Thursday, September 12, 2013

Red Earth, and Pouring Rain

What He Said

What could my mother be
to yours? What kin is my father
to yours anyway? And how
Did you and I meet ever?
But in love
our hearts have mingled
as red earth and pouring rain.
From the Tamil anthology "Kuruntokai"
Translated by A.K.Ramanujan, in"The Interior Landscape: Love Poems from a Classical Tamil Anthology".

Cempulappeyanirar wrote about 2000 years ago,  a poet of the Sangam age.

That emptiness between us


And I carried to that emptiness
between us, the birds
that had been calling out
all night. I carried an old
bicycle, a warm meal,
some time to talk.

I would have brought
them to you sooner
but was afraid your own
hopelessness would keep you
crouched there. If you spring up,
let it not be against me

but like a weed or a
fountain. I grant you
the hard spine of your
childhood. I grant you
the frowning arc of this morning.
If I could I would grant you

a bright throat and even
brighter eyes, this whole hill
of olive trees, its
calmness of purpose.

Let me not forget
ever what I owe you.

I have loved the love
you felt for those gardens
and I would grant you
the always steadying
presence of seeds.

I bring to that trouble
between us a bell that might
blur into air. I bring the woods
and a sense of what lives there.

Like you, I turn to sunlight for
answers. Like you, I am
not sure where it has gone.

Joanna Klink

Monday, September 9, 2013

On the tidal mud, just before sunset


On the tidal mud, just before sunset,
dozens of starfish
were creeping. It was
as though the mud were a sky
and enormous, imperfect stars
moved across it as slowly
as the actual stars cross heaven.

All at once they stopped,
and, as if they had simply
increased their receptivity
to gravity, they sank down
into the mud, faded down
into it and lay still, and by the time
pink of sunset broke across them
they were as invisible
as the true stars at daybreak.

Galway Kinnell


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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Alive in both worlds at once

Wine Tasting

I think I detect cracked leather.
I'm pretty sure I smell the cherries
from a Shirley Temple my father bought me

in 1959, in a bar in Orlando, Florida,
and the chlorine from my mother's bathing cap.
And last winter's kisses, like salt on black ice,

like the moon slung away from the earth.
When Li Po drank wine, the moon dove
in the river, and he staggered after.

Probably he tasted laughter.
When my friend Susan drinks
she cries because she's Irish

and childless. I'd like to taste,
one more time, the rain that arrived
one afternoon and fell just short

of where I stood, so I leaned my face in,
alive in both worlds at once,
knowing it would end and not caring.

Kim Addonizio

Monday, September 2, 2013



Dearest, note how these two are alike;
This harpsichord pavane by Purcell
And the racer's twelve-speed bike.

The machinery of grace is always simple.
This chrome trapezoid, one wheel connected
To another of concentric gears,
Which Ptolemy dreamt of and Schwinn perfected,
Is gone. The cyclist, not the cycle, steers.
And in the playing, Purcell's chords are played away.

So this talk, or touch if I were there,
Should work its effortless gadgetry of love,
Like Dante's heaven, and melt into the air.

If it doesn't, of course, I've fallen. So much is chance,
So much agility, desire, and feverish care,
As bicyclists and harpsicordists prove

Who only by moving can balance,
Only by balancing move.

Michael Donaghy

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