Thursday, October 25, 2018
When you learned that men were coming, you changed into rocks.
Into fish and birds, into flowers and rivers in despair of us.
The tree under which I bend may be you,
That stone by the fire, the nighthawk swooping
And crying out over the swamp reeds, the reeds themselves.
Have I held you too lightly all my mornings?
I have broken your silence, dipped you up
Carelessly in by hands and drunk you, burnt you,
Carved you, slit your calm throat and danced on your skin,
Made charms of your bones. You have endured
All of it, suffering my foolishness
As the old wait quietly among clumsy children.
Now others are coming, neither like you nor like men.
I must change, First People. How do I change myself?
If no one can teach me the long will of the cedar,
Let me become Water Dog, Bitteroot, or Shut Beak.
Change me. Forgive me. I will learn to crawl, stand, or fly
Anyshere among you, forever, as though among great elders.
Thursday, August 23, 2018
From: Something Permanent
Photo by Walker Evans
He washed his feet for the picture,
even his knees,
and wondered about that man
who cared enough to want him to sit there
for a photograph
even though he didn’t have
nothing good to hold in his hands,
nor even a dog to sit by his chair.
It gave him, briefly,
some sort of feeling
of just being
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe
that I do not want it. Now I understand
why the old poets of China went so far and high
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
The time comes when you count the names—whether
dim or flaming in the head’s dark, or whether
In stone cut, time-crumbling or moss-glutted.
You count the names to reconstruct yourself.
But a face remembered may blur, even as you stare
At a headstone. Or sometimes a face, as though from air,
Will stare at you with a boyish smile—but, not
Stone-moored, blows away like dandelion fuzz.
It is very disturbing. It is as though you were
The idiot boy who ventures out on pond-ice
Too thin and hears here—hears there—the creak
And crackling spread. That is the sound Reality
Makes as it gives beneath your metaphysical
Poundage. Memory dies. Or lies. Time
Is a wind that never shifts air. Pray only
That, in the midst of selfishness, some
Small act of careless kindness, half-unconscious, some
Unwitting smile or brush of lips, may glow
In some other mind’s dark that’s lost your name, but stumbles
Upon that momentary Eternity.
Monday, April 30, 2018
From: A Solo In Tom-Toms - Gene Fowler
Such a small and homely and peasant-like thing
seems a cup of coffee.
Still, some of us know that nothing really is small
and nothing actually large, but of an entity,
and of no dimensions whatsoever except as our
imaginations make it seem large or small.
For everything is one thing and of one thing.
And the thing is not a thing at all, but an idea.
Perhaps this idea is both the creator and the created,
Timeless, endless, and inscrutable.
Friday, March 30, 2018
Harvey Ellis - Harvey Ellis
my ancestors surround me
like walls of a canyon
their ideas drift over me
like breezes at sunset
we gather sticks
and make settlements
what we do is only partly
and partly continuation
down through the chromosomes
my baby sleeps behind me
stirring in the night
for the touch
that lets him continue
he is arranging
in his small form the furniture
and windows of his home
it will be a lot like mine
it will be a lot like theirs
Friday, March 16, 2018
Translated from the Spanish by Alastair Reid
It was not I who begot you. It was the dead—
my father, and his father, and their forebears,
all those who through a labyrinth of loves
descend from Adam and the desert wastes
of Cain and Abel, in a dawn so ancient
it has become mythology by now,
to arrive, blood and marrow, at this day
in the future, in which I now beget you.
I feed their multitudes. They are who we are,
and you among us, you and the the sons to come
that you will beget. The latest in the line
and in red Adam’s line. I too am those others.
Eternity is present in the things
of time and its impatient happenings
Monday, January 29, 2018
I chose the bed downstairs by the sea-window for a good death-bed
When we built the house, it is ready waiting.
Unused unless by some guest in a a twelvemonth, who hardly suspects
Its later purpose. I often regard it,
With neither dislike nor desire; rather with both, so equaled
That they kill each other and a crystalline interest
Remains alone. We are safe to finish what we have to finish,
And then it will sound rather like music
When the patient daemon behind the screen of sea-rock and sky
Thrumps with his staff, and calls thrice: “Come, Jeffers