Jan 212021
 

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Jan 182021
 

Threading the palm, a web of tiny lines
Spells out the lost money, the heart, the head,
The wagging tongues, the sudden deaths, in signs
We would smooth out like imprints on a bed,

In signs that can’t be helped, geese heading south,
In signs read anxiously, like breath that clouds
A mirror held to a barely open mouth,
Like telegrams, the gathering of crowds—

The plane, an X in the sky spelling disaster:
Before the whistle and hit, a tracer flare;
Before rubble, a hairline crack in plaster
And a housefly’s panicked scribbling on the air.

Nov 242020
 

Bolt and bar the shutter,
For the foul winds blow:
Our minds are at their best this night,
And I seem to know
That everything outside us is
Mad as the mist and snow.

Horace there by Homer stands,
Plato stands below,
And here is Tully’s open page.
How many years ago
Were you and I unlettered lads
Mad as the mist and snow?

You ask what makes me sigh, old friend,
What makes me shudder so?
I shudder and I sigh to think
That even Cicero
And many-minded Homer were
Mad as the mist and snow.

 Comments Off on W. B. Yeats – Mad as the Mist and Snow
Feb 272020
 

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And Thou shalt not writ over the door;
So I turn’d to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be:
And Priests in black gowns, were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars, my joys & desires.

 Comments Off on William Blake: The Garden of Love
Feb 142020
 

Fame, Wisdom, Love and Power were mine,
And Health and Youth possessed me;
My goblets blushed from every vine,
And lovely forms caressed me;
I sunned my heart in Beauty’s eyes,
And felled my soul grow tender;
All Earth can give, or mortal prize,
Was mine of regal splendour.

I strive to number o’er what days
Remembrance can discover,
Which all that Life or Earth displays
Would lure me to live over.
There rose no day there rolled no hour
Of pleasure unembittered;
And not a trapping decked my Power
That galled not while it glittered.

The serpent of the field, by art
And spells, is won from harming;
But that which coils around the heart,
Oh, who hath power of charming?
It will not list to Wisdom’s lore,
Nor Music’s voice can lure it;
But there it stings for evermore
The soul that must endure it.

 Comments Off on George Gordon Byron: “All Is Vanity, Saith the Preacher”