Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Still Burning...

Dearest Lisa, this post is because you put me in the mood for poetry. "The Portrait," by Stanley Kunitz, has been rolling around in my head for some time now. I can't see to get it out of my mind, particularly the sharp conclusion. The words come to me again and again throughout the day. Good poems never seem to dissipate. They seem to linger infinitely in the subconscious, brought forth by the slightest word or the strangest thought. Odd.

Thus without further ado, "The Portrait," by Stanley Kunitz.
The Portrait
Stanley Kunitz

My mother never forgave my father
for killing himself,
especially at such an awkward time
and in a public park,
that spring
when I was waiting to be born.
She locked his name
in her deepest cabinet
and would not let him out,
though I could hear him thumping.
When I came down from the attic
with the pastel portrait in my hand
of a long-lipped stranger
with a brave moustache
and deep brown level eyes,
she ripped it into shreds
without a single word
and slapped me hard.
In my sixty-fourth year
I can feel my cheek
still burning.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Might Have Beens

.
I recently splurged half a week's worth of grocery money to purchase Garrison Keillor's Good Poems, a purchase well made. The book appropriately titled! There are a few poems that keep echoing through my head. On my mind tonight is Dana Gioia's "Summer Rain." Actually, it has been on my mind the past few weeks. The last couple paragraphs keep swirling through my head. It seems a fitting poem to read as the leaves fall quietly outside my window. Gioia beautifully explores that strange little world of the what might have beens.

My own recent what might have been? On campus I frequently see a young man with a guitar case slung over his shoulder. Today, I found him on the lawn. The guitar was at his lap, the case set aside. He was not yet playing. I wanted very much to hear his music. I sat on a patch of lawn nearby and pulled out a book, half reading, half waiting. I wanted badly to go and sit by him. There was much I wanted to know. What was his name? Why was the guitar his constant companion? How long had he been playing-- if I suppose, he played at all? What sort of music did he love? Did he write his own music? But, I remained rooted to my spot, my nose in the book. I waited patiently, looking up once to seem him softly stroking the strings without producing sound. When I looked up again, he was gone. "There are so many might have beens..."

Summer Storm

Dana Gioia

We stood on the rented patio
While the party went on inside.
You knew the groom from college.
I was a friend of the bride.

We hugged the brownstone wall behind us
To keep our dress clothes dry
And watched the sudden summer storm
Floodlit against the sky.

The rain was like a waterfall
Of brilliant beaded light,
Cool and silent as the stars
The storm hid from the night.

To my surprise, you took my arm–
A gesture you didn't explain–
And we spoke in whispers, as if we two
Might imitate the rain.

Then suddenly the storm receded
As swiftly as it came.
The doors behind us opened up.
The hostess called your name.

I watched you merge into the group,
Aloof and yet polite.
We didn't speak another word
Except to say goodnight.

Why does that evening's memory
Return with this night's storm–
A party twenty years ago,
Its disappointments warm?

There are so many might have beens,
What ifs that won't stay buried,
Other cities, other jobs,
Strangers we might have married.

And memory insists on pining
For places it never went,
As if life would be happier
Just by being different.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Somewhat Farewell

This isn't a final farewell... Not really. There are still poems I'd like to post. This is merely a pause. For a creative writing class, I've started a new blog, www.vivaciouswritings.blogspot.com. Feel free to check there for recent writings. Thank you for your faithful viewing. Don't give up on this blog entirely.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Very few of us are what we seem

I have been a slothful blogger as of lately. I guess I just haven't felt in a poetic mood lately. One week from today, I move away from home for the first time in my life. What should be a reflective period in my life is, well, oddly rather void of any deep thinking. I have a few poems in mind I'd like to post soon, so keep an eye out for that. Tonight however, Agatha Christie has caught my attention. I'd like to post a few quotes by her.

Agatha Christie

“Very few of us are what we seem.”

“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”

"But there is a great deal left. Operas and concerts, and reading, and the enormous pleasure of dropping into bed and going to sleep, and dreams of every variety... Almost best of all, sitting in the sun--gently drowsing... And there you are again--remembering." In her autobiography

“It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.”

What makes you aware of your love for others? Is it when you see them looking ridiculous? Is it the curious ache of your heart when you see their tears? Perhaps the faint smile that comes subconsciously to your lips when ever you think of them? Or the way your day feels half empty and horribly dull without them?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

O Taste and See

Welcome to August! Odd how fast the summer fades. Today I post a strange poem that feels oddly rushed to me, like the coming of autumn, the dying of the hot summer, even though that's not really what it's about at all. In fact, I'm not quite sure what it's trying to say. Perhaps, grasp at life. Absorb and digest and take in everything. Taste and see and let it transform you. Which, I suppose could well be applied to the end of another summer. I just enjoy the words rolling into one another, particularly in stanza three.

O Taste and See

Denise Levertov

.

The world is
not with us enough
O taste and see

.

the subway Bible poster said,
meaning The Lord, meaning
if anything all that lives
to the imagination’s tongue,

.

grief, mercy, language,
tangerine, weather, to
breathe them, bite,
savor, chew, swallow, transform

.

into our flesh our
deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince,
living in the orchard and being

.

hungry, and plucking
the fruit.


What do you think the poem is trying to say?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Strange and Unimaginable Ways

Strange how life works. With each poem I read, lines and fragments cling to me, following me as I go. I walk down the street and there is Rossetti whispering, I wish I could remember. Wordsworth follows me on melancholy days his voice faintly saying, in vacant or in pensive mood. And today I hear Meinke sighing, and young men lose their lives in strange and unimaginable ways. Why? I don't know. Poetry entangles itself into your life, words read twisting around words spoken and weaving through thoughts. So today, I nod my head to Meinke.

Advice to My Son by Peter Meinke

The trick is, to live your days
as if each one may be your last
(for they go fast, and young men lose their lives
in strange and unimaginable ways)
but at the same time, plan long range
(for they go slow: if you survive
the shattered windshield and the bursting shell
you will arrive
at our approximation here below
of heaven or hell).

To be specific, between the peony and the rose
plant squash and spinach, turnips and tomatoes;
beauty is nectar
and nectar, in a desert, saves--
but the stomach craves stronger sustenance
than the honied vine.
Therefore, marry a pretty girl
after seeing her mother;
peak truth to one man,
work with another;
and always serve bread with your wine.

But, son,
always serve wine.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Wish I Could Remember....

Every great love story begins with something along the lines of, "I remember the first time I laid eyes on her..." In reality life doesn't often merit fireworks upon first introductions. People slip quietly in and out of our lives, their presence rarely recognized until that point that you can't live without it. So, here is an anthem to all lovers who can't remember the moment their love story begin, or, if it had a beginning at all.

Sonnet

by Christina Rossetti

I wish I could remember that first day,
First hour, first moment of your meeting me,
If bright or dim the season, it might be
Summer or Winter for aught that I can say;
So unrecorded did it slip away,
So blind was I to see and to foresee,
So dull to mark the budding of my tree
That would not blossom yet for many a May.
If only I could recollect it, such
A day of days! I let it come and go
As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow;
It seemed to mean so little, meant so much;
If only now I could recall that touch,
First touch of hand in hand.--Did one but know!


How did your love story begin? Do you remember? Or, did you fall slowly into it?

Monday, July 28, 2008

This Bridge

I grew up with the poetry of Shel Silverstein, as I'm sure half of America did. "This Bridge" is a Silverstein favorite of mine.

This Bridge

Shel Silverstein

This bridge will only take you halfway there
To those mysterious lands you long to see:
Through gypsy camps and swirling Arab fairs
And moonlit woods where unicorns run free.
So come and walk awhile with me and share
The twisting trails and wondrous worlds I've known.
But this bridge will only take you halfway there--
The last few steps you'll have to take alone.




Image: www.sulekha.com


What's your favorite Silverstein poem?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Deja Vu

Deja Vu
Valerie Owens

now
wind
tossed
corn husk
curls
wild
tamed
arced
blond
brows
freckles
splashed across
nose
square jaw
hazel
hazy
eyes
laughing
mouth
face
reminded of
bygone days,
porch swing,
crickets sing,
lazy
low
light
conversation
casual
and summer eves

that

never

seemed to

last long enough
gone

Monday, July 21, 2008

Recently Observed

Recently Observed
Valerie Owens

Yesterday,
while loading groceries into the truck of my car,
I observe
a slim businessman
in a sharp three piece suit
placidly strolling through the automatic doors
and out into the bright sunshine,
a full cart of groceries before him.
His pace quickens, slightly
He glances casually about him,
right, then left.
Feeling the coast is clear,
he breaks out into a beautiful sprint,
polished shoes slapping wildly against the pavement.
He jumps on the cart,
just like your mother told you not to,
and he flies down the parking lot,
silly grin splashed across his face,
like a child getting away with something naughty.
The wind blows at the corners of his suit jacket.
He looks purely delighted.
This, this is what it means
to be Alive.
All too soon,
the childlike flight ends.
Having arrived at his BMW,
he jumps off,
suddenly dignified,
loads his groceries,
puts the cart away,
and drives off,
leaving me with a smile on my face,
and curious about
the businessman
that I recently observed.











Photo: www.juniperimages.com

Any quirky acts of the seemingly dignified that have brought a smile to your face?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ode to an Angel Mother

I'm sure you are familiar with Abraham Lincoln's quote, "All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother. This is a small ode to my angel mother.

My Angel Mother
Valerie Owens

She comes home;
shoes stained red with dust
from an idle hike
through desert twilight
and into the night.
Hair, windblown and eyes, bright.
Mother is waiting up
Innocent mistake though it be,
the clock is pushing two
and curfew is long since past.
A penitent daughter awaits a sharp rebuke
from motherly lips.
Yet, Mother, quiet and understanding,
asks instead
if she had a good time
and how was the hike.
Casual chatter
and
no mention of late hours.
With a tender kiss upon the cheek,
mother, daughter say good-night.
A small surge of love
rises softly in the daughter's young heart.

She thinks now
of patient hours Mother played Nurse
in the days after surgery.
And
of clean piles of laundry at the edge of an unmade bed
and seven reminders
to put those clothes away!
She considers the unexpected acts,

like
the scent of pie dough
baked into cinnamon sugar rolls,
a loving reminder
that Mom remembered

what her daughter loves best.

An impromptu hot dog dinner

for a dozen teenage friends,

a quilt to warm a dorm room,

and a kiss every night,

these are the beautiful things of the world

to a young daughter.
She can almost hear
the lullabies of childhood,
and songs spilling forth from the piano,
and singing in the kitchen,
Mother's music,
the soundtrack of home.

Eyes, heavy with weariness,
close softly
and sleep comes
deep
and satisfying.

It is good to be loved.

What is it about mothers that makes them so wonderful?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Gather ye rosebuds

The end of summer is edging closer and though still far off, it feels as though the speed of summer has picked up. I feel as though I should be soaking in every last moment, grasping at the whispery threads of fading summer. "To the Virgins, to make much of time" has been on my mind lately. It's likely one you are familiar with. I first heard it in English class last fall. And, accompanying art by John William Waterhouse, a painting entitled "Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May." I perused Waterhouse's gallery and loved his work. Check it out. I hope you like it.

To the Virgins, to make much of Time
Robert Herrick
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.


Monday, July 7, 2008

little you-i

e.e. cummings wasn't meant to be confined to the page. He was meant to be read out loud. His words are a party of sounds, alliterations and assonances, rhymes and off-rhymes, swung into a rhythmic celebration. It's beautiful. "87" is particularly delightful to hear. It may feel a little silly reading out loud to yourself, but go ahead and give it a shot. I particularly like the nose-dive at the end which feels like it doesn't fit at all, which is precisely why it works. I won't even attempt to guess at it's meaning. Poetry doesn't have to mean. It can just be. No need to beat a symbolic meaning out of it, just enjoy the sounds of the words as they roll easily off the tongue.

87
e.e. cummings

o by the by
has anybody seen
little you-i
who stood on a green
hill and threw
his wish at blue

with a swoop and a dart
out flew his wish
(it dived like a fish
but it climbed like a dream)
throbbing like a heart
singing like a flame

blue took it my
far beyond far
and high beyond high
bluer took it your
but bluest took it our
away beyond where

what a wonderful thing
is the end of a string
(murmurs little you-i
as the hill becomes nil)
and will somebody tell
me why people let go
e.e. cummings the poet was also a playwright. He said of one very unorthodox play:
"Relax and give the play a chance to strut its stuff—relax, stop wondering what it is all 'about'—like many strange and familiar things, Life included, this play isn't 'about,' it simply is. . . . Don't try to enjoy it, let it try to enjoy you. DON'T TRY TO UNDERSTAND IT, LET IT TRY TO UNDERSTAND YOU."
I think the same statement can apply to a great deal of poetry. Don't overthink the beautiful and unfamiliar or try to conform it to your view of life. Just let it exist in it's own quirkiness.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Don't Touch

I recently purchased a copy of Carol Lynn Pearson's In Love Again And Always. The book is a collection of love poems, simple, sweet, and tender. I don't have much to say on the book. It's not deep poetry, but an enjoyable read. I find Carol Lynn Pearson to lead a fascinating life; Google her. She seems set apart from perhaps the "trite" nature of a good deal of LDS fiction. Pearson divorced her husband for good reason, remained friends, and stayed by his side as he died of AIDS. Interesting to have that background to read her love poems.

Don't Touch
Carol Lynn Pearson

It's all right, really,
That I touch you?

Somehow I look around
For signs you might see
In a museum
Or wherever else they
House the world's
Extraordinary things.

I could only look
At the Rembrandts
And the Chinese vases,
And I could not
Get closer than three feet
To the crown jewels.

Well, I didn't even want to.
But you?
It would be asking too much
For me to be in a room with you
And not touch.

It's all right?
I can sit on this couch
With your head in my lap
And trace your eyebrows
And lips and face?
I can play with your hair like this?
And even kiss
And tickle if I want
And no one will call a guard?

Why do I smile
Like I'm getting away
With something bold?

There were alarms fixed in case
I should try to touch
King Tut's face--
And his was only gold.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

I owe you poetry. I owe you words from the lips of the greats. And, I will. But today, a few quotations on love, which I guess in their own right are pretty poetic. They are different quotes, ones not heard that often. Your favorite love quotes?

After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her. ~ Adam, in Adam's Diary, by Mark Twain

Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk everything, you risk even more.
—Erica Jong

Women was made from man’s rib, not his head to be higher than him, not his foot to be stepped upon, she was made from his rib under his arm for protection, by his side and close to his heart.

Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. ~ Robert Frost

What! No star, and you are going out to sea? Marching, and you have no music? Traveling, and you have no book? What! No love, and you are going out to live? ~ French Proverb


If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden. ~Attributed to Claudia Ghandi




Monday, June 30, 2008

El Cuadro


I have received recent requests to post pictures... But I have no idea what to post as my original idea was to keep my identity somewhat anonymous. So much for that. My family is my most faithful viewers and I love them dearly for it! So, faces being out, I will post some cool shots of Washington DC area through the eyes of my family. This is somehow related to poetry, like poetry of the eye or something cheesy like that. Check out the previous post for some dearly loved faces if that's what you desire. This picture thing is mildly exciting and I just might start sticking art with poetry once in a random while.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Grow Old Along With Me

In behalf of my parent's 24th wedding anniversary...

Grow Old Along With Me
Robert Browning

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!"

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Music vs. Poetry

Two things I love: music and poetry. But then again, you probably could have guessed that. However, I find it's hard to read poetry while listening to music. Doing both fails to give either task the attention it deserves. It's like trying to read two poems at once. Would Mozart be conducive to a poetic mood? I have never been one to listen to classical music though perhaps now is as good of a time as any.

Irrational Fears

Would You Know If You Were Crazy?
Valerie Owens

Late afternoon sunshine spills in
through familiar windows.
I am alone in the house.
Disquieted by footsteps from the upstairs,
I check
And
I check again
And then, once more.
I am still alone in the house.
I reason with myself
old houses have creaks
and groans of their own.
Calm down.
You are going crazy,
I tell myself.
Eighteen
and still afraid
of things that go bump in the night
or
in this case
late afternoon
And
I'm talking to myself.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A four foot box...

Last year, I kidnapped a literature book from my English classroom. I devoured the poetry section and kept the book hostage the entire year. Some poems I never did understand why they were of "literary merit." Others, like this one, I fell in love with without quite knowing why. There is a very distinct feel to "Mid-Term Break." I find emotion translates so poorly into words and when one can give the proper words to emotion, that to me is poetry. To me, "Mid-term Break" displays the disconnected clarity one views a tragic situation before the reality has really set in.

Mid-Term Break
Seamus Heaney

I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o'clock our neighbors drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying--
He had always taken funerals in his stride--
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were "sorry for my trouble,"
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Love is...

Sorry to have been neglectful of my humble blog. I have been traveling. I have seen the world and come back a changed person. Okay, so maybe not the whole world, and I'm still me. But, my mind has been flying a mile a minute lately. I've been musing over deep thoughts, too deep perhaps. I feel like I'm perched on the edge, just waiting, waiting for change. A few nights ago, I watched Meet Joe Black for the first time. It fit my mood most excellently. I LOVED it. So, for tonight I'll post a quote from the movie, though I do have poems I'd like to post, both ones written and read. And, watch the movie. So many quotes I'd just love to post.

Love is passion, obsession, someone you can't live without. If you don't start with that, what are you going to end up with? Fall head over heels. I say find someone you can love like crazy and who'll love you the same way back. And how do you find him? Forget your head and listen to your heart. I'm not hearing any heart. Run the risk, if you get hurt, you'll come back. Because, the truth is there is no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love - well, you haven't lived a life at all. You have to try. Because if you haven't tried, you haven't lived.
~ Meet Joe Black

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sweet rose, whose hue angry and brave

Today I post George Herbert's poem, "Virtue." The poem was written in 1633. I'm posting it in the original English, but if that bothers you, Google another version. What strikes me the most is how, centuries after it is written, I can find so much to relate to it. My favorite stanza is the second, which, pulled aside from the rest of the poem, has had various meanings for me throughout the year. The "sweet rose" has to me been dream colleges I know I'll never be able to attend, flings doomed from the get go, and ambitions too lofty to ever accomplish. I think that is part of what makes poetry, poetry. No matter how specific or personal the topic, others can relate to it on a hundred different levels. Each stanza in turn has come to fit into wherever in my life I may be. "Sweet spring" is to me those perfect days when all is right with the world, the first stages of love, and beauty at it's finest. All things must come to an end, yet above it rises human virtue. Beautiful!


¶ Vertue.

George Herbert

Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridall of the earth and skie:
The dew shall weep thy fall to night;
For thou must die.
Sweet rose, whose hue angrie and brave
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye:
Thy root is ever in its grave
And thou must die.
Sweet spring, full of sweet dayes and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie;
My musick shows ye have your closes,1
And all must die.
Onely a sweet and vertuous soul,
Like season’d timber, never gives;
But though the whole world turn to coal,
Then chiefly lives.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mother Theresa

This poem is what I suppose could be called my life motto. It has been posted in my locker, on my binder, in my car, in my room, or somewhere, for years. I think it's beautiful. A Dr. Kent M. Keith has the copyright on it, but I like Mother Theresa's version much better.

Do It Anyway
Mother Theresa

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

And a few more quotes by Mother Theresa...
"I know God wouldn't let anything happen I couldn't handle. I wish God didn't trust me so much."

"God is never late, but rarely early."

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Recently Read Books

Inspired by a blog of my sister's, I am posting reviews of books I've read within the past two months or so. Summer leaves a blessed amount of time for reading and I will post more reviews in the next couple months.

Just Listen, Sarah Dessen
I love this book. I love the emotion that comes through the pages and how human the characters are. Never have I pulled away from a book more grieved that the characters weren't real than this one, particularly Owen. Also, the book called me to reexamine honesty in my own life, which in the matter of just a week, my newfound blunt honesty managed to get me into a pickle... Dang honesty.
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Hilarious novel. I had read it once before, but this time around I caught just how witty and satirical Austen is. This novel is the original chick flick. I wish I had the wit of Elizabeth. And, I am in love with Mr. Darcy.
Someone Like You, Sarah Dessen
The first Dessen novel I wasn't in love with. The story is about two best friends, boyfriends, high school, family, etc... The twist in the plot is that one friend is carrying the baby of her boyfriend who was killed the summer before. I think the book undermines a little the difficulty a teenager would have with the situation. The book just didn't seem to flow well for me. It's fun popcorn reading and I enjoyed it, but it didn't match up to previously read Dessen Novels.
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
It seems everyone is reading this book so I decided to give it a go. Wow. This is one powerful novel, challenging themes of regret, revenge, friendship, nationalism, and the sense of right and wrong. I enjoyed the novel, but it is a very heavy read. The novel is a bit graphic, though not unnecessarily so. There is a feel of brutal honesty about it. This book deserves all the attention it's been getting.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
I'm a fan of Angelou's poetry, so her autobiography has been on my list for some time. I just started so I don't have much to say on it, but I can't wait to read it.
Way to Be! Gordon B. Hinckley
This book details "nine ways to be happy and make something of your life." The book is simply and beautifully written and made me yearn for improvement in my life. I recommend it to people of all ages. If I get a minute, I'll post some quotes from the book as well. Loved it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Daffodils

I memorized this poem for my English class. I love the poem. It has given me a whole new perspective on beauty. And, every time I see a daffodil, my faith in miracles is renewed. Love a poem? Memorize it. It gives the poem new breath and depth. The poem becomes yours. It's beautiful.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
William Wordsworth

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay: 10
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood, 20
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
1804.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

graduation

Graduation
Valerie Owens

eating rice crispies
an hour after graduating from high school
shouldn't i be
melancholy, excited, relieved, anxious...
or
something...
yes?
but i am thinking about
sunburnt shoulders,
a bad hair day,
and how none of this
seems real
strange.
i'm graduated.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Another nod to Collins

As promised, more of the works of Billy Collins. Sticking with Owen Sheers' theme of motherhood, I am posting "The Lanyard." I love the irony within the poem. And, I dearly love my own mother, even if I only have a "lanyard" of sorts to prove it.

"The Lanyard"
Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the pale blue walls of this room,
bouncing from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past --
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift--not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Owen Sheers

Poetry from a younger poet, Owen Sheers.... He was born 1973, so that would put him at thirty-five? Still nearly two decades older than myself, but the poem was only published two years ago. Cool to see the next generation of poetry.

Not Yet My Mother
Owen Sheers

Saturday June 24, 2006
The Guardian


Yesterday I found a photo
of you at seventeen,
holding a horse and smiling,
not yet my mother.

The tight riding hat hid your hair,
and your legs were still the long shins of a boy's.
You held the horse by the halter,
your hand a fist under its huge jaw.

The blown trees were still in the background
and the sky was grained by the old film stock,
but what caught me was your face,
which was mine.

And I thought, just for a second, that you were me.
But then I saw the woman's jacket,
nipped at the waist, the ballooned jodhpurs,
and of course the date, scratched in the corner.

All of which told me again,
that this was you at seventeen, holding a horse
and smiling, not yet my mother,
although I was clearly already your child.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Poetry, Brautigan Style

Poetry, Brautigan Style
Valerie Owens

His magic is:
like ice cubes beneath a hot faucet.
He is really quite unremarkable.
I am sleep deprived.
And Brautigan was drunk.

A Second Glance at Brautigan

I find one's interpretation of poetry to be largely based on the mood they are in. The poet surrenders the poem to the carnivorous nature of the masses and pray it makes it out alive. The reader murders the poem for what he wants and leaves the corpse to rot.

Last night, I felt rapture on the discovery of Richard Brautigan. Tonight, Brautigan's work appears rather ugly, frustrating almost. But, I still have a few of his I'd like to share as Brautigan shouldn't suffer because of my bad mood. And, it's pretty cool how well it fits recent situations.

"Your Love"
Richard Brautigan
Your love
Somebody else needs it
I don't.

"The 12,000,000"
Richard Brautigan
I'm depressed,
haunted by melancholy
that does not have a reflection
nor cast a shadow.
12,000,000 people live here in Tokyo.
I know I'm not alone.
Others must feel the way
I do.

Tokyo
May 26, 1976
1 P.M.


"For Fear You Will Be Alone"
Richard Brautigan
For fear you will be alone
you do so many things
that aren't you at all.
"Fragment #2/Having"
Richard Brautigan
I found the word having written sideways,
all by itself
on a piece of notebook paper.
I have no idea why I wrote it
or what its ultimate destination was,
but I wrote the word having carefully

and then stopped

writing

Tokyo
June perhaps, 1976

"I Don't Want To Know about It"
Richard Brautigan
I don't want to know about it.
Tell it to somebody else.
They'll understand and make you
feel better.


My faith in Brautigan is once again restored. But, due to his foul language, I must retire from the love affair. I need sleep. Good bye Brautigan. Thank you for two wonderful evenings.

ticked off

I can't write poetry when I'm angry. And this makes me even more mad than I was to begin with.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sweet Rapture

Oh sweet rapture. I am in love. I have claimed this before, but now my heart has truly taken wing. The flavor of the week? Richard Brautigan. Sadly, he swears left and right. And this discovery is recent... as in ten minutes recent. So, I must absorb more of his poetry before I choose the most worthy poetry to blog. And, I still owe you more Billy Collins. Collins, I have done you no justice. But tonight, Brautigan is at the forefront. Look with eager anticipation to future blogs concerning my new found love. Tonight, I offer only a teaser of his genius.

"We Stopped at Perfect Days"
Richard Brautigan
We stopped at perfect days
and got out of the car.
The wind glanced at her hair.
It was as simple as that.
I turned to say something—


"Please"
Richard Brautigan
Do you think of me
as often as I think
of you?

"Critical Can Opener"
Richard Brautigan
There is something wrong
with this poem. Can you
find it?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Beauty

Happy Mother's Day! I searched for poetry on motherhood, but nothing caught my eye. However, beauty is most appropriate for Mother's Day, isn't it?

I am currently reading Christ's Ideals For Living by Obert C. Tanner. I just finished the chapter "Beauty" and found some of the ideas expressed particularly striking. First, Tanner says of beauty, "God is the author of beauty, as He is of truth and goodness. Beauty is a revelation of Him." Then Tanner goes on to share a quote by the naturalist John Burroughs:
"... I am in love with this world ... I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, sailed its waters, crossed its deserts, felt the sting of its frost, the oppression of its heats, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings."

Tanner also shares Goethe's advice: "We ought to hear at least one little song every day, read a good poem, see a first-rate painting, and if possible, speak a few sensible words."

And if I may, I will share a few more quotes on beauty I have found in other works.

From Madeleine L'Engle's Meet The Austins:
"It was so beautiful that for a moment the beauty was all that mattered; it wasn't important that there were things we would never understand."
And speaking of Laurie in Little Women, "he was quick to see and feel beauty of any kind." I think of all I can become, I would feel most accomplished if it is said of me that I am quick to perceive beauty.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

i am no more

i am no more
Valerie Owens

cinnamon kiss
slow... possessing ... tender
buzzed hair, whispery at my fingertips
the hands of a man, comfortable at my waist
unheard music, alive, pulsing through my veins
fading sunlight, warm on my neck
scent of dusk, keen to my senses
slowly... slipping

i am
no longer human
i am
a compilation of cells
falling away into molecules
splintering into atoms
i am
everything
and Nothing
acutely aware
and entirely oblivious

strange Kiss
slow... bewitching... tender
dissolving my existence
cell by cell...

i am
no more

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Poetic Quotes

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.
- Paul Dirac

It's not what the writer writes; it's what the reader reads.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Yehuda Amichai

I discovered Yehuda Amichai through a little Google searching. His poetry is fabulous. Amichai was a German-born Israeli, considered by many to be the greatest Israeli poet. I've only read a dozen or so of his works online and am hoping to find a book of his poetry soon. Also, check out Amichai's poems, "Tourist," "Forgetting Someone," among others. Note the imagery and word choice of this poem. The second stanza is my favorite.

A Man In His Life
Yehuda Amichai
A man doesn't have time in his life
to have time for everything.
He doesn't have seasons enough to have
a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes
Was wrong about that.

A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment,
to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
with the same hands to throw stones and to gather them,
to make love in war and war in love.
And to hate and forgive and remember and forget,
to arrange and confuse, to eat and to digest
what history
takes years and years to do.

A man doesn't have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
he begins to forget.

And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur. It tries and it misses,
gets muddled, doesn't learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and its pains.

He will die as figs die in autumn,
Shriveled and full of himself and sweet,
the leaves growing dry on the ground,
the bare branches pointing to the place
where there's time for everything.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Spoon River Anthology

Book of the Week: Spoon River Anthology, by Edgar Lee Masters. The book is a collection of poetry, written as epitaphs by those who lie at rest in the Spoon River graveyard. The dead reveal many haunting and sorrowful secrets. The poetry is darkly fascinating. It is intriguing to see how the stories intertwine. I throughly recommend the book.

The poem I post today, "64. George Gray," was one I first heard in English in eighth grade. The poem stuck with me and several years later I found the book the poem had been pulled from. The poem still strikes me powerfully. I hope you like it.

Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

64. George Gray



I HAVE studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me—
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life. 5
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail 10
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire— 15
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Radio

Radio
Valerie Owens

Fighting for the control of the radio,
he grabs my wrist,
flirtatiously
I attempt to pull away
and fail
I tease him for trying to take
my hand
And then,
for a moment,
he really does take my hand
a joke
(I think)
I pull away (or was it him?)
I shouldn't have
let go
I don't remember what was playing on the radio

Monday, April 21, 2008

Solo Gone Maverick

Solo Gone Maverick

Valerie Owens

When I was eleven,
summertime, I started cross-stitch-by-number
I spent most of July
unpicking
so things would turn out like they're supposed to
Now, eighteen
I am trying life-by-number
There is no July to spend
unpicking
and nothing is turning out like it's supposed to
So I think I'm gonna...

Scrap conformity
Throw out the rule book
Go a little crazy

be a little bit...

Maverick.


Word of the Day

Word of the Day:
Maverick: A Maverick is a person with independence of thought or action, a non-conformist.

Solo

Solo
Valerie Owens

When I was eleven,
summertime, I started cross-stitch-by-number
I spent most of July
unpicking
so things would turn out like they're supposed to
Now, eighteen
I am trying life-by-number
There is no July to spend
unpicking
and nothing is turning out like it's supposed to

Scrap conformity
I'm
Going
Solo

Beautiful

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Given

Given
Valerie Owens

My heart is not to be won
and your attempts to do so are stifling
The prize goes to
the boy who never tried;
the boy who never wanted it,
not like you did.
The unfairness strikes me as cruel
which is why
I haven't told you
yet.
I tried,
but the words felt thick and unkind,
so unlike the me you claim to love.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Billy Collins

As promised a little sample of Billy Collins. I was unsure what poem of his was most worthy of blogging and in the end I chose one I can relate to. Hope you like his poetry and perhaps I will post more later. What do you think?

I Go Back To The House For A Book



I turn around on the gravel and go back to the house for a book, something to read at the doctor's office, and while I am inside, running the finger of inquisition along a shelf, another me that did not bother to go back to the house for a book heads out on his own, rolls down the driveway, and swings left toward town, a ghost in his ghost car, another knot in the string of time, a good three minutes ahead of me — a spacing that will now continue for the rest of my life.

Billy Collins

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ode to the paradelle

I have fallen in love. He is a poet. His name is Billy Collins. Of course, the affair is entirely one sided, but I have spent the last week immersed in his poetry. I have come to the conclusion of what is the essential flaw of my poetry. It is too weighed down with adjectives. Collins has perfected the art of light poetry, unimpeded by adjectives. Someday Collins, you will know my name too.

For now the work I post is not the work of Collins, but of Cody Mace and with it I issue a challenge unto my faithful imaginary readers. I will post Collins work at a later date when I have carefully selected which work of his speaks most strongly to me.

The topic of today's blog is the paradelle. I discovered the paradelle in the among the works of Collins. As Collins defines it: "The paradelle is one of the more demanding French fixed forms, first appearing in the langue d'oc love poetry of the eleventh century. It is a poem of four six-line stanzas in which the first and second lines, as well as the third and fourth lines of the first three stanzas, must be identical. The fifth and sixth lines, which traditionally resolve these stanzas, must use all the words from the preceding lines and only those words. Similarly, the final stanza must use every word from all the preceding stanzas and only these words." The wonderful thing about it? There is no such thing. Collins invented the paradelle to parody strict poetry forms, Collins himself being a free verse poet. I, unknowingly duped, issued the challenge to a friend to write a paradelle. He accepted the challenge, cursing me violently. But nonetheless, this is what he produced.

Paradelle
Cody Mace

This task is very hard to do.
This task is very hard to do.
But I know I will succeed.
But I know I will succeed.
To but succeed I will do this task,
I know is very hard.

How could you be so cruel?
How could you be so cruel?
I just wanted something simple.
I just wanted something simple.
Something so cruel, how could you?
Just be simple, wanted I.

At least I will get you back.
At least I will get you back.
With a task extremely hard.
With a task extremely hard.
Back extremely, at least,
With a hard task I will get you.

So I just wanted to do,
A hard but simple task at least.
This is something I will succeed.
Know I could be cruel, very hard back.
You get, with how extremely
I will task you!

Now dear unknown reader, go into the world with a paradelle of your own, mocking the demands of structure and conformity. No, that would be too ironic. It is a task I dare not ask. Thank you Mr. Collins for making my week. You are fabulous.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Best Poems Ever

In elementary school I won a book entitled The Best Poems Ever. I picked up the book today, after it had sat unread for years on my shelf. Perhaps I am uneducated, ignorant, or unappreciative, but much of the poetry failed to strike a chord with me. However, two poems of the collection stood out. The first, by Gwendolyn Brooks. I looked Brooks up, found some more of her poetry, and fell in love. Also, check out Brook's "Sadie and Maud," "Speech to the Young: Speech to the Progress-Toward," and "To Be In Love," among others.

The Bean Eaters
Gwendolyn Brooks

They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair,
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,
Tin flatware.

Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.

And remembering...
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room
that is full of beads and receipts and dolls and
cloths, tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.

Also found in this collection is a poem by Ezra Pound... Definitely different. What do you think?

IN A STATION OF THE METRO

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.


Ezra Pound

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Ethics and Poetry?

Ethics
Linda Pastan

In ethics class so many years ago
our teacher asked this question every fall:
if there were a fire in a museum
which would you save, a Rembrandt painting
or an old woman who hadn’t many
years left anyhow? Restless on hard chairs
caring little for pictures or old age
we’d opt one year for life, the next for art
and always half-heartedly. Sometimes
the woman borrowed my grandmother’s face
leaving her usual kitchen to wander
some drafty, half-imagined museum.
One year, feeling clever, I replied
why not let the woman decide herself?
Linda, the teacher would report, eschews
the burdens of responsibility.
This fall in a real museum I stand
before a real Rembrandt, old woman,
or nearly so, myself. The colors
within this frame are darker than autumn,
darker even than winter—the browns of earth,
though earth’s most radiant elements burn
through the canvas. I know now that woman
and painting and season are almost one
and all beyond saving by children.


I read "Ethics" again and again and again, desperate to understand. That's the beauty of it. Let the poem stand for itself, I will say no more on the content. But I will ask this question: who decides what is poetry, and what is prose chopped up into aesthetically appealing lines? If this poem were written as a paragraph, would it be viewed differently? Do
you think it's poetry? And would it even matter as long as Pastan feels its poetry? Just take a moment... Poetry? Look again, count the syllables, seek out the meter. Does that change your opinion of whether or not it's poetry?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Recent Lightening Bolts

Favorite book of the week: Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. I enjoy literature not because of our view of the characters' lives, but rather our view of our lives through the characters.

Favorite movies of the week: Mona Lisa Smile, starring Julia Roberts. Fabulous show and completely opposite of what I expected. If I may share a little dialog between Roberts (Watson) and Julia Stiles (Brandwyn) as they debate motherhood and careers.

Katherine Watson: No-one's asking you to sacrifice that, Joan, I just want you to understand you can do both.
Joan Brandwyn: Do you think I'll wake up one morning and regret not being a lawyer?
Katherine Watson: Yes, I'm afraid that you will.
Joan Brandwyn: Not as much as I regret not having a family, not being there to raise them. I know exactly what I'm doing and it doesn't make me any less smart.

Any favorite books and movies to share?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Nothing Twice.

The first three stanzas of "Nothing Twice"

Nothing Twice
Wislowa Szymborska

Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is
that we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice.

Even if there is no one dumber,
if you're the planet's biggest dunce,
you can't repeat the class in summer:
this course is only offered once.

No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
in precisely the same way,
with precisely the same kisses.

Teagan Lynn: Time is so fleeting. I often wonder if I will look back on high school and regret working so much and spending less time being a teenager. I decided today to blow some of my college savings and take a trip to Alaska. I won't be young forever, right? I guess I'm in a bit of a restless mood right now. I don't want to live near home forever. I want to spend a fall in New England and summer in Europe. Why just one season? I might as well make it a year while I'm dreaming. Or move there if I like it enough. After all, this course is only offered once.

Where have you always dreamed of going to?


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter

Far better than the Easter eggs filled with chocolate and jelly beans is the Easter egg that sits empty, rather like the tomb from which the Savior rose over two thousand years ago. The Savior’s rise from this tomb is the beautiful reason for the Easter season.

Remember the empty tomb.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jo

Perhaps my favorite literary character of all time is Jo of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. The poem of tonight is a stanza from "In The Garrett," a poem written by Jo. Jo writes the poem to characterize her sisters and herself through what is found in their hope chests. Jo's stanza is the one I'd like to share.

From "In The Garrett"

'Jo' on the next lid, scratched and worn,
An within a motley store
Of headless dolls, of school-books torn,
Birds and beasts that speak no more;
Spoils brought home from the fairy ground
Only trod by youthful feet
Dreams of a future never found,
Memories of a past still sweet;
Half-writ poems, stories wild,
April letters, warm and cold,
Diaries of a willful child,
Hints of a woman early old;
A woman in a lonely home,
Hearing, like a sad refrain,--
'Be worthy love, and love will come'
In the falling summer rain.

Jo is much like me. However, in my poem the dolls would be neatly laid, the school books in unscathed, and the "birds and beasts" would be once-loved stuffed animals. There is such a wistful feel to the poem and it makes my heart ache without quite knowing why.

The beautiful part of the story is that it is this poem that brings Mr. Bhaer back to Concord. He sees the sorrow of Jo's heart through her poetry and longs for her to feel his love. Mr. Bhaer expresses his love and proposes marriage. But, like the humble professor he is, he holds out his empty hands and says, "Ah! thou gifst me such hope and courage, andI haf nothing to gif back but a full heart." Jo places both her hands in his and says tenderly, "Not empty now."

It is this sort of humble, honest, and open love, that I, the dreamer, the poetess, and the hopeless romantic, silently sigh for. I am yet young, and not much concerned about it, but I find this sort of love beautiful.

What literature defines love for you?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Broken Words

A painful rough draft. A poem about what else, but poetry!

The Poetess
Valerie Owens

A hand sweeps across the page.
Ink, the blood of the soul, spurts across the pallid paper.
Words emerge,
awkward, jumbled,
and imperfect, rather the poetess herself.
Jagged sentences follow,
roughly arranged in fragmented lines.
Poetry rises, blatant and unsure,
from the silent cacophony.
Red ink flies,
slicing and dicing deformities.
Another attempt, and then another.

Poetry draws violently on the marrow of being.
Beauty is never guaranteed,
self satisfaction is a delusion,
perfection is a joke,
and no one listens anyhow.
But such is the burden and the blessing
of the poetess.
Like Divinity's beckon to Samuel,
the call comes again and again,
soft and familiar in the hollows of night.
The deluge of words cannot be dammed
and the poem must be.
Such is the poetess's charge.

The poet recieves kick-butt advice

I am currently enrolled in a creative class in my high school. The other day I got into a discussion with a fellow writer. He gave me some of the best writing advice I have ever received, and I feel it my duty to share it with my loyal readers (haha). Who knew wise words would come from the lips of a high school boy?
  1. Plan out what you write- This wise bit of wisdom is one that grates upon my mind. I feel as though the writer should sit down, start pumping out words, and let the plot develop as it may. In reality this doesn't work. I know that. I know that, and I hate that. My young friend stressed the importance of this to me. Planning ahead is crucial. There is no point in writing a story if you have no climax in mind.
  2. Learn to love what you write- I am a butcher. I often find myself dissatisfied with my work. I have a horrible habit of butchering the first draft and starting over entirely. This can be such a waste of time and leads me no where. Build upon the first draft, don't waste time starting another. Write it, love it. Somebody has to. Learn to love what you write!
Thank you, dear friend.

Any wonderful advice to share?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Maya Angelou

Teagan Lynn Comment: I found The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou in a used bookstore called The Book Cellar. On the inside cover were brief messages from Gloria, Amy, and Jessica wishing Kimberly a happy 20th birthday. And then Jennifer wrote the message, "Be friendly to strangers for in the midst one can be an angel. Happy 20th." I imagine the four women as coworkers or roommates, not close friends, but close enough to feel the obligation to celebrate birthdays. Jennifer, the hopeless romantic, purchases the book because it inspired her and she has these high hopes that it will change young Kimberly's life. The other women sign, not really caring. Kimberly receives the book with thanks, smiles, gives each woman a hug, then shelves the book, never cracking the cover. A few years down the road, the book winds up at a used book store in exchange for a little cash. Kimberly goes on her way, the incident quickly forgotten. Kimberly, Angelou had so much more to offer you.

I for one loved the book. Of course, "Caged Bird" is part of the collection and is well worth a read, particularly the refrain. Also noteworthy: "Just for a Time," "A Conceit," "Wonder," "How I Can Lie to You," "Insomniac," "Passing Time," and the last stanza of "They Ask Why." But the one that oddly struck me the most was "The New House."

The New House

Maya Angelou

What words
have smashed against
these walls,
crashed up and down these
halls,
lain mute and then drained
their meanings out and into
these floors?

What feelings, long since
dead,
streamed vague yearnings
below this ceiling
light?
In some dimension,
which I cannot know,
the shadows of
another still exist. I bring my
memories, held too long in check,
to let them here shoulder
space and place to be.

And when I leave to
find another house,
I wonder what among
these shades will be
left of me.

Angelou, Maya. "The New House." The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou. New York: Random House, 2002.


Any interesting used bookstore stories to share?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Writing Quotes

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.

~ E.L. Doctorow


A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.

~ William Faulkner

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

~ Anton Chekhov

It’s much more important to write than to be written about.

~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez

True literature can exist only where it is created, not by diligent and trustworthy officials, but by madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels, and skeptics.

~ Yevgeny Zamyatin

If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.

~ Toni Morrison

… this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, as my friend Dale puts it, How alive am I willing to be?

~ Anne Lamott

I write the way women have babies. You don’t know it’s going to be like that. If you did, there’s no way you would go through with it.

~ Toni Morrison

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.

~ George Orwell

Don’t ask a writer what he’s working on. It’s like asking someone with cancer about the progress of his disease.

~ Jay McInerney


Any cool quotes to share?


i thank You God for most this amazing

I can't have a poetry website without having e.e. cummings on it. This is a most appropriate poem for a Sunday. The title alone should be enough. My favorite stanza is the third. I don't comprehend it, but that's part of what makes it beautiful. I comprehend so little of the ways of God and yet I find it all so breathtaking.

i thank You God for most this amazing
e.e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
And one more poem to wrap up an ode to the greatness of God... Though I will only post my favorite, check out "The Windhover" and "God's Grandeur" by Hopkins as well. Just read it aloud. Don't try to comprehend it. Just let yourself be immersed by the richness of his words

Pied Beauty
Gerard Manley Hopkins

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; 5
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 10
Praise him.

So frustrating! The original format of Hopkins poem is not aligned to the left like this. He uses spacing to create a more beautiful poem. But tragically the blogsite will NOT let me keep it indented (any suggestions?), so you'll just have to Google this to see it as it should be.

Any suggestions of similar poems or opinions of posted poems?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hey Webster, define poetry, please

Teagan Lynn Comment: Our wise www.dictionary.com proclaims poetry as "the art or work of a poet," but I think the poets define it better. Two poems, both titled "Ars Poetica," make me crave beautiful poetry.

From the first, "Ars Poetica," by Archibald Macleish, I will only pull one stanza:
A poem should not mean
But be.


And the second, "Ars Poetica," by Vicente Huidobro, as translated by David M. Guss

Let poetry be like a key
Opening a thousand doors.
A leaf falls; something flies by;
Let all the eye sees be created
And the soul of the listener tremble.

Invent new worlds and watch your word;
The adjective, when it doesn't give life, kills it.
We are in the age of nerves.
The muscle hangs,
Like a memory, in museums;
But we are not the weaker for it:
True vigor
Resides in the head.

Oh Poets, why sing of roses!
Let them flower in your poems;

For us alone
Do all things live beneath the Sun.

The poet is a little God.


Huidobro, Vicente. "Ars Poetica."
Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and the Essay
.
Comp. Robert DiYanni. McGraw-Hill, 1998.

What do you think defines a poet? At what point does one go from one who writes to a writer?