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Monday, December 26, 2016

Candles & Poetry: Against the Dark

This holiday season, may I recommend sandalwood candles, and poetry. Here's a poem to start with:

Traveling Light   by Dabney Stuart

Moving through still time, its opposite,
it creates no friction. They are both gifts,
one the infinite eye of the needle
the other threads. Occupies.
Emptiness is full of itself,
a never air, the lens for being.
In the long way of this place,
the afterthought of gasses becomes
what we tune in, its tickless
preoccupation and amaze our present.
If such light made a sound
it would be as if the wide spacewind
formed a bell of itself,
and a smaller wind within, and rang.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Admiration for the Northern Lights and More

Christmas Day in Japan.

Here are two things I have a new love for this season: sandalwood candles. And the Northern Lights, which I watch obsessively. And you can too. 

And now, a poem I admire.

In a Field                                                          Elizabeth Spires


Like stones
in a field.
Small. Large.

There to be used.
To make walls.
To be thrown.

To be held
in our hands.
Light as air.

Or a big thing
that weighs
us down.

I can hide on
the dark side
of this one.

Or tell all.
When I do,
it is not a game.

I pick one up.
Which one is it?
you ask.

I will not tell.
Come here, I say,
and you will see.

You pick one up.
Then I do. Then you.
Then me. Soon

the field is clear.
We have used
each one.

there is
only silence.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Admiration IV

No Encores. No Autographs.                         J. Gallagher
When I was little, and could float,
I made up my mind to touch everything
on the way. Here I go and

Yes into the red leaves, the winter logic.
Waving seemed so sad
when I was mild, and could hear

the sounds of the house
growing into the hill. The eternal workings
of the going to be,

while out to the left
there's a hole in the overcast. A little hole.
It may be growing,

it may be shrinking. Hard to tell.
Either way, it comes back now
without meaning.

It comes back as people I knew once,
fading in and out of buildings and trees
in a north wind,

while, full of spider webs, the porch
glistens in dew and first light.
A foggy translucence covers the world.

You can go out and read the argument
in the grass.
Just take off your shoes.

You can call yourself a pilgrim,
noting the texture of matter.
You can go from here to here. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Admiration III

        After the Moon                                                                      Marianne Boruch

     eclipsed itself, the rumor or darkness
     true, the whole radiant business
     almost over, only a line,
     an edge, like some
     stray part of a machine
                                                             not one of us
     can figure any more:
     what it thrashed or cut, what it sewed
     quietly together, what it scalded
     or brought back from the dead. After this,
     I came inside to sleep.    
                                                But it’s the moon still,
     pale run of it shaping
     the door closed against the half-lit hall.
     The eye is its own
     small flicker orbiting under the lid
     a few hours.
                              Not so long,
     bright rim,
     giving up its genius
     briefly, mountains under dark, craters
     where someone, then no one
     is walking.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Admiration II

Anatomical Angel                                    by Averill Curdy

L’ange Anatomique, by Jacques-Fabien Gautier Dagoty, 1746

                        Unfastened avidly from each ivory button
          of her spine, the voluntary muscles open
virtuosities of red: Cinnabar

                        the mutagen, and carmine from cochineal
          born between fog and frost, so many little
deaths Buddhists refuse to wear

                        robes soaked in its thousands. Sunsets

          of other centuries fade in galleries to ash. 
Red is fugitive: As the voice, the blow

                        of gravity along a nerve opening to an ache
          the body can’t unhouse: As the carnation
suffusing cheek and haunch like saucers

                        from the king’s porcelain rinsed in candlelight.
          Gratuitous as the curl, the urn-shaped torso,
the pensive, brimming gaze of pretty

                        post-coital thought she half-turns over one
          excavated shoulder. As if to see herself
in a mirror’s savage theater as elegy

                        to the attempt to fill an exhausted form,
          to learn again the old ordeals of wound
and hand and eye. To find the source of burning. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Admiration I

This is a poem I admire. I wish I could tell you which book it came from; at this moment I cannot.

High Country Canticle                                                by Charles Wright
The shroud has no pockets, the northern Italians say.
Let go, live your life,
the grave has no sunny corners —
Deadfall and windfall, the aphoristic undertow
Of high water, deep snow in the hills,
Everything's benediction, bright wingrush of grace.

Spring moves through the late May heat
as though someone were poling it.