Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Three of My Favorite Poems

My much-loved, dog-earred poetry anthology.  The following poems are from this book.

"Poetry has to do with the non-rational parts of man.  For a poet, a human being is a mystery....this is a religious feeling."  ~Czeslaw Milosz

The Journey
By Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.


By Archibald MacLeish

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit

As old medallions to the thumb

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown -

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind -

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

A poem should be equal to:
Not true

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea -

A poem should not mean
But be


Late Fragment
By Raymond Carver

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.



Eric Alder said...

A teriffic trio of poems, Marions!

That last one reminds me of the first part in my own trio-post of today.

DEFINITION: taking glory in the gaining of weight.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

Thank you for the gift of poetry today.

ds said...

I do love that Oliver poem. MacLeish answers a question--the origin of that quote "a poem should not mean but be". But Carver? Divine.
Thank you.

Wine and Words said...

I love the first one. Copy, paste, tack to wall. Another hole in worn plaster. Well worth it.

Love you!!

Kelly said...

How to pick a favorite of these three!!? They're all wonderful!

I think I've read the first two before (love Mary Oliver), but 'Late Fragment' is new to me.


Opaque said...

All of them are exquisite in their own way.

Woman in a Window said...

Marion, I can't thank you enough for what I now call my copy of that anthology. I reach for it to moor me, and to coax me to soar. It is a good good thing.

These three must be held in the mouth like grandfather hard candies. Much to savor.


quid said...

What a great trilogy! I agree with you that they are most choosable.


Serena said...

Wonderful selections, all of which "speak" to me today.

TheChicGeek said...

Oh, so beautiful, Marion. The Journey by Mary Oliver is my all time favorite! Thank you for sharing these treasures today :)

Rick said...

Hi Marion
I really liked the journey.
seems to be where I'm at. Thanks

Boonie S said...

I enjoyed this. Thanks.

All the best, Boonie

Terresa said...

I love Raymond Carver, Oliver, too. The MacLeish poem is a new one to me, and I am smitten already by it.

Hope your end of August is clearing way for a brilliant autumn, my favorite time of year...

Janelle Goodwin said...

I love how you expose us to all the wonderful poetry, Marion. The Mary Oliver poem resonated deeply with me. And the Late Fragment poem is almost like a prayer. Beautiful!

She Writes said...

The third one... sigh...