Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2017

poem is on barstool in foreground

 

Things

by Fleur Adcock

There are worse things than having behaved foolishly in public.
There are worse things than these miniature betrayals,
committed or endured or suspected; there are worse things
than not being able to sleep for thinking about them.
It is 5 a.m. All the worse things come stalking in
and stand icily about the bed looking worse and worse and worse.

 

 

Just a reminder of a few Things before the start of the holiday weekend so you won’t have Worse Things to deal with come Monday (or Wednesday if you’ve got a long break).

Poet Fleur Adcock was born in 1934 in Auckland, New Zealand, but spent World War II in England. She moved back to New Zealand to attend university, and then made her career as a librarian in London before turning to writing and translating full-time.

 

Although this poem falls under “light verse,” her other work does not, and she has won many awards, among them the very grand-sounding “Queen’s Medal for Poetry.”

 

For a droll profile of this very English poet, link here.

 

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Read Full Post »

poem is on vault door

 

The Door

by Franz Wright

 

Going to enter the aged horizontal cellar door

 

(the threshing leaves, the greenish light

of the approaching storm)

 

you suddenly notice you’re opening the cover of an

enormous book.

 

One that’s twice as big as you are—

 

but you know all about that:

 

the groping descent alone in total darkness,

 

toward—what?

 

You know what you’re looking for, and you forget, and

maybe you have no idea

 

yet. But you know something is down there, and a

light you need to find

 

before you can even begin to search . . .

 

I had lunch with my daughter in Detroit the other day, and she took me on a tour of the building where she’s interning, the historic Chrysler House. The highlight of the tour was the basement offices of dPop, a commercial interior design firm whose work is—

 

I have a few photos to share of their passionate, thoughtful, provocative workspace (truly, it is), but first a thought on why I put Franz Wright’s poem on the door to an underground vault. Inside the vault is dPop’s conference room, presumably where lots of creative work takes place. And Wright’s poem captures the creative process so well:

 

You know what you’re looking for, and you forget, and

maybe you have no idea

 

yet. But you know something is down there

 

Here’s the interior of the vault. Only a few of the safe deposit boxes have been opened.

 

Notice the hat and glasses of the Invisible Man in the corner.

 

Another conference room, this one bright as a movie space station.

 

A workhorse, I guess–

 

Those are soldiers, ghostly on the wall.

 

For another poem of Wright’s and a short biography, link here.

 

 

Read Full Post »

At a rest stop somewhere along the Ohio Turnpike:

poem rests on travel brochures, center of the picture

 

Vacation

by Wendell Berry

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch, there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.
Poet Wendell Berry (b. 1934) is an interesting fellow and prolific writer. Link here for more details. The short version:  he’s a poet, novelist, essayist, environmental activist but not wholly a traditional one, and full-time farmer. He was friends with fellow Kentuckian Thomas Merton, the famous monk who wrote Seven Story Mountain. 

Read Full Post »

This is a picture of the jam jars in my pantry. I count thirteen and that doesn’t include the outpost colony of orange marmalade and apricot preserves that live in the back of my refrigerator.

 

The jars have sat unused for at least a year, some much longer. If it were up to my husband they’d be tossed, but anytime he comes near what he calls my “hoarding”–- a term that includes the jellies but also my soup cans, bags of dried beans, sewing notions, cleaning fluids, beauty products, boxes of stationery and assorted office supplies—I body-block him and shout about wastefulness. We sure have a lot of fun cleaning together.

 

Therefore in the interests of marital harmony and shelf space not to mention expiration dates, my summer and fall goal—let’s extend it winter too (wild ambition is not one of my faults)—is to use up all the jam. Jam on chicken, jam on pork, jam on toast for gluten-loving visitors. Then I’m going to cook up the beans, send out lots of letters, slather myself in all manner of lotions and ointments, and use use use all my unused things until I’ve achieved a Marie Kondo life-changing tidiness.

 

Yeah. Well. We shall see. I might just settle for tidyish.

 

But there’s one collection I know I can get through and that is my stash of “unused” poems. Over the seven years I’ve been writing this blog I’ve collected a lot, and I know I won’t use most of them. Some poems are by poets I’ve featured too many times, some I don’t much remember why I liked in the first place, and some demand more time than I’m willing to take away from my other writing projects.

 

I hereby resolve to post poems several times a week until my Poem Elf folder is empty. It’s going to be simple. Photos and a caption. I’m not going to write commentary, and I may or may not include a short biography of the poet. Whatever prevents me from putting poems out in the world and posting them on this blog will be eliminated.

 

Project Tidy-Up starts this week. Also posted on Twitter.

 

 

Read Full Post »