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.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Meter of your evolution

"A mother's voice is the first call to consciousness in the fluid womb. Her heartbeat Iambe's meter of your evolution. Her muffled syllables begin time." --Laura Manuelidis

Sunday, July 14, 2013

When Apollo Calls

Touching. 

Diluvian Dream

All afternoon I walk behind the mower,
Imagining, though paradoxically,
That even though the grass is getting lower,
What I have cut is like a rising sea;
The parts I haven’t cut, with every pass,
Resemble real geography, a map,
A shrinking island continent of grass
Where shoreline vanishes with every lap.

At last, the noise and smell of gasoline
Dispel my dream. What sea? Peninsulas?
They were the lands my inner child had seen,
Their little Yucat√°ns and Floridas.

But when I’m finished, and Yard goes back to Lawn,
I can’t help thinking that a world is gone.

--Wilmer Mills

A Thank-You Note

For John Skoyles

My daughter made drawings with the pens you sent,
line drawings that suggest the things they represent,
different from any drawings she — at ten — had done,
closer to real art, implying what the mind fills in.
For her mother she made a flower fragile on its stem;
for me, a lion, calm, contained, but not a handsome one.
She drew a lion for me once before, on a get-well card,
and wrote I must be brave even when it’s hard.

Such love is healing — as you know, my friend,
especially when it comes unbidden from our children
despite the flaws they see so vividly in us.
Who can love you as your child does?
Your son so ill, the brutal chemo, his looming loss
owning you now — yet you would be this generous
to think of my child. With the pens you sent
she has made I hope a healing instrument.

--Michael Ryan

Ancestry

The damp had got its grip years ago
but gone unnoticed. The heads of the joists
feathered slowly in the cavity wall
and the room’s wet belly had begun to bow.

Once we’d ripped the boards up, it all came out:
the smell, at first, then the crumbling wood
gone to seed, all its muscles wasted.
You pottered back and to with tea, soda bread,

eighty years shaking on a plastic tray.
One by one we looked up, nodded, then slipped
under the floor. We moved down there like fish
in moonlight, or divers round an old ship.

--Sean Hewitt

Monday, July 8, 2013

Care's Weight

My dying grandmother can no longer feed herself,
her 96-year-old husband keeping her alive
one slow spoonful at a time. 
And my grandfather is so matter-of-fact patient, 
bent and focused through hour-long feeding sessions,
pious under God’s watchful eye.

Out of sync with my quiet brand of liberalism,
his voiceI hear itsounding loud and often, 
dinner-table sovereign. 
He used to on principle make me bristle.   

I recently had a child. 
In the days immediately after his birth—
slippery, taken up—I didn’t have much choice: 
I ate some meals at the hand of my husband.
Until one day I could no longer bear it;
I covered my tracks with a laugh
and insisted on keeping myself.

--me