Some Remote And Quiet Stair

Charlotte Mew (1869 – 1928)

“before I die I want to see

The world that lies behind the strangeness of your eyes”

Charlotte Mew

Not for That City

By Charlotte Mew
 
Not for that city of the level sun,
     Its golden streets and glittering gates ablaze—
     The shadeless, sleepless city of white days,
White nights, or nights and days that are as one—
We weary, when all is said , all thought, all done.
     We strain our eyes beyond this dusk to see
     What, from the threshold of eternity
We shall step into. No, I think we shun
The splendour of that everlasting glare,
   The clamour of that never-ending song.
   And if for anything we greatly long,
It is for some remote and quiet stair
     Which winds to silence and a space for sleep
     Too sound for waking and for dreams too deep.
 
 
 

Rooms

By Charlotte Mew
 
I remember rooms that have had their part
     In the steady slowing down of the heart.
The room in Paris, the room at Geneva,
The little damp room with the seaweed smell,
And that ceaseless maddening sound of the tide—
     Rooms where for good or for ill—things died.
But there is the room where we (two) lie dead,
Though every morning we seem to wake and might just as well seem to sleep again
     As we shall somewhere in the other quieter, dustier bed
     Out there in the sun—in the rain.

Tulips Make Me Want To See

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”

Henri Matisse

O Were My Love Yon Lilac Fair

by Robert Burns

O were my love yon Lilac fair,
Wi’ purple blossoms to the Spring,
And I, a bird to shelter there,
When wearied on my little wing!
How I wad mourn when it was torn
By Autumn wild, and Winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing,
When youthfu’ May its bloom renew’d.

O gin my love were yonred rose,
That grows upon the castle wa’;
And I myself a drapo’ dew,
Into her bonie breast to fa’!
O there, beyond expression blest,
I’d feast on beauty a’ the night;
Seal’d on her silk-saft faulds to rest,
Till fley’d awaby Phoebus’ light


Tulips

By A. E. Stallings
 
The tulips make me want to paint,
Something about the way they drop
Their petals on the tabletop
And do not wilt so much as faint,
 
Something about their burnt-out hearts,
Something about their pallid stems
Wearing decay like diadems,
Parading finishes like starts,
 
Something about the way they twist
As if to catch the last applause,
And drink the moment through long straws,
And how, tomorrow, they’ll be missed.
 
The way they’re somehow getting clearer,
The tulips make me want to see
The tulips make the other me
(The backwards one who’s in the mirror,
 
The one who can’t tell left from right),
Glance now over the wrong shoulder
To watch them get a little older
And give themselves up to the light.

Love Minus The Awkward Lover

In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods, they have not forgotten this….

Terry Prachett

The Orange Cat

by Vikram Seth

The orange cat on the porch
Regards the tiny bird
Out on the pine-tree limb
And yawns without a word.

The mourning air is mild,
The tawny hillsides seem
Halfway from sleep to waking:
The cat appears to dream,

Which is of course illusion;
A harsh jay on the hill
Is answered by three quail
Clucks, and a warbler’s trill.

The cat who is not hungry
Can listen in repose
To birdcalls, with that pleasant
Touch of desire’s throes

We feel before a painting
Of nude or odalisque,
The lost without the pain,
Arousal without risk

Of failure, sweet frisson –
Like drink, and no hangover,,
Sex without friction, love
Minus the awkward lover.


My Dog Practices Geometry

By Cathryn Essinger
 
I do not understand the poets who tell me
that I should not personify. Every morning
the willow auditions for a new role
 
outside my bedroom window—today she is
Clytemnestra; yesterday a Southern Belle,
lost in her own melodrama, sinking on her skirts.
 
Nor do I like the mathematicians who tell me
I cannot say, “The zinnias are counting on their
fingers,” or “The dog is practicing her geometry,”
 
even though every day I watch her using
the yard’s big maple as the apex of a triangle
from which she bisects the circumference
 
of the lawn until she finds the place where
the rabbit has escaped, or the squirrel upped
the ante by climbing into a new Euclidian plane.
 
She stumbles across the lawn, eyes pulling
her feet along, gaze fixed on a rodent working
the maze of the oak as if it were his own invention,
 
her feet tangling in the roots of trees, and tripping,
yes, even over themselves, until I go out to assist,
by pointing at the squirrel, and repeating, “There!
 
There!” But instead of following my outstretched
arm to the crown of the tree, where the animal is
now lounging under a canopy of leaves,
 
catching its breath, charting its next escape,
she looks to my mouth, eager to read my lips,
confident that I—who can bring her home
 
from across the field with a word, who
can speak for the willow and the zinnia—
can surely charm a squirrel down from a tree.

Which Is Like Love

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

The sense of the world is short,—

Long and various the report,—

              To love and be beloved;

Men and gods have not outlearned it;

And, how oft soe’er they’ve turned it,

              ’Tis not to be improved

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Eros

Wedding

by Alice Oswald

From time to time our love is like a sail
and when the sail begins to alternate
from tack to tack, it’s like a swallowtail
and when the swallow flies it’s like a coat;
and if the coat is yours, it has a tear
like a wide mouth and when the mouth begins
to draw the wind, it’s like a trumpeter
and when the trumpet blows, it blows like millions …
and this, my love, when millions come and go
beyond the need of us, is like a trick;
and when the trick begins, it’s like a toe
tip-toeing on a rope, which is like luck;
and when the luck begins, it’s like a wedding,
which is like love, which is like everything.


A Great Need

by Hafiz

Out
Of a great need
We are all holding hands
And climbing.
Not loving is a letting go.
Listen,
The terrain around here
Is
Far too
Dangerous
For
That.

Between Heaven and Earth

Wang Ping

 

The River In Our Blood

A Sonnet Crown
For Lord Bruce
By Wang Ping

VII

The heart beats alone, keeping its own pace
Fear, rage, sorrow—storms beyond our range
The river bows and bends, birthing new space
To die and live again–this constant change

Veins of water across the delta wrist, opening
Cupped hands…fish, reeds, frogs mating in puddles
Home… where cranes stop for a drink, then rising
Back to their birthplace. The spirit shuttles

Between heaven and earth—how you follow
This primordial path? The brain, a wrinkled mass
Keeps us at bay, eyes on the black swallow
From distant sea…messenger through tall grass

Memory split from the Fountain of Youth
You hold us to the place– this beat, this truth

 


 

If you would like to read Wanda Ping’s entire crown of sonnets, click on the link below:

Wang Ping

 


Immigrant Can’t Write Poetry

Wang Ping 

 

“Oh no, not with your syntax,” said H.V. to her daughter-in-law, a Chinese writing poetry in English

She walk to table
She walks to a table

She walk to table now
She is walking to a table now

What difference it make
What difference does it make

In Nature, no completeness
No sentence really complete thought

Language, our birthright & curse
Pay no mind to immigrant syntax

Poetry, born as beast
Move best when free, undressed

 

 
 

It Was All Of That

Kathleen Norris

In spite of the cost of living, its still popular.

Kathleen Norris

Ascension

by Kathleen Norris

Why do you stand looking up at the skies?
.                                                        . Acts 1:11

It wasn’t just wind, chasing
thin gunmetal clouds
across the loud sky;
it wasn’t the feeling that one might ascend
on that excited air,
rising like a trumpet note.

And it wasn’t just my sister’s water breaking,
her crying out,
the downward draw of blood and bone…

It was all of that,
the mud and new grass
pushing up through melting snow,
the lilac in bud
by my front door, bent low
by last week’s ice storm.

Now the new mother, that leaky vessel,
begins to nurse her child,
beginning the long good-bye.


Mrs. Adam

By Kathleen Norris 
 

I have lately come to the conclusion that I am Eve,
alias Mrs. Adam. You know, there is no account
of her death in the Bible, and why am I not Eve?
Emily Dickinson in a letter,
12 January, 1846

Wake up,
you’ll need your wits about you.
This is not a dream,
but a woman who loves you, speaking.
 
She was there
when you cried out;
she brushed the terror away.
She knew
when it was time to sin.
You were wise
to let her handle it,
and leave that place.
 
We couldn’t speak at first
for the bitter knowledge,
the sweet taste of memory
on our tongues.
 
Listen, it’s time.
You were chosen too,
to put the world together.
 

Look Around You, Look Around!

Mary Howitt

So come to the pond, or the river of your imagination, or the harbor of your longing, and put your lips to the world. And live your life.

Mary Oliver

The Voice of Spring

Mary Howitt (1799 – 1888)

I am coming, I am coming!
Hark! the honey bee is humming;
See, the lark is soaring high
In the blue and sunny sky,
And the gnats are on the wing
Wheeling round in airy ring.

Listen! New-born lambs are bleating,
And the cawing rooks are meeting
In the elms-a noisy crowd.
All the birds are singing loud,
And the first white butterfly
In the sunshine dances by.

Look around you, look around!
Flowers in all the fields abound,
Every running stream is bright,
All the orchard trees are white,
And each small and waving shoot
Promises sweet autumn fruit.

 


May

by Mary Oliver (1935 – 2019)

May, and among the miles of leafing,
blossoms storm out of the darkness—
windflowers and moccasin flowers. The bees
dive into them and I too, to gather
their spiritual honey. Mute and meek, yet theirs
is the deepest certainty that this existence too—
this sense of well-being, the flourishing
of the physical body—rides
near the hub of the miracle that everything
is a part of, is as good
as a poem or a prayer, can also make
luminous any dark place on earth.