The Dead by Denise Levertov

Earnestly I looked
into their abandoned faces
at the moment of death and while
I and aged their slack jaws and
straighter waxy unrestraint limbs and plugged
the orifices with cotton
but like everyone else I learned
each time nothing new, only that
as it were, a music, however harsh, that held us however loosely, had stooped and left
a heavy thick silence in its place.

Prayer for Revolutionary Love by Denise Levertov

That a woman not ask a man to leave meaningful work to
follow her.
That a man not ask a woman to leave meaningful work to
follow him.

That no one try to put Eros in bondage.
But that no one put a cudgel in the hands of Eros.

That our loyalty to one another and our loyalty to our work not be set in false conflict.

That our love for each other give us love for each other’s work.
That our love for each other’s work give us love for one another.

That our love for each other’s work give us love for one another
That our love for each other give us love for each other’s work.

That our love for each other, if need be,
give way to absence. And the unknown.

That we endure absence, if need be,
without losing our love for each other.
Without closing our doors to the unknown.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.

When death comes by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

When Death Comes — Mary Oliver.

They Have Threatened Us With Resurrection (1980) By Julia Esquivel

A powerful and challenging poem I came across this week.

They Have Threatened Us With Resurrection (1980)
by Julia Esquivel; translated by Ann Woehrle

It isn’t the noise in the streets
that keeps us from resting, my friend,
nor is it the shouts of the young people
coming out drunk from the “St. Pauli,”
nor is it the tumult of those who pass by excitedly
on their way to the mountains.

It is something within us that doesn’t let us sleep,
that doesn’t let us rest,
that won’t stop pounding
deep inside,
it is the silent, warm weeping
of Indian women without their husbands,
it is the sad gaze of the children
fixed somewhere beyond memory,
precious in our eyes
which during sleep,
though closed, keep watch,
systole,
diastole,
awake.

Now six have left us,
and nine in Rabinal,* and two, plus two, plus two,
and ten, a hundred, a thousand,
a whole army
witness to our pain,
our fear,
our courage,
our hope!

Continue reading They Have Threatened Us With Resurrection (1980) By Julia Esquivel

Damage & Too Much and Too Little

Damage by Wendell Berry

I.

I have a steep wooded hillside that I wanted to be able to pasture occasionally, but it had no water supply.

About halfway to the top of the slop there is a narrow bench, on which I thought I could make a small pond. I hired a man with a bulldozer to dig one. He cleared away trees and then formed the pond, cutting into the hill on the upper side, piling the loosened dirt into a curving earthwork on the lower.

The pond appeared to be a success. Before the bulldozer quit work, water had already begun to seep in. Soon there was enough to support a few head of stock. To heal the exposed ground, i fertilized it and sowed it with grass and clover.

We had an extremely wet fall and winter, with the usual freezing and thawing. The ground grew heavy with water, and soft. The earthwork slumped; a large slice of the woods floor on the upper side slipped down into the pond.

The trouble was a familiar one: too much power, too little knowledge. The fault was mine. Continue reading Damage & Too Much and Too Little

I Heard the Words of Fire

I heard the words of fire spring forth

from a child (of God);

words that sparked an inferno

and swallowed the whole world.

It was an unintended outcome,

but the devastation surprised no one.

Simple words carry with them,

the power to pick up,

and the power to tear down.

But reality, what you and I spend most

of our time admiring,

can be described only in part

by a tangible word.

Depending, of course,

on how that word is uttered.

But it can be evoked in

surprising ways without

so much as a full sentenced muttered.

To bless and to curse.