Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Beside you,
lying down at dark,
my waking fits your sleep.
Your turning
flares the slow-banked fire
between our mingled feet,

and there,
curved close and warm
against the nape of love,

held there,
who holds your dreaming
shape, I match my breathing

to your breath;
and sightless, keep my hand
on your heart's breast, keep

on your sleep to prove
there is no dark, nor death.

"Nightsong" by Philip Booth, from Lifelines. © Viking Press, 1999

Someone Else’s Life

It was a day of slow fever
and roses in the doorway, wrapped
in yesterday’s news of death.

Snow fell like angels’ feathers
from a dark new sky, softly announcing
that some things would never be the same.

I listened carefully to doubts and revisions
of someone else’s life, safe in my room of tomorrow,
a passing witness to sorrow and wonder.

Then night came and I was quickly
drifting inside that life. I was leaving mine.
Snowflakes continued to fall.

The street was deserted and dim.
Shrapnel wounds blossomed in stone walls.
There was no proof of the current decade,

and I could not recall
the names of faces that I knew
the smell of places where I’d lived

and why I lay alone now
so close to a vast, empty floor, so far
from the sun, so far.

Kapka Kassabova

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Poem Without Mystery

O to be a lock-keeper in Żuławy
on a non-essential branch of the canal,
amid a flat landscape. Every day
to ride a bike to a concrete cabin
smaller than a news kiosk. To watch through
a little square window the risings and settings
of the sun. To have no idea about art, to know
where the pike lurks, where the eels. On
a misty morning, drinking tea

with a dash of spirit, to hear on the radio, which only
gets one channel, that in the world there are
over ten million species of plants and
animals, and not to believe it, or
that there are countries where people are dying
of hunger, and to think about it, and forget
to open the sluice. And flood several nearby meadows.
And not bear any consequences for it.

Tadeusz Dąbrowski


I still sleep on the left side of the bed
and take long walks in woodland with our dog,

we like nowhere better
than that sloping wooden bench

where moss climbs up the legs each winter
and dies back yellow in early summer.

There’s still vodka in the fridge and blue
beneath the scar on my left ankle,

where the door caught me
trying to follow your departure.

Today I hugged someone who felt like you,
it was difficult remembering that sense of safe.

Chimera Lay

Monday, December 15, 2014


I like pouring your tea, lifting
the heavy pot, and tipping it up,
so the fragrant liquid steams in your china cup.

Or when you’re away, or at work,
I like to think of your cupped hands as you sip,
as you sip, of the faint half-smile of your lips.

I like the questions — sugar? milk? —
and the answers I don’t know by heart, yet,
for I see your soul in your eyes, and I forget.

Jasmine, Gunpowder, Assam, Earl Grey, Ceylon,
I love tea’s names. Which tea would you like? I say,
but it’s any tea, for you, please, any time of day,

as the women harvest the slopes,
for the sweetest leaves, on Mount Wu-Yi,
and I am your lover, smitten, straining your tea.

Carol Ann Duffy

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Canopy Shyness

Have been photographing this for years, marveling at the patterns this creates, but never knew there is a name for it. And what a lovely name.

"Canopy shyness is the tendency of trees to reduce competition between adjacent trees by maintaining a space between branches."

Canopy Shyness: http://www.venerabletrees.org/canopy-shyness/

Rain Tree Raagaas: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/106491954401233999557/albums/5975107197985931905

Sunday, November 30, 2014




I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life
to tell me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives
who boss the work of thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile
as though I was trying to fool with them

And then one Sunday afternoon
I wandered out along the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees
with their women and children
and a keg of beer and an accordion.

Carl Sandburg

Monday, November 24, 2014

For people who invent pain, terrified of blankness

For people who have nowhere to go in the afternoons,
For people who the evening banishes to small rooms,
For good people, people huge as the world.
For people who give themselves away forgetting
What it is they are giving,
And who are never reminded.

For people who cannot help being kind
To the hand bunched in pain against them.
For inarticulate people,
People who invent their own ugliness,
Who invent pain, terrified of blankness;
For people who stand forever at the same junction
Waiting for the chances that have passed.

And for those who lie in ambush for themselves,
Who invent toughness as a kind of disguise,
Who, lost in self-defeating worlds,
Carry remorse inside them like a plague;
And for the self-seeking self lost among them
I hazard a poem.

 Brian Patten

Saturday, November 22, 2014

From blossom to blossom

"There's a shadow in your ultrasound. We'd like to investigate."
"You've come alone?"
"That's alright. Let's start."

*             *             *             *
"..There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,

from blossom to blossom, to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom."

Li-Young Lee, 'From Blossoms'

From Blossom to Blossom: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/106491954401233999557/albums/6084443235136463985

Friday, November 21, 2014

Who would call in the middle of the night?

Visitors from Abroad
Louise Gluck


Sometime after I had entered
that time of   life
people prefer to allude to in others
but not in themselves, in the middle of the night
the phone rang. It rang and rang
as though the world needed me,
though really it was the reverse.

I lay in bed, trying to analyze
the ring. It had
my mother’s persistence and my father’s
pained embarrassment.

When I picked it up, the line was dead.
Or was the phone working and the caller dead?
Or was it not the phone, but the door perhaps?


My mother and father stood in the cold
on the front steps. My mother stared at me,
a daughter, a fellow female.
You never think of us, she said.

We read your books when they reach heaven.
Hardly a mention of us anymore, hardly a mention of  your sister.
And they pointed to my dead sister, a complete stranger,
tightly wrapped in my mother’s arms.

But for us, she said, you wouldn’t exist.
And your sister — you have your sister’s soul.
After which they vanished, like Mormon missionaries.


The street was white again,
all the bushes covered with heavy snow
and the trees glittering, encased with ice.

I lay in the dark, waiting for the night to end.
It seemed the longest night I had ever known,
longer than the night I was born.

I write about you all the time, I said aloud.
Every time I say “I,” it refers to you.


Outside the street was silent.
The receiver lay on its side among the tangled sheets,
its peevish throbbing had ceased some hours before.

I left it as it was;
its long cord drifting under the furniture.

I watched the snow falling,
not so much obscuring things
as making them seem larger than they were.

Who would call in the middle of the night?
Trouble calls, despair calls.
Joy is sleeping like a baby.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dying Is an art, like everything else

Is an art, like everything else.  
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.  
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.

It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.
It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.  
It’s the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute  
Amused shout:

‘A miracle!’
That knocks me out.  
There is a charge

For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge  
For the hearing of my heart——
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge  
For a word or a touch  
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.  

'Lady Lazarus', Sylvia Plath

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I'll Give You Red

I’ll give you red,
the color the Russians loved
so much they used it to make
their word for beautiful:

I’ll give you scarlet
from the epaulets of blackbirds.

Or cardinal
from the spirits threading
through a steamy green
Midwestern afternoon.

I’ll give you crimson
from the feathers the parrot
hides in his tail
and only lets us see
when he is furious.

Here is your cerise
the sad, shameful stain of cherries.

And vermilion
the bright sash of yesterday
that lingers on the horizon.

I’ll give you ruby
the color of lies
that lovers tell themselves,
the flame at the prism’s
deepest heart.

But I will keep this red
the drunken sweet damp scent
of the breeze that sweeps
over strawberry fields
in June.

Tamara Madison


Of many reasons I love you here is one

the way you write me from the gate at the airport
so I can tell you everything will be alright

so you can tell me there is a bird
trapped in the terminal      all the people
ignoring it       because they do not know
what do with it       except to leave it alone
until it scares itself to death

it makes you terribly terribly sad

You wish you could take the bird outside
and set it free or       (failing that)
call a bird-understander
to come help the bird

All you can do is notice the bird
and feel for the bird       and write
to tell me how language feels
impossibly useless

but you are wrong

You are a bird-understander
better than I could ever be
who make so many noises
and call them song

These are your own words
your way of noticing
and saying plainly
of not turning away
from hurt

you have offered them
to me       I am only
giving them back

if only I could show you
how very useless
they are not

Craig Arnold

So much is in bud

"...But we have only begun
To love the earth.

We have only begun
To imagine the fullness of life.

How could we tire of hope?
- so much is in bud.

...We have only begun to know
the power that is in us if we would join
our solitudes in the communion of struggle.

So much is unfolding that must
complete its gesture,

so much is in bud."

'Beginners', Denise Levertov

So much is in bud


Psychological androgyny & Creativity

"In all cultures, men are brought up to be “masculine” and to disregard and repress those aspects of their temperament that the culture regards as “feminine,” whereas women are expected to do the opposite.

Creative individuals to a certain extent escape this rigid gender role stereotyping. When tests of masculinity/femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.

....Psychological androgyny is a much wider concept, referring to a person’s ability to be at the same time aggressive and nurturant, sensitive and rigid, dominant and submissive, regardless of gender. A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles his or her repertoire of responses and can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum of opportunities. It is not surprising that creative individuals are more likely to have not only the strengths of their own gender but those of the other one, too."

Why “Psychological Androgyny” Is Essential for Creativity
Maria Popova


The Myth of "You can be whatever you want to be"

"For Freud human life was a process of ego-building, not the quest for a fictitious inner self. Looking for your true self invites unending disappointment. If you have no specific potential, the cost of trying to bring your inner nature to fruition will be a painfully misspent existence. Few human beings are as unhappy as those who have a gift that no one wants. Anyway, who wants to spend their life hanging around waiting to be recognized? As John Ashbery wrote:

A talent for self-realisation
Will get you only so far as the vacant lot
Next to the lumber yard, where they have

The Romantic idea tells people to seek their true self. There is no such self, but that does not mean we can be anything we want to be. Talent is a gift of fortune, not something that can be chosen. Imagining that you have talent that you lack turns you into a version of the composer Salieri, whose life was poisoned by the appearance of Mozart. Salieri was not without ability. For much of his life he enjoyed a successful career. But if we accept how he has been portrayed by Pushkin and others, Salieri was consumed by the suspicion that he was himself a fake. A society of people who have been taught to be themselves cannot be other than full of fakes."

Page 110, 'The Silence of Animals, On Progress and Other Modern Myths', John Gray

Thursday, November 13, 2014

In the strange openness of your face, I'm powerless

Michael O Siadhail

As we fall into step I ask a penny for your thoughts.
'Oh, nothing,' you say, 'well, nothing so easily bought.'

Sliding into the rhythm of your silence, I almost forget
how lonely I'd been until that autumn morning we met.

At bedtime up along my childhood's stairway, tongues
of fire cast shadows. Too earnest, too highstrung.

My desire is endless: others ended when I'd only started.
Then, there was you: so whole-hog, so wholehearted.

Think of the thousands of nights and the shadows fought.
And the mornings of light. I try to read your thought.

In the strange openness of your face, I'm powerless.
Always this love. Always this infinity between us.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


This is how you live when you have a cold heart.
As I do: in shadows, trailing over cool rock,
under the great maple trees.

The sun hardly touches me.
Sometimes I see it in early spring, rising very far away.
Then leaves grow over it, completely hiding it. I feel it
glinting through the leaves, erratic,
like someone hitting the side of a glass with a metal spoon.

Living things don't all require
light in the same degree. Some of us
make our own light: a silver leaf
like a path no one can use, a shallow
lake of silver in the darkness under the great maples.

But you know this already.
You and the others who think
you live for truth and, by extension, love
all that is cold.

Louise Gluck

Theory of Memory

Long, long ago, before I was a tormented artist, afflicted with longing yet
incapable of forming durable attachments, long before this, I was a glorious
ruler uniting all of a divided country—so I was told by the fortune-teller
who examined my palm.

Great things, she said, are ahead of you, or perhaps
behind you; it is difficult to be sure.

And yet, she added, what is the difference?

Right now you are a child holding hands with a fortune-teller.
All the rest is hypothesis and dream.

Louise Gluck

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Your season is surely November


 To Spareness

You lean toward nonexistence,
but have not yet become it entirely.
         For this reason, you can still be praised.

The tree unleafing enters your dominion.
An early snowfall shows you abide in all things.

Your two dimensions are line and inclination.
Therefore desire,
though it incinders each mote of its object, itself is spare.

                                    The late paintings of Turner
prove your slender depths without limit.
         The beauty too of shakuhachi and cello.

“Winter darkness. Rain. No crickets singing.”
—You are there, pulling hard on the rope-end.

Remembering you, I remember also compassion.
I cannot explain this.
                              Nor how you live in a teabowl
or in a stone that has spent a long time in a river.
         Nor the way you at times can signal your own contradiction,
                              meaning extra, but not by much—
“Brother, can you spare a dime,” one thin man asks of another.

Any room, however cluttered, gestures toward you,

                  “Here lives this, not that”
In logic, the modest “<” sign gestures toward you.

Your season is surely November,
your fruit, persimmons ripening by coldness.

Your sound a crow cry, a bus idling at night by the roadside.

Without apparent effect,
and so you are reminded of starlight on the colors of a cow’s hide.

Your proposition, like you, is simple, of interest only to the human soul:
                  vast reach of all that is not, and still something is.

Jane Hirshfield, “To Spareness” from After. 2006

Konark, Table for One

Saturday, November 8, 2014

This is London. It is on fire.

The Burning Of The Houses

Tottenham is on fire and I work in an arts centre
where the sky is blue and I can hear birdsong
from a sound installation of birds
cooing outside my office window.

This is London. Hackney is on fire now
and Jamie is looking up from his desk.
He stops working. He tweets that he can see
people smashing up a bus. He says there is a car
being soaked in petrol. He asks if there is someone
in that car. He tells us that car has been set alight.

This is London. Croydon is on fire now
and Anna is Facebooking furiously from Manchester
calling everyone bastards for doing this.

I am watching the BBC and reading Twitter
flicking between #LondonRiot and my friends.
Sometimes you can be proud of your friends.

I remember when Bianca came to stay
and we got tickets to watch The Night
James Brown Saved Boston in the QEH.

People are getting hurt. Television isn’t going
to save us. But it’s okay now, some of my friends
are linking to videos of kittens which must mean
everyone is fine. This is London. It is on fire.

I go to bed while it is burning. I wake up
and parts of it are still burning.

Chrissy Williams
from Flying into the Bear (Happenstance, 2013)

Anthony Wilson's review, sharp and beautiful as always:


That last Friday he looked so ill

Beaver Moon - The Suicide of a Friend
Mary Oliver

When somewhere life
breaks the pane of glass,
and from every direction casual
voices are bringing you the news,
you say: I should have known.
You say: I should have been aware.

That last Friday he looked
so ill, like an old mountain-climber
lost on the white trails, listening
to the ice breaking upward, under
his worn-out shoes. You say:

I heard rumors of trouble, but after all
we all have that. You say:
What could I have done? and you go
with the rest, to bury him.

That night, you turn in your bed
to watch the moon rise, and once more
see what a small coin it is
against the darkness, and how everything else
is a mystery, and you know
nothing at all except
the moonlight is beautiful-
white rivers running together
along the bare boughs of the trees-

and somewhere, for someone, life
is becoming moment by moment

From 'Twelve Moons', Poems by Mary Oliver




A Duel and a Duet as Flamenco and Kathak Face Off

Israel Galván is the maverick of the flamenco world, a brilliantly talented, ground-breaking artist who combines the almost tragic seriousness of his art with an absurdist sense of its possibilities. Akram Khan, the kathak-trained British choreographer, is known for his fusion of that north Indian classical form with a more contemporary physical idiom, and for his collaborations with artists (Juliette Binoche, Sylvie Guillem, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui) from other dance traditions and disciplines.

“Torobaka,” a flamenco-kathak encounter between these two men, is another such collaboration for Mr. Khan, but a departure for Mr. Galván, until now a proudly solo performer.


Torobaka, trailer




Image: From Google Images

Brian Cox visits the world's biggest vacuum chamber

Brian Cox visits the world's biggest vacuum chamber - Human Universe: Episode 4 Preview - BBC Two


Friday, November 7, 2014

The indifferent sidewalk

Phone Therapy
Ellen Bass

I was relief, once, for a doctor on vacation
and got a call from a man on a window sill.
This was New York, a dozen stories up.
He was going to kill himself, he said.
I said everything I could think of.
And when nothing worked, when the guy
was still determined to slide out that window
and smash his delicate skull
on the indifferent sidewalk, “Do you think,”
I asked, “you could just postpone it
until Monday, when Dr. Lewis gets back?”

The cord that connected us—strung
under the dirty streets, the pizza parlors, taxis,
women in sneakers carrying their high heels,
drunks lying in piss—that thick coiled wire
waited for the waves of sound.

In the silence I could feel the air slip
in and out of his lungs and the moment
when the motion reversed, like a goldfish
making the turn at the glass end of its tank.
I matched my breath to his, slid
into the water and swam with him.
"Okay," he agreed.


In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.

I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this

belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt

you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,

the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.

Louise Gluck

A frozen mouth experience

"I didn't tell anyone about my experience because I couldn't make my mouth form the words. And I mean that literally; it is like a frozen mouth experience."

Your Personal Ghosts
Scott Adams


Thursday, November 6, 2014

All I know is what I have words for

"Wittgenstein said, ‘All I know is what I have words for.’ And I think that if you don’t have the words for it, you can’t explain to somebody else what your need is. To some degree, you can’t even explain to yourself what your need is. And so you can’t get better.”


The Giving Tree

"Silverstein detested stories with happy endings. As he once put it, “The child asks, ‘Why don’t I have this happiness thing you’re telling me about?’”

"The Giving Tree” at Fifty: Sadder Than I Remembered
Ruth Margalit


"In 2013, she decided to begin a series that dealt with the realities of what it means to put on a brave face while simultaneously coping with forms of depression. Starting with herself, Obert took two photos: one that showed the person she chooses to present to the world, and a second portrait that presented an image of how she existed behind closed doors when feeling depressed."

 The Secret Dual Lives of People Living With Mental Illness
 David Rosenberg


 Liz Obert

 "As a person who suffers from bipolar II disorder, I lead a double life. I have one persona that people see everyday, and another that I hide from the world. Many others who suffer from bipolar and depression have the same experience. I decided to document this experience in a photographic series titled Dualities. I believe it is important to put a human face to disorders that affect millions of people."

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

And only then did I see

The Truth
Ronald Wallace

for Amy

Her breast cancer, she said,
had metastasized to her liver;
she was going to die, and
soon. She said it made her
sad. I didn’t know her well.

We were co-workers and
I liked her, but
what do you say when someone
actually answers the question
how are you?
with the unvarnished truth:

Not well, she said. I haven’t
long to live. And should I
have said Oh you will! Should I
have smoothed it over
with the syrup of nervousness,
or done what I did
which was to
talk about terror and anger,
the unfairness and the lie,
to take the truth at face value?

No, she was just sad, she said.

She had her faith, she said,
and started to cry. And only then
did I see what she needed from me
was miracle, a simple belief
in miracle, and if that was varnish,
well, it would bring the grain
of the truth out, would save it
from wear and weather.

It would make the truth
almost shine.

And sometimes they win

Monsters are real
Ghosts are real too.
They live inside us,
And sometimes they win.

Stephen King

Keeping an eye on the world

The first November tabebuias in Cubbon Park

"I am an extremely busy person. I keep an eye on the world."

"Is it hard work keeping an eye on the world? Most certainly. I can remember the terrifying face of one woman I saw in the street, a face devoid of expression. I also keep an eye on thousands of slum-dwellers on the nearby slopes. I observe the seasonal changes in myself: I inevitably change with every season."

"You must be wondering why I keep an eye on the world. I was born with this mission. And I am responsible for everything in existence, even for those wars and crimes which cause so much physical and spiritual havoc."

"Keeping an eye on the world requires a lot of patience: I must wait for the ants to reappear. Patience. While watching the flowers open imperceptibly, little by little."

"But I still have not found the person to whom I should report my findings."

From Selected Crônicas by Clarice Lispector

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Why Scott Adams is such a funny man

Like Robin Williams and Spike Milligan and everybody.

Your Personal Ghosts
Scott Adams



Two months after retirement
my father is here, to get away
from 6 A.M. and his cup
of empty destination.

At a football game we huddle
under his umbrella
talking about the obvious.
He brings me coffee
to hold warm between my hands,
a gift of no occasion.

When we rise for the anthem
I hear the rusty crack of his voice
for the first time maybe ever.

Thirty-three years of coughing
thick factory air, of drifting to sleep
through the heavy ring of machinery,
of twelve-hour days. In my sleep
I felt the cold bump of his late-night kiss.

I shiver in the rain
as my father sings me
what now I hear as
a children's song. I lean into him,
the umbrella and rain my excuse,
my shoulder against his,
and I imagine my mother
falling in love.

Jim Daniels

Those who know us construct us

“Whenever someone who knows you disappears, you lose one version of yourself. Yourself as you were seen, as you were judged to be. Lover or enemy, mother or friend, those who know us construct us, and their several knowings slant the different facets of our characters like diamond-cutter's tools. Each such loss is a step leading to the grave, where all versions blend and end.”

Salman Rushdie, 'The Ground Beneath Her Feet'


The Lighthouse
Jane Hirshfield

Its vision sweeps its one path
like an aged monk raking a garden,
his question long ago answered or moved on.

Far off, night-grazing horses,
breath scented with oatgrass and fennel,
step through it, disappear, step through it, disappear.

Somewhere in the world

For there must be
kindness somewhere else in the world,
maybe even out of it, though I’m not crazy
about the emptiness of outer space. I have to live
here, with finite life and inner space and with
the horrible desire to love everything and be disappointed....

'The Absolutely Huge and Incredible Injustice in the World'


I nearly went to sleep standing on a corner today.
The light turned green
People charged down into the street, arms
with bags and boxes
while I stood there disappearing.

And after dinner, forehead resting
on the table, I saw some gentlemen
eating carrots in a dining car
with a landscape whizzing past outside,
really fast trees and hills, varied sights
and views, and those carrots disappearing
into the eaters’ mouths. I raised
my eyes: music on the machine,
light, and fall coming on.

Ron Pagett, 'Collected Poems'

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

You let me speak, and you just listened

"For many years Sergeant Kevin Briggs had a dark, unusual, at times strangely rewarding job: He patrolled the southern end of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a popular site for suicide attempts. In a sobering, deeply personal talk Briggs shares stories from those he’s spoken — and listened — to standing on the edge of life. He gives a powerful piece of advice to those with loved ones who might be contemplating suicide."

"....When Kevin came back over, I asked him, "What was it that made you come back and give hope and life another chance?"

And you know what he told me?

He said, "You listened. You let me speak, and you just listened."

Kevin Briggs: The bridge between suicide and life


Can you taste what I'm saying?

The Simple Truth

I bought a dollar and a half's worth of small red potatoes,
took them home, boiled them in their jackets
and ate them for dinner with a little butter and salt.

Then I walked through the dried fields
on the edge of town. In middle June the light
hung on in the dark furrows at my feet,
and in the mountain oaks overhead the birds
were gathering for the night, the jays and mockers
squawking back and forth, the finches still darting
into the dusty light. The woman who sold me
the potatoes was from Poland; she was someone
out of my childhood in a pink spangled sweater and sunglasses
praising the perfection of all her fruits and vegetables
at the road-side stand and urging me to taste
even the pale, raw sweet corn trucked all the way,
she swore, from New Jersey. "Eat, eat" she said,
"Even if you don't I'll say you did."

Some things
you know all your life. They are so simple and true
they must be said without elegance, meter and rhyme,
they must be laid on the table beside the salt shaker,
the glass of water, the absence of light gathering
in the shadows of picture frames, they must be
naked and alone, they must stand for themselves.

My friend Henri and I arrived at this together in 1965
before I went away, before he began to kill himself,
and the two of us to betray our love. Can you taste
what I'm saying? It is onions or potatoes, a pinch
of simple salt, the wealth of melting butter, it is obvious,
it stays in the back of your throat like a truth
you never uttered because the time was always wrong,
it stays there for the rest of your life, unspoken,
made of that dirt we call earth, the metal we call salt,
in a form we have no words for, and you live on it.

Philip Levine

Prayers for Everywhere

Prayers for the volcanoes
that need garlands when they erupt
and prayers for the freeways
you never drive them the same twice,
prayers for the buds
that look like babies’ faces
as they open next week and for the blossoms
opening their soft legs to bees.

Prayers for everything the soul
must reluctantly or passionately kiss:
rain-running gutters,
a pebble in the shoe,
the silt gritty on your ocean-washed lips.

Because what is a prayer
but a laugh that can’t be formed
in letters, but only heard
in that place that, praised, lights up.
So prayers for everywhere
that needs them,

Prayers for the worms washed out
of the grass onto driveways,
prayers to step over as they swim
because you can’t pick them up
without damage. So much
of the heart can only be helped
without direct touching.

Prayers for everyone
in the throngs who need well-wishes
to suck on in their sleep
like giant glowing lollipops.
Prayers going to every restless sleeper
on this earth who needs a cool hand on the brow.
Prayers for their own sake,
prayers as beautiful as dolphins
leaping and twisting, prayers
freed from gravity’s pull
to fly glistening into the air.

Rachel Dacus

Look for me under your boot-soles

Song of Myself, LII
Walt Whitman

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains
of my gab and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow'd wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

A long time to come


O Lord, it is time
The summer was so vast
Put your shadows on the sundials
And in the fields let the wind loose.

Order the last fruits to become ripe
Give them two more sunny days
Push them to fulfillment
And force the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

He who has no house now will not build one
He who is alone will be so for a long time to come
Will stay awake, read, write long letters
And restlessly walk in the park among the blown leaves.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Translated by Charlotte Schmid

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Infinite has no preferences


From Aphorisms for Thirsty Fish, The Lost Writings of Wu Hsin:

The greatest crime is
The overlooking of
Who you really are in favor of
The story of
Who you think you are.
This preoccupation with
Your personal drama is
The cloud that masks the sun.

*    *    *    *

To search for happiness
Implies its absence.
This implication is a fundamental flaw.
Happiness is ever present.
It may become obscured,
Such obscuration being temporary.

*    *    *    *

The greatest enjoyment is experienced
When there is no concern for its duration.

*    *    *    *

Expectation is the grandfather of
The world can never
Own a man who wants nothing.

*    *    *    *

Nothing succeeds like failure.
Failure is a natural
Call for attention,
Like pain.
To pay attention is to
Step out of your trance.

*    *    *    *

Ridding oneself of ignorance is
Worth more than the acquisition of knowledge.
With memory gone
The past is gone
Relinquishing hopes and fears
The future is gone.
The present is upon you.
In every moment.
You are free.

*    *    *    *

To conquer the large,
Begin with the small.
To change your world,
Begin by changing yourself.
What needs to be changed?
Only the point of view.

*    *    *    *

You are not satisfied
With the answers
Given by others.
So you come to Wu Hsin.
But what you really seek
Are not answers
But confirmation
Of what you think
You already know.
If you were to admit
That you know nothing,
Then I will most gladly answer.

*    *    *    *

The sum of a past is I was.
The sum of a future is
I will be.
The continuous crossing back and forth
Between the two
Obscures the present moment,
The I am, Being Itself.

*    *    *    *

The man of contentment
Seeks nothing that
He doesn’t have and
Understands that
Whatever he has
Isn’t his to own.

*    *    *    *

The attachment to beliefs is
The greatest shackle.
To be free is
To know that
One does not know.

*    *    *    *

Controlling the mind doesn’t
Take one to freedom.
Controlling the mind
Adds another link
To one’s shackles.

*    *    *    *

Chasing after the things
One yearns for is
Inferior to
Chasing after
The source of the yearning.

*    *    *    *

Whereas pain is
A physical experience
Suffering is a mental one.
It is the sense that
Things should be
Other than they are.
Its antidote is Acceptance.

*    *    *    *

The Infinite has no preferences.
It kisses both the darkness and
The light equally.

Wu Hsin

For today, I will memorize

Dragonflies! There are dragonflies in this poem. That's what I will memorize from today. I saw them at a traffic signal when I went to Cubbon park this morning to check whether the pink tabebuia flowers of November have arrived early, just in case....

Margaret Gibson

For today, I will memorize
the two trees now in end-of-summer light

and the drifts of wood asters as the yard slopes away toward
the black pond, blue

in the clouds that shine and float there, as if risen

from the bottom, unbidden. Now, just over the fern—
quick—a glimpse of it,

the plume, a fox-tail's copper, as the dog runs in ovals and eights,
chasing scent.

The yard is a waiting room. I have my chair. You, yours.

The hawk has its branch in the pine.

White petals ripple in the quiet light.

In the quiet, a necklace of gourds on the fence.

A mourning cloak on a seeded spray of crabgrass.

An undulant whine of cicadas.

In Our Souls

In our souls everything
moves guided by a mysterious hand.
We know nothing of our own souls
that are un-understandable and say nothing.

The deepest words
of the wise man teach us
the same as the whistle of the wind when it blows
or the sound of the water when it is flowing.

Antonio Machado, 'The Soul is Here for Its Own Joy', trans. by Robert Bly

Then one day

Middle-Class Blues
Dennis O'Driscoll

He has everything.
A beautiful young wife.
A comfortable home.
A secure job.
A velvet three-piece suite.
A metallic-silver car.
A mahogany cocktail cabinet.
A rugby trophy.
A remote-controlled music centre.
A set of gold clubs under the hallstand.
A fair-haired daughter learning to walk.

What he is afraid of most
and what keeps him tossing some nights
on the electric underblanket,
listening to the antique clock
clicking with disapproval from the landing,
are the stories that begin:
He had everything.
A beautiful young wife.
A comfortable home.
A secure job.
Then one day.


Each day I woke as it started to get dark and the pain came. Month
after month of this—who knows when I got well, the way you do,
whether you like it or not.

With dawn now, risen from the rampage
of sleep, I am walking in the Lincoln woods. A single bird is
loudly singing. And I walk here as I always have, as though from
tall room to room in a more or less infinite house where the owner's
not home but is watching me somehow, observing my behavior,
from behind the two-way mirror of appearances, I suppose,
and listening, somewhat critically, to what I am thinking. Not too,

At certain moments I could swear there is even a sense of
being liked, as sunlight changes swiftly, leaving, leaving and arriving
again. A bird is chirping bitterly, as if these words were meant
for me, as if their intent was within me, and will not speak.

is left me of you.

Franz Wright

How Ocean Currents Explain Our Unconscious Social Biases

"Biases often work in surreptitious ways — they sneak in through the backdoor of our conscience, our good-personhood, and our highest rational convictions, and lodge themselves between us and the world, between our imperfect humanity and our aspirational selves, between who we believe we are and how we behave.

Those stealthy inner workings of bias are precisely what NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam explores in The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives (public library) — a sweeping, eye-opening, uncomfortable yet necessary account of how our imperceptible prejudices sneak past our conscious selves and produce “subtle cognitive errors that lay beneath the rim of awareness,” making our actions stand at odds with our intentions and resulting in everything from financial errors based on misjudging risk to voter manipulation to protracted conflicts between people, nations, and groups."

Read excerpts here:

The Hidden Brain: How Ocean Currents Explain Our Unconscious Social Biases
Maria Popova


Go Deeper than Love

Go deeper than love, for the soul has greater depths,
love is like the grass, but the heart is deep wild rock
molten, yet dense and permanent.

Go down to your deep old heart, and lose sight of yourself.

And lose sight of me, the me whom you turbulently loved.
Let us lose sight of ourselves, and break the mirrors.

For the fierce curve of our lives is moving again to the depths
out of sight, in the deep living heart.

D.H. Lawrence, excerpt from Know Thyself, Know Thyself More Deeply


All day I have watched the purple vine leaves
Fall into the water.
And now in the moonlight they still fall,
But each leaf is fringed with silver.

Amy Lowell

Sunday, October 5, 2014

September Tomatoes

The whiskey stink of rot has settled
in the garden, and a burst of fruit flies rises
when I touch the dying tomato plants.

Still, the claws of tiny yellow blossoms
flail in the air as I pull the vines up by the roots
and toss them in the compost.

It feels cruel. Something in me isn’t ready
to let go of summer so easily. To destroy
what I’ve carefully cultivated all these months.
Those pale flowers might still have time to fruit.

My great-grandmother sang with the girls of her village
as they pulled the flax. Songs so old
and so tied to the season that the very sound
seemed to turn the weather.
Karina Borowicz

There Will Come Soft Rains

 There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
 And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

 And frogs in the pools singing at night,
 And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

 Robins will wear their feathery fire,
 Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

 And not one will know of the war, not one
 Will care at last when it is done.

 Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
 If mankind perished utterly;

 And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
 Would scarcely know that we were gone.

Sara Teasdale

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sunlight will win

Publication Date
Franz Wright

One of the few pleasures of writing
is the thought of one’s book in the hands of a kindhearted
intelligent person somewhere. I can’t remember what the others
are right now.
I just noticed that it is my own private

National I Hate Myself and Want to Die Day
(which means the next day I will love my life
and want to live forever). The forecast calls
for a cold night in Boston all morning

and all afternoon. They say
tomorrow will be just like today,
only different. I’m in the cemetery now
at the edge of town, how did I get here?

A sparrow limps past on its little bone crutch saying
I am Federico García Lorca
risen from the dead —
literature will lose, sunlight will win, don’t worry.

Did you have any trouble with the directions?

I think about this quite often. And therefor my enjoyment of every fallen leaf.

My number
Billy Collins

Is Death miles away from this house,
reaching for a widow in Cincinnati
or breathing down the neck of a lost hiker
in British Columbia?

Is he too busy making arrangements,
tampering with air brakes,
scattering cancer cells like seeds,
loosening the wooden beams of roller coasters

to bother with my hidden cottage
that visitors find so hard to find?

Or is he stepping from a black car
parked at the dark end of the lane,
shaking open the familiar cloak,
its hood raised like the head of a crow,
and removing the scythe from the trunk?

Did you have any trouble with the directions?
I will ask, as I start talking my way out of this.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Just look at September, look at October!

"...From the Buddhist point of view, reality itself has no meaning since it is not a sign, pointing to something beyond itself. To arrive at reality - at "suchness" - is to go beyond karma, beyond consequential action, and to enter a life which is completely aimless. Yet to Zen and Taoism alike, this is the very life of the universe, which is complete at every moment and does not need to justify itself by aiming at something beyond.

In the words of a Zenrin poem:

"If you don't believe, just look at September, look at October!
The yellow leaves falling, falling, to fill both mountain and river!"

'The Way of Zen', by Alan Watts

Photos: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/106491954401233999557/albums/6063982657037278641

Monet Refuses The Operation

Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.

I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.

Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.

What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?

I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent.  The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,

becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.

To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases.  Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

Lisel Mueller

Every afternoon that autumn

We Shall Be Released
Joseph Stroud

Every afternoon that autumn
walking across campus
past the conservatory
I heard the soprano

her voice rising
making its way up the scale
straining to claim each note
weeks of work
of days
growing shorter

storms slamming the campus
the semester staggering
to an end
everyone exhausted
heading out and going home
the campus nearly deserted

but the soprano
still working the scales
when I passed under the trees
the liquidambars on fire
the clouds like great cities
sailing out to sea

and didn't I ascend
with her
my own weariness
and sorrows
dropping away

didn't we rise together
her voice straining
at the top of its range
almost reaching
almost claiming
that high
final note.

Late September

I often think that the street sweepers must know, more than anyone else, which flowers bloom in which season. In this season their burden is mounds of orange and yellow ....

Late September



The mouth of the river may be beautiful.
It doesn't remember the womb of its beginning.
It doesn't look back to where it's been
or wonder who ahead of it polished the rough stones.

It is following the way
in its fullness,
now like satin,
now cresting,
waters meeting, kindred
to travel gathered together,
all knowing it flows
one way, shining or in shadows.
And me, the animal
I ride wants to drive forward,
its longing not always my own,
overrunning its banks and bounds,
edgeless, pilling along the way

because, as I forget,
it knows everything
is before it.

Linda Hogan, 'Rounding the Human Corners'

This is heaven. Sit. Stay.

Margaret Gibson

The leaves are turning, one by one carried away in the crisp wind.
In one letter he penned,
Coleridge turned away, calling love
a local anguish he meant to leave
behind him. Away, away,
says the blue and gold day, and no one hears it but the wind, whose law
it echoes. The dog has a red ball to chase.
You pick a flat, perfect stone for the wall you hope to live long enough
to rebuild. I prune
briars, pick burrs from the dog's fur.
I teach Come and Sit. Sit here—
a longer sit beneath the cedars. The grass is freshly cut,
sun low, all the energy
of a summer's day rushing into bulb and root.
The dog runs off, returns. The stones balance
steeply. Good work. Good dog. This is
heaven. Sit. Stay.

After the rain

If it rains in the night, the streets are plastered with fallen flowers and leaves the next morning. There’s a whole world of colour down there, cleansed and sharpened by water. I am intoxicated at 6.30 in the morning, because the rain is such an artist....

After the rain


Saturday, September 20, 2014


We are underwater off the coast of Belize.
The water is lit up even though it’s dark
as if there are illuminated seashells
scattered on the ocean floor.

We’re not wearing oxygen tanks,
yet staying underwater for long stretches.

We are looking for the body of the boy
we lost. Each year he grows a little older.

Last December you opened his knapsack
and stuck in a plastic box of carrots.

Even though we’re underwater, we hear
a song playing over a policeman’s radio.

He comes to the shoreline to park
and eat midnight sandwiches, his headlights
fanning out across the harbor.

And I hold you close, apple of my closed eye,
red dance of my opened fist.

Jeffrey McDaniel

Try to Praise the Mutilated World

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.

The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.

You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.

You've seen the refugees going nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.

Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.

Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.

Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

Adam Zagajewski


"When you have no one  to tell them to, you forget all your stories."

The Lunchbox


Friday, September 19, 2014


The South
To have watched from one of your patios
the ancient stars,
from the bench of shadow to have watched
those scattered lights
that my ignorance has learned no names for,
nor their places in constellations,
to have heard the note of water
in the cistern,
known the scent of jasmine and honeysuckle,
the silence of the sleeping bird,
the arch of the entrance, the damp

-- these things perhaps are the poem.

Jorge Luis Borges (translated by W. S. Merwin), Selected Poems (edited by Alexander Coleman) (Viking 1999).

Phil bhi dil hai Hindustani


The taxi driver to the airport from Shanghai to Pudong airport that day was a smiling friendly chap. He desperately wanted to chat, but we have no common language. We practise getting each other's names correct and then the conversation dies.

He suddenly remembers. "Hindu?"

And then he beams at me in the rear view mirror and sings the first line of this song......


59 years, and still going strong.

Shree 420: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shree_420

That Sweet Moon Language

Admit something:

Everyone you see, you say to them,
“Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud,
someone would call the cops.

Still, though, think about this,
this great pull in us
to connect.

Why not become the one
who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,

with that sweet moon
what every other eye in this world
is dying to


Everything counts

A Message from Space

Everything that happens is the message:
you read an event and be one and wait,
like breasting a wave, all the while knowing
by living, though not knowing how to live.

Or workers built an antenna -- a dish
aimed at stars -- and they themselves are its message,
crawling in and out, being worlds that loom,
dot-dash, and sirens, and sustaining beams.

And sometimes no one is calling but we turn up
eye and ear -- suddenly we fall into
sound before it begins, the breathing
so still it waits there under the breath --

And then the green of leaves calls out, hills
where they wait or turn, clouds in their frenzied
stillness unfolding their careful words:
"Everything counts. The message is the world."

William Stafford, 'The Way It Is'

Just breath

Reading Anna Karenina
Karina Borowicz

In middle age Tolstoy apprenticed himself
to a bootmaker. He labored at learning
the skills of that trade. Sometimes his fingers
bled onto the leather as he punched the awl
or drew the needle in the outline of a foot.

Blisters, he knew, are holier than ink stains.
The boots were ugly and they pinched,
Sonya complained, and she refused to wear them.

Yet she copied Karenina by hand
how many times? It was his words she loved,
how he formed souls out of air. Just breath.

She preferred the page's purity to his
restless hands. If he were a man made only
of words she'd give her whole self to him.

"Reading Anna Karenina" by Karina Borowicz, from Proof. © Codhill Press, 2014.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


The luscious Rudrapalaash, the African Tulip, has started to bloom all over Bangalore, its "finger tips on fire", announcing that it's September again.

I am eagerly waiting for the return of the dragonflies next. They come in this season, and stay until the end of October.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bowing, then rising up

When The Wind Takes A Tree In Its Arms

Three-quarters of the world dances all night,
the waves moving as they do on the seas.

And when the wind takes a tree in its arms,
what happens then?

The green branches of the earth may seem to
reach out to touch us if we near them in a forest,
a meadow, a field.

Does not all sway to a rhythm that began long
before we stood upright?

We are in the mountain's home, just guests.
Guests of the sky, the streams, the giving soil
we all nurse from.

Would not you be happier following their example -
bowing in unseen ways, then rising up?

For Myra, whenever I find her

In the room above the cafe on 53rd street, in the spring of '72, was the first time I felt the tug of what I call the thread of you. We shook hands after our meeting and your thread entered my finger tip. Now your thread runs through my jog in Central Park. It gets entangled in my fork when I have dinner. And it is stitched into the dream that pulls me out of sleep at 4 a.m.

I have spent hours reconstructing your personality, like a coroner who tries to determine the time and cause of a fatality. For instance, I know that you prefer to listen rather than to express yourself. You've probably been that way ever since you discovered the complex and sensitive streets in your mind, streets that you are still reluctant to open out to others. I know that you are at home with abstract truths, the way some women are at home with watering the plants or making pancakes.

I know that when you speak to people, you see their emotions like how one can see bio-luminescent fish through water. But you are also easily hurt and that is why you prefer to silently withdraw, rather than to make demands. I know that you like plans and lists, any semblance of order to calm the hopes and fears that run through you like water under the Brooklyn Bridge.

I also know that if I told you all this, you’d invoke the unwavering core of your reason and tell me that there is no basis for these indiscriminate emotions, no space for them in our lives; we both have ties that bind us. I will not disagree with your reasoning; I am a man of reason myself. That is why I find it hard to work my reason when I see your face in a cup of tea, in the dew that forms on the top of my car at 6 a.m. and in the mirrors of the Waldorf Astoria that I pass every morning on my way to work.

You have entered my mind. But your own mind is miles away; all I have to enter it, is language. And the hope that this language will tunnel into your unconscious where it will lie dormant, like forgotten but vital memories.


This, too, was a choice, if not always conscious

As Agreed

Look, as we promised each other,
we changed nothing and the world
is as wonderful as it was, the rain
tarries this year, but it will come:
it will come as long as we’re still here.

Look, as we agreed,
I am in one place, you in another.
We didn’t become one, which is also natural,
and in your weakness and in mine
there looms a promise, too:
after memory forgetfulness is all.

And if the road already may incline downward
in the famed sloping print of life’s curve,
it does, in some sense, aspire upward,
and aspiration is a great thing in life,
on this, too, we agreed, you surely remember.

And if now I’m alone and aching and ailing more than ever,
this, too, was a choice,
if not always conscious. And if you too are alone,
it makes my loneliness less just
and this should sustain you as well.

How fortunate that we’ve agreed on so little:
on parting, on loneliness and fear, the basic certainties,
and there’s always something to return to,
you will see how young we will be in the end,
and the end, when it comes, will be almost just.
And everything, you will see, will be almost welcome.

Natan Zach

Watch Your Step - I'm Drenched

In Manchester there are a thousand puddles.
 Bus-queue puddles poised on slanting paving stones,
 Railway puddles slouching outside stations,
 Cinema puddles in ambush at the exits,
 Zebra-crossing puddles in dips of the dark stripes --
 They lurk in the murk
 Of the north-western evening
 For the sake of their notorious joke,
 Their only joke -- to soak
 The tights or trousers of the citizens.
 Each splash and consequent curse is echoed by
 One thousand dark Mancunian puddle chuckles.

 In Manchester there lives the King of Puddles,
 Master of Miniature Muck Lakes,
 The Shah of Slosh, Splendifero of Splash,
 Prince, Pasha and Pope of Puddledom.
 Where? Somewhere. The rain-headed ruler
 Lies doggo, incognito,
 Disguised as an average, accidental mini-pool.
 He is as scared as any other emperor,
 For one night, all his soiled and soggy victims
 Might storm his streets, assassination in their minds,
 A thousand rolls of blotting paper in their hands,
 And drink his shadowed, one-joke life away.

Adrian Mitchell

I Am Not I

I am not I.
                   I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see,
whom at times I manage to visit,
and whom at other times I forget;
who remains calm and silent while I talk,
and forgives, gently, when I hate,
who walks where I am not,
who will remain standing when I die.

Juan Ramón Jiménez, “‘I Am Not I’” from Lorca and Jiménez: Selected Poems.
Translated by Robert Bly

After the Lunch

On Waterloo Bridge, where we said our goodbyes,
The weather conditions bring tears to my eyes.
I wipe them away with a black woolly glove
And try not to notice I’ve fallen in love.

On Waterloo Bridge I am trying to think:
This is nothing. You’re high on the charm and the drink.
But the juke-box inside me is playing a song
That says something different. And when was it wrong?

On Waterloo Bridge with the wind in my hair
I am tempted to skip. You’re a fool. I don’t care.
The head does its best but the heart is the boss —
I admit it before I am halfway across.

Wendy Cope

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