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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Empty II

Poetry isn’t a profession, it’s a way of life. It’s an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that.

Mary Oliver

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Love Song: The Reproduction of Mothering (1)

from The Making of the Mother: Portraits        Marcia Aldrich

This is a mother who still holds her daughter's hand when they're walking down the street. Her daughter is 18 years old. This is a mother who wants her daughter to look and act and be just like her. This is a daughter who does not resist what her mother wants. As the years pass this is a daughter who is becoming her mother. This is a mother who is always receding into the background. This is a mother who is always refilling platters, emptying trash, washing dishes. This is a daughter who with each passing year is receding into the background, watching her brother from the wings doing his tricks, clapping along with her mother and others. This is a mother who wears little Sunday school white gloves to bed to keep her hands innocent. This is a daughter who in time will too.


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Peach                                            Catie Rosemurgy


The head, the mouth, the fruit, the eating.
The pit, the teeth, the branch, the fall.
The wet, the swollen, the light, the seeing.
The picking, the washing, the cutting, the quartering.
The sweet, the having.

The juice. The holding it in your hands
beautiful and then ruined. The forms of devouring. The remaining empty.
What’s inside.

The excitement of the definite article. What’s inside
one thing is analogous to what’s inside another.
The ceremonial names

of what is done to them. What is unknown requires a new way of cutting.
What we’re left with.

How we make an object ours, make it disappear.
How we become the object and are food.
How we are delicious and dead at the center in so many ways.
How that is wrong and it is stillness, moon-like at the core.
How what we are is what reflects off it. How we are light produced earlier
by other things.

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A poem is an empty suitcase that you can never quit emptying. Kay Ryan
 
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"For What Binds Us"                                  Jane Hirschfield

There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they've been set down --
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.

And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There's a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,

as all flesh,
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest --

And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.
 
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The true contemplative is not the one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect or anticipate the word that will transform his darkness into light. He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and when is “answered,” it is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God.
Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer, p. 112-3
 
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The Figure
by Joseph Fasano

You sit at a window and listen to your father
crossing the dark grasses of the fields

toward you, a moon soaking through his shoes as he shuffles the wind
aside, the night in his hands like an empty bridle.

How long have we been this way, you ask him.
It must be ages, the wind answers. It must be the music of the wind

turning your fingers to glass, turning the furniture of childhood
to the colors of horses, turning them away.

Your father is still crossing the acres, a light on his tongue
like a small coin from an empire that has always been ruined.

Now the dark flocks are drifting through his shoulders
with an odor of lavender, an odor of gold. Now he has turned

as though to go, but only knelt down with the heavy oars
of October on his forearms, to begin the horrible rowing.

You sit in a chair in the room. The wind lies open
on your lap like the score of a life you did not measure.

You rise. You turn back to the room and repeat what you know:
The earth is not a home. The night is not an empty bridle

in the hands of a man crossing a field with a new moon
in his old wool. We abandon the dead. We abandon them.

2 comments:

Carol Berg said...

I love these themed blog entries. Love all the connections....

Jessica Goodfellow said...

I'm so glad, Carol. Sometimes I feel like I'm throwing all this out there into the abyss. Glad something has landed somewhere.....