Did he feel it too, this upwelling

Did he feel it too, this upwelling
of the heart that was in him?
And that there is nothing finally,
but simplicity? A single flower’s born,
blooms, wilts, and dies, that’s all;

so it seems to flowers. But the man
who painted flowers, what did he know
or see? What surface or what craft
could start or slow the upwelling
of the heart that was in him?

If art begins in loneliness, or lust,
its end is this upwelling of the heart
that will not stay or pass.
If I too feel it now, do I become
more like a man? Or, like that man

Whose body passed through his own world
like a flower? The slow, ceaseless
upwelling of my heart’s renewed in these;
my wife, my children, all the world
and all its flowers, all their works;

love, fear; time that nothing can arrest
except this act that had an end, or these
anonymous flowers that became artifice,
and he, whose heart may also have upwelled,
as it seemed to, within him, then.

.

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The Obvious Will Never Lose Its Power to Persuade

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A dog lying in the sun
looks very wise.
Of course that is only the sun
making her narrow her eyes.

No, it is not the appearance of wisdom
that makes a dog wise:
it’s the fact that she lies
in the sun.

 

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Master, where are your bones tonight?

Object from the exhibition We call them Vikings produced by The Swedish History Museum

Master, where are your bones tonight?
I heard the coyotes keening as the moon rose;
and the heavy air brought the scent
of burgeoning prairie grasses.
Summer is coming on fast,
and faster every year.

Master, where are your bones tonight?
You went into the desert, again and again, and then
one night you never came home.
We knew why, we had brought you there—
brought your body and your ghost: your life
had already leaked out of you, into hospital tubes, and was gone.
We left you there in the desert,
to reconcile with the Earth.

I had a recurring dream after you died:
Coyote, as a lark, was playing a reel
on a flute made from your shinbone.
His eyes looked sad and he was dancing
a few feet above the earth.
His eyes looked sad. But—you know—
with Coyote, you never can tell.

In my dream, if it was mine,
summer was always coming on fast, and the prairie grasses
whipped in a playful dance
until I woke. And summer came.

I haven’t had that dream in years.
Just tonight, though, the rising moon caught me wondering—
Where are your bones tonight, Master?

 

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Two crows shared the same treetop

two-crows-on-the-pine-trees

I.

Two crows shared the same treetop…
Nope—
it didn’t last.

II.

Don’t they know there’s a war on?
Stupid cows
in their stupid, green, spring pasture.

III.

You need to slow
the fuck down. Only then
will this poem seem long enough.

 

two brown-and-white cows

 

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The true art of the curse is lost

Curse_tablet_BM_1934.11-5.1

The true art of the curse is lost
no takes the time anymore to scowl so deeply
it leaves a permanent furrow
spit three times and cross the street to avoid a shadow
and carry a grudge to the grave

no one bothers any more to cast malisons
into dark corners and forget them there
because to be lost is the truth
of the true art of the curse
that no one escapes

The true art of the curse is the room with dark corners
a pinch of tansy
reddened eyes from weeping
the secret grave the doll was buried in
and the stained bones

not slurs
imprecations
mere bad language

No

the true curse
splits one’s own tongue in twain
and cares not

 

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Lives of the Poets

800px-John_Keats_by_William_Hilton

Robert Frost
Very nearly got lost
In a snowy wood at night.
But fortunately, it turned out all right.

William Butler Yeats
Is accounted one of the greats
So much so that poor John Keats
Now has to correct the pronunciation of everyone he meets.

Ezra Loomis Pound
Wrote verse difficult and profound
The fact that even he couldn’t figure it out
Should suffice to remove any doubt.

Wallace Stevens
Was always at sixes and sevens.
He never could decide exactly
Whether to rhyme slant, or perfectly.

Edward “e e” Estlin Cummings
Marched to the sounds of different drummings.
Without making any apologies
He ended up in some anthologies.

Ogden Nash
As a poet was brash
His lines rushed out in a lengthy and seemingly unstoppable torrent
And his rhymes were abhorrent.

Edna St. Vincent Millay
Was heard on occasion to say
That only the author of Euclid’s Elements
Had ever seen Beauty without habiliments.

Mr. Edward Lear
Was rather queer.
But of course, the word had a different meaning back then
So instead, one should simply say that he preferred men.

T.S. Eliot
Never ate anything smelly. It
Was only understated food
That ever suited his mood.

Edmund Clerihew Bentley
Died discontently
Aware that decent rhymes for Clerihew
Are, alas, very few.

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The Buddha taught the proper view

Buddha with birds_Ryan Bodenstein_Flickr_16717343026_58a673baba_c

The Buddha taught the proper view:
Not to project essences on things.

And yet: I radiate, knowing it’s wrong to do.
The Buddha taught the proper view.
A stone’s a stone: a bird’s a bird; and you are you.

I meditate on how this separation stings.

The Buddha taught the proper view,
Not to project essences on things.

 

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In the event, there was little for them to say

Childs_flowers_and_sun

In the event, there was little for them to say,
The flowers, so they stood still, swaying,
Not even murmuring amongst themselves.
Meanwhile my mother’s funeral rose up in me
Like a volcano.

They clung to the soil and the rock
For dear life, the flowers, while far below
Suspended like a miracle in infinite space
The sun, too, clung on for dear life—
So small, hot, and bright!

Each flower, surely, had its petaled meaning:
Bridal and Christmas Rose, Red and White Clover,
Meadow Saffron, varieties of Geranium and Thrift.
But on that day, as I recall, they said
Nothing to the point.

A poem could have stopped then and there
Like a cut flower, like a vase
For cut flowers, like a cut glass vase
Glittering—the human element—
In the hot, bright light.

But from the garden where we stood, I participated
In a greater miracle: the earth, all flowers
And volcanoes, was whipping the sun
Around and around in circles, around, around,
Like a child’s toy.

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