Thursday, November 3, 2011
The predicament of a visionary poet at any time is difficult.
The poems one desires to write cannot be written merely by
desire, or by intellect or learning or will or technical
artistry--though they also cannot be written without desire,
intellect, learning, will and artistry. Beyond all these, inspiration
must come, and when it comes one must be ready. The
readiness is everything. It involves everything listed above,
plus a life's work.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
But while Mr. Bergen [Peter Bergan, in his book, The Longest War] worries that 'many thousands of underemployed, disaffected men in the Muslim world will continue to embrace bin Laden’s doctrine of violent anti-Westernism,' Ms. Wright is considerably more positive, asserting that a decade after 9/11, 'the Islamic world is now in the throes of a counterjihad' aimed at routing 'extremism in its many forms' and that this 'counterjihad will define the next decade as thoroughly as the extremists dominated the last one.'"
from a New York Times book review by Michiko Kakutani, August 1, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
I would want to plant a tree
not for the fruit
is not the one that was planted
in the earth for the first time
with the sun already
touching its roots
and the clouds passing
over its leaves
(from The Rain in the Trees, Alfred A. Knopf, 1988)
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Leads by the hand her little child to bed,
Half willing, half reluctant to be led,
And leave his broken playthings on the floor,
Still gazing at them through the open door,
Nor wholly reassured and comforted
By promises of others in their stead,
Which, though more splendid, may not please him more;
So Nature deals with us, and takes away
Our playthings one by one, and by the hand
Leads us to rest so gently, that we go
Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay,
Being too full of sleep to understand
How far the unknown transcends the what we know.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
The Enkindled Spring
by D. H. Lawrence
This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.
I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.
And I, what fountain of fire am I among
This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng
Of flames, a shadow that's gone astray, and is lost.
from Complete Poems, published by Penguin Classics
Saturday, March 5, 2011
by Edgar Allan Poe
There are some qualities—some incorporate things,
That have a double life, which thus is made
A type of that twin entity which springs
From matter and light, evinced in solid and shade.
There is a two-fold Silence—sea and shore—
Body and soul. One dwells in lonely places,
Newly with grass o'ergrown; some solemn graces,
Some human memories and tearful lore,
Render him terrorless: his name's "No More."
He is the corporate Silence: dread him not!
No power hath he of evil in himself;
But should some urgent fate (untimely lot!)
Bring thee to meet his shadow (nameless elf,
That haunteth the lone regions where hath trod
No foot of man,) commend thyself to God!
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
If we take our vulnerable shell to be our true identity, if we think our mask is our true face, we will protect it with fabrications even at the cost of violating our own truth. This seems to be the collective endeavor of society: the more busily men dedicate themselves to it, the more certainly it becomes a collective illusion, until in the end we have the enormous, obsessive, uncontrollable dynamic of fabrications designed to protect mere fictitious identities - "selves," that is to say, regarded as objects.
Thomas Merton, Raids on the Unspeakable (New York: New Directions) 15
The House by Richard Wilbur
Sometimes, on waking, she would close her eyes
For a last look at that white house she knew
In sleep alone, and held no title to,
And had not entered yet, for all her sighs.
What did she tell me of that house of hers?
White gatepost; terrace; fanlight of the door;
A widow's walk above the bouldered shore;
Salt winds that ruffle the surrounding firs.
Is she now there, wherever there may be?
Only a foolish man would hope to find
That haven fashioned by her dreaming mind.
Night after night, my love, I put to sea.
from Anterooms: New Poems and Translation
by Richard Wilbur