Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘ars poetica’

 

I’m still learning.

            —Michelangelo, on his deathbed

Sometimes I feel as if

I missed something.

Something big. The sermon

that would forge a love affair

with the divine.

The history lesson

that would teach me

how to forgive myself.

The webinar that would train

me in doing the right thing

at the right time. If only

I had read the right book

or met the right coach

or drunk the right tea. If only.

I don’t believe it, not really,

though sometimes

I wish it were as easy

as auditing a class.

Perhaps that is why

I write poems.

I’m taking notes.

Because sometimes

the truth slips into them.

Because it’s surprisingly easy

to forget.

Read Full Post »

 

 

When you wrote of the spider

launching through vacant space,

reeling from one sphere of meaning

 

to another, you didn’t know then

that you wrote that poem for me.

Two centuries later, this woman

 

reads about the bridges we are all

trying to form, and Walt, damned

if that wasn’t filament coming out

 

through your electric fingers.

 

 

 

https://poets.org/poem/noiseless-patient-spider

 

Read Full Post »

 

for Phyllis

 

 

in the long darkness

she makes lanterns of poems

guides us one light at a time

Read Full Post »

 

 

We are the only poets, and everyone else is prose.

—Emily Dickinson, in a letter to Susan Gilbert

 

 

It is perhaps an inner drum,

the meter of the soul

that sometimes finds a resonance

inside another’s halls—

 

an inner song, an inner scheme

that rhymes with someone else’s,

a dream that scans like heartbeats

inside the other’s pulse.

 

Yes in this world of counterfeit,

such thrill to find a poem

that redefines Circumference—

and curious, leads us home.

 

 

 

 

for more on the love letters and life-changing love of Emily Dickinson, read the fabulous Brain Pickings by Maria Popova,

https://mailchi.mp/brainpickings/emily-dickinson-love-letters?e=ea2d3e439a

 

Read Full Post »

One in Deep December

 

 

the night asked me

to read its poetry, all that ink

scrawled across the world—

 

reading late without the light,

I, too, become page, poem

Read Full Post »

 

 

 

and we will go

to the haiku cottage

in the mountains

where there are no roads

and there are no pens

and there we let ourselves

be written, the seasons

will shape our syllables,

the moon shall be

our cutting word,

and every time we think

we know what line comes next

we will thrill at how new

the world can be, sliding,

escaping, unswirling,

and calling follow me,

bring only wonder,

follow me

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

 

 

 

pulling on my mask

as my nom de plume

unbuttons her blouse again

Read Full Post »

 

 

 

It’s not so much because

poems make things better—

don’t heal the sick, don’t

stop a war, don’t make the bread

any less stale, don’t bring

people back from the dead.

But poems do have a way

of making me feel more

okay with the world not

being the way I wish it were.

They say yes to the world,

again and again, telling it

like it is. And then,

like a dandelion

already gone to seed,

they wait for the gust

that will strip them bare

until all that’s left

is a hint that once

there was something

lovely here.

Read Full Post »

 

 

When I met Amadeo Modigliani,

I knew of hunger

what did I know of love?

I was in Paris. On my honeymoon.

As my new husband met with other women

i met with Amadeo, an impoverished Italian Jew.

His paintings not yet famous.

We would walk Parisian streets

in the warm summer rain

and snuggle under his black umbrella

and recite by heart poems from Verlaine together.

He begged me, don’t go back to Russia.

Russia? I said, where is that? It’s Russiya.

Don’t go back to Russiya, Anna.

I did.

 

That winter he wrote me in Petrograd:

Vous êtes en moi comme une hantise;

You are obsessively part of me.

I knew it was true,

that he was more myself

than my own familiar hands.

Back in Petrograd,

I would touch my lips in the mirror

and say my own name

and believe my voice was his.

 

I think of Lot’s wife.

How they told her not to turn,

to not look at Sodom, her home

even as it was being destroyed

but how could she not

turn to the green fields where she had sung,

turn to the bed where her children

were made, turn to the place

of her blood?

 

When I turned back to Paris

because his love felt like home

even though i knew it would be destroyed,

I was not transformed into salt

but into chalk, black chalk, his chalk on paper.

 

I did not know then

how that I would come

to treasure his vision,

how I would tape his drawing

on the wall in every house

i ever lived in so I could live again

between those lines in a time

of wild honey, scent of beeswax candles,

his amber eyes.

 

Amedeo always drew me naked

in long spare lines—

Always from memory when he was alone.

With me, his hands

were too busy for chalk.

 

He’d slip off my dress,

and in my breast,

he’d visit my beloved Russian steppes,

in my waist, he buried himself

in Siberian snow,

and between my thighs,

he was baptized again and again

in the floodwaters of the Neva River.

 

They’d not yet made

a corset that will fit me—

how could it when I

am all of Russia?

 

Oh I loved him. Wrote him poems.

Left red roses strewn on his studio floor.

How airy the light was then.

How I loved being what they would later call me,

 

 

polovina monakhini, half nun,

polovina shlyukha, half whore.

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

 

 

I want to give you words,

as if they might do what

the body can’t do—

 

as if with verb I could

meet the place in you

that most wants to be touched,

 

as if with noun I could

know the parts of you

that most want to be known.

 

I want to give you

the most faithful adjective,

the one that cradles you

 

before you even realize

that you need to be held—

once I heard a song

 

written by a man

for another man, a song

that swelled, then took

 

two steps back,

then swelled again, then

took two steps back

 

before finally rising

to an unsteady ledge

and my heart

 

beat outside of my body

and my eyes wept

with tears that were mine and not mine,

 

and I want to give you words

that will find every ache in you

that longs to be soothed,

 

words that will seek out

each lonely place, that will find

every branch of you—

 

not like a wind

that is here and gone, no, more like

the bark that gives everything

 

to protect you,

the bark that grows as you grow

and takes its shape from you.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: