May 072018
 

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.

Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

1923

Excerpt From: “The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats Volume I: The Poems.” Scribner.

 Comments Off on William Butler Yeats: Leda and the Swan
Apr 232018
 

A quiet valley with no man’s footprints,
An empty garden lit by the moon.
Suddenly my dog barks and I know
A friend with a bottle is knocking at the gate.

-17th Century
Trans. Kim Jong-gil

from Poems of Gratitude.

 Comments Off on Om Ui-gil: Sitting at Night
Apr 122018
 

At this moment in time we’d like to invite
First Class passengers only to board the aircraft.

Thank you for waiting. We now extend our invitation
to Exclusive, Superior, Privilege and Excelsior members,
followed by Triple, Double and Single Platinum members,
followed by Gold and Silver Card members,
followed by Pearl and Coral Club members.
Military personnel in uniform may also board at this time.

Thank you for waiting. We now invite
Bronze Alliance members and passengers enrolled
in our Rare Earth Metals Points and Reward Scheme
to come forward, and thank you for waiting.

Thank you for waiting. Accredited Beautiful People
may now board, plus any gentleman carrying a copy
of this month’s Cigar Aficionado magazine, plus subscribers
to our Red Diamond, Black Opal or Blue Garnet promotion.
We also welcome Sapphire, Ruby and Emerald members
at this time, followed by Amethyst, Onyx, Obsidian, Jet,
Topaz, and Quartz members. Priority Lane customers,
Fast Track customers, Chosen Elite customers,
Preferred Access customers, and First Among Equals customers
may also now board.

On production of a valid receipt travelers of elegance and style
wearing designer and/or hand-tailored clothing
to a minimum value of ten thousand U.S. dollars may now board;
passengers in possession of items of jewelry
(including wristwatches) with a retail purchase price
greater than the average annual salary
of a mid-career high school teacher are also welcome to board.
Also welcome at this time are passengers talking loudly
into cellphone headsets about recently completed share deals,
property acquisitions, and aggressive takeovers,
plus hedge fund managers with proven track records
in the undermining of small-to-medium-sized ambitions.
Passengers in classes Loam, Chalk, Marl, and Clay
may also board. Customers who have purchased
our Dignity or Morning Orchid packages
may now collect their sanitized shell suits prior to boarding.

Thank you for waiting.
Mediocre passengers are now invited to board,
followed by passengers lacking business acumen
or genuine leadership potential, followed by people
of little or no consequence, followed by people
operating at a net fiscal loss as people.
Those holding tickets for zones Rust, Mulch, Cardboard,
Puddle, and Sand might now want to begin gathering
their tissues and crumbs prior to embarkation.

Passengers either partially or wholly dependent on welfare
or kindness: please have your travel coupons validated
at the Quarantine Desk.

Sweat, Dust, Shoddy, Scurf, Feces, Chaff, Remnant,
Ash, Pus, Sludge, Clinker, Splinter, and Soot:
all you people are now free to board.

 Comments Off on Simon Armitage: Thank You For Waiting
Feb 012018
 

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

– from New and Selected Poems

 Comments Off on Mary Oliver: The Summer Day
Dec 012017
 

Thought, I love thought.
But not the jaggling and twisting of already existent ideas
I despise that self-important game.
Thought is the welling up of unknown life into consciousness
Thought is the testing of statements on the touchstone of the conscience
Thought is gazing on to the face of life, and reading what can be read,
Thought is pondering over experience, and coming to conclusion.
Thought is not a trick, or an exercise, or a set of dodges
Thought is a man in his wholeness wholly attending.

 Comments Off on D. H. Lawrence: Thought