Friday, April 17, 2009

A wonderful poem about keeping expectations real

[I've deliberately omitted the title, as its connotations are no longer the same as when the poem was written.]

She had thought the studio would keep itself;
no dust upon the furniture of love.
Half heresy, to wish the taps less vocal,
the panes relieved of grime. A plate of pears,
a piano with a Persian shawl, a cat
stalking the picturesque amusing mouse
had risen at his urging.
Not that at five each separate stair would writhe
under the milkman's tramp; that morning light
so coldly would delineate the scraps
of last night's cheese and three sepulchral bottles;
that on the kitchen shelf among the saucers
a pair of beetle-eyes would fix her own---
envoy from some village in the moldings . . .
Meanwhile, he, with a yawn,
sounded a dozen notes upon the keyboard,
declared it out of tune, shrugged at the mirror,
rubbed at his beard, went out for cigarettes;
while she, jeered by the minor demons,
pulled back the sheets and made the bed and found
a towel to dust the table-top,
and let the coffee-pot boil over on the stove.
By evening she was back in love again,
though not so wholly but throughout the night
she woke sometimes to feel the daylight coming
like a relentless milkman up the stairs.

--Adrienne Rich

Friday, April 10, 2009

Walking in the darkness

That night when joy began
Our narrowest veins to flush,
We waited for the flash
Of morning's levelled gun.

But morning let us pass,
And day by day relief
Outgrows his nervous laugh,
Grown credulous of peace,

As mile by mile is seen
No trespasser's reproach,
And love's best glasses reach
No fields but are his own.

--W. H. Auden

May the day come when the days are so comfortable.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Just when...

It's beautiful when it truly happens. The poetic irony. The better job that appears just when despair is thinking of leasing a room. That wonderful pet adopted when it just showed up after the loss of another. The unexpected opportunity, the surprise windfall, the fortuitous, the serendipitous. The fruit falls from the tree, ripe and ready. A gift.

And there you are again. After the disappointment, the discouragement, the adjustment--she enters. Smart, artistic, funny, sexy, loves what you love, prefers what you prefer, shares your interests, and finds she is interested in you, as you are in her.

Life proceeds apace, one day at a time, and we find hope lives, even knowing what could happen, but also knowing what could finally happen. That elusive "one," that small subset of the population, grows in your land.

And so, not knowing, yet knowing, we truly live.

The Mystic Writer

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring and All

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast--a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines--

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches--

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind--

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined-
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance--Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken

--William Carlos Williams