Showing posts from April, 2016

Monadnock in Early Spring by Amy Lowell, 1874 - 1925

Cloud-topped and splendid, dominating all
    The little lesser hills which compass thee,
    Thou standest, bright with April’s buoyancy,
Yet holding Winter in some shaded wall
Of stern, steep rock; and startled by the call
    Of Spring, thy trees flush with expectancy
    And cast a cloud of crimson, silently,
Above thy snowy crevices where fall
    Pale shrivelled oak leaves, while the snow beneath
    Melts at their phantom touch. Another year
Is quick with import. Such each year has been.
    Unmoved thou watchest all, and all bequeath
    Some jewel to thy diadem of power,
Thou pledge of greater majesty unseen.

I Know My Soul by Claude McKay, 1889 - 1948

I plucked my soul out of its secret place,
And held it to the mirror of my eye,
To see it like a star against the sky,
A twitching body quivering in space,
A spark of passion shining on my face.
And I explored it to determine why
This awful key to my infinity
Conspires to rob me of sweet joy and grace.
And if the sign may not be fully read,
If I can comprehend but not control,
I need not gloom my days with futile dread,
Because I see a part and not the whole.
Contemplating the strange, I’m comforted
By this narcotic thought: I know my soul.

[Today I swam to the bottom of the ocean] by James Vrhovac

Today I swam to the bottom of the ocean, 

where I need not adequately dress, 

for there is no one to correctly impress, 

so settle silt and sand on a conviction, 

to challenge the barnacles for daring to filter life without ever risking,

the deeper waters 

where the cargo of a thousand overlooked containers 
ride the floor 

in a broken parody of Jormungandr's spine

waiting for a lightning strike to smite the rusting blight 

we so hope we can blind ourselves to the reality of.

Pastoral by William Carlos Williams, 1883 - 1963

The little sparrows
Hop ingenuously
About the pavement
With sharp voices
Over those things
That interest them.
But we who are wiser
Shut ourselves in
On either hand
And no one knows
Whether we think good
Or evil.
                  Then again,
The old man who goes about
Gathering dog lime
Walks in the gutter
Without looking up
And his tread
Is more majestic than
That of the Episcopal minister
Approaching the pulpit
Of a Sunday.
These things
Astonish me beyond words.


As a fond mother, when the day is o'er,    Leads by the hand her little child to bed,    Half willing, half reluctant to be led,    And leave his broken playthings on the floor, Still gazing at them through the open door,    Nor wholly reassured and comforted    By promises of others in their stead,    Which, though more splendid, may not please him more; So Nature deals with us, and takes away    Our playthings one by one, and by the hand    Leads us to rest so gently, that we go Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay,    Being too full of sleep to understand    How far the unknown transcends the what we know.

Spring Haiku by Basho

Spring air —     woven moon and plum scent.