The Hollow Men

:::this is the way the world ends:::

Category: Poetry (page 1 of 2)

This Hit Me of Late

One_More_Step,_Mr__Hands

In the Attic by Seamus Heaney

1.

Like Jim Hawkins aloft in the crosstrees

Of Hispaniola, nothing underneath him

But still green water and clean bottom sand,

The ship aground, the canted mast far out

Above a seafloor where striped fish pass in shoals—

And when they’ve passed, the face of Israel Hands

That rose in the shrouds before Jim shot him dead

Appears to rise again . . . “But he was dead enough,”

The story says, “being both shot and drowned.”

2.

A birch tree planted twenty years ago

Comes between the Irish Sea and me

At the attic skylight, a man marooned

In his own loft, a boy

Shipshaped in the crow’s nest of a life,

Airbrushed to and fro, wind-drunk, braced

By all that’s thrumming up from keel to masthead,

Rubbing his eyes to believe them and this most

Buoyant, billowy, topgallant birch.

3.

Ghost-footing what was then the terra firma

Of hallway linoleum, Grandfather now appears

Above me just back from the matinée,

His voice awaver like the draft-prone screen

They’d set up in the Club Rooms earlier.

“And Isaac Hands,” he asks, “was Isaac in it?”

His memory of the name awaver, too,

His mistake perpetual, once and for all,

Like the single splash when Israel’s body fell.

4.

As I age and blank on names,

As my uncertainty on stairs

Is more and more the light-headedness

Of a cabin boy’s first time on the rigging,

As the memorable bottoms out

Into the irretrievable,

It’s not that I can’t imagine still

That slight untoward rupture and world-tilt

As a wind freshened and the anchor weighed.

Just Because I Love It

I have desired to go
Where springs not fail,
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
And a few lilies blow.
And I have asked to be
Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
And out of the swing of the sea.

244-IR-Vortex.jpg

Poetry and Parenthood

As the sun was setting outside our hospital room and the four of us were sharing a moment of contentedness I had a moment to look up some relevant poetry on my Poetry.org app (which I highly recommend if your the app using type). I read them aloud but it was hard to get through them without getting misty.

THIS MORNING IN A MORNING VOICE

By Todd Boss

to beat the froggiest
of morning voices,
my son gets out of bed
and takes a lumpish song
along—a little lyric
learned in kindergarten,
something about a
boat. He’s found it in
the bog of his throat
before his feet have hit
the ground, follows
its wonky melody down
the hall and into the loo
as if it were the most
natural thing for a little
boy to do, and lets it
loose awhile in there
to a tinkling sound while
I lie still in bed, alive
like I’ve never been, in
love again with life,
afraid they’ll find me
drowned here, drowned
in more than my fair
share of joy.

FOR MY DAUGHTER

By Antonella Anedda

I love her fierceness when she fights me,
shouting “Not fair!” Her eyes slitting
like shutters in cities by the sea.
Her life is rife with bonfires—seen and unseen—
fires that burn through the turning years
bringing her to life again, and again, in a miracle of smoke.
This heat gives her a sense of forgiveness—or so I imagine—
she kisses my back, capriciously, when I scold her.
Maybe she recalls the scalpel by which she was born.
Easy, the mark of its slash in my skin.
She rose from my belly as I slept. We’re bound together
by peace, no shrieks of pain, and my modesty.
We’re a canvas by Giovanni Bellini: a virgin and a sweet rabbit.

— Translated by Sarah Arvio

The Annals Say

VIII
The annals say: when the monks of Clonmacnoise
Were all at prayers inside the oratory
A ship appeared above them in the air.
The anchor dragged along behind so deep
It hooked itself into the altar rails
And then, as the big hull rocked to a standstill,
A crewman shinned and grappled down the rope
And struggled to release it. But in vain.
‘This man can’t bear our life here and will drown,’
The abbot said, ‘unless we help him.’ So
They did, the freed ship sailed, and the man climbed back
Out of the marvellous as he had known it.

 

Seamus Heany – From Lightenings

 

Summer 2010 WI Church 001

Romantic Moment

Femail Crocodile

As it happens, the audio poem of the day at poetryfoundation.org is by Tony Hoagland.

Romantic

Poetry

Remember the Hollow Men shared poetry with one another? Why did we stop?

Here’s one I clipped from the New Yorker and tacked to the studio wall a while ago.

StanleyMoss-Peace

Poetry Post: Burning Stubble

It’s been some time since the last poetry post. In the spirit of Ned sharing his excellent paintings, I thought I would share a recent poem of mine.

BURNING STUBBLE

There are many ways to become
unexceptional. A field

a field a field a road a field a field
on fire. And you in a car

sightseeing where once you lived,
someone’s idea of hell, but isn’t

everywhere someone’s idea of hell,
also as the earth is

the kingdom of God. So Jesus says
in books they banished from

the bible. Because if this were heaven,
would the men come to

march a line of fire through it, across
the fields where you are still

the child who stood those men bringing
the flames close so you could

see the mice running out of them?
Then your father watching

closed his hand on you and said
They won’t burn our house

down. In the morning, the house was
white with blown ash,

in a circle outside of which everything
was black, brought down

and still smoldering. You were untouched,
and it must have been then,

careful not to step beyond the unfired
earth, that you decided

you would live your life this way.

John Estes has a book of poetry out.

We got a post card from Finishing Line Press (www.finishinglinepress.com) that announced the publication of John Estes’ (Jennifer’s husband) first book of poetry. You can find it in the new releases section on the website. I’d be interested to hear what you know about the press, Shotts. I’m going to order a copy. I’d also appreciate it if anyone has the Estes’ new email address to send it to me, or post it here, protected I suppose. Sara had tried to contact them recently but failed to get ahold of them because of their address change. John teaches at Columbia in MO so I suppose we could find him there. His book is called “Breakfast with Blake at the Laocoon. Perhaps the rest of you got the card as well.

YouTube Friday — The Hollow Men

So here I am at the McPherson Public Library buzzing on coffee from the Main St. Deli.  Now seems like an appropriate time to post Marlon Brando reading “The Hollow Men.” Enjoy if you dare.

Spring Poetry Post

Before National Poetry Month wanes entirely, here is another spring poem. This one is by D.A. Powell, author of Tea, Lunch, and Cocktails.

sprig of lilac

—for Haines Eason

in a week you could watch me crumble to smut: spent hues
spent perfumes. dust upon the lapel where a moment I rested

yes, the moths have visited and deposited their velvet egg mass
the gnats were here: they smelled the wilt and blight. they salivated

in the folds of my garments: you could practically taste the rot

look at the pluck you’ve made of my heart: it broke open in your hands
oddments of ravished leaves: blossom blast and dieback: petals drooping

we kissed briefly in the deathless spring. the koi pond hummed with flies

unbutton me now from your grasp. no, hold tighter, let me disappear
into your nostrils, into your skin, a powdery smudge against your rough cheek

Poetry Post

It IS National Poetry Month, so I shouldn’t let it get away without a current Poetry Post. This one from fellow Kansan Albert Goldbarth, who teaches at Wichita State University and who is the only poet to have twice won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. This poem is from the “new” section in his recently published (by Graywolf, no less) The Kitchen Sink: New and Selected Poems 1972-2007. Enjoy. And happy National Poetry Month to you.

Human Beauty

If you write a poem about love …
the love is a bird,

the poem is an origami bird.
If you write a poem about death …

the death is a terrible fire,
the poem is an offering of paper cutout flames

you feed to the fire.
We can see, in these, the space between

our gestures and the power they address
—an insufficiency. And yet a kind of beauty,

a distinctly human beauty. When a winter storm
from out of nowhere hit New York one night

in 1892, the crew at a theater was caught
unloading props: a box

of paper snow for the Christmas scene got dropped
and broken open, and that flash of white

confetti was lost
inside what it was a praise of.

Spring (and All) Poetry Post

A necessary poem from William Carlos Williams for our first weekend of spring.

–Shotts

Spring and All

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast-a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines–

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches–

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind–

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined–
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance–Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken

Saint Patrick’s Poetry Post

 200px_Irish_clover.jpg

Two poems for you this Saint Patrick’s Day weekend. The first from Seamus Heaney, his ars poetica. The second from Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, about her decision to write in the Irish language, followed by an English translation by Paul Muldoon.

Slainte!

–Shotts

Personal Helicon

for Michael Longley

As a child, they could not keep me from wells
And old pumps with buckets and windlasses.
I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells
Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss.

One, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top.
I savoured the rich crash when a bucket
Plummeted down at the end of a rope.
So deep you saw no reflection in it.

A shallow one under a dry stone ditch
Fructified like any aquarium.
When you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch
A white face hovered over the bottom.

Others had echoes, gave back your own call
With a clean new music in it. And one
Was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall
Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection.

Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime,
To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring
Is beneath all adult dignity. I rhyme
To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.

–Seamus Heaney

Continue reading

Poetry Post

Here’s a brief poem by one of my teachers, Mary Jo Bang. –Shotts

The Cruel Wheel Turns Twice

And tightens until language can’t bear this
Hollowing, crash cart, Please. In the silence,
A bus slithers by

A din. The aluminium morning moves like a train,
A metal rod
Exiting a tunnel, dropped in a gate groove.

Disappointment. And again The End gate
Opens and it’s, Please
Come back. Please Be. Then nothing. Only end-

Less night taking off from the tarmac black.
The potpie clock, its stock of twelve numbers,
A stew for the weak and the weary.

The small war of the heart made bigger
By far in the world.
And daylight a gift.

Small cog after cog slips into the hour
And razor thin minute slot without stop.
And daylight a gift tied with some tinsel.

A Valentine

Here’s a poetry post for Valentine’s Day. I recommend this one to give or read to your respective loves. Sadly, my beloved is in India for work, so we’re celebrating, as we can, from afar. I’ll be somewhere with a Guinness, remembering Galway…

Here’s to all of you and yours. –Shotts

Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda, translated by Stephen Mitchell

I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don’t know any other way of loving
but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

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