Friday, April 28, 2017

A New Poem...



Dear Garden:

Newly planted in fresh, organic soil---
the first rain is approaching.

Are your fragrant leaves
quivering in anticipation, or
in naked fear of the unknown?

Does the thunder rattling your roots
cause them to retract defensively or
shiver and expand at the unexpected thrill?

And what of the lightning flashing
like fireworks at midnight?
Are you confounded by illumination
in the obsidian darkness or are you
reaching skyward in eager anticipation
of the sporadic electrified light?

Do you feel the ecstasy of a tiny blossom
becoming a heavy, luscious, red tomato?

Do you recall the dry, embryonic safety
of the seed, the void from whence you came?

And when all your food is taken, ripped
from your stems---do you mourn the loss
or exalt in the hundreds of seeds
you so generously left behind?

O, garden, mirror of all of life,
how I envy your rich, transitory,
fecund life...

Marion Lawless
4/26/17

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dearest Rose, A Repost from 2012

Woman Writing Letter by Henry O'Hara Clive (1881 - 1960)


Dearest Rose,
For the first time I understand why men mortgage their souls for a diamond the size of a skipping stone.  I understand why dragonflies mate on the wind, their abdomens a perfect flying heart.  I know the thrill of the match as it lights the fire---and the fire’s joy as it consumes all it touches.  I even know the ashes’ ache as it smears your fingertips and touches your face as you wipe away your tears.

For the first time I feel.

I am the needle on the Victrola and you, the record.  Together, we become music.

Rose, you are the elusive drop of joy wrung from the heart of the Poppy making my brain a dream collage.

My heart becomes heavy.  I know this can’t last.  I weep as you shake your head smiling and capture my tears in a tiny cobalt blue bottle.  You say you will use them to season your stuffed zucchini blossoms and feed them back to me to negate my sorrow.

Rose, you are a love alchemist.

Heal me.

Yours,
Lilly

By Marion Lawless:  9/25/2012
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+

Thursday, March 30, 2017

My Mother on an Evening in Late Summer by Mark Strand

My Mother on an Evening in Late Summer

1

When the moon appears
and a few wind-stricken barns stand out
in the low-domed hills
and shine with a light
that is veiled and dust-filled
and that floats upon the fields,
my mother, with her hair in a bun,
her face in shadow, and the smoke
from her cigarette coiling close
to the faint yellow sheen of her dress,
stands near the house
and watches the seepage of late light
down through the sedges,
the last gray islands of cloud
taken from view, and the wind
ruffling the moon’s ash-colored coat
on the black bay.


2

Soon the house, with its shades drawn closed, will send
small carpets of lampglow
into the haze and the bay
will begin its loud heaving
and the pines, frayed finials
climbing the hill, will seem to graze
the dim cinders of heaven.
And my mother will stare into the starlanes,
the endless tunnels of nothing,
and as she gazes,
under the hour’s spell,
she will think how we yield each night
to the soundless storms of decay
that tear at the folding flesh,
and she will not know
why she is here
or what she is prisoner of
if not the conditions of love that brought her to this.


3

My mother will go indoors
and the fields, the bare stones
will drift in peace, small creatures --
the mouse and the swift -- will sleep
at opposite ends of the house.
Only the cricket will be up,
repeating its one shrill note
to the rotten boards of the porch,
to the rusted screens, to the air, to the rimless dark,
to the sea that keeps to itself.
Why should my mother awake?
The earth is not yet a garden
about to be turned. The stars
are not yet bells that ring
at night for the lost.
It is much too late.
From Mark Strand: Selected Poems, by Mark Strand, published by Atheneum. Copyright © 1979 by Mark Strand. Used with permission.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Snowfall is So Silent by Miguel De Unamuno

The Snowfall Is So Silent

The snowfall is so silent,
so slow,
bit by bit, with delicacy
it settles down on the earth
and covers over the fields.
The silent snow comes down
white and weightless; 
snowfall makes no noise,
falls as forgetting falls, 
flake after flake.
It covers the fields gently
while frost attacks them
with its sudden flashes of white;
covers everything with its pure
and silent covering;
not one thing on the ground
anywhere escapes it.
And wherever it falls it stays,
content and gay,
for snow does not slip off 
as rain does,
but it stays and sinks in.
The flakes are skyflowers,
pale lilies from the clouds,
that wither on earth.
They come down blossoming
but then so quickly
they are gone;
they bloom only on the peak,
above the mountains,
and make the earth feel heavier
when they die inside.
Snow, delicate snow,
that falls with such lightness 
on the head,
on the feelings,
come and cover over the sadness
that lies always in my reason.
From Roots and Wings: Poetry from Spain 1900-1975, translated by Robert Bly

Friday, March 17, 2017

A New Poet by Linda Pastan



A New Poet

Finding a new poet
is like finding a new wildflower
out in the woods. You don't see

its name in the flower books, and
nobody you tell believes
in its odd color or the way

its leaves grow in splayed rows
down the whole length of the page. In fact
the very page smells of spilled

red wine and the mustiness of the sea
on a foggy day - the odor of truth
and of lying.

And the words are so familiar,
so strangely new, words
you almost wrote yourself, if only

in your dreams there had been a pencil
or a pen or even a paintbrush,
if only there had been a flower. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

More Olena Kalytiak Davis





The Scaffolding Inside You
By Olena Kalytiak Davis

Your thoughts have hung themselves from nails
like workshirts.

The sky has stopped
offering you reasons to live and your heart is the rock
you threw through each window
of what's deserted you, so you turn
to the burnt out building inside you: the scaffolding
overhead, the fallen beams,
the unsound framework;

according to the blue that's printed on the inside of your arms
you have no plans, no plans
uncovered, or uncovering: the offing is emptying,

the horizon empty

now that your sanity is
a tarp or a bedsheet
in the rough hands of the wind,

now that everything is hooded
in drop cloth.

It didn't happen
overnight. Or maybe it did:

your heart, the rock;
your soul, the Gothic barn.

You've even started envying the flowers their stems.

Will the Norther let up?

Will the moon ever again be so full of itself
that that ragged barn will fill with light, through its tin-covered roof?

You should bury more than the dead.
You should try harder.
You should give up.

From:  "And Her Soul Out of Nothing"


===========================

I'm listing, falling & yes, envying the flowers their stems... xo, ML

===========================

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Doors of My Heart by Deborah Digges

My heart on a vine... xo



Doors of My Heart
by Deborah Digges 

The wind blows
through the doors of my heart.
It scatters my sheet music
that climbs like waves from the piano, free of the keys.
Now the notes stripped, black butterflies,
flattened against the screens.
The wind through my heart
blows all my candles out.
In my heart and its rooms is dark and windy.
From the mantle smashes birds’ nests, teacups
full of stars as the wind winds round,
a mist of sorts that rises and bends and blows
or is blown through the rooms of my heart
that shatters the windows,
rakes the bedsheets as though someone
had just made love. And my dresses
they are lifted like brides come to rest
on the bedstead, crucifixes,
dresses tangled in trees in the rooms
of my heart. To save them
I’ve thrown flowers to fields,
so that someone would pick them up
and know where they came from.
Come the bees now clinging to flowered curtains.
Off with the clothesline pinning anything, my mother’s trousseau.
It is not for me to say what is this wind
or how it came to blow through the rooms of my heart.
Wing after wing, through the rooms of the dead
the wind does not blow. Nor the basement, no wheezing,
no wind choking the cobwebs in our hair.
It is cool here, quiet, a quilt spread on soil.
But we will never lie down again.

---------------------------------------------

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Farfallettina by Rilke




Farfallettina

Shaking all over, she arrives near the lamp, and her dizziness grants her one last vague reprieve before she goes up in flames. She has fallen into the green tablecloth, and upon that advantageous background she stretches out for a moment (for a unit of her own time which we have no way of measuring) the profusion of her inconceivable splendor. 

She looks like a miniature lady who is having a heart attack on the way to the theater. She will never arrive. Besides, where is there a theater for such fragile spectators?…. Her wings, with their tiny golden threads, are moving like a double fan in front of no face; and between them is this thin body, a bilboquet onto which two eyes like emerald balls have fallen back….

It is in you, my dear, that God has exhausted himself. He tosses you into the fire so that he can recover a bit of strength. (Like a little boy breaking into his piggy bank.)

~ Rainer Maria Rilke
From: The Complete French Poems, Poems and Dedications, 1920-26
translation: Stephen Mitchell

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Southern Winter

Southern Winter

Rain, rain, rain.

Humidity & teasingly
warm Southern air.
Ah, zone 9 winters,
so like life:  unpredictable.

Cold.

Sadness & pain sandwiched
between the rain-plastered leaves
on
the Goji Berry bush.

Low, dark, menacing (tornado?)
clouds:
The not-knowing,
the storm-fear---

season of death teasing life...
an annual event...
keeps you on your toes:

WAKE UP!

Winter:
always pregnant with Spring
here in the South---
bulbs push skyward
before Christmas.

Tiny new leaves
sprouting at the
base of the Goji bush---

roots exposed from
brutal rains...

LifeDeathLifeDeath,
tied eternally together
from the moment
of conception.

Ouroboros alchemy/
cycles of samsara.

Born to die or
born to live?

Your choice.

By Marion
1/25/17


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tear It Down by Jack Gilbert



Tear It Down
By Jack Gilbert

We find out the heart only by dismantling what
the heart knows. By redefining the morning,
we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
We can break through marriage into marriage.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond
affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.
But going back toward childhood will not help.
The village is not better than Pittsburgh.
Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh.
Rome is better than Rome in the same way the sound
of racoon tongues licking the inside walls
of the garbage tub is more than the stir
of them in the muck of the garbage. Love is not
enough. We die and are put into the earth forever.
We should insist while there is still time. We must
eat through the wildness of her sweet body already
in our bed to reach the body within the body.

*********************************************


I first posted this poem 8 years ago...EIGHT(!)  The comments!  They were like time travel, to reread them.  So much change in the lives of those who commented...and in mine, too, of course.  Several of my blog friends dead...no use whitewashing it...dead and missed so very much.

This remains, and always will be, my favorite Jack Gilbert poem.  xo