Category Archives: Writers

“The Enigma” by Anne Stevenson

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Falling to sleep last night in a deep crevasse

between one rough dream and another, I seemed,

still awake, to be stranded on a stony path,

and there the familiar enigma presented itself

in the shape of a little trembling lamb.

It was lying like a pearl in the trough between

one Welsh slab and another, and it was crying.

I looked around, as anyone would, for its mother.

Nothing was there.  What did I know about lambs?

Should I pick it up?  Carry it….where?

What would I do if it were dying?  The hand

of my conscience fought with the claw of my fear.

It wasn’t so easy to imitate the Good Shepherd

in that faded, framed Sunday School picture

filtering now through the dream’s daguerreotype.

With the wind fallen and the moon swollen to the full,

small, white doubles of the creature at my feet

flared like candles in the creases of the night

until it looked to be alive with newborn lambs.

Where could they all have come from?

A second look, and the bleating lambs were birds–

kittiwakes nesting, clustered on a cliff face,

fixing on me their dark accusing eyes.

There was a kind of imperative not to touch them,

yet to be of them, whatever they were–

now lambs, now birds, now floating points of light–

fireflies signaling how many lost New England summers?

One form, now another; one configuration, now another.

Like fossils locked deep in the folds of my brain,

outliving a time by telling its story.  Like stars.

A Poem That Spoke to Me

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/kevin-mcfadden

 

Tone Defecit by Kevin McFadden

Can’t tell your oh from your ah?  Go, go or else

go ga-ga.  What, were you born in a barn?  Oh.

Ah.  What do you say when the dentist asks?

No novacaine?  Nah.  Then joke’s on us, Jack:

we gnaw ourselves when we really ought to know.

Can’t tell the force from the farce, nor our

cores from our cars.  The horde works hard in this

new nation of shopkeeps, moles in malls, minding

our stores when we should be minding our stars.

Harmony, whoremoney–can we even tell

the showman from the shaman?  Or are we

the worst kind of tourists, doing La France

in low fronts, sporting shorts at Chartres

and so alone in our elan?  Nope.  We’re Napoleons

of nowhere, hopeless going on hapless,

unable to tell our Elbas from our elbows.

 

Inspiration From The Leaves of Grass

 

We Too, How long we were Fool’d

 

We two, how long we were fool’d,
Now transmuted, we swiftly escape as Nature escapes,
We are Nature, long have we been absent, but now we return,
We become plants, trunks, foliage, roots, bark,
We are bedded in the ground, we are rocks,
We are oaks, we grow in the openings side by side,
We browse, we are two among the wild herds spontaeous as any,
We are two fishes swimming in the sea together,
We are what locust blossoms are, we drop scent around lanes mornings
and evenings,
We are also the coarse smut of beasts, vegetables, minerals,
We are two predatory hawks, we soar above and look down,
We are two resplendent suns, we it is who believe ourselves orbic
and stellar, we are as two comets,
We prowl fang’d and four-footed in the woods, we spring on prey,
We are two clouds forenoons and afternoons driving overhead,
We are seas mingling, we are two of those cheerful waves rolling
ovoer each other and interwetting each other,
We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive, pervious, impervious,
We are snow, rain, cold, darkness, we are each product and influence
of the globe,
We have circled and circled till we have arrived home again, we two,
We have voided all but freedom and all but our own joy.

The Gift Of Water

 

Rumi the gift of water

Someone who doesn’t know the Tigris River exists

brings the caliph who lives near the river

a jar of fresh water.  The caliph accepts, thanks him,

and gives in return a jar filled with gold coins.

“Since this man has come through the desert,

he should return by water.”  Taken out by another door,

the man steps into a waiting boat

and sees the wide freshwater of the Tigris.

He bows his head, “What wonderful kindness

that he took my gift.”

Every object and being in the universe is

a jar overfilled with wisdom and beauty,

a drop of the Tigris that cannot be contained

by any skin.  Every jarful spills and makes the earth

more shining, as though covered in satin.

If the man had seen even a tributary

of the great river, he wouldn’t have brought

the innocence of his gift.

Those that stay and live by the Tigris

grow so ecstatic that they throw rocks at the jugs,

and the jugs become perfect!

They shatter.

The pieces dance, and water….

Do you see?

Neither jar, nor water, nor stone, 

nothing.

You knock at the door of reality,

shake your thought-wings, loosen

your shoulders,

and open.

Poem from The Essential Rumi: The Three Fish