Monday, October 27, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Palin - somethin'


This from Wordsmith:

This week's theme: Words that appear to have been coined after the 2008 US presidential candidates.


noun: A poem in which the author retracts something said in an earlier poem.

Ummm....................Sounds just about right!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Poetry in Vitro - Vol 3, No. 11


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pablo Neruda

Nothing But Death

(by Pablo Neruda - translated by Robert Bly )

There are cemeteries that are lonely,
graves full of bones that do not make a sound,
the heart moving through a tunnel,
in it darkness, darkness, darkness,
like a shipwreck we die going into ourselves,
as though we were drowning inside our hearts,
as though we lived falling out of the skin into the soul.

And there are corpses,
feet made of cold and sticky clay,
death is inside the bones,
like a barking where there are no dogs,
coming out from bells somewhere, from graves somewhere,
growing in the damp air like tears of rain.

Sometimes I see alone
coffins under sail,
embarking with the pale dead, with women that have dead hair,
with bakers who are as white as angels,
and pensive young girls married to notary publics,
caskets sailing up the vertical river of the dead,
the river of dark purple,
moving upstream with sails filled out by the sound of death,
filled by the sound of death which is silence.

Death arrives among all that sound
like a shoe with no foot in it, like a suit with no man in it,
comes and knocks, using a ring with no stone in it, with no
finger in it,
comes and shouts with no mouth, with no tongue, with no
Nevertheless its steps can be heard
and its clothing makes a hushed sound, like a tree.

I'm not sure, I understand only a little, I can hardly see,
but it seems to me that its singing has the color of damp violets,
of violets that are at home in the earth,
because the face of death is green,
and the look death gives is green,
with the penetrating dampness of a violet leaf
and the somber color of embittered winter.

But death also goes through the world dressed as a broom,
lapping the floor, looking for dead bodies,
death is inside the broom,
the broom is the tongue of death looking for corpses,
it is the needle of death looking for thread.

Death is inside the folding cots:
it spends its life sleeping on the slow mattresses,
in the black blankets, and suddenly breathes out:
it blows out a mournful sound that swells the sheets,
and the beds go sailing toward a port
where death is waiting, dressed like an admiral.

Neruda & Vallejo: Selected Poems. (Robert Bly)
Beacon Press - 1993

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poetry That Sings

She's not a girl who misses much
Do do do do do do do do
She's well acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand
Like a lizard on a window pane.

The man in the crowd with the multicoloured mirrors
On his hobnail boots
Lying with his eyes while his hands are busy working overtime
A soap impression of his wife which he ate
And donated to the national trust.

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.
It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out,
It doesn't matter much to me.
Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to strawberry fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.
Strawberry fields forever.

No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low.
That is you can't you know tune in but it's all right,
That is I think it's not too bad.
Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to strawberry fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.
Strawberry fields forever.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Poetry by Committee Versus the "Run of the Mill" Unadulterated Variety

I think, [dear reader], that you know enough about my views vis a vis poetry that you realize that I’m in accordance with the statement: “Whenever we stop writing for and from the self, art stops”. But as I sit here I can't help but think that when I was involved in online poetry workshops and my poetry was influenced, if not consciously at least unconsciously, by my participation in said workshop - my poetry seemed to be very marketable. I had no problem publishing my poems. As I’ve drawn into myself- at least strictly from a literary perspective and written more and more to please myself - my poetry seems to have garnered less attention. I appreciate the fact that we ply a “sullen craft” but a little recognition goes a long way in lending credence to the belief that we are not deluding ourselves into believing that our work has merit outside of our own cognitive mindsets.

Question is how do we strike a balance between writing from and for the self and writing for the "perceived" reader? Is this balance possible or even worth persuing?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Randall Jarrell

The House in the Woods
Randall Jarrell

At the back of the houses there is the wood.
While there is a leaf of summer left, the wood

Makes sounds I can put somewhere in my song,
Has paths I can walk, when I wake, to good

Or evil: to the cage, to the oven, to the House
In the Wood. It is a part of life, or of the story

We make of life. But after the last leaf,
The last light--for each year is leafless,

Each day lightless, at the last--the wood begins
Its serious existence: it has no path,

No house, no story; it resists comparison…
One clear, repeated, lapping gurgle, like a spoon

Or a glass breathing, is the brook,
The wood's fouled midnight water. If I walk into the wood

As far as I can walk, I come to my own door,
The door of the House in the Wood. It opens silently:

On the bed is something covered, something humped
Asleep there, awake there--but what? I do not know.

I look, I lie there, and yet I do not know.
How far out my great echoing clumsy limbs

Stretch, surrounded only by space! For time has struck,
All the clocks are stuck now, for how many lives,

On the same second. Numbed, wooden, motionless,
We are far under the surface of the night.

Nothing comes down so deep but sound: a car, freight cars,
A high soft droning, drawn out like a wire

Forever and ever--is this the sound that Bunyan heard
So that he thought his bowels would burst within him?--

Drift on, on, into nothing. Then someone screams
A scream like an old knife sharpened into nothing.

It is only a nightmare. No one wakes up, nothing happens,
Except there is gooseflesh over my whole body--

And that too, after a little while, is gone.
I lie here like a cut-off limb, the stump the limb has left…

Here at the bottom of the world, what was before the world
And will be after, holds me to its back

Breasts and rocks me: the oven is cold, the cage is empty,
In the House in the Wood, the witch and her child sleep.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Hayden Carruth: 1921-2008

Emergency Haying

by Hayden Carruth

Coming home with the last load I ride standing
on the wagon tongue, behind the tractor
in hot exhaust, lank with sweat,

my arms strung
awkwardly along the hayrack, cruciform.
Almost 500 bales we've put up

this afternoon, Marshall and I.
And of course I think of another who hung
like this on another cross. My hands are torn

by baling twine, not nails, and my side is pierced
by my ulcer, not a lance. The acid in my throat
is only hayseed. Yet exhaustion and the way

my body hangs from twisted shoulders, suspended
on two points of pain in the rising
monoxide, recall that greater suffering.

Well, I change grip and the image
fades. It's been an unlucky summer. Heavy rains
brought on the grass tremendously, a monster crop,

but wet, always wet. Haying was long delayed.
Now is our last chance to bring in
the winter's feed, and Marshall needs help.

We mow, rake, bale, and draw the bales
to the barn, these late, half-green,
improperly cured bales; some weigh 150 pounds

or more, yet must be lugged by the twine
across the field, tossed on the load, and then
at the barn unloaded on the conveyor

and distributed in the loft. I help –
I, the desk-servant, word-worker –
and hold up my end pretty well too; but God,

the close of day, how I fall down then. My hands
are sore, they flinch when I light my pipe.
I think of those who have done slave labor,

less able and less well prepared than I.
Rose Marie in the rye fields of Saxony,
her father in the camps of Moldavia

and the Crimea, all clerks and housekeepers
herded to the gaunt fields of torture. Hands
too bloodied cannot bear

even the touch of air, even
the touch of love. I have a friend
whose grandmother cut cane with a machete

and cut and cut, until one day
she snicked her hand off and took it
and threw it grandly at the sky. Now

in September our New England mountains
under a clear sky for which we're thankful at last
begin to glow, maples, beeches, birches

in their first color. I look
beyond our famous hayfields to our famous hills,
to the notch where the sunset is beginning,

then in the other direction, eastward,
where a full new-risen moon like a pale
medallion hangs in a lavender cloud

beyond the barn. My eyes
sting with sweat and loveliness. And who
is the Christ now, who

if not I? It must be so. My strength
is legion. And I stand up high
on the wagon tongue in my whole bones to say

woe to you, watch out
you sons of bitches who would drive men and women
to the fields where they can only die.

From Toward the Distant Islands: New & Selected Poems (2006) Copper Canyon Press.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Autumn in Quebec

Tehila P. Eisenstat

Size: 18" x 24"

Medium: Acrylic

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Rainer Maria Rilke

Autumn Day

Lord: it is time. The summer was immense.
Let thine shadows upon the sundials fall,
and unleash the winds upon the open fields.

Command the last fruits into fullness;
give them just two more ripe, southern days,
urge them into completion and press
the last bit of sweetness into the heavy wine.

He who has no house now, will no longer build.
He who is alone now, will remain alone,
will awake in the night, read, write long letters,
and will wander restlessly along the avenues,
back and forth, as the leaves begin to blow.