Is this everything now, the quick delusions of flowers,
And the down colors of the bright summer meadow,
The soft blue spread of heaven, the bees’ song,
Is this everything only a god’s
Groaning dream,
The cry of unconscious powers for deliverance?

The distant line of the mountain,
That beautifully and courageously rests in the blue,
Is this too only a convulsion,
Only the wild strain of fermenting nature,
Only grief, only agony, only meaningless fumbling,
Never resting, never a blessed movement?

No! Leave me alone, you impure dream
Of the world in suffering!
The dance of tiny insects cradles you in an evening radiance,
The bird’s cry cradles you,
A breath of wind cools my forehead
With consolation.

Leave me alone, you unendurably old human grief!
Let it all be pain.
Let it all be suffering, let it be wretched —
But not this one sweet hour in the summer,
And not the fragrance of the red clover,
And not the deep tender pleasure
in my soul.

– Hermann Hesse, “Lying in Grass”

Two Sisters

There were two sisters walking down by a stream
Oh, the wind and rain
And one of them pushed the other one in
Crying, oh, the dreadful wind and rain. 

She pushed her sister in the river to drown
Oh, the wind and rain
And watched her as she floated down
Crying, oh, the dreadful wind and rain.

She floated till she came to the miller’s pond
Oh, the wind and rain
And his son cried, Father, there swims a swan
Crying, oh, the dreadful wind and rain.

Well, the miller laid her out on the banks to dry
Oh, the wind and rain
And the king’s own fiddler come a-passing by
Crying, oh, the dreadful wind and rain.

And he’s made fiddle pegs of her long finger bones
Oh, the wind and rain
For to tune the fiddle to the proper tones
Crying, oh, the dreadful wind and rain. 

Wallace Stevens, “Sunday Morning”

sharingpoetry:

1

Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.


2

Why should she give her bounty to the dead?
What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measure destined for her soul.


3

Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave
Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind.
He moved among us, as a muttering king,
Magnificent, would move among his hinds,
Until our blood, commingling, virginal,
With heaven, brought such requital to desire
The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be
The blood of paradise? And shall the earth
Seem all of paradise that we shall know?
The sky will be much friendlier then than now,
A part of labor and a part of pain,
And next in glory to enduring love,
Not this dividing and indifferent blue.


4

She says, “I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality 
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?”
There is not any haunt of prophecy,
Nor any old chimera of the grave,
Neither the golden underground, nor isle
Melodious, where spirits gat them home,
Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm
Remote on heaven’s hill, that has endured
As April’s green endures; or will endure
Like her remembrance of awakened birds,
Or her desire for June and evening, tipped
By the consummation of the swallow’s wings.

5

She says, “But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.”
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires. Although she strews the leaves
Of sure obliteration on our paths,
The path sick sorrow took, the many paths
Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love
Whispered a little out of tenderness,
She makes the willow shiver in the sun
For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze
Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears
On disregarded plate. The maidens taste
And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.


6

Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.


7

Supple and turbulent, a ring of men
Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn
Their boisterous devotion to the sun,
Not as a god, but as a god might be,
Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise,
Out of their blood, returning to the sky;
And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,
The windy lake wherein their lord delights,
The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills,
That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship
Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feet shall manifest.


8

She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, “The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.”
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

When she settles into a crook in a limb
and swishes her tail, her ears lie flat
against the side of her head.
In broad sunlight she stares

you down, yellow eyes unblinking,
without a meow, her mouth curled
into what looks like a grin,
while she asks the riddle you can’t answer.

— Excerpt from “Dorland" by James Reiss. The Paris Review issue 129, Fall 1993

Somewhere in a distant world, through one way or another, a coincidence is bound to happen: a collision of two extraneously identical particles, ones which are in fact innately paradoxical to one another. An outside force seems to draw them together closer; an energy that feeds on the burning fire of envy; one which lives by it, and dies by it. But no such fire must have been lit had there not been any attraction of any sort between them, and yet everything would weave itself under the soundless spell of grace.

O, drunk souls forever lost in the eternal quiet of the night.
O, lost souls forever drunk in the eternal quiet of the night.


I

In order to understand perfectly the concept of humanity, one has to know beforehand how to live without it. He ought to be able to look at the world with complete indifference, his heart devoid of any sentiment that so characterizes human nature, particularly that of hope — for he knows that it is deceitful; and that of fear — for he knows that it brings paralysis to the soul. His eyes are cold and unassuming; the expression on his face grave and solemn, quiet yet menacing, like approaching clouds just before the storm … Only these people have the capability to truly understand what it means to be human. "The naturalized Englishman is more English than the native Englishman" — by detaching the self from humanity a man would be able to look at it more thoroughly.  




II

One should master the art of hearing what the liar doesn’t confess, and of seeing what the witness doesn’t notice. But above all he must also throw away his pride of having mastered them for the sake of preserving other people’s pride and feelings. The peak of a man’s sensibility, it seems to me, involves the habit of letting other people carry on with their lies as though he were ignorant of it. 



III

If this world is essentially indifferent to humans, then true realization belongs to those who have the capacity to adapt to indifference itself. 



dream #290



Skaters skating on thin ice. 
Letting the queen choose her guy.

Words of consolation, gestures of attraction; Milko’s graceful fall into the river.

A running wolf; two galloping horses rushing along the empty roads of the suburb.

K, her baby uphill and the indication on the whereabouts of the Chungking river.

An unstrapped ladder.

The kid who said, jokingly, you could find instead a strapped three-step ladder at the top of the mountain.

Grab me by the wrist: there is no more reason for us not to be together.

She would have agreed, but only broke into tears; indecisive as ever afterwards.