Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One Unhorsed Pasture

Grazing Horses
By Kay Ryan

Sometimes the
green pasture of the mind
tilts abruptly.
The grazing horses
struggle crazily
for purchase
on the frictionless
nearly vertical
surface. Their
legs buckle
on the incline,
unhorsed by slant
they weren't
designed to climb
and can't.

One Midnight Battlement

...my Poet—every poet—is an insomniac. My own reads or wanders about our apartment for the best part of most nights. She told me she often feels she would give up every poem she's ever written for one good night's sleep. A friend of mine....tells me he finds it profoundly reassuring that while we ordinary mortals are asleep, there exist lit rooms containing anxious, vigilant souls. A terrible responsibility, he says, devolves upon the poet, that requires her never to be fully awake or asleep: at night, wakeful poets buoy humanity to the surface, to consciousness, preventing our slumbering bulk from sinking too far; during the day, these same poets anchor the madding masses to the depths. The world will end, he once told me, when the final poet awake closes her eyes. Last night I woke up sweating, having dreamed of sinking with the rest of humanity into cold oblivion. Sure enough my Poet was fast asleep beside me—the first deep sleep she'd entered in more than a week. So I knocked a pile of books to the floor, and returned to my blissful slumbers, much comforted by the thought that at least one poet would wander the midnight battlements, keep watch, and preserve us all for one more day.

–Naeem Murr

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One Discouraging Fowl

I don't know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens.

--E. B. White

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

One Unrealized Woman

As a woman she would of course have had to be loved, for in being loved the feminine achieves its realization...but on the other hand she was also an artist and had to be able to help herself.

--Rainer Maria Rilke on Clara Westhoff

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

One Stained-Glass Body

In this world
love has no color--
but how deeply my body
is stained by yours.

--Izumi Shikibu, translated by Jane Hirshfield