Like You

Like you I
love love, life, the sweet smell
of things, the sky-blue
landscape of January days.

And my blood boils up
and I laugh through eyes
that have known the buds of tears.

I believe the world is beautiful
and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.

And that my veins don’t end in me
but in the unanimous blood
of those who struggle for life,
love,
little things,
landscape and bread,
the poetry of everyone.

Roque Dalton  translated from Spanish by Jack Hirschman

From Poetry Like Bread: Poets of the Political Imagination
Curbstone Press, 2000

 

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Away!

I AM the tender voice calling ‘Away,’
Whispering between the beatings of the heart,
And inaccessible in dewy eyes
I dwell, and all unkissed on lovely lips,
Lingering between white breasts inviolate,
And fleeting ever from the passionate touch,
I shine afar, till men may not divine
Whether it is the stars or the beloved
They follow with wrapt spirit. And I weave
My spells at evening, folding with dim caress,
Aerial arms and twilight dropping hair,
The lonely wanderer by wood or shore,
Till, filled with some deep tenderness, he yields,
Feeling in dreams for the dear mother heart
He knew, ere he forsook the starry way,
And clings there, pillowed far above the smoke
And the dim murmur from the duns of men.
I can enchant the trees and rocks, and fill
The dumb brown lips of earth with mystery,
Make them reveal or hide the god. I breathe
A deeper pity than all love, myself
Mother of all, but without hands to heal:
Too vast and vague, they know me not. But yet
I am the heartbreak over fallen things,
The sudden gentleness that stays the blow,
And I am in the kiss that foemen give
Pausing in battle, and in the tears that fall
Over the vanquished foe, and in the highest;
Among the Danaan gods, I am the last
Council of mercy in their hearts where they
Mete justice from a thousand starry thrones.

— AE
George William Russell was born 10 April 1867.

 

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George William Russell (1867-1935), better known by his spiritual name “AE” (short for Aeon; simultaneously the mortal incarnation of the Logos and the representation of the immortal self). AE was a great man of a great many talents: poet, painter, novelist, economist, editor, critic, mystic, pacifist, patriot, literary facilitator, visionary.

If God were a Poem

If God were a poem, she would be written in a primeval hieroglyph, indecipherable to man, but transcribed from an oral tradition every forager of seeds and berries would understand with intuitive precision.

If God were a peom, she would contain all words beauteous, which is to say all words known and unknown–all can be transfixed and transmuted by their composition to be beauty itself.

If God were a poem, she must last a lifetime of readings or a thousand lifetimes, in case we should reincarnate and forget to forget, and so must contain strophes that number as the moments of life.

If God were a poem, she would cry out against the futility of notation, until men, compelled to acknowledge the justice of her plaint, must write only a single ellipsis, denoted by a symbol not of any earthly script, and holding the place for that which cannot be spoke nor written.

If God were a poem, she would be written by numberless poets, all channeling the same verse in their own vernacular, and she would be as often lost in the library stacks as re-discovered by those few who had evolved already beyond any desire to read.

If God were a poem, you would not be reading her here.

— Josh Mitteldorf

Random Thoughts

Ideas appear in my head.
Dreams. pictures, music.
Entire poems, sometimes.
From whence do they come?

Imagine that the word “random” had
never been invented. What does it
mean,
but “there are some questions you must not

Ask.

These are the sensations to which you are to attend.
These are where you shall find your meaning.
Pay no attention to the small, still voice within.”

“Random” < Old English < German, “to gallop.
To run fast is to have no purpose or direction.

Or perhaps the speed
precludes
conscious purpose,
and we are guided by an inner/outer/manifest.

Random.

— JJM

Dreaming

But for this pillow, I might have no dreams—
I seek in vain for dream within its down
And when a nightmare rages in my crown
The pillow’s far away, or so it seems.

It’s when my heart dissolves in perfect bliss
The pillow, all too near, disturbs my joy
And inner state of rapture must alloy
As senses tug upon my consciousness.

In light of day, the dream fades like a ghost
But in the dream’s pale light the world’s forgot
So, which rich forms are real and which are not?
I’m free to choose the one I fancy most.

The world is hard, the pillow’s stuff is soft
One holds my frame, one keeps my soul aloft.

JJM, after Yuan Hong-Dao 袁宏道 (1568-1610)

dreaming

The Beautiful Changes

One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides
The Queen Anne’s Lace lying like lilies
On water; it glides
So from the walker, it turns
Dry grass to a lake, as the slightest shade of you
Valleys my mind in fabulous blue Lucernes.

The beautiful changes as a forest is changed
By a chameleon’s tuning his skin to it;
As a mantis, arranged
On a green leaf, grows
Into it, makes the leaf leafier, and proves
Any greenness is deeper than anyone knows.

Your hands hold roses always in a way that says
They are not only yours; the beautiful changes
In such kind ways,
Wishing ever to sunder
Things and things’ selves for a second finding, to lose
For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.

— Richard Wilbur, born this day in 1924

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