Saturday, August 21, 2010

Go or Go Ahead

not extremely sophisticated lyrics, but definitely heartfelt.

Thank you for this bitter knowledge
Guardian angels who left me stranded
It was worth it, feeling abandoned
Makes one hardened but what has happened to love
You got me writing lyrics on postcards
Then in the evening looking at the stars
But the brightest of the planets is Mars
Then what has happened to love
So I will opt for the big white limo
Vanity fairgrounds and rebel angels
You can't be trusted with feathers so hollow
Your heaven's inventions, steel eyed vampires of love
You see over me, I'll never know
What you have shown to other eyes
Go or go ahead and surprise me
Say you've lead the way to a mirage
Go or go ahead and just try me
Nowhere's now here smelling of junipers
Fell of the hay bales, I'm over the rainbows
But of Medusa kiss me and crucify
This unholy notion of the mythic power of love
Look in her eyes, look in her eyes
Forget about the ones that are crying
Look in her eyes, look in her eyes
Forget about the ones that are crying
Go or go ahead

-Rufus Wainwright

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day Flight

I closed my eyes as I sat in the jet
And asked the hostess if she would let
Me take on board a patch of sky
And a dash of the blue-green sea.

Far down below my country gleamed
In thin dry rivers and blue-white lakes
And most I longed for, there as I dreamed,
A square of the desert, stark and red,
To mould a pillow for a sleepy head
And a cloak to cover me.

- Jack Davis


September rain falls on the house.
In the failing light, the old grandmother
sits in the kitchen with the child
beside the Little Marvel Stove,
reading the jokes from the almanac,
laughing and talking to hide her tears.

She thinks that her equinoctial tears
and the rain that beats on the roof of the house
were both foretold by the almanac,
but only known to the grandmother.
The iron kettle sings on the stove.
She cuts some bread and says to the child,

It’s time for tea now; but the child
is watching the teakettle’s small hard tears
dance like mad on the hot black stove,
the way the rain must dance on the house.
Tidying up, the old grandmother
hangs up the clever almanac

on its string. Birdlike, the almanac
hovers half open above the child,
hovers above the old grandmother
and her teacup full of dark brown tears.
She shivers and says she thinks the house
feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.

It was to be, says the Marvel Stove.
I know what I know, says the almanac.
With crayons the child draws a rigid house
and a winding pathway. Then the child
puts in a man with buttons like tears
and shows it proudly to the grandmother.

But secretly, while the grandmother
busies herself about the stove,
the little moons fall down like tears
from between the pages of the almanac
into the flower bed the child
has carefully placed in the front of the house.

Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove
and the child draws another inscrutable house.

-- Elizabeth Bishop

Friday, August 13, 2010


Dark night, and silent, calm, and lovely,
That stills the efforts of our lives,
Rare, excellent-kind, and behovely
No matter how the poet strives
To weave with epithets and clauses
Your soundless web, he falters, pauses,
And your enchantment slips between
His hands, as if it's never been.
Of all times most inbued with beauty,
You lend us by your spell relief
From ineradicable grief
(If for a spell), and pain, and duty.
We sleep, and nightly are made whole
In all our fretted mind and soul.

- Vikram Seth

Portrait of a Lady (excerpt)

Now that lilacs are in bloom
She has a bowl of lilacs in her room
And twists one in his fingers while she talks.
"Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know
What life is, you who hold it in your hands";
(Slowly twisting the lilac stalks)
"You let it flow from you, you let it flow,
And youth is cruel, and has no remorse
And smiles at situations which it cannot see."
I smile, of course,
And go on drinking tea.
"Yet with these April sunsets, that somehow recall
My buried life, and Paris in the Spring,
I feel immeasurably at peace, and find the world
To be wonderful and youthful, after all."

-T.S. Eliot

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Death in the Family (Agee)

They are not talking much, and the talk is quiet, of nothing in particular, of nothing at all in particular, of nothing at all. The stars are wide and alive, they seem like a smile of great sweetness, and they seem very near. All my people are larger bodies than mine, quiet, with voices gentle and meaningless like the voices of sleeping birds. One is an artist, he is living at home. One is a musician, she is living at home. One is my mother who is good to me. One is my father who is good to me. By some chance, here they are, all on this earth; and who shall ever tell the sorrow of being on this earth, lying, on quilts, on the grass, in a summer evening, among the sounds of night. May god bless my people, my uncle, my aunt, my mother, my good father, oh, remember them kindly in their time of trouble; and in the hour of their taking away.

After a little I am taken in and put to bed. Sleep, soft smiling, draws me unto her: and those receive me, who quietly treat me, as one familiar and well-beloved in that home: but will not, oh, will not, not now, not ever; but will not ever tell me who I am.

To Tu Fu from Shantung

You ask how I spend my time--
I nestle against a treetrunk
and listen to autumn winds
in the pines all night and day.

Shantung wine can't get me drunk.
The local poets bore me.
My thoughts remain with you,
like the Wen River, endlessly flowing.
- Li Po

A Supermarket in California

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the
streets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.

In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit
supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles
full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes! --- and you,
Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?
I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the
meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price
bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and
followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting
artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does
your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to
shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in
driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you
have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and
stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?
- Allen Ginsberg

Becoming a Jackal

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things,
For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow,
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls, finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced, fold, fallow and plough,
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange,
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim.
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change;
Praise him.

-- Gerard Manley Hopkins

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In Paris with You

Don’t talk to me of love. I’ve had an earful
And I get tearful when I’ve downed a drink or two.
I’m one of your talking wounded.
I’m a hostage. I’m maroonded.
But I’m in Paris with you.

Yes, I’m angry at the way I’ve been bamboozled
And resentful at the mess that I’ve been through.
I admit I’m on the rebound
And I don’t care where are we bound.
I’m in Paris with you.

Do you mind if we do not go to the Louvre,
If we say sod off to sodding Notre Dame
If we skip the champs Elysees
And remain here in this sleazy
Old hotel room
Doing this or that
To what and whom
Learning who you are,
Learning what I am.

Don’t talk to me of love. Let’s talk of Paris,
The little bit of Paris in our view.
There’s that crack across the ceiling
And the hotel walls are peeling
And I’m in Paris with you.

Don’t talk to me of love. Let’s talk of Paris.
I’m in Paris with the slightest thing you do.
I’m in Paris with your eyes, your mouth,
I’m in Paris with…..all points south.
Am I embarrassing you?
I’m in Paris with you.

- James Fenton

All You who Sleep Tonight

All you who sleep tonight
Far from the ones you love,
No hand to left or right
And emptiness above -

Know that you aren't alone
The whole world shares your tears,
Some for two nights or one,
And some for all their years.

- Vikram Seth

The Telephone

"When I was just as far as I could walk
From here to-day,
There was an hour
All still
When leaning with my head against a flower
I heard you talk.
Don't say I didn't, for I heard you say--
You spoke from that flower on the window sill--
Do you remember what it was you said?"

"First tell me what it was you thought you heard."

"Having found the flower and driven a bee away,
I leaned my head,
And holding by the stalk,
I listened and I thought I caught the word--
What was it? Did you call me by my name?
Or did you say--
*Someone* said 'Come' -- I heard it as I bowed."

"I may have thought as much, but not aloud."

"Well, so I came."

- Robert Frost