Monday, May 24, 2010

The Dance - C.K. Williams

Hello Poets,
C.K. Williams spins a yarn from one of those roadside places, catching a gesture in the fading light that embraces unconscious desire, mending what we didn't think was broken and connecting us to the wide, sad world. 

The Dance

A middle-aged woman, quite plain, to be polite about it, and
   somewhat stout, to be more courteous still,
but when she and the rather good-looking, much younger man
   she’s with get up to dance,
her forearm descends with such delicate lightness, such restrained
   but confident ardor athwart his shoulder,
drawing him to her with such a firm, compelling warmth, and
   moving him with effortless grace
into the union she’s instantly established with the not at all
   rhythmically solid music in this second rate cafe,

that something in the rest of us, some doubt about ourselves, some
   sad conjecture, seems to be allayed,
nothing that we’d ever thought of as a real lack, nothing not to be
   admired or be repentant for,
but something to which we’ve never adequately given credence,
which might have consoling implications about how we misbe-
   lieve ourselves, and so the world,
that world beyond us which so often disappoints, but which
   sometimes shows us, lovely, what we are.

by C.K. Williams from Repair, 1999

Monday, May 17, 2010

Never To Forget - Arundhati Roy

To love.
To be loved.
To never forget your own insignificance,
To never get used to the unspeakable violence
and the vulgar disparity of life around you.
To seek joy in the saddest places.
To pursue beauty to its lair.
To never simplify what is complicated
or complicate what is simple.
To respect strength, never power.
Above all, to watch.
To try and understand.
To never look away.
And never, never to forget.

   Arundhati Roy, from The End of Imagination, 1998

Monday, May 10, 2010

Trapeze by Deborah Diggs

Hello Poets,
This dark and captivating poem by the late Deborah Diggs paints a cloudy picture one is not likely to forget, of life at the edge and everything timelessly flying by.


See how the first dark takes the city in its arms
and carries it into what yesterday we called the future.

O, the dying are such acrobats.
Here you must a take a boat from one day to the next,

or clutch the girders of the bridge, hand over hand.
But they are sailing like a pendulum from eternity to evening,

diving, recovering, balancing the air.
Who can tell at this hour seabirds from starlings,

wind from revolving doors or currents off the river.
Some are as children on swings pumping higher and higher.

Don’t call them back, don’t call them in for supper.
See, they leave scuff marks like jet trails on the sky.

by Deborah Diggs, from Trapeze, 2005

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Dharma Story

Hello Poets,
Deep time pushes consciousness to its limits, demanding a true account of what's before our eyes. Thus when walking in the woods, two poets are better than one, with the second reminding the first that unknowing is the source of wisdom. 
The following story is told by Dharma teacher Wes Nisker.

A Dharma Story
"Gary Snyder was once camping with fellow poet Lew Welch in the Mendocino redwoods. 
As they looked up at trees that were hundreds of years old, Snyder said, 
"I’ll bet the trees are thinking that we humans are just passing through." 
Welch looked around and replied, 
"And the rocks around here must be thinking that those trees are just passing through."

Wes Nisker, from Inquiring Mind, Vol. 26 No. 2, Spring 2010