Tuesday, April 30, 2013

National Poetry Month, Part 3


“I believe in the sun
though it is late
in rising

I believe in love
though it is absent

I believe in God
though he is silent..."

 -  translated from the French, the text is an unsigned inscription found on the wall of a cave in Cologne where Jewish people had been hiding during the Holcaust 

From Out the Cave

When you have been
at war with yourself
for so many years that
you have forgotten why,
when you have been driving
for hours and only
gradually begin to realize
that you have lost the way,
when you have cut
hastily into the fabric,
when you have signed
papers in distraction,
when it has been centuries
since you watched the sun set
or the rain fall, and the clouds,
drifting overhead, pass as flat
as anything on a postcard;
when, in the midst of these
everyday nightmares, you
understand that you could
wake up,
you could turn
and go back
to the last thing you
remember doing
with your whole heart:
that passionate kiss,
the brilliant drop of love
rolling along the tongue of a green leaf,
then you wake,
you stumble from your cave,
blinking in the sun,
naming every shadow
as it slips.

 by Joyce Sutphen


I don’t know about you,
but I practice a disorganized religion.
I belong to an unholy disorder.
We call ourselves,
“Our Lady of Perpetual Astonishment.”
You may have seen us praying
for love
on sidewalks outside the better
eating establishments
in all kinds of weather.
Blow us a kiss
upon arriving or departing,
and we will climax
It can be quite a scene,
especially if it is raining
cats and dogs.

by Kurt Vonnegut 

all that is glorious around us 

is not, for me, these grand vistas, sublime peaks, mist-filled
overlooks, towering clouds, but doing errands on a day
of driving rain, staying dry inside the silver skin of the car,
160,000 miles, still running just fine. or later,
sitting in a café warmed by the steam
from white chicken chili, two cups of dark coffee,
watching the red and gold leaves race down the street,
confetti from autumn’s bright parade. and i think
of how my mother struggles to breathe, how few good days
she has now, how we never think about the glories
of breath, oxygen cascading down our throats to the lungs,
simple as the journey of water over a rock. it is the nature
of stone / to be satisfied / writes mary oliver, It is the nature
of water / to want to be somewhere else, rushing down
a rocky tor or high escarpment, the panoramic landscape
boundless behind it. but everything glorious is around
us already: black and blue graffiti shining in the rain’s
bright glaze, the small rainbows of oil on the pavement,
where the last car to park has left its mark on the glistening
street, this radiant world.

by Barbara Crooker

today, like every other day 

today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. take down a musical instrument.

let the beauty we love be what we do.
there are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

by Jalaluddin Rumi


Anthony Duce said...

Wonderful selections..

Barbara said...

Tracey, I've been lax about visiting you, so I went back and read your posts. Wonderful as always.
The first selection in your post is so sad. But I'd never seen it before, so thank you for posting it.

Rumi is right. It would be better NOT to wake up and read the news. Music trumps news any day.

Red Shoes said...

Wow... that first poem is haunting to me! Man!!

... and I can kind of relate to that Kurt Vonnegut comment!!!

I hope Life is continuing to be amazing for you, and that you are as happy as possible!!


JJ said...

I am a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan. Thank you for the memory!

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