Yearly Archives: 2014

The Secret Life of Things – More Poems and Poets on Paying Attention

  Everything is Waiting for You Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone. As if life were a progressive and cunning crime with no witness to the tiny hidden transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely, even you, at times, have felt the […]

Paying Attention – Rilke and Hirschfield

    from The Ninth Duino Elegy Nor does the wanderer bring down a handful of earth from his high mountain slope to the valley (for earth, too, is mute), but a word he has plucked from the climbing: the yellow and blue gentian. Are we, perhaps, here just to utter: house, bridge, fountain, gate, jug, fruit […]

Choose Life – The Gospel According to Spencer Reece

                                Chiaroscuro When the ficus beyond the grillwork darkens, when the rind cools down on the lime, when we sit here a long time, when we feel ourselves found, when the red tile roofs deepen to brown, when the exhausted beach […]

Acceptance or Anger – Poetry and Remembrance Day

Prayer Whatever happens. Whatever what is is is what I want. Only that. But that. Galway Kinnell (1927 – 2014) This small poem may  be  the bravest, if not most reckless, poem I have read. I discovered it about seven years ago during the unexpected end of my second marriage. I resisted it. I resisted […]

Where The God Waits To Eat Us – Patrick Lane’s New Poetry Collection, Washita

FOR THE WOMAN WHO DANCED WITH THE ASHES OF HER SON Strange how beautiful when we are diaphanous, a bit of ripped muslin set against the sun, the wind soft as a child’s skin. Tragedy does that to us and we are made the greater for our smallness. A bright pebble among the discarded shells. […]

The Kiss of a Shark and Feet of a Sparrow – The Poems of Tim Seibles

Edge Traffic: solitude, the city — walking around. So many of us lost in it. Is love the secret nobody tells? In a small park daylight pulled its knife and a tree moved toward me: what are you doing here? I remembered then: I lit my eyes which had gone out Tim Seibles from Fast […]

Christian Wiman and Greg Orr — How To Lighten Grief’s Gravity

I sometimes think art is useless in the face of extreme suffering, but then I remember Miklos Radnoti, Paul Celan, Anna Akhmatova, or Mandelstam—and I bow my head (to them) in awe. I suppose I do believe that the greatest art consoles a wound that it creates, that art can give you the capacity to […]

Let’s Go Fly a Kite – Heaney and Pascoli – Part Two

The Seamus Heaney translations  of two poems by Giovanni Pascoli (1855 – 1912) published in the New Yorker after the death of Heaney (1938 – 2013) last August sent me scrambling to find out more about Heaney’s connection to Pascoli.  I didn’t have far to go. Heaney discovered Pascoli in Urbino, Italy in 2002 and was […]

The Large Piccolo Cose (small things) of Giovanni Pascoli

Washerwomen Out in a field half-fallow and half furrowed, A plough is standing, no oxen-team in sight, Forgotten looking, half-hid in a mist-cloud. From the mill-pond comes the wet slapping and surge And rhythmic rinsings of the washerwomen, Each splish-splash keeping time with their sing-song dirge: The wind is blowing, the bush is snowing, You’ve […]

The Black Dog Speaks – Poetry and Depression – The Robin Williams’ Aftershock

                                        Depression in Winter There comes a little space between the south side of a boulder and the snow that fills the woods around it. Sun heats the stone, reveals a crescent of bare ground: brown […]