Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Another old and very favorite poem.
If I when my wife is sleeping
and the baby and Kathleen
and the sun is a flame-white disc
in silken mists
above shining trees,—
if I in my north room
dance naked, grotesquely
before my mirror
waving my shirt round my head
and singing softly to myself:
"I am lonely, lonely.
I was born to be lonely,
I am best so!"
If I admire my arms, my face,
my shoulders, flanks, buttocks
against the yellow drawn shades,—
Who shall say I am not
the happy genius of my household?
William Carlos Williams
Monday, November 23, 2009
Another most beloved poem...A love sonnet turned quite on its head, and one of the few I committed to steadfast memory.
EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY
Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.
Friday, November 20, 2009
"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."
George Bernard Shaw
Epistle Dedicatory to Arthur Bingham Walkley
Man and Superman: a Comedy and a Philosophy
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The following is without question, among my favorite poems by Dickinson, or any poet for that matter. It has a beautiful pace. It is maddeningly symbolic, sexual, with all the images of her own diminution up against the the boundless, dangerous sea and the safety of solidity and domesticity. I once wrote a pretty good paper about it in the only graduate course I ever took in college. My professor strongly urged me to submit it for the Dept Awards. Naturally, i declined.
"The shore is safer...but I love to buffet the sea."
Emily Dickinson, in a letter
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 -
No One He seemed to know
And bowing - with a Mighty look -
At me - The Sea withdrew -
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races--the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses. Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are only princesses waiting for us to act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.
So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises before you larger than any you've ever seen, if an anxiety like light and cloud shadows moves over your hands and everything you do. You must realize that something has happened to you; that life has not forgotten you; it holds you in its hands and will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet