Monday, August 31, 2015

here and gone



Here and gone. That's what it is to be human, I think - to be both someone and no one at once, to hold a particular identity in the world (our names, our place of origins, our family and affectional ties) and to feel that solid set of ties also capable of dissolution, slipping away, as we become moments of attention.

Mark Doty


Sunday, August 30, 2015

I Will Be Found (Lost at Sea)


After the Fact


The people of my time are passing away: my
Wife is baking for a funeral, a 60-year old who

Died suddenly, when the phone rings, and it's
Ruth we care so much about in intensive care:

It was once weddings that came so thick and
Fast, and then, first babies, such a hullabaloo:

Now, it's this and that and the other and somebody
Else gone or on the brink: well, we never

Thought we would live forever (although we did)
And now it looks like we won't: some of us

Are losing a leg to diabetes, some don't know
What they went downstairs for, some know that

A hired watchful person is around, some like
To touch the cane tip into something steady,

So nice: we have already lost so many,
Brushed the loss of ourselves ourselves: our

Address books for so long a slow scramble now
Are palimpsests, scribbles and scratches: our

Index cards for Christmases, birthdays,
Halloweens drop clean away into sympathies:

At the same time we are getting used to so
Many leaving, we are hanging on with a grip

To the ones left: we are not giving up on the
Congestive heart failures or brain tumors, on

The nice old men left in empty houses or on
The widows who decided to travel a lot: we

Think the sun may shine someday when we'll
Drink wine together and think of what used to

Be: until we die we will remember every
Single thing, recall every word, love every

Loss: then we will, as we must, leave it to
Others to love, love that can grow brighter

And deeper till the very end, gaining strength
And getting more precious all the way.

–A. R. Ammons


Saturday, August 29, 2015

the reason for going



Each of the tragedies can be read
as the tale of a single ripening self,
every character part of one soul.
The comedies can be included in this as well.
Often the flaw is a flaw of self-knowledge;
sometimes greed.  For this reason the comic glint
of a school of herring leads to no plot line,
we cannot imagine a tragedy of donkeys or bees.

Before the ordinary realities, ordinary failures:
hunger, coldness, anger, longing, heat.
 Yet one day, a thought as small as a vetch
flower opens.

After, no longer minding the minor and almost
wordless role, playing the messenger given
the letter everyone knows will arrive too
late or ruined by water.

To have stopped by the fig and eaten was
not an error, then, but the reason for going.

–Jane Hirshfield


Friday, August 28, 2015



The sting in a limbering spring day
foreshadows summer. Through her window
roses plait themselves together beside young-
leafed eucalyptus as she, too ill to speak,
slowly becomes my eye in the clouds, the gap
I will see through. No one knows me better
than she who circled my first flight.

I’ve tried to prepare myself, remembering
her cyclopaedic mind, her gift for solutions.
My bird-mother. I reach out, hold her hands.

She slides down into sleep and wakes again
on this final island, where touch is more important
than words. She grimaces, begs for morphine . . .
Our world divides. We’ll fly differently now.

–Katherine Gallagher


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lightly my darling


It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.

I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig.
Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me.
When it comes to dying even.
Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic.

No rhetoric, no tremolos, no self conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell.
And of course, no theology, no metaphysics.
Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light.

So throw away your baggage and go forward.
There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,
trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.
That’s why you must walk so lightly.

Lightly my darling,on tiptoes and no luggage,
not even a sponge bag,
completely unencumbered.

–Aldous Huxley


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

This Is My Poem for You


How many poems have been written
about that perfect globe of
eiderdown poised on a stem,
tens of tiny snowy pinpricks
left by a petalled sunburst?

If so much care
is spent on a plant,
a milk-white miracle,
surely we can ask a miracle for you,

dear one, lying so ill in your hospital bed?

August 17, 2015
On the journey with Glenda