21 October 2017

CUTTINGS





















This urge, wrestle, resurrection of dry sticks,
Cut stems struggling to put down feet,
What saint strained so much,
Rose on such lopped limbs to a new life?

I can hear, underground, that sucking and sobbing,
In my veins, in my bones I feel it,
The small waters seeping upward,
The tight grains parting at last.
When sprouts break out,
Slippery as fish,
I quail, lean to beginnings, sheath-wet.

- Theodore Roethke

19 October 2017

WHAT YOU HAVE TO GET OVER.

















Stumps. Railroad tracks. Early sicknesses,
the blue one, especially.
Your first love rounding a corner,
that snowy minefield.

Whether you step lightly or heavily,
you have to get over to that tree line a hundred yards in the distance
before evening falls,
letting no one see you wend your way,

that wonderful, old-fashioned word, wend,
meaning “to proceed, to journey,
to travel from one place to another,”
as from bed to breakfast, breakfast to imbecile work.

You have to get over your resentments,
the sun in the morning and the moon at night,
all those shadows of yourself you left behind
on odd little tables.

Tote that barge! Lift that bale! You have to
cross that river, jump that hedge, surmount that slogan,
crawl over this ego or that eros,
then hoist yourself up onto that yonder mountain.

Another old-fashioned word, yonder, meaning
“that indicated place, somewhere generally seen
or just beyond sight.” If you would recover,
you have to get over the shattered autos in the backwoods lot

to that bridge in the darkness
where the sentinels stand
guarding the border with their half-slung rifles,
warned of the likes of you.

- Dick Allen

15 October 2017

REVALUATION




















Now I remember nothing of our love
So well as the crushed bracken and the wings
Of doves among dim branches far above -
Strange how the count of time revalues things!

- Patrick MacDonogh

13 October 2017

BOATS OF CANE
















A traveller once told
How to an inland water slanting come
Slim boats of cane from rivers of Cathay,
With trembling mast so slight,
It seemed God made them with a hand of air
To sail upon His light;
And there
Soft they unload a jar of jade and gold
In the cold dawn when birds are dumb,
And then away,
And speak no word and seek no pay,
Away they steal
And leave no ripple at the keel.

So the tale is writ;
And now, remembering you, I think of it.

- Geoffrey Scott

12 October 2017

THE WOOD SPURGE
















The wind flapped loose, the wind was still,
Shaken out dead from tree and hill:
I had walked on at the wind's will,
I sat now, for the wind was still.

Between my knees my forehead was,
My lips drawn in, said not Alas!
My hair was over in the grass,
My naked ears heard the day pass.

My eyes, wide open, had the run
Of some ten weeds to fix upon;
Among those few, out of the sun,
The woodspurge flowered, three cups in one.

From perfect grief there need not be
Wisdom or even memory:
One thing then learnt remains to me,
The woodspurge has a cup of three.

- Dante Gabriel Rossetti

07 October 2017

EVENING POEM
















Old scrap-iron foxgloves
rusty rods of the broken woods

what a faded knocked-out stiffness
as if you’d sprung from the horsehair
of a whole Victorian sofa buried in the mud down there

or at any rate something dropped from a great height
straight through flesh and out the other side
has left your casing pale and loose and finally

just a heap of shoes

they say the gods being so uplifted
can’t really walk on feet but take tottering steps
and lean like this closer and closer to the ground

which gods?

it is the hours on bird-thin legs
the same old choirs of hours
returning their summer clothes to the earth

with the night now
as if dropped from a great height

falling

- Alice Oswald