February 28, 2013

I Hate

by C.K. Williams

I hate how this unsummoned sigh-sound, sob-sound,
not sound really, feeling, sigh-feeling, sob-feeling,
keeps rising in me, rasping in me, not in its old disguise
as nostalgia, sweet crazed call of the blackbird;

not as remembrance, grief for so many gone,
nor either that other tangle of recall, regret   
for unredeemed wrongs, errors, omissions,
petrified roots too deep to ever excise;

a mingling rather, a melding, inextricable mesh   
of delight in astonishing being, of being in being,
with a fear of and fear for I can barely think what,
not non-existence, of self, loved ones, love;

not even war, fuck war, sighing for war,
sobbing for war, for no war, peace, surcease;
more than all that, some ground-sound, ground-note,   
sown in us now, that swells in us, all of us,   

echo of love we had, have, for world, for our world,
on which we seem finally mere swarm, mere deluge,
mere matter self-altered to tumult, to noise,
cacophonous blitz of destruction, despoilment,

din from which every emotion henceforth emerges,
and into which falters, slides, sinks, and subsides:
sigh-sound of lament, of remorse; sob-sound of rue,   
of, still, always, ever sadder and sadder sad joy.

February 21, 2013

I Remember Galileo

by Gerald Stern

I remember Galileo describing the mind
as a piece of paper blown around by the wind,
and I loved the sight of it sticking to a tree
or jumping into the back seat of a car,
and for years I watched paper leap through my cities;
but yesterday I saw the mind was a squirrel caught crossing
route 80 between the wheels of a giant truck,
dancing back and forth like a thin leaf,
or a frightened string, for only two seconds living
on the white concrete before he got away,
his life shortened by all that terror, his head
jerking, his yellow teeth ground down to dust.

It was the speed of the squirrel and his lowness to the ground,
his great purpose and the alertness of his dancing,
that showed me the difference between him and paper.
Paper will do in theory, when there is time
to sit back in a metal chair and study shadows;
but for this life I need a squirrel,
his clawed feet spread, his whole soul quivering,
the hot wind rushing through his hair,
the loud noise shaking him from head to tail.
   O philosophical mind, O mind of paper, I need a squirrel
finishing his wild dash across the highway,
rushing up his green ungoverned hillside.

February 18, 2013


by Muriel Rukeyser

The world is full of loss; bring, wind, my love,
       my home is where we make our meeting-place,
       and love whatever I shall touch and read
       within that face.

Lift, wind, my exile from my eyes;
        peace to look, life to listen and confess,
        freedom to find to find to find
        that nakedness.