Whatever the Sunday, the sorrows kept the women in the kitchen,
My cousins and their mothers, my grandmother, her sister, all of them
Foraging through the nerves for pain. They sighed and rustled and one would
Name her sorrows to cue sympathy's murmurs, the first offerings
Of possible cures: three eggs for chills and fever, the benefits
Of mint and pepper, boneset, sage, and crocus tea. Nothing they
Needed came over-the-counter through prescriptions not bearing
A promise from God, who blessed the home remedies handed down
From lost villages of Germany for the aunt with dizzy spells,
For the uncle with the steady pain of private swelling; for passed blood,
For discharge and the sweet streak from the shoulder. In the pantry,
Among pickled beets and stewed tomatoes, were dark, honeyed liquids,
The vinegar and molasses sipped from tablespoons for sorrows
So regular they spoke of them as laundry to be smoothed by the great iron
Of faith which sets creases worthy of paradise. And there, when only
A hum came clear, they might have been speaking from clouds like the dead,
But what mattered when the room went dark were the voices reaching into
The lamp-lit living room of men who listened then, watching the doorway
And nodding at the nostrums offered by the tongues of the unseen
As if the sorrows were soothed by the lost dialect of the soul,
Which whispered to the enormous ache of the imminent.
- Gary Fincke
The Fire Landscape
When you see them
tell them I am still here,
that I stand on one leg while the other one dreams,
that this is the only way,
that the lies I tell them are different
from the lies I tell myself,
that by being both here and beyond
I am becoming a horizon,
that as the sun rises and sets I know my place,
that breath is what saves me,
that even the forced syllables of decline are breath,
that if the body is a coffin it is also a closet of breath,
that breath is a mirror clouded by words,
that breath is all that survives the cry for help
as it enters the stranger's ear
and stays long after the world is gone,
that breath is the beginning again, that from it
all resistance falls away, as meaning falls
away from life, or darkness falls from light,
that breath is what I give them when I send my love.
- Mark Strand
In the Street
Here we are, on top of the utopian arc. The water is shallow. An oil spill shimmers on the surface like a lens catches light and folds it in front of a mirror. If someone stands next to you, they are there, even when outside the picture. Which makes total obscurity relative to luck and such. Unlike the law, architecture lasts. A façade, like an ideal, can be oppressive unless balanced by a balcony on which you can stand and call down to those in the street, Come over here and look up at us. Aren't we exactly what you wanted to believe in?
- Mary Jo Bang
Tomorrow I will start to be happy.
The morning will light up like a celebratory cigar.
Sunbeams sprawling on the lawn will set
dew sparkling like a cut-glass tumbler of champagne.
Today will end the worst phase of my life.
I will put my shapeless days behind me,
fencing off the past, as a golden rind
of sand parts slipshod sea from solid land.
It is tomorrow I want to look back on, not today.
Tomorrow I start to be happy; today is almost yesterday.
- Dennis O'Driscoll
Another morning comes with its strange cure.
The earth is news. Though the river floods
and the spring is cold, my heart goes on,
faithful to a mystery in a cloud,
and the summer's garden continues its descent
through me, toward the ground.
- Wendell Berry
"Zen isn't Chinese or Japanese anymore. It belongs to anyone willing to see their nature and become a Buddha, anyone who lives the life of no-mind and laughs in these outrageous times."
- Bill Porter
"Our individuality is all, all, that we have. There are those who barter it for security, those who repress it for what they believe is the betterment of the whole society, but blessed in the twinkle of the morning star is the one who nurtures it and rides it in, in grace and love and wit, from peculiar station to peculiar station along life's bittersweet route."
- Tom Robbins
They stand in parks and graveyards and gardens.
Some of them are taller than department stores,
yet they do not draw attention to themselves.
You will be fitting a heated towel rail one day
and see, through the louvre window,
a shoal of olive-green fish changing direction
in the air that swims above the little gardens.
Or you will wake at your aunt's cottage,
your sleep broken by a coal train on the empty hill
as the oaks roar in the wind off the channel.
Your kindness to animals, your skill at the clarinet,
these are accidental things.
We lost this game a long way back.
Look at you. You're reading poetry.
Outside the spring air is thick
with the seeds of their children.
- Mark Haddon