Poca favilla gran fiamma seconda. – Dante
Ogni altra cosa, ogni pensier va fore,
E sol ivi con voi rimansi amore. – Petrarca
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.
Why do you play
that long beautiful adagio,
that archaic air,
Will it never end?
Or is it the beginning,
some prelude you seek?
Is it a tale you strum?
Have you no more for us?
There is nor hope
On this voyage into the deep communion of solitude
I’ve casually come to know
the old and withered costumes of the sea;
I’ve walked carefully through the colors of copper
when the dusk has already conjured the last prayer of the day;
Through seasonal doorways
I’ve called upon the twilight ghosts
arched in the corners of the narrow cobblestone streets;
I’ve let my lips evade the necessary verses
to find the ending phrase for the afternoon;
I’ve disarmed the elusive equity of the night
to conceive an intimate verse from its fortified mysteries;
I’ve cast aside the grieving songs of my twilight
as the sky envelops the enamored vestments of the night;
so many things
in search of you…
Centroamérica en el corazón
Por este viaje a las profundas unidades de la soledad
he conocido sin planearlo
a la vieja vestimenta del mar;
he caminado con cuidado por los colores del cobre
cuando el ocaso ya ha lanzado el último suspiro del día;
he llamado por estacionales puertas
a los fantasmas del poniente
en las esquinas de las calles angostas;
he permitido a mi boca eludir los versos necesarios
para encontrar la frase terminante del atardecer;
he desarmado la equidad profunda de la noche
para concebir un verso íntimo de su faz amurallada;
he desechado los duelos del ocaso
cuando el cielo se cierne sobre el manto enamorado del crepúsculo:
This morning this planet is covered by winds and blue.
This morning this planet glows with dustless perfect light,
enough that I can see one million sharp leaves
from where I stand. I walk on this planet, its hard-packed
dirt and prickling grass, and I don’t fall off. I come down
soft if I choose, hard if I choose. I never float away.
Sometimes I want to be weightless on this planet, and so
I wade into a brown river or dive through a wave
and for a while feel nothing under my feet. Sometimes
I want to hear what it was like before the air, and so I duck
under the water and listen to the muted hums. I’m ashamed
to say that most days I forget this planet. That most days
I think about dentist appointments and plagiarists
and the various ways I can try to protect my body from itself.
Last weekend I saw Jupiter through a giant telescope,
its storm stripes, four of its sixty-seven moons, and was filled
with fierce longing, bitter that instead of Ganymede or Europa,
I had only one moon floating in my sky, the moon
called Moon, its face familiar and stale. But this morning
I stepped outside and the wind nearly knocked me down.
This morning I stepped outside and the blue nearly
crushed me. This morning this planet is so loud with itself—
its winds, its insects, its grackles and mourning doves—
that I can hardly hear my own lamentations. This planet.
All its grooved bark, all its sand of quartz and bones
and volcanic glass, all its creeping thistle lacing the yards
with spiny purple. I’m trying to come down soft today.
I’m trying to see this place even as I’m walking through it.
I saw a yellow butterfly
in my opinion
the wrong way, flying across
I saw a cormorant
close to the sea’s surface
as I floated on it on
my back in
the attitude of the crucifixion
minerals in my body
the minerals of the sea
about the sun
how can I possibly
to what’s already been said
by the ancients
and said with
an austerity I’ll never
it is an honor to take
a backseat to the ancients
who knew how
I was a fat white fish
under the sold-out stadium sun
like a god
but like a god
I could live through anything.
At sixteen he dismisses his mother with contempt.
She hears with dread the repulsive wave’s approach
and her fifty-year-old body smothers under water.
An old man loses half his weight, as if by stealth,
but finds in his shed his great-grandfather’s knobbly cane,
and hobbles toward youth beside the pond’s swart water.
She listens to the dun-colored whippoorwill’s
three-beat before dawn, and again when dusk
enters the cornfield parched and wanting water.
He imagines but cannot bring himself to believe
that the dead woman enters his house disguised
or that the young rabbi made vin rouge from water.
Within the poem he and she—hot, cold, and luke—
converge into flesh of vowels and consonant bones
or into uncanny affection of earth for water.
This blog started 10 years ago as a little pet project between friends, and has unexpectedly grown to have hundreds of subscribers around the world!
As you may have noticed, we have gotten a little less reliable on posting daily so as we enter our second decade we have decided to switch to posting weekly on Monday mornings.
Thanks for your patience with us in our less regular posts of late and as we transition to the new schedule, and hope you continue to enjoy what we post!