Saturday, September 22, 2012

this doorway

James Owens 1904 - 1988
Jack Owens 1936 - 2003
James Owens 1963 -
Benjamin Owens 2000 -


And I know a father
Who had a son
He longed to tell him all the reasons
For the things he'd done
He came a long way
Just to explain
He kissed his boy as he lay sleeping
Then he turned around and headed home again

Paul Simon
Slip-Sliding Away

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

toward the moment

Letter to James Wright from the Rocks above Bass Pond at the End of Summer

I bang fist-sized stones together. Once.
Stones cool with the smell of dirt
from lying in the ferns.
My palms love their gritty sides.

The hollow tonk plucks at air
like a first raindrop hitting a spider’s web,
the attentiveness of a word
and no content.

The solemn turkey buzzard shrugs higher.
Grey moss cracks underfoot.
Juniper and blueberry clench small.
Here wind and weak sun --

below, the fur of trees ruffles,
the pond glints,
losing track of my failures.

I will lie and wither like the moss
and rise in a year, language as hard
and unused as a scatter of pebbles,
to find my own crossed thighbones here,

stripped sticks
to knock together for prayer.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

space around world and i

Ein Wort

Ein Wort, ein Satz—: aus Chiffren steigen
erkanntes Leben, jäher Sinn,
die Sonne steht, die Sphären schweigen
und alles ballt sich zu ihm hin.

Ein Wort—ein Glanz, ein Flug, ein Feuer,
ein Flammenwurf, ein Sternenstrich—-
und wieder Dunkel, ungeheuer,
im leeren Raum um Welt und Ich.

Gottfried Benn

A Word

A word, a phrase -- from ciphers climb
Known life, sudden sense.
The sun stops, spheres no longer chime,
All thickens around, dark and dense.

A word, a gleam, a flight, a spark,
A thrust of flame, star-strike on the sky --
Then again the enormous dark
And empty space around world and I.

(my translation)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


words in a landscape
shadows on rock

for ruth, at washed stones

Sunday, September 2, 2012

a contrary joy

Einsamer nie als im August:
Erfüllungsstunde—im Gelände
die roten und die goldenen Brände,
doch wo ist deiner Gärten Lust?

Die Seen hell, die Himmel weich,
die Äcker rein und glänzen leise,
doch wo sind Sieg und Siegsbeweise
aus dem von dir vertretenen Reich?

Wo alles sich durch Glück beweist
und tauscht den Blick und tauscht die Ringe
im Weingeruch, im Rausch der Dinge—:
dienst du dem Gegenglück, dem Geist.

Gottfried Benn

Never more lonely than in August:
This fulfilled hour, the land
Is red brand after golden brand --
But is your garden’s longing lost?

The clear lakes, a tender gleam
Of sky, the fields softly shine,
But where is triumph and its sign
From your far, native realm?

Though happiness is the proof others find,
Exchanging glances, exchanging rings
In the aroma of wine, a drunkenness of things,
You serve a contrary joy, the mind.

(my translation)