Monday, July 26, 2010

Letting Go Of What Cannot Be Held Back - Bill Holm

Hello Poets,
We lost Bill Holm, the great Minnesota poet, last year. I still miss him, his love of islands, music and the dark prairie earth. Here's a poem he would want us to remember.

Letting Go Of What Cannot Be Held Back

Let go of the dead now.
The rope in the water,
the cleat on the cliff,
do them no good anymore.
Let them fall, sink, go away,
become invisible as they tried
so hard to do in their own dying.
We needed to bother them
with what we call help.
We were the needy ones.
The dying do their own work with
tidiness, just the right speed,
sometimes even a little
satisfaction. So quiet down.
Let them go. Practice
your own song. Now.

by Bill Holm, from Playing the Black Piano, 2004

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Summer Day, Mary Oliver

The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down -
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

by Mary Oliver, from House of Light, 1990

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hafiz: Absolutely Clear

 Absolutely Clear

Don't surrender your loneliness
So quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,

My need of God

by Hafiz, from The Subject Tonight is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz,
translated from the Persian by Daniel Ladinsky