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.
In your next letter I wish you'd say where you are going and what you are doing; how are the plays, and after the plays what other pleasures you're pursuing: taking cabs in the middle of the night, driving as if to save your soul where the road goes round and round the park and the meter glares like a moral owl, and the trees look so queer and green standing alone in big black caves and suddenly you're in a different place where everything seems to happen in waves, and most of the jokes you just can't catch, like dirty words rubbed off a slate, and the songs are loud but somehow dim and it gets so terribly late, and coming out of the brownstone house to the gray sidewalk, the watered street, one side of the buildings rises with the sun like a glistening field of wheat. —Wheat, not oats, dear. I'm afraid if it's wheat it's none of your sowing, nevertheless I'd like to know what you are doing and where you are going. —Elizabeth Bishop
Cell by cell the baby made herself, the cells Made cells. That is to say The baby is made largely of milk. Lying in her father's arms, the little seed eyes Moving, trying to see, smiling for us To see, she will make a household To her need of these rooms--Sara, little seed, Little violent, diligent seed. Come let us look at the world Glittering: this seed will speak, Max, words! There will be no other words in the world But those our children speak. What will she make of a world Do you suppose, Max, of which she is made. --George Oppen
Perhaps the purpose of leaves is to conceal the verticality of trees which we notice in December as if for the first time: row after row of dark forms yearning upwards. And since we will be horizontal ourselves for so long, let us now honor the gods of the vertical: stalks of wheat which to the ant must seem as high as these trees do to us, silos and telephone poles, stalagmites and skyscrapers. But most of all these winter oaks, these soft-fleshed poplars, this birch whose bark is like roughened skin against which I lean my chilled head, not ready to lie down. --Linda Pastan
Leave the dishes. Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor. Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster. Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup. Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins. Don't even sew on a button. Let the wind have its way, then the earth that invades as dust and then the dead foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch. Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome. Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry who uses whose toothbrush or if anything matches, at all. Except one word to another. Or a thought. Pursue the authentic—decide first what is authentic, then go after it with all your heart. Your heart, that place you don't even think of cleaning out. That closet stuffed with savage mementos. Don't sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth or worry if we're all eating cereal for dinner again. Don't answer the telephone, ever, or weep over anything at all that breaks. Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life and talk to the dead who drift in through the screened windows, who collect patiently on the tops of food jars and books. Recycle the mail, don't read it, don't read anything except what destroys the insulation between yourself and your experience or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters this ruse you call necessity. --Louis Erdrich
The snow is falling in three directions at once against the sienna brick of the houses across, but the storm is mild, the light even, the erratic wind not harsh, and, tolling ten o'clock, the usually undistinguished bells of the Sixth Street cathedral assume an authoritative dignity, remarking with ponderous self-consciousness the holy singularities of this now uncommon day. How much the pleasant sense, in our sheltering rooms, of warmth, enclosure: an idle, languid taking in, with almost Georgian ease, voluptuous, reposeful, including titillations of the sin of well-being, the gentle adolescent tempest, which still can't make up its mind quite, can't dig in and bite, everything for show, flailing with a furious but futile animation wisps of white across the white. --C.K.Williams
Out through the fields and the woods And over the walls I have wended; I have climbed the hills of view And looked at the world, and descended; I have come by the highway home, And lo, it is ended. The leaves are all dead on the ground, Save those that the oak is keeping To ravel them one by one And let them go scraping and creeping Out over the crusted snow, When others are sleeping. And the dead leaves lie huddled and still, No longer blown hither and thither; The last lone aster is gone; The flowers of the witch hazel wither; The heart is still aching to seek, But the feet question ‘Whither?’ Ah, when to the heart of man Was it ever less than a treason To go with the drift of things, To yield with a grace to reason, And bow and accept the end Of a love or a season? --Robert Frost