For Perfection’s Endowment

Richie-Hofmann_
Richie Hofmann

Bright Walls

by Richie Hofmann

It was not penitence I sought, standing outside
the bedroom in the old apartment

where you had spent the night alone.
To bend, to kneel before some greater force–

that was no longer what I wished.
Clouds blew in from the coast, and I felt

the sun abandoning the window behind me,
making the bright walls suddenly colorless,

obscuring everything, for a moment,
that I wanted. When I finally entered,

I saw you still asleep–a wet strand
of hair tucked behind your ear, the husk

of your body–and lingered there for a minute,
before walking upstairs to shut the windows.


Now

by Robert Browning

Out of your whole life give but one moment!
All of your life that has gone before,
All to come after it, – so you ignore,
So you make perfect the present, – condense,
In a rapture of rage, for perfection’s endowment,
Thought and feeling and soul and sense –
Merged in a moment which gives me at last
You around me for once, you beneath me, above me –
Me – sure that despite of time future, time past, –
This tick of our life-time’s one moment you love me!
How such suspension may linger? Ah, Sweet –
The moment eternal – just that and no more –
When ecstasy’s utmost we clutch at the core
When cheeks burn, arms open, eyes shut and lips meet!

You Shall Above All Things Be Glad And Young

joy_harjo
Joy Harjo

you shall above all things be glad and young

by e. e. cummings

you shall above all things be glad and young
For if you’re young,whatever life you wear

it will become you;and if you are glad
whatever’s living will yourself become.
Girlboys may nothing more than boygirls need:
i can entirely her only love

whose any mystery makes every man’s
flesh put space on;and his mind take off time

that you should ever think,may god forbid
and (in his mercy) your true lover spare:
for that way knowledge lies,the foetal grave
called progress,and negation’s dead undoom.

I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance


There are certain poems that jump out and bite me, latch on and won’t let go.  Both of these poems reached out and bit me several weeks back and I have come back to read them over and over.  I can’t even articulate the power they have over me, other than I smile when I read them. I like a poet who has the talent to make me smile, make me happy that they took the time to share the glory of their inner thoughts.

I wish our federal government had a kitchen table that each morning our leaders were required to not only make breakfast with each other but sit down and eat it together with a civil tongue.   I recently wrote a blessing to remind me of how blessed I am.

Thank you for this food.  I give thanks because I’m able.
Thank you for each person dining at this table

Focus on what’s good, let my breath be praise.
Let’s enjoy the rest of this ordinary day.

And when my wrongs need right, grant me strength to see.
Then find in this brief silence, forgiveness and revelry.


Perhaps the World Ends Here

by Joy Harjo

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

 

Their Lutes Did Silent Grow

Elizabeth-Barrett-Brownin-010
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Grief

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I tell you, hopeless grief is passionless;
That only men incredulous of despair,
Half-taught in anguish, through the midnight air
Beat upward to God’s throne in loud access
Of shrieking and reproach. Full desertness,
In souls as countries, lieth silent-bare
Under the blanching, vertical eye-glare
Of the absolute heavens. Deep-hearted man, express
Grief for thy dead in silence like to death—
Most like a monumental statue set
In everlasting watch and moveless woe
Till itself crumble to the dust beneath.
Touch it; the marble eyelids are not wet:
If it could weep, it could arise and go.

Sonnets From The Portuguese
26

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I lived with visions for my company,
Instead of men and women, years ago,
And found them gentle mates, nor thought to know
A sweeter music than they played to me.
But soon their trailing purple was not free
Of this world’s dust, — their lutes did silent grow,
And I myself grew faint and blind below
Their vanishing eyes. Then THOU didst come … to be,
Belovèd, what they seemed. Their shining fronts,
Their songs, their splendours, (better, yet the same,
As river-water hallowed into fonts)
Met in thee, and from out thee overcame
My soul with satisfaction of all wants —
Because God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.

You Cannot Make A Show Of It

Brinded-Cow
A Pied Beauty

Sonnet As Soft Form

by Jane Huffman

You cannot make a show of it:
sadness as gazing ball (i.e., garden
globe, lawn orb.)

I had sadness by the short hairs,
loved the proverbial much-older
man, in image and idea.

The image: the tin roof, the heat.
The idea: the cat.

In other words, there’s the cowboy,
there’s the sadness of the land,

and then there’s the cow—  


The current fad of endless TV shows, Netlfix series and movies that present a vision of a dystopian future where the environment, economy and society have devolved into chaos may feel somewhat new, but that fad cycles every couple of decades.  When I was a kid, Charleston Heston took a couple of star turns in the Soylent Green and Planet of the Apes where the future looked pretty bleak. hop Soylent Green in particular made quite an impression on me, the idea of food scarcity being hidden beneath a vast government conspiracy to cover up where the latest juicy vittles to feed a starving mankind truly originated gave me the eebie-jeebies rather than a good scare.

It’s why I am very skeptical about the prospects for success for companies developing “cultured” meat and fish.   What is “cultured” meat?   Its not plant based substitutes which I think is a great idea, but are companies that are figuring out ways to reproduce beef, pork and fish cells in a cell culture to produce meat without an animal.  The pitch is going to be these are safer – no e-coli to contend with, better for the environment, no cows giving off methane gas and less pressure on limited fishing reserves in the ocean, and more humane, no actual animals being killed and processed for human consumption.  But something doesn’t feel right about it.   Its a little too close to science fiction for my taste.  Besides, without the cow, what are  cowgirls and cowboys going to do?


Pied Beauty

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things –
  .  For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
   .         For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
.     Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
    .            And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   ,    Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
 .           With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
.                              Praise him.