Why this?

The occasional poem of my own and a generous helping of work by others that I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

And here are the readings we included :)

Habitation
Margaret Atwood

Marriage is not
a house, or even a tent

It is before that, and colder:

the edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back, where we squat
outdoors, eating popcorn
where painfully and with wonder
at having survived
this far

we are learning to make fire.

--

Our Masterpiece Is the Private Life
Mark Strand

For Jules

I

Is there something down by the water keeping itself from us,
Some shy event, some secret of the light that falls upon the deep,
Some source of sorrow that does not wish to be discovered yet?

Why should we care? Doesn’t desire cast its
rainbows over the coarse porcelain
Of the world’s skin and with its measures fill the
air? Why look for more?

II

And now, while the advocates of awfulness and sorrow
Push their dripping barge up and down the beach, let’s eat
Our brill, and sip this beautiful white Beaune.

True, the light is artificial, and we are not well-dressed.
So what. We like it here. We like the bullocks in the field next door,
We like the sound of wind passing over grass. The way you speak,

In that low voice, our late night disclosures... why live
For anything else? Our masterpiece is the private life.

III

Standing on the quay between the Roving Swan and the Star Immaculate,
Breathing the night air as the moment of pleasure taken
In pleasure vanishing seems to grow, its self-soiling

Beauty, which can only be what it was, sustaining itself
A little longer in its going, I think of our own smooth passage
Through the graded partitions, the crises that bleed

Into the ordinary, leaving us a little more tired each time,
A little more distant from the experiences, which, in the old days,
Held us captive for hours. The drive along the winding road

Back to the house, the sea pounding against the cliffs,
The glass of whiskey on the table, the open book, the questions,
All the day’s rewards waiting at the doors of sleep...

--

Love Songs in Late May
Ursula K. Le Guin

May 23

I have seen material light. It whirled
in beauty, entering and leaving
one of the caves of the sun.
The sun-cave brightens going in, hottens,
could consume the maker's hand
like a feather, leave a whiff of ash.
I watched the maker's delicate long hands
quick turning, smoothing, soothing
incandescence, watched her breathe
into the molten mass and saw
her breath turn into light.
Colors took place in air, and were.
She cut the new thing free and let it rest,
and shut the doors of the amazing cave
where salt dunes turn transparent
to see the sun through.
This love song is to the breath of the maker
and the hands of the maker of light.

--

O my Lord! O my Lord! These two bright orbs are wedded in Thy love, conjoined in servitude to Thy Holy Threshold, united in ministering to thy Cause. Make Thou this marriage to be as threading lights of Thine abounding grace, O my Lord, the All-Merciful, and luminous rays of Thy bestowals, O Thou the Beneficent, the Ever-Giving, that there may branch out from this great tree boughs that will grow green and flourishing through the gifts that rain down from Thy clouds of grace.

Verily, Thou art the Generous. Verily, Thou art the Compassionate, the All-Merciful. --‘Abdu’l-Bahá

--

"Our world is suffused with beauty. There are landscapes, oceans, paintings, and music whose beauty awakens in our hearts a sense of the eternal. Yet nowhere do we feel so deeply encountered as we do in the presence of another human being. There is something in another human presence that is equal to our longing and soul. The human heart is a theater of longing. One of our deepest longings is to find love and friendship. In the Celtic tradition there was the beautiful notion of the Anam-Cara. Anam is the Irish word for 'soul' and Cara is the word for 'friend.' In the Anam-Cara friendship, you were joined in an ancient way with the friend of your soul. This was a bond that neither space nor time could damage. The friendship awakened an eternal echo in the hearts of the friends; they entered into a circle of intimate belonging with each other. The Anam-Cara friendship afforded a spiritual space to all the other longings of the human heart." --John O'Donohue

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