EppsNet Archive: Poetry

A Man’s a Man For A’ That

 

What though on hamely fare we dine, Wear hoddin grey, an’ a that; Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine; A Man’s a Man for a’ that: For a’ that, and a’ that, Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that; The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor, Is king o’ men for a’ that. — Robert Burns, “A Man’s a Man For A’ That” Read more →

Overheard (Samuel T. Coleridge Edition)

 

HIM: Sir Leoline, the Baron rich– Hath a toothless mastiff bitch– HER: Which. HIM: I beg your pardon. HER: Which, not bitch. HIM: We’ll look it up. Read more →

“Nature” is What We See

 

“Nature” is what we see— The Hill—the Afternoon— Squirrel—Eclipse—the Bumble bee— Nay—Nature is Heaven— Nature is what we hear— The Bobolink—the Sea— Thunder—the Cricket— Nay—Nature is Harmony— Nature is what we know— Yet have no art to say— So impotent Our Wisdom is To her Simplicity. Read more →

How Can You Ever Be Sure?

 

I asked how can you ever be sure that what you write is really any good at all and he said you can’t you can’t you can never be sure you die without knowing whether anything you wrote was any good if you have to be sure don’t write — W.S. Merwin, “Berryman” Read more →

Abeyance

 

Photo by Siderola Guess what, Dad and I finally figured out Pandora, and after all those years of silence, our old music fills the air. It fills the air, and somehow, here, at this instant and for this instant only —perhaps three bars—what I recall equals all I feel, and I remember all the words. — Rebecca Foust, “Abeyance” Read more →

All Joy Wants Eternity

 

O man, take care! What does the deep midnight declare? “I was asleep— From a deep dream I woke and swear:— The world is deep, Deeper than day had been aware. Deep is its woe— Joy—deeper yet than agony: Woe implores: Go! But all joy wants eternity— Wants deep, wants deep eternity. — Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra Read more →

e e cummings wishes you a happy fathers day

 

my father moved through dooms of love through sames of am through haves of give, singing each morning out of each night my father moved through depths of height this motionless forgetful where turned at his glance to shining here; that if (so timid air is firm) under his eyes would stir and squirm newly as from unburied which floats the first who, his april touch drove sleeping selves to swarm their fates woke dreamers to their ghostly roots and should some why completely weep my father’s fingers brought her sleep: vainly no smallest voice might cry for he could feel the mountains grow. Lifting the valleys of the sea my father moved through griefs of joy; praising a forehead called the moon singing desire into begin joy was his song and joy so pure a heart of star by him could steer and pure so now and now so… Read more →

Summer Triptych

 

1. The world is water to these bronzed boys on their surfboards, riding the sexual waves of Maui like so many fearless cowboys, challenging death on bucking broncos of foam. 2. On the beach at Santorini we ate those tiny silverfish grilled straight from the sea, and when the sun went down in the flaming west there was applause from all the sated diners, as if it had done its acrobatic plunge just for them. 3. Swathed from head to toe in seeming veils of muslin, the figure in the Nantucket fog poles along the shoreline on a flat barge. It could be Charon transporting souls across the River Styx, or just another fisherman in a hoodie, trolling for bluefish on the outgoing tide. — Linda Pastan, “Summer Triptych” Read more →

Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

 

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. — W. B. Yeats, “Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” Read more →

Serenity

 

Brook, Be still,—be still! Midnight’s arch is broken In thy ceaseless ripples. Dark and cold below them Runs the troubled water,— Only on its bosom, Shimmering and trembling, Doth the glinted star-shine Sparkle and cease. Life, Be still,—be still! Boundless truth is shattered On thy hurrying current. Rest, with face uplifted, Calm, serenely quiet; Drink the deathless beauty— Thrills of love and wonder Sinking, shining, star-like; Till the mirrored heaven Hollow down within thee Holy deeps unfathomed, Where far thoughts go floating, And low voices wander Whispering peace. — Edward Roland Sill, “Serenity” Read more →

Vintage

 

I will mix me a drink of stars,— Large stars with polychrome needles, Small stars jetting maroon and crimson, Cool, quiet, green stars. I will tear them out of the sky, And squeeze them over an old silver cup, And I will pour the cold scorn of my Beloved into it, So that my drink shall be bubbled with ice. It will lap and scratch As I swallow it down; And I shall feel it as a serpent of fire, Coiling and twisting in my belly. His snortings will rise to my head, And I shall be hot, and laugh, Forgetting that I have ever known a woman. — Amy Lowell, “Vintage” Read more →

Passers-by

 

Passers-by, Out of your many faces Flash memories to me Now at the day end Away from the sidewalks Where your shoe soles traveled And your voices rose and blent To form the city’s afternoon roar Hindering an old silence.         Passers-by, I remember lean ones among you, Throats in the clutch of a hope, Lips written over with strivings, Mouths that kiss only for love, Records of great wishes slept with, Held long And prayed and toiled for:         Yes, Written on Your mouths And your throats I read them When you passed by. — Carl Sandburg, “Passers-by” Read more →

Within the Circuit of this Plodding Life

 

Within the circuit of this plodding life, There enter moments of an azure hue, Untarnished fair as is the violet Or anemone, when the spring strews them By some meandering rivulet, which make The best philosophy untrue that aims But to console man for his grievances. I have remembered when the winter came, High in my chamber in the frosty nights, When in the still light of the cheerful moon, On every twig and rail and jutting spout, The icy spears were adding to their length Against the arrows of the coming sun, How in the shimmering noon of summer past Some unrecorded beam slanted across The upland pastures where the Johnswort grew; Or heard, amid the verdure of my mind, The bee’s long smothered hum, on the blue flag Loitering amidst the mead; or busy rill, Which now through all its course stands still and dumb Its own memorial,—purling… Read more →

Old Wine

 

If I could lift     My heart but high enough     My heart could fill with love: But ah, my heart     Too still and heavy stays     Too brimming with old days. — Margaret Widdemer, “Old Wine” Read more →

Attention Deficit

 

Focus for us was a thing hard to come by. We would have to make due with whatever we had: these were pills and a pencil, blue earplugs to block out the voices inside of our heads, which would tell us time passed and these thoughts that would shine like soft lights on our brains would one day fade into invisible relief. We would write in our binders, pass classes, allow for a moment of grief. We were deeply aware we would have to make up for lost time, but when we took our pills, the world would seem fine, seem as if it had always been fine. Once we had adequate supplies we’d sell, but until then we decid- ed to re- fill. We had determined that we would not brood. Instead we charted out our moods and light- ened up our loads. Before the rest of time unfolds,… Read more →

Closed

 

The crimson dawn breaks through the clouded east, And waking breezes round the casement pipe; They blow the globes of dew from opening buds, And steal the odors of the sleeping flowers. The swallow calls its young ones from the eaves, To dart above their shadows on the lake, Till its long rollers redden in the sun, And bend the lances of the mirrored pines. Who knows the miracle that brings the morn? Still in my house I linger, though the night— The night that hides me from myself is gone. Light robes the world, but strips me bare again. I will not follow on the paths of day. I know the dregs within its crystal hours; The bearers of my cups have served me well; I drained them, and the bearers come no more. Rise, morning, rise, for those believing souls Who seek completion in day’s garish light. My… Read more →

This Magic Moment

 

Bravery is doing             the same thing every day when you don’t want to. Not the marvelous but the familiar, over and over again.             Do that, and the magic will come. — David Kirby, “This Magic Moment” Read more →

The Lowlight of My Weekend

 

I had lunch over the weekend with Robert Hass — Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, UC Berkeley professor and former Poet Laureate of the United States. When I say I had lunch with him, I mean he was one of five people seated at our table. I asked to take a photo with him, which he graciously consented to. I don’t have any photos of myself with Pulitzer Prize winners and still don’t because the photo didn’t come out at all. I completely botched it somehow. So that was probably the lowlight of my weekend, except for Cal getting blown out by Washington on the gridiron 31-7, while four Husky fans sat directly behind us screaming the whole game. Football at Cal unfortunately is like academics at Washington: not terribly distinguished. Read more →

Books, Writers, Bookstores, Libraries

 

World’s Coolest Bookstores – CNN Style 22 Most Spectacular Libraries in the World – Architecture and Design Writers at Work Erasing Infinite – Poet Jenni B. Baker creates erasure poetry from David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, one page at a time. Incredible. Must be seen to be believed. Read more →

If You Quote Poetry at My Death, I Will Haunt You

 

If you know me, and you outlive me, and you want to say something on the occasion of my demise, please do not quote a snippet of poetry or other literary material, e.g., “He did not go gently into that good night.” Or: “I think Wordsworth said it best . . .” Bullshit . . . Wordsworth did not say it best. Wordsworth didn’t know me. You knew me. Go ahead and say something from the heart if you have something. Keep it real. He was not a good person. He had the most appalling social skills, which is why he had no close friends. After his son moved out, he just unraveled like an old sock. I remember at Jackie O’s funeral, her kids — was it just one kid, or both? I think both — read a poem. A poem! That’s when you really know that your life… Read more →

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