Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Edna St. Vincent Millay - Only For Hardcore Poetry Lovers....


I fell head over heels in love with Edna St. Vincent Millay as a young teen.  So hard was my fall that I memorized the two poems below the summer I discovered her poetry.  Books and poetry were my lifeline then, just as they still are now.  (I also memorized "The Raven" by Poe that same summer.  Would to God I still had half of those brain cells....)  Yes, bloggers, like I said, hardcore. 

The biography, "Savage Beauty" by Nancy Milford is an amazing, enlightening, disturbing, fabulous book.  It knocked Ms. Millay slap off that pedestal I'd had her on for over 30 years.  But, lordy, what an amazing, gossipy, meaty book about one of the greatest poets who ever lived!  I have two copies of the book:  one hardcover, pristeen copy and one paperback copy that is dog-eared, hilighted and worn.  It's that good.  Hell, you don't even have to LIKE poetry, to enjoy this biography. 

Anyway, I couldn't let National Poetry Month pass without sharing two of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets.  Of course, every month is poetry month around here.  (Tee-Hee...) I beg you to take the time to read the whole of 'Renescence'.  You will not be disappointed. She wrote it when she was 19 year old, which blew my mind then, and still does now. 

Happy reading!

~Marion

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

God's World
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists, that roll and rise!

Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!

Long have I known a glory in it all,
But never knew I this;
Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart, -- Lord, I do fear
Thou'st made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me, -- let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~


Renascence
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

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;
These were the things that bounded me;
And I could 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, sick'ning, 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.

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 anguished 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 underground;
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-colored, multiform,
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-sepulchred 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!

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 in on him by and by.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Few Favorite Poems I Love & Read Often + My Existential Crisis

A sunrise near Venice, Louisiana by Hal Johnson, helicopter pilot.


Before the World Intruded
By Michele Rosenthal

Return me to those infant years,
before I woke from sleep,

when ideas were oceans crashing,
my dreams blank shores of sand.

Transport me fast to who I was
when breath was fresh as sight,

my new parts — unfragmented —
shielded faith from unkind light.

Draw for me a figure whole, so different
from who I am. Show me now

this picture: who I was
when I began.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

What Women Want
By Kim Addonizio
 
I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what's underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I'm the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I'll pull that garment
from its hanger like I'm choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I'll wear it like bones, like skin,
it'll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



God Says Yes To Me
Kaylin Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes

I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is

I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish

and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes

she said you can do just exactly
what you want to

Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph

my letters
Sweetcakes God said

who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is

Yes Yes Yes

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I'm having an existential crisis which is defined as:  a stage of development at which an individual questions the very foundations of their life: whether their life has any meaning, purpose or value.

An existential crisis may result from:
  • The sense of being alone and isolated in the world;
  • A new-found grasp or appreciation of one's mortality;
  • Believing that one's life has no purpose or external meaning;
  • Awareness of one's freedom and the consequences of accepting or rejecting that freedom...
I will be researching my malady all day reclining in a lawn chair under a tree in my yard with a stack of books beside me.  :-)  I'll keep y'all posted on my progress or lack thereof...

Blessings, Bloggers,

~Marion, seeker

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else. ~Emily Dickinson

~~~~~~~~~~

My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot. ~Ashleigh Brilliant

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be. ~Grandma Moses

~~~~~~~~~~

Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies. ~Erich Fromm

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

~~~~~~~~~~

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pearl Jam - Given to Fly



"Given To Fly"
By Pearl Jam

He could've tuned in, tuned in
But he tuned out
A bad time, nothing could save him
Alone in a corridor, waiting, locked out
He got up outta there, ran for hundreds of miles
He made it to the ocean, had a smoke in a tree
The wind rose up, set him down on his knee

A wave came crashing like a fist to the jaw
Delivered him wings, "Hey, look at me now"
Arms wide open with the sea as his floor
Oh, power, oh.........

He's.. flying

Whole

High.. wide, oh

He floated back down 'cause he wanted to share
His key to the locks on the chains he saw everywhere
But first he was stripped and then he was stabbed
By faceless men, well, fuckers
He still stands

And he still gives his love, he just gives it away
The love he receives is the love that is saved
And sometimes is seen a strange spot in the sky
A human being that was given to fly

High.. flying

Oh, oh

High.. flying

Oh, oh

He's flying

Oh, oh................

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Flowers are the Poetry of Earth...


"The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers." ~Basho



I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Afternoon on a Hill"




"How can one help shivering with delight when one's hot fingers close around the stem of a live flower, cool from the shade and stiff with newborn vigor!" ~Colette



"A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring." ~The Collected Later Poems of William Carlos Williams



Pluck not the wayside flower;
It is the traveler's dower.
~William Allingham
 

"If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom." ~Terri Guillemets

"A weed is but an unloved flower." ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox



"Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems." ~Rainer Maria Rilke








Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes...."




(Yes, it's totally about the cat imagery.)

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
By Thomas Stearns Eliot

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Idiot's Guide to Faking Your Own Death and Moving to Mexico by Jason Bredle

Decoupaged journal cover by Marion.

I love the poetry of Jason Bredle and the way he plays with language. His books are "A Twelve Step Guide" and "A Pocket Sized Map of My Heart" which is self-published.  The poem below is my favorite of his.   And yes, of course, it's totally about the dragonflies....

The Idiot's Guide to Faking Your Own Death and Moving to Mexico
By Jason Bredle

Every few seconds I check the Bible
to see what Jesus is saying about me. The answer
is always nothing. Sometimes

he's condemning me to eternal damnation,
but usually nothing. Tonight I am alone,
wearing my sex shorts, adrift amongst

the black suburban pools of eternal damnation.
No, I have not been in love. Yes,
I have been in love. I am speaking the language

in which no and yes mean the same, in which
apricot and goodbye mean the same.
I am remembering the kudzu of the awful season,

sitting with you beside the swamp for the last
time and neither of us knowing it was the last
time but yes the glass was hello and dragonfly.

Was it a blessing? They say so in this language.
Others say this language is dying, or already
dead. I speak it, nonetheless, while eating

apricots in the evening of eternal damnation
where you yell at the map and cut your wrist
and there is a darkness here that I have only shared

with my cat, like that guy in the movie who writes
graphic erotica and goes crazy. One says
pain near the black pool of everything,

my back is covered with wax. Every few
seconds I check the Bible to see what Jesus
is saying about me. The answer is always nothing,

aside from the time he lambasted the outfit I wore
to the People's Choice Awards. A green tuxedo.
Tonight, I am adrift in the suburb of the black sky,

I am speaking the language in which love
and apricot mean the same, in which pool
and death mean the same. I said goodbye

in a suburb like this, years ago. I said
goodbye in a suburb like this, years ago.
According to Hercules, if we make an angel

out of ourselves, that is what we are; if we make
a devil out of ourselves, that too is what
we are. See, this is what I am getting at.

It is the awful season and I am speaking
the language in which violence and God mean
the same, in which blood and dragonfly mean

the same. I am in the orchard of eternity
picking the goodbyes of damnation, I am licking
your dragonfly blood and speaking the language

in which pain means hello. A black pool,
a green sky. That is to say, each moment
without you is a vacant airport, each moment

without you is a glass apricot. Every few seconds
I check the Bible to see what Jesus is saying
about me. The answer is always nothing. Except

today, it's a bunch of weird stuff about how
I'm falling into a black pool in some suburb,
maybe Palatine or something, and just like that,

I've gone forever. I know! That's what I thought
too. This is the story, but in this language, this
is not the story. I am eating red ice,

harvesting a field of knives. I am speaking
the language in which heaven and earth mean
the same, in which sky and white mean the same.

O Lord, I made this dragonfly for you. Even
if you do not listen to it, just know, this
is how I have always felt about you. And I

am possessed. And I am a fatalist. Do you see
these bruises? Do you see these bruises?
They are a sad bouquet. They are a beautiful

scrapbook. I am floating. I am in love.
I am dead. On a perfect night, my back is covered
with wax. O Violence, but I did not want this hello.

O Lord, I made this dragonfly for you.
Even if You do not listen to it, just know, I made it
only for you.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Say hello to a dragonfly or two today.  I did.

Blessings,

~Marion~


"Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragonfly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky."  ~Dante Gabriel Rossetti

+++++++++

What was he doing, the great god Pan,
Down in the reeds by the river?
Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,
And breaking the golden lilies afloat
With the dragonfly on the river.

~Elizabeth Barrett Browning
 
+++++++++
 
From Icarus to present day
Man has wanted WINGS;
Yet the dragonfly can say
"I've always had the things".  ~Jean Walker Fox

++++++++++

Friday, April 9, 2010

Who Has Seen The Wind? By Christina Rossetti

'Stairway to  Heaven' at Hodges Gardens State Park

'Wind on Water' at Hodges Gardens

'Orange Poppies' - Flower Sunshine at Hodges Gardens

++++++++++

Who Has Seen the Wind?
By Christina Rossetti

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you.
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

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

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) was a British writer. She is one of the most important Victorian women poets, famous for "Goblin Market," and other works.  Writing about that religiousity and sensuality in Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market," Virginia Woolf once said: "Death, oblivion, and rest lap round your songs with their dark wave." But then, "a sound of scurrying and laughter is heard." And, Woolf says: "You pulled legs; you tweaked noses. You were at war with all humbug and pretence."

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

This poem about the Wind is one of the first poems I ever memorized and on a windy day like today, it always comes to my mind and does a little soft shoe tap dance in my head.  A friend(?) of mine posted a poem about the wind today which brought this poem to mind.  I tried to comment on it but could not because I've been 'unfriended' apparently.  It seems I lost a good friend by trying to protect another friend's heart.  Doesn't seem fair, does it?  But I guess that's life. 

It's a cool, sunny, totally stoned day here in the deep South.  I'll be planting tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, basil and baby Moonflowers before dark.  (Well, Ray will do the back work and I'll supervise.)  Yes, Spring has officially moved in and unpacked her suitcases.  I welcome her joyously, with open arms. 

I hope your day is as beautiful as mine is today.

Blessings,

Marion

+++++++++++++++++

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke


++++++++++++++++
 
I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. ~Ruth Stout


+++++++++++++++
 
April is a promise that May is bound to keep. ~Hal Borland


++++++++++++++
 
In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. ~Margaret Atwood
 
++++++++++++++
 
Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men. ~Chinese Proverb
 
+++++++++++++

Monday, April 5, 2010

Prayer to the Muse of Ordinary Life by Kate Daniels


Waterfall at Hodges Gardens State Park


Herb Garden at Hodges Gardens State Park



Prayer to the Muse of Ordinary Life
by Kate Daniels

I seek it in the steamy odor
of the iron pressing cotton shirts
in the heat of a summer afternoon,
in my daughter's ear, the warm pink
cone, curling inward. I seek it
in the dusty circles of the ceiling fan,
the kitchen counter with its painted shells
from Hilton Head, the creaking boards
in the bedroom floor, the coconut
cookies in the blue glass jar.
The hard brown knob of nutmeg nestled
in the silver grater and the lemon
yogurt that awaits. I seek it not
in books but in my life inscribed
in two brief words–– mother, wife
– the life I live as mistress of an unkempt
manse, volunteer at firstborn's
school, alternate Wednesdays'
aide at youngest's nursery, billpayer,
laundress, cook, shrewd purchaser of mid­-
priced minivan. I seek it
in the strophes of a life
like this, wondering what
it could be like, its narratives
drawn from the nursery and playpen,
its images besmirched with vomitus
and shit. The prayer I pray is this:

If you are here,
where are you?
If you exist,
what are you?
I beg you
to reveal yourself.
I will not judge,
I am not fancy.
My days are filled
with wiping noses
and bathing bottoms,
with boiling pots
of cheese-filled pasta
for toothless mouths
while reading Rilke,
weeping.

My life is broken
into broken pieces.
The fabric is rent.
Daily, I roll
the stone away
but all is dark
inside, unchanged.
The miracle has not
happened yet.

If you are anywhere
nearby, show me
anything at all
to prove you do exist:
a poem in a small, soiled
nightie, a lyric
in the sandbox voices
raised in woe.

Release a stanza
from the sink's hot suds
where dirty dishes glow.
Seal a message inside:
encourage me
to hold on.
Inform me
in detail
exactly how to do it.

From: "Poetry Daily - 366 Poems From the World's Most Popular Poetry Website", page 159, 160


Poetry anthologies are like giant buffets of poetry.  This one is amazing and I've just about worn it out from reading it over and over.  If you're new to poetry, anthologies are the way to go.

Happy Monday!

Love,

Marion

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"It is the job of poetry to clean up our word-clogged reality by creating silences around things." ~Stephen Mallarme

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"You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you." ~Joseph Joubert

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Legend of the Dogwood Tree


A Pink and a White Dogwood at Hodges Gardens State Park


A lighted cross hidden in the woods near our cabin at Hodges Gardens reflected in the lake.

The magnificent Pink Dogwood tree's flower.


The legend of the dogwood tree, author unknown, is as follows:

In Jesus' time, the dogwood grew
To a stately size and a lovely hue.
'Twas strong and firm it's branches interwoven
For the cross of Christ its timbers were chosen.
Seeing the distress at this use of their wood
Christ made a promise which still holds good:
"Never again shall the dogwood grow
Large enough to be used so.
Slender and twisted, it shall be
With blossoms like the cross for all to see.
As blood stains the petals marked in brown
The blossom's center wears a thorny crown.
All who see it will remember Me
Crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree.
Cherished and protected, this tree shall be
A reminder to all of my agony.

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I hope you enjoyed reading about the Dogwood tree.  I remember my Mama telling me this story when I was a little girl and I was happy to find it in poetry form online to share today. The woods here in Louisiana are peppered with many Dogwood trees this time of year and they are so beautiful.  I was overjoyed to get some closeup shots of their magnificent flowers when we were at Hodges Gardens last week.
Happy Easter, Everyone,

~Marion, thinking about our precious friend, Renee, in heaven on this Easter morning...

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"Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, "Christ is risen," but "I shall rise." ~Phillips Brooks

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"See the land, her Easter keeping,
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices..." ~Charles Kingsley

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"And he departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find Him. For He departed, and behold, He is here." ~St Augustine

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dear Colette by Erica Mann Jong

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (January 28, 1873 – August 3, 1954)


Dear Colette
By Erica Mann Jong

Dear Colette,
I want to write to you
about being a woman
for that is what you write to me.

I want to tell you how your face
enduring after thirty, forty, fifty . . .
hangs above my desk
like my own muse.

I want to tell you how your hands
reach out from your books
& seize my heart.
I want to tell you how your hair
electrifies my thoughts
like my own halo.

I want to tell you how your eyes
penetrate my fear
& make it melt.

I want to tell you
simply that I love you--
though you are "dead"
& I am still “alive.”

Suicides & spinsters--
all our kind!

Even decorous Jane Austen
never marrying,
& Sappho leaping,
& Sylvia in the oven,
& Anna Wickham, Tsvetaeva, Sara Teasdale,
& pale Virginia floating like Ophelia,
& Emily alone, alone, alone . . . .

But you endure & marry,
go on writing,
lose a husband, gain a husband,
go on writing,
sing & tap dance
& you go on writing,
have a child & still
you go on writing,
love a woman, love a man
& go on writing.
You endure your writing
& your life.

Dear Colette,
I only want to thank you:

for your eyes ringed
with bluest paint like bruises,
for your hair gathering sparks
like brush fire,
for your hands which never willingly
let go,
for your years, your child, your lovers,
all your books . . .

Dear Colette,
you hold me
to this life.

#####################################

"Colette was the surname of the fabulous French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known for her novels "Gigi" and "Chéri".  Her writing career bloomed following the publication of Chéri in 1920. Chéri tells a story of the end of a six-year affair between an aging retired courtesan, Léa, and a pampered young man, Chéri. She published around 50 novels in total, many with autobiographical elements. Her themes can be roughly divided into idyllic natural tales or dark struggles in relationships and love. All her novels were marked by clever observation and dialogue with an intimate, explicit style." ~From:  Wikipedia

Colette is one of my favorite female authors.  She was a wild woman, ahead of her time, and a prolific writer.  She lived a colorful life---once causing a near riot by kissing a woman onstage at the Moulin Rouge.  If you've never read her, then definitely check out her books. I have "The Collected Stories of Colette" and it's a good book to begin exploring her writing.

I was introduced to Erica Jong when I read her novel "Fear of Flying" when it first came out around 1973.  I didn't know then that she was also an amazing poet until a friend gave me her book of poems, "Becoming Light" in the early 1990's.  I devoured it in only one day and it, of course, led me to more poets.  (She's the poet who introduced me to the amazing Pablo Neruda).  Warning:  Reading poetry leads to buying and reading more poetry.  It's a perfect rondo!  This is an awesome book overflowing with light, as the title suggests.  We MUST buy and read poetry to support other poets and to keep poetry in this world.

 
I don't know if y'all are aware, but April is National Poetry Month.  There's lots of yummy information about it at Poets.org if you're interested:
 
http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/41
 
I'm going to try to introduce you to new poets that I've never before posted about.  As I've said many times, I have a collectcion of over 300 books (and still growing) of poetry, so I have a wealth of poets to choose from.  I'll sprinkle a few of my poems in from time to time.  Spring has me busy sprouting seeds, planting seeds, washing yellow Pine pollen off my truck every day and sitting on the ground pulling weeds.  But I always make time for poetry.
 

And what does a black cat doing serious cat yoga have to do with poetry?  Why, my Gir IS poetry!!!  He's the awesomest black cat I've ever owned.  His Mama tried to kill him 3 times when he was first born...but I saved him all 3 times.  :-)

Have a wonderful Easter, everyone.

Love & Blessings,

~Marion~

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Poetry, like the moon, does not advertise anything. ~William Blissett

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We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. ~Dead Poet's Society
 
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Friday, April 2, 2010

Tree Memory by Marion and Tao Chapter 11


Tree Memory
By Marion
(inspired by Tao Chapter 11)

The absence of my
old Oak tree
is as strong
a presence
as the tree was.
In my memory the
tree still stands.
I sit in its
shade on the
stump where it
no longer is,
dreaming.

4/1/10

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - Chapter 11

Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.

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"A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen." ~Edward de Bono

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

The leaves of memory seemed to make
A mournful rustling in the dark.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
 
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One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.

~Emily Dickinson, "Time and Eternity"

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