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, April 29, 2014

The World Is Too Much with Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God!  I’d rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreath├Ęd horn.

--William Wordsworth

Beyond the Years

Linked in the interest of formatting.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The World Seems...

The world seems so palpable 
And dense: people and things 
And the landscapes 
They inhabit or move through. 

Words, on the other hand, 
Are so abstract—they’re 
Made of empty air 
Or black scratches on a page 
That urge us to utter 
Certain sounds. 

And us
Poised in the middle, aware 
Of the objects out there 
Waiting patiently to be named, 
As if the right words 
Could save them. 

And don’t 
They deserve it? 
So much hidden inside each one, 
Such a longing 
To become the beloved. 

And inside us: the sounds 
That could extend that blessing— 
How they crowd our mouths, 
How they press up against 
Our lips, which are such 
A narrow exit for a joy so desperate.

--Gregory Orr

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Happy 1st, Finnbo!

Posting this two days after the fact, but our boy is a whoppin' 365 (367) days old! It's gone fast, I suppose, though hindsight is tricky, slippery. Thought I would post some words I shared during the cozy gathering we held in his honor yesterday at our Wallingford abode...

Growing up, I always loved it when, on my birthday, in the hours leading up to my birth time of 10:10 a.m. PST, my mom/your Grandma Robyn would say things like “X number of years ago today, almost to the minute, I was being prepped for my Caesarean, talking to you, telling you that you were about to be lifted out into this world, and that it would probably make for a pretty shocking experience.” That sort of thing. And I loved this, loved being transported back to my time of earthly arrival, imagining what it was like for my mom and dad, what it was like for me. 

And so, Finn Kjartan, our little “water warrior” as we consider your name to mean, I would like to continue this exercise, in honor of your origin; your joining our Norwegian/Swedish/Irish/Lebanese/Dutch/Italian/Icelandic-at-heart family; your introducing your dad and me to a whole new, crazy-awesome kind of love. Every year at and around 5:30 p.m. PST, April 11, I plan to reflect aloud on what I—and what our family—was experiencing X number of years ago to the approximate hour. 

As you know, we’ve talked you through some of these memories in recent days, especially yesterday, your actual birthday. And today—a year ago today, mid-afternoon time—you were almost a day old. We were still in our dim, cocoon-like room at Northwest Hospital, with you and me receiving some follow-up treatment in the wake of your birth, and it seems likely that you were either sleeping or nursing, drawing nutrients and strength that would help get you to today, your first birthday and a stage that finds you pulling yourself up to standing all over the place, cruising, chattering, smiling, sneering, cackling, pushing your mom and dad away when you’re feeling crowded, “testing out” various home appliances (the vacuum!)… And though those early days are a little hazy, I remember watching you as you fed then looking over at your dad, who was dozing on and off on his hospital-room cot, and just marveling at this small, wondrous human we’d created. At YOU.

Happy first birthday, Finn! 

And now, speaking of arrival—“your place in the family of things”—I’d like to share a poem by Mary Oliver. 

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
       love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thief

I remember the hour 
you stole time from me 

and here in these late pages 
I try to collect back 

the kisses in the parking lot 
that erased my history 

next to that green F-150 
when you became my future.

--Sally Van Doren

Lovely poem by a former poetry classmate

"Och's Orchard"