We’ve had our annual time in the woods and at the beach, and here are a few highlights from my reading:
For months now I am bleak and primitive.
The congregation of crows refutes
the resurrection of anything.
I sleep all day, drink all night.
I believe only in certainty of equations,
the curvature of space, words used merely for incantation.
This cold wind I sway in, this continual lent–
But wait, the first crocus
–Nancy K. Pearson, Two Minutes of Light
I peer into Japanese characters
as into faraway buildings
cut from the mind’s trees.
In the late afternoon a small bird
shakes a branch, lets drop a white splash.
In the wind, in the rain,
the delicate wire cage glistens,
empty of suet.
Poetry’s not window-cleaning.
It breaks the glass.
–Chase Twichell, The Snow Watcher
That evening I was reading an anthology.
Scarlet clouds grazed outside my window.
The spent day fled to a museum.
And you– who are you?
I don’t know. I didn’t know
if I was born for gladness?
Sorrow? Patient waiting?
In dusk’s pure air
I read an anthology.
Ancient poets lived in me, singing.
–Adam Zagajewski, Mysticism for Beginners
Don’t ask us for the word to frame
our shapeless spirit on all sides,
and proclaim it in letters of fire to shine
like a lone crocus in a dusty field.
Ah, the man who walks secure,
a friend to others and himself,
indifferent that high summer prints
his shadow on a peeling wall!
Don’t ask us for the phrase that can open worlds,
just a few gnarled syllables, dry like a branch.
This, today, is all that we can tell you:
what we are not, what we do not want.
— Eugenio Montale, Cuttlefish Bones