Some Favourites

Pablo Neruda In the wave-strike over unquiet stones’

In the wave-strike over unquiet stones the brightness bursts and bears the rose and the ring of water contracts to a cluster to one drop of azure brine that falls. O magnolia radiance breaking in spume, magnetic voyager whose death flowers and returns, eternal, to being and nothingness: shattered brine, dazzling leap of the ocean. Merged, you and I, my love, seal the silence while the sea destroys its continual forms, collapses its turrets of wildness and whiteness, because in the weft of those unseen garments of headlong water, and perpetual sand, we bear the sole, relentless tenderness.

John Ashbery Just Walking Around

What name do I have for you? Certainly there is not name for you In the sense that the stars have names That somehow fit them. Just walking around,

An object of curiosity to some, But you are too preoccupied By the secret smudge in the back of your soul To say much and wander around,

Smiling to yourself and others. It gets to be kind of lonely But at the same time off-putting. Counterproductive, as you realize once again

That the longest way is the most efficient way, The one that looped among islands, and You always seemed to be traveling in a circle. And now that the end is near

The segments of the trip swing open like an orange. There is light in there and mystery and food. Come see it. Come not for me but it. But if I am still there, grant that we may see each other.

716. Scouting - Philip Levine . I’m the man who gets off the bus at the bare junction of nothing with nothing, and then heads back to where we’ve been as though the future were stashed somewhere in that tangle of events we call “Where I come from.” Where I came from the fences ran right down to the road, and the lone woman leaning back on her front porch as she quietly smoked asked me what did I want. Confused as always, I answered, “Water,” and she came to me with a frosted bottle and a cup, shook my hand, and said, “Good lick.” That was forty years ago, you say, when anything was possible. No, it was yesterday, the gray icebox sat on the front porch, the crop was tobacco and not yet in, you could hear it sighing out back. The rocker gradually slowed as she came toward me but never stopped and the two of us went on living in time. One of her eyes had a pale cast and looked nowhere or into the future where without regrets she would give up the power to grant life, and I would darken like wood left in the rain and then fade into only a hint of the grain. I went higher up the mountain until my breath came in gasps, my sight darkened, and I slept to the side of the road to waken chilled in the sudden July cold, alone and well. What is it like to come to, nowhere, in darkness, not knowing who you are, not caring if the wind calms, the stars stall in their sudden orbits, the cities below go on without you screaming and singing? I don’t have the answer. I’m scouting, getting the feel of the land, the way the fields step down the mountainsides hugging their battered, sagging wire fences to themselves as though both day and night they needed to know their limits. Almost still the silent dogs wound into sleep, the gray cabins breathing steadily in moonlight, tomorrow wakening slowly in the clumps of mountain oak and pine where streams once ran down the little white rock gullies. You can feel the whole country wanting to waken into a child’s dream, you can feel the moment reaching back to contain your life and forward to whatever the dawn brings you to. In the dark you can love this place.

Mirror - Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. What ever you see I swallow immediately Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful— The eye of a little god, four-cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over. Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me, Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully. She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

Wallace stevens Six Significant Landscapes

I An old man sits In the shadow of a pine tree In China. He sees larkspur, Blue and white, At the edge of the shadow, Move in the wind. His beard moves in the wind. The pine tree moves in the wind. Thus water flows Over weeds.

II The night is of the colour Of a woman’s arm: Night, the female, Obscure, Fragrant and supple, Conceals herself. A pool shines, Like a bracelet Shaken in a dance.

III I measure myself Against a tall tree. I find that I am much taller, For I reach right up to the sun, With my eye; And I reach to the shore of the sea With my ear. Nevertheless, I dislike The way ants crawl In and out of my shadow.

IV When my dream was near the moon, The white folds of its gown Filled with yellow light. The soles of its feet Grew red. Its hair filled With certain blue crystallizations From stars, Not far off.

V Not all the knives of the lamp-posts, Nor the chisels of the long streets, Nor the mallets of the domes And high towers, Can carve What one star can carve, Shining through the grape-leaves.

VI Rationalists, wearing square hats, Think, in square rooms, Looking at the floor, Looking at the ceiling. They confine themselves To right-angled triangles. If they tried rhomboids, Cones, waving lines, ellipses – As, for example, the ellipse of the half-moon – Rationalists would wear sombreros.

Crow Alights by Ted Hughes

Crow saw the herded mountains, steaming in the morning. and he saw the sea Dark-spined, with the whole earth in its coils. He saw the stars, fuming away into the black, mushrooms of the nothing forest, clouding their spores, the virus of God. And he shivered with the horror of Creation. In the hallucination of the horror He saw this shoe, with no sole, rain-sodden, Lying on a moor. And there was this garbage can, bottom rusted away, A playing place for the wind, in a waste of puddles. There was this coat, in the dark cupboard, in the silent room, in the silent house. There was this face, smoking its cigarette between the dusk window and the fire’s embers. Near the face, this hand, motionless. Near the hand, this cup. Crow blinked. He blinked. Nothing faded. He stared at the evidence. Nothing escaped him. (Nothing could escape.)

David Berman If There Was a Book About This Hallway

It would start, There is a road within the home some pine slats in the corner and lamps along the walls that give the path an endlessness at night.

I remember the day I left the meterman standing in the hall. In my room I drew his hard apple face as he waited in the cold shade. No matter how slight, it is a scene from history. A scene from the book.

Are dreams set in hallways because the perspective is screwed? Or because they are the long, open, unused stages in our homes? The hallway was a dry riverbed I dreamed one night, an Indian turnpike on another. (And it may have been those things before the house was here.)

I never heard the meterman leave but saw he was gone when I went out to hang his sketch on the wall. Sour furniture-polish winds rolled down the dark corridor. Once a fir where each door now stands.

If Christ had died in a hallway we might pray in hallways or wear little golden hallways around our necks. How can it still be unwarmed after so many passings? An outdoors that is somehow indoors.

715. Myrtle - John Ashbery . How funny your name would be if you could follow if back to where the first person thought of saying it, naming himself that, or maybe some other persons thought of it and named that person. It would be like following a river to its source, which would be impossible. Rivers have no source. They just automatically appear at a place where they get wider, and soon a real river comes along, with fish and debris, regal as you please, and someone has already given it a name: St. Benno (saints are popular for this purpose) or, or some other name, the name of his long-lost girlfriend, who comes at longlast to impersonate that river, on a stage, her voice clanking like its bed, her clothing of sand and pasted paper, a piece of real technology, while all along she is thinking, I can do what I want to do. But I want to stay here.