Friday, May 30, 2008


I memorized this poem for my English class. I love the poem. It has given me a whole new perspective on beauty. And, every time I see a daffodil, my faith in miracles is renewed. Love a poem? Memorize it. It gives the poem new breath and depth. The poem becomes yours. It's beautiful.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
William Wordsworth

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay: 10
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood, 20
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Valerie Owens

eating rice crispies
an hour after graduating from high school
shouldn't i be
melancholy, excited, relieved, anxious...
but i am thinking about
sunburnt shoulders,
a bad hair day,
and how none of this
seems real
i'm graduated.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Another nod to Collins

As promised, more of the works of Billy Collins. Sticking with Owen Sheers' theme of motherhood, I am posting "The Lanyard." I love the irony within the poem. And, I dearly love my own mother, even if I only have a "lanyard" of sorts to prove it.

"The Lanyard"
Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the pale blue walls of this room,
bouncing from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past --
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift--not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Owen Sheers

Poetry from a younger poet, Owen Sheers.... He was born 1973, so that would put him at thirty-five? Still nearly two decades older than myself, but the poem was only published two years ago. Cool to see the next generation of poetry.

Not Yet My Mother
Owen Sheers

Saturday June 24, 2006
The Guardian

Yesterday I found a photo
of you at seventeen,
holding a horse and smiling,
not yet my mother.

The tight riding hat hid your hair,
and your legs were still the long shins of a boy's.
You held the horse by the halter,
your hand a fist under its huge jaw.

The blown trees were still in the background
and the sky was grained by the old film stock,
but what caught me was your face,
which was mine.

And I thought, just for a second, that you were me.
But then I saw the woman's jacket,
nipped at the waist, the ballooned jodhpurs,
and of course the date, scratched in the corner.

All of which told me again,
that this was you at seventeen, holding a horse
and smiling, not yet my mother,
although I was clearly already your child.

Poetry, Brautigan Style

Poetry, Brautigan Style
Valerie Owens

His magic is:
like ice cubes beneath a hot faucet.
He is really quite unremarkable.
I am sleep deprived.
And Brautigan was drunk.

A Second Glance at Brautigan

I find one's interpretation of poetry to be largely based on the mood they are in. The poet surrenders the poem to the carnivorous nature of the masses and pray it makes it out alive. The reader murders the poem for what he wants and leaves the corpse to rot.

Last night, I felt rapture on the discovery of Richard Brautigan. Tonight, Brautigan's work appears rather ugly, frustrating almost. But, I still have a few of his I'd like to share as Brautigan shouldn't suffer because of my bad mood. And, it's pretty cool how well it fits recent situations.

"Your Love"
Richard Brautigan
Your love
Somebody else needs it
I don't.

"The 12,000,000"
Richard Brautigan
I'm depressed,
haunted by melancholy
that does not have a reflection
nor cast a shadow.
12,000,000 people live here in Tokyo.
I know I'm not alone.
Others must feel the way
I do.

May 26, 1976
1 P.M.

"For Fear You Will Be Alone"
Richard Brautigan
For fear you will be alone
you do so many things
that aren't you at all.
"Fragment #2/Having"
Richard Brautigan
I found the word having written sideways,
all by itself
on a piece of notebook paper.
I have no idea why I wrote it
or what its ultimate destination was,
but I wrote the word having carefully

and then stopped


June perhaps, 1976

"I Don't Want To Know about It"
Richard Brautigan
I don't want to know about it.
Tell it to somebody else.
They'll understand and make you
feel better.

My faith in Brautigan is once again restored. But, due to his foul language, I must retire from the love affair. I need sleep. Good bye Brautigan. Thank you for two wonderful evenings.

ticked off

I can't write poetry when I'm angry. And this makes me even more mad than I was to begin with.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sweet Rapture

Oh sweet rapture. I am in love. I have claimed this before, but now my heart has truly taken wing. The flavor of the week? Richard Brautigan. Sadly, he swears left and right. And this discovery is recent... as in ten minutes recent. So, I must absorb more of his poetry before I choose the most worthy poetry to blog. And, I still owe you more Billy Collins. Collins, I have done you no justice. But tonight, Brautigan is at the forefront. Look with eager anticipation to future blogs concerning my new found love. Tonight, I offer only a teaser of his genius.

"We Stopped at Perfect Days"
Richard Brautigan
We stopped at perfect days
and got out of the car.
The wind glanced at her hair.
It was as simple as that.
I turned to say something—

Richard Brautigan
Do you think of me
as often as I think
of you?

"Critical Can Opener"
Richard Brautigan
There is something wrong
with this poem. Can you
find it?

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Happy Mother's Day! I searched for poetry on motherhood, but nothing caught my eye. However, beauty is most appropriate for Mother's Day, isn't it?

I am currently reading Christ's Ideals For Living by Obert C. Tanner. I just finished the chapter "Beauty" and found some of the ideas expressed particularly striking. First, Tanner says of beauty, "God is the author of beauty, as He is of truth and goodness. Beauty is a revelation of Him." Then Tanner goes on to share a quote by the naturalist John Burroughs:
"... I am in love with this world ... I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, sailed its waters, crossed its deserts, felt the sting of its frost, the oppression of its heats, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings."

Tanner also shares Goethe's advice: "We ought to hear at least one little song every day, read a good poem, see a first-rate painting, and if possible, speak a few sensible words."

And if I may, I will share a few more quotes on beauty I have found in other works.

From Madeleine L'Engle's Meet The Austins:
"It was so beautiful that for a moment the beauty was all that mattered; it wasn't important that there were things we would never understand."
And speaking of Laurie in Little Women, "he was quick to see and feel beauty of any kind." I think of all I can become, I would feel most accomplished if it is said of me that I am quick to perceive beauty.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

i am no more

i am no more
Valerie Owens

cinnamon kiss
slow... possessing ... tender
buzzed hair, whispery at my fingertips
the hands of a man, comfortable at my waist
unheard music, alive, pulsing through my veins
fading sunlight, warm on my neck
scent of dusk, keen to my senses
slowly... slipping

i am
no longer human
i am
a compilation of cells
falling away into molecules
splintering into atoms
i am
and Nothing
acutely aware
and entirely oblivious

strange Kiss
slow... bewitching... tender
dissolving my existence
cell by cell...

i am
no more

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Poetic Quotes

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.
- Paul Dirac

It's not what the writer writes; it's what the reader reads.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Yehuda Amichai

I discovered Yehuda Amichai through a little Google searching. His poetry is fabulous. Amichai was a German-born Israeli, considered by many to be the greatest Israeli poet. I've only read a dozen or so of his works online and am hoping to find a book of his poetry soon. Also, check out Amichai's poems, "Tourist," "Forgetting Someone," among others. Note the imagery and word choice of this poem. The second stanza is my favorite.

A Man In His Life
Yehuda Amichai
A man doesn't have time in his life
to have time for everything.
He doesn't have seasons enough to have
a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes
Was wrong about that.

A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment,
to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
with the same hands to throw stones and to gather them,
to make love in war and war in love.
And to hate and forgive and remember and forget,
to arrange and confuse, to eat and to digest
what history
takes years and years to do.

A man doesn't have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
he begins to forget.

And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur. It tries and it misses,
gets muddled, doesn't learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and its pains.

He will die as figs die in autumn,
Shriveled and full of himself and sweet,
the leaves growing dry on the ground,
the bare branches pointing to the place
where there's time for everything.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Spoon River Anthology

Book of the Week: Spoon River Anthology, by Edgar Lee Masters. The book is a collection of poetry, written as epitaphs by those who lie at rest in the Spoon River graveyard. The dead reveal many haunting and sorrowful secrets. The poetry is darkly fascinating. It is intriguing to see how the stories intertwine. I throughly recommend the book.

The poem I post today, "64. George Gray," was one I first heard in English in eighth grade. The poem stuck with me and several years later I found the book the poem had been pulled from. The poem still strikes me powerfully. I hope you like it.

Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

64. George Gray

I HAVE studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me—
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life. 5
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail 10
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire— 15
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.