Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Man receives Fortune, grounding it
in the earth.  Rooting its flighty ways in
breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Taming its
wild eyes under the covers.


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Good Friday / C. Rossetti

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon–
I, only I.

Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

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An LA Afternoon Run

Five miles–
past urine,
then past dogs who are too big
to live in the little houses
to which their Toms wearing
owners will walk home,
then back past the blankets,
and carts which are a home, too,
but not to dogs.

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Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything,
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability —
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually–let them grow,
let them shape themselves without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you.
And accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

— Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

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During a drought one gains
a certain thinness.  Lacking words
results in acute gnawing
parched lips and rusty jaws.
Break fast hurts, poems stick
to dry sides of throat and tangle
on unused stomach lining.
But wash it down with music —
not pop, maybe Bach — and smack
your lips with unsated fullness.

C.S. Doemner

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I flopped down beside God on the couch this morning: “I don’t know what to do.”

He pulled my head onto his shoulder and ran his hand over my unruly hair. “What do you need to do?” he asked.

“Nothing,” I replied.

“What do you want to do?”

I shrugged.   After a long pause, he pointed to a large wooden chest sitting beside us. “Why don’t you look in there for something to do?”

I knelt down on the carpet and heaved up the lid. It was smooth red wood, simple but elegantly made. It was big enough for several grown-ups to climb inside and have a tea party. Except that we don’t do that anymore.

“What do you see in there?” God asked.

I pulled out four full laundry baskets. “I guess I should sort and put away the clean clothes I washed all week,” I said.

“Is that what you want to do?”

I grimaced and dove back into the chest. Out came Tom Cruise and Demi Moore: “Hey, I could watch A Few Good Men while sorting the laundry!” I grinned as if this were a solution.

“What else is in there?”

A gym membership card, a book of Spanish love poetry, Grandma’s coffee mug, and the checkbook all came out and got strewn on the floor at his feet.  Then I sighed, ’cause I saw what I thought he’d wanted me to find. I hauled my leather-bound Bible out of the bottom of the chest, and thumped it into my lap.

“You want me to read my Bible, huh?”

“I want you to do what you want to do,” he said.

“But I’m supposed to want to read my Bible,” I muttered.

“Do you?”

“Not really.”

“Then set it down.”

I did, cautiously, looking up to see if that was a trick. But no. He was just sitting there on the sofa, looking at me expectantly.

“What do you want to do?” he asked again.

“I don’t know! There’s nothing else in there.”

He whispered, “What’s your heart’s desire, Caitlin?”

I stared at him blankly. “The chest is empty,” I repeated.

“Look again.”

With an eyebrow raised, I got to my knees and leaned into the chest. It was so deep that the bottom was shadowy. I squinted. “It looks like something’s carved into the floor of the chest,” I said over my shoulder.

“What does it say?” he queried.

I traced my fingers over clean, sharp grooves… live life.

“It says ‘Live life’,” I told him.

“That, my dear, is your heart’s desire.”

“Well, duh! isn’t that everyone’s desire?”

“No. It is yours.”

I laid there for a second, half in and half out of the chest, with the lip biting into my belly. “But that’s not all!” I said, standing up.

“No?” he smiled.

I rummaged in his pockets and found a folded knife. I flicked it open and crawled into the box. Under live life I untidily scrawled: create beauty. It was uneven and certainly not centered. I squatted back and grinned at God over the edge of the chest. He smiled back. I looked down again and the rough carvings morphed into a delicate, straight script aligned with live life.

God stood up and helped me out of the chest.

I looked at him in bewildered anticipation. “So now what?”

“What do you mean, now what?”

“I still don’t know what I’m supposed to do. Like, right now.”

He looked around him at the flotsam I’d dragged out of the chest and said, “Whatever you want.”

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Ah Vastedad de Pinos

My translation of Neruda’s third poem (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair)– in preparation for this evening’s reading group.


Ah Vastedad de Pinos

Ah vastedad de pinos, rumor de olas quebrándose,
lento juego de luces, campana solitaria,
crepúsculo cayendo en tus ojos, muñeca,
caracola terrestre, en ti la tierra canta!

En ti los ríos cantan y mi alma en ellos huye
como tú lo desees y hacia donde tú quieras.
Márcame mi camino en tu arco de esperanza
y soltaré en delirio mi bandada de flechas.

En torno a mí estoy viendo tu cintura de niebla
y tu silencio acosa mis horas perseguidas,
y eres tú con tus brazos de piedra transparente
donde mis besos anclan y mi húmeda ansia anida.

Ah tu voz misteriosa que el amor tiñe y dobla
en el atardecer resonante y muriendo!
Así en horas profundas sobre los campos he visto
doblarse las espigas en la boca del viento.

Ah, the immensity of pines

Ah, the immensity of pines, rumor of broken waves,
the slow play of lights, solitary bell,
twilight falling in your eyes, doll,
conch of the earth, in whom the earth sings!

In you the rivers sing and in them my soul escapes,
as you desire and toward that desire.
Mark my road in your hopeful arch
and deliriously, I will release my flock of arrows.

All around me, I see your waist of fog
and your silence pursues my plagued hours;
and you, with your arms of transparent stone
where my kisses anchor and my damp longing nests.

Ah, your mysterious voice that love darkens and tolls
in the resounding and dying dusk.
Then in the profound hours, over the fields, I have seen
the ears tolling in the mouth of the wind.

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