a forest of torches

Caedmon
by Denise Levertov

All others talked as if
talk were a dance.
Clodhopper I, with clumsy feet
would break the gliding ring.
Early I learned to
hunch myself
close by the door:
then when the talk began
I’d wipe my
mouth and wend
unnoticed back to the barn
to be with the warm beasts,
dumb among body sounds
of the simple ones.
I’d see by a twist
of lit rush the motes
of gold moving
from shadow to shadow
slow in the wake
of deep untroubled sighs.
The cows
munched or stirred or were still. I
was at home and lonely,
both in good measure. Until
the sudden angel affrighted me—light effacing
my feeble beam,
a forest of torches, feathers of flame, sparks upflying:
but the cows as before
were calm, and nothing was burning,
nothing but I, as that hand of fire
touched my lips and scorched my tongue
and pulled my voice
into the ring of the dance.

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her rabbit cloak and fastly hopped

Witch of the Pines

Witch of the Pines put on her rabbit cloak
and fastly hopped down a near fingerboard.
A man with blue hands there was waiting for
her Bill to either put him in an oak
or see him render up her gold-filled poke.
He fared as well as those who’d tried before.
She darted from the braken and restored
herself with just a pinch of blue-white smoke.
He knowed her and looked set in sugar sand
until she pled, “You take my cloak instead.”
Now feeling pretty middling smart, he said,
“I will.” He put it on and was unmanned.
That’s when Bill shewed. He shot the rabbit true
and gave it to her proudly for a stew.

Stephen S. Power

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gorgeous diacritics, soft clocks and stone clouds

in julio cortazar’s interview with lucille kerr etc., he mentions hearing things with ‘that inner ear that is at work in writing,’ and he states:

Lorca (I am quoting from memory) defined
himself as “a wounded pulse that stalks things from
the other side.” That other side of things, those soft
clocks in the time of man, those stone clouds of
Magritte, those nude girls in the railroad stations
of Paul Delvaux-and the Snark, don’t forget the
Snark that turned out in the end to be a Boojum:
there you have a synthesis of the attitude that leads
me to write within a perspective of total fracturing
of what is conventional, what is fixed, always looking
for certain doors and, above all, certain exits. p. 39 Diacritics

i tried searching this info and landed on my own post ‘the inner ear and the stalking of certain exits.’ solipsistic as fuck.

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and i intend to end up there

Who Says Words With My Mouth?

All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that,
and I intend to end up there.

This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place,
I’ll be completely sober. Meanwhile,
I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,
but who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

This poetry, I never know what I’m going to say.
I don’t plan it.
When I’m outside the saying of it,
I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.

Rumi

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in life as in a strange garment

For the Anniversary of My Death
By W. S. Merwin

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveler
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what.

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there is a field

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

Rumi

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that dark world where i was born

Tithonus
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson


The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,
The vapours weep their burthen to the ground,
Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,
And after many a summer dies the swan.
Me only cruel immortality
Consumes: I wither slowly in thine arms,
Here at the quiet limit of the world,
A white-hair'd shadow roaming like a dream
The ever-silent spaces of the East,
Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn.


         Alas! for this gray shadow, once a man—
So glorious in his beauty and thy choice,
Who madest him thy chosen, that he seem'd
To his great heart none other than a God!
I ask'd thee, 'Give me immortality.'
Then didst thou grant mine asking with a smile,
Like wealthy men, who care not how they give.
But thy strong Hours indignant work'd their wills,
And beat me down and marr'd and wasted me,
And tho' they could not end me, left me maim'd
To dwell in presence of immortal youth,
Immortal age beside immortal youth,
And all I was, in ashes. Can thy love,
Thy beauty, make amends, tho' even now,
Close over us, the silver star, thy guide,
Shines in those tremulous eyes that fill with tears
To hear me? Let me go: take back thy gift:
Why should a man desire in any way
To vary from the kindly race of men
Or pass beyond the goal of ordinance
Where all should pause, as is most meet for all?
 

         A soft air fans the cloud apart; there comes
A glimpse of that dark world where I was born.
Once more the old mysterious glimmer steals
From thy pure brows, and from thy shoulders pure,
And bosom beating with a heart renew'd.
Thy cheek begins to redden thro' the gloom,
Thy sweet eyes brighten slowly close to mine,
Ere yet they blind the stars, and the wild team
Which love thee, yearning for thy yoke, arise,
And shake the darkness from their loosen'd manes,
And beat the twilight into flakes of fire.


         Lo! ever thus thou growest beautiful
In silence, then before thine answer given
Departest, and thy tears are on my cheek.


         Why wilt thou ever scare me with thy tears,
And make me tremble lest a saying learnt,
In days far-off, on that dark earth, be true?
'The Gods themselves cannot recall their gifts.'


         Ay me! ay me! with what another heart
In days far-off, and with what other eyes
I used to watch—if I be he that watch'd—
The lucid outline forming round thee; saw
The dim curls kindle into sunny rings;
Changed with thy mystic change, and felt my blood
Glow with the glow that slowly crimson'd all
Thy presence and thy portals, while I lay,
Mouth, forehead, eyelids, growing dewy-warm
With kisses balmier than half-opening buds
Of April, and could hear the lips that kiss'd
Whispering I knew not what of wild and sweet,
Like that strange song I heard Apollo sing,
While Ilion like a mist rose into towers.


         Yet hold me not for ever in thine East:
How can my nature longer mix with thine?
Coldly thy rosy shadows bathe me, cold
Are all thy lights, and cold my wrinkled feet
Upon thy glimmering thresholds, when the steam
Floats up from those dim fields about the homes
Of happy men that have the power to die,
And grassy barrows of the happier dead.
Release me, and restore me to the ground;
Thou seëst all things, thou wilt see my grave:
Thou wilt renew thy beauty morn by morn;
I earth in earth forget these empty courts,
And thee returning on thy silver wheels.

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there is something wrong about the grass

A Message from the Wanderer

By William Stafford

Today outside your prison I stand

and rattle my walking stick: Prisoners, listen;

you have relatives outside. And there are

thousands of ways to escape.

Years ago I bent my skill to keep my

cell locked, had chains smuggled to me in pies,

and shouted my plans to jailers;

but always new plans occurred to me,

or the new heavy locks bent hinges off,

or some stupid jailer would forget

and leave the keys.

Inside, I dreamed of constellations—

those feeding creatures outlined by stars,

their skeletons a darkness between jewels,

heroes that exist only where they are not.

Thus freedom always came nibbling my thought,

just as—often, in light, on the open hills—

you can pass an antelope and not know

and look back, and then—even before you see—

there is something wrong about the grass.

And then you see.

That’s the way everything in the world is waiting.

Now—these few more words, and then I’m

gone: Tell everyone just to remember

their names, and remind others, later, when we

find each other. Tell the little ones

to cry and then go to sleep, curled up

where they can. And if any of us get lost,

if any of us cannot come all the way—

remember: there will come a time when

all we have said and all we have hoped

will be all right.

There will be that form in the grass.

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when i have seen you i have waked and slipped from the calendars

Vixen

By W. S. Merwin

Comet of stillness princess of what is over

high note held without trembling without voice without sound

aura of complete darkness keeper of the kept secrets

of the destroyed stories the escaped dreams the sentences

never caught in words warden of where the river went

touch of its surface sibyl of the extinguished

window onto the hidden place and the other time

at the foot of the wall by the road patient without waiting

in the full moonlight of autumn at the hour when I was born

you no longer go out like a flame at the sight of me

you are still warmer than the moonlight gleaming on you

even now you are unharmed even now perfect

as you have always been now when your light paws are running

on the breathless night on the bridge with one end I remember you

when I have heard you the soles of my feet have made answer

when I have seen you I have waked and slipped from the calendars

from the creeds of difference and the contradictions

that were my life and all the crumbling fabrications

as long as it lasted until something that we were

had ended when you are no longer anything

let me catch sight of you again going over the wall

and before the garden is extinct and the woods are figures

guttering on a screen let my words find their own

places in the silence after the animals

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hope

by Robert Penn Warren

In the orchidaceous light of evening
Watch how, from the lowest hedge-leaf, creeps,
Grass blade to blade, the purpling shadow. It spreads
Its spectral ash beneath the leveling, last
Gold rays that, westward, have found apertures
From the magnificent disaster of the day.

Against gold light, beneath the maple leaf,
A pale blue gathers, accumulates, sifts
Downward to modulate the flowery softness
Of gold intrusive through the blackening spruce boughs.
Spruces heighten the last glory beyond by their stubbornness.
They seem rigid in blackened bronze.

Wait, wait— as though a finger were placed to lips.
The first star petals timidly in what
Is not yet darkness. That audacity
Will be rewarded soon. In this transitional light,
While cinders in the west die, the world
Has its last blooming. Let your soul

Be still. All day it has curdled in your bosom
Denatured by intrusion of truth or lie, or both.
Lay both aside, nor debate their nature. Soon,
While not even a last bird twitters, the last bat goes.
Even the last motor fades into distance. The promise
Of moonrise will dawn, and slowly, in all fullness, the moon

Will dominate the sky, the world, the heart,
In white forgiveness.

 

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