Swelter and melt, and the lovers
Pass by, pass by.
They are black and flat as shadows.
It is so beautiful to have no attachments!
I am solitary as grass. What is it I miss?
Shall I ever find it, whatever it is?” —Three Women, Sylvia Plath (via unkemptgirl)
by Mark Strand
When the moon appears
and a few wind-stricken barns stand out
in the low-domed hills
and shine with a light
that is veiled and dust-filled
and that floats upon the fields,
my mother, with her hair in a bun,
her face in shadow, and the smoke
from her cigarette coiling close
to the faint yellow sheen of her dress,
stands near the house
and watches the seepage of late light
down through the sedges,
the last gray islands of cloud
taken from view, and the wind
ruffling the moon’s ash-colored coat
on the black bay.
Soon the house, with its shades drawn closed, will send
small carpets of lampglow
into the haze and the bay
will begin its loud heaving
and the pines, frayed finials
climbing the hill, will seem to graze
the dim cinders of heaven.
And my mother will stare into the starlanes,
the endless tunnels of nothing,
and as she gazes,
under the hour’s spell,
she will think how we yield each night
to the soundless storms of decay
that tear at the folding flesh,
and she will not know
why she is here
or what she is prisoner of
if not the conditions of love that brought her to this.
My mother will go indoors
and the fields, the bare stones
will drift in peace, small creatures —
the mouse and the swift — will sleep
at opposite ends of the house.
Only the cricket will be up,
repeating its one shrill note
to the rotten boards of the porch,
to the rusted screens, to the air, to the rimless dark,
to the sea that keeps to itself.
Why should my mother awake?
The earth is not yet a garden
about to be turned. The stars
are not yet bells that ring
at night for the lost.
It is much too late.
To all I follow here on Tumblr, to all who follow me, to all who continually enrich me and teach me new things, exposing me to new writers, artists, words, ideas—I am extremely thankful for your presence, your camaraderie, and your dialogue here. I am honored to be among you in this utterly poetic world we have here between us.
The old man
leaves his house, carries books.
A German soldier snatches his books
flings them in the mud.
The old man picks them up,
the soldier hits him in the face.
The old man falls,
the soldier kicks him and walks away.
The old man
lies in mud and blood.
Under him he feels
“You don’t know it, but I often wake up at night,
I lie for a long time in the dark,
and I listen to you sleeping next to me, as a dog does,
on the shore of slow water from which shadows
and reflections rise, silent butterflies.
Last night you spoke in your sleep,
almost whining, talking of a wall
too high to climb down, towards the sea
seen only by you, distant and gleaming.
Playfully I whispered, Just calm down,
it isn’t all that high, we could make it.
whether down below there was sand to land on,
or black rock.
Sand, I answered, sand. And in your dream
maybe we dove together.”
— Fabio Pusterla, “Sand” (from the inaugural issue of Asymptote)
There is one thing I want today, and only you can give it to me.
It stands at my window, big as the sky.
It breathes from my sheets, the cold dead center
Where split lives congeal and stiffen to history.
Let it not come by the mail, finger by finger.
Let it not come by word of mouth, I should be sixty
By the time the whole of it was delivered, and too numb to use it.
Only let down the veil, the veil, the veil.” —Sylvia Plath, from “A Birthday Present”
The seasons revolve and the years change
With no assistance or supervision.
The moon, without taking thought,
Moves in its cycle, full, crescent, and full.
The white moon enters the heart of the river;
The air is drugged with azalea blossoms;
Deep in the night a pine cone falls;
Our campfire dies out in the empty mountains.
The sharp stars flicker in the tremulous branches;
The lake is black, bottomless in the crystalline night;
High in the sky the Northern Crown
Is cut in half by the dim summit of a snow peak.
O heart, heart, so singularly
Intransigent and corruptible,
Here we lie entranced by the starlit water,
And moments that should each last forever
Slide unconsciously by us like water.
—Kenneth Rexroth (From One Hundred Poems from the Chinese)
Thank you, Beyond the Fields We Know.