What Happened the Day a Poet Was Appointed Postmaster
With violet pencils
he wrote upon the back side
of returned love letters and lost light years
Their cancelled postage stamps
wheeled away on round postmarks
and flew off like flying saucers
marked Moscow Los Angeles and New York
The moon turned to tenements
for lack of lovers
And a cancelled George Washington
flew over America
Found in -> The Nation, 1865-1990: Selections from the Independent Magazine of Politics and Culture
For, to repeat, the ground of a man’s joy is often hard to hit. It may hinge at times upon a mere accessory, like the lantern, it may reside, like Dancer’s, in the mysterious inwards of psychology. It may consist with perpetual failure, and find exercise in the continued chase. It has so little bond with externals (such as the observer scribbles in his note-book) that it may even touch them not; and the man’s true life, for which he consents to live, lie altogether in the field of fancy. The clergyman, in his spare hours, may be winning battles, the farmer sailing ships, the banker reaping triumph in the arts: all leading another life, plying another trade from that they chose; like the poet’s housebuilder, who, after all is cased in stone.
By his fireside, as impotent fancy prompts,
Rebuilds it to his liking.
In such a case the poetry runs underground. The observer (poor soul, with his documents!) is all abroad. For to look at the man is but to court deception. We shall see the trunk from which he draws his nourishment; but he himself is above and abroad in the green dome of foliage, hummed through by winds and nested in by nightingales. And the true realism were that of the poets, to climb up after him like a squirrel, and catch some glimpse of the heaven for which he lives. And the true realism, always and everywhere, is that of the poets: to find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing.
For to miss the joy is to miss all.
From the essay – The Lantern-Bearers
The Lantern-Bearers and Other Essays
Robert Louis Stevenson
In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it
“Because it is bitter,
“And because it is my heart.”
“In the Desert” is the name given to a poem written by Stephen Crane (1871–1900), published in 1895 as a part of his collection, The Black Riders and Other Lines. “In the Desert” is the third of fifty-six short poems published in this volume. The poem is short, only ten lines, and briefly describes an interaction between the speaker and “creature, naked, bestial” encountered “in the desert”, eating his heart.
I sit on the shoulder of the road.
The driver is changing the tires.
I don’t like it where I come from.
I don’t like it where I’m going.
Why do I watch the changing of tires with impatience?
From the essay – AN UNPLEASANT CHARMER in:
The Sheep From the Goats
(Translation was Simon’s)
The essay was a review of:
Brecht: A Biography
This poem was written immediately after World War Il, in Poland, among the ruins, of which those in the figurative sense were even more oppressive than the physical ones. There was literally nothing. How could a poet react to that situation? What was left was to do what a child does, who when trying to draw a house often starts with the smoke from the chimney, then draws a chimney, and then the rest. So this is a poem of naked faith.
I built on the sand
And it tumbled down,
I built on a rock
And it tumbled down.
Now when I build, I shall begin
With the smoke from the chimney.
LEOPOLD STAFF 1878 – 1957
Translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz
A Book Of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry
JEAN FOLLAIN 1903 – 1971
It seems nothing peculiar happens when somebody walks on a road and kicks an empty can. But here, in French poet Jean Follain, this movement, like an immobilized frame of a film, suddenly opens into the cold of the cosmos. Because it is winter, the road is frozen, the keys are iron, the shoe is pointed, and the can itself is cold, empty.
MUSIC OF SPHERES
He was walking a frozen road
in his pocket iron keys were jingling
and with his pointed shoe absent-mindedly
he kicked the cylinder
of an old can
which for a few seconds rolled its cold emptiness
wobbled for a while and stopped
under a sky studded with stars.
Translated from the French by Czeslaw Milos and Robert Hass
A Book Of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry
The palm extended in welcome:
Look! for you
I have unclenched my fist.
“I am the most important
Person at present.”
The sane remember to add:
“important, I mean, to me.”
True Love enjoys
but talks like a myopic.
Once having shat
in his new apartment,
he began to feel at home.
When Chiefs of State
prefer to work at night,
let the citizens beware.
1965 – 1968
But for a little while now, I have begun to hear again very clearly, if I take care to listen, the sobs that I was strong enough to contain in front of my father and that broke out only when I found myself alone again with Mama. They have never really stopped; and it is only because life is now becoming quieter around me that I can hear them again, like those convent bells covered so well by the clamor of the town during the day that one would think they had ceased altogether but which begin sounding again in the silence of the evening.
Noun. anthropomorphization (countable and uncountable, plural anthropomorphizations) endowing with human qualities. attributing human characteristics to something that is nonhuman.
I thought of the countless hours I had spent in math classes determining how long it took those three musketeers of math pedagogy, A, B and C, rowing at different speeds, to reach a certain bend in the river. No suspense about the outcome relieved the monotony of those races, for the three rowers were as foreordained as figures in a morality play to finish in the same order. It was a matter of character. A was strong and handsome, honest and decent, patriotic and God-fearing; B was plucky but flawed, fated to catch his oar on a rock just when victory seemed possible; and C was the amiable bumbler who is every one of us, capsizing in the stream. I always hoped for an upset—for C to redeem the best dreams of life’s losers, or at least for B to redeem the best dreams of life’s runners-up. It was not to be; in algebra textbooks, life’s races were rigged.
Zinsser, William. Writing to Learn