Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What good would it be to them?

Why Some People Do Not Read Poetry

Because they already know that it means
stopping and without stopping they know that
beyond stopping it will mean listening
listening without hearing and maybe
then hearing without hearing and what would
they hear then what good would it be to them
like some small animal crossing the road
suddenly there but not seeming to move
at night and they are late and may be on
the wrong road over the mountain with all
the others asleep and not hitting it
that time as though forgetting it again

--W.S. Merwin

Thursday, May 14, 2009

There is many a small betrayal in the mind

This one gets cut and pasted all over the place, but it felt like a redeeming act to put it up in yet another corner. My favorite poem lately. Ladies and gentlemen, William Stafford...

A Ritual To Read To Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider--
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe--
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

May The Tradition Be Enriched This Weekend

Kirk: "You're not a fish, Spock."
Spock: "Nor am I a man."

Monday, May 04, 2009

If You're In The Area...

This Thursday (May 7th) at 11:30AM, I'll be joining the sweet people of the Nashville Cohort at the Flying Saucer (affixed lovingly to the back half of Union Station) for food and conversation. All are welcome. You're advised to call the place sometime beforehand if you're wanting to order a dish.
Not a whole lot to report upon here other than gratefulness for the good vibrations consistently sent my way from people who are reading the book. The "book launch" consisted of people who'd gathered at Portland Brew and it went on for maybe three hours. Sarah thanked everyone for coming. I expressed my desire that everyone would introduce themselves to someone they didn't know, and then we just yakked away. Every fifteen minutes or so I'd invite people to share a quote, a line from a song or a poem, or anything they had in their heads that seemed fitting. Lots of Willy Wonka gems, some Gerard Manley Hopkins, and even one instance where Tony Doling and Joe Nolan saw fit to re-enact a scene from Oliver Stone's Wall Street. It occurred to many of us that this sort of thing is probably what we're hoping for when we "go out" to a cafe or a bar or a party, and facilitating the now-people-share-words moment(s) seems to do the trick. I suspect we'll do it again.
One quote I didn't share but which seems to speak to what went well that night (and to what probably happens whenever we rightly say that anything at all goes well) is this: “Love is the perception of individuals. Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real. Love, and so art and morals, is the discovery of reality.”
Iris Murdoch, “The Sublime and the Good”
Hope this finds everyone feeling (or nearing) well.