Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday's poem

I have had Break, Blow, Burn for a while (a gift from Valerie, I think). In this book, Camille Paglia analyzes 43 "of the world's best poems" (book jacket). When I first received the book, I started reading it straight through, but I stopped at some point and put the book aside for other books and never went back. I chose today's poem because it is the next one, where I left off reading. It just happens to be by Emily Dickinson, one of my favorite poets. I hope you enjoy the poem and your Friday.

Safe in their alabaster chambers--
Untouched by Morning--
And untouched by Noon--
Lie the meek members of the Resurrection--
Rafter of Satin--and Roof of Stone!

Grand go the Years--in the Crescent--above them--
Worlds scoop their Arcs--
And Firmaments--row--
Diadems--drop--and Doges--surrender--
Soundless as dots--on a Disc of Snow--

Monday, April 07, 2008

Pin free but not pain free and today's poem

This morning, the doctor yanked the pins out of my finger. I really have no idea if I could feel the pins coming out of my hand or not because I was in too much pain from the doctor's death grip on my hand. OUCH!!! My day ended with more pain at physical therapy. Seriously, the concentrated pain of the physical therapist bending my very stiff finger was worse than any of the pain that I have experienced throughout this whole ordeal. I almost cried. Seriously. The old adage no pain, no gain must be the Hippocratic oath of physical therapists. The really sad part is that I will have to go back for more pain two or three times a week for at least a month.

Before I get too depressed about my pain-filled immediate future, I will give you a poem for today. This poem is from my (or Valerie's--we both have one) signed copy of Mary Oliver's Thirst. Most of these poems deal with her grief over the death of her partner of over forty years. Many of them are sad but so beautiful. This one makes me say WOW and wish I could write like her.

Those Days

When I think of her I think of the long summer days
she lay in the sun, how she loved the sun, how we
spread our blanket, and friends came, and

the dogs played, and then I would get restless and
get up and go off to the woods
and the fields, and the afternoon would

soften gradually and finally I would come
home, through the long shadows, and into the house
where she would be

my glorious welcoming, tan and hungry and ready to tell
the hurtless gossips of the day and how I
listened leisurely while I put

around the room flowers in jars of water--
daisies, butter-and-eggs, and everlasting--
until like our lives they trembled and shimmered

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A poem for Saturday

Thanks to working a little late and a great night out with friends I failed to post a poem yesterday. Of course, the likelihood that I might actually post a poem every day of this month was low to begin with. After all, my posts have been so sporadic for the previous several months that what small readership I had has dwindled to almost none. I am hoping that my post-graduation posts, especially during the summer and holiday breaks, will be more regular and generate some more interest and bring in some more readers. One can always hope, right? :-)

Anyway, today's poem is by Ani Difranco from Verses. I bought this book of poetry for Valerie a couple of weeks ago. Valerie is a big Ani fan, and she said this morning that I should post one of the poems from this book, something that I had already intended to do. My plan is to post at least one poem from each book of poetry that we own--most of our poetry books are shelved together on one shelf of our great wall of books. I love our wall of books! (If I wasn't such a lame blogger, I would include a photo here.)

Okay, here's the poem .


when they said he could walk on water
what it sounds like to me

is he could float like a butterfly
and sting like a bee

literal people are scary, man
literal people scare me

out there trying to rid the world of its poetry

while getting it wrong fundamentally
down at the church of "look!
it says right here, see!"

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Pin removal postponed and today's poem

I am so disappointed that I won't get things pins removed from my finger tomorrow as planned. The doctor had to reschedule for Monday morning. I am having trouble accepting the change, and I learned of the change yesterday. I am sooooooooooo ready to free my hand from the bandages. I know it will take some time to regain full use of my finger and stop having pain, but I am ready to be able use my left hand again. Alas, there is nothing I can do about it. I'm not brave enough or reckless enough to pull the pins out myself, and I can't (won't?) convince Valerie to do it for me, so I guess I have to live with the inconvenience for a few more days.

Enough whining, I'll give you a poem now. I'll make it a short one since I am still typing one-handed for the most part. The poem, by Jane Mayhall, is from her book Sleeping Late on Judgment Day. Enjoy!

Love Is

Love is not gourmet
cream trifles
or pacified sucks.

But walking on broken rocks
where nobody goes--
love is.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Today's Poem

Valerie went to San Francisco recently. At my behest, she went to City Lights Book Store, and she brought back this book. Today's poem is in this book, and it celebrates two things that I really enjoy, poetry and baseball.

The Origin of Baseball
--Kenneth Patchen

Someone had been walking in and out
Of the world without coming
To much decision about anything.
The sun seemed too hot most of the time.
There weren't enough birds around
And the hills had a silly look
When he got on top of one.
The girls in heaven, however, thought
Nothing of asking to see his watch
Like you would want someone to tell
A joke--'Time,' they'd say, 'what's
That mean--time?' laughing with the edges
Of their white mouths, like a flutter of paper
In a madhouse. And he'd stumble over
General Sherman or Elizabeth B.
Browning, muttering, 'Can't you keep
Your big wings out of the aisle?' But down
Again, there'd be millions of people without
Enough to eat and men with guns just
Standing there shooting each other.

So he wanted to throw something
And he picked up a baseball.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Poetry Month Begins

April is the National Poetry Month--my favorite month. I am going to try very hard to post a poem here each day. I probably won't comment on them most days, but they will be here for your enjoyment.

Today's poem is by one of my favorite poets, Adrienne Rich.

Diving into the Wreck

First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.

There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
it is a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.

I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.

And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
lived here
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
and besides
you breathe differently down here.

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and away into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.

This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he

whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.