Monday, April 30, 2012

(14-century  Sufi poet Hafiz)

All this time
The Sun never says 
To the Earth,
"You owe me."
What happens
With a love like that.
It lights the

7th poem for April


Until I had seen your face
over the firm folded fingers
of our hands

Until I had met your gaze,
strong and blue as summer,
as we stepped

I knew not what I thought of you;
and after that I knew naught else
as I spun dizzy under your arm
and my world continued to whirl.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gilead (a novel)

This is one beautiful book. Marilynn Robinson, where have you been all my life? Here are a few quotes from this afternoon's reading.
"I could never have imaged this world if I hadn't spent almost eight decades walking around in it. People talk about how wonderful the world seems to children, and that's true enough. But children think they will grow into it and understand it, and I know very well that I will not, and would not if I had a dozen lives. That's clearer to me every day. Each morning I'm like Adam waking up in Eden, amazed at the cleverness of my hands and at the brilliance pouring into my mind through my eyes - old hands, old eyes, old mind, a very diminished Adam altogether, and still it is just as remarkable." (p66)
"In eternity this world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe, the ballad they sing in the streets. Because I don't imagine any reality putting this one in the shade entirely, and I think piety forbids me to try." (p57)
"You and Tobias are hopping around in the sprinkler. The sprinkler is a magnificent invention because it exposes raindrops to sunshine. That does occur in nature, but it is rare. When I was in seminary I used to go sometimes to watch the Baptists down at the river. It was something to see the preacher lifting the one who was being baptized up out of the water and the water pouring off the garments and the hair. It did look like a birth or a resurrection." (p63)
"...There is nothing more astonishing than a human face. . . It has something to do with incarnation. You feel your obligation to a child when you have seen it and held it. Any human face is a claim on you, because you can't help but understand the singularity of it, the courage and loneliness of it. But this is truest of the face of an infant." (p66)

Friday, April 20, 2012

To Wake Up

Reading Annie Dillard's Teaching a Stone to Talk. Wow.
"We teach our children one thing only, as we were taught: to wake up. We teach our children to look alive there, to join by words and activities the life of human culture on the planet's crust. As adults we are almost all adept at waking up. We have so mastered the transition we have forgotten we ever learned it. Yet it is a transition we make a hundred times a day, as, like so many will-less dolphins, we plunge and surface, lapse and emerge. We live half our waking lives and all of our sleeping lives in some private, useless, and insensible waters we never mention or recall. Useless, I say. Valueless, I might add - until someone hauls their wealth up to the surface and into the wide-awake city, in a form that people can use." (pp22-3)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

poem 6 for April

This is kind of cheating because it isn't really complete. But I'm not sure what to do with it right now. And I am thinking of my grandma, who has been asked if she was a sun worshiper because of how brown she gets in summertime. Ergo, hic est.

Summer Affair

her skin was that of one
acquainted with the sun
and theirs was no casual flirtation

Friday, April 13, 2012

Clouds on Paradise Ridge

Apple Pie: poem #5 for April

Apple Pie

Into the oversized silver bowl
nearly-translucent half-moons falling,
thin pieces stacking themselves haphazard.
At the first few a faint ringing
vibrates the stainless steel, as a voice
rings the guitar when it's just the right tone
Next to the bowl, discarded bits of skin
a colored-and-pale curve of debris, shaven
deftly from flesh bound for glory, like the pile
of wood and and bark by a carpenter's bench.

Scents deepening with the cutting and stirring,
first the faint, lively smell of cool fruit,
then the quiet sweet of grains of sugar
and the brown strength of ground cinnamon
and finally the heady anointing droplets
of pure vanilla, dark as midnight.

Past the white-on-white dance uniting
dry dust of wheat and salt from the sea,
the slick of lard and cold of water;
and the draping and crimping of crust
over the edge of slant sides of glass;
and past the moment the filling,
faintly colored and gathering juices,
slips and drips from bowl into pan.
Past the covering, the pricking design,
and step away for sixty minutes, until
at last the door swings down and open.

Pale brown crust, puffed and settled
around and over its treasure, breathing nectar,
the overflow-puddle of juice blackening
in the floor of the oven, dark souvenir –
and you, reeling in the rolling heatwave
heavy like summer, bee-glad, swelling with sun,
suddenly smitten with heavenly grain
and heaps of glorified fruit.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

All the world is yours

That all the World is yours, your very senses and the inclinations of your mind declare. The Works of God manifest, His laws testify, and His word Both prove it. His attributes most sweetly make it evident. The powers of your soul confirm it. So that in the midst of such rich demonstrations, you may infinitely delight in God as your Father, Friend and Benefactor, in yourself as His Heir, Child and Bride, in the whole World, as the Gift and Token of His love; neither can anything but Ignorance destroy your joys. For if you know yourself, or God, or the World, you must of necessity enjoy it.

-Thomas Traherne

Monday, April 9, 2012

April poem #4


Coffee at the table where we used to sit.
The same playlist with only a few added songs,
but I am completely different. (Deborah Gilbert Ryan, Coffee Cup)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

#3 for national poetry month: Paschal Paradox

Paschal Paradox

Only the one who willingly let his flesh
be flayed and forced to hang
can fall to Hades, fall with death
and lift the dead again with him.

Only the hands stretched out wide
and tortured between wood and nail
can stretch in love to those
who tore them, and restore them.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

God's Providence

The providence of God is like Hebrew words—it can be read only backwards.

-John Flavel

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

#2 for national poetry month

Holy Week

tempestuous skies
and dark, muddy earth,
the sun breaking out once in a while
to help spring the early crocuses from the prison of cold soil.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Hypnosis - poem #1

It's National Poetry Month or something like that. Here is the beginning of my attempt to post even more poetry than I usually do in a month. And most of it is hopefully going to be from my own notebooks.

Warmth is curling at the air and wind is winding up
and pulling each of us inch by inch outdoors,
and sun is drawing like a magnet all the green
from underneath the soil up and outward.
And not a one of us resists the spell,
the chains compelling heart and flesh,
but we embrace the burn of this intoxication.