Monday, September 1, 2014

world


 



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Whatever way you put it, I am here only because my world is here. When I took my first breath, my world was born with me. When I die, my world dies with me. In other words, I wasn't born into a world that was already here before me, nor do I live simply as one individual among millions of other individuals, nor do I leave everything behind to live on after me. People live thinking of themselves as members of a group or society. However, this isn't really true. Actually, I bring my own world into existence, live it out, and take it with me when I die.

–Kosho Uchiyama
















Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Cranefly in September









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She is struggling through grass-mesh - not flying,
Her wide-winged, stiff, weightless basket-work of limbs
Rocking, like an antique wain, a top-heavy ceremonial cart
Across mountain summits
(Not planing over water, dipping her tail)
But blundering with long strides, long reachings, reelings
And ginger-glistening wings
From collision to collision.

Aimless in no particular direction,
Just exerting her last to escape out of the overwhelming
Of whatever it is, legs, grass,
The garden, the county, the country, the world -
 

Sometimes she rests long minutes in the grass forest
Like a fairytale hero, only a marvel can help her.
She cannot fathom the mystery of this forest
In which, for instance, this giant watches -
The giant who knows she cannot be helped in any way.
 

Her jointed bamboo fuselage,
Her lobster shoulders, and her face
Like a pinhead dragon, with its tender moustache,

And the simple colourless church windows of her wings
Will come to an end, in mid-search, quite soon.

Everything about her, every perfected vestment
Is already superfluous.
The monstrous excess of her legs and curly feet

Are a problem beyond her.
The calculus of glucose and chitin inadequate
To plot her through the infinities of the stems.

The frayed apple leaves, the grunting raven, the defunct tractor
Sunk in nettles, wait with their multiplications
Like other galaxies.

The sky's Northward September procession, the vast
soft armistice,
Like an Empire on the move,
Abandons her, tinily embattled
With her cumbering limbs and cumbered brain.


–Ted Hughes








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John Crongeyer
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Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Dream Within a Dream



 



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Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow:
You are not wrong who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand—
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep—while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?



—Edgar Allan Poe
 






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Friday, August 29, 2014

Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me








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Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,
what joy

to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!

That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
and vanished

like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.

Then it was over.

The sky cleared.
I was standing
under a tree.

The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,

and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment

my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars

and the soft rain
imagine! imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.



—Mary Oliver




















Thursday, August 28, 2014

Late August, Lasting Words









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It's as if we're always preparing
for something, the endless  roll of the earth
ripening us.
Even on the most tranquil
late August afternoon when heavy heads
of phlox bow in the garden
and the hummingbird sits still for a moment
on a branch of an apple tree—
even on such a day,
evening approaches sooner
than yesterday, and we cannot help
noticing whole families of birds
arrive together in the enclosure,
young blue birds molted a misty grey,
colored through no will of their own
for a journey.
On such an evening
I ache for what I cannot keep—the birds,
the phlox, the late-flying bees—
though I would not forbid the frost,
even if I could. There will be more to love
and lose in what's to come and this too: desire
to see it clear before it's gone.



–Mary Chivers 
from Claire B. Willis
Lasting Words: A Guide to Finding Meaning Toward the Close of Life
© Green Writers Press, 2014























Stationary Point







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I would know nothing, dream nothing:
who will teach my non-being
how to be, without striving to be?


How can the water endure it?

What sky have the stones dreamed?

Immobile, until those migrations
delay at their apogee
and fly on their arrows
toward the cold archipelago.


Unmoved in its secretive life,
like an underground city,
so the days may glide down
like ungraspable dew:


nothing fails, or shall perish,
until we be born again,
until all that lay plundered
be restored with the tread
of the springtime we buried—
the unceasingly stilled, as it lifts
itself out of non-being, even now,
to be flowering bough.


–Pablo Neruda
Voyages and Homecomings, 1959







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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Writing in the Afterlife







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I imagined the atmosphere would be clear,
shot with pristine light,
not this sulphurous haze,
the air ionized as before a thunderstorm.

Many have pictured a river here,
but no one mentioned all the boats,
their benches crowded with naked passengers,
each bent over a writing tablet.

I knew I would not always be a child
with a model train and a model tunnel,
and I knew I would not live forever,
jumping all day through the hoop of myself.

I had heard about the journey to the other side
and the clink of the final coin
in the leather purse of the man holding the oar,
but how could anyone have guessed

that as soon as we arrived
we would be asked to describe this place
and to include as much detail as possible—
not just the water, he insists,

rather the oily, fathomless, rat-happy water,
not simply the shackles, but the rusty,
iron, ankle-shredding shackles—
and that our next assignment would be

to jot down, off the tops of our heads,
our thoughts and feelings about being dead,
not really an assignment,
the man rotating the oar keeps telling us—

think of it more as an exercise, he groans,
think of writing as a process,
a never-ending, infernal process,
and now the boats have become jammed together,

bow against stern, stern locked to bow,
and not a thing is moving, only our diligent pens.


–Billy Collins