Archive for July, 2011

The Triggering Town

All things belong

to the music of guns,

after you’ve put one to your chest

and pulled the trigger.

It initiates everything else in your life —

who you love

where you work

what you eat

where you live.

It is the one thing

you can depend on,

closed around that wound

the act of setting and

resetting the safety

then turning it off.

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When The Helga Paintings were discovered in 1985, 
240 tempera, dry-brush paintings, watercolors and pencil sketches
Andrew Wyeth created of Helga Testorf  between the years
1971 and 1985, Wyeth’s wife was asked what
she thought of them. She replied,
“All I see is love.”  

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Angels climb
Jacob’s ladder
at Bath Abbey

Jacob left Beersheba, and went toward Haran. He came to the place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it [or “beside him”] and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your descendants; and your descendants shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and by you and your descendants shall all the families of the earth bless themselves. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that of which I have spoken to you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I did not know it.” And he was afraid, and said, “This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

Afterwards, Jacob names the place, Bethel, meaning “house of God.” Genesis 28:10–19

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Dara Wier (right) with poets James Tate and Mong-Lan

The Pressure of the Moment

The pressure of the moment can cause someone to kill
someone or something

The leniency of consideration might treat with more

Which is to be desired. Or at least often to be desired.

But if my house is on fire and you notice, I wish you would

That fire. But if my hair is on fire, while I’m sure
you’ll be enjoying

The spectacle of it, act quickly or don’t act at all. But
if a sudden

Jarring of us all out of existence is eminent, do
by Dara Wier (born 1949)

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The reading from the Rule of St. Benedict for July 15:

Care of the sick must rank before and above everything, so that they may truly be served as Christ Himself, for He said: I was sick and you visited me (Matthew 25.36) and, Whatever you did for one of these who are least, you did for me (Matthew 25:40). But let the sick themselves consider that they are served out of honor for God, and they are not to sadden their brothers who serve them with superfluous demands. Yet they are to be patiently borne, because from such as these a more abundant reward is acquired. The abbot shall therefore exercise the greatest care that they not suffer any neglect.

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Cracked Marble

A desk,
sturdy, useful
fixed in one spot,

used to write letters.
When can I return to you,
the letters say,

and the desk remains unmoved.
I can shove you around, I say,
love, lust, desire,

all written here.
I can move you to another room.

The desk and I live in a neighborhood
split in half like a heart —
along one ridge

white-collar workers
who live among kings
Edison, Galileo, Darwin, Curie —

and on the other, a trailer park.
The two halves are equal,
divided by a single fence.

Cottonwoods stand
in a park near my house
presenting their seeds to the wind,

watching Penelope
weave a web
through her window.

She finishes it,
begins again,
cutting threads,

searching for fresh cloth
she hasn’t worn away
with sewing and mending

loose ends.
I shove the desk around,
this way, that,

and the top half falls,
cracking marble
on an antique washstand.

Mother, grandmother,
great grandmother,
we’ve all stood beside it each morning

checking the clock,
sliding the marble aside
to conceal deeds of trust

insurance policies, stock.
Outside, a calypso orchid grows
beneath my bedroom window

where I sometimes hear footsteps.
What are you after
as you travel through my soul,

what are you looking for
as you breathe in
these white flowers.

Can you hear Penelope say,
Odysseus, Odysseus, come home.

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Constance Olson and HIlda Morley
at Black Mountain College.

Sheep Language

What have I done that I should find myself
here, in this meadow
in the Cotswolds, sheep bleating
(from time to time) on the other side of
the fence,
hurrying away
from the drinking-trough as I pass,
so I feel
their peace infringed upon
(& I the cause of it)
that peace their drowsy presence overfills to brimming,
Keatslike, almost more than I can hold
But I hold it
as if in a waking dream, the spell is
upon me & out of it
my voice can speak & speaks as
it must in accents only they
can understand:
a voice for them,
as they need to hear it,
have heard it
centuries ago — sheep-language —
I must have
stood here & found the sequence
of words, the phrase,
the cadence
formed for their ears,
for the rhythm
of their nuzzling,
their nudging movements
& I, a speaker
of first-generation English,
who recognize the knights
in stained-glass windows
in the village churches
of Gloucestershire which William Morris loved,
those knights
who cut my Jewish forefathers down, setting out
for the Crusades,
these little churches built, as
Morris saw them
in joyful dedication,
out of love.
by Hilda Morley (1919–1998)

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