Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Sometimes, When the Light
BY LISEL MUELLER
Sometimes, when the light strikes at odd angles
and pulls you back into childhood
and you are passing a crumbling mansion
completely hidden behind old willows
or an empty convent guarded by hemlocks
and giant firs standing hip to hip,
you know again that behind that wall,
under the uncut hair of the willows
something secret is going on,
so marvelous and dangerous
that if you crawled through and saw,
you would die, or be happy forever.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
By Czeslaw Milosz
I said so little.
Days were short.
I said so little.
I couldn’t keep up.
My heart grew weary
The jaws of Leviathan
Were closing upon me.
Naked, I lay on the shores
Of desert islands.
The white whale of the world
Hauled me down to its pit.
And now I don’t know
What in all that was real.
-Translated by Czeslaw Milosz & Lillian Vallee
Thursday, December 1, 2011
by Stanley Plumly
On the Canadian side, we're standing far enough away
the Falls look like photography, the roar a radio.
In the real rain, so vertical it fuses with the air,
the boat below us is starting for the caves.
Everyone on deck is dressed in black, braced for weather
and crossing against the current of the river.
They seem lost in the gorge dimensions of the place,
then, in fog, in a moment, gone.
In the Chekhov story,
the lovers live in a cloud, above the sheer witness of a valley.
They call it circumstance. They look up at the open wing
of the sky, or they look down into the future.
Death is a power like any other pull of the earth.
The people in the raingear with the cameras want to see it
from the inside, from behind, from the dark looking into the light.
They want to take its picture, give it size—
how much easier to get lost in the gradations of a large
and yellow leaf drifting its good-bye down one side of the gorge.
There is almost nothing that does not signal loneliness,
then loveliness, then something connecting all we will become.
All around us the luminous passage of the air,
the flat, wet gold of the leaves. I will never love you
more than at this moment, here in October,
the new rain rising slowly from the river.