by Stacie Cassarino
The day my body caught fire
the woodland darkened. The horizon
was a sea of maids, rushing to piece me
back into a girl. Out of the girl came yellow
flowers, came stem & sepal.
You never happened, they said.
The meadow was a narration of lessness.
Inside the corral, horses fell
from the impact of the lightning. They broke
down. I heard gunshots in my sleep.
I was a keeper of breath,
of hay. I walked a field, collecting bones.
You can build a house out of bones.
You can stand at the doorway
quarrelling with your legs to enter
or run until you turn to ash.
A few from Seam, all by Tarfia Faizullah.
Interviewer's Note (iv)
Today there is no drinking
water today there is no
light today there is only
kerosene the hmm hmm hmm
of a generator pulsing deep
into the exhausted darkness
you write the word shame --
It is possible to live without
memory Nietzsche said but
is it possible to live with it?
En Route to Bangladesh, Another Crisis of Faith (ii)
We pass over heavy shadows
of large clouds pinned to train cars
lined up like unused blocks
of colored chalk -- red then green,
blue then orange -- until we are
propelled higher, and the trains
are swallowed by these jagged
strictures of land that are no longer
sand nor rock nor water, but a child's
drawing instead -- until the distant ocean
is the only fabric that fills this punched-
out plastic hole of a window -- that is
the blue that falls over everything, that is
everything -- blue on blue on blue -- like the one
seam of light left always on the airplane ceiling
that the pale, plastic shades cannot shut away --
until that narrow vein of light is the only
belief left, a cream-thick ribbon across our eyes --
Reading Celan at the Liberation War Museum
In a courtyard, in these stacks of chairs
before the empty stage -- near are
we Lord, near and graspable. Lord,
accept these humble offerings:
stacks of biscuits wrapped in cellophane,
stacks of bone in glass: thighbone,
spine. Stacks of white saucers, porcelain
circles into which stacks of lip-worn
cups slide neat. Jawbone, Lord. Galleries
of laminated clippings declaring war.
Hands unstack chairs into rows. The dead:
they still go begging. What for, Lord?
Blunt bayonets, once sharp as wind?
Moon-pale stacks of clavicle? A hand --
Moon-pale stacks of clavicle a hand
brushes dust from. I lost a word
that was left to me: sister. The wind
severs through us -- we sit, wait
for songs of nation and loss in neat
long rows below this leaf-green
flag -- its red-stitched circle stains
us blood-bright blossom, stains
us river-silk -- I saw you, sister, standing
in this brilliance -- I saw light sawing
through a broken car window, thistling
us pink -- I saw, sister, your bleeding
head, an unfurling shapla flower
petaling slow across mute water --
across mute water,
bows of trawlers
of silver fish that ripple
hands that will carve them
less. We were hands,
the darkness empty. We
are rooted bodies in rows silent before
the sparked blue limbs of dancers
leafing the dark
light indigo, then
into a cup, then
postcards bearing flag
and flower, hands
cradling the replica of a boat,
thrust there and into
a corpse, sister, bathed
jasmine, blue --
you teach you teach your hands to sleep
because her hands can't hold the shape
of a shapla flower cut from its green leaf
because her hands can't hold grief
nor light nor sister ... in her hands fistfuls
of her own hair ... on her wrists glass bangles
like the one you struggled over your hand
the same hand that slapped a sister's wan
face ... look ... the young girl stands before
the photo of the young woman who swore
she would not become the old woman
crouched low on a jute mat holding
out to you a bangle ... a strange lostness was
bodily present ... you came near to living
Bodily present, you came near to living,
Poet, in this small blue dress still stained,
the placard states, with the blood of the child
crushed dead by a soldier's boot. Who failed
and fails? -- nights you couldn't bear the threshed
sounds of your heart's hard beating. I press
a button: 1971 springs forth: black and white
bodies marching in pixelated rows. Nights
you resuscitated the Word, sea-overflowed,
star-overflown. A pixelated woman tied
with a white rope to a black pole, her white
sari embroidered with mud or blood. Nights
you were the wax to seal what's unwritten --
the screen goes white in downdrifting light.
The screen goes white. In downdrifting light,
the stairwell is a charred tunnel. We walk out
of it into a courtyard -- my skirt flares a rent
into the burnt evening. Something was silent,
something went its way -- something gnashes
inside me, sister -- along the yellow gashes
of paint guiding me through these rooms lined
with glass cases, past machine gun chains
shaped into the word Bangla. Here, on this
stage, a dancer bows low her limbs
once more before us. The stage goes silent.
We gather ourselves: souvenirs of bone.
Pray, Lord. We are near. Near are we, Lord --
in a courtyard, in these stacks of chairs.
This part from Ronald Johnson's Beams 21, 22, 23, The Song of Orpheus :
Thunder amid held daffodil,
the hills of yellow celandine in sudden sun
'when the light walk'.
When the light walks, clockwise, counterclockwise,
atoms memorize the firefly's wing
silhouette 20 foot elm leaf
(worm's-eye view through three crisscross timothy stalks).
A blue hinged green at edge, the twilight
sinks as if half swimmer
- ankles in wrinkle through wood turtle
swallowing scarlet strawberry,
waist deep the warp then roof of star split clover, one pale
eye spool rayed Orion
thistle silk through soil particle -
to Euridice. Head deep
"You will find, to the left of The House of Hades, a spring . . .
one white leafed cypress at its side".
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.
- Robert Frost
Originally Posted by wolfy
This one's really been getting to me recently.
ESTJ - LSE - ESTj (mbti/socionics)
1w2/7w6/3w4 so/sx (enneagram)
lawful good (D&D) / ravenclaw or gryffindor (HP) / boros legion (M:TG)
conscientious > sensitive > serious (oldham)
want to ask me something? go for it!
Human Grumpy Cat
Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Warble for Lilac-Time
WARBLE me now, for joy of Lilac-time,
Sort me, O tongue and lips, for Nature’s sake, and sweet life’s sake—and death’s the same as life’s,
Souvenirs of earliest summer—birds’ eggs, and the first berries;
Gather the welcome signs, (as children, with pebbles, or stringing shells;)
Put in April and May—the hylas croaking in the ponds—the elastic air,
Bees, butterflies, the sparrow with its simple notes,
Blue-bird, and darting swallow—nor forget the high-hole flashing his golden wings,
The tranquil sunny haze, the clinging smoke, the vapor,
Spiritual, airy insects, humming on gossamer wings,
Shimmer of waters, with fish in them—the cerulean above;
All that is jocund and sparkling—the brooks running,
The maple woods, the crisp February days, and the sugar-making;
The robin, where he hops, bright-eyed, brown-breasted,
With musical clear call at sunrise, and again at sunset,
Or flitting among the trees of the apple-orchard, building the nest of his mate;
The melted snow of March—the willow sending forth its yellow-green sprouts;
—For spring-time is here! the summer is here! and what is this in it and from it?
Thou, Soul, unloosen’d—the restlessness after I know not what;
Come! let us lag here no longer—let us be up and away!
O for another world! O if one could but fly like a bird!
O to escape—to sail forth, as in a ship!
To glide with thee, O Soul, o’er all, in all, as a ship o’er the waters!
—Gathering these hints, these preludes—the blue sky, the grass, the morning drops of dew;
(With additional songs—every spring will I now strike up additional songs,
Nor ever again forget, these tender days, the chants of Death as well as Life;)
The lilac-scent, the bushes, and the dark green, heart-shaped leaves,
Wood violets, the little delicate pale blossoms called innocence,
Samples and sorts not for themselves alone, but for their atmosphere,
To tally, drench’d with them, tested by them,
Cities and artificial life, and all their sights and scenes,
My mind henceforth, and all its meditations—my recitatives,
My land, my age, my race, for once to serve in songs,
(Sprouts, tokens ever of death indeed the same as life,)
To grace the bush I love—to sing with the birds,
A warble for joy of Lilac-time.
The Uncarved Block
By Matthew Arnold
The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
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By Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy
We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure
Can trample an empire down.
We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.
Even when the sun is shining, I can't avoid the lightning Oh, where did the blue skies go? And why is it raining so?
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by Seamus Heaney
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down
Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.
The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.
By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.
My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.
The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.
“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes." A.C. Doyle
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