Archive for November, 2013

A Moment by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

The clouds had made a crimson crown
Above the mountains high.
The stormy sun was going down
In a stormy sky.

Why did you let your eyes so rest on me,
And hold your breath between?
In all the ages this can never be
As if it had not been.

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The Letter by Dana Gioia

And in the end, all that is really left
Is a feeling—strong and unavoidable—
That somehow we deserved something better.
That somewhere along the line things
Got fouled up. And that letter from whoever’s
In charge, which certainly would have set
Everything straight between us and the world,
Never reached us. Got lost somewhere.
Possibly mislaid in some provincial station.
Or sent by mistake to an old address
Whose new tenant put it on her dresser
With the curlers and the hairspray forgetting
To give it to the landlord to forward.
And we still wait like children who have sent
Two weeks’ allowance far away
To answer an enticing advertisement
From a crumbling, yellow magazine,
Watching through years as long as a childhood summer,
Checking the postbox with impatient faith
Even on days when mail is never brought.

 

Daily Horoscope: Poems (Graywolf Press, 1986)

The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket – II

One of the most difficult things to think about in life is one’s regrets. Something will happen to you, and you will do the wrong thing, and for years afterward you will wish you had done something different.
Snicket, Lemony. The Reptile Room. New York: HarperCollins, 1999.

The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket – I

It is very unnerving to be proven wrong, particularly when you are really right and the person who is really wrong is the one who is proving you wrong and proving himself, wrongly, right. Right?

 

Snicket, Lemony. The Reptile Room. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. 

 

The West Wind (Part 9) by Mary Oliver

And what did you think love would be like? A summer day? The brambles in their places, and the long stretches of mud? Flowers in every field, in every garden, with their soft beaks and their pastel shoulders? On one street after another, the litter ticks in the gutter. In one room after another, the lovers meet, quarrel, sicken, break apart, cry out. One or two leap from windows. Most simply lean, exhausted, their thin arms on the sill. They have done all that they could. The golden eagle, that lives not far from here, has perhaps a thousand tiny feathers flowing from the back of its head, each one shaped like an infinitely small but perfect spear.

 

Oliver, Mary. “West Wind.” New and Selected Poems. Volume Two. Boston, MA: Beacon, 2005.  

The Storm by Mary Oliver

Now through the white orchard my little dog
romps, breaking the new snow
with wild feet.
Running here running there, excited,
hardly able to stop, he leaps, he spins
until the white snow is written upon
in large, exuberant letters,
a long sentence, expressing
the pleasures of the body in this world.

Oh, I could not have said it better
myself.

 

Oliver, Mary. “The Storm.” New and Selected Poems. Volume Two. Boston, MA: Beacon, 2005.  

What is There Beyond Knowing by Mary Oliver

What is there beyond knowing that keeps
calling to me? I can’t

turn in any direction
but it’s there. I don’t mean

the leaves’ grip and shine or even the thrush’s
silk song, but the far-off

fires, for example,
of the stars, heaven’s slowly turning

theater of light, or the wind
playful with its breath;

or time that’s always rushing forward,
or standing still

in the same–what shall I say–
moment.

What I know
I could put into a pack

as if it were bread and cheese, and carry it
on one shoulder

important and honorable, but so small!
While everything else continues, unexplained

and unexplainable. How wonderful it is
to follow a thought quietly

to its logical end.
I have done this a few times.

But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing

in and out. Life so far doesn’t have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain.

If there’s a temple, I haven’t found it yet.
I simply go on drifting, in the heaven of the grass and the weeds.

 

Oliver, Mary. “What is There Beyond Knowing.” New and Selected Poems. Volume Two. Boston, MA: Beacon, 2005. 6.