Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

every day, every day i hear
enough to fill
a year of nights with wondering.

- denise levertov

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last chance...
"There is still a point where the present, the now, winds around itself, and nothing is tangled. the river is not where it begins or ends, but right in the middle point, anchored by what has happened and what is to arrive. You can close your eyes and there will be a light snow falling in New York..."

Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann
Kandinsky at the Guggenheim
through January 13, 2010

Monday, December 28, 2009

one moment

one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.

Rilke: Sunset

Saturday, December 26, 2009


You see, I want a lot.
Perhaps I want everything:
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.



Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

it is not heard at all, but you are the music
while the music lasts

snow angel
T. S. Eliot "The Dry Salvages"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Snow Queen

He was dragging along some pointed flat pieces of ice, which he laid together in all possible ways, for he wanted to make something with them; just as we have little flat pieces of wood to make geometrical figures with, called the Chinese Puzzle. Kay made all sorts of figures, the most complicated, for it was an ice-puzzle for the understanding. In his eyes the figures were extraordinarily beautiful, and of the utmost importance; for the bit of glass which was in his eye caused this. He found whole figures which represented a written word; but he never could manage to represent just the word he wanted–that word was “eternity”; and the Snow Queen had said, “If you can discover that figure, you shall be your own master, and I will make you a present of the whole world and a pair of new skates.”

The Snow Queen
Russian Snow Queen

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Angels among us

When the child was a child, it was the time of these questions. Why am I me, and why not you? Why am I here, and why not there? When did time begin, and where does space end? Isn't life under the sun just a dream? Isn't what I see, hear, and smell just the mirage of a world before the world? Does evil actually exist, and are there people who are really evil? How can it be that I, who am I, wasn't before I was, and that sometime I, the one I am, no longer will be the one I am?....

It reached for cherries in topmost branches of trees
with an elation it still has today,
has a shyness in front of strangers,
and has that even now.
It awaited the first snow,
And waits that way even now.

Wings of Desire


Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Card to Grace Hartigan


marc yankus

There's no holly, but there is
the glass and granite towers
and the white stone lions
and the pale violet clouds. And
the great tree of balls in
Rockefeller Plaza is public.

Christmas is green and general
like all great works of the
imagination, swelling from minute
private sentiments in the desert,
a wreath around our intimacy
like children's voices in a park.

For red there is our blood
which, like your smile, must be
protected from spilling into
generality by secret meanings,
the lipstick of life hidden
in a handbag against violations.

Christmas is the time of cold air
and loud parties and big expense,
but in our hearts flames flicker
answeringly, as on old-fashioned
trees. I would rather the house
burn down than our flames go out.
Frank O'Hara

Saturday, December 5, 2009


The day of our first snowfall...
Blechman via:evencleveland

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


"I have spent my life watching, not to see beyond the world, merely to see, great mystery, what is plainly before my eyes. I think the concept of transcendence is based on a misreading of creation. With all respect to heaven, the scene of the miracle is here, among us. The eternal as an idea is much less preposterous than time, and this very fact should seize our attention."

Marilynne Robinson
images: the drifter and the gypsy

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

The silent by Mlle Mathilde.

The Dying Man: The Far East. The Great North. The Wild West. The Great Bear Lake. Tristan da Cunha. The Mississippi Delta. Stromboli. The old houses of Charlottenburg. Albert Camus. The morning light. The child's eyes. The swim in the waterfall. The spots of the first drops of rain. The sun. The bread and wine. Hopping. Easter. The veins of leaves. The blowing grass. The color of stones. The pebbles on the stream's bed. The white tablecloth outdoors. The dream of the house in the house. The dear one asleep in the next room. The peaceful Sundays. The horizon. The light from the room in the garden. The night flight. Riding a bicycle with no hands. The beautiful stranger. My father. My mother. My wife. My child.

" The Sky above Berlin " 1987 W. Wenders

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Repost because...


“The things they carried were largely determined by necessity. Among the near-necessities were P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wristwatches, dog tags, mosquito repellent, chewing gum, candy, cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits, Military Payment Certificates, C rations, and two or three canteens of water. Together, these items weighed between 15 and 20 pounds, depending upon a man’s habits or rate of metabolism. Henry Dobbins, who was a big man, carried extra rations; he was especially fond of canned peaches in heavy syrup over pound cake. Dave Jensen, who practiced field hygiene, carried a toothbrush, dental floss, and several hotel-sized bars of soap he’d stolen on R&R in Sydney, Australia. Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried tranquilizers until he was shot in the head outside the village of Than Khe in mid-April. By necessity, and because it was SOP, they all carried steel helmets that weighed 5 pounds including the liner and camouflage cover. They carried the standard fatigue jackets and trousers. Very few carried underwear. On their feet they carried jungle boots – 2.1 pounds – and Dave Jensen carried three pairs of socks and a can of Dr. School’s foot powder as a precaution against trench foot. Until he was shot, Ted Lavender carried 6 or 7 ounces of premium dope, which for him was a necessity. Mitchel Sanders, the RTO, carried condoms. Norman Bowker carried a diary. Rat Kiley carried comic books. Kiowa, a devout Baptist, carried an illustrated New Testament that had been presented to him by his father, who taught at Sunday school in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. As a hedge against bad times, however, Kiowa also carried his grandmother’s distrust of the white man, his grandfather’s old hunting hatchet. Necessity dictated. Because the land was mined and booby-trapped, it was SOP for each man to carry steel-centered, nylon-covered flak jacket, which weighed 6.7 pounds, but which on hot days seemed much heavier. Because you could die so quickly, each man carried at least one large compress bandage, usually in the helmet band for easy access. Because the nights were cold, and becauses the monsoons were wet, each carried a green plastic poncho that could be used as a raincoat or groundsheet or makeshift tent. With its quilted liner, the poncho weighed almost 2 pounds, but it was worth every ounce. In April, for instance, when Ted Lavender was shot, they used his poncho to wrap him up, then to carry him across the paddy, then to lift him into the chopper that took him away.” The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Isaura, city of a thousand wells, is presumed to lie above a deep underground lake. All around, where the inhabitants have been able to find water by digging long vertical holes, up to there and no further the city extends: its verdant perimeter repeats that of the dark shores of the buried lake; an invisible landscape conditions the visible one; everything that moves in the sunlight is driven by the lapping wave enclosed beneath the rock's calcareous sky.

Consequently there are two types of religion in Isaura. Some say the city's gods live deep below in the lake which feeds the subterranean veins. Others say the gods live in the buckets which rise up hanging from rope, in the pulleys which turn, in the pump-levers, in the narrow arches of the aqueducts, in all the columns of water, the vertical pipes, the plungers, the drains, all the way up to the weathercocks that surmount the airy scaffoldings of Isaura, a city that moves entirely upward.


photo: Tragic

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our truest life is in our dreams awake

"Mere forgetfullness cannot remove it

Nor wishing bring it back, as long as it remains

The white precipitate of its dream

In the climate of sighs flung across our world,

A cloth over a birdcage. But it is certain that

What is beautiful seems so only in relation to a specific

Life, experienced or not, channeled into some form

Steeped in the nostalgia of a collected past."


John Ashbery

:the drifter and the gypsy

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pay attention

Child at Camp for Children of Chernobyl, Lviv, Ukraine, 1991
Your glance will trip on my shadow
and the shadow
will thrust itself
into the leafy shade.
The pale sun will shine over us,
a lantern
scorched by the burning question . . .
Caught by the gravity of the light,
breathing is choked, lips are pressed,
and there is no answer,
no answer
to this light in the violent night.
But freed from gravity our shadows
shook the jasmine bush,
they will drift apart,
breathe night haze at our backs.
And the yellow leaf will fall exhausted,
it will take unbearably long to inhale.
As if the wisdom of autumn
were to catch us by surprise . .

Chernobyl Poems : Liubov Sirota

“In other words, we rely upon the overly simple circle which has as its content the passing present and as its shape the part of reminiscence. However, the order of time, time as a pure and empty form, has precisely undone that circle. It has undone it in favour of a less simple and much more secret, much more torturous, more nebulous circle…” – Gilles Deleuze

Child at camp for children of Chernobyl, Bruhovich, Ukraine
Gelatin Silver Print199

images:Katherine Turczan, more

Friday, October 9, 2009

Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace

“The question we have to ask is who has done the most in the previous year to enhance peace in the world,” the Nobel committee chairman, Thorbjorn Jagland, said in Oslo after the announcement. “And who has done more than Barack Obama?”


New York Times

Mitzvah On Saturday Morning

© All rights reserved.

You’re on 14th Street headed west
to buy a new seat for your bicycle.
In Casper, Wyoming, a hospice nurse
backs her car out of your parents’
driveway. Your father calls out

from his bed. What would you
have done if you’d caught the thief,
wrench in one hand, your bike seat in
the other? “Lorraine!” your father calls
again. You would’ve taught the guy

another use for that wrench. Your
mother carries a plate, a cup of water.
“Here I am,” she sings, entering
the bedroom. Last month someone
stole the bell from your handlebars.

Your mother cuts a muffin in half.
Maybe I should buy a bell, too, you think.
Last year, when your father could
still walk, they took the whole bike.
“Try to eat it all,” your mother says,

tucking a napkin under his chin.
You wait for the light to change
at First Avenue. What next? Exhaust
from a passing bus, roasted cashews.
“This muffin tastes like dirt,” your father

says. He takes another bite.
The bike-shop bag goes scrish-scrish
against your leg as you head home,
slipping into Sloan’s for extra-sharp
cheddar and a six-pack of Corona.

Your father’s hand trembles, reaching
for the water glass. All morning
he watched a show about polar bears,
then switched to the Weather Channel.
A woman at the supermarket insists

to the cashier, “These aren’t the Concord
grapes. These grapes are organic.” “Polar
bears eat penguins!” your father says.
Your mother is in the den. She holds
a book, but really she is napping. Now

the woman with the grapes is in a tizzy:
her necklace has burst; it’s raining silver
charms. “It’s raining in Denver,”
your father says. You scan the floor
for small, shiny objects. “It’s twenty-five

in New York,” says your father. Your
mother is in the kitchen, counting pills.
Here’s something strange: a stone trinket,
an evil eye. You fear the woman might
hug you as you hand it over. “Lorraine,”

your father says, “I’m too tired to play my
flute.” You wonder if it was bad luck to touch
that thing. “Do you know the Hebrew word
for ‘good deed’?” asks the woman. Your
father’s face is angelic in the tv light.

Meg Kearney

Sun Yuan and Peng Yu's oldmen in wheelchairs. Saatchi Gallery 2009 :flickr

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Everything I Possess, I Carry with Me"

Romanian-born German writer Herta Mueller.
Nobel Prize: Herta Mueller ''with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed."

In Romanian, “snowdrops” are “little tears”, in German they are “maiglockhen”, that is “little May bells”, which means we’re not only speaking about different words, but about different worlds. Romanians see a falling star and say that someone has died, with the Germans you make a wish when you see the falling star.

For her collage texts, Herta Muller created a special table for herself and arranged a whole library, ordered alphabetically. The collage very much resembles life, Herta Muller says, as the random plays a crucial role in this respect. You’re looking for a word and come across another, which all of a sudden seems more appropriate, more appealing. Then you paste them on cardboard and the poem is ready, you cannot change anything. That is what Herta Muller likes best about the collage: once made you cannot change any of it, and that’s what brings the collage as close to life as possible. You cannot bring back the past, you cannot wipe away the poem just as you can with an ordinary poem.

Herta Mueller

Friday, October 2, 2009

When you are old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

W.B. Yeats

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the shape of your path

Scrooge by ilina s."Every moment in your life is a turning and every one a choosing. Somewhere you made a choice. All followed to this. The accounting is scrupulous. The shape is drawn. No line can be erased. I had no belief in your ability to move a coin to your bidding. How could you? A person's path through the world seldom changes and even more seldom will it change abruptly. And the shape of your path was visible from the beginning."
Cormac McCarthy

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Hitler on Obama addressing school children. Brilliant.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The truth about the world

Spot News: 1st prize singles by│zhang..
"The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a muddied field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning.

The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other part. Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man's mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others."
Cormac McCarthy


Monday, September 21, 2009


What have I been searching for but

A love to transform me

The voice inside would cry

Look here, the love you seek will not free you

I continue the vigil

Waiting to be saved

By someone else you say

Slowly, quietly I have learned to honor her

And then quite simply one day

You were there.

K. Pilapovich

:the drifter and the gypsy

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The waning of summer...

The lunatic, the lover, and the poet/Are of imagination all compact.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 5. 1

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 5. 1

: A Midsummer's Night Sex Comedy
: unruly things, via the unicorn diaries conceived in Russia.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What the doctor ordered


Taking a poetry break:

"Canada's national health insurance program, often referred to as "Medicare", is designed to ensure that all residents have reasonable access to medically necessary hospital and physician services, on a prepaid basis. Instead of having a single national plan, we have a national program that is composed of 13 interlocking provincial and territorial health insurance plans, all of which share certain common features and basic standards of coverage. Framed by the Canada Health Act, the principles governing our health care system are symbols of the underlying Canadian values of equity and solidarity.

Canada's health care system has its share of problems, (long wait times, doctor shortages), but if Canada's governing party decided to scrap the Canadian Health Act and go with the American system, I would bet that not one member of parliament would be re-elected.

Medical debt is the principal cause of bankruptcy in the United States. Give Obama a break - he's just what the doctor ordered."

From a Canadian: The Clever Pup

Bright Star

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art---
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors---
No---yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever---or else swoon in death.

1819 John Keats

Monday, September 14, 2009

a moveable feast

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

Ernest Hemingway
: flickr

Sunday, September 13, 2009


"The events of our lives happen in sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order, a timetable not necessarily--perhaps not possibly--chronological. The time we know subjectively is often the chronology that stories follow: it is the continuous thread of revelation."
Eudora Welty


Friday, September 11, 2009

Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow

as if it were a scene made-up by the mind,
that is not mine, but is a made place,

that is mine, it is so near to the heart,
an eternal pasture folded in all thought
so that there is a hall therein

that is a made place, created by light
wherefrom the shadows that are forms fall.

Wherefrom fall all architectures I am
I say are likenesses of the First Beloved
whose flowers are flames lit to the Lady.

She it is Queen Under The Hill
whose hosts are a disturbance of words within words
that is a field folded.

It is only a dream of the grass blowing
east against the source of the sun
in an hour before the sun’s going down

whose secret we see in a children’s game
of ring a round of roses told.

Often I am permitted to return to a meadow
as if it were a given property of the mind
that certain bounds hold against chaos,

that is a place of first permission,
everlasting omen of what is.

Robert Duncan


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Just to let you know...your lovely comments are encouraging and appreciated! Thank you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to school

“At the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – none of that is an excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude.’’
President Obama

:New York Times



These are my words

Still filled with longing

Yet no longer fueled by passion

These are my words

Hard and cruel to silence your lies

You the fair haired boy

I the dark maiden

These are my words

Strong the spell now broken

When I listen to yours

There is only the occasional dream

A shadow song

A field on a summer day

And the passing of time

K. Pilapovich

:image here

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Labor Day

It is funny how the occasion imperceptibly changes, like the light, at an inconstant rate. At any given glance you may see that the dog has rolled over in his sleep, or the trees have lost their leaves. Morning drains inexpressibly into lunchtime, or Christmastime. Overhead the geese are migrating, just as they were the last time you looked. You wash the dishes, turn around, and it is summer again, or some other time, or time to go.

Teaching a Stone to Talk,
Annie Dillard
: weheartit

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The weight of the world Is love

"The weight of the world
Is love
Under the burden
Of solitude
Under the burden
Of dissatisfaction

The weight
The weight we carry
Is love.

Who can deny?
In dreams
It touches
The body,
In thought
A miracle,
Its imagination
Till born
In human
Looks out of the heart
Burning with purity--
For the burden of life
Is love."

from Song~Allan Ginsberg

: loveology

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Almost Out of the Sky

Almost out of the sky, half of the moon
anchors between two mountains.
Turning, wandering night, the digger of eyes.
Let's see how many stars are smashed in the pool.

It makes a cross of mourning between my eyes, and runs away.
Forge of blue metals, nights of stilled combats,
my heart revolves like a crazy wheel.
Girl who have come from so far, been brought from so far,
sometimes your glance flashes out under the sky.
Rumbling, storm, cyclone of fury,
you cross above my heart without stopping.
Wind from the tombs carries off, wrecks, scatters your sleepy root.

The big trees on the other side of her, unprooted.
But you, cloudless girl, question of smoke, corn tassel.
You were what the wind was making with illuminated leaves.
Behind the nocturnal mountains, white lily of conflagration,
ah, I can say nothing! You were made of everything.

Longing that sliced my breast into pieces,
it is time to take another road, on which she does not smile.

Storm that buries the bells, muddy swirl of torments,
why touch her now, why make her sad.

Oh to follow the road that leads away from everything,
without anguish, death, winter waiting along it
with their eyes open through the dew.

Pablo Neruda

Age of Innocence

"It's more real to me here than if I went up," he suddenly heard himself say; and the fear lest that last shadow of reality should lose its edge kept him rooted to his seat as the minutes succeeded each other.

He sat for a long time on the bench in the thickening dusk, his eyes never turning from the balcony. At length a light shone through the windows, and a moment later a man-servant came out on the balcony, drew up the awnings, and closed the shutters.

At that, as if it had been the signal he waited for, Newland Archer got up slowly and walked back alone to his hotel.

Edith Wharton

image: the drifter and the gypsy

Friday, August 28, 2009


my mother (on the left) and aunt (via naomi rose)

I cannot remember loving you

Certainly the events

But never the feelings

They pass through my mind now as a question

What is true

How did I let this happen

Is youth really an excuse

The memory of you has faded

How could I have accepted so little

I blame myself

You were only a willing participant of a made up love

In a mind, fanciful and full of longing

It was settled long ago

And what remains is history and regret.

K. Pilapovich

K. Pilapovich is an unpublished Ukranian artist/poet. All poetry is translated from Ukranian. Secret, fragile skies is happy to introduce her work to our readers.

Photo: here

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Look
Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Strephon's kiss was lost in jest,
Robin's lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin's eyes
Haunts me night and day.
Sara Teasdale
: Chanel

Goodbye,Teddy. You will be missed.

Edward Kennedy

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

:from Funeral Blues, WH Auden

As tempted more; more able to endure,
As more exposed to suffering and distress;
Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.


read President Obama's eulogy for Edward M. Kennedy, 8.29.09 here
image:New York Times

Girl with suitcase

Here I came to the very edge
where nothing at all needs saying,
everything is absorbed through weather and the sea,
and the moon swam back,
its rays all silvered,
and time and again the darkness would be broken
by the crash of a wave,
and every day on the balcony of the sea,
wings open, fire is born,
and everything is blue again like morning

Pablo Neruda, It is Born (trans. by Joel Gallo)

: 8.28.09 even cleveland
via: flickr

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Stand Here Ironing

And when is there time to remember, to sift, to weigh, to estimate, to total? I will start and there will be an interruption and I will have to gather it all together again. Or I will be engulfed with all I did or did not do, with what should have been and what cannot be helped...

Let her be. So all that is in her will not bloom - but in how many does it? There is still enough left to live by. Only help her to know - help make it so there is cause for her to know - that she is more than this dress on the ironing board, helpless before the iron.

I Stand Here Ironing, Tillie Olsen
via: flickr

Sunday, August 23, 2009


random quotes:
John Reed: Profits.

John Reed
: All right, Miss Bryant, do you want an interview? Write this down. Are you naïve enough to think containing German militarism has anything to do with this war? Don't you understand that England and France own the world economy and Germany just wants a piece of it? Keep writing, Miss Bryant. Miss Bryant, can't you grasp that J. P. Morgan has loaned England and France a billion dollars? And if Germany wins, he won't get it back! More coffee? America'd be entering the war to protect J. P. Morgan's money. If he loses, we'll have a depression. So the real question is, why do we have an economy where the poor have to pay so the rich won't lose money?
via: REDS

Friday, August 21, 2009

Love In The Asylum
A stranger has come

To share my room in the house not right in the head,

A girl mad as birds

Bolting the night of the door with her arm her plume.

Strait in the mazed bed

She deludes the heaven-proof house with entering clouds

Yet she deludes with walking the nightmarish room,

At large as the dead,

Or rides the imagined oceans of the male wards.

She has come possessed

Who admits the delusive light through the bouncing wall,

Possessed by the skies

She sleeps in the narrow trough yet she walks the dust

Yet raves at her will

On the madhouse boards worn thin by my walking tears.

And taken by light in her arms at long and dear last

I may without fail

Suffer the first vision that set fire to the stars.

Dylan Thomas

photo via: The Edge of Love

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Amor Fati

The stars foretold your coming and so I waited

Looking for auspicious signs of your arrival

But are the Fates playing with me?

Laughing, laughing

Silly, mortal woman to believe in love and fairy tales

And happily ever after

The secret ingredient tossed in on a whim

A chance meeting, the missed train, a look

The simple bits and pieces of alchemy that is the magic

They have grown tired of their folly

And cast only the occasional glance my way

As I search in vain for what is lost and never known.

K. Pilapovich

A Very Long Engagement

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


© All rights reserved.

A man looking out of an open window never sees as much as the same man looking directly at a closed window. There is no object more deeply mysterious, no object more pregnant with suggestion, more insidiously sinister, in short more truly dazzling than a window lit up from within by even a single candle. What we can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what we can perceive taking place behind a pane of windowglass. In that pit, in that blackness or brightness, life is being lived, life is suffering, life is dreaming....

Above the wave-crests of the rooftops across the way I can see a middle-aged woman, face already wrinkled--a poor woman forever bending over something, who never seems to leave her room. From just her face and her dress, from practically nothing at all, I've re-created this woman's story, or rather her legend; and sometimes I weep while reciting it to myself.

Some poor old man would have sufficed just as well; I could with equal ease have invented a legend for him, too.
And so I go to bed with a certain pride, having lived and suffered for others than myself.
Of course, you may confront me with: "But are you sure your story is really the true and right one?" But what does it really matter what the reality outside myself is, as long as it has helped me to live, to feel that I am alive, to feel the very nature of the creature that I am.

Charles Baudelaire

via: rachmaninoff at flickr

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

If I Could Tell You

Time will say nothing but I told you so,
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reasons why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Suppose the lions all get up and go,
And all the brooks and soldiers run away;
Will Time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know.

W.H. Auden

via: flickr

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monet Refuses the Operation

Doctor, you say that there are no halos
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don't know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and changes our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

Lisel Mueller



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Wednesday, August 12, 2009



hope begins in the dark
hope begins in the dark,

the stubborn hope
that if you just show up
and try to do the right thing,
the dawn will come.
you wait and watch and work:
you don't give up.
- anne lamott
quote: swoond
photo: selvedge shop

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

" the present we are always escaping from and falling back into, ... the waterwheel of days..."

Mere forgetfulness cannot remove it
Nor wishing bring it back, as long as it remains
The white precipitate of its dream
In the climate of sighs flung across our world,
A cloth over a birdcage. But it is certain that
What is beautiful seems so only in relation to a specific
Life, experienced or not, channeled into some form
Steeped in the nostalgia of a collective past.

"Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror," John Ashbery

via: tumblr