Monday, April 30, 2012

how inhabited the windy light?

winter solstice, 2010

Small Fantasia for W. B.

Where does spirit live? Inside or outside
Things remembered, made things, things unmade?
What came first, the seabird’s cry or the soul

Imagined in the dawn cold when it cried?
Where does it roost at last? On dungy sticks
In a jackdaw’s nest up in some old stone tower

Or a marble bust commanding the parterre?
How habitable is perfected form?
And how inhabited the windy light?

What was learned from the midwife and the hangman?
What’s the use of a held note or held line
That cannot be assailed for reassurance?

Seamus Heaney

Monday, April 23, 2012

encounters that barely happen

A la table du fond 

La si discrète dame, tout au fond 
de la brasserie, dans l’ombre, 
arrivant chaque jour pour déjeuner, seule, 
et se mettant à l’écart, là-bas, 
dois-je saluer son indépendance? 
déplorer sa solitude? 
Je ne sais, je ne sais 
qu’un infime reflet lumineux 
dans les verres de ses lunettes. 

Paul de Roux

At the far table 

The very discrete lady, at the far end 
of the café, in shadow, 
who comes each day for lunch, alone, 
and sets herself apart, there -- 
should I salute her independence? 
lament her loneliness? 
I don’t know, I don’t know 
anything but a tiny gleam 
in the glass of her spectacles.

(my translation)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

small things that happen when no one is here to know

rain thrums through broken boards

once a crow flew in through an empty windowframe
then back out

sunlight breathes on the ruined walls
like his memory of her voice in the mornings

daigle homestead, built circa 1870
blind river, ontario

Saturday, April 7, 2012

dogwood blossom

The beauty of the world is the mouth of a labyrinth. The unwary individual who on entering takes a few steps is soon unable to find the opening. Worn out, with nothing to eat or drink, in the dark, separated from his dear ones, and from everything he loves and is accustomed to, he walks on without knowing anything or hoping anything, incapable even of discovering whether he is really going forward or merely turning round on the same spot. But this affliction is as nothing compared with the danger threatening him. For if he does not lose courage, if he goes on walking, it is absolutely certain that he will finally arrive at the center of the labyrinth. And there God is waiting to eat him. Later he will go out again, but he will be changed, he will have become different, after being eaten and digested by God. Afterward he will stay near the entrance so that he can gently push all those who come near into the opening.

Simone Weil
"Forms of the Implicit Love of God"

Monday, April 2, 2012

sense and slowness and memory



In the end, there is nothing to say, except gratitude
for the articulation of muscle and skin, solidity of bone,
and the fine webbing of nerve that catches consciousness
and cups it here sweetly in the senses, tangle and delay,
fired into being. In the tiny, almost infinite gaps
between neurons, we discover together that the body
is deferral, is weight and wait, ballast and balance
that slows the spirit, keeps everything from rushing
to climax at the same, sudden moment of ache.
Otherwise, it would not matter that my fingertips
start just under your ear and move with impossible
luxury, almost undetectable touch,
down the side of the living throat, over the collarbone
and the supreme smooth paleness of the shoulder,
down the inside of the arm, finding the thin blue veins
of the wrist, and lingering long in the palm.
This slowness wouldn’t matter. Without the body,
why would I want the gesture to consume a thousand years?
Without the body, where would time and memory knot
us to the world? Once we stood on a rim of granite
above a northern lake, and upward through the bare birch
and tamarack hoof beats rose into the same cold air we breathed.
A body larger than both of us was moving below,
into us. Now we say nothing, but memory in your white breast
answers and lives, stiffens against memory in my warm mouth.