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The painting at the top of this post by Hermann Orduña was discussed in this recent post by TITM: The Argument
Does poetry still matter in this era of social media where the attention span has shrunk to practically zero? At Think in the Morning we think it does. This is our 14th page of poems combined with napkin art. We hope you take the time to enjoy them all. We think it is more important than ever to take a little time out of your busy day to think longer, deeper, and to ponder the difficulties life throws at us. The last poem on this page, The Snowfall is so Silent by Miguel de Unamuno, is one of the most meaningful to us as TITM. Let us know what you think.
The Shenevertakesherwatchoff Poem
Because you always have a clock
strapped to your body, it’s natural
that I should think of you as the
with your long blonde hair at 8:03,
and your pulse-lightning breasts at
11:17, and your rose-meow smile at 5:30,
I know I’m right.
A Contribution to Statistics
Out of a hundred people
Those who always know better
doubting every step
–nearly all the rest,
glad to lend a hand
if it doesn’t take too long
–as high as forty-nine,
because they can’t be otherwise
–four, well maybe five,
able to admire without envy
induced by fleeting youth
–sixty, give or take a few,
not bo be taken lightly
–forty and four,
living in constant fear
of someone or something
capable of happiness
savage in crowds
–half at least,
when forced by circumstances
–better not to know
even ballpark figures,
wise after the fat
–just a couple more
than wise before it,
taking only things from life
(I wish I were wrong),
hunched in pain,
no flashlight in the dark
sooner or later,
–thirty-five, which is a lot,
worthy of compassion
–a hundred out of a hundred.
Thus far this figure still remains unchanged.
Hemingway feels it from the grave
every time the bulls run through the
he sits up
the skeleton rattles
the skull wants a drink
the eyeholes want sunlight
the young bulls are beautiful
and you were
what they say
“Let others pride themselves about how many pages they have written; I’d rather boast about the ones I’ve read.” Jorge Luis Borges
I dreamed that I floated at will in the great Ether, and I saw this world floating also not far off, but diminished to the size of an apple. Then an angel took it in his hand and brought it to me and said, “This must thou eat.” And I ate the world. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Lost in the Forest
Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:
maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,
a cracked bell, or a torn heart.
Something from far off it seemed
deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,
a shout muffled by huge autumns,
by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves.
Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind
as if suddenly the roots I had left behind
cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood—
and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.
i woke up thinking the work was done
i would not have to practice today
gone were the moments i’d
split into tears because my past cracked open
how naive. to think it was that easy.
healing has no end point
no finish line to cross
healing is every day work
the act of dedicating the self to
what happened to me
“For a lot of people writing is an agony; it’s a part of what we do as scholars that they least enjoy. For me writing is a complete and total joy, and if I’m not writing I’m miserable. I have always written a lot. For years, before I wrote for The New Yorker, I wrote an op-ed every day as practice and shoved it in a drawer. It’s not about being published, it’s about the desire to constantly be writing. It’s such a strongly felt need that if it was something socially maladaptive it would be considered a vice.” Jill Lepore
Your hand is heavy, Night, upon my brow.
I bear no heart mercuric like the clouds,
Exacerbation from your subtle plough.
Woman as a clam, on the sea’s cresent.
I saw your jealous eye quench the sea’s
Flouorescence, dance on the pulse incessant
Of the waves. And I stood, drained
Submitting like the sands, blood and brine
Coursing to the roots. Night, you rained
Serrated shadows through dank leaves
Till, bathed in warm suffusion of your dappled cells
Sensations pained me, faceless, silent as night thieves.
Hide me now, when night children haunt the earth
I must hear none! These misted cells will yet
Undo me; naked, unbidden, at Night’s muted birth.
“A poem, as a manifestation of language and thus essentially dialogue, can be a message in a bottle, sent out in the—not always greatly hopeful—belief that somewhere and sometime it could wash up on land, on heartland perhaps. Poems in this sense, too, are under way: they are making toward something.” Paul Celan
her grandmother called her from the playground
“i want chu to learn how to make rolls” said the old
but the little girl didn’t want
to learn how because she knew
even if she couldn’t say it that
that would mean when the old one died she would be less
dependent on her spirit so
“i don’t want to know how to make no rolls”
with her lips poked out
and the old woman wiped her hands on
her apron saying “lord
and neither of them ever
said what they meant
and i guess nobody ever does
What is the most precious, the most exciting smell awaiting you in the house when you return to it after a dozen years or so? The smell of roses, you think? No, mouldering books. Andrei Sinyavsky
The infinite yawns and keeps yawning.
Is it sleepy?
Does it miss Pythagoras?
The sails on Columbus’s three ships?
Does the sound of the surf remind it of itself?
Does it ever sit over a glass of wine
I live to the rhythm of my country and I cannot remain on the sidelines. I want to be here. I want to be part of it. I want to be a witness. I want to walk arm in arm with it. I want to hear it more and more, to cradle it, to carry it like a medal on my chest. Activism is a constant element in my life, even though afterwards I anguish over not having written ‘my own things.’ Testimonial literature provides evidence of events that people would like to hide, denounces and therefore is political and part of a country in which everything remains to be done and documented. Elena Poniatowski
The Snowfall Is So Silent
Miguel de Unamuno
The snowfall is so silent,
bit by bit, with delicacy
it settles down on the earth
and covers over the fields.
The silent snow comes down
white and weightless;
snowfall makes no noise,
falls as forgetting falls,
flake after flake.
It covers the fields gently
while frost attacks them
with its sudden flashes of white;
covers everything with its pure
and silent covering;
not one thing on the ground
anywhere escapes it.
And wherever it falls it stays,
content and gay,
for snow does not slip off
as rain does,
but it stays and sinks in.
The flakes are skyflowers,
pale lilies from the clouds,
that wither on earth.
They come down blossoming
but then so quickly
they are gone;
they bloom only on the peak,
above the mountains,
and make the earth feel heavier
when they die inside.
Snow, delicate snow,
that falls with such lightness
on the head,
on the feelings,
come and cover over the sadness
that lies always in my reason.
Thank you for the Bukowski, one of his gentler ones.
Yep, but relevant if you like Hemingway. I have Bukowski’s book Septuagenarian Stew.