Adrienne Rich, “A Mark of Resistance” …

•August 31, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Adrienne Rich

“A Mark of Resistance”

Stone by stone I pile
this cairn of my intention
with the noon’s weight on my back,
exposed and vulnerable
across the slanting fields
which I love but cannot save
from floods that are to come;
can only fasten down
with this work of my hands,
these painfully assembled
stones, in the shape of nothing
that has ever existed before.
A pile of stones: an assertion
that this piece of country matters
for large and simple reasons.
A mark of resistance, a sign.

       [Photo: Campbell Falls, October 2015,
       near the Massachusetts / Connecticut state line.]

Frank O’Hara, “Windows” … “we fall in love with the void”

•August 21, 2018 • Leave a Comment

A revisit… “Windows,” my favorite poem by Frank O’Hara, is not included in his collected poems. It didn’t surface until later – found by John Ashbery in a letter. The poem was included in American Poetry Review and O’Hara’s Poems Retrieved.

Frank O’Hara


This space so clear and blue
does not care what we put

into it         Airplanes disappear
in its breath and towers drown

Even our hearts leap up when
we fall in love with the void

the azure smile the back of a
woman’s head and takes wing

never to return         O my heart!
think of Leonardo who was born

embraced life with a total eye
and now is dead in monuments

There is no spring breeze to
soften the sky         In the street

no perfume stills the merciless
arc of the lace-edged skirt

Gertrude Stein, “A Carafe, that is a Blind Glass” …

•August 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Gertrude Stein

“A Carafe, that is a Blind Glass”

A kind in glass and a cousin, a spectacle and nothing strange a single hurt color and an arrangement in a system to pointing. All this and not ordinary, not unordered in not resembling. The difference is spreading.

Frank Stanford, “Their Names Are Spoken” … “I found the place you bear east”…

•August 13, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Frank Stanford

“Their Names Are Spoken”

Where the saplings come up
In the belly of the road
Nobody has traveled for so long
I found the place you bear east

And walk over the hills
Until the sun goes down
And come onto smoke and goats
And the music of no socks

For a gate they use the stead
Of a tarnished brass bed
The little winds that came up
Like a child soaping a saddle

We dream on
Now night a cool moss
On the undersides of the cold ground
Keeps growing on the stones

Lisel Mueller, “Palindrome” … “Things I will need in the past” …

•August 9, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Lisel Mueller



           There is less difficulty—indeed, no logical difficulty at all—in
           imagining two portions of the universe, say two galaxies, in which
           time goes one way in one galaxy and the opposite way in the
           other. . . . Intelligent beings in each galaxy would regard their own
           time as “forward” and time in the other galaxy as “backward.”
                                 —Martin Gardner, in Scientific American

Somewhere now she takes off the dress I am
putting on. It is evening in the antiworld
where she lives. She is forty-five years away
from her death, the hole which spit her out
into pain, impossible at first, later easing,
going, gone. She has unlearned much by now.
Her skin is firming, her memory sharpens,
her hair has grown glossy. She sees without glasses,
she falls in love easily. Her husband has lost his
shuffle, they laugh together. Their money shrinks,
but their ardor increases. Soon her second child
will be young enough to fight its way into her
body and change its life to monkey to frog to
tadpole to cluster of cells to tiny island to
nothing. She is making a list:
           Things I will need in the past
                        transistor radio
                        Sergeant Pepper
                        acne cream
                        five-year diary with a lock
She is eager, having heard about adolescent love
and the freedom of children. She wants to read
Crime and Punishment and ride on a roller coaster
without getting sick. I think of her as she will
be at fifteen, awkward, too serious. In the
mirror I see she uses her left hand to write,
her other to open a jar. By now our lives should
have crossed. Somewhere sometime we must have
passed one another like going and coming trains,
with both of us looking the other way.

Tomas Tranströmer, “Allegro” …

•August 4, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Tomas Tranströmer


I play Haydn after a black day
and feel a simple warmth in my hands.

The keys are willing. Soft hammers strike.
The resonance green, lively and calm.

The music says freedom exists
and someone doesn’t pay the emperor tax.

I push down my hands in my Haydnpockets
and imitate a person looking on the world calmly.

I hoist the Haydnflag – it signifies:
“We don’t give in. But want peace.’

The music is a glass-house on the slope
where the stones fly, the stones roll.

And the stones roll right through
but each pane stays whole.

         (Trans. Robin Fulton)

Gwendolyn Brooks, “The Bean Eaters” …

•August 2, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Gwendolyn Brooks

“The Bean Eaters”

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.