Monday, May 18, 2009

"The Trees" by Philip Larkin

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again?
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say.
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.


Love Letter to Spring

Delphiniums in a Window Box
by Dean Young

Every sunrise, even strangers’ eyes.
Not necessarily swans, even crows,
even the evening fusillade of bats.
That place where the creek goes underground,
how many weeks before I see you again?
Stacks of books, every page, characters’
rages and poets’ strange contraptions
of syntax and song, every song
even when there isn’t one.
Every thistle, splinter, butterfly
over the drainage ditches. Every stray.
Did you see the meteor shower?
Did it feel like something swallowed?
Every question, conversation
even with almost nothing, cricket, cloud,
because of you I’m talking to crickets, clouds,
confiding in a cat. Everyone says,
Come to your senses, and I do, of you.
Every touch electric, every taste you,
every smell, even burning sugar, every
cry and laugh. Toothpicked samples
at the farmers’ market, every melon,
plum, I come undone, undone.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wendell Berry: from Sabbath: Poems (1979)

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing
the day turns, the trees move.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rites of Spring (without the rain)

I'll admit, I'm pretty lazy when it comes to video links. Have yet to embrace You Tube, and as such, I'm probably the only person who has not yet seen the famous Susan Boyle singing sensation.

Today I was forced out of my laziness by Bill Cunningham, who is my favorite street reporter for the New York Times. In the Sunday paper he creates a collage of gorgeous photos based on what New Yorkers are wearing right now. For the last few weeks I've been stewing because his online versions have become videos and not slideshows. So I caved today. Clicked the link, waited for the video to load, and was ultimately thrilled that I went to all the effort.
Here is spring at its finest in New York: "On the Street: Premature Summer" by Bill Cunningham.

I had to dig around to find The New Yorker's recent article on Cunningham, which is equally wonderful. Here is the link to Lauren Collins's "Man on the Street."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

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.