Forget-me-not

Forget Me Nots

Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Servitude 

by Amanda Auchter

Is this a type of desire? A question
of faith that your lover

will not leave if you serve him enough
bread, tea, your body.  Devotion is false,

St Zita believed, that only in servitude
one could find God. Servitude

as penance. As love. So you become
servile, offer up poems, a bed

to spend the night, a glass of dark
wine. So you open the door, drive him

to the airport, let him kiss you
goodbye. But you are a cup

he expects to break. You serve him
from this cup. You carry the cup

to his mouth. You want him to taste
your willingness, your shame.

 


 

Scorpion Grass

by Amanda Auchter

Forget-me-nots used to be known as ‘scorpion grass’, with the current
name only appearing in the early 19th century.

Forget-me-not, delicate throat
in your palm. How easy it is to

crush me underfoot, under your
body’s weight in this field. You throw

down blankets here, twist grasses
into rings you give to your wife. I bend

and bend, my head too heavy with
a month of rain. I am small,

a mouse’s ear. You forget how
you pulled off each of my petals

before her, twirled my roots around
your long fingers. Me, so blue

and coiled, a wind shiver, a sting
you named, a broken stem.

Impossible Grandeur

June Firefly

It’s time to make love, douse the glim; The fireflies twinkle and dim; The stars lean together Like birds of a feather, And the loin lies down with the limb.

Conrad Aiken

The Old Age of Nostalgia

by Mark Strand

Those hours given over to basking in
the glow of an imagined future, of being
carried away in streams of promise
by a love or a passion so strong that one
felt altered forever and convinced that
the smallest particle of the surrounding
world was charged with a purpose of
impossible grandeur; ah yes, and one
would look up into the trees and be
thrilled by the wind-loosened river of
pale and gold foliage cascading down and
by the high melodious singing of countless
birds; those moments, so many and
so long ago, still come back, but briefly,
like fireflies in the perfumed heat of a
summer night.


The spectacle of the June firefly light show in our yard is at its stunning zenith.  2022 is a spectacular crop after a dry year last year, the full wetlands that surround our house and tall grasses have brought forth a breath taking wonder.   I have always been amazed by the magic of fireflies.  They are the fireworks of the insect world.   They attract their mates by the power of their greenish glow and signal to the world that life is amazing.   

When my kids were young I would take them fire fly hunting with a repurposed sweep net and a canning jar.  My rule is that they could keep them on their night stand for one night, with some delicious grass to eat, but in the morning they had to let them go, that magic too powerful to keep in a jar to die.  

When was the last time you chased a fire fly down or sat and watched them shimmer in the dark night, suffering a few bites of mosquitoes for the pleasure of their company?

So You Say

by Mark Strand

It is all in the mind, you say, and has
nothing to do with happiness. The coming of cold,
the coming of heat, the mind has all the time in the world.
You take my arm and say something will happen,
something unusual for which we were always prepared,
like the sun arriving after a day in Asia,
like the moon departing after a night with us.

As, Bearing Gifts, I Come

Joyce Kilmer (1886 – 1918)

I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes.

Sara Teasdale

Alarm Clock

by Joyce Kilmer

When Dawn strides out to wake a dewy farm
Across green fields and yellow hills of hay
The little twittering birds laugh in his way
And poise triumphant on his shining arm.
He bears a sword of flame but not to harm
The wakened life that feels his quickening sway
And barnyard voices shrilling “It is day!”
Take by his grace a new and alien charm.

But in the city, like a wounded thing
That limps to cover from the angry chase,
He steals down streets where sickly arc-lights sing,
And wanly mock his young and shameful face;
And tiny gongs with cruel fervor ring
In many a high and dreary sleeping place.

 


Madness

(For Sara Teasdale)

by Joyce Kilmer

The lonely farm, the crowded street,
The palace and the slum,
Give welcome to my silent feet
As, bearing gifts, I come.

Last night a beggar crouched alone,
A ragged helpless thing;
I set him on a moonbeam throne —
Today he is a king.

Last night a king in orb and crown
Held court with splendid cheer;
Today he tears his purple gown
And moans and shrieks in fear.

Not iron bars, nor flashing spears,
Not land, nor sky, nor sea,
Nor love’s artillery of tears
Can keep mine own from me.

Serene, unchanging, ever fair,
I smile with secret mirth
And in a net of mine own hair
I swing the captive earth.

The Moon Is Queen of Everything

Strawberry Full Moon June 14, 2022

If the Sun and Moon should ever doubt, they would immediately go out.

William Blake

Bed in Summer

By Robert Louis Stevenson  (1850-1894)

In winter I get up at night  

And dress by yellow candle-light.  
In summer, quite the other way,  
I have to go to bed by day.  

I have to go to bed and see         
The birds still hopping on the tree,  
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet  
Still going past me in the street.  

And does it not seem hard to you,  
When all the sky is clear and blue,  
And I should like so much to play,  
To have to go to bed by day?


Moonchild

by Lucille Clifton

whatever slid into my mother’s room that
late june night, tapping her great belly,
summoned me out roundheaded and unsmiling.
is this the moon, my father used to grin.
cradling me? it was the moon
but nobody knew it then.

the moon understands dark places.
the moon has secrets of her own.
she holds what light she can.

we girls were ten years old and giggling
in our hand-me-downs. we wanted breasts,
pretended that we had them, tissued
our undershirts. jay johnson is teaching
me to french kiss, ella bragged, who
is teaching you? how do you say; my father?

the moon is queen of everything.
she rules the oceans, rivers, rain.
when I am asked whose tears these are
I always blame the moon.

We Shall Not Cease From Exploration

T. S. Eliot

Forgive us, O Lord, we acknowledge ourselves as type of the common man, Of the men and women who shut the door and sit by the fire; Who fear the blessing of God, the loneliness of the night of God, the surrender required, the deprivation inflicted; Who fear the injustice of men less than the justice of God: Who fear the hand at the window, the fire in the thatch, the fist in the tavern, the push into the canal, Less than we fear the love of God.

T. S. Eliot

Little Gidding
(An Excerpt)

V

by T. S. Eliot

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea’s throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter’s afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always–
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one

 

Gerontion
(An Excerpt)

by T. S. Eliot
 

After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now
History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
Guides us by vanities. Think now
She gives when our attention is distracted
And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions
That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late
What’s not believed in, or if still believed,
In memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon
Into weak hands, what’s thought can be dispensed with
Till the refusal propagates a fear. Think
Neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices
Are fathered by our heroism. Virtues
Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.
These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.

The tiger springs in the new year. Us he devours. Think at last
We have not reached conclusion, when I
Stiffen in a rented house. Think at last
I have not made this show purposelessly
And it is not by any concitation
Of the backward devils
I would meet you upon this honestly.
I that was near your heart was removed therefrom
To lose beauty in terror, terror in inquisition.
I have lost my passion: why should I need to keep it
Since what is kept must be adulterated?
I have lost my sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch:
How should I use them for your closer contact?
These with a thousand small deliberations
Protract the profit of their chilled delirium,
Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled,
With pungent sauces, multiply variety
In a wilderness of mirrors. What will the spider do,
Suspend its operations, will the weevil
Delay? De Bailhache, Fresca, Mrs. Cammel, whirled
Beyond the circuit of the shuddering Bear
In fractured atoms. Gull against the wind, in the windy straits
Of Belle Isle, or running on the Horn,
White feathers in the snow, the Gulf claims,
And an old man driven by the Trades
To a sleepy corner.

Tenants of the house,
Thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season.

 

Praise The Rain

Verdant green the first of June in MInnesota

Green was the silence, wet was the light, the month of June trembled like a butterfly.

Pablo Neruda

Beloved, Let Us Once More Praise the Rain

by Conrad Aiken

Beloved, let us once more praise the rain.
Let us discover some new alphabet,
For this, the often praised; and be ourselves,
The rain, the chickweed, and the burdock leaf,
The green-white privet flower, the spotted stone,
And all that welcomes the rain; the sparrow too,—
Who watches with a hard eye from seclusion,
Beneath the elm-tree bough, till rain is done.
There is an oriole who, upside down,
Hangs at his nest, and flicks an orange wing,—
Under a tree as dead and still as lead;
There is a single leaf, in all this heaven
Of leaves, which rain has loosened from its twig:
The stem breaks, and it falls, but it is caught
Upon a sister leaf, and thus she hangs;
There is an acorn cup, beside a mushroom
Which catches three drops from the stooping cloud.
The timid bee goes back to the hive; the fly
Under the broad leaf of the hollyhock
Perpends stupid with cold; the raindark snail
Surveys the wet world from a watery stone…
And still the syllables of water whisper:
The wheel of cloud whirs slowly: while we wait
In the dark room; and in your heart I find
One silver raindrop,—on a hawthorn leaf,—
Orion in a cobweb, and the World.


All Lovely Things

by Conrad Aiken

 

All lovely things will have an ending,
All lovely things will fade and die,
And youth, that’s now so bravely spending,
Will beg a penny by and by.

Fine ladies soon are all forgotten,
And goldenrod is dust when dead,
The sweetest flesh and flowers are rotten
And cobwebs tent the brightest head.

Come back, true love! Sweet youth, return!—
But time goes on, and will, unheeding,
Though hands will reach, and eyes will yearn,
And the wild days set true hearts bleeding.

Come back, true love! Sweet youth, remain!—
But goldenrod and daisies wither,
And over them blows autumn rain,
They pass, they pass, and know not whither.

Grief Finds Its Good Way Home

Elizabeth Jennings (1926 – 2001)

“For me, poetry is always a search for order.”

Elizabeth Jennings

Catch As Catch Can

by Jonathon Price (1931 – 1985)

Catch as catch can what’s asking to be caught
Or else be beaten to it by the bell.
Hardly a day passes without that thought.

Trammelled in tenses, snagged by could and ought,
The careful trekker cannot very well
Catch as catch can what’s asking to be caught,

For what comes gratis, and what must be bought,
And what the long-term cost is, who can tell?
Hardly a day passes without that thought.

Old knots defy untying: guy-ropes, taut,
Stay one securely. Anglers up the fell
Catch as catch can what’s asking to be caught:

To make a killing from an artful sport
They cast fine long lines like a subtle spell.
Hardly a day passes without that thought

As good scouts plod to their prosaic hell.
So can the weaver of a villanelle
Catch as catch can what’s asking to be caught?
Hardly a day passes without that thought.

Into the Hour

by Elizabeth Jennings

I have come into the hour of a white healing.
Grief’s surgery is over and I wear
The scar of my remorse and of my feeling.

I have come into a sudden sunlit hour
When ghosts are scared to corners. I have come
Into the time when grief begins to flower

Into a new love. It had filled my room
Long before I recognised it. Now
I speak its name. Grief finds its good way home.

The apple-blossom’s handsome on the bough
And Paradise spreads round. I touch its grass.
I want to celebrate but don’t know how.

I need not speak though everyone I pass
Stares at me kindly. I would put my hand
Into their hands. Now I have lost my loss

In some way I may later understand.
I hear the singing of the Summer grass
And love, I find, has no considered end,

Nor is it subject to the wilderness
Which follows death. I am not traitor to
A person or a memory. I trace

Behind that love another which is running
Around, ahead. I need not ask its meaning.

To Construct Peace

Muriel Rukeyser

What three things can never be done; forget, keep silent, stand alone.

Muriel Rukeyser

Now It Is Time That Gods Came Walking

by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Now it is time that gods came walking out
of lived-in Things …
Time that they came and knocked down every wall
inside my house. New page. Only the wind
from such a turning could be strong enough
to toss the air as a shovel tosses dirt:
A fresh-turned field of breath. O gods, gods!
who used to come so often and are still
asleep in the Things around us, who serenely
rise and at wells that we can only guess at
splash icy water on your necks and faces,
and lightly add your restedness to what seems
already filled to bursting: our full lives.
Once again let it be your morning, gods.
We keep repeating. You alone are source.
With you the world arises, and your dawn
gleams on each crack and crevice of our failure …”


Poem (I lived in the first century of world wars)

By Muriel Rukeyser (1913 – 1980)
 
I lived in the first century of world wars.
Most mornings I would be more or less insane,
The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories,
The news would pour out of various devices
Interrupted by attempts to sell products to the unseen.
I would call my friends on other devices;
They would be more or less mad for similar reasons.
Slowly I would get to pen and paper,
Make my poems for others unseen and unborn.
In the day I would be reminded of those men and women,
Brave, setting up signals across vast distances,
Considering a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values.
As the lights darkened, as the lights of night brightened,
We would try to imagine them, try to find each other,
To construct peace, to make love, to reconcile
Waking with sleeping, ourselves with each other,
Ourselves with ourselves. We would try by any means
To reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves,
To let go the means, to wake.
 
I lived in the first century of these wars.

The Waiting Does Not Let Up

Jack Gilbert (1925 – 2012)

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.

Jack Gilbert

Meanwhile

by Jack Gilbert

It waits. While I am walking through the pine trees
along the river, it is waiting. It has waited a long time.
In southern France, in Belgium, and even Alabama.
Now it waits in New England while I say grace over
almost everything: for a possum dead on someone’s lawn,
the single light on a levee while Northampton sleeps,
and because the lanes between houses in Greek hamlets
are exactly the width of a donkey loaded on each side
with barley. Loneliness is the mother’s milk of America.
The heart is a foreign country whose language none
of us is good at. Winter lingers on in the woods,
but already it looks discarded as the birds return
and sing carelessly; as though there never was the power
or size of December. For nine years in me it has waited.
My life is pleasant, as usual. My body is a blessing
and my spirit clear. But the waiting does not let up.

 


A Brief For The Defense

by Jack Gilbert

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.

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.