EppsNet Archive: Poetry

Places, Loved Ones

 

No, I have never found The place where I could say This is my proper ground, Here I shall stay; Nor met that special one Who has an instant claim On everything I own Down to my name; To find such seems to prove You want no choice in where To build, or whom to love; You ask them to bear You off irrevocably, So that it’s not your fault Should the town turn dreary, The girl a dolt. Yet, having missed them, you’re Bound, none the less, to act As if what you settled for Mashed you, in fact; And wiser to keep away From thinking you still might trace Uncalled-for to this day Your person, your place. — Philip Larkin, “Places, Loved Ones” Read more →

Molly Brodak

 

View this post on Instagram A post shared by @poetryisnotaluxury Read more →

Next, Please

 

Always too eager for the future, we Pick up bad habits of expectancy. Something is always approaching; every day Till then we say, Watching from a bluff the tiny, clear Sparkling armada of promises draw near. How slow they are! And how much time they waste, Refusing to make haste! Yet still they leave us holding wretched stalks Of disappointment, for, though nothing balks Each big approach, leaning with brasswork prinked, Each rope distinct, Flagged, and the figurehead wit golden tits Arching our way, it never anchors; it’s No sooner present than it turns to past. Right to the last We think each one will heave to and unload All good into our lives, all we are owed For waiting so devoutly and so long. But we are wrong: Only one ship is seeking us, a black- Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back A huge and birdless silence. In her… Read more →

Going

 

There is an evening coming in Across the fields, one never seen before, That lights no lamps. Silken it seems at a distance, yet When it is drawn up over the knees and breast It brings no comfort. Where has the tree gone, that locked Earth to the sky? What is under my hands, That I cannot feel? What loads my hands down? — Philip Larkin, “Going” Read more →

The Ballad of Joking Jesus

 

Goodbye goodbye write down all I said Tell Tom Dick and Harry I rose from the dead What’s bred in the bone cannot fail me to fly and all of it’s breezy goodbye now goodbye — James Joyce Read more →

I Think I Could Turn and Live With Animals

 

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d, I stand and look at them long and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition, They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth. — Walt Whitman Read more →

Annie Died the Other Day

 

annie died the other day never was there such a lay— whom, among her dollies, dad first (“don’t tell your mother”) had; making annie slightly mad but very wonderful in bed —saints and satyrs go your way youths and maidens: let us pray — e e cummings Read more →

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words. — Goethe

On the Infanticide Marie Farrar

 

Marie Farrar: month of birth, April Died in the Meissen penitentiary An unwed mother, judged by the law, she will Show you how all that lives, lives frailly. You who bear your sons in laundered linen sheets And call your pregnancies a ‘blessed’ state Should never damn the outcast and the weak: Her sin was heavy, but her suffering great. Therefore, I beg, make not your anger manifest For all that lives needs help from all the rest. — Bertolt Brecht, “On the Infanticide Marie Farrar” A translation of the entire poem is available here, among other places. Read more →

Why People Are So Messed Up

 

When I was a kid, I had a cousin Kathy, who liked to eat meals one item at a time. For example, if she had what I had last night, which was salmon, spinach and brown rice, she’d eat all of the salmon, then all of the spinach, then all of the rice. Not necessarily in that order but you get the idea. Some adults in our family would get mad that she ate meals that way and would yell at her to stop doing it. Like, what difference could it possibly make to anyone in what order she eats portions of food? Mind your own goddamn business. Bad parenting is probably my hottest of hot buttons. Or as Philip Larkin used to say: They fuck you up, your mum and dad.     They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had     And add… Read more →

You Do Not Need Many Things

 

My house is buried in the deepest recess of the forest Every year, ivy vines grow longer than the year before. Undisturbed by the affairs of the world I live at ease, Woodmen’s singing rarely reaching me through the trees. While the sun stays in the sky, I mend my torn clothes And facing the moon, I read holy texts aloud to myself. Let me drop a word of advice for believers of my faith. To enjoy life’s immensity, you do not need many things. — Ryokan Taigu Read more →

Too Lazy To Be Ambitious

 

Too lazy to be ambitious, I let the world take care of itself. Ten days’ worth of rice in my bag; a bundle of twigs by the fireplace. Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment? Listening to the night rain on my roof, I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out. — Ryokan Taigu Read more →

Begging

 

today’s begging is finished; at the crossroads i wander by the side of hachiman shrine talking with some children. last year, a foolish monk; this year, no change! — Ryokan Taigu Read more →

Wild Geese

 

You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting– over and over announcing your place in the family of things. — Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese” Read more →

Long have I longed, till I am tired
  Of longing and desire;
Farewell my points in vain desired,
  My dying fire;
Farewell all things that die and fail and tire.
— Christina Rossetti, “Till Tomorrow”

My Soul

 

Oh feed to the golden fish his egg Where he floats in his captive bowl, To the cat his kind from the womb born blind, And to the Lord my soul. — Stevie Smith, “My Soul” Read more →

Not Waving But Drowning

 

Nobody heard him, the dead man, But still he lay moaning: I was much further out than you thought And not waving but drowning. Poor chap, he always loved larking And now he’s dead It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way, They said. Oh, no no no, it was too cold always (Still the dead one lay moaning) I was much too far out all my life And not waving but drowning. — Stevie Smith, “Not Waving But Drowning” Read more →

W.S. Merwin, 1927-2019

 

I think there’s a kind of desperate hope built into poetry that one really wants, hopelessly, to save the world. One is trying to say everything that can be said for the things that one loves while there’s still time. W.S. Merwin RIP W.S. Merwin Also . . . “Yesterday” by W.S. Merwin How Can You Ever Be Sure? Read more →

Mary Oliver, 1935 – 2019

 

Mary Oliver was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She died today of lymphoma at the age of 83. The Poetry Foundation has a biography and a selection of poems, although I prefer the selection at the Peaceful Rivers site. Her work had a Whitmanesque love of life. I’ve included one of my favorites here: The Journey One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice — though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full… Read more →

Next Page »