlight. The sun,
it seemed, had set twice since I left.
Ate and slept but, lest
the bear be dimmed in me, did not go in
to either of my women.
I told no one where I had been or why.

Next day I packed another bladder, taking
a good supply of moss and tallow, honey and nuts,
and other, heavier, newly beveled flints.
As a last thought, I went to see old Kill-Bear.
“Look like?” he puffed. “A bear? Why, you’ve seen bears
since you were a baby.” (And drawn them, too,
he might have said, since I could scratch earth
with a stick.) “Come now, you’ve seen those I killed.
Look like? Well, they’ve got hair all over them.
Stub tails, big paws and heads, and lots of teeth.”
I left the old fool bawling after me,
“hey, you ain’t found one, have you? You’re supposed
to tell me if you have. Don’t you go trying
to get my job by killing it yourself!”

I found the cave was easier going this time,
but the torrent sucked and swirled up to the ceiling.
I moved half into it to test its tug.
It grabbed me, and pulled by under. The bladder buoying me,
I found a shallow dome that let my nose just clear
the water. Strange, where with death so sure, I thought
not for my women or their young but for the bear
that I would heave unfinished. Him I commended
to the spirits of the dark.

Slowly the water
ebbed, below my chin and then my shoulders.
It rose again and then as sudden fell.
I was on a rock shelf.
I had slept. The bladder was still with me.
The roar was gone, the water gurgled like a brook.

The new flints bit well. To give him weight,
I undergouged the belly and hindquarters.
A natural bulge I fashioned into head.
I gave him teeth and claws. Then last of all
he took on eyes and nostrils. When he began to breathe,
I stopped and snuffed the wick, safe in his
protection, slept.
Waking and making light the last time,
I scratched a spear mark on his flank as we were taught—
so shallow though that he would never feel it—
made him an offering of honey, nuts, and tallow,
ate some myself. The lamp and flints I left there.

Heft, strength, the saddle and the soles,
the rambling appetite, fur, the rolling amble,
the curious investigating “ Whoof!,”
the clatter of unretracting claws, the bear-play—
sliding on their rumps down clay banks into puddles,
standing erect and balancing vines across their noses—
patience to wait with poised paw
on a rock among the rapids
to snatch the salmon as they leap,
the good
bear-smell of being bears
are what I had tried to make the flint say
on the cavern wall.

Ferocity and gentleness...

Your bear is one great fool and so is man!
I have seen a naked child in pigtails,
squealing her delight,
chase a full-grown bear splashing across the meadow—
and a half-grown cub stand up and brave
a dozen hunters with javelins and torches.

Bison are better eating
and their hides tan easier
but you can’t laugh at a bison.

Beside the profound, absolute
dark of caves, our night seems noon.
Even beneath a starless sky
the eye makes out bulk and shapes,
but in winding scapes of underground,
where no sun’s light has ever shone,
finger may touch the lash
of open eye unseen.

in that total lack of light
is where my bear is.
No one will ever see him
but he still
is there.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

807. As You Like It - Theodore Weiss

An old master yourself now, Auden,
like that much admired Cavafy and those
older still, in this you were wrong.
are not indifferent, let alone oblivious,
to the momentary, great scene.
like Mrs. Gudgeon, the smart little little char
come with our London flat,
to the wireless, a most impressive array
of "the best minds"
engaged in difficult,
arduous talk, and she intent on it,
to her husband's
"What're you listening for?
You don't understand a word they say,"
"O I enjoy it, just the sound
of it, so musical, And anyway I take
from it whatever I like,
then make of it,
in my own mind, whatever I will,"
like Mrs. Gudgeon
most of us, watching
the moment, some spectacular event,
whether it be Icarus,
Cleopatra consorting
with the streets, or the astronauts
cavorting on the moon,
bear off those bits
that we can use. This is the greatness
of each creature,
the mouse at the Feast
of the Gods, one crumb doing for it
what heaped-up platters cannot do for Them.

Friday, September 04, 2009

806. As Much As You Can (1&2&3) - C. P. Cavafy

C. P. Cavafy - As Much As You Can (1)
Translated from the Greek by ?

And even if you cannot make your life the way you want it,
this much, at least, try to do
as much as you can: don't cheapen it
with too much intercourse with society,
with too much movement and conversation.

Don't cheapen it by taking it about,
making the rounds with it, exposing it
to the everyday inanity
of relations and connections,
so it becomes like a stranger, burdensome.

C. P. Cavafy - As Long As You Can (2)
Translated from the Greek by Theoharis C. Theoharis

And even if you cannot make your life what you want,
for as long as you can at least
try to do this: do not trivialize it
in all the busy contacts of the world,
in all the swarm and gossip.

Do not trivialize it, hauling it,
roaming with it, always exposing it
to the pairings and relations
of everyday stupidity,
until it ends up irritating, stubborn as a beggar.

C. P. Cavafy - As Much As You Can (3)
Translated from the Greek by ?

And if you can't shape your life the way you want,
at least try as much as you can
not to degrade it
by too much contact with the world,
by too much activity and talk.

Try not to degrade it be dragging it along,
taking around and exposing it so often
to the daily stillness
of social events and parties,
until it comes to seem a boring hanger-on.

805. Six Years Later - Joseph Brodsky

Translated, from the Russian, by Richard Wilber
So long had life together been that now
The second of January fell again
On Tuesday, making her astonished brow
Lift like a windshield wiper in the rain,
So that her misty sadness cleared, and showed
A cloudless distance waiting up the road.

So long had life together been that once
The snow began to fall, it seemed unending;
That, lest the flakes should make her eyelids wince,
I’d shield them with my hand, and they, pretending
Not to believe that cherishing of eyes,
Would beat against my palm like butterflies.

So alien had all novelty become
That sleep’s entanglements would put to shame
Whatever depths the analysts might plumb;
That when my lips blew out the candle flame,
Her lips, fluttering from my shoulder, sought
To join my own, without another thought.

So long had life together been that all
That tattered brood of papered roses went,
And a whole birch grove grew upon the wall,
And we had money, by some accident,
And tonguelike on the sea, for thirty days,
The sunset threatened Turkey with its blaze.

So long had life together been without
Books, chairs, utensils—only that ancient bed—
That the triangle, before it came about,
Had been a perpendicular, the head
Of some acquaintance hovering above
Two points which had been coalesced by love.

So long had life together been that she
And I, with our joint shadows, had composed
A double door, a door which, even if we
Were lost in work or sleep, was always closed:
Somehow, it would appear, we drifted right
On through it into the future, into the night.

804. Surplus - Wislawa Szymborska

Surplus (1)
Translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

A new star has been discovered,
which doesn't mean that things have gotten brighter
or that something we've been missing has appeared.

The star is large and distant,
so distant that it's small,
even smaller than others
much smaller than it.
Small wonder, then, if we were struck with wonder;
as we would be if only we had the time.

The star's age, mass, location––
all this perhaps will do
for one doctoral dissertation and
a wine-and-cheese reception
in circles close to the sky:
the astronomer, his wife, friends, and relations,
casual, congenial, come as you are,
mostly chat on earthbound topics,
surrounded by cozy earth tones.

The star's superb,
but that's no reason
why we can't drink to the ladies
who are incalculably closer.

The star's inconsequential.
It has no impact on the weather, fashion, final score,
government shake-ups, moral crises, take-home pay.

No effect on propaganda or on heavy industry.
It's not reflected in a conference table's shine.
It's supernumerary in the light of life's numbered days.

What's the use of asking
under how many stars man is born
and under how many in a moment he will die.

A new one.
"At least show me where it is."
"Between that gray cloud's jagged edge
and the acacia twig over there on the left."
"I see," I say.

Surplus (2)
Translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak

A new star has been discovered,
which doesn't mean it's gotten any brighter
or something missing has been gained.

The star is large and distant,
so distant, that it's small,
even smaller than others
a lot smaller than itself.
Surprise would be nothing surprising
if we only had time for it.

Star's age, star's mass, star's position,
all of that may be enough
for one doctoral thesis
and a modest glass of wine
in the circles close to the sky:
an astronomer, his wife, relatives, and colleagues,
a casual ambience, no dress code,
local topics fuel a down-to-earth conversation
and people are munching on terra chips.

A wonderful star,
but that's still no reason
not to drink to the ladies,
incomparably closer.

Star without consequences.
Without influence on weather, fashion, score of the game,
changed in government, income, or the crisis of values.

With no effect on propaganda or heavy industry.
Without reflection in the finish of the conference table.
An excess number for life's numbered days.

Why need we ask
under how many stars someone is born
and under how many they die a little while later?

A new one.
"At least show me where it is."
"Between the edge of that jagged grayish cloud
and the twig of that locust tree on the left."
"Oh," I say.

803. Permanently - Kenneth Koch

One day the Nouns were clustered in the street.
An Adjective walked by, with her dark beauty.
The Nouns were struck, moved, changed.
The next day a Verb drove up, and created the Sentence.

Each Sentence says one thing––for example, "Although it was
a dark rainy day then the Adjective walked by, I shall
remember the pure and sweet expression on her face until
the day I perish from the green, effective earth."
Or, "Will you please close the window, Andrew?"
Or, for example, "Think you, the pink pot of flowers on
the window sill has changed color recently to a light yellow,
due to the heat from the boiler factory which exists nearby."

In the springtime the Sentences and the Nouns lay silently on the grass.
A lonely Conjunction here and there would call, "And! But!"
But the Adjective did not emerge.

As the adjective is lost in the sentence,
So I am lost in your eyes, ears, nose, and throat––
You have enchanted me with a single kiss
Which can never be undone
Until the destruction of language.