Saturday, December 08, 2007

Saturday Poetry: Fall Into Warmth

Readers, today I love the world and all the people in it. My heart is so enlargened by this atypical love for humanity that doctors think I will die. Apparently, the normal state of misanthropy and cynicism is better for my health, as it keeps my heart small and miserly efficient, the laws of thermodynamics being what they are.

I love the world today because I ran six miles today in 37-40 F, am currently listening to George Strait, and just ate leftover Indian food, and am not at the library. It is remarkable how attending to your physical needs makes you feel alive again, such that you no longer wish that everyone else was dead.

This current fallow period sucks. It is cold; I don't have anything to eat besides oatmeal, turkey sandwiches and leftover chicken soup, all of which I now can't stand; I visit my house more than I live in it; I hardly see any of my friends and loved ones--this is what happens twice a year.

So it's nice when your projects are going, if not well, then at least in some direction; when you feel nourished; when you see someone you want to see; when you do something you love that's good for you (tomorrow: I hike); and when the cold is bearable because at least in one part of the house, it is warm, and the warmth suffuses through you like a George Strait love song. Even I, with my anemic poor circulation such that my hands and feet are always icy, currently have rose-tinged tips, like an e.e. cummings poem.

It is not yet winter, but it is close enough to justify mugs of tea and cocoa, and warm cookies. Come in from the cold.

by John Clare

The thistledown's flying, though the winds are all still,
On the green grass now lying, now mounting the hill,
The spring from the fountain now boils like a pot;
Through stones past the counting it bubbles red-hot.

The ground parched and cracked is like overbaked bread,
The greensward all wracked is, bents dried up and dead.
The fallow fields glitter like water indeed,
And gossamers twitter, flung from weed unto weed.

Hill-tops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun,
And the rivers we're eying burn to gold as they run;
Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air;
Whoever looks round sees Eternity there.

The Beautiful Changes
by Richard Wilbur

One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides
The Queen Anne’s Lace lying like lilies
On water; it glides
So from the walker, it turns
Dry grass to a lake, as the slightest shade of you
Valleys my mind in fabulous blue Lucernes.

The beautiful changes as a forest is changed
By a chameleon’s tuning his skin to it;
As a mantis, arranged
On a green leaf, grows
Into it, makes the leaf leafier, and proves
Any greenness is deeper than anyone knows.

Your hands hold roses always in a way that says
They are not only yours; the beautiful changes
In such kind ways,
Wishing ever to sunder
Things and things’ selves for a second finding, to lose
For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.

In November
by Lisel Mueller

Outside the house the wind is howling
and the trees are creaking horribly.
This is an old story
with its old beginning,
as I lay me down to sleep.
But when I wake up, sunlight
has taken over the room.
You have already made the coffee
and the radio brings us music
from a confident age. In the paper
bad news is set in distant places.
Whatever was bound to happen
in my story did not happen.
But I know there are rules that cannot be broken.
Perhaps a name was changed.
A small mistake. Perhaps
a woman I do not know
is facing the day with the heavy heart
that, by all rights, should have been mine.

Everything that Acts Is Actual
by Denise Levertov

From the tawny light
from the rainy nights
from the imagination finding
itself and more than itself
alone and more than alone
at the bottom of the well where the moon lives,
can you pull me

into December? a lowland
of space, perception of space
towering of shadows of clouds blown upon
clouds over
new ground, new made
under heavy December footsteps? the only
way to live?

The flawed moon
acts on the truth, and makes
an autumn of tentative
You lived, but somewhere else,
your presence touched others, ring upon ring,
and changed. Did you think
I would not change?

The black moon
turns away, its work done. A tenderness,
unspoken autumn.
We are faithful
only to the imagination. What the
as beauty must be truth. What holds you
to what you see of me is
that grasp alone.


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