Blossom and leaves

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I cut in two

A long November night, and

place half under the coverlet,

Sweet-scented as a spring breeze.

And when he comes, I shall take it out,

Unroll it inch by inch to stretch the night.

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Top photo by @amymerrick on Instagram; bottom photo by @misskatyenglish also on Instagram. Poem by Hwang Jini, a 16th century Korean courtesan.

And you are welcome, welcome

Come when the nights are bright with stars

Or come when the moon is mellow;

Come when the sun his golden bars

Drops on the hay-field yellow.

Come in the twilight soft and gray,

Come in the night or in the day,

Come, O Love, whene’er you may,

And you are welcome, welcome.

You are sweet, O Love, dear love,

You are soft as the nesting dove.

Come to my heart and bring it to rest

As the bird flies home to its waiting nest.

Come when my heart is full of grief,

Or come when I am merry;

Come with the falling of the leaf,

Or with the redd’ning cherry.

Come when the year’s first blossom blows,

Come when the summer gleams and glows,

Come with the winter’s drifting snows,

And you are welcome, welcome.

Paul Laurence Dunbar – Invitation to Love

I like that mountain

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I like that mountain in its black pelisse

of fir forests – because

in the gloom of a strange mountain country

I am closer to home.

How should I not know those dense needles,

and how should I not lose my mind

at the mere sight of that peatbog berry,

showing blue along my way?

The higher the dark and damp

trails twist upward, the clearer

grow the tokens, treasured since childhood,

of my northern plain.

Shall we not climb thus

the slopes of paradise, at the hour of death,

meeting all the loved things

that in life elevated us?

Nabokov

Tell

Tell me who this young lion is

and how he leaped into the air

as they hunted him

from Musrara to Sheikh Jarrah

 

Tell me about that gaunt and gallant man

and how a whole squadron assailed him

at Qalandria checkpoint

and could not bring him down

 

Tell me about that girl who stood tall

as the bulldozer levelled her

like an almond tree in March

 

Tell this to those

who say we’ve been defeated

 

Tell” by Najwan Darwish. 

When I think about you

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what I call you

when I think about you

and you are not there:

my wild-strawberry

my sugar-lizard

my comfort-bag

my sugar-spinner

my care-chaser

my aurelia

my stone-flower

my slumber-child

my morning-child

my full-forgetter

my window-bar

my moon-hider

my silver staff

my evening glow

my sun-thread

Friedericke Mayrocker. What words would you use? Art by Lakshmi Hussain, whose art you can buy via her site here, or just follow her Instagram feed @thislakshmi

Perfect loveliness of sow

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The bud

stands for all things

even for those things that don’t flower,

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;

though sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow,

of the flower

and retell it in in words and in touch

that it is lovely

until it flowers again, from within, of self-blessing;

as Saint Francis

put his hand on the creased forehead

of the sow, and told her in words and in touch

blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow

began remembering all down her thick length,

from the earthen snout all the way

through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,

from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine

down through the great broken heart

to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering

from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:

the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

St Francis and the Sow – Galway Kinnel

The wardrobe

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might be a good name for a bookshop, small but oddly ongoing //

the kind you’d happen upon, and enter, perhaps alone, perhaps //

not, in a long grown-up coat

The start of “The Wardrobe” by Zaffar Kunail