Saturday, March 31, 2012

889. Everything - Mary Oliver

No doubt in Holland,
when van Gogh was a boy,
there were swans drifting
over the green sea
of the meadows, and no doubt
on some warm afternoon
he lay down and watched them,
and almost thought: this is everything.
What drove him
to get up and look further
is what saves this world,
even as it breaks
the hearts of men.
In the mines where he preached,
where he studied tenderness,
there were only men, all of them
streaked with dust.
For years he would reach
toward the darkness.
But no doubt, like all of us,
he finally remembered
everything, including the white birds
weightless and unaccountable,
floating around the towns
of grit and hopelessness––
and this is what would finish him:
not the gloom, which was only terrible,
but those last yellow fields, where clearly
nothing in the world mattered, or ever would,
but the insensible light.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

888. A Winter Night - Tomas Tranströmer

The storm puts its mouth to the house
and blows to get a tone.
I toss and turn, my closed eyes
reading the storm’s text.

The child’s eyes grow wide in the dark
and the storm howls for him.
Both love the swinging lamps;
both are halfway towards speech.

The storm has the hands and wings of a child.
Far away, travellers run for cover.
The house feels its own constellation of nails
holding the walls together.

The night is calm in our rooms,
where the echoes of all footsteps rest
like sunken leaves in a pond,
but the night outside is wild.

A darker storm stands over the world.
It puts its mouth to our soul
and blows to get a tone. We are afraid
the storm will blow us empty.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

887. Olives - Amos Oz

Sometimes the taste of these strong olives cured slowly in oil,
with cloves of garlic, bay leaves and chillies and lemon and salt,
conjures a whiff of a bygone age: rocky crannies,
goats, shade and the sound of pipes,
in the tune of the breath of primeval times. The chill of a cave, a hidden cottage
in a vineyard, a lodge in a garden, a slice of barley bread and well water.
Your are from there. You have lost your way.
Here is exile. Your death will come, and lay a knowing hand on your shoulder.
Come, it’s time to go home.