Monday, November 20
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Praise Song
Praise the light of late November,
the thin sunlight that goes deep in the bones.
Praise the crows chattering in the oak trees;
though they are clothed in night, they do not
despair. Praise what little there's left:
the small boats of milkweed pods, husks, hulls,
shells, the architecture of trees. Praise the meadow
of dried weeds: yarrow, goldenrod, chicory,
the remains of summer. Praise the blue sky
that hasn't cracked yet. Praise the sun slipping down
behind the beechnuts, praise the quilt of leaves
that covers the grass: Scarlet Oak, Sweet Gum,
Sugar Maple. Though darkness gathers, praise our crazy
fallen world; it's all we have, and it's never enough.
 - Barbara Crooker
commonplace



Sunday, November 19
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November Night
Listen.
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall.
 - Adelaide Crapsey



Saturday, November 18
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Rapids
Fall's leaves are redder than
spring's flowers, have no pollen,
and also sometimes fly, as the wind
schools them out or down in shoals
or droves: though I
have not been here long, I can
look up at the sky at night and tell
how things are likely to go for
the next hundred million years:
the universe will probably not find
a way to vanish nor I
in all that time reappear.
 - A. R. Ammons



Friday, November 17
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"And tracing the labyrinthine ways of your mind, the haphazard vagaries of your thoughts at ease, the odds and ends of your mental surplus you carelessly throw at the world, one wants to be at a loss, in a maze; amazed, and amazingly unabashed."
 - Adam Zagajewski



Thursday, November 16
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"Outwardly, I fulfill my duties satisfactorily at the office, not my inner duties, however, and every unfulfilled inner duty becomes a misfortune that never leaves."
 - Franz Kafka
The Diaries of Franz Kafka



"Even now, only rarely am I able to convince myself that my reluctance to pass on my most secret reflections, meditations, theorizings, all the modes by which I manage to distract myself, arises from my belief that out of my appalling inner universe nothing anyway could possibly be extracted, departicularized, and offered as an instance of anything at all to anyone else."
 - C. K. Williams



Wednesday, November 15
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Foreseeing
Middle age refers more
to landscape than to time:
it's as if you'd reached
the top of a hill
and could see all the way
to the end of your life,
so you know without a doubt
that it has an end -
not that it will have,
but that it does have,
if only in outline -
so for the first time
you can see your life whole,
beginning and end not far
from where you stand,
the horizon in the distance -
the view makes you weep,
but it also has the beauty
of symmetry, like the earth
seen from space: you can't help
but admire it from afar,
especially now, while it's simple
to re-enter whenever you choose,
lying down in your life,
waking up to it
just as you always have -
except that the details resonate
by virtue of being contained,
as your own words
coming back to you
define the landscape,
remind you that it won't go on
like this forever.
 - Sharon Bryan
Flying Blind



Tuesday, November 14
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"If only we could listen more carefully, look more closely - someday something will happen, the inner reality will stand revealed. At the same time I realize that this sense of mystery, of secrets dwelling in these streets, in this park, is fleeting and hard to defend. If someone were to ask me ironically, "Mr. Zagajewski, what actual mystery do you have in mind?," I'd be hard-pressed to answer. I also know that there are people, some of them highly intelligent, who can never be brought to acknowledge the postulate of a mystery hidden in a city, or a park, or a quiet street at dusk. No, they'd say, everything can be checked and measured, so and so many bird species make their home in the park, including two subspecies of woodpeckers, along with twelve squirrels, maybe two martens, and five bums. The policemen on duty might easily survey the park and write up an unbiased report conclusively proving that no secrets had been unearthed."
 - Adam Zagajewski
Slight Exaggeration



Monday, November 13
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"There is something you can tell people over and over, and with feeling and eloquence, and still never say it well enough for it to be more than news from abroad - people have no readiness for it, no empathy. It is the news of personal aging - of climbing, and knowing it, to some unrepeatable pitch and coming forth on the other side, which is pleasant still but which is, inarguably, different - which is the beginning of descent. It is the news that no one is singular, that no argument will change the course, that one's time is more gone than not, and what is left waits to be spent gracefully and attentively, if not quite so actively."
 - Mary Oliver









  • ". . . as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate,
    a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts."
    - Vladimir Nabokov