Friday, December 19

Born for the Snow
We were born to be blessed, to be torn into being
Alive, to be weary and open and lost,
Carrying ourselves

As the weight of the planet spins us into light.
We were born to say this, beholding,
Beholden to everything here

Before and after fire and water,
Earth and air. We were born for the snow
To fall on us over and over,

Anonymous leaflets
Glimmering far and near, arriving
Without being read, seraphs

Of unrecounted history
Sending an inaudible reply.
We were born for the birth to be borne

To the end of time, to know
It is time, no matter the time, though today
Everything is as it is

Without anything in the world
Covering the door
To things as they are:

Confetti of laughter rising
From a town, a festival
Dying down, floating by,

A field being fed by the snow.
 - Phillis Levin
May Day

Thursday, December 18

"The country seems bigger, for you can see through the bare trees. There are times when the woods is absolutely still and quiet. The house holds warmth. A wet snow comes in the night and covers the ground and clings to the trees, making the whole world white. For a while in the morning the world is perfect and beautiful. You think you will never forget.

You think you will never forget any of this, you will remember it always just the way it was. But you can't remember it the way it was. To know it, you have to be living in the presence of it right as it is happening. It can return only by surprise. Speaking of these things tells you that there are no words for them that are equal to them or that can restore them to your mind. And so you have a life that you are living only now, now and now and now, gone before you can speak of it, and you must be thankful for living day by day, moment by moment, in this presence.

But you have a life too that you remember. It stays with you. You have lived a life in the breath and pulse and living light of the present, and your memories of it, remember now, are of a different life in a different world and time. When you remember the past, you are not remembering it as it was. You are remembering it as it is. It is a vision or a dream, present with you in the present, alive with you in the only time you are alive."
 - Wendell Berry

Wednesday, December 17

"We are not at home in the world because we imagine it is as we have become, full of nothing but yearning and forgetting and hoping for something so raw we can't describe it. We think of the world as the place of beginnings and ends, and we forget the inbetween, and even how to inhabit our own bodies. And then in adulthood, we sit and wonder why we feel so lost."
 - Simon Van Booy
Love Begins in Winter: Five Stories
the journey of words

Tuesday, December 16

The L.L. Jubilation Catalog
Pitapat around the sanctuary
in our sacred-cow boy boots. Choose alabaster,
ambrosia, ash blond, or alpha beatitude.

You've never zipped on a platitude
like this, preshrunk and so preachified
you'll rave to be raptured.

Hallelujah! Pray for mercy
in vestments this sweet. They come
in sizes extra-medium to wide-latitude.

Bad attitude? Wish you had
a lily-white sacroiliac? Our priests get high,
will whitewash the tone of your moan.

The holiday offering: a holy of holies,
such shocked shades, God's good gratitude
will make you want to spank Heaven.
 - Beverly Burch
How a Mirage Works

Monday, December 15

"Maybe learning how to be out in the big world isn't the epic journey everyone thinks it is. Maybe that's actually the easy part. The hard part is what's right in front of you. The hard part is learning how to hold the title to your very existence, to own not only property, but also your life."
 - Meghan Daum
Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House

Sunday, December 14

In Singapore, in the airport,
a darkness was ripped from my eyes.
In the women's restroom, one compartment stood open.
A woman knelt there, washing something in the white bowl.

Disgust argued in my stomach
and I felt, in my pocket, for my ticket.

A poem should always have birds in it.
Kingfishers, say, with their bold eyes and gaudy wings.
Rivers are pleasant, and of course trees.
A waterfall, or if that's not possible, a fountain rising and falling.
A person wants to stand in a happy place, in a poem.

When the woman turned I could not answer her face.
Her beauty and her embarrassment struggled together, and neither    could win.
She smiled and I smiled. What kind of nonsense is this?
Everybody needs a job.

Yes, a person wants to stand in a happy place, in a poem.
But first we must watch her as she stares down at her labor, which is    dull enough.
She is washing the tops of the airport ashtrays, as big as hubcaps,
   with a blue rag.
Her small hands turn the metal, scrubbing and rinsing.
She does not work slowly, nor quickly, but like a river.
Her dark hair is like the wing of a bird.

I don't doubt for a moment that she loves her life.
And I want her to rise up from the crust and the slop and fly down to    the river.

This probably won't happen.
But maybe it will.
If the world were only pain and logic, who would want it?

Of course, it isn't.
Neither do I mean anything miraculous, but only
the light that can shine out of a life. I mean
the way she unfolded and refolded the blue cloth,
the way her smile was only for my sake; I mean
the way this poem is filled with trees, and birds.
 - Mary Oliver
House of Light

  • ". . . as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate,
    a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts."
    - Vladimir Nabokov