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Posts Tagged ‘ars poetica’

 

 

Let yourself be danced.

            —Augusta Kantra

 

 

The poem sits down to be written.

Instead, it stares at the bay.

There’s a highway in the distance

that could take it all the way to California.

The poem doesn’t want to go to California.

It wants to be present, just here,

on the sandy bank beside the driftwood.

It wants to find its inner poem.

It wants to get out of its own way,

to obey its emerging form.

Instead, it watches the tall grass

getting danced by the wind.

It sighs. The poem wants to know

what it doesn’t know yet.

And the poem wants to be good.

Dammit. It tries to lower its standards,

then judges, compares and tries to fix itself.

It lists. It sits cross legged till its legs

fall asleep. It is a book of sorrows,

a tree of anxiety, a wave of failure.

It’s a cage of empty lines. How

did it get into this straight jacket?

The poem gives up. It stares at the bay.

Watches the grasses sway. Notices

how the wind blows its hair,

lifts its hands. The poem doesn’t know

why it’s weeping. In that moment,

the poem is danced.

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For Your Thoughts?

 

 

 

This year it costs 1.8 cents to make a penny.

It is, perhaps, similar to spending an hour

on an eleven-line poem that very few people

will read. And still, they mint the penny.

And still, I write the poem. Because

tradition. Because poems and pennies

are easy to spend. Because sometimes

the small things make life better—

something to wish on, something

valuable beyond its surface, something

humble to catch the light.

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The pencil, it turns out,

has never contained lead.

It’s always been graphite—

a form of solid carbon.

How much of what we think

 

we know is just a mistaken story

passed on for centuries?

And the human body, it turns out,

contains enough carbon

for 9,000 pencils—

 

that is a fact of the world,

a fact like the distance

from earth to the moon,

a fact like 99 percent of all human DNA

is the same. I’d like to think I will use up

 

my pencils, one every three days,

writing the story of what it is

to be alive here, to fall in love,

to disagree, to fail, to try again.

I want to write of healing,

 

write of the autumn air,

how it touches everything

with its cool transparency.

Write of how we are here

to revel in beauty, to find ourselves

 

in each other, to serve a story greater

than the one we know how to write,

serve the story that even now

is writing us.

 

 

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explicating the love poem—

only later realizing

I’ve been stained red

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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.

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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

 

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for Phyllis

 

 

in the long darkness

she makes lanterns of poems

guides us one light at a time

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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

 

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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

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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

 

 

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