Ravening through the persistent bric-a-brac
Of blunt pencils, rose-sprigged coffee cup
Postage stamps, stacked books’ clammed and yawp,
Neighbourhood cockerel – all nature’s prodigal backtalk,
The vaulting mind
Snubs impromptu spiels of wind
And wrestles to impose
Its own order on what is…
“On the difficulty of conjuring up a Dryad”, Sylvia Plath
Where did you think this scene was set? Initially I thought it must be a desk in Islington, overlooking one of the squares, and then I thought of the mid western prairies…
Has it flown away,
The cuckoo that called
Waking me at midnight?
Yet its song seems
Still by my pillow.
by Fujiwara no Toshinari
When the morning stars all sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy.
(Actually from the Book of Job, so probably meaning something /about to get quite a bit grimmer. But eh…)
The still explosions on the rocks,
the lichens, grow
by spreading, gray, concentric shocks.
They have arranged to meet
the rings around the moon, although
within our memories they have not changed.
And since the heavens will attend
as long on us,
you’ve been, dear friend,
precipitate and pragmatical;
and look what happens. For Time is
nothing if not amenable.
The shooting stars in your black hair
in bright formation
are flocking where,
so straight, so soon?
— Come, let me wash it in this big tin basin,
battered and shiny like the moon.
Elizabeth Bishop, “Shampoo”.
you flew once
over mount taranaki
on fanthams peak
before the snow fell
all over your city
and when they looked up
they thought they saw an angel
but it was just you on your way home
from the supermarket and your feet needed a rest
Happy Easter and happy April. This of the poet Edna St Vincent Millay is both so of its time and so eternally hopeful that it was an obvious choice.
The traditional Chinese lunar calendar was divided into twenty-four solar terms (jieqi), and like the strict rules governing the seasonality of Japanese haiku themes, each one had its own mood, poems and sayings. In early spring, usually early March, there is the awakening of the insects, a time of life and hope:
Spring approaches, bringing timely rains
Early thunder, erupting from the east
Hibernating animals, hidden but shocked awake.
Plants and trees, across the land, slowly open up.
Tao Yuanming, 4th century
Someone has put cries of birds on the air like jewels.
Remember seasons? Seem to recall those once were easier
Reasonably sequenced, regal of tempo and temper,
Reliable change flipped heads-over-tails each quarter
Recovering the hemisphere with four fine suits, knock-off designer.
Recently, someone shuffled, cut the deck into disorder:
Relapse, tic, hiccup, snap, weeks issued like hipster
Rediscoveries…join the club! No closer
Reading required to diagnose this crazy weather…
The start of Christopher Spaide’s “Recycler” and a kitchen sink drawing by Lucinda Rogers. I quite like non music things that reference music; here “troppo allegro” means too fast. I think the kitchen sink anchors it.
When we arrive at the lounge of everything
with our bags
handfuls of earth the lives of our grandparents
in our memory devices
we expect an exchange of sorts, that is what
and I think everyone deep down expects
that we will not turn back
Through a high window we will connect stars
like line drawings
translate the sparkles of the poet
sign the fascinating mouth of the speaker
we will sing
lyrics that someone thought were pretty good
we will sing them
and we will not turn back we will not
Anne Kennedy’s The Arrivals