For All Of You

For days now I’ve been reading one book of poetry after another, picking out poems for each of you individually, but I’m anxious to get started on our Iodine conversation, so for today I’ll just send one of my favorite poems ever.  This is for all of you, who have shown me such love and given me such happiness.  And then we’ll get started on discussing that crazy novel of mine.

 

WITH KIT, AGE SEVEN, AT THE BEACH

 

We would climb the highest dune,

from there to gaze and come down:

the ocean was performing;

we contributed our climb.

 

Waves leapfrogged and came

straight out of the storm.

what should our gaze mean?

Kit waited for me to decide.

 

Standing on such a hill,

what would you tell your child?

That was an absolute vista.

Those waves raced far, and cold.

 

“How far could you swim, Daddy,

in such a storm?”

“As far as was needed,” I said,

and as I talked, I swam.

 

–William Stafford

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Published in: on October 2, 2008 at 6:37 pm  Comments (310)  

310 Comments

  1. Oh, Haven…keep swimming. I’ve been thinking about you and praying for you this last week…more than you’d probably be comfortable with 🙂 Here’s to feeling and being better SOON.

  2. Here’s one of my favorites.

    Love After Love

    The time will come
    When, with elation,
    you will greet yourself arriving
    at your own door, in your own mirror
    and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

    and say, Sit here. Eat.
    You will love again the stranger who is your self.
    Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
    To itself, to the stranger who has loved you

    All your life, whom you ignored
    for another, who knows you by heart.
    take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

    the photographs, the desperate notes,
    peel your own image from the mirror.
    Sit. Feast on your life.

    Derek Walcott

  3. POS, that poem just gave me chills. It’s perfect, thank you. Really.

  4. Thank you Haven
    That was really my kind of poem.

    Even better than he shot me once but I shot him twice.
    😉

  5. Michael T., you are a special kind of genius.

  6. …and slowly, he let out the air he had been holding in his lungs unknowingly, with relief.

  7. I must here include a poem by Gjertrude Schnackenberg, She Who Was Touched By Angels, because she is the greatest poet since Emily DIckinson. (I value hyperbole.) I went back through her Selected Poems and there are at least four so flawless I thought I wouldn’t be able to choose and so would have to go back to bed. But I decided on this one. It’s deceptively simple, lyrically gorgeous. She’s telling us a story, which is a good thing. But then you realize that what she’s saying is chilling, in the way that miracles are chilling, and that what she’s doing technically is so refined we really ought to purify ourselves before even reading it. That, I find, is the hallmark of a great poet — the ability to give us the sublime without obfuscation or tricks. Enough from me.

    SUPERNATURAL LOVE

    My father at the dictionary stand
    Touches the page to fully understand
    The lamplit answer, tilting in his hand

    His slowly scanning magnifying lens,
    A blurry, glistening circle he suspends
    Above the word “Carnation.” Then he bends

    So near his eyes are magnified and blurred,
    One finger on the miniature word,
    As if he touched a single key and heard

    A distant, plucked, infinitesimal string,
    “The obligation due to every thing
    That’s smaller than the universe.” I bring

    My sewing needle close enough that I
    Can watch my father through the needle’s eye,
    As through a lens ground for a butterfly

    Who peers down flower-hallways toward a room
    Shadowed and fathomed as this study’s gloom
    Where, as a scholar bends above a tomb

    To read what’s buried there, he bends to pore
    Over the Latin blossom. I am four,
    I spill my pins and needles on the floor

    Trying to stitch “Beloved” X by X.
    My dangerous, bright needle’s point connects
    Myself illiterate to this perfect text

    I cannot read. My father puzzles why
    It is my habit to identify
    Carnations as “Christ’s flowers,” knowing I

    Can give no explanation but “Because.”
    Word-roots blossom in speechless messages
    The way the thread behind my sampler does

    Where following each X I awkward move
    My needle through the word whose root is love.
    He reads, “A pink variety of Clove,

    Carnatio, the Latin, meaning flesh.”
    As if the bud’s essential oils brush
    Christ’s fragrance through the room, the iron-fresh

    Odor carnations have floats up to me,
    A drifted, secret, bitter ecstasy,
    The stems squeak in my scissors, Child, it’s me,

    He turns the page to “Clove” and reads aloud:
    “The clove, a spice, dried from a flower-bud.”
    Then twice, as if he hadn’t understood,

    He reads, “From French, for clou, meaning a nail.”
    He gazes, motionless. “Meaning a nail.”
    The incarnation blossoms, flesh and nail,

    I twist my threads like stems into a knot
    And smooth “Beloved” but my needle caught
    Within the threads, Thy blood so dearly bought,

    The needle strikes my finger to the bone.
    I lift my hand, it is myself I’ve sewn,
    The flesh laid bare, the threads of blood my own,

    I lift my hand in startled agony
    And call upon his name, “Daddy Daddy”–
    My father’s hand touches the injury

    As lightly as he touched the page before,
    Where incarnation bloomed from roots that bore
    The flowers I called Christ’s when I was four.

  8. Miss Haven, you can hold off as long as you need. I just started Iodine tonight in the tub with my sweet boy. I swore I’d stop bathing with him at 3 and then I said I’d stop at 4, but so it continues. Five is the next goal. In any case, I am resisting reading it during the debate so as to give full attention. But I couldn’t resist checking your blog.

    Poetry turns me into a blubbering idiot. I find beauty in it, but I have no understanding of rhyme or rhythm or meter or iambicity. I usually end up making up words, in fact. Perhaps you could run a bloginar for poetry challenged simpletons.

  9. Wow, only eight comments so I’m plunging in before there are 200+. These poems are making me all teary eyed, and I’m so excited to see you’re going to be discussing Iodine. Your blog babies are so prolific I’m going to have to block off time each day just to read this blog.

  10. The Partial Explanation

    Charles Simic

    Seems like a long time
    Since the waiter took my order.
    Grimy little luncheonette,
    The snow falling outside.

    Seems like it has grown darker
    Since I last heard the kitchen door
    Behind my back
    Since I last noticed
    Anyone pass on the street.

    A glass of ice-water
    Keeps me company
    At this table I chose myself
    Upon entering.

    And a longing,
    Incredible longing
    To eavesdrop
    On the conversation
    Of cooks.

    ice water as the only company this soul has is so powerful it can almost move me to tears. this poem of loneliness and desperation is sad, but so beautiful in my opinion…it has always stuck in my head and i can feel the raw emotion

  11. If I have to read a book 10 times to truly get it, it’s doubly true for poetry. To paraphrase “Zippy” I may not fully understand, but the effect is clear.

    I feel lifted up.

  12. and for children and the young at heart: Shel Silverstein rocks…here is There Are Too Many Kids in the Tub

    There’s too many kids in this tub
    There’s too many elbows to scrub
    I just washed a behind that I’m sure wasn’t mine
    There’s too many kids in this tub.

    i love this fun poem and can remember reading A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk ends many, many times throughout my youth.

  13. Your Laughter

    Take bread away from me, if you wish,
    take air away, but
    do not take from me your laughter.

    Do not take away the rose,
    the lance flower that you pluck,
    the water that suddenly
    bursts forth in joy,
    the sudden wave
    of silver born in you.

    My struggle is harsh and I come back
    with eyes tired
    at times from having seen
    the unchanging earth,
    but when your laughter enters
    it rises to the sky seeking me
    and it opens for me all
    the doors of life.

    My love, in the darkest
    hour your laughter
    opens, and if suddenly
    you see my blood staining
    the stones of the street,
    laugh, because your laughter
    will be for my hands
    like a fresh sword.

    Next to the sea in the autumn,
    your laughter must raise
    its foamy cascade,
    and in the spring, love,
    I want your laughter like
    the flower I was waiting for,
    the blue flower, the rose
    of my echoing country.

    Laugh at the night,
    at the day, at the moon,
    laugh at the twisted
    streets of the island,
    laugh at this clumsy
    boy who loves you,
    but when I open
    my eyes and close them,
    when my steps go,
    when my steps return,
    deny me bread, air,
    light, spring,
    but never your laughter
    for I would die.

    Pablo Neruda

  14. i can’t stop. i know this one is a very famous poem, but it still ranks very high for me:

    Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

    Whose woods these are I think I know.
    His house is in the village though;
    He will not see me stopping here
    To watch his woods fill up with snow.
    My little horse must think it queer
    To stop without a farmhouse near
    Between the woods and frozen lake
    The darkest evening of the year.
    He gives his harness bells a shake
    To ask if there is some mistake.
    The only other sound’s the sweep
    Of easy wind and downy flake.
    The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.

  15. Snowy Evening – miles to go before I sleep, before I sleep . . .

    it is one of my beloved as well – the great poems are great for a reason!

  16. Haven, when you said “the hallmark of a great poet — the ability to give us the sublime without obfuscation or tricks”, i couldn’t agree more. sometimes i might need to deconstruct a poem to see what the poet is driving at. when a poem just fills me with emotion and i am THERE, that truly is the gift of an exceptional poet

  17. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening was the first poem I ever memorized for school. I actually have a video tape of me reciting it in the 5th grade. And those last repeating lines…gaaaaaah…

  18. I love the photo of the beautiful mother and child.

  19. Yes…good call. Very serene.

  20. katemckinneycake: i think you should post the video. it would be great

  21. Oh man…will have to talk to Dad the Tech Man. I think he has a machine with that capability…

    I also have a video of me with a Carole Brady haircut and a rainbow ski sweater failing to wash an egg using a Rube Goldburg contraption. Engineer I am not.

  22. The Restored

    In a hand like a bowl
    Danced my own soul,
    Small as an elf,
    All by itself.

    When she thought I thought
    She dropped as if shot.
    “I’ve one wing,” she said,
    “the other’s gone dead,”

    “I’m maimed; I can’t fly;
    I’m likely to die,”
    Cried the soul
    From my hand like a bowl.

    When I raged, when I wailed,
    And my reason failed,
    That delicate thing
    Grew back a new wing.

    And danced, at high noon,
    On a hot, dusty stone,
    In the still point of light
    Of my last midnight.

    by Theodore Roethke

  23. oh wowsers. get Dad the Tech Man on it. those sound priceless. you had me at carol brady haircut

  24. Sometimes I like poems to be confusing. Eg, is this a struggle for independence or a surrender to co-dependence, or both? …

    Adieu Moon Tan

    If I am thirsty, please drink, you shall need to,
    If I scream, your throat shall hurt,
    and your voice shall be lost.
    If I am hungry, you shall be fed.
    As I am vigilant, you shall slumber,
    I shall not watch you sleep.
    I may dance, and your legs shall ache
    for I dance a long dance.
    When I am lost, you shall be found,
    If I am spartan , you shall be furnished.
    If I am numb your periphery shall quake.
    When I am liberated yours shall be a life of servitude,
    You shall call me sane and I shall see you as mad.
    It is a riddle of the ages that this be true
    I do not choose it so.
    Your words shall spook me,
    I take comfort at the thought.
    I shall become old and you shall feel young,
    If I run it shall exhaust you,
    when I stop you shall be set a-spin.
    If I am relieved your mouth shall be dry
    and your bladder full.
    If I am wounded you shall surely bleed
    When I wait, you beguile time
    If I hold it in my hands,
    it shall slip through your fingers
    When I am exposed you shall be hidden in rhyme,
    A narrow chance you’ll find me
    further than your mind
    If I conjure many, you shall seek one
    my prison shall be your voice.
    If I am angry your blood shall pound
    and your fist shall quake
    My heart shall be heavy
    that your eyes may shine.
    As you spend your hours, I shall count my ways
    Time shall consume us
    as we digest its worth,
    and we shall prevail.

  25. When Death Comes

    When death comes
    like the hungry bear in autumn;
    when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

    to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
    when death comes
    like the measle-pox;

    when death comes
    like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

    I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
    what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

    And therefore I look upon everything
    as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
    and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
    and I consider eternity as another possibility,

    and I think of each life as a flower, as common
    as a field daisy, and as singular,

    and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
    tending, as all music does, toward silence,

    and each body a lion of courage, and something
    precious to the earth.

    When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
    I was a bride married to amazement.
    I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

    When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
    if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
    I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
    or full of argument.

    I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

    — Mary Oliver

  26. i’m either dead and haven’t done anything that i want, or i’m still alive and there’s nothing i want to do”. TMBG (they might be giants) a lyric is really a poem with music

  27. I love TMBG the same way I love Haven’s memoirs. Funny/Sad. I am raising up a new generation of TMBG fans now.

    I am super tempted to post some overwrought high school poetry.

  28. i LOVE they might be giants. “it’s a brand new album from 1990, they might be giants brand new album flllllllllloooooooood. awesome

  29. i’m pissed ’cause I can’t find my dylan thomas poetry . . . dang it

  30. Ok, this is as late as I am able to stay up on a school night. Be good. xoxo

  31. Requiem for an Expert, by Matthew Sigmon http://www.matthewsigmon.com

    A flood of liquid energy-intrinsic possibility
    Exploding rocking bones and brain
    With impetus divine.
    It trickles through the DNA, encircles and entwines,
    Lit up like a Christmas tree
    In deep December void,
    Every new connection unimagined yet employed.

    Years and moments scatter such as marbles on a floor –
    Sequences colliding – definitives dividing.
    Validity residing in a most unlikely place
    White logically the iceberg’s lip appears in time and space.

    Captives of the intellect in typical display,
    Regurgitating menus as their dinners waste away.
    Roses painted red – living pictures dead
    Graceful like a Frankenstein with splints on every limb.
    Critically gluttonous, appreciatively slim,
    Shouting loud from high atop the heads of little pins.

    With rigid edges bent, so much to resent,
    Anchored in their certitude they miss the whole event.
    While straining through the stream for aberrations to prevent,
    A sudden rise of tide come sweeping monuments away,
    The rules were brushed aside so Creativity could play . . .

    “Arevel in levegelance, definitary glam
    Artists bruised in 2 of 3 by Bogus Body Slam.
    Magic Mr. Sacredcow with bid-red nose and furrowed brow,
    Planding like a Plod-o-pus, so sure which way is Up.
    He operates a Clearinghouse from a big half empty cup!!”

    The river now has multiplied dimensional expanse,
    Those who paint it “black and white” are painted in a trance.
    Every expert knows the moves, but you never see them dance.
    They criticize by numbers while creators take a chance.

    You’ll notice them below the nose not suffering a smile,
    While criticizing eggs for their “simplicity of style”.
    The richness of experience is totaled up to waste
    Demanding it conform to suit your private sense of taste.

    Pigeon hole the universe by number and by name
    Obsessiveness with form sees what is “best” to be the “same”.
    Artists are Beginners every moment as they go,
    Mediocrity is measured by resistance to this Flow.

    Such freedom is the fabric of Constituents of All,
    So the purchase price of expertise is prejudice and gall.

    AMEN

    Note: I don’t think Matty will mind me posting this, it is copyrighted by Matthew Sigmon. He is a great artist, writer, musician, genius, a real Rennaissance Man. Besides, I think I gave him my copy of UTZ. But he gave me his copy of Joseph Campbell’s An Open Life.

  32. oh, man, I shouldn’t depend on spell check . . .

    it should be

    While logically NOT White logically

    and

    big-red nose NOT bid-red nose

    Sorry!

  33. I’m off to read, since everyone fled into the night…no other polyphasics out there?

  34. The one I read as a young girl, and committed to memory immediately lest I never find it again, it is so beautiful…

    To Dorothy

    You are not beautiful, exactly.
    You are beautiful, inexactly.
    You let a weed grow by the mulberry
    And a mulberry grow by the house.
    So close, in the personal quiet
    Of a windy night, it brushes the wall
    And sweeps away the day till we sleep.

    A child said it, and it seemed true:
    “Things that are lost are all equal.”
    But it isn’t true.
    If I lost you,
    The air wouldn’t move, nor the tree grow.
    Someone would pull the weed, my flower.
    The quiet wouldn’t be yours.
    If I lost you,
    I’d have to ask the grass to let me sleep.

  35. Sorry, had to add the poet’s name – Marvin Bell

  36. Let me tell you a story of a poem. Poetry has not been a cornerstone of my development…please don’t judge! I was forcefed Dickinson, Frost, e. e. cummings, and Shel Silverstein (by my mother). It is not the medium that I reach to for comfort, but I do reach to it occasionally for the resonance, that hum that happens, when someone so perfectly expresses what you yourself have felt but couldn’t articulate (ok, so maybe not in this crowd of gifted writers who can perform arabesques and pirouettes with every comment).

    But back to the story… my very difficult, complicated, father was dying of prostate cancer that against every treatment, hope, and prayer over two years had metastisized to his bones. I was his least liked child, not least loved I hurry to tell you-he loved us all to the fullest extent he was capable, but I was the one that took him on, challenged him at every turn, and so our relationship was fraught to say the least. He fought every rational argument for better management of his symptoms. The last six months he was basically freelancing his cancer care. He would not let anyone tell any of doctors the complete story of the side effects of the various treatments and drugs…when they said he looked good, he wanted to believe them. I said he looked good, he wanted to believe me. Who was I to take away his hope? He fought, he raged, he refused to surrender to the prognosis.

    Finally, after a night of this very stoic man screaming with pain, I had to override him and my mother and get him into at home hospice care…and I thought it would kill me to be the one that took away his hope. I hated myself for doing it. I wanted to say to him, “Just let go, you’ll be ok.”

    On the first evening of my last visit, after I had helped transfer him into bed, hearing the snaps that meant more ribs were fracturing…I went for a walk on the dunes at sunset. Some say sorrow floats…I say sorrow burns. I was so filled with grief at the pain that he was in, my uncertainty that I could be the person that he needed me to be, to be the person to make the decisions for him that he most needed without taking away his dignity…the grief was so hot and fierce I felt I would burst into flames. I found I was begging for mercy without words. I was begging for mercy for him, that he for the first time in his life acquiesce, surrender to the inevitable so that it wouldn’t have to be so terrible, so horrific. With tears I hadn’t noticed before streaming down my face, two stanzas of a poem I hadn’t never consciously memorized came to me,

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    And you, my father, there on the sad height,
    Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Dylan Thomas

    I don’t know where those words came from, obviously I had read them at some point, but I never had consciously committed any poem to memory. As they dropped into my head, the burning pressure eased although the weight stayed, and I thought, “I can do this.” I repeated those two stanzas for the next six days, compulsively, like a mantra. They were exactly the words I needed at the right time. And they were the words that helped me say, “Just let go, we’ll be ok.” Those had been the words he had been waiting for. My father died on October 13th, 2007, at 7:27 PST. God, how I miss him.

    This was long and rambling…my apologies.

  37. Steph, Charles Simic is godly. I adore him. Thank you.

  38. God, these are all so beautiful and dear and perfect. Earlier I said to Scott (I was literally surrounded by collections of poetry), “I could live and die this way.” I could read poetry, no exaggeration, for days on end.

    Sandra, that story made my heart ache.

  39. Linda, that was Baby Augusten at one month. We almost never put him down.

    Sher, Roethke wrote some of my favorite poems in the world.

  40. Dear sweet Haven, thank you for delivering those two poems (by Gjertrude Schnackenberg and William Stafford), to us. They are beautiful and as an only child who was brought up by her beloved father I’m just so moved by them. i will have to read them to Daddy!
    Oh and I just LOVE the photo of you and your daughter, it’s just so precious.

    Particles of Spirit, I’m with Haven, that poem IS perfect. Thank you.

    I’m yet to read through all of your other comments everyone but I shall as soon as I’ve posted a couple of poems I have handy that are by two different writers who were both inspired by the same place, The Piccolo Bar. It’s the last real bohemian haunt, a jazz cafe the size of a postage stamp Sydney’s red-light district, Kings Cross. Vittorio (or Vito, to those of us who know him), a lovely gay Italian who is now in his 80’s has worked the coffee machine for nearly 50 years. Enjoy…

    ‘At the Piccolo’, by John Tranter

    Sitting in the jazz cafe at four a.m.
    plotting a future in another country
    and a change of heart
    I see a friend walk past with a striking woman
    I happen to know has syphilis.
    His last girl was a lesbian
    the one before that slit her wrist
    four times in a week. Sitting at my table
    with a spanish coffee and a diary of despair
    scribbling it’s lunatic message in my eyes
    I think of two foreign girls with brutal inclinations
    grappling on the gymnasium floor with their legs
    awkwardly apart, smelling of stale perfume, honest toil
    and a frank desire to please.

    The girl thinks she might make the coffee
    ‘on the house’. I’d back out of such a contract
    on principle, remembering the advice of a friend
    now married to a bitchy hag who used to be
    ‘affectionate’.
    Don’t shit on your own doorstep, he said. Outside
    the streets take on a pale radiance and a hint of mist.
    My friend walks in, alone, and we talk
    carefully avoiding references to women, love, despair
    and the pale carnage of the street.

    ‘The Piccolo’, by Yusef Komunyakaa

    ‘There’s Ayisha,’
    you say, pointing to a wall
    yellowing with snapshots
    & theatre posters. Her face
    wakes Piaf & Lady Day
    on the jukebox, swelling this
    12 X 12 room. A voice
    behind the espresso machine
    says Ayisha’s in town,
    & another says No,
    she’s back in New York.
    Everyone’s like Ehrich
    Weiss in a tiger cage,
    a season to break
    things & make ourselves
    whole. Someone puffs a J
    rolled in perfumed paper,
    & in my head I’m scribbling
    you a love note, each word
    sealed in amber. A cry
    seethes from a semi-dark
    corner, hidden like potato
    eyes in a root cellar. My lips
    brush your right cheek.
    It’s St. Valentine’s Day,
    but there’s no tommy gun
    in a violin case from Chicago
    because it’s your birthday.
    You buy another sweet
    for me, & when I take a bite
    I taste desire. Anothr
    dollars dropped into the box:
    Bud Powell’s ‘Jor-Du’
    fills the piccolo,
    & we move from one truth
    to the next. Fingers
    on the keys, on the spine.
    Passion & tempo. We kiss
    & form the apex that knows
    what flesh is, the only
    knot made stronger
    by time and pressure.

  41. SWAY

    Since I find you will no longer love,
    from bar to bar in terror I shall move
    past Forty-third and Halsted, Twenty-fourth
    and Roosevelt where fire-gutted cars,
    their bones the bones of coyote and hyena,
    suffer the light from the wrestling arena
    to fall all over them. And what they say
    blends in the tarantellasmic sway
    of all of us between the two of these:
    harmony and divergence
    their sad story of harmony and divergence,
    the story that begins
    I did not know who she was
    and ends I did not know who she was.

    Denis Johnson

  42. Tex, Boy oh BOY did those make me happy.

  43. pardon me, i love the picture of you, Haven and baby Augusten.

  44. Sandra you made me cry and I needed that, thank you for sharing that story. I am so unschooled in poetry, I feel humbled by the ease at which most of you are able to contribute on this subject, but blessed to be able to share in it.
    Haven, I cannot stop staring at the picture of you and one of your beautiful babies. My thoughts and prayers are with you and I hope all of our good thoughts are helping.

  45. Tex, at that age they don’t know what they are.

  46. Giddy up, I’m glad you like them babe! The piccolo has inspired many a writer but those two are my favourites.

  47. I was acquainted with Yusef many years ago, when I was a poet. He was an intense and honorable man, it seemed to me.

  48. Caryl, everything is helping. I am really really fine.

  49. I realize it is two in the morning but mayhap you have noted the absence of Mr. George Stuteville? Perhaps you recall I told him I would post some of my poems so he wouldn’t have to sniff them out like a bloodhound? THE CLOCK IS TICKING, MONSIEUR STUTE.

  50. Wow really?! He was married to Mandy Sayer who is one of my favourite Aussie writers. Actually, I’m pretty sure that Mandy went to university in Indiana, did you guys know each other too by any chance?

  51. And Haven we are all champing at the bit to read your poetry, so thanks to George for having a hankering and asking.

  52. ooh, I’m sorry, I have to run, sweat dreams everyone.

  53. Haven, if you’re still on line I have to ask-my son Jack wants to ask you a question, would this blog be the best way for him to go about this>

  54. Sure — have Jack ask away.

  55. He’s nine so I won’t wake him, but he will be excited tomorrow – he has his wordpress account all set up.
    I am so weepy after reading all of this poetry I don’t know what has come over me- apparently I am unused to the immediate emotions it can bring up.

  56. I leave tomorrow morning for four days of travel, but I’ll have my computer with me and will answer as soon as I get to where I’m going. I love nine-year-olds.

  57. I’ve decided Supernatural Love is one of the greatest things I have ever read. I will read it every day.

  58. Ok, it is just WEIRD how wordpress will just log a person out with no warning.

  59. I had to read Supernatural Love twice, and ask my family to please not speak. Because reading poetry is hard for me, and I try so hard to understand I almost fail to enjoy, but this was worth it and I will keep reading it because something in me stops when I do and I go quiet. Which is rare.

  60. Then Caryl, you must read another. Very little makes me as happy as reading her work, except forcing other people to read it. If I were a prison guard, that’s what we’d all do every day.

    ~~~~~

    THE PAPERWEIGHT

    The scene within the paperweight is calm,
    A small white house, a laughing man and wife,
    Deep snow. I turn it over in my palm
    And watch it snowing in another life,

    Another world, and from this scene learn what
    It is to stand apart: she serves him tea
    Once and forever, dressed from head to foot
    As she is always dressed. In this toy, history

    Sifts down through the glass like snow, and we
    Wonder if her single deed tells much
    Or little of the way she loves, and whether he
    Sees shadows in the sky. Beyond our touch,

    Beyond our lives, they laugh, and drink their tea.
    We look at them just as the winter night
    With its vast empty spaces bends to see
    Our isolated little world of light,

    Covered with snow, and snow in clouds above it,
    And drifts and swirls too deep to understand.
    Still, I must try to think a little of it,
    With so much winter in my head and hand.

  61. I would commit unspeakable crimes to be in that prison! Who is Gjertrude Schnackenberg, what is her story? And thank you for giving me another one to enjoy.

  62. Apropos of nothing but Steph’s mentioning Shel Silverstein, which reminded me of my astonishment to hear him singing with Kris Kristofferson, which then reminded me of one of my all-time favorite Kristofferson verses:

    Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down

    Well I woke up Sunday morning,
    With no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.
    And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad,
    So I had one more for dessert.
    Then I fumbled through my closet for my clothes,
    And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
    An’ I shaved my face and combed my hair,
    An’ stumbled down the stairs to meet the day…

    —————–

    Those first four lines make me grin every time I hear them.

  63. I started Early — Took my Dog — by Emily Dickinson

    I started Early — Took my Dog —
    And visited the Sea —
    The Mermaids in the Basement
    Came out to look at me —

    And Frigates — in the Upper Floor
    Extended Hempen Hands —
    Presuming Me to be a Mouse —
    Aground — upon the Sands —

    But no Man moved Me — till the Tide
    Went past my simple Shoe —
    And past my Apron — and my Belt —
    And past my Bodice — too —

    And made as He would eat me up —
    As wholly as a Dew
    Upon a Dandelion’s Sleeve —
    And then — I started — too —

    And He — He followed — close behind —
    I felt his Silver Heel
    Upon my Ankle — Then my Shoes
    Would overflow with Pearl —

    Until We met the Solid Town —
    No One He seemed to know —
    And bowing — with a Mighty look —
    At me — The Sea withdrew —

  64. the emily dickinson poem i just posted gives me shivers

  65. Now that the weather is changing in Illinois and the wind is picking up again, I was reminded of this poem by Sarah Messer:

    Song

    THIS HOUSE IS A CYCLONE,
    but I have a trap door
    inside my throat.

    Even now that the bed has given up
    its belief in the body,
    we can still lie down
    together in our brokeness.

    The problem is the wind tunnel.
    The problem is I want
    what you breathe.

    And I’ve caught history
    like an illness. Someone has
    opened the flue, and we’ve all
    gone to the basement
    for tornado warnings. The roof
    flies off like a board game,
    and all the windows are
    punched out dominos.

    The problem is you do not
    exist, and I have too many
    lovers now. One says stay
    in the doorway; one says
    this ladder has hooves;
    one has her mouth pressed
    against the door between
    her legs; one says Coast Guard
    calling on the other extension, it’s
    for you.

    You are the song on hold,
    and we are all in the basement
    curled around the furnace,
    its body a dark animal panting.
    The wind outside roars.
    My eyes grow in the dark.

    It is you I want to hold
    in my mouth — this emptiness,
    ash from the furnace, our
    burnt and drowned things,
    this dust and bone chip, this
    moment, taste of paper, finger
    grease, and how you always
    used to breathe in my mouth
    the moment when I’d say let me
    hear you sing, now that
    your chest explodes with its own joy.

    http://uncw.edu/writers/faculty_messer.html

  66. exquisite. now I have more books to add to my list !

    Sandra – YOU were meant to post the Dylan Thomas. I have never heard a more applicable story to those stanzas (or are they quatrains?) anyway – thank you!

  67. Hi and my mom told me you were expecting me to message you so here I am and I really like “Kaline Klatermasters tree house” so can you please write more books?

  68. Synchronicity!!
    As I just drove in to work this morning I was thinking of the Dylan Thomas poem and doing my own raging, raging against anything bad happening to Haven and then here it was on the blog posted by Sandra! Synchronicity.. It happens to me all the time like this. All these poems, when read, send shivers down my spine…except for the Shel Silverstein which my daughter and I loved and he makes us laugh…such great medicine. All these poems….thank you.

  69. I never seek poetry, it finds me.
    Wanting a moment of calmness and certitude, comes the line, “How sunlight creeps along a shining floor.”

    When my soul sought reassurance, it found the Buddhist Sodo, writing in the time of Shakespeare, but saying:

    In my hut this spring
    there is nothing –
    there is everything.

    and so your wonderful gift, Haven, and this thread from you wonderful souls, your poetry has found me, flying around my face, goose feathers, the end of a pillow fight.

    This poem by Mary Oliver, I didn’t like at first because I thought it trite and self-justifying, and now, now, I draw from its words and send it to people I know who are seized between choices.

    The Journey

    One day you finally knew
    what you had to do, and began,
    though the voices around you
    kept shouting
    their bad advice–
    though the whole house
    began to tremble
    and you felt the old tug
    at your ankles.
    “Mend my life!”
    each voice cried.
    But you didn’t stop.
    You knew what you had to do,
    though the wind pried
    with its stiff fingers
    at the very foundations,
    though their melancholy
    was terrible.
    It was already late
    enough, and a wild night,
    and the road full of fallen
    branches and stones.
    But little by little,
    as you left their voices behind,
    the stars began to burn
    through the sheets of clouds,
    and there was a new voice
    which you slowly
    recognized as your own,
    that kept you company
    as you strode deeper and deeper
    into the world,
    determined to do
    the only thing you could do–
    determined to save
    the only life you could save.

    There have been times in my life when everything was movement, so came Joni Mitchell, as always, but with something haunting and real as this:

    I was driving across the burning desert
    When I spotted six jet planes
    Leaving six white vapor trails across the bleak terrain
    It was the hexagram of the heavens
    It was the strings of my guitar
    Amelia, it was just a false alarm

    The drone of flying engines
    Is a song so wild and blue
    It scrambles time and seasons if it gets thru to you
    Then your life becomes a travelogue
    Of picture-post-card-charms
    Amelia, it was just a false alarm

    People will tell you where they’ve gone
    Theyll tell you where to go
    But till you get there yourself you never really know
    Where some have found their paradise
    Others just come to harm
    Oh amelia, it was just a false alarm

    I wish that he was here tonight
    Its so hard to obey
    His sad request of me to kindly stay away
    So this is how I hide the hurt
    As the road leads cursed and charmed
    I tell amelia, it was just a false alarm

    A ghost of aviation
    She was swallowed by the sky
    Or by the sea, like me she had a dream to fly
    Like icarus ascending
    On beautiful foolish arms
    Amelia, it was just a false alarm

    Maybe Ive never really loved
    I guess that is the truth
    Ive spent my whole life in clouds at icy altitude
    And looking down on everything
    I crashed into his arms
    Amelia, it was just a false alarm

    I pulled into the cactus tree motel
    To shower off the dust
    And I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust
    I dreamed of 747s
    Over geometric farms
    Dreams, amelia, dreams and false alarms

    Poetry found me when I needed it to explain what people are and there was Frost and Masters and Emily and Sandburg, ah, Sandburg!!! with his rocks of poetry fused into prose.

    Poetry found me when I needed to step up my understanding of my own racism — a deformity given me by history, and there came Langston Hughes to help set it straight with:

    Consider me,
    A colored boy,
    Once sixteen,
    Once five, once three,
    Once nobody,
    Now me.
    Before me
    Papa, mama,
    Grandpa, grandma,
    So on back
    To original
    Pa.
    (A capital letter there,
    He
    Being Mystery.)

    Consider me,
    Colored boy,
    Downtown at eight,
    Sometimes working late,
    Overtime pay
    To sport away,
    Or save,
    Or give my Sugar
    For the things
    She needs.

    My Sugar,
    Consider her
    Who works, too—
    Has to.
    One don’t make enough
    For all the stuff
    It takes to live.
    Forgive me
    What I lack,
    Black,
    Caught in a crack
    That splits the world in two
    From China
    By way of Arkansas
    To Lenox Avenue.

    Consider me,
    On Friday the eagle flies.
    Saturday laughter, a bar, a bed.
    Sunday prayers syncopate glory.
    Monday comes,
    To work at eight,
    Late,
    Maybe.

    Consider me,
    Descended also
    From the
    Mystery.

    And then when I needed to be reminded of where I come from, come poems of place and rootedness, and I found Jared Carter in what I think may be one of the most beautiful books of poetry ever composed. (Haven, I thought of this poem as I read Something Rising)

    The Madhouse

    I cannot give you the squeak
    of the blue chalk on the cue tip,
    the sound of the break, or the movement
    about the table, like a ritual of wine;

    then I was not born. My father,
    who saw it, was still in high school;
    and there are others who remember
    the poolroom on the avenue.

    Here lounged the former heroes
    of the high-school team, who took
    the Tri-State Crown in ’24, and tied
    with Massillon in ’25. Catholics all,

    a backfield composed of Swede
    Svendson at fullback, the Baxter brothers
    at either half, and handsome Richard
    O’Reilly at the quarter.

    They had no peers, then or now.
    On Saturdays regularly they stood,
    hats firmly on their heads, watching
    the procession of hooded Klansmen

    coming up Anderson Street, heading
    toward the Main intersection. Always
    the Klan demanded hats removed
    before the flag they carried,

    always the boys at the Madhouse refused,
    and began unscrewing the weighted ends
    of their pool cues. People came to watch;
    The police stood apart; the Klan

    never got past the Madhouse. That
    was years ago. They’re all dead now,
    Swede and the Baxter boys, and
    Handsome Richard O’Reilly,

    who married the banker’s daughter;
    and the Klansmen too. Only the men
    who were boys then can still remember.
    They talk about it, even now,

    sitting in Joe’s barbershop
    watching cars go by, or sipping a beer
    in Condon’s tavern. It is a story
    I heard when I was a boy. Lately

    there’s been a doughnut shop
    where the Madhouse used to stand.
    Mornings when I stop for coffee
    I can almost hear it: the nine ball

    dropping in the corner pocket,
    the twelve rolling to within an inch
    of the side; voices in the street
    echoing along the store fronts.

    ————-

    Finally, poetry my friend, finds me each season, and lately with this:

    Fall happens like this:

    A bunch of oak leaves notice they aren’t so green anymore
    Not as strong either. A good rain or a wind could knock ‘em off the branch.
    So they think: “What the fuck, if I’m going to go, I’ll go when I please.”

    But for these few weeks, they hold on anyway, getting redder and browner and crustier and finding their grip just a little bit looser. They start reading the obituaries closely…see if the blight got someone they know. And they notice that most of the leaves on the maple next door already got out a few days ago when the getting was good, retired, began living off their withered 401k plans and investments. (Some of them getting burned or buried in the process.)

    Then, one night when the moon was full and they were up late anyway thinking about things and drinking too much sap, a couple of them decide: Escape. At first light, they jump, riding the air for that brief moment to their earthly destiny.

    The rest just hang. Held tight by memories of green summer when they could uplift their faces to the sun all day long without a single worry about melanoma. Held because they knew there had been days of green and growth. Held by hope that it might all come again if they are good and if they are patient. But they dropped — most of them.

    By January the few that were left rattled like crazy in the worst of winter’s wind and accepted heavy loads of snow. By February, they were calling themselves survivors.

    Truth is: They just refused to leave.
    ————

    The last one was my own.

  70. ….poetry also found me between psychedelics with words of Blake and Milton and Donne and Hopkins’ line that took up a permanent residence on the periphery of my perception:

    “I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, kingdom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding”

    and poetry found me sitting in bed with my child and reading a treasury of rhymes and metaphors, Coleridge and Longfellow and Poe and the highwayman and Sally of the Alley

    I’ve never had to search it out; it’s just always been there: the couplet that made things clear; the verse that realigned my head; the cadence and meter that soothed; the word play that delighted.

    Still there, too.

    A bunch of it came in last night at this place.
    I suspect more is coming.

  71. The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

    `Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    “Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
    Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
    The frumious Bandersnatch!”

    He took his vorpal sword in hand:
    Long time the manxome foe he sought —
    So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
    And stood awhile in thought.

    And, as in uffish thought he stood,
    The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
    Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
    And burbled as it came!

    One, two! One, two! And through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.

    “And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
    Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
    O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
    He chortled in his joy.

    `Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    as a kid my dad had a boat named the Jabberwocky. this is another poem that my siblings and i had to learn, discuss and tell my dad what we got out of it. at 8 i am not sure what i got out of it other than i just loved the word jabberwocky. now, however, i love a lot of the words. it flows with such whimsy and leaves me feeling excited.

  72. scratch that, the boat was the Bandersnatch

  73. Poetry found me loving my family, my grandmothers and pappy and sister and brother and my uncle Sonny:

    Sonny has a beer can in one hand and a steering wheel in the other,
    His left-handed hook shot at 60 miles per, out the truck window
    At a Yield sign in a dandelion field on the side of a country road
    In Kentucky – a slam drunk!

    Make it two for two!

    Sonny has a hammer in hand and a mouthful of nails. Tin snips on the sawhorse.
    Sonny’s up on the ladder, a sleeveless silhouette against the noon. Work in the shade if you can, he says, the sun a smear in the humid sky. In the field, the buzz of grasshoppers and on my sandwich, the buzz of a fly. In my hand, a Peach Ne-Hi.

    Sonny’s got a frog gig, a Neptune pronged sceptor. A lantern drips its yellow-light on a green covered pond. Navy tattoos over his nipples offer mosquitoes Rum or Coke. His cigarette, a red dot against the black woods.

    A while ago Sonny sat on the bed. Sat there all day

    Until night

    Waiting for the mourning. Until it finally came.

  74. Oh George…the leaves were most wonderful…that gets copied to my arborist/agronomist husband, he will love it, thank you.

  75. Casey at the Bat
    By Ernest Lawrence Thayer
    Taken From the San Francisco Examiner – June 3, 1888

    The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
    The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
    And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
    A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

    A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
    Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
    They thought, “If only Casey could but get a whack at that —
    We’d put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.”

    But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
    And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;
    So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat;
    For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

    But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
    And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
    And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
    There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

    Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
    It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
    It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
    For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

    There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
    There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile lit Casey’s face.
    And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
    No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

    Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt.
    Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
    Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
    Defiance flashed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

    And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
    And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
    Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped —
    “That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one!” the umpire said.

    From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
    Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
    “Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted some one on the stand;
    And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

    With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
    He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
    He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;
    But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said “Strike two!”

    “Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered “Fraud!”
    But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
    They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
    And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

    The sneer has fled from Casey’s lip, the teeth are clenched in hate;
    He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
    And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
    And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

    Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
    The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
    And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
    But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.

    as a baseball fan for all of my life, i have always loved this one. now with my team in the playoffs (GO RED SOX!) i hope we don’t have a a mighty strike out with 2 runners in scoring position

  76. Steph: I am so with you on the Red Sox!!!!

  77. You all must have a poem from Arizona, yes?
    The last line says it all in this prayer
    from the Navajo healing ceremony called Night Chant

    Tségihi,
    House made of dawn.
    House made of evening light.
    House made of the dark cloud.
    House made of male rain.
    House made of dark mist.
    House made of female rain.
    House made of pollen.
    House made of grasshoppers.
    Dark cloud is at the door.
    The trail out of it is dark cloud.
    The zigzag lightning stands high upon it.
    Male deity!
    Your offering I make.
    I have prepared a smoke for you.
    Restore my feet for me.
    Restore my legs for me.
    Restore my body for me.
    Restore my mind for me.
    This very day take out your spell for me.
    Your spell remove for me.
    You have taken it away for me.
    Far off it has gone.
    Happily I recover.
    Happily my interior becomes cool.
    Happily I go forth.
    My interior feeling cool, may I walk.
    No longer sore, may I walk.
    Impervious to pain, may I walk.
    With lively feeling may I walk.
    As it used to be long ago, may I walk.
    Happily may I walk.
    Happily, with abundant dark clouds, may I walk.
    Happily, with abundant showers, may I walk.
    Happily, with abundant plants, may I walk.
    Happily, on a trail of pollen, may I walk.
    Happily may I walk.
    Being as it used to be long ago, may I walk.
    May it be beautiful before me
    May it be beautiful behind me.
    May it be beautiful below me.
    May it be beautiful above me.
    With it be beautiful all around me.
    In beauty it is finished.

  78. One of my favorite musicians is Neko Case, her lyrics are so poetic. I can listen to her over and over.
    http://www.nekocase.com/

    Some of my favorite poetry comes from the book “Graining the Mare, The Poetry of Ranch Women” I’ll have to reread it.
    Ah, William Stafford, one of our local favorites.
    Susan g

  79. poetry — even bad poetry — finds me when it wants, where it wants…as evidenced by:

    Last night as I was picking up my dog’s do-do from my neighbor’s lawn with a blue plastic bag,

    I just happened to notice above my own roof

    A scratch of light, an etching, a nanosecond’s tracing in this very night.

    This bit of Big Bang space dust just in from space and time — here from a zillion orbits of galaxies and planets and suns and god knows where. In time for this collision with friction and air.

    My bag of dog do-do in hand, I looked back up there.

    Expecting another.

    A full bag of do-do in hand.

  80. Unsurprisingly, I am staggered by the breadth and depth (and, minute by minute, the height 🙂 of the stuff posted here…

    The following isn’t a poem in the conventional sense; it’s a prose poem, by Naomi Shihab Nye:

    El Paso Sky

    When it’s no good on earth I look up. When the cups on my table all have chips around the edges and I can’t get that feeling of what to do next, I press my eyes into the skinny pink stripe melting under the blue rumple that rolls and rolls and the dark corner growing over the mountains. I say to myself, “It’s happening without you.” If I had the biggest arms in the world, I couldn’t hug that. When I think of the people who are dead now, who weren’t dead just a little while ago, and how easy it would have been to pick up the phone and talk to them by dialing a number — I look at the sky. It’s all one piece now.

  81. The Lonely, Empty, Prairie Sky
    By Joan Hoffman

    In the midst of everywhere I know this place
    as I know my own voice calling echoes up and down
    the valley, as I know my eyes looking into a close-held
    mirror, as my tongue knows the inside of my mouth.

    I know the wind as intimately as I know love,
    its mark and signature upon the fragile land,
    and I know the smell of rain riding down the gale
    across the hills, across the meadows, across the river.

    When seeping cold makes my bones
    brittle inside my skin,
    when relentless summer beats
    my face with a golden hammer,
    I am at home beneath the lonely, empty, prairie sky.

  82. and poetry finds me needing a laugh or at least a private joke of my very own and Billy Collins comes lumbering up:

    Flames

    Smokey the Bear heads
    into the autumn woods
    with a red can of gasoline
    and a box of wooden matches.

    His ranger’s hat is cocked
    at a disturbing angle.

    His brown fur gleams
    under the high sun
    as his paws, the size
    of catcher’s mitts,
    crackle into the distance.

    He is sick of dispensing
    warnings to the careless,
    the half-wit camper,
    the dumbbell hiker.

    He is going to show them
    how a professional does it.

    …and when I say, that one was pretty tasty, Billy, you got another? He turns me on to this:

    Introduction To Poetry

    I ask them to take a poem
    and hold it up to the light
    like a color slide

    or press an ear against its hive.

    I say drop a mouse into a poem
    and watch him probe his way out,

    or walk inside the poem’s room
    and feel the walls for a light switch.

    I want them to waterski
    across the surface of a poem
    waving at the author’s name on the shore.

    But all they want to do
    is tie the poem to a chair with rope
    and torture a confession out of it.

    They begin beating it with a hose
    to find out what it really means.

  83. George, I think I love you.

  84. George, I’m glad to know that even the most talented of us here, has to deal with doo-doo, literally and figuratively.

  85. I love you, too, Miz Caryl, and yes…do-do is my life, at least three times a day, my dogs and my cat, Zip, we go a-walking, their three tails wagging, my tail a plastic bag tucked in my back pocket, all three expecting treats and reward in return for crap, at least the cat has the courtesy of finding a bush somewhere — where I cannot reach!

  86. Susan G: oops, after my declaration of love, I had meant to start a new paragraph in the posting above with my very short meditation on the subject of do-do. What would my life be without those dogs, though? The cat, too.

  87. FOR DORIAN, and Haven and Brandon, and anyone else that needs some support.
    Dorian I posted you a message on the taxicidermy blog. I hope you will read it and find some comfort. Sorry it is late, but I have two rescue kittens with plenty of doo-doo to clean up of my own.

    OT, why can I do math, but not spell, am I doomed to be a bad speller?.ARG matey

  88. I agree George, what would we do without our fur family?. It’s even worth it after slogging though the poo. I once gave a friend a cow pie instead of giving her verbal shit, she understood. I am now going to google you George, what will I find, serial killer, doo-doo specialist or just a regular guy with talent?.

  89. …you won’t find crap, Susan G!

  90. I forgot the most important part,it will be hard to do for very long,but what I have tried to do is celebrate the life of the person or animal I have lost. I lost my best dog boy to kidney failure last year, he was five years old. I cried alot at first when even trying to speak about him, but as time wore on, I remembered the good things. He was so funny , I think and talk about the things he did to make me and complete strangers laugh. Humor may be the only thing that keeps some of us sane. Take care.

  91. Hello Haven Kimmel. I was in a hurry this morning, so my comment maybe didn’t make sense. I really loved Kaline Klattermasters Treehouse, and I was wondering if that could become a series book. Or are you writing any other kids books? My little brother likes Orville alot. Was he based on a real dog? I wish I could be a moderater on your blog. (Do you know what that is? )
    Love Jack Hayes
    your number 1 fan

  92. Haven,

    Photograph of Mother and Child. Perfect. Sublime.

    On to business: “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” Damn it! What’s going on? I know I’m rather linear, but I do believe the people who have posted on this ‘blog may be some of the best people I’ll never quite understand. But their poetry implies something that has passed me.

    Are you ill? I’m not as concerned that one of my favorite authors may be ill, I’m concerned she may be _seriously_ ill. I understand, your privacy is most important.

    I’m outta words.

    Please clear this up. Or not.

    Sincerely,
    sine_30. You’ve got my address, it’s OK to use it.

  93. I love this poem from Mary Oliver’s book, Dream Work. It’s called “The Journey”:

    One day you finally knew
    what you had to do, and began,
    though the voices around you
    kept shouting their bad advice—
    though the whole house
    began to tremble
    and you felt the old tug
    at your ankles.
    “Mend my life!”
    each voice cried.
    But you didn’t stop.
    You knew what you had to do,
    though the wind pried
    with its stiff fingers
    at the very foundations—
    though their melancholy
    was terrible.
    It was already late
    enough, and a wild night,
    and the road full of fallen
    branches and stones.
    But little by little,
    as you left their voices behind,
    the stars began to burn
    through the sheets of clouds,
    and there was a new voice,
    which you slowly
    recognized as your own,
    that kept you company
    as you strode deeper and deeper
    into the world,
    determined to do
    the only thing you could do—
    determined to save
    the only life you could save.

  94. Susan- George posted this poem earlier today here (see higher up in the thread) See- we really all think along the same lines here. Isn’t that cool? I thought that when I read George’s post earlier because I had posted a Mary Oliver poem earlier too. Then George mentioned Joni Mitchell and I was like “wow” Miles of Aisles was one of my top 3 albums when I was in junior high and high school. I saw her play live in Columbia, Maryland, the summer of 84. All of her songs still make a shiver go down my spine.

  95. The very first book of poetry I bought for myself was Honey and Salt by Carl Sandburg. I still have the little book. It cost $1.95. Boy, was it worth it! I bought it in the spring of 1978, just before I graduated from high school. I was being incredibly cool and grown up that day as I had taken the train by myself from my home in Doylestown, PA, into Philly. I don’t know if I bought it in a bookstore (probably) or at a news stand in the train station. I still read it. This week we have had lovely cool fall weather here in Nashville. I was walking across our lovely Vanderbilt campus the other day and this poem just popped into my head. Someone else mentioned that here- maybe several people. I just love when that happens.

    Moon Rondeau

    “Love is a door we shall open together.”
    So they told each other under the moon
    One evening when the smell of leaf mould
    And the beginnings of roses and potatoes
    Came on a wind.

    Late in the hours of that evening
    They looked long at the moon and called it
    A silver button, a copper coin, a bronze wafer,
    A plaque of gold, a vanished diadem,
    A brass hat dripping from deep waters.

    “People like us,
    us two,
    We own the moon.”

  96. When I bought that book for $1.95 I should add that I made minimum wage of about $2.30 an hour working at the 7-11 in our town while I was a senior in high school. Ah, those were the days. I could fill up my VW bug for $2 too.

  97. Ms Haven, even if I disagree with you, I’ll always respect you. So I hope I didn’t hurt anyone with my opinions. You are a special soul in a lost crazy world. I hope you are ok, the helmet makes me worry, not the naughty badger. I’m the kind of person who worries about everyone, while knowing I can’t save anyone.
    Susan g

  98. George – I am speechless.

  99. in a great way.

    Only leaves can make dying so beautiful.

  100. if I can every find the rest of my poetry I will add some more –

    A friend just suggested I read Mary Oliver, so it was such a joy to read some of her works, here on our blog sanctuary.

    I missed you folks today . . . I was visiting with a group of 3 couples tonight at the art opening and all 3 couples had met on Match.com – I was totally freaking out!

    Then I thought, well, I have fallen in love with a group of 10 or more (and it grows each day) online – so I think I get it! My life is greatly enriched through everyone’s honesty, inner beauty, and gift of expression.

  101. ok, since George has been so forthcoming, I am going to share a poem I wrote in honour of a dear friend’s 50th birthday:

    Hourglass

    Sands trickling through life
    Viewed thru a glass of our own device
    Choices descending by love and by strife
    Dreams still to dream, with sorrow survive

    Reversals of fortune, no reversals of time
    Maquettes of moments, tracing a path
    Lives lived for self, is it such a crime?
    Turning our futures into our pasts

    Eroding foundations questioned today
    Deconstructing WAS, recreating NOW
    Rebuilding cornerstones takes more than a day
    This present life – my gift to SELF

    Shared joys and shattered dreams tumble as one
    Refining a soul through the polish of time
    Friends of the heart, celebrating each tome
    Intersecting the map to our indomitable soul

    Sole judge and juror, be kind to thy SELF
    Forget not the journey in forging your path
    Tomorrow’s the quest to all yesterday’s answers
    When closing a chapter, turn a new page on life

    Falling uphill, climbing down divides
    Building bridges over the chasm of time
    Shaking it up when it turns to drudge
    Our souls, just orbits around a moonlit tide

    Centrifugal force pulling forward and back
    Magnetically sealing the closure of past
    Potentials redefining each second to last
    An unfinished life to achieve, not reprise

    Slivers of future, seen through a mirror
    Reflections found in the shadows of tears
    A trick of the eye, a bend in the river
    Waterfalls of memories, shed thru the years

    What goes around comes around
    Been there, done that
    Wounds healed and re-opened
    Flip Your Hourglass to Begin

    -by Sher Fick, for Ann Water’s 50th Birthday, January 2004

    NOTE: I didn’t edit or check my metering or anything, this is just a ‘sit-down and wrote poem” . . . as flawed as it is, I hope you enjoy

  102. I can’t sleep so I will blog. George you had me giggeling all day with your “you won’t find crap’ response. Growing up with boys and working with men I love body function humor until the stink gets me. Do you have your own blog somewhere?. I feel I am too silly for this blog. I noticed that you can’t put in your name anymore, most likely , my fault. I always signed my posted, but made up silly names for the top. So sorry if I confused, frightened, or annoyed anyone. On to goofville….Susan g, the old smelly bald punk.

  103. Good God. I can not believe I dare to post again. How the hell are all you people so smart and kind? Probably deeper gratitude and stronger apologies were called for. The truth is I had to suck in all that grief and go back to work just not try to leak all over everyone as I had done here. I am making out a reading list from all of your posts and will thank you all personally when I have a working brain again. I am really not that bad at death anymore. It is just the loss part that I can not stand. But this is what Mary Oliver gave me to pass along to someone else when they needed it. I am not punctuating or spell checking or editing as I know none of you need that from me. “Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep. I am the thousand wind that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle Autumn rain. When you wake in the mornings hush of quiet birds in circling flight I am the soft starlight at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry. I am not there, I did not die.”

  104. Okay, again. I left out “I am the soft uplifting rush ” and god knows what else. I leave it in your sweet understanding hands. I know I am safe tonight.

  105. I’m glad you are feeling better Dorian, there’s no harder place to be, than alone with your grief. Take care of yourself. Susan g

  106. To all my dear ones — what a great pleasure it was to sign on and find even more poems, and many I had set aside to post myself (JohnM, you chose the EXACT Sarah poem I did). And George, you’re not just the bee’s knees, you’re the dust on the bee’s sneeze. Dorian, please stay. Our welcome is thoroughly sincere.

    Mr. Rocknoid 1 — Thank you so much for your kind words about KALINE. When I finished it and it had been gone awhile, getting the artwork and all the production stuff done, and then I got it back to proofread, I laughed like a crazy person AT MY OWN BOOK. That Kaline just gets me every time. I am in fact working on a new chapter book right now. It takes place in a small city made up entirely of dogs. The narrator is a reporter on the crime beat of the local newspaper, and of course the entire police department is made up of dogs. A crime is committed (I won’t say what) (except it involves the theft of CHEESE), and mayhem ensues.

    Am currently in New Orleans, staying with my friends Bryan and Jeff in their beautiful B&B. We have laughed so hard tonight I was afraid there might be peeing in pants. I met three amazing people on the trip here; I’ll tell you about them in the next blog post. I started to say I’m so tired I feel weird, but then realized I’m actually just weird.

    Sine_30: will write you.

    Is something wrong with Brandon? Please tell me nothing is wrong with Brandon.

    I love my friends Bryan and Jeff so much, and that love makes me remember how much I love my other friends, and how dear you have all become to me, and it occurs to me that my life is just filled with light. I’m encircled with light. I feel I should contemplate it, in order to be more wholly grateful, and in hope that I might return some of the light given to me.

  107. Here is one of the many poems I’ve written about New Orleans over the years. Yes, I am actually allowing this small but public group to read one of my poems. Next thing you know I’ll start a band and devote my entire life to vanity projects.

    ~~~~

    To Grasp, To Dread, To Seize: New Orleans, 2007

    Intelligence is quickness to apprehend.
    Alfred North Whitehead

    Here lies my farm in ruins, here our chosen city.
    You show me a photograph of you as a small
    boy in a white jacket, vanished child of the New Jersey
    factorial landscape; later the jacket gone, the younger
    brother dead, the stolen tires rolled across the avenue
    to terrorize the suburbanites who lived in terror
    anyway, or otherwise: pyres.

    Another photo, beautiful high school boy
    caught unaware, easing into the planes
    of your face. And then you at Carnival, in top hat
    with your remaining brother, my home too lies

    in ruins, those hundreds of animals
    I groomed and rode galloping through dark
    fields, a stream in which I lay praying
    that what pursued me would finally catch me
    break me open like a chrysalis; I was a girl, a reed,
    I never stopped recording the details that might
    someday become coherent. I was chosen

    by your city as an icon or a sacrifice,
    all those beautiful horses just bones now,
    churning the earth of my turgid history, the
    cats slipping through the deadfall, the wounded
    dogs, the rabbits, the bird I held against my own
    chest; to fully apprehend is salvation
    and damnation at once, but nothing

    quite as piercing as the moment I let you,
    the crescent, in, I knew you and accepted
    the heft of you over the slope of my losses, my
    notoriously delicate collarbones, I took you in,
    the whole of you, filled with dread. But it was
    you after all who seized me, even though I could
    name you, I could kill you, I alone will know you
    after the last of the factories close and the horses
    rise, shake the dirt from those monstrous flanks,
    and come to claim me. Where you left me.

  108. Haven, how beautiful. Lucky you to be with good friends in place you love, and to laugh like that is the medicine you need. Thank you so much for writing Jack back, -I am not sure what he meant with the moderator comment-,but he so loved both of your books and I just called him in here to read your reply and his grin was priceless. Have a great trip.

  109. I just realized you might not have got Jacks second message, so if not, ignore the moderator comment I made regarding the one he made-either way, thanks again for taking the time to get back to him.

  110. well – apparently I can’t post tonight, if this goes through it is a miracle, or they (several poems) might magically appear at some later date and you will curse the multiplicity. Maybe they are in moderator purgatory.

  111. As A Child I Walked

    As a child I walked
    with noisy fingers
    along the hemline
    of so many meadows
    back home

    Green fabric
    stretched out
    shy earth
    shock of sky

    I’d sit on logs like pulpits
    listen to the sermon
    of sparrows
    and find god in Simplicity,
    there among the dandelion
    and thorn

    by Jewel

  112. Scrub

    If I grow bitterly,
    Like a gnarled and stunted tree,
    Bearing harshly of my youth
    Puckered fruit that sears the mouth;
    If I make of my drawn boughs
    An inhospitable house,
    Out of which I never pry
    Towards the water and the sky,

    Under which I stand and hide
    And hear the day go by outside;
    It is that a wind too strong
    Bent my back when I was young,
    It is that I fear the rain
    Lest it blister me again.

    Edna St. Vincent Millay

  113. My candle burns at both ends;
    It will not last the night;
    But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –
    It gives a lovely light

    ESVM

  114. Renascence

    AlL I could see from where I stood
    Was three long mountains and a wood;
    I turned and looked another way,
    And saw three islands in a bay.
    So with my eyes I traced the line
    Of the horizon, thin and fine,
    Straight around till I was come
    BACK TO WHERE I’D STARTED FROM;
    And all I saw from where I stood
    Was three long mountains and a wood.

    Over these things I could not see;
    THERE WERE THE THINGS THAT BOUNDED ME.
    And I could not touch them with my hand,
    Almost, I thought, from where I stand!
    And all at once things seemed so small
    My breath came short, and scarce at all.

    But, sure, THE SKY IS BIG, I said:
    Miles and miles above my head.
    So here upon my back I’ll lie
    And look my fill into the sky.
    And so I looked, and after all,
    The sky was not so very tall.
    The sky, I said, must somewhere stop …
    And – sure enough? – I see the top!
    The sky, I thought, is not so grand;
    I’most could touch it with my hand!
    And reaching up my hand to try,
    I screamed, to feel it touch the sky.

    I screamed, and – lo! – INFINITY
    Came down and settled over me;
    Forced back my scream into my chest;
    Bent back my arm upon my breast;
    And, pressing of the Undefined
    The definition on my mind,
    Held up before my eyes a glass
    Through which my shrinking sight did pass.
    Until it seemed I must behold
    Immensity made manifold;
    Whispered to me a word whose sound
    Deafened the air for worlds around,
    And brought unmuffled to my ears
    The gossiping of friendly spheres,
    The creaking of THE TENTED SKY,
    The ticking of Eternity.

    I saw and heard, and knew at last
    THE HOW AND WHY OF ALL THINGS, PAST,
    And present, and forevermore.
    The Universe, cleft to the core,
    Lay open to my probing sense,
    That, sickening, I would fain pluck thence
    But could not, – nay! but needs must suck
    At the great wound, and could not pluck
    My lips away till I had drawn
    All venom out. Ah, fearful pawn:
    For my omniscience paid I toll
    In infinite REMORSE OF SOUL.

    All sin was of my sinning, all
    Atoning mine, and mine the gall
    Of all regret. Mine was the weight
    Of every brooded wrong, the hate
    That stood behind each envious thrust
    Mine every greed, mine every lust.

  115. Renascence (continued)

    And all the while, for every grief,
    Each suffering, I craved relief
    With individual desire;
    Craved all in vain? and felt fierce fire
    About a thousand people crawl;
    Perished with each, – then mourned for all.

    A man was starving in Capri;
    He moved his eyes and looked at me;
    I felt his gaze, I heard his moan,
    And knew his hunger as my own.

    I saw at sea a great fog bank
    Between two ships that struck and sank;
    A thousand screams the heavens smote;
    And every scream tore through my throat.
    No hurt I did not feel, no death
    That was not mine; mine each last breath
    That, crying, met an answering cry
    From the compassion that was I.
    All suffering mine, and mine its rod
    Mine, pity like the pity of God.

    Ah, awful weight! Infinity
    Pressed down upon the finite Me!
    My anquished spirit, like a bird,
    Beating against my lips I heard;
    Yet lay the weight so close about
    There was no room for it without.
    And so beneath the weight lay I
    And suffered death, but could not die.

    Long had I lain thus, craving death,
    When quietly the earth beneath
    Gave way, and inch by inch, so great
    At last had grown the crushing weight,
    Into the earth I sank till I
    Full six feet under ground did lie,
    And sank no more, – there is no weight
    Can follow here, however great.
    From off my breast I felt it roll,
    And as it went my tortured soul
    Burst forth and fled in such a gust
    That all about me swirled the dust.

    Deep in the earth I rested now.
    Cool is its hand upon the brow
    And soft its breast beneath the head
    Of one who is so gladly dead.
    And all at once, and over all
    the pitying rain began to fall;
    I lay and heard each pattering hoof
    Upon my lowly, thatched roof,
    And seemed to love the sound far more
    Than ever I had done before.
    For rain it hath a friendly sound
    To one who’s six feet under ground;
    And scarce the friendly voice or face,
    A grave is such a quiet place.

    The rain, I said, is kind to come
    And speak to me in my new home.
    I would I were alive again
    to kiss the fingers of the rain,
    To drink into my eyes the shine
    Of every slanting silver line,
    To catch the freshened, fragrant breeze
    From drenched and dripping apple-trees.
    For soon the shower will be done,
    and then the broad face of the sun
    Will laugh above the rain-soaked earth
    Until the world with answering mirth
    Shakes joyously, and each round drop
    Rolls, twinkling, from its grass-blade top.

    How can I bear it, buried here,
    While overhead the sky grows clear
    And blue again after the storm?
    O, multi-coloured, multi-form,
    Beloved beauty over me,
    That I shall never, never see
    Again! Spring-silver, autumn-gold,
    That I shall never more behold! –
    Sleeping your myriad magics through,
    Close-supulchred away from you!
    O God, I cried, give me new birth,
    And put me back upon the earth!
    Upset each cloud’s gigantic gourd
    And let the heavy rain, down-poured
    In one big torrent, set me free,
    Washing my grave away from me!

  116. Renascence (continued)

    I ceased; and through the breathless hush
    That answered me, the far-off rush
    Of herald wings came whispering
    Like music down the vibrant string
    Of my ascending prayer, and – crash!
    Before the wild wind’s whistling lash
    The startled storm-clouds reared on high
    And plunged in terror down the sky!
    And the big rain in one black wave
    Fell from the sky and struck my grave.

    I know not how such things can be;
    I only know there came to me
    A fragrance such as never clings
    To aught save happy living things;
    A sound as of some joyous elf
    Singing sweet songs to please himself,
    And, through and over everything,
    A sense of glad awakening.
    The grass a-tiptoe at my ear,
    Whispering to me I could hear;
    I felt the rain’s cool finger-tips
    Brushed tenderly across my lips,
    Laid gently on my sealed sight,
    and all at once the heavy night
    Fell from my eyes and I could see! –
    A drenched and dripping apple tree,

    A last long line of silver rain,
    a sky grown clear and blue again.
    And as I looked a quickening gust
    Of wind blew up to me and thrust
    Into my face a miracle
    Of orchard-breath, and with the smell, –
    I know not how such things can be! –
    I BREATHED MY SOUL BACK INTO ME.

    Ah! Up then from the ground sprang I
    and hailed the earth with such a cry
    As is not heard save from a man
    Who has been dead, and lives again.
    About the trees my arms I wound;
    Like one gone mad I hugged the ground;
    I raised my quivering arms on high;
    I laughed and laughed into the sky;
    Till at my throat a strangling sob
    Caught fiercely, and a great heart-throb
    Sent instant tears into my eyes:
    O God, I cried, no dark disguise
    Can e’er hereafter hide from me
    Thy radiant identity!

    Thou canst not move across the grass
    But my quick eyes will see Thee pass,
    Nor speak, however silently,
    but my hushed voice will answer Thee.
    I know the path that tells Thy way
    Through the cool eve of every day;
    God, I can push the grass apart
    And lay my finger on Thy heart!

    The world stands out on either side
    No wider than the heart is wide;
    Above the world is stretched the sky, –
    No higher than the soul is high.
    The heart can push the sea and land
    Farther away on either hand;
    The soul can split the sky in two,
    And let the face of God shine through.
    But East and West will pinch the heart
    that can not keep them pushed apart;
    And he whose soul is flat – the sky
    Will cave on him by and by.

    EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY

  117. NOW OFF TO BED GO I
    TO SLEEP,
    MAYHAP TO DREAM OF SKY

    THE BIRDS ARE CHIRPING OUT MY DOOR
    MY EYES I CLOSE
    AWAKE, NO MORE

  118. Haven, your poem is wonderful. I read it and flashes of each of your books came to my mind, my favorite parts, the mysterious parts, the parts I am reading again because I am just not sure I understood. Lovely. Thank you.

  119. Haven – Never fear, I am here. The in-laws are in from NY so time is limited. I briefly scanned some of the beautiful poems posted. Here is poem by Oscar Wilde that I’ve always liked.

    The Grave of Shelley

    Like burnt-out torches by a sick man’s bed
    Gaunt cypress-trees stand round the sun-bleached stone;
    Here doth the little night-owl make her throne,
    And the slight lizard show his jewelled head.
    And, where the chaliced poppies flame to red,
    In the still chamber of yon pyramid
    Surely some Old-World Sphinx lurks darkly hid,
    Grim warder of this pleasaunce of the dead.

    Ah! sweet indeed to rest within the womb
    Of Earth, great mother of eternal sleep,
    But sweeter far for thee a restless tomb
    In the blue cavern of an echoing deep,
    Or where the tall ships founder in the gloom
    Against the rocks of some wave-shattered steep.

  120. P.S. What a beautiful photo of you and little Augusten.

  121. this is what i get for being sick… missing the opening of the poetry post which i have been waiting so anxiously for!

    a few i am compelled to share. i leave The Knowns to others and offer up The Unknowns:

    from Claire Bateman’s book Clumsy

    Postmaster Letter #2

    Dear Postmaster:

    My mailbox is still full of bees,
    & I still have not gotten any letters
    since September 6, 1979.
    How do you think it feels
    to live with pests the size of pullets
    & a noise like stripped
    electric wires in high wind?
    Maybe pretty soon I’ll
    dig up the mailbox,
    load it into my pickup, & release
    the hive right here inside the P.O.
    It would be exactly like at revival
    when they cast out devils,
    except it would be the opposite.
    It’s true I don’t have a
    civil-service education like
    certain individuals,
    but I do know this:
    Once you’ve been chased
    by a fiery swooping could
    singing your name with
    a thousand voices,
    you never stop running,
    whether you’re running
    or not.

    How We Fall

    Nobody does a swan dive
    into Jesus.
    Instead, we fall
    bleeding or weeping;
    we fall clawing the air
    as if to climb it
    all the way back;
    we fall shrieking, unraveling,
    all angles & knobby joints,
    all stutter & sputter,
    our teeth rattling,
    our hair fanning out like flames;
    we fall foaming at the mouth
    with hypothesis & self-argument;
    we fall mutely,
    hoarding our breath
    as if breath withheld
    could possibly
    make a difference.
    And it’s as if the falling
    has a mind of its own,
    episodic, all fits & starts,
    overlapping time zones & air pockets,
    so that sometimes a faller seems to arrive
    just prior to departure,
    & other times a faller seems to be merely
    hovering in mid-air
    like Bugs Bunny,
    unaware that he’s left
    the edge of the cliff behind.
    Some of us even fall
    from the inside out
    or the outside in,
    the soul preceding the body
    or the body the soul,
    the trajectories describing
    all kinds of arcs & parabolas,
    disregarding every rule of descent,
    demolishing every point of etiquette.

  122. from the teacher who changed my life

    Barbed Wire, by Wane Cox

    They say that, when the maid of Carlyle’s
    Best friend undid the heavy manuscript
    Of The French Revolution page by page
    And tossed every last one into the flames
    To kindle the fire for dinner that night,
    He never mentioned, later, it had been
    His only copy. Instead, he walked home –
    His friend’s chagrined apology echoing,
    The bright stars shuddering in their distance –
    And wrote the whole volume over again.
    He knew the true value of words, I think,
    When weighed against friendship. And anyway,
    Perhaps it improved with a second draft.
    All of this, of course, is sheer conjecture.

    Whatever we do, when it comes, the past
    Comes back own its own terms. For example,
    When I cut into that tree that had stood
    Too close to the house, the one that always
    Let go a few more branches every spring,
    The chainsaw coughed and spit out a few soft sparks
    When it hit the barbed wire embedded
    Like a rusty vein in the heart of the wood.
    We spent a hard, gray winter with that tree,
    Undoing the wood ring by ring. The years
    Would drift up from the hearth into the night,
    The twists of barbed wire would fall, glowing,
    And we would talk until the logs shuddered
    Into embers and rewrote themselves in the air.

  123. And finally, the poet who changed my life.

    Conversation 23, On Cause, from Reluctant Gravities by Rosmarie Waldrop

    I step into my mother’s room, she says, and though a woman’s body is a calendar of births and injunctions to death, time disappears. Only dead enough could prove sound to silence or the anxiety I know by heart and lung. In my mother’s room. The tie between us anticipates any move to sever it. Terror and lack of perspective. The river runs clear without imparting its clarity, whether we step into it or not.

    Deep in the bones, he says. If a butterfly fluttering its wings in China can cause a storm in Rhode Island, how much more the residues of radiation, family resemblance and past rituals. The stove glows red. Thin apple trees line the road. You think you are taking a clean sheet of paper, and it’s already covered with signs, illegible, as by a child’s hand.

    The heart has its rhythm of exchange, she says, without surplus or deficit. Mine murmurs your name while conjugating precise explosions with valves onto the infinite. I take it down with me, in the body, to develop in a darkroom of my own. The way the current elongates our reflection in the river and seems to carry it off.

    A death without corruption is the promise of photography, he says. Focus and light meter translating a cut of flesh into a tense past laughing its red off. But the film’s too clear. Even if smudged with fingerprints. Even if the light falls into the arms of love.

    And just a couple of quotes from some of Waldrop’s other poems.

    Anxiety comes later with a disproportion of raincoats and knowing the groundlessness of our beliefs. I’ve lost my skin to immense, complex summers and the meaning of words to the uncertainty of fact.

    Even though we live on a decently slow-moving planet, I sometimes think the world might be edging away and out of reach.

  124. Paul (i.e. sine_30):

    I had a hard time reading between the lines of your post and therefore am going to respond in the way that I wish others (in my life) would treat me. I am assuming that you were truly seeking understanding and not intentionally hurting feelings.

    My feelings were hurt, regardless of your intent. In specific, regarding:
    Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

    Whose woods these are I think I know.
    His house is in the village though;
    He will not see me stopping here
    To watch his woods fill up with snow.
    My little horse must think it queer
    To stop without a farmhouse near
    Between the woods and frozen lake
    The darkest evening of the year.
    He gives his harness bells a shake
    To ask if there is some mistake.
    The only other sound’s the sweep
    Of easy wind and downy flake.
    The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.

    To me this is a metaphysical journey for the hard working man, and although he is urged forward with responsibilities and commitments (and elements), he takes the time to smell the “roses” and commune with nature – I believe the journey represents his life, a life well lived because he has the connection to his metaphysical (what in him that is more than physical) self. And the last line is the cherry on top, because although his journey is long and it is arduous, he still chose to rest and restore his soul. Which then gave him the strentgh to continue in adversity. By sleep, I think, it represents that spiritual castle in the air that we all strive for. That we have learned all our lessons and can take a mental/spiritual ease. And, on top of that, “sleep” has been such an issue and struggle in my life (for instance last night/this morning, in the last 36 hours I have slept 2.5 hours) . . . so any sleep reference is balm to my soul.

    Regarding freedom of speech. I, too, honour the constitution and the freedom of speech is very dear to me. However, when we (as humans) accept an invitation to enter someone else’s house(Haven’s blog), you are socially and ethically bound to do no harm. Either to the other guests or to the host/hostess (Haven, who is so amazing to even invite us into her world). If you are unhappy with the conversation and you find yourself more frustrated than invigorated/touched, you have the choice to exit.

    I hope you have felt welcomed here. If you don’t understand someone, as we have learned from Dorian’s situation, there are ways to ask gently to clarify meaning. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, in fact I disagree with lots of things, but I believe I share when I have something to offer, and sit back and try to figure out why something is meaningful to someone else. Most likely, given this group of generous souls, they are (I am) more than happy to explain.

    I hope this replay wasn’t too harsh. I don’t mean it to be. After the situation with Dorian, which has been a blessing in disguise, it just seemed rather bizarre to me to be having this type of conversation again.

  125. amanda – LOVE Conversation 23 – just WOW!

  126. Sher, are you there? Because you should know that I look forward to all of your posts, your blog that shows even more of your amazing talents, everything that you bring to this table. From someone who has to sit out on most of the brilliance being shared here, just taking it all in, this should be a forum of encouragement. Nobody should post and then walk away worrried that what they say could be misinterpreted, we are here to lift one another up. To think that we have to only bring our best selves here, only offer what will be deemed as super-intelligent, defeats the purpose, which for me is a safe place to learn, no judgements attached. I feel like a kindergartner most of the time, not quite smart enough to play with the big kids, but I take a leap of faith every time I post that you all will see past the non-perfect grammer or not so articulate verbage to what I am really trying to say. I hate to think anyone leaves here feeling misunderstood or sad, anything but lifted up by this group of amazing people Haven has brought together.
    I may be way off base, but I hope my message is clear. This is the most fun I have had in years and I want us all to just get along. We have a real chance here to do something great. Don’t make Haven put us in a time out!

  127. This is but one of Jane Kenyon’s poems that stays lodged in my heart:

    The Sick Wife

    The sick wife stayed in the car
    while he bought a few groceries.
    Not yet fifty,
    she had learned what it’s like
    not to be able to button a button.

    It was the middle of the day–
    and so only mothers with small children
    or retired couples
    stepped through the muddy parking lot.

    Dry cleaning swung and gleamed on hangers
    in the cars of the prosperous.
    How easily they moved–
    with such freedom,
    even the old and relatively infirm.

    The windows began to steam up.
    The cars on either side of her
    pulled away so briskly
    that it made her sick at heart.

    Btw, that Naomi Shihab Nye poem above brought tears to my eyes. I suppose that’s a good thing, right?

  128. I wasn’t trying to spoil anyone’s fun. Believe me, this is one of my favorite places to visit as well.

    Also since this seems to be a recurring situation, I felt like I was responding to this issue in general.

    If it becomes a place that we can’t feel free to be honest without being bashed( because you can confront someone and challenge/debate without cursing and accusations of lack of character). That is all I am saying. If I am the one dragging things down I’ll be the first to hit the road – I would never want to spoil anyone else’s enjoyment.

    I’m really confused and stirred up on this one, because especially in poetry, why can’t you just like and share what you like without that being attacked?

  129. Sher, you’re not going anywhere. Perhaps we are all meant to learn something here about acceptance and encouragement in a world where there is far too much judgement. My message above was meant to let you know someone is in your corner. In all of your corners. Now give me some more poetry like the good teachers you are!
    Love…

  130. Lately as we drive around Nashville I noticed my son making these shuddering sounds. Then a few seconds later he would make an ahhhh sound. Finally I looked at him and said, “what are you doing? Are you ok?” To which he said, “no, I am not ok….I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone with a brain in their head can support McCain.” (whom he calls Pouchy McGrouchy) He was shuddering as we drove by McCain yard signs and then sighing for the Obama ones. He went to one say (oh, and for the new comers, my son, Sam, is 15 and LOVES Haven).. “I just want to stop the car and go up to that house and ask them why they are voting for him. Give me one good reason.”

    I guess what I am saying is that sometimes we get so invested in a thing that means something to us, whether it is politics or art or anything really (but especially politics and those things creative) that anything anyone else says may be misunderstood. Does that make sense? I want to write more but now my son is telling me it is time for me to drive him up to Vanderbilt as he is going to the Vandy showdown against Auburn game. Ahhh, sports. Another thing to discuss with much enthusiasm (LOL)

  131. Here’s one of my favorites. I’ve always considered it sort of my theme song. By Denise Levertov.

    Movement

    Towards not being
    anyone else’s center
    of gravity.
    A wanting
    to love: not
    to lean over towards
    an other, and fall,
    but feel within one
    a flexible steel
    upright, parallel
    to the spine but
    longer, from which to stretch;
    one’s own
    grave springboard; the outflying spirit’s
    vertical trampoline.

  132. This one is actually a song, but I use it to channel my inner child…back to the time when I dreamed big dreams, and had no doubts I knew exactly who I was.

    It’s from the Broadway musical, The Secret Garden, based on the much-beloved children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

    The Girl I Mean to Be

    I need a place where I can go,
    Where I can whisper what I know,
    Where I can whisper who I like
    And where I go to see them.

    I need a place where I can hide,
    Where no one sees my life inside,
    Where I can make my plans, and write them down
    So I can read them.

    A place where I can bid my heart be still
    And it will mind me.
    A place where I can go when I am lost,
    And there I’ll find me.

    I need a place to spend the day,
    Where no one says to go or stay,
    Where I can take my pen and draw
    The girl I mean to be.

    (lyrics by Marsha Norman, music by Lucy Simon)

    Come to think of it, this blog could be the place WE need!!!

  133. Sine_30 — my mail isn’t working (why? why?) so I don’t mind addressing this here. For those of you who don’t know what happened last week, I had a grand mal seizure while sitting at my desk in the middle of the day. John was home, and he caught me and lowered me to the floor. It lasted about five minutes, which caused so much muscle pain I couldn’t walk without help for two days. After I got out of the hospital, I went to bed, was sound asleep, and must have had another seizure, because I . . . I don’t know what I did. I threw myself out of bed (my bed is very tall), hitting the base of my neck/spine on the corner of my nightstand, then landing on my shoulder. I sprained three fingers on my right hand, hit the back of my head on the hardwood floor so hard I woke everyone in the house, and can’t touch my clavicle. By which I mean ow. So mostly I’m in pain of the general variety. I’d already had an MRI (no brain tumor), and now I’ve had a CT scan (no aneurysm) and an EEG (no seizure activity in the frontal or temporal lobes). I go back to the neurosciences lab sometime in the next couple of weeks for further tests, but unless there are lesions on my hippocampus, I’m probably just heaving myself around for no reason. Yes, this will give Melinda a chance to call me ‘idiopathic.’

    I really believe I’m fine. I’m already walking much easier, and just intuitively I don’t think there’s anything major going on. But I greatly appreciate your concern, and I didn’t at all mean to be obtuse — just light-hearted.

    xo

  134. I adore these poems, by the way. Sher, I had the Collected Edna St. Vincent Millay out the night before I left to come to New Orleans. Love her, love her.

  135. Now — in order to lighten the mood even more, to — as Bob Jarvis loved to say — bring about some jocularity, I present you with a gift Bryan and Jeff gave me last night: a collection of Gay Haiku, by Joel Derfner. Here are a few of my favorites.

    ~~~~~

    My seventh birthday;
    I weep at Barbie’s Dream House.
    How can you not know?

    ~~~~~

    Did you just say you
    Think Mansfield Park is boring?
    Get out of my house.

    ~~~~~~

    See the eight-year-old
    Knitting mittens on the bus.
    Does his mother know?

    ~~~~~~~

    You are judgmental,
    Withholding, and cold. Jesus —
    I’m dating my mom.

    ~~~~~~~

    We all mistakes.
    For instance, I mistook you
    For a vertebrate.

    ~~~~~~~

    I don’t understand.
    You love it when I do that —
    Wait, no. That’s Stephen.

  136. I just spent like 200 hours trying to find a particular James Merrill poem and couldn’t, so I’m sending another of my own. Sorry.

    ~~~~~

    Scarecrow

    for my mother

    She was in the backyard hanging
    sheets on the line, white with faded yellow
    roses, when she was overcome with a vision –
    I call it a vision but she moved from her time,
    her earth, her wrung-thin sheets, into another
    place. She believed she was a peasant, toothless,
    waiting to storm Versailles. The transport
    lasted only a moment but was dense with sense
    memory, and then she was back in Mooreland,
    Indiana, barefoot in our backyard. The sheets
    snapped, parted, the strawman in my father’s
    garden was watching her. She was losing
    her teeth already, everything dried quickly
    in the Midwestern sun, and then she went inside
    and got ready for church. We all dressed
    like peasants and walked to the Quaker Meeting
    House, and I was very young but hated
    the sheets on the line; I thought leaving
    them there a confession, a weakness. Christ
    was pallid to me, less potent than my own
    father but mother adored Him because she had
    no choice. As Quakers we loved the living
    Man but everywhere else he hung, he was bare
    except for rags, a revolution inverse. My father
    did not attend any Meeting for Worship, and as we
    walked home that day we reached the edge
    of our estate and Mother let go my hand
    as my father rose from where he had been
    gardening, and his white shirt, unbuttoned,
    billowed out around him, and his dark skin
    shadowed the plants that did his bidding.
    The scarecrow hung, his felt hat another
    source of shame to me, the sheets were dry
    but the fact of them, it seemed at the time,
    would never be taken down. Dad’s shirt
    silk-sailed out, he lit a cigarette in the garden,
    my mother would not leave her life
    again. She studied her husband, whispered
    to me, His mind is a royal art; but child,
    If he only had a heart.

  137. I love it. Speaking of gay poetry, Iam off to a Neil Diamond concert with my mother, perhaps I will come home with something deep to say. Haven, did you get my thank you ,in the midst of all this poetry, for returning Jacks message?
    Feeling Jocular now. Good evening to all.

  138. Haven – I appreciate your posting about what happened because I really had no idea. Had kind of guessed seizure, but didn’t have a clue about the extent. Golly. I am breathing prayers these days and they now include you.
    That baby Augusten is one of the most gorgeous little babies I have ever seen. I keep going back to look at that picture because I am a BABY FREAK in spite of having had 5 of them in 6 years. My children are intoxicating to me now as well, but I didn’t get to hold them all the time, and so your comment gave me a pang. It is one of my regrets as a mom, though the gift of each other which they now enjoy ranging in age from 15 to 21 helps to compensate.
    The gay haiku gave me all the laughs I needed today. I am cutting and pasting that sucker onto my desktop. Along with the Mary Oliver that George posted because I am going somewhere and it is sometimes hard.

    Sher – Perhaps you should trade brains with me and then you could read all of these posts with pretty much the same response, “Yeah I know, me too……wait, what was he talking about?” No, I say to self-censorship. I loved your post and your poems.

    AnnewithanE – I just have to ask if that handle is a reference to Anne Shirley?

  139. having observed several seizures while working at an orphanage in Romania, I can only say that I feel for John… it is a scary, scary thing and I hope you and he never have to experience such a thing EVER again.

  140. Kate–I haven’t thought of Anne Shirley in years! My mom gave me Anne of Green Gables for my 11th birthday, exactly Anne Shirley’s age (I think), and I have adored her ever since! So maybe I was channeling her without knowing.

    Haven–what an incredibly scary thing–I so admire you for your ability to put us all at ease–and even make us laugh!–while you’re going through something so harrowing.

  141. Like your postings! Always lots of new stuff.

  142. My God, there is such a feast of great reading in this thread.

    What a bunch of hearts you are.

    We get the poetry we need, and right when we need it.

    It will surprise us if it comes in the form of a dirty limerick,

    It will make us noble if comes as a sonnet

    We’ll end up enlightened if it’s haiku, short, too.

    Quadtrains and couplets, rhyme and meter, cadence and iambic.

    There for us, right when we need it.

    ——-
    Had a great day today, worked on my bicycle and then rode it along the Atlantic here in Corolla, NC.

    I felt like I lived a poem today.

    ——–

    Haven: ‘scuse me, I didn’t tell you how much I loved the picture of you and the sweet baby boy. That was a poem. Thank you for you poems, too. Enjoy your beignets.

  143. Haven – Take care. Having stuff going wrong with your noggin is truly frightening, I have true experiential empathy. Hope you found the MRI not too confronting.

    George- I think we need a little more absurdism to really round out this thread:

    Sad Wrap and foils,glittering spoils
    Guinea fowls,triangle beams
    luscious drenching olive oils.
    In the room , the cardigans chew
    the clocks are concocting
    a get silly brew
    the floor ocean wide
    the sky ceiling blue
    the books have revolted !
    and eaten the shelves
    bigger, harder, they’ve bolted !
    last seen eating themselves
    the bicycle sat, the trike learnt how to kneel
    the cook ablaze with the square car
    taught his lizard how to heel
    have you ever turned
    a square wheel?

  144. Wow. I love this blog and I love you, Haven. I am so glad you are doing better after such a scary experience.

    I just read Supernatural Love again and it is perfect. I so wish we had a dictionary stand in our home when I was growing up, but we did not. Words were not valued as much as work so mostly we were sent outside for activity. Sitting still was not valued. That poem brought a tear to my eye.

    Then, your New Orleans poem, Haven. That touched me. I know this is not poetry, but several others have posted song lyrics before so I hope you all will like this song written by song of my Texas boys – Willy Braun of Reckless Kelly. Co-written with Texas singer songwriter living legend, Robert Earl Keen, whom I shall see perform at the Ryman auditorium next month and I am beside myself with anticipation. I love live music so much.

    God Forsaken Town
    by Willy Braun and Robert Earl Keen

    They say we gotta leave but there’s no way to go.
    This ain’t the first time we’ve weathered out a storm.
    And I ain’t got nothing but at least I know it’s mine,
    And I’ll be goddamned if I’m leavin here before the day I die.

    CHORUS:
    So let the rain sting my neck.
    Let the mighty Mississippi take this God-forsaken town.
    Let the storm and all its fury come and carry me away,
    Take me to that place somewhere on higher ground.

    Voices on the radio are crackin off and on.
    The Quarter’s under water and the levee’s all but gone.
    There are children in the treetops and soldiers in the sky.
    It’s too late now to run I’d never make it out alive.

    CHORUS
    So let the rain sting my neck.
    Let the mighty Mississippi take this God-forsaken town.
    Let the storm and all its fury come and carry me away,
    Take me to that place somewhere on higher ground.

    Everyone sit tight, help is on the way
    But I don’t think Junior’s gonna last another day.
    We’ve got a sawed-off and red hot .44,
    So all you looters best come heavy when you’re knockin on my door.

    CHORUS
    So let the rain sting my neck.
    Let the mighty Mississippi take this God-forsaken town.
    Let the storm and all its fury come and carry me away,
    Take me to that place somewhere on higher ground.

    We all know this Crescent City just won’t be the same again.
    But I will still be standing when the saints go marchin in.

    X’s on the windows say there’s no one left inside.
    If you count the painted numbers you’ll know just how many died.
    I’m one in half a million so at least I’m not alone.
    The hurricane is over but the storm keeps ragin on.

    So let the rain sting my neck.
    Let the mighty Mississippi take this God-forsaken town.
    Let the storm and all its fury come and carry me away,
    Take me to that place somewhere on higher ground.
    Take me to that place somewhere on higher ground.

  145. Gay haiku, I love it. Thanks for the giggle Haven.

    Sandra, your story of a poem had me completely undone. I grew up with my Father reciting Dylan Thomas’ poetry, (he has a deep resonating voice), and I can’t help but think it a blessing to have those words deliver themselves to you at just the right time. So powerful.

    George Stuteville, what can I say, you are a marvellous creature. I look forward to your devilishly clever and funny posts. Thank you too for the giggle.

    To everyone else, it’s been a delight to discover (as usual) a mountain of works to read that I’ve not touched on before. This place is THE SMARTS 101! Oh yeah, I must add that I agree that song lyrics can be poetry. I was listening to Steeley Dan the other day and I thought just that. Fiona Apple can be poetic too I reckon.
    Anyway, here are a few more aussie ditties, some not quite as, hmm hmm, high brow as the last two I posted but lovely nonetheless. They are done by a brilliant writer called Kenneth Slessor. (For a beautiful, and his most famous poem, read/google “Five Bells”. I don’t have a copy of it to type from here, but I highly reccommend it folks.)

    William Street

    The red globes of light, the liquor-green,
    The pulsing arrows and the running fire
    Spilt on the stones, go deeper than a stream;
    You find this ugly, I find it lovely.

    Ghosts’ trousers, like the dangle of hung men,
    In pawn-shop windows, bumping knee by knee,
    But none inside to suffer or condemn;
    You find this ugly, I find it lovely.

    Smells rich and rasping, smoke and fat and fish
    And puffs of paraffin that crimp the nose,
    Or grease that blesses onions with a hiss;
    You find it ugly, I find it lovely.

    The dips and molls, with flip and shiny gaze
    (Death at their elbows, hunger at their heels)
    Ranging the pavements of their pasturage;
    You find it ugly, I find it lovely.

    Nocturne

    (The Daily telegraph Pictorial and the Sun have been printing vile slurs on our Australian girlhood – allowing them to be called, without exception, ‘clandestine prostitutes’.)

    Darkness; a cloud of lace;
    Shines in the quiet air
    Barbara’s pale and lovely face
    In a rain of yellow hair.
    Moonlight smoking below…
    Barbara lazily blinks-
    Barbara, evening papers know,
    Is a shameless minx.

    Smear her! Slime her!
    Cover her with scum!
    Shrilly from the toadstools
    the little voices hum.

    Night like a golden dust
    Trembles upon the trees;
    Caught in a strayed September gust,
    Marjory hugs her knees.
    Silence across the bay…
    Only the cry of a gull…
    Marjory, evening papers say,
    Is a brazen trull.

    Daub her! Foul her!
    Dirty her with mud!
    Shrilly from the quagmire
    the little voices flood.

    Under a sleeping tree,
    Water and stars and night,
    Dorothy looks at the running sea;
    Eyes that are crystal bright;
    Fingers that fairies kiss,
    Powder and puff and dab-
    Dorothy, evening papers hiss,
    Is a heartless drab.

    Smirch her! Soil her!
    Drag her in the gutter
    Shrilly from the midden
    the little voices mutter.

    (please note that every second verse should be in italics and read accordingly but I can’t work out how to achieve this i’m afraid.)

    a couple of nameless jingles from slessor’s notebook…

    Where the stars are lit by Neon,
    Where the fried potato fumes,
    And the ghost of Mr Villon
    Still inhabits single rooms,
    And the girls lean out from heaven
    Over lightwells, thumping mops,
    While the gent in 57
    Cooks his pound of mutton chops

    and also….

    Where the Black Marias clatter
    And peculiar ladies nod,
    And the flats are rather flatter
    And the lodgers rather odd,
    Where the night is full of dangers
    And the darkness full of fear,
    And eleven hundred strangers
    Live on aspirin and beer.

  146. While we’re tipping our hats to the songwriters that can create poetic songtrack for our lives…let’s remember Bob Dylan. That man is a gift…

    Sher-Please stay, you have so much to say that adds to the collective knowledge. I reread sine_30’s post…I truly think it was a word fumble and not a deliberate slight. But I’m so sorry you felt slighted.

    Linda-Ok…Texas boys…I’m thinking “I got on my horse and moseyed through the sagebrush”…I checked Reckless Kelly on itunes and downloaded Bulltetproof…thank you!

    Haven-Don’t you hate it when our bodies betray us? The “Carpe Haven” title and the picture of you in the helmet told enough of the story. When confronted with things that are godawful frightening, making light of them does make them more manageable…but here’s the thing…the first thing I thought of when you posted the details…HOW (do you like my Owen Meany homage?)
    did you manage to type so prolifically with three sprained fingers, and then I wondered WHY…please take care of yourself. Unless this blog adds joy and energy to you during this time, just don’t do it. We’ll still be here waiting for you.

  147. hey Linda, I’m glad to hear that you like us Aussies, i’m chuffed. Isn’t that Schnackenberg poem unreal, my god I just love it too. i’ve gotta run but quickly I’d like to say good on you for giving up drinking honey! I too have fought, well, continue to fight with addiction issues. It’s a hard race to run but isn’t it worth winning!! i’m so glad that you are on the other side of that dreadful thing mate. Really.

  148. Caryl – you are an angel.

    Haven – I think I had a Christlike temper tantrum. I think he was a temper guru, re the temple and others. What a stubborn mule he was . . . And I guess I am, too. Does that make me a Christian? When I isolate his words from everything else, I hardly recognize him in most religtions, but am greatly impressed with everything I have ever heard about the Friends/Quakers. I have attended my most favorite “services” or “quiet times” at Hume, IL at the Friends’ church. Love it, simplicity and love.

    Paul & All – I am ashamed of myself. I’m just so confused about whether you (meaning me) should stand up for yourself (myself) when you (I) feel attacked (applies to many life situations, but barely this blog, where I decided to react), even if you (I) are(am) completely wrong?

    So in case you all thought I was smart, just realize I am completely knocked off my pedestal now, ok? I am much more comfortable on the ground near my Mother Earth, by the way. I get nervous with groupies, which is one reason I wanted to be one of Haven’s!!!

    Linda – my son is just as enraged by McCainites!!! He is 16. He is on the Junior Legislature and is learning to channel his feelings of injustice somewhere it might really count. I wish he could vote. He seems more informed than almost anyone I know. He can drive and could go off to war in less than 2 years, but he can’t vote in the election that will effect his life and his country’s future at a time when his life course will be set in motion.

    Millay has a two line poem about pooping in a church lady’s hat, I’m going to see if I can find it . . .

    I loved the poop thread. Poop is so universe, you do it, I do it, animals do it, the President does it . . .

  149. Oh gosh…

    I’ve lurked for weeks and loved it all like your books, Haven, but it was the poetry that drew forth the need to comment. Poetry being like that, of course.

    Supernatural Love was an amazing thing. Simply _amazing_. I’ll be going back to that well for sure. Moving from those words through so many other fine poems and stories and slices of humanity has been a beautiful trip indeed. But it was “humanity” that reminded me of someone mentioned but not yet cited: good ol’ ee cummings. I always thought of him (rightly or wrongly; I too struggle with poetry) as so very people-oriented and this one has been a favorite of mine for more than two decades now:

    since feeling is first
    who pays any attention
    to the syntax of things
    will never wholly kiss you;

    wholly to be a fool
    while Spring is in the world

    my blood approves,
    and kisses are a better fate
    than wisdom
    lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
    – the best gesture of my brain is less than
    your eyelids’ flutter which says

    we are for each other; then
    laugh, leaning back in my arms
    for life’s not a paragraph

    And death i think is no parenthesis

    e. e. cummings

    Those last two lines grabbed me the first time I read the thing and haven’t let go yet. Then of course there’s the one that was on my dorm room wall to provide proper grounding:

    mr youse needn’t be so spry
    concernin questions arty

    each has his tastes but as for i
    i likes a certain party

    gimme the he-man’s solid bliss
    for youse ideas i’ll match youse

    a pretty girl who naked is
    is worth a million statues

    ee cummings

    Thanks,

    Sam
    [who also grew up on State Road 36 but t’other side of Mount Summit]

  150. Anne with an E – 16 and 1/2 years ago I saw that broadway play, THE SECRET GARDEN in NYC – it was one of the most magical experiences (not quite Stendhal Level), but very close. I can remember that entire day in exquisite detail . . . pregnant, what I wore, who I was with . . . that guy who played Dicken, and sang – Wick??? Transcendental. I have the CD and listen to it through and through a few times a year.

  151. I wish to God I might have shat
    On Mrs. Grundy’s Easter hat.

    ESVM

  152. I think you all are a bunch of insomniacs and you’re turning me into one, too.

    Fossil, you want some absurdity? Ok, it’s on the menu, let me just whip some up:

    A Gathering of Poets and Writers

    “You don’t need them,” said ee, “they’re an affectation of the typo.

    “But Owen SHOUTED,” Irving replied, “And some thought he was psycho.”

    “Take away my dashes — said Emily — or I’ll have Emerson kick all your ashes.”

    “Seems to me,” said Mary Oliver, “that wild geese in flight are the perfect simile.”

    “Yes, but for stinky poetic dross,” said Coleridge, “What you really need is an albatross.”

    “Just gimme my gothic,” said Poe, “Or I shan’t write evermo.”

    “I’d happily swap my cherished nihlism,” smiled Plath, “for just a simple syllogism.”

    “That’s easy for you say,” said Frost, “When what my horse really needs is hay.”

    “Your little horse is simply queer,” said Walt Whitman, “to stop without some didactics near.”

    ———————–

    …my caffeine levels are starting to sag…

    Today is Sunday, folks, let’s bless each other!

    Good night

  153. Haven Kimmel, I’m so glad you enjoyed Gay Haiku! I’d love to send you a copy of my new book of memoir/essays/something-or-other, Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever. Would you mind sending me a mailing address at joel@joelderfner.com?

  154. P.S.: Your blog font is my favorite of any blog ever, and I’ve been reading blogs (and writing my own) for six years.

  155. Sandra: that couldn’t have been easy, but I am so grateful you brought Dylan to this little haven. I love his Child’s Christmas in Wales and happily go to it each December. Your father’s rage against the night made me think of my uncle’s death in April. I thought Walt was mostly annoyed by his death. On his last day, we watched movies, held hands, called his loved ones on the phone, talked about his golf game. It was like an intrusion in a busy “being” who had so many other things to attend to. It was like he was saying, Gimme a hand with this, Big-un (his name for me), because I have another appointment right after this.

    Supernatural Love…how many levels do I have take on to extract everything that baby is offering…

    the strawman…how many times have I seen wind poof a shirt. there is something about laundry on the line that…I don’t know…is evocative enough of a thought?

  156. TO stephsulzbach!

    Your Laughter by Neruda was recited at my wedding. still makes me cry/elate.
    here are some of my all-time, drop dead poems:
    to the Dylan Thomas gems, i add this:

    Though they go mad they shall be sane
    Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again
    Though lovers be lost love shall not
    And death shall have no dominion.

    Dylan Thomas, from the poem And death shall have no dominion

    What To Think Of

    Think of the jungle,
    The green stream rising.

    It is yours.
    You are the prince of Paraguay.

    Your minions kneel
    Deep in the shade of giant leaves

    While you drive by
    Benevolent as gold.

    They kiss the air
    That moments before

    Swept over your skin,
    And rise only after you’ve passed.

    Think of yourself, almost a god,
    Your hair on fire,

    The bellows of your heart pumping.
    Think of the bats

    Rushing out of their caves
    Like a dark wind to greet you;

    Of the vast nocturnal cities
    Of lightning bugs

    Floating down
    From Minas Gerais;

    Of the coral snakes;
    Of the crimson birds

    With emerald beaks;
    Of the tons and tons of morpho butterflies

    Filling the air
    Like the cold confetti of paradise.

    —mark strand

    Letter

    Men are running across a field,
    pens fall from their pockets.
    People out walking will pick them up.
    It is one of the ways letters are written.

    How things fall to others!
    The self no longer belonging to me, but asleep
    in a stranger’s shadow, now clothing
    the stranger, now leading him off.

    It is noon as I write to you.
    Someone’s life has come into my hands.
    The sun whitens the buildings.
    It is all I have. I give it all to you. Yours,

    —-mark strand

    Nostalgia

    The professors of English have taken their gowns
    to the laundry, have taken themselves to the fields.
    Dreams of motion circle the Persian rug in a room you were in.
    On the beach the sadness of gramophones
    deepens the ocean’s folding and falling.
    It is yesterday. It is still yesterday.

    — Mark Strand

    THE GOD OF COMFORT

    I have been through the valley of
    weeping,
    The valley of sorrow and pain;
    But the God of all comfort was with me,
    At hand to uphold and sustain.

    As the earth needs the clouds and the
    sunshine
    Our souls need both sorry and joy,
    So He places us oft in the furnace,
    The dross from the gold to destroy.

    When He leads through some valley of
    trouble
    His omnipotent hand we can trace;
    For the trials and the sorrows He sends us
    Are part of His lessons of grace.

    Oft we shrink from the purging and
    pruning,
    Forgetting the husbandman knows
    That the deeper the cutting and paring
    The richer the cluster that grows.

    Well He knows that affliction is needed
    He has a wise purpose in view;
    And in the dark valley He whispers,
    “Hereafter thou shalt know what I do.”

    As we travel through life’s shadowed
    valley,
    Fresh springs of His love ever rise,
    And we learn that our sorrow and losses
    Are blessings just sent in disguise.

    So we’ll follow wherever He leads us,
    Let the path be dreary or bright,
    For we’ve proved that our God can give
    comfort,
    Our God can give songs in the night.

    Maxine Stevens

    Oceans

    I have the feeling that my boat has struck, down there in the depths, against a great thing. And nothing happens! Nothing…Silence…Waves…

    Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
    and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?

    — Juan Ramon Jimenez

    (from Fatal Interview
    Edna St. Vincent Millay)

    XL

    You loved me not at all, but let it go;
    I loved you more than life, but let it be.
    As the more injured party, this being so,
    The hour’s amenities are all to me–
    The choice of weapons; and I gravely choose
    To let the weapons tarnish where they lie,
    And spend the night in eloquent abuse
    Of senators and popes and such small fry
    And meet the morning standing, and at odds
    With heaven and earth and hell and any fool
    That calls his soul his own, and all the gods,
    And all the children getting dressed for school…
    And you will leave me, and I shall entomb
    What’s cold by then in an adjoining room.

    XLVI

    Even in the moment of our earliest kiss,
    When sighed the straitened bud into the flower,
    Sat the dry seed of most unwelcome this;
    And that I knew, though not the day and hour.
    Too season-wise am I, being country-bred,
    To tilt at autumn or defy the frost:
    Snuffing the chill even as my fathers did,
    I say with them, “What’s out tonight is lost.”
    I only hoped, with the mild hope of all
    Who watch the leaf take shape upon the tree,
    A fairer summer and a later fall
    Than in these parts a man is apt to see,
    And sunny clusters ripened for the wine:
    I tell you this across the blackened vine.

    edna st. vincent millay

    The Jewel

    There is this cave
    In the air behind my body
    that nobody is going to touch:
    A cloister, a silence
    Closing around a blossom of fire.
    When I stand upright in the wind,
    My bones turn to dark emeralds.

    –James Wright

    Four more by Don Pablo Neruda

    The She Bird

    With my little terrestrial bird,
    My rustic earthen jug,
    I break out singing
    The guitar’s rain:
    Alleged autumn arrives
    Like a load of firewood,
    Decanting the aroma
    That flew through the mountains,
    And grape by grape my kisses
    Were joined to her bunch.

    This proves that the afternoon
    Accumulated sweetness
    Like the amber process
    Or the order of violets.

    Come flying, passenger,
    Let’s fly with the coals,
    Live or cold,
    With the disorderly darkness
    Of the obscure and the ardent.

    Let’s enter the ash,
    Let’s move with the smoke,
    Let’s live by the fire.

    In mid autumn
    We’ll set the table
    Over the grassy hillside,
    Flying over Chillan
    With your guitar in your wings.

    Neruda

    This beauty is soft…

    This beauty is soft — as if music and wood,
    agate, cloth, wheat, peaches the light shines through
    had made an ephemeral statue.
    And now she sends her freshness out, against the waves.

    The sea dabbles at those tanned feet, repeating
    their shape, just imprinted in the sand.
    And now she is the womanly fire of a rose,
    the only bubble the sun and the sea contend against.

    Oh, may nothing touch you but the chilly salt!
    May not even love disturb that unbroken springtime!
    Beautiful woman, echo of the endless foam,

    may your statuesque hips in the water make
    a new measure — a swan, a lily –, as you float
    your form through that eternal crystal.

    I crave your mouth…

    I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
    Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
    Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
    I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

    I hunger for your sleek laugh,
    your hands the color of a savage harvest,
    hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
    I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

    I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
    the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
    I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

    and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
    hunting for you, for your hot heart,
    Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

    Neruda

    Brown and Agile Child

    Brown and agile child, the sun which forms the fruit
    And ripens the grain and twists the seaweed
    Has made your happy body and your luminous eyes
    And given your mouth the smile of water.

    A black and anguished sun is entangled in the twigs
    Of your black mane when you hold out your arms.
    You play in the sun as in a tidal river
    And it leaves two dark pools in your eyes.

    Brown and agile child, nothing draws me to you,
    Everything pulls away from me in the noon,
    You are the delirious youth of a bee,
    The drunkenness of the wave, the power of the wheat.

    My somber heart seeks you always,
    I love your happy body, your rich, soft voice.
    Dusky butterfly, sweet and sure
    Like the wheatfield, the sun, the poppy, and the water.

    Pablo Neruda
    Translated BY KENNETH REXROTH

    Love

    Love means to look at yourself
    The way one looks at distant things
    For you are only one thing among many.
    And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
    Without knowing it, from various ills–
    A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.

    Then he wants to use himself and things
    So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
    It doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves:
    Who serves best doesn’t always understand.

    Czeslaw Milosz

    In Celebration

    You sit in a chair, touched by nothing, feeling
    the old self become the older self, imagining
    only the patience of water, the boredom of stone.
    You think that silence is the extra page,
    You think that nothing is good or bad, not even
    the darkness that fills the house while you sit watching
    it happen. You’ve seen it happen before. Your friends
    move past the window, their faces soiled with regret.
    You want to wave but cannot raise your hand.
    You sit in a chair. You turn to the nightshade spreading
    a poisonous net around the house. You taste
    the honey of absence. It is the same wherever
    you are, the same if the voice rots before
    the body, or the body rots before the voice.
    You know that desire leads only to sorrow, that sorrow
    leads to achievement which leads to emptiness.
    You know that this is different, that this
    is the celebration, the only celebration,
    that by giving yourself over to nothing,
    you shall be healed. You know there is joy in feeling
    your lungs prepare themselves for an ashen future,
    so you wait, you stare and you wait, and the dust settles
    and the miraculous hours of childhood wander in darkness.

    Mark Strand

    THE SECRET

    Two girls discover
    the secret of life
    in a sudden line of poetry

    I who don’t know the secret
    wrote the line. They
    told me.

    (through a third person)
    they had found it
    but not what it was
    not even

    what line it was. No doubt
    by now, more than a week
    later, they have forgotten the secret

    the line, the name of
    the poem. I love them
    for finding what I can’t find

    and for loving me
    for the line I wrote,
    and for forgetting it
    so that

    a thousand times till death
    finds them, they may
    discover it again, in other
    lines

    in other happenings and for
    wanting to know it
    for

    assuming there is
    such a secret, yes,
    for that most of all

    — Denise Levertov

    The Layers

    I have walked through many lives,
    some of them my own,
    and I am not who I was,
    though some principle of being
    abides, from which I struggle
    not to stray.
    When I look behind,
    as I am compelled to look
    before I can gather strength
    to proceed on my journey,
    I see the milestones dwindling
    toward the horizon
    and the slow fires trailing
    from the abandoned camp-sites,
    over which scavenger angels
    wheel on heavy wings.
    Oh, I have made myself a tribe
    out of my true affections,
    and my tribe is scattered!
    How shall the heart be reconciled
    to its feast of losses?
    In a rising wind
    the manic dust of my friends,
    those who fell along the way,
    bitterly stings my face.
    Yet I turn, I turn,
    exulting somewhat,
    with my will intact to go
    wherever I need to go,
    and every stone on the road
    precious to me.
    In my darkest night,
    when the moon was covered
    and I roamed through wreckage,
    a nimbus-clouded voice
    directed me:
    “Live in the layers,
    not on the litter.”
    Though I lack the art
    to decipher it,
    no doubt the next chapter
    in my book of transformations
    is already written.
    I am not done with my changes.

    Stanley Kunitz

    and 3 old poems by me. oh i’m a lousy poet, but i can’t resist showing off my three “special needs” children. forgive me.

    Bears

    I wanted to write
    something fine about men, about
    how love bursts like pumpkins
    in the fall. Then

    I heard about the bears in Alaska
    and how to keep them away, and that
    seemed more relevant. You sing
    or wear bells as you walk; if they

    know you’re coming they steer clear,
    being the prudent fellows they are
    (cowards, really). Whistling
    may be misconstrued during

    mating season. Don’t wear perfume,
    they find it attractive. Don’t smell
    of nice food, they like this, too. If you do
    meet up with one, upon your peril

    don’t run. Bears are funny, and running
    will trigger a chase. Although
    they seem slow, they can do
    forty in a pinch. There is no escape

    that way. You are advised to
    drop to the ground, without ceremony,
    without sound. Drop
    to the ground and play dead. Shown

    total submission, they will lose interest.
    And when he has gone, get up
    if you can. Wear the bells, forget the perfume,
    sing.

    –Suzanne Finnamore

    Penniman Street in Oakland
    ————————————–

    Things are smaller and shabbier
    when you go back. The same cars
    are magically in front of the same houses;
    the child mind knows the white

    Ranchero belongs there and the red Le Sabre,
    there. Here’s the trail that led to the forbidden
    creek (daily I climbed the steep rock faces)
    which ran behind the Tavares house,

    whose station wagon lies like a fat dirty gator
    in the driveway. Their house alone is unchanged,
    it was always awful and now sets the pace.
    And I see that Mark Gould was poor and I

    never knew it; his yellow house
    is a cracker box. I had thought it opulent.
    I feel suddenly glad, for he gave me a black eye
    during a street game of touch football,

    for grabbing his shirt, for playing ‘like a girl.’
    I remember him swinging his elbow around
    to clip my face, his fat curdled mouth,
    angry to be caught and especially by me,

    And Bob and Eddie and Tom Krause were there
    and Mark had the ball. I caught him and he
    pivoted into my eye. As red burst in my head,
    my first thought was shame,

    it is shameful to be hit; yet I was
    playing like a girl, after all.
    I said it didn’t hurt, I played the game
    through, even then I felt this

    was the thing to do. My mother never knew,
    books a mask. She would’ve been mad at Mark
    and it wasn’t his fault. I was playing like a girl,
    that was the thing. On the other hand,

    he had got me. and now, surveying his small
    peeling box, the tiny dry lawn, the bars
    on the windows and the trashcans
    pancaked next to it; now, I had got him back.

    –Suzanne Finnamore

    the wave

    the first love, the one
    you die of; its loss is a wave
    smashing down, fairly breaking
    your nubile neck. and the cruel buoyancy of the sea,
    keeping one alive despite the grotesque twenty two
    year old heart wanting to end it all, all
    the unknowably sweet scenes

    your face like a poor man’s Brando
    holding all the grand fuck-me tragedies of time,
    leaping at me like a tiger, beautiful as a tiger. the face
    of your twin brother Ted, the voice of Levine
    in class where we emptied our
    souls onto the desks, trusting, trusting.

    I was sure you never loved me;
    like a famous spokesperson I knew
    you were getting paid to say that. massive red
    camellias in the morning, when love
    had a chance. so kind, escorting me through your
    garden. the sun came up hard, the day passed

    the moment passed. you were wed as I
    sat reading Capote alone, liking it. ‘In Cold Blood’;
    there is something so detailed about murder,
    so difficult to pull off. it is like new love
    dangerous and selfish, determined
    to do whatever necessary.

    now I am sure you loved me
    in some small way, a cousin
    from out of state. the awful intensity of being
    a poet and 22 and a woman
    caught me; I saw you that November and was caught.
    small breath clouds spilled from your mouth like arias.

    we were both ineffably young, this in itself
    now holds grace, some gem of distinction. a slim part
    of me dies when I realize I will not be at Sather Gate again wearing
    inexpensive clothes; this is now left to other women
    to write what makes men gasp and want more,
    to sit on the floor, bent to appear thin, scythe-like.

    In youth cowardice reined like a reckless queen;
    I hoarded the senseless love of you,
    the depth. I kept it to myself, like
    vehicular manslaughter. it is good to lose, it teaches me
    what is rare and prone to extinction.
    remember me in my brave little anthology words, recall how

    I looked in a black dress on Castle Drive, wild yet nonchalant
    as life grabbed me by the skull and shook. in ways too
    insignificant to number, you were my first love, the one
    I wrote for and died a thousand possum deaths for, and
    came back each time changed, remade smooth
    by the lovely and murderous sea.

    — Suzanne Finnamore

  157. Suzanne: most of all, thanks for your three special needs bears…you are some sort of a writing wizard….the bear imagery. Did you see the post about Smoky Bear?

  158. A Bear Replies

    When it’s a snack I seek,
    I listen for their bells
    Or for a golden oldie in the woods, off tune, maybe BBBBB Benny and the Jets?
    It’s that little stutter that gives them away
    and their tinkle is my GPS.

    Sure, I can do 40 in a flash,
    But for years they’ve been told to stand perfectly still
    An easy got meal

    And then they play dead
    As I growl over them and sniff
    For perfume, though Prada makes me sneeze
    So I settle for a week-old Cheese Whiz whiff

    Then hover and fang, insult and roar
    Make it look real
    Remember I’m watching my calories
    And choose not to eat between meals.

  159. Thanks to maggles…

    I Am Learning To Abandon the World
    by Linda Pastan

    I am learning to abandon the world
    before it can abandon me.
    Already I have given up the moon
    and snow, closing my shades
    against the claims of white.
    And the world has taken
    my father, my friends.
    I have given up melodic lines of hills,
    moving to a flat, tuneless landscape.
    And every night I give my body up
    limb by limb, working upwards
    across bone, towards the heart.
    But morning comes with small
    reprieves of coffee and birdsong.
    A tree outside the window
    which was simply shadow moments ago
    takes back its branches twig
    by leafy twig.
    And as I take my body back
    the sun lays its warm muzzle on my lap
    as if to make amends.
    *****

    and then this…

    Petit Dejeuner

    I sing a song
    of the croissant
    and of the wily French
    who trick themselves daily
    back to the world
    for its sweet ceremony.
    Ah to be reeled
    up into morning
    on that crisp,
    buttery
    hook.

    Linda Pastan I have remembered how to copy and paste now, Thank the gracious lord. And Sher you simply cannot go anywhere. This is one place where turning the other cheek and forgiving (even if it is of yourself) thrives. And Haven before I saw that picture I thought you must have been about ninety, I hope you know that means in wisdom. Funny thing, I had with me in my suitcase over that crazy weekend already what I was crying out for all along because I had found your blog. “Walking through Walls.” Jeesh.

  160. If my dear sweet husband does not stop snoring like all three of those bears I swear I may smother him. Not really but GOD I would like to get some sleep.

  161. I just read the High Note. And now I will shut up. And cry again.

  162. Ok, they’re lyrics, but this song is just so beautiful. The most personal thing Peter Allen ever wrote:

    “Tenterfield Saddler”

    The Late George Woolnough worked on High Street
    And lived on manners
    Fifty two years he sat on his verandah and made his saddles
    And if you had questions bout sheep or flowers or dogs
    You’d just ask the saddler, he lived without sin
    They’re building a library for him

    Time is a traveller
    Tenterfield saddler turn your head
    Ride again Jackeroo
    Think I see Kangaroo up ahead

    The son of George Woolnough went off and got married
    And had a war baby
    Though something went wrong and it’s easier to drink than go crazy
    And if there were questions bout why the end was so sad
    Well, George had no answers bout why a son
    Ever had need of a gun

    Time is a traveller
    Tenterfield Saddler turn your head
    Ride again Jackaroo
    Think I see Kangaroo up ahead

    The grandson of George has been all around the world
    And lives no special place
    Changed his last name and he married a girl with an interesting face
    He’d almost forgotten them both because in the life that he leads
    There’s no where for George and his library or the son with his gun
    To belong except in this song

    Time is a meddler
    Tenterfield saddler make your bed
    Fly again Cockatoo
    Down on the ground Emu up ahead

    Time is a tale-teller
    Tenterfield Saddler make your bed
    Fly again Cockatoo
    Think I see Kangaroo up ahead

    Time is a traveller
    Tenterfield Saddler turn your head
    Ride again Jackaroo
    Think I see Kangaroo up ahead.

  163. Sandra- I am so glad you found Reckless Kelly. I love these boys. They live in Austin, TX now, but the Braun brothers (Willy, gorgeous lead singer – I am in love with this man’s voice – and his older brother, Cody, who plays mandolin, harmonica, fiddle..in Reckless, plus (there are more, God help us)youngest brother (smaller version of Willy)Micky who is lead singer in Micky and the Motorcars (check them out too!) and the final brother, Gary, are from Idaho) Their father, Muzzy Braun, is also a musician and their saint of a mother home schooled the four boys in a cabin in the mountains of Idaho with no electricity or running water. Back in the mid 1980s, they actually performed on the Johnny Carson show – all in their little cowboy suits – I think they were called Muzzy and the Braun Boys- the boys did not even know who Johnny was because they had no t.v. at home. If you ever get a chance to see them play you must go. They rock.

  164. Oh my heavens…

    After three days of ten-plus hour rehearsals, coming to find this abundance of poetry was truly a godsend. I wept, I giggled, and once again, I thanked my lucky stars for encountering all of you. I’m posting this in an all-too-brief window of time before yet another all-day rehearsal, so I have no poetry offerings of my own to contribute, but maybe someday soon… I have a feeling that this poetry-sharing is now a new blog staple, so I won’t feel like I’ve missed the boat. I wish I had time right now to comment on every single poem posted, but for now, let me just say: Haven, please please PLEASE release a book of your poetry. Or just post as many as humanly possible here so that I can print them out and carry them with me and disect them and love them always.

    You are all so wonderful. This blog community feels like a poem of its own.

  165. the wave

    the first love, the one
    you die into; its loss is a wave
    smashing down, fairly breaking
    your nubile neck. and the cruel buoyancy of the sea,
    keeping one alive despite the grotesque twenty two
    year old heart wanting to end it all, all
    the unknowably sweet scenes

    your face like a poor man’s Brando
    holding all the grand fuck-me tragedies of time,
    leaping at me like a tiger, beautiful as a tiger. the face
    of your twin brother Ted, the voice of Levine
    in class where we emptied our
    souls onto the desks, trusting, trusting.

    I was sure you never loved me;
    like a famous spokesperson I knew
    you were getting paid to say that. massive red
    camellias in the morning, when love
    had a chance. so kind, escorting me through your
    garden. the sun came up hard, the day passed

    the moment passed. you were wed as I
    sat reading Capote alone, liking it. ‘In Cold Blood’;
    there is something so detailed about murder,
    so difficult to pull off. it is like new love
    dangerous and selfish, determined
    to do whatever necessary.

    now I am sure you loved me
    in some small way, a cousin
    from out of state. the awful intensity of being
    a poet and 22 and a woman
    caught me; I saw you that November and was caught.
    small breath clouds spilled from your mouth like arias.

    we were both ineffably young, this in itself
    now holds grace, some gem of distinction. a slim part
    of me dies when I realize I will not be at Sather Gate again wearing
    inexpensive clothes; this is now left to other women
    to write what makes men gasp and want more,
    to sit on the floor, bent to appear thin, scythe-like.

    In youth cowardice reined like a reckless queen;
    I hoarded the senseless love of you,
    the depth. I kept it to myself, like
    vehicular manslaughter. it is good to lose, it teaches me
    what is rare and prone to extinction.
    remember me in my brave little anthology words, recall how

    I looked in a black dress on Castle Drive, wild yet nonchalant
    as life grabbed me by the skull and shook. in ways too
    insignificant to number, you were my first love, the one
    I wrote for and died a thousand possum deaths for, and
    came back each time changed, remade, smoothed
    by the lovely and murderous sea.

    Suzanne Finnamore, Berkeley, 1984

    The Ache Of Marriage

    The ache of marriage
    thigh and tongue
    and heavy with it
    it throbs in the teeth

    We looked for communion
    and are turned away, beloved,
    each and each

    It is leviathan and we
    in its belly
    looking for joy, some joy
    not to be known outside of it

    two by two in the ark
    the ache of it

    Denise Levertov

  166. INVICTUS BY William Ernest Henley

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.
    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.
    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

  167. Suzanne: What a curious poem, Invictus. What little guilt feelings I have as a confirmed reprobate, for some reason, this poem has always revived them. Don’t know why, either. I suspect that I would be more bowed than bloody when put to the test. I think that’s the line that gets me, causing the questioning. Sometimes, I believe I am master and captain, sometimes, I KNOW I am not.

  168. OK SORRY I DOUBLED POSTED ONE OF MY SPECIAL NEEDS POEM. goodness!

    Mark Strand is unparalelled. get his collected works.

    at 19, i saw him read his poems – that was it for me. he made me want to write poetry. then at berkeley, i audition for phil levine’s poetry class (12 slots) and i get in, and by and by i ask levine if he’s ever read Strand, and he pauses and he grins his coal-miner grin and says “He’s my best friend.”

    Czeslaw Milosz. another great. his new collected works is supreme, get that.

    Anything by Sharon Olds. ALL of her. and ALL of Sarah Arvio.

    collected Stanley Kunitz

    get Robert Frost on audio reading Frost. it will kill you. the VOICE OF THE POET, i think is the brand…GET THE ANNE SEXTON VOICE OF THE POET RECORDING AS WELL. OH MY GOD. make sure she reads The Ambition Bird and When They Ring The Bell

    Denis Johnson THE BEST– all of him as well.

    MAKING CERTAIN IT GOES ON the poems of richard hugo a must have

    collected Neruda

    ANYTHING BY ADDRIENE RICH

    ariel sylvia plath

    THE BIRTHDAY POEMS ted hughes

    collected Roethke

  169. By the late Andrea King Kelly, a dear (and exquisitely talented) friend of The Missus and me:

    The Girls in the Cane

    At ten, we were Father McKennon’s demons,
    wild skinny girls with skin stitched over our hearts
    like drums. We smacked gum in catechism, pelted
    the young priest with spitballs ripped from the scriptures.
    By twelve, we were collectively in love. Plump and holy,
    we pretended our bellies were tight with his children.
    That summer in the secret patch of sugarcane, we played
    at conception, parting each other’s sun-parched knees.

    So when our mothers call from Alabama
    to tell us in Florida, New Hampshire, Colorado,
    that Father McKennon is dead, I see us
    holding phones like empty Campbell’s Soup cans
    strung together with kite string, mothers repeating
    “Are you there?” And we excuse ourselves
    to tend lovers, husbands, children, who,
    for once, don’t need us at that moment.

    It is what we have come
    to fear most: the secret child
    has filled her bandana
    with irreplaceable treasures,
    and even now is disappearing
    down Hillcrest Drive, past Mrs. Strozier’s
    Dance School to the sugarcane field
    by the old Confederate cannon.

    This is not a sweet loss like virginity.
    The girls have gone into the cane
    without us. They have taken summer
    with them and left us suspended
    by this deep baptism. Slight and tan,
    they suck on the sugary reeds, their lips
    soft as vespers, and their hands, their hands,
    like brown doves cooing.

  170. It’s so nice to know I am one click away from some great poetry. I don’t have time to read it all now…I’m very tired…but I want to come back and respond more later…

  171. GUNGA DIN by Rudyard Kipling

    You may talk o’ gin and beer
    When you’re quartered safe out ‘ere,
    An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;
    But when it comes to slaughter
    You will do your work on water,
    An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ‘im that’s got it.
    Now in Injia’s sunny clime,
    Where I used to spend my time
    A-servin’ of ‘Er Majesty the Queen,
    Of all them blackfaced crew
    The finest man I knew
    Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
    He was “Din! Din! Din!
    You limpin’ lump o’ brick-dust, Gunga Din!
    Hi! slippery hitherao!
    Water, get it! Panee lao!
    You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din.”

    The uniform ‘e wore
    Was nothin’ much before,
    An’ rather less than ‘arf o’ that be’ind,
    For a piece o’ twisty rag
    An’ a goatskin water-bag
    Was all the field-equipment ‘e could find.
    When the sweatin’ troop-train lay
    In a sidin’ through the day,
    Where the ‘eat would make your bloomin’ eyebrows crawl,
    We shouted “Harry By!”
    Till our throats were bricky-dry,
    Then we wopped ‘im ’cause ‘e couldn’t serve us all.
    It was “Din! Din! Din!
    You ‘eathen, where the mischief ‘ave you been?
    You put some juldee in it
    Or I’ll marrow you this minute
    If you don’t fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!”

    ‘E would dot an’ carry one
    Till the longest day was done;
    An’ ‘e didn’t seem to know the use o’ fear.
    If we charged or broke or cut,
    You could bet your bloomin’ nut,
    ‘E’d be waitin’ fifty paces right flank rear.
    With ‘is mussick on ‘is back,
    ‘E would skip with our attack,
    An’ watch us till the bugles made “Retire”,
    An’ for all ‘is dirty ‘ide
    ‘E was white, clear white, inside
    When ‘e went to tend the wounded under fire!
    It was “Din! Din! Din!”
    With the bullets kickin’ dust-spots on the green.
    When the cartridges ran out,
    You could hear the front-files shout,
    “Hi! ammunition-mules an’ Gunga Din!”

    I shan’t forgit the night
    When I dropped be’ind the fight
    With a bullet where my belt-plate should ‘a’ been.
    I was chokin’ mad with thirst,
    An’ the man that spied me first
    Was our good old grinnin’, gruntin’ Gunga Din.
    ‘E lifted up my ‘ead,
    An’ he plugged me where I bled,
    An’ ‘e guv me ‘arf-a-pint o’ water-green:
    It was crawlin’ and it stunk,
    But of all the drinks I’ve drunk,
    I’m gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
    It was “Din! Din! Din!
    ‘Ere’s a beggar with a bullet through ‘is spleen;
    ‘E’s chawin’ up the ground,
    An’ ‘e’s kickin’ all around:
    For Gawd’s sake git the water, Gunga Din!”

    ‘E carried me away
    To where a dooli lay,
    An’ a bullet come an’ drilled the beggar clean.
    ‘E put me safe inside,
    An’ just before ‘e died,
    “I ‘ope you liked your drink”, sez Gunga Din.
    So I’ll meet ‘im later on
    At the place where ‘e is gone —
    Where it’s always double drill and no canteen;
    ‘E’ll be squattin’ on the coals
    Givin’ drink to poor damned souls,
    An’ I’ll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
    Yes, Din! Din! Din!
    You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
    Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,
    By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
    You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

  172. so GNGA DIN was the poem that led us to name our dear, beloved yellow lab kipling–but she went by kippy or kipper most of the time. she passed last year and when i think of her, i think –well, first just how freaking awesome she was and how much i miss her—but also of GUNGA DIN..this was another that my dad made us analyze.

    here is another one i love, and i am not sure why. i am terrified of snakes, but somehow this makes them beautiful.

    Snake
    by Emily Dickinson

    A narrow fellow in the grass
    Occasionally rides;
    You may have met him, -did you not?
    His notice sudden is.

    The grass divides as with a comb,
    A spotted shaft is seen;
    And then it closes at your feet
    And opens further on.

    He likes a boggy acre,
    A floor too cool for corn.
    Yet when a child, and barefoot,
    I more than once, at morn,

    Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash
    Unbraiding in the sun, –
    When, stooping to secure it,
    It wrinkled, and was gone.

    Several of nature’s people
    I know, and they know me;
    I feel for them a transport
    Of cordiality;

    But never met this fellow,
    Attended or alone,
    Without a tighter breathing,
    And zero at the bone.

    and one more, that is short and seems simple, but every time i read it it seems to jump a level–and i’m like–holy macaroni–this is a kick ass poem

    Flower in the Crannied Wall

    by Tennyson

    Flower in the crannied wall,
    I pluck you out of the crannies,
    I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
    Little flower -but if I could understand
    What you are, root and all, and all in all,
    I should know what God and man is.

    i am really thinking here. i am sure i will post again as i can remember more.

  173. having just returned from nantucket in the autumn, this poem was a grand slam (good lord, please let the sox win tonight).

    The Sea at Night by Sri Aurobindo

    The grey sea creeps half-visible, half-hushed,

    And grasps with its innumerable hands

    These silent walls. I see beyond a rough

    Glimmering infinity, I feel the wash

    And hear the sibilation of the waves

    That whisper to each other as they push

    To shoreward side by side, –long lines and dim

    Of movement flecked with quivering spots of foam,

    The quiet welter of a shifting world.

  174. Suzanne, dude, your poetry is hardly lousy. It kicks some ass, I really enjoyed it, thankyou. I just read all of your books except “Split” in a Finnamore Frenzy and I just love your style lady!! You know, it seems to me that there were the beat poets with Burroughs and Kerouac and Ginsberg and Ferlingetti and now there is the enviable, cool and sharp as a whip group of Kimmel, Finnamore and Burroughs… what’s a good name for this literary ensemble??

  175. The Triumverate,is what we secretly call it…

  176. …similar to the beats, how about.. the bents? “Kimmel, Finnamore and Burroughs aka the bent generation” whaddaya reckon?

  177. The Triumvirate, giddy up.

  178. stephen king is at the red sox game and he was just on tv cheering like mad. this game is entering the 12th inning, tied at 4. i am insane right now. go sox!!!

  179. what a feast! — Love After Love, Supernatural Love, Postmaster Letter #2, The Jewel, the wonderful Piccolo poems, Introduction to Poetry (tie me up! tie me down!), all the Neruda, the Gay Haiku which had me alarming the neighbors with my shrieking, Joni’s lyrics. (I think I memorized everything from Court and Spark through Shadows and Light.)

    Most especially, those from this communiblog — Haven: Scarecrow took my breath away; George: is there no writing you do not do well?; Suzanne: “…keep it to myself like vehicular manslaughter”… please, please write more! — and all the rest. I picked up the Stafford a couple posts ago on JES’s recommendation and it’s been filling up up up till this post.

    The books from the fiction and non-fiction posts threaten to topple while I sleep, now poetry …

  180. Also — the new avatar? — Years ago, in my 20s, I went to a very loud party and was standing in the kitchen when the 2-year-old of the house — whom I’d never met — held her arms up to me. (I defy anyone to resist this gesture.) I must have held her for two hours while she slept in my arms, in the midst of this very loud party, and I found myself deliberately stilling, felt compelled to match my … what? emanations? vibrations? … to hers to disturb her the least and make her feel safe and protected. For years, the recall of that moment was visceral enough to still and center me, take me out of the demands of my own needs, anytime, anywhere. I wish I’d learned her name, wish I could tell her what a gift.

    Seeing the picture of you and baby Gus brought that all rushing back. Lovely, gorgeous picture. Thank you. Thank you.

  181. Despite being a relative newcomer to this site I should like, after much ruminating, to offer as a sort of tribute to the triumvirate the following poem from perhaps the greatest of all lyric poets….. Dylan Thomas…I think we’re all entranced by him!!
    The profound insights into the ‘writers-life’, can of course, only be fully appreciated by those souls who innately grasp the importance of those rare qualities of gratitude and grace, as they effect both writer and reader alike. Enjoy guys!!

    In My Craft or Sullen Art

    In my craft or sullen art
    Exercised in the still night
    When only the moon rages
    And the lovers lie abed
    With all their griefs in their arms
    I labour by singing light
    Not for ambition or bread
    Or the strut and trade of charms
    On the ivory stages
    But for the common wages
    Of their most secret heart.
    Not for the proud man apart
    From the raging moon I write
    On these spindrift pages
    Nor for the towering dead
    With their nightingales and psalms
    But for the lovers, their arms
    Round the griefs of the ages,
    Who pay no praise or wages
    Nor heed my craft or art

    Dylan Thomas.

  182. Kimberly: I can’t stand it any more. What are you in rehearsals for? Do I remember right — was it a musical? Which one? What part are you playing?

  183. To STEPHSULZBACH: Our Sox will get that one back!

  184. I am relieved to read the posting from Haven explaining what had happened to her and the reason for the helmet! That set my mind a little at ease…I know how scary siezures are, having had epilepsy sitting on my shoulder up until I was 19 when it mysteriously disappeared for good. My thoughts of love are pushed towards you. And as for the continuing an much welcome poetry….beauty and laughter, the perfect combination.
    Thank you all for being here.

  185. Hey all you wonderful people…I want to get to know you all away from this blog but I’m not sure I want to post my email address on this forum. I have started a yahoo group for us, just so we can all email each other and keep in touch in a slightly less public way.

    I’ve never started a yahoo group before, so bear with me.

    Here is the address:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/havenblogbabies

  186. Thanks George. i needed to hear that. wide awake until 3 am while adrenaline pumped through my veins and i tried to sleep. tough loss to swallow. i will be watching, while pacing…. the red sox game again tonight.

  187. katemckinneycake: that sounds great. i just joined. thanks

  188. Great idea…I think I just joined!

    If anyone wants to find me off this blog, I have a page on Facebook and on linkedin.com.

  189. Carrie — you remembered correctly, it is indeed a musical, called Bat Boy. I don’t know if anyone has heard of it or not… It’s a quirky little gem of a show, a cult hit amongst us musical theatre dorks. Never opened on Broadway, based on that famous World Weekly News “Bat Boy Found in Cave!” story. I’m terrible at summarizing plots, so I won’t even attempt it, but it’s at once poignant tragedy/laugh-a-minute/melodrama/social commentary, and the score is as varied as I’ve ever heard. I’m playing Maggie, the mayor of Hope Falls, West Virginia, who is single-minded in her pursuit of finding out why all the cows in town are dying; I’m understudying the female lead, as well. We open this Thursday, and I couldn’t be more excited! Across the board, I think it’s the best show I’ve been in. I just wish that all the other schoolwork could somehow be put on hold while I’m living in the theatre. Right now I’m in between classes, finishing up an Advanced Directing analysis as well as preparing for a public reading in Playwriting. Ahhhhh.

    (You can tell that I’m sleep-deprived, because I am babbling like nobody’s business.)

    Kate, I’m so excited about this community! I will join after rehearsal tonight.

    Have a wonderful day, you wonderful people.

  190. P.S. First dress rehearsal is tonight, and the costume designer has described his concept for Maggie as if “Kathy Bates in Misery and Sarah Palin had a love child.” Just some disturbing and hilarious food for thought.

  191. ooh Kimberly that is a disturbing imagine (shudders)

    LOL

    Kate- thanks for setting up the yahoo group. I joined too. Love the Haven’s Mavens photo album! George, you look very distinguished 🙂

  192. Kate,

    I love the idea of a yahoo group for us, but for me… yahoo groups just don’t work out very well! I am on facebook (amanda burgess in raleigh) and my name should like to my blog, if anyone wants to connect with me more directly.

    But thanks for doing that Kate!

  193. I just sent you a Facebook friend request, Amanda 🙂

  194. Facebook is good too!

    Katharine Shea McKinney in Evansville (is there another way to do that?)

  195. i have facebook too. works for me

  196. for those of us on facebook! http://www.facebook.com/groups/edit.php?info&gid=29332907350#/group.php?gid=29332907350

  197. to clarify, i don’t to pull anyone away from Kate’s yahoo group… this is just an alternative for those of us who don’t have yahoo accounts. hopefully you can join the group without having to put any personal info on the blog.

  198. sine_30: i am unclear with what the deal with “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” even is. do you hate that poem? i am the person who originally posted it. i know it is very famous, but i think it has a unique depth and the metaphors are just perfect…the repeat of the last line is so effective in this poem. i completely agree with sher. and i completely LOVE this poem.

    what did you mean? it really made me feel that i can’t tell a forum of people a poem i like…just bc it is famous? i don’t understand…..

  199. I have loved Stopping for many, many years. When I was a kid at Harwood Elementary School in Evansville, we had a music teacher who made us learn this poem as a song. So I knew the words to it years before I found it again as a poem in a high school freshman lit class. Like most of Frost’s poems, it is so deep on so many levels. If you are interested, here is a link to it as a song:

    There are several other versions, but this one seems to capture the poem’s voice and the 50ish-early 60ish musical styling.

  200. My favorite Frost poem, however, is this one:

    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/after-apple-picking-2/

    There is a beauty and bluntness to this that gets me with every reading.

  201. I remember reading this around the time I was a paralegal in Princeton, NJ and, literally, TIED to my desk/computer:

    The Secretary Chant

    My hips are a desk.
    From my ears hang
    chains of paper clips.
    Rubber bands form my hair.
    My breasts are wells of mimeograph ink.
    My feet bear casters.
    Buzz. Click.
    My head is a badly organized file.
    My head is a switchboard
    where crossed lines crackle.
    Press my fingers
    and in my eyes appear
    credit and debit.
    Zing. Tinkle.
    My navel is a reject button.
    From my mouth issue canceled reams.
    Swollen, heavy, rectangular
    I am about to be delivered
    of a baby
    Xerox machine.
    File me under W
    because I wonce
    was
    a woman.

    by Marge Piercy.

    To thesoon to be literature analyzers:

    1. think of 1 sentence to synapse this poem. 2. who is speaking?

    There are fancy terms for those 2 questions, but it is very simple and helps us understand the purpose of the poem.

    Thought: why don’t we practice analyzing some of these poems, to prep us for working on Iodine????

  202. Suicide Note

    How many notes written . . .
    ink smeared like birdprints in snow.

    not good enough not pretty enough not smart enough

    dear mother and father.
    I apologize
    for disappointing you.
    I’ve worked very hard,

    not good enough

    harder, perhaps to please you.
    If only I were a son, shoulders broad
    as the sunset threading through pine,
    I would see the light in my mother’s
    eyes, or the golden pride reflected
    in my father’s dream
    of my wide, male hands worthy of work
    and comfort.
    I would swagger through life
    muscled and bold and assured,
    drawing praises to me
    like currents in the bed of wind, virile
    with confidence.

    not good enough not strong enough not good enough

    I apologize.
    Tasks do not come easily.
    Each failure, a glacier.
    Each disapproval, a bootprint.
    Each disappointment,
    ice above my river.
    So I have worked hard.

    not good enough

    My sacrifice I will drop
    bone by bone, perched
    on the ledge of my womanhood,
    fragile as wings.

    not strong enough

    It is snowing steadily
    surely not good weather
    for flying – this sparrow
    sillied and dizzied by the wind
    on the edge.

    not smart enough

    I make this ledge my altar
    to offer penance.
    This air will not hold me,
    the snow burdens my crippled wings,
    my tears drop like bitter cloth
    softly into the gutter below.

    not good enough not strong enough not smart enough

    Choices thin as shaved
    ice. Notes shreadded
    drift like snow

    on my broken body,
    cover me like whispers
    of sorries
    sorries.
    Perhaps when they find me
    they will bury
    my bird bones beneath
    a sturdy pine
    and scatter my feathers like
    unspoken song
    over this white and cold and silent
    breast of earth.

    by Janice Mirikitani

    ???? what can you guess about the “speaker” of this poem?

  203. I sat evaluating
    myself.

    I decided
    to lie down.

    (melba colgrove)

  204. (there is no poem
    on this page
    as the poet
    decided to
    take a nap)

    (melba colgrove)

  205. help me up
    my friend.

    dust me off.

    feed me warmth.

    you are comfort.

    let me lean on you
    until I can stand
    alone.

    I will then stand a little taller.

    and you will be
    proud
    to have a friend
    such as I.

    (colgrove)

  206. I’m past the point of going
    quietly insane.

    I’m getting quite
    noisy about it.

    The neighbors must think
    I’m mad.

    The neighbors, for once,
    think right.

    (colgrove)

  207. I am worthy.

    I am worthy of my life and
    all the good that is in it.

    I am worthy of
    my friends and their friendship.

    I am worthy of spacious skies, amber waves
    of grain, and purple mountain majesties
    above the fruited plain. (I am worthy, too, of the fruited plain.)

    I am worthy of a degree of happiness
    that could only be referred to as
    “sinful” in less enlightened times.

    I am worthy of creativity,
    sensitivity and appreciation.

    I am worth of peace of mind, peace on Earth,
    peace in the valley, and a piece of the action.

    I am worthy of a god’s presence in my life.

    I am worthy.

    (colgrove)

  208. George – oh, yes, the midwestern “hoary frost”

    tremendous.

  209. I’ve always been fond of Marge, too.

    Speaking of suicide, here is Dorothy Parker’s best-known poem. I have often thought that in the afterlife, I’d like to ask her out for lunch.

    Résumé

    Razors pain you;
    Rivers are damp;
    Acids stain you;
    And drugs cause cramp.
    Guns aren’t lawful;
    Nooses give;
    Gas smell awful;
    You might as well live.

    She died of a heart attack at age 73. Her ashes are in a memorial garden at the NAACP headquarters in Baltimore.

  210. Utmost

    Incredulously
    my husband
    asks,
    “Must we have bookshelves
    in
    EVERY
    room?”

    my son and I reply,
    incredulously.

    “Yes!
    We
    must!”

    (sher fick)
    October 6, 2008

  211. just my two cents: there is a big difference between a bookclub and a graduate level English class. (i am currently a member of both.) i hope we tend to lean more toward bookclub, since my guess is that the more technical and advanced we get, the greater chance we stand to exclude or intimidate others.

    just my thoughts!

  212. Yes, yes ! Marge rocks and I couldn’t find that one you quoted!!!!

    Fabulous!!!!

  213. My favorite childhood poem:

    There was a crooked man,
    and he went a crooked mile,
    He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile:
    He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
    And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

  214. My favorite Frost poem:

    The Silken Tent

    She is as in a field a silken tent
    At midday when the sunny summer breeze
    Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
    So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
    And its supporting central cedar pole,
    That is its pinnacle to heavenward
    And signifies the sureness of the soul,
    Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
    But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
    By countless silken ties of love and thought
    To every thing on earth the compass round,
    And only by one’s going slightly taut
    In the capriciousness of summer air
    Is of the slightlest bondage made aware.

    Robert Frost

  215. G –

    in my afterlife – I have my dinner party planned: Edgar Allen Poe, Rodin, Artemesia Gentileschi, Homer (I have SO many questions for him), Emily Carr, Frida Kahlo, Louisa May Alcott, Zora Neale Hurston, James Cahill (he is my ancestor and was Washington’s Aid-de-camp on the Delaware crossing, I just want to MEET him!)

  216. Hey everyone….today is my son Sam’s 20th Birthday. He lurks here often and posts on occasion.

  217. Happy Birthday SAM!

  218. Happy birthday, Sam S., Happy Birthday, Sam S., Happy 20th Birthday sweet son of George…. Happy Birthday to you. And many more… 🙂

  219. Sam –

    Happy Birthday to you CHA! CHA! CHA!
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU CHA! CHA! CHA! . . .

    I have refrained from inviting my own son, because he would take it over in a hearbeat . . .

    Amanda – some people want to learn how to analyze literature and poetry, so for those who want that, I just wanted to give some ideas on digging into it deeper. Obviously we all love reading for pure enjoyment . . . it wasn’t meant to make it heavy. I’ve been getting e-mails and it is hard to keep up with everything individually . . . but I will go back to that, sorry.

  220. ok – here is a ditty from an ancient ancestor, Phillip Creighbaum, a german immigrant who settled in Uniontown, PA in 1749 – he built a 2 story gristmill that is still standing, as well as many of his churches . . . stone mason was the family trade . . .

    He published this advertisement in 1759:

    I public notice hereby, give in Uniontown where I live,
    I grindstones keep and them do sell,
    the grit is good, I make them well;
    With whetstones also I’ll supply,
    all those wishing for to buy;
    Good money I will in pay,
    but paper trash – keep that away;
    Good bargains I will let you have,
    if you good money do me give,
    I’ll make them honest good and just,
    but do not like too long to trust,
    Old debts are often in dispute
    and likely to bring on lawsuits,
    Therefore ’tis best take care in time,
    the grindstone’s yours the money mine.
    The time is now drawn very near
    when you must kill your hogs and steer,
    therefore buy whetstones right away,
    then you can butcher any day,
    Take my advice: come on right quick,
    and of my stones have the first pick,
    For I the money want right bad,
    so fare you well my honest lad.

    Ha! My family is still in the business of stone masonry and my favorite thing is alabaster sculpting . . . genes are telling.

  221. Oh, Sher, my kids great grandfather on their dad’s side was a stone mason by trade, painter by love. He lived in Columbus, Ohio and helped build some of the buildings on the Ohio State campus, I would think that would have had to have been in the 1930s. He painted a self portrait of doing the stone work thing. It hangs in my kid’s dad’s house. His hands are gigantic, holding the mallot (sp?) and pick (?). Anyway, he was a wonderful painter but could not bear to ever sell a single painting. He actually painted with John Marin in the summers off the coast of Maine. My daughter is a wonderful artist too but I don’t think she has ever done anything with stone, except when she was about 10 she asked for a mortar and pestle (sp?? I don’t know!) for Xmas to smash dirt clumps into mud. So, I got her a big granite one. So, maybe that is the stone mason gene showing up. 🙂

  222. To a fellow Libran, Happy Birthday Sam!! Best wishes and have a rockin’ celebration!

  223. Great idea for the Yahoo group! I joined today (kcmom12?…not sure where the # came from!). Thanks for setting it up!

    And happy 20th birthday to Sam…I too have a son named Sam (he’s 16.5)…great name!

    I appreciate everyone’s poetry contributions…it’s not my “thing,” or maybe it’s just reading poetry on a computer screen (probably the last time I read a poem the internet was not even a figment of anyone’s wildest imagination, let alone close to any reasonable reality), but the care and consideration taken by everyone to post their favorites is wondrous and delightful—my sincere thanks to all.

    That said, as a child, one of my favorite books to read was an Ogden Nash collection that belonged to my mom–I read it through many times and it always made me smile. I don’t know what happened to the book and she doesn’t either (I’ve asked her and it must have been lost or given away—she probably never knew how much I read it). In fond remembrance of that little turquoise blue book, here is the only poem from it I remember in full:

    God in His wisdom made the fly,
    And then forgot to tell us why.

    Truly, I do not intend to trivialize poetry or anyone’s contributions to the discussion at hand…I just have fond memories of Mr. Nash and his rhyming wit.

  224. My son’s name is Sam too! He is 15.5 🙂

    Tex, what time is it in Australia?

  225. Kate, what a fab idea, this is such a kick-arse crowd. I’ll sign up later tonight.

  226. Hey Linda, it’s 12.40 in the afternoon, I’ve figured that I’m fourteen hours ahead of you guys. It’s funny though, a lot of you appear to be night owls, so I’m not left talking to myself, which is nice.
    So is your son an Aries? He sounds like a really great kid hey!

  227. Talk about lunching in the afterlife has reminded me of a game that I’ve played for as long as I can remember – “The Dinner Party Game”, I’m sure that some of you are familiar with it various forms. The rules are simple: you can invite 10 people to your dinner party, dead or alive from all time, who would you invite?
    I love it, I tend to play it roughly every 6mths as I like to revise. In fact I have diaries dating back ten or so years with my everchanging guest lists.
    Would anyone like to play?

  228. It appears that Haven’s blog babies are safely tucked in bed so I’ll ponder then post my dinner party list a bit later and I’ll look forward to seeing who all you brainiacs invite to your shindigs. (I’ve been known to organise seating arrangements and as a bit of a foodie, plan menus. A bit overboard but hey.) Sweet dreams.

  229. wow, Tex, we can invite living AND dead . . .???? I haven’t played that one and I am totally up for it!!!

    I will try to get this ready for a later posting tonight (I disappear while everyone else tucks in bed, then an up most of the remaining twilit hours)…it is bed tucking time here.

  230. Linda –

    serENpidiTY . . . we have traced all the way back to Heidelburg Germany 1549 and they were ALL stone masons, with a few wheelrights through in . . . Creekbaum and it’s many forms means “creeping vine” which was a type they would plant near their newly built walls . . . ’tis amazing. We’ve had artsy folk for many generations, I think that is where I get my “can do” attitude.

    Are you going to the Southern Festival of books next week??? Ann Patchett is speaking, but I think I am set for meetings that day . . .

  231. jesus. i turn my back and the whole thing becomes a SIT IN. i love it. i have nothing to add except poetry is so subjective as to make novels seems like roadmaps.

  232. oh. and in an attempt to somehow OWN poetry (impossible) i bought 4 mark strand books (three signed) the Birthday Letters by ted hughes because haven wore me down on the phone for an HOUR, and the new sara arvio ! which is available signed from randomhouse.com. i wouldget that right now if i were you, GEORGE.

  233. oh and haven? tell scott i’m reading the circus fire, and i’m already nauseous and kind of all balled up, and the fucking hartford 1944 great circus fire hasnt even begun, and i hope he’s SATISFIED because i’m sure to stay up all night to see the disaster through.

    i’ve read at least 10 books on the Titianic. i know everything a woman should ever know about a sinking ship which NEVER SHOULD HAVE LEFT NEW YORK. IT WAS ALREADY ON FIRE IN NEW YORK HARBOR, PEOPLE.

  234. What the H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS? It was already on fire?

    This whole thing has not only convinced me that I need to read poetry every day, but I also need to start writing it.

  235. As in, writing it again.

  236. Kate Cake – you can do it!!!

    Re Titanic, ditto the obsession, there is a great book by Connie Willis titled “Passage” (Her most recent full novel, Passage, deals with the study of near-death experiences and the sinking of the Titanic. It was nominated for the 2001 Hugo Award for Best Novel.) It is fun and informative . . .

    Hum, I know this poetry binge must be wrapping up, but I STILL HAVEN’T FOUND MY POETRY BOOKS (other than the ones I’ve shared) . . . dang-diggity-dang-it . . .there are mountains of boxes in the garage labeled “books” – how ambiguous is THAT??? Never mind that in the previous house they were ORGANIZED via subject matter!! why didn’t I label them ART books, philosophy, art, psychology, fiction, poetry, ????? oh solo mio . . .

    I think I have to resort to internet searching . . . which just doesn’t feel right . . .

    is there anybody out there?

  237. I’m out here…sitting up with the husband while he studies for a test tomorrow. I’m actually tired. It’s a MIRACLE! I might sleep tonight!

  238. ok – e.e. cummings. We must go there – so I chose one that has a great memory.

    Having switched colleges (again) to another move and (oops, too many bottles of wine on New Year’s 2002, extra baby) . . . I had to retake English Literature! May I just say, this was NOT necessary, but the professor and I had a great time ACTING out the poems so that the students would understand them.

    Professor Aubrey Shuler, a most distinguished Souther-r-r-n and debonair gentleman was HYSTERICAL afer a student read “She being brand new . . .” Monotone, pausing at every line, then he LAUNCHES, yes LAUNCHES, into a PERFORMANCE, yes a PERFORMANCE of She being Brand . . .complete with gear shifting, pelvic thrusting, moaning and orgasmic sound effects, clutching the lectern in his esctasy . . .

    Image if you will . . .

    she being Brand… (XIX) by E. E. Cummings

    she being Brand

    -new;and you
    know consequently a
    little stiff i was
    careful of her and(having

    thoroughly oiled the universal
    joint tested my gas felt of
    her radiator made sure her springs were O.

    K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her

    up,slipped the
    clutch(and then somehow got into reverse she
    kicked what
    the hell)next
    minute i was back in neutral tried and

    again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg. ing(my

    lev-er Right-
    oh and her gears being in
    A 1 shape passed
    from low through
    second-in-to-high like
    greasedlightning)just as we turned the corner of Divinity

    avenue i touched the accelerator and give

    her the juice,good

    (it

    was the first ride and believe i we was
    happy to see how nice she acted right up to
    the last minute coming back down by the Public
    Gardens i slammed on

    the
    internalexpanding
    &
    externalcontracting
    brakes Bothatonce and

    brought allofher tremB
    -ling
    to a:dead.

    stand-
    ;Still)

    Now listen, if that didn’t wake you up, THERe i
    s
    no hope

  239. saweet dreams. zzzzzzzzzzzz

  240. Ok so even Steph and Kate Cake abandon me in the we hours and there is HIDE nor HAIR (taxidermy pun) of Tex in Australia . . . I am WIDE AWAKE.

    is there a blog for polyphasics?

  241. Dude, did you join the yahoo group yet? I sent out a message saying if you want to call me send me an email…I would love to chat!

  242. Sher- yep, dead or alive dude.. isn’t it a great hypothetical!? I really can’t wait to see your list, your such a character. And SMART. I’m still struggling with mine.

  243. http://finnablog.blogspot.com/2008/10/deep-in-amazon.html

    no, but there’s a new blog post abovem, for people who are missing haven and think that if they were publishjed, their lives would transform….if only it were truw.

    i’m getting PASSAGE immediately.

    yes. there was an engine room fire on the titanic when it left new york, which compromised the steel wall on one of the holding tanks when it hit the iceberg. bad bit of luck, that. . only one of the preposterous mistakes that led to the worst sea disaster ever,

  244. I’m still here baby cakes!! Just a ridiculously slow typist..soz x

  245. and pardon me sher for addressing you as sherfick (in one word), I was under the impression that it was a peculiar made-up user name….duh! You have a lovely name.

  246. ummm.. am I all alone??

  247. if I’m not too late, I am back after searching for poetry books…no luck there…

  248. Kate Cake – I think I signed up for the other blog thingy . . . at least I tried like 90 times and made myself an avatar in Tudor/Medieval dress complete with an italian background . . .

  249. sunday was a doozy . . . we had a medieval birthday party for our 6 year old – 9 princesses and one batman, chasing my 16 year-old (dressed as a pirate) ’round the backyard, beating him with foam swords . . . it was truly a site to see – The Rapunzel Tower came in very handy. One of my all nighters resulted in a fondant, hand-painted Rapunzel Tower cake . . . it turned out well.

  250. Dead or Alive list:

    Homer, Anne Boleyn, Vincent Van Gogh, Mother Teresa, Thomas a Becket.

    Haven Kimmel, Maya Angelou, BONO, Robin Williams, George W. Bush (so I could kick his ass).

    In case these above invitees can’t RSVP: here are alternatives: [I am adding fictional characters to my list, because it is MY list and I want back-ups.] Atticus Finch. Colin from The Secret Garden. Ziggy. Hollie Hobbie. Buddha (does the ethereal count as fictional???) and –
    Tim Gunn.

    I couldn’t put Johhny Depp down because my 14 year-old daughter highjacked him as an idol. I obviously had first dibs since I have watched him since his 21 Jumpstreet Days, but she refuses to believe he is the exact age as her father . . .

  251. suzanne –

    great new post. amazon reviews suck – I am just MAD at some idiot reviews on Iodine – there are only a few top drawer people about . . . I firmly believe that I am in the minority of sane and that it is the other percentage that is insane.

    ok, I am caving in to the abandoned post . . will read and see if anyone is breathing tamarra.

    I just thought of a great,
    You Know You Are From The Midwest If . . .

    You attend a wedding for your aunt (her 3rd) and she exits the wedding in her size 24 “gown, i.e. mumu” sitting in the back of a farm-worn pickup, next to her Jack Sprat, red-headed groom and they are BOTH SITTING ON LAWNCHAIRS, draped with crepe paper, flying in the wind as they are engulfed in gravel road updust. Even then I looked wonderingly for reason, not sure it was funny. Just, well, I was STUNNED. I was in 7th grade, and I thought – I’m white trash?!?

  252. That’s such a realization. I was kind of shocked when I realized that too.

  253. That you are WHITE TRASH Sher, not me.

  254. Nightie Night, Tex . . . don’t let the bushbabies bite!

  255. Break a leg, Mayor Kimberly, I mean Maggie. Adrenaline is your friend.

  256. i have to say i don’t give a good goddamn about poetry right now,because Haven is not well, and so fuck poetry. i would trade six poet laureates for one healthy haven kimmel. i’m channeling all my ‘artistic energy’ into thinking about what haven and john may need, right now, and hoping to hear good news from durham NC….

  257. My dad had a seizure recently. It was out of the blue and it completely freaked me out at the time. However, hyperbolic frenzy, in my experience, doesn’t appear to change or indeed help anyone. If anything, positive thoughts, indeed, positive language will go a lot further. And this is coming from a woman who’s not into crystals and wind-chimes.

  258. .. although Suzanne, I understand the sentiment completely.

  259. ..but back to poetry. To Sam Stuteville, as a fellow Libran I offer you this:

    Poem in October

    It was my thirtieth year to heaven
    Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
    And the mussel pooled and the heron
    Priested shore
    The morning beckon
    With water praying and call of seagull and rook
    And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
    Myself to set foot
    That second In the still sleeping town and set forth.

    My birthday began with the water-
    Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
    Above the farms and the white horses
    And I rose
    In rainy Autumn
    And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
    High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
    Over the border
    And the gates
    Of the town closed as the town awoke.

    A springful of larks in a rolling
    Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
    Blackbirds and the sun of October
    Summery
    On the hill’s shoulder,
    Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
    Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
    To the rain wringing
    Wind blow cold
    In the wood faraway under me.

    Pale rain under the dwindling harbour
    And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
    With its horns through mist and the castle
    Brown as owls
    But all the gardens
    Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
    Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
    There could I marvel
    My birthday
    Away but the weather turned around.

    It turned away from the blithe country
    And down the other air and the blue altered sky
    Streamed again a wonder of summer
    With apples
    Pears and red currants
    And I saw in the turning so clearly a child’s
    Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
    Through the parables
    Of sun light
    And the legends of the green chapels

    And the twice told fields of infancy
    That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
    These were the woods the river and sea
    Where a boy
    In the listening
    Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
    To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
    And the mystery
    Sang Alive
    Still in the water and singing birds.

    And there could I marvel my birthday
    Away but the weather turned around. And the true
    Joy of the long dead child sang burning
    In the sun.
    It was my thirtieth
    Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
    Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
    O may my heart’s truth
    Still be sung
    On this high hill in a year’s turning.

    Dylan Thomas

  260. Haven ~

    You’re in my thoughts. I’m holding The Light for you. Be well. =)

    jodi

  261. I am thinking of you, too, Haven.

  262. suzanne,

    can you email me at a.burgess605@gmail.com? i am local here in NC and would do anything at all that i could do to help, but i am not sure there is anything i can do and i want to respect haven’s privacy absolutely.

  263. Oh no…I was hoping she was just living it up and enjoying herself and that she’d wend her way back soon enough…oh no…

    Lots of prayers for Haven…oh please, please get well!

  264. Praying my heart out and sending as much love as possible. Suzanne, please keep us updated if you can? I don’t want to intrude, but I know we’re all so worried…

  265. We who visit Haven’s blog and who have now created this place were all just a bunch of, of, well, whatever, until the moment we stepped into Haven’s haven to discover a gathering of friends. We are welded together like junk art by how Haven’s words touched us — however they touched us — but we bonded into a community because of our own souls’ recognition of each other.

    So let’s do this:

    At 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (tex, you can do it whenever) let’s give Haven a few minutes of light, prayer, thoughts, wishes for her well-being and that of her family’s.

    ——————–

  266. We do that together and think of the power that flows her way! That’s some big medicine.

  267. 3 pm, thoughts and well wishes for haven. perfect. i’ll spiritually be there

  268. Steph: you and I know this works — especially when at about 11 p.m. EST we sent our thoughts to Boston and Lowerie and Bay stepped up to the plate (literally) and we won!!!!!!!

  269. Carrie, thank you!

    And George, everyone — I’ll be there at 3:00. I was going to say see you all there, but I suppose I’ll feel you all there instead.

  270. i’m there. the best use of my 3 o’clock break i’ll ever find.

  271. absolutely in on the healing feeling thing – that will be 2 pm my time.

    Tex – bless you for sharing the Dylan Thomas poem – that is one of the books I can’t find and it has been haunting me. some of his word pairings are so heavely I get chills – he just paints with his prose . . .

    George – absolutely we are welded together.

    Is Haven in New Orleans, or back in North Carolina? If anyone knows, I would like to face that direction during our meditation prayer time . . .

  272. it’s a date. what a wonderful lidea,george. you really do have the power points alligned, dont you; you may continue at yourjob, if it pleases you.

    i also suspect that haven wouldn’t want us to panic, and she is a private person as are most queens. so we perhaps shall remain calm and go about our lives in as loving and orderly a fashion as can be summoned. the fact that i’m even speaking of her in the third person is preposterous.

    haven, i love you. you need anything,just call or email. which i know you;d do anyway. LORDY.

  273. It pays the bills, Suz; it pays the bills. But I also have fun at it, too…the job, I’m talking about.

    Her authorship will summon us.

    What amazed me is how she was writing like a madwoman last week with sprained fingers, bruises, aches and pains. Guess sometimes you gotta “play” hurt. Right?

  274. George: well put. but WHY ON EARTH did they pull lester? phew. close one. suicide squeeze saves us. oh man, i love this team. gripping.

    it works: send good thoughts! 🙂

  275. I’m in at 3pm.

  276. Not panicking, but you had me a tad worried there! I went from guessing Haven was writing up a damn storm or cavorting wildly with bohemians to picturing her on the EDGE OF DOOM which was very uncomfortable.

    Oh, right. Third Person. I have that problem that I never remember that quiet people are QUIETLY RECORDING EVERYTHING.

    Haven, you know we love you. Care package coming your way.

  277. Thanks, George — leave it to you to know what’s needed. Haven — whatever’s causing these seizures: “sent to the sun for purification”!

  278. HELLO BLOG BABIES! I’m home from New Orleans. I got in last night and went to bed at 7:30. I’m writing a blog post about the trip but I hesitate to end this gorgeous thread. You have all been so generous, both with words and prayers or whatever you do that is the equivalent of prayer. Thank you. What amazing poetry you’ve posted here!

    And happy belated birthday, Sam! Trust me, everything sublime is ahead of you. Eventually you’ll reach an age where remembering the past is in itself a sublime act, and then you’ll have everything.

    I know I’ve said it before, but you are all profoundly dear.

  279. Dorian — is it you, Dorian, who posted the Linda Pastan poems? I adore her. I did a workshop with her when I was maybe 21. She told me in our private conference that if she had to wager on one person who would still be writing in ten years it would be me. I wish I knew what she won.

  280. Ah, before moving on to the New Orleans post, I’ve found the James Merrill poem I was looking for days ago.

    ~~~~~~~

    THE RENEWAL

    Having used every subterfuge
    To shake you, lies, fatigue, or even that of passion,
    Now I see no way but a clean break.
    I add that I am willing to bear the guilt.

    You nod assent. Autumn turns windy, huge,
    A clear vase of dry leaves vibrating on and on.
    We sit, watching. When I next speak
    Love buries itself in me, up to the hilt.

  281. praise the skies, my world has realigned itself . . .

    Haven is back!

  282. George…it worked. You summoned Haven. How witchy.

    Yay!

  283. Haven summoned Haven!

  284. Wonderful!

  285. I send the navajo healing prayer again…In Beauty it is finished.

  286. Ooooo Brenda D. — CROWN.

  287. Holy crow. This sudden appearance by Haven following the 3pm BlogBabiesMindMeld or whatever it was — well, this is the sort of occasion for which the word “gobsmacked” was invented. My gob is indeed smacked. Thank you, Mr. G. Stuteville.

    SO glad to see your comments here, H.

  288. Haven, Little Jack and I are sending warm thoughts your way. As off topic as I typically am, I wanted to add that the new Kate Atkinson is another great read. Something to peruse while having your feet rubbed?

  289. Caryl, I blurbed the new Kate Atkinson. !!! Isn’t that funny? I adore her.

    Love to Little Jack.

  290. ugh…debate . . . debate . . . save me!

  291. decided to surf some friend’s websites:

    check out this art: about divine/avatars/childhood memories: this is the statement, then review the series, Farmer In The Dell . . . very evocative and reminds of – POETRY . . .

    http://www.ericlhansen.com/Artist.asp?ArtistID=19529&Akey=E4WXEJ79

  292. Haven my silent hopes have been with you.

    My Mom used to have them too. Then the wonderful Phenobarbital fix in the early 70’s.
    Horrific for a child to see.

    Waiting to hear about New Orleans !

  293. Nice photos, Sher. The decaying dollhouse reminds me of Lori Nix’s exquisite photos of models, particularly her series ‘The City’:

    http://www.lorinix.net/inside.php3?kateg=21

    ‘The Library’ is particularly haunting.

  294. i am slain by the RENEWAL poem. it arrives as i realize that yes, the clean break is best, but one must be prepared to bleed. after several decades, it’s astonishing that i essentially haven’t learned one thing, but i keep repeating the same lessons. i am past even the place of regret or tears. i just receive the lesson,now, and wait for grace and for the renewal of the lesson.

  295. I liked Renewal, too. There is no such thing as a clean break; they’re all bloody and messy. the challenge is to keep the infection out.

  296. John M – we must curate a show together – – decay and disuse . . . I haven’t curated in a year or so, I’m up for a new challenge. Fossil, what is your take?

  297. La Mieux – that is where my friend John’s work was on display during Katrina – he lost that whole series of work . . .

    I am afraid of New Orleans since I attended a mardi gras back in 89 or 90 and there were guns being shot here there and yonder and I had a police escort to take me sketching in the garden district cemeteries . . . I’m telling you I was freaked out. But I would give many monies for a bag or warm, drippy biegnets RIGHT NOW.

  298. Haven – I’m sure you have many drs and many theories. I used to get seizures with migraines and I was finally put on TOPOMAX which is an anticonvulsant. It worked for me. It has still never been explained and who knows if they will come back . . . but nothing since 2001 like the seizure pain. Still get migraines but they are controlled and managed with basic medications.

  299. Not sure where or why this one popped into my head. I awakened to the sound of the rain falling through the maple tree that’s in the backyard outside our bedroom window and I had the first part of the following poem resonating in my head. It’s been raining here since yesterday afternoon. Off and on, just a soft rain. Nice, calm, soothing. Indulge me. It’s not often anymore that I do poetry, neither the reading nor writing of it. (I have the feeling that is all changing)

    5 am

    I lie awake in our bed
    hearing the rain whisper
    through ancient oak
    on its descent
    to inescapable
    fate.

    Around me the house slumbers
    and I aware and listening,
    hear each drop when
    upon meeting fate,
    utter softly
    “oh!”

  300. Sher – we could call it ‘The Used World’ – what do you think?? 🙂

    And shoe photos are coming soon, I promise.

  301. John M –

    let’s do it . . . i’m excited.

    I think I was a wee bit “high” last night after so much meditating . . . it’s a wonder I wasn’t walking through walls (of which I am reading right now, I mean, I am reading Phillip Smith’s Walking through walls) . . . maybe I am still high.

  302. haven introduced me to sarah arvio, a brilliant poet whose new book is available signed by her, at randomhouse.com.

    this is the poem i wanted to end Split with, just a poem at the end of the book, as i did with The Zygote Chronicles. but publishing houses no long want to try to buy or obtain permission for whole poems: more’s the pity. it’s still one of the best poems i know about emerging from loss into an informed, full blooded life.

    How I Yearn

    I had been missing them very badly,
    that day and that day and the next–and yet
    the solace they offered was imperfect,

    airborne and volatile. I invoked them,
    yes, often, in lieu of human contact.
    Not that they weren’t human, just abstracted

    from humanness on the physical plane.
    But why had they deserted me? I knew
    the answer: for spurning them out of hand.

    But where, in that case, did they swirl off to?
    Did they rise higher, higher, and vanish
    into some upper ether or did they

    betrayingly visit someone else who
    might at that moment seem more receptive?
    Calling them back after a desertion

    was never simple: I had to turn my mood
    soft, bright, calm and dreamily attentive;
    then, after a time, they would slip back in,

    one by one, refiguring their spirals
    in those inevitable rows of seven.
    Would they, I once found the courage to ask,

    weave together and net the air for me,
    linking and looping their remembered limbs,
    to break softly my falling if I fell?

    Cradle me, oh cradle me, I whispered.
    That was not a service they could do, though.
    Life is so complicated for us here,

    so troublesome, really, that I wondered
    how they found theirs. Did they love it up there
    cutting their spirals into cold fronts and

    turning somersaults with the storms? Did they
    nestle cozy into their troughs of air,
    basking in the serene and glossy heights,

    the breathtaking vistas of blue-gray seas,
    the pink-tinted cloudscapes, the high music–
    Or did they, as we do, long for blankets

    and warm bodies? So I broached that question
    when they came soft-shoeing back in this time.
    “No memory, no thought,” one lipped to me,

    can stand in for the loss of a life of touch.”
    “Amen,” I said, and that’s the life I want.
    So I brushed the air to be rid of them.

    — Sarah Arvio

  303. ” … Earth’s crammed with heaven,
    And every common bush afire with God;
    But only [s]he who sees, takes off [her] shoes,
    The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries …”

    ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning, AURORA LEIGH

  304. Hallelujah Haven’s back! I hope you’re feeling well, our collective prayers have been with you. Anyway, I’ll embark to see what goodies you have prepared for us on your next post…..

  305. Haven, there are people here on earth who honestly channel something greater than themselves so that mere mortals can be lifted up by a hand held out. You and Linda Pastan and Hafiz, Thich Nhat Hanh, there are so many. Not exactly a poem, but this from Thich Nhat Hanh, “”Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord; or words that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.” Kind of funny, coming from me. Don’t you think?

  306. My word, I missed all this. I got home, I wrote the new blog, I started answering those posts. And all along you were working magic and drawing down the stars while I was traveling or sleeping. I’m stunned and humbled and I thank you all with my whole heart.

  307. Cheers, Look at the photos of my new emo haircut
    at http://tinyurl.com/5bts22

  308. Emoboy: COOL.

  309. hi, Give something for help those hungry people from Africa or India,
    I created this blog about that subject:
    in http://tinyurl.com/65dptv

  310. Since a couple of years I’m reading poems and still I can find poems that can enspire me


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