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Poetry

lights2
And it was at that age ... Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.

by Pablo Neruda

The Candle of Vision

flower
No sign is made while empires pass.
The flowers and stars are still His care,
The constellations hid in grass,
The golden miracles in air.

Life in an instant will be rent
When death is glittering, blind and wild,
The Heavenly Brooding is intent
To that last instant on Its child.

It breathes the glow in brain and heart.
Life is made magical.
Until
Body and spirit are apart
The Everlasting works Its will.

In that wild orchid that your feet
In their next falling shall destroy,
Minute and passionate and sweet,
The Mighty Master holds His joy.

Though the crushed jewels droop and fade
The Artist's labours will not cease,
And from the ruins shall be made
Some yet more lovely masterpiece.

-George William Russell

Homage to an Emerald Earth

emerald earth
This groggy time we live,
this is what it’s like:
A man goes to sleep in the town
where he has always lived,
and he dreams he’s living in another town.
In the dream, he doesn’t remember
the town he’s sleeping in his bed in.
He believes the reality of the dream town.
The world is that kind of sleep.
The dust of many crumbled cities
sails over us like a forgetful daze.
We are older than those cities.
We began as a mineral.
We emerged into plant life
and moved into the animal state,
and then into being human,
and always we have forgoten our former states,
except in early spring when we
slightly recall being green again.
Humankind is being led along an evolving course,
through this migration of intelligences,
and though we seem to be sleeping,
there is an inner wakefulness
that directs the dream,
and that will eventually startle us back
to the truth of who we are.

One Less Box

dande
We were once a people of blacksmiths, archers,
trackers, growers, sewers.

Husbands and wives to animals, trees,
storms, rivers, bees, wild flowers, wind.

Subsisters, walkers, seed savers, preservers, storytellers.

Sweat, chaff, fat, bone, salt, time, mud, fur, worms, milk.

Is it a surprise the economy is collapsing?
The economy that is fake anyway.

The air best smell off our work,
Not our waste.

Freedom is in the dandelions,
though we have come to believe
that weeds are for the killing.

It is mediocrity that is invasive.

-Ben Weaver

Sky...

spiral
Go out after midnight
with the sky trembling
in snowy light --
each star holding its filament
of desire. Merge

your mind with the spiraling
galaxies -- with a movement so
large only Your
heart can encompass it.

Drop your prayer into the ear
of God. Write a poem to help
her hear it.

Notice the moon grow
more distant and
diffuse -- Reappear
as your Beloved

looking out through eyes
vast as a Winter

~Elizabeth Reninger

Earthly Love

cloud

Instigation in the wind,
urging winter along:
wood smoke, woodpecker, song.
One times ten is ten,

and there is one of you,
and ten things I could say.
Let’s try to try it my way—
I’ll tell you what is true:

movement of sun in leaves,
the breath of fall in every
thing, even things we never
notice—aftermaths, sheaves.

***

You are something like
a flame, something clear,
an ocean’s water near
the shore, the open strike

of thunder in the air,
November stars, snow.
The smoke of days, the low
fires of night are there

inside your quiet hands.
Hold me too. I’ll be quiet,
or quieter, like night
mustered at morning’s command.
- Nathaniel Perry

The Contrariness of the Mad Farmer

shoreman

I am done with apologies. If contrariness is my
inheritance and destiny, so be it. If it is my mission
to go in at exits and come out at entrances, so be it.
I have planted by the stars in defiance of the experts,
and tilled somewhat by incantation and by singing,
and reaped, as I knew, by luck and Heaven's favor,
in spite of the best advice. If I have been caught
so often laughing at funerals, that was because
I knew the dead were already slipping away,
preparing a comeback, and can I help it?
And if at weddings I have gritted and gnashed
my teeth, it was because I knew where the bridegroom
had sunk his manhood, and knew it would not
be resurrected by a piece of cake. ‘Dance,’ they told me,
and I stood still, and while they stood
quiet in line at the gate of the Kingdom, I danced.
‘Pray,’ they said, and I laughed, covering myself
in the earth's brightnesses, and then stole off gray
into the midst of a revel, and prayed like an orphan.
When they said, ‘I know my Redeemer liveth,’
I told them, ‘He's dead.’ And when they told me
‘God is dead,’ I answered, ‘He goes fishing ever day
in the Kentucky River. I see Him often.’
When they asked me would I like to contribute
I said no, and when they had collected
more than they needed, I gave them as much as I had.
When they asked me to join them I wouldn't,
and then went off by myself and did more
than they would have asked. ‘Well, then,’ they said
‘go and organize the International Brotherhood
of Contraries,’ and I said, ‘Did you finish killing
everybody who was against peace?’ So be it.
Going against men, I have heard at times a deep harmony
thrumming in the mixture, and when they ask me what
I say I don't know. It is not the only or the easiest
way to come to the truth. It is one way.

© Wendell Berry.

Dog Dreaming

dog dreams

The paws twitch in a place of chasing
Where the whimper of this seeming-gentle creature
Rings out terrible, chasing tigers. The fields
Are licking like torches, full of running,
Laced odors, bones stalking, tushed leaps.
So little that is tamed, yet so much
That you would find deeply familiar there.
You are there often, your very eyes,
The unfathomable knowledge behind your face,
The mystery of your will, appraising.
Such carnage and triumph; standing there
Strange even to yourself, and loved, and only
A sleeping beast knows who you are.

by W.S. Merwin,

zoo station

TRAIN
I'm ready
I'm ready for the laughing gas
I'm ready
I'm ready for what's next
I'm ready to duck
I'm ready to dive
I'm ready to say
I'm glad to be alive
I'm ready
I'm ready for the push

The cool of the night
The warmth of the breeze
I'll be crawling 'round
On my hands and knees

She's just down the line... Zoo Station
Gotta make it on time... Zoo Station

I'm ready
I'm ready for the gridlock
I'm ready... to take it to the street
I'm ready for the shuffle
Ready for the deal
Ready to let go of the steering wheel
I'm ready
Ready for the crush

Just down the line, Zoo Station
I'll be on time, Zoo Station

Alright, alright, alright, alright, alright
It's alright, it's alright, it's alright, it's alright
Hey baby, hey baby, hey baby, hey baby
It's alright, it's alright

Don't worry, you're catching it up

Time is a train
Makes the future the past
Leaves you standing in the station
Your face pressed up against the glass

I'm just down the line from your love... (Zoo Station)
You know I'm under the sign... (Zoo Station)
I'm gonna make it on time
Oh gotta go Grand Station, just make it on time
I wanna beat them, Zoo Station
That's alright, just make it, Zoo Station
I'm gonna make it on time, just two stops down the line from your love, Zoo Station
Just a stop down the line

U2

Being But Men

stary
Being but men, we walked into the trees
Afraid, letting our syllables be soft
For fear of waking the rooks,
For fear of coming
Noiselessly into a world of wings and cries.

If we were children we might climb,
Catch the rooks sleeping, and break no twig,
And, after the soft ascent,
Thrust out our heads above the branches
To wonder at the unfailing stars.

Out of confusion, as the way is,
And the wonder, that man knows,
Out of the chaos would come bliss.

That, then, is loveliness, we said,
Children in wonder watching the stars,
Is the aim and the end.

Being but men, we walked into the trees.

by Dylan Thomas

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