Thursday, March 09, 2006

Topic expansion: Poetry

Thanks for your eloquent and sometimes very kind comments in the last post, everyone. You reminded me of why I'm here, and I think you've helped me figure out what was missing, at least for me. I'm kind of making a unilateral decision here, but I think it's needed. Sometimes I tire of dry philosophy. I want poetry. Poetry crosses all boundaries. I love to read slowly, letting the words fall one by one, letting my brain roll them around a bit before moving on. Maybe we can have a discussion about favorite poets, too. There's a lot of crossover with Zen, anyway.

So let's make this a Zen and Poetry blog for a while, OK? I'll start with one of my favorites, by Mark Strand:

Eating Poetry
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.


At March 10, 2006, Blogger aumeye said...

Thank You, Jules.

To a Stranger by Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Passing Stranger, you do not know
how longingly I look
upon you,
You must be he I was seeking,
or she I was seeking, it comes to me
as of a dream,
I have somewhere surely lived
a life of joy with you,
All is recall'd as we flit
by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste,
You grew up with me, were
a boy with me or a
girl with me,
I ate with you and slept
with you, your body has
become not yours only,
nor my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure
of your eyes, face,
flesh, as we pass, you
take of my beard, breast, hands,
in return,
I am not to speak to you,
I am to think of you
when I sit alone, or
wake at night alone,
I am to wait, I do not
doubt I am to meet
you again,
I am to see to it that
I do not lose you.

At March 10, 2006, Blogger Dan said...

nice poems jules and aumeye, i know exactly how u felt jules. yesterday i realied that i write crap for the most part on this blog and other blogs but i still keep coming back and i'm not really sure why. i think that the poetry idea's wicked. at least there won't be so much arguing about it.

also just wanted to apologise for not saying anything when u told us about your problems with your marriage. as a rule, i'm shit at giving good advice to people in those kind of situations so i thought it best to keep my trap shut at the time. just wanted to let u know that i do want to be supportive about it but i just couldnt think of anything to say!

i don't write poetry so much but i write a lot of songs and raps so i might put some of those up if i'm feeling brave. most of it's not very 'zen' but never mind eh?

At March 10, 2006, Blogger aumeye said...

Put 'em up, Dan! I, for one, am looking forward to it. Besides, we can find the Zen in most anything if we need to.

At March 10, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

Dan: No need to apologize, at ALL. Something I learned from my wife: "sometimes people need someone to listen to them more than they need advice about how to fix their problem." I got some good advice too, and everything I needed at the time. Thanks for your good thoughts, sometimes that's what's needed. I'd love to see some original poetry/rap too, if you would care to share.

Aumeye: I LOVE Walt Whitman. Welcome back!

At March 10, 2006, Blogger Dan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At March 10, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

Wow, that's really good!

At March 10, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

There was a Child went Forth
by Walt Whitman

There was a child went forth every day;
And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became;
And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,

And the Third-month lambs, and the sow’s pink-faint litter, and the mare’s foal, and the cow’s calf,
And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there—and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads—all became part of him.

The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month became part of him;
Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and the esculent roots of the garden,
And the apple-trees cover’d with blossoms, and the fruit afterward, and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road;
And the old drunkard staggering home from the out-house of the tavern, whence he had lately risen,
And the school-mistress that pass’d on her way to the school,
And the friendly boys that pass’d—and the quarrelsome boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheek’d girls—and the barefoot negro boy and girl,
And all the changes of city and country, wherever he went.

His own parents,
He that had father’d him, and she that had conceiv’d him in her womb, and birth’d him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that;
They gave him afterward every day—they became part of him.

The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on the supper-table;
The mother with mild words—clean her cap and gown, a wholesome odor falling off her person and clothes as she walks by;
The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, anger’d, unjust;
The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the crafty lure,
The family usages, the language, the company, the furniture—the yearning and swelling heart,
Affection that will not be gainsay’d—the sense of what is real—the thought if, after all, it should prove unreal,
The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time—the curious whether and how,
Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes and specks?
Men and women crowding fast in the streets—if they are not flashes and specks, what are they?
The streets themselves, and the façades of houses, and goods in the windows,
Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank’d wharves—the huge crossing at the ferries,
The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset—the river between,
Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of white or brown, three miles off,
The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the tide—the little boat slack-tow’d astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,
The strata of color’d clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint, away solitary by itself—the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon’s edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud;
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

At March 10, 2006, Blogger me said...

I love Whitman too. Thanks guys. Here's one of my favorites - I read this at my wedding:

To the garden of the world anew ascending,
Potent mates, daughters, sons, preluding,
The love, the life of their bodies, meaning and being,
Curious here behold my resurrection after slumber,
The revolving cycles in their wide sweep having brought me again,
Amorous, mature, all beautiful to me, all wondrous,
My limbs and the quivering fire that ever plays through them, for reasons most wondrous,
Existing I peer and penetrate still,
Content with the present, content with the past,
By my side or back of me Eve following,
Or in front, and I following her just the same.

Walt Whitman

At March 10, 2006, Blogger aumeye said...

Jules ~ Thank you; THIS is a nice place to be. Today, I feel happy you started this poetry thread. (I hope others will continue to add to it here, instead of as new threads, as some have done.) The additional Whitman posts have reminded me how much some of his work moves me.

me ~ I especially love that Whitman poem. What a beautiful thing, that you read that at your wedding.

Dan ~ I hope you will keep posting some of your work; this first one is quite good. Thanks for sharing.

At March 14, 2006, Blogger Dan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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