Winters are long here.
The road a dark gray, the maples gray, silvered with lichen,
and the sun low on the horizon,
white on blue; at sunset, vivid orange-red.
When I shut my eyes, it vanishes.
When I open my eyes, it reappears.
Outside, spring rain, a pulse, a film on the window.
And suddenly it is summer, all puzzling fruit and light.
FROM ‘WINTER MORNING’
BY LOUISE GLÜCK
by Charles Simic
When it gets this cold and windy.
The cleverly painted sets,
Oh, they’re shaking badly!
They’re about to come down.
There’ll be nothing but infinite space.
The silence supreme. Almighty silence.
Egyptian sky. Stars like torches
Of grave robbers entering the crypts of kings.
Even the wind pausing, waiting to see.
Better grab hold of that tree, Lucille.
Its shape crazed, terror-stricken.
I’ll hold on to the barn.
The chickens in it are restless.
Smart chickens, rickety world.
From A WEDDING IN HELL (Harcourt, 1994)
Super Swedish finds today at Strand #septembersmarts (Taken with Instagram at Strand Book Store)
48 cents for the Strindberg!
Where is the evidence I will learn
to be good at loving?
Stacie Cassarino, “Summer Solstice”
The whole poem’s good but my god, this line.
I woke. You were lying beside me in the double bed,
prone, your long dark hair fanned out over the downy pillow.
I’d been dreaming we stood on a beach an ocean away
watching the waves purl into their troughs and tumble over.
Knit one, purl two, you said. Something in your voice made me think
of women knitting by the guillotine. Your eyes met mine.
The fetch of a wave is the distance it travels, you said,
from where it is born at sea to where it founders to shore.
I must go back to where it all began. You waded in
thigh-deep, waist-deep, breast-deep, head-deep, until you disappeared.
I lay there and thought how glad I was to find you again.
You stirred in the bed and moaned something. I heard a footfall
on the landing, the rasp of a man’s cough. He put his head
around the door. He had my face. I woke. You were not there.
—Ciaran Carson, “The Fetch” (another HT to Alysse)
Let it come down: these thicknesses of air
have long enough walled love away from love;
stillness has hardened until words despair
of their high leaps and kisses shut themselves
back into wishing. Crippled lovers lie
against a weather which holds out on them,
waiting, awaiting some shrill sign, some cry,
some screaming cat that smells a sacrifice
and spells them thunder. Start the mumbling lips,
syllable by monotonous syllable,
that wash away the sullen griefs of love
and drown out knowledge of an ancient war—
o, ill-willed dark, give with the sound of rain,
let love be brought to ignorance again.
Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts
and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking
into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing —
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.
— Mary Oliver, “The Ponds”