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 use whitewashing it...dead and missed so very much.

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

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Inessential Things by Brian Patten

My silky kitty, Garfield, in one of his favorite spots.

Inessential Things
What do cats remember of days?
They remember the ways in from the cold,
The warmest spot, the place of food.
They remember the places of pain, their enemies,
the irritation of birds, the warm fumes of the soil,
the usefulness of dust.
They remember the creak of a bed, the sound
of their owner´s footsteps,
the taste of fish, the loveliness of cream.
Cats remember what is essential of days.
Letting all other memories go as of no worth
they sleep sounder than we,
whose hearts break remembering so many
inessential things. 
© Brian Patten

Friday, January 6, 2017

Complaint by James Wright

Moonlady tangled in trees.

Getting over the flu.  It's an icy day in Swamplandia...rare & beautiful & magical here in the warm Deep South.


She’s gone. She was my love, my moon or more.
She chased the chickens out and swept the floor,
Emptied the bones and nut-shells after feasts,
And smacked the kids for leaping up like beasts.
Now morbid boys have grown past awkwardness;
The girls let stitches out, dress after dress,
To free some swinging body’s riding space
And form the new child’s unimagined face.
Yet, while vague nephews, spitting on their curls,
Amble to pester winds and blowsy girls,
What arm will sweep the room, what hand will hold
New snow against the milk to keep it cold?
And who will dump the garbage, feed the hogs,
And pitch the chickens’ heads to hungry dogs?
Not my lost hag who dumbly bore such pain:
Childbirth at midnight sassafras and rain.
New snow against her face and hands she bore,
And now lies down, who was my moon or more.
“Complaint” by James Wright from Above the River: Complete Poems. © Noonday Press, 1992.