Why this?

The occasional piece of my own and a generous helping of others' creations 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, October 27, 2014

Charles Simic on Joseph Cornell

A toy is a trap for dreamers. The true toy is a poetic object.

There’s an early sculpture of Giacometti’s called The Palace at 4 A.M. (1932). It consists of no more than a few sticks assembled into a spare scaffolding, which the mysterious title makes haunting and unforgettable. Giacometti said that it was a dream house for him and the woman with whom he was in love.

These are dreams that a child would know. Dreams in which objects are renamed and invested with imaginary lives. A pebble becomes a human being. Two sticks leaning against each other make a house. In that world one plays the game of being someone else.

This is what Cornell is after... How to construct a vehicle of reverie, an object that would enrich the imagination of the viewer and keep him company forever.

Monday, October 13, 2014


I encountered a scaffold
outside the Holy Trinity Church in Vladimir, Russia.
At first I didn’t notice her
slumped against the side of the church — 
she was pretty small for a scaffold, pretty un-
assuming. Her safety mesh
was torn in places and sun-bleached all over
and threatened to dislodge
due to a forceful wind that was typical
of the season. She was shaking.
She was fundamentally insecure.
She told me that good foundations are essential
and that the men who had put her together
hadn’t taken advantage of the right opportunities.
Now, each day, someone came by
called her “unsafe” and also “a liability”
then left, failing to initiate the dismantling process
that yes would have been painful
and slow, but kinder.
International visitors to the church
blamed her for the mess of tools and rags
on the grounds and for the fact
that they could no longer see
the church’s celebrated mural
depicting Saint Artemy of Verkola
unusually pious
highly venerated
child saint killed by lightning.
His dead body radiated light
never showed signs of decay
and was in fact said to have effected
multiple miracles of healing.
I said comforting things to the scaffold
but she only seemed to lean more heavily
against the side of the church.
We are rarely independent structures she said
before she dropped a bolt pin
which released a long section of tube
which released another bolt pin
which released several wooden boards
that scraped another tube
and made an unbearable sound.

--Sophie Collins

and set off across the rough miles of desk

"Ant" by Matthew Francis in the current issue of Poetry

Friday, October 10, 2014

I am still every age that I have been

I am still every age that I have been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be. ... Far too many people misunderstand what "putting away childish things" means, and think that forgetting what it is like to think and feel and touch and smell and taste and see and hear like a three-year-old or a thirteen-year-old or a twenty-three-year-old means being grownup. When I'm with these people I, like the kids, feel that if this is what it means to be a grown-up, then I don't ever want to be one. Instead of which, if I can retain a child's awareness and joy, and *be* fifty-one, then I will really learn what it means to be grownup.Madeleine L’Engle

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Once during that year
when all I wanted
was to be anything other
than what I was,
the dog took my wrist
in her jaws. Not to hurt
or startle, but the way
a wolf might, closing her mouth
over the leg of another 
from her pack. Claiming me
like anything else: the round luck
of her supper dish or the bliss
of rabbits, their infinite 
grassy cities. Her lips
and teeth circled
and pressed, tireless
pressure of the world 
that pushes against you
to see if you're there,
and I could feel myself
inside myself again, muscle
to bone to the slippery
core where I knew
next to nothing
about love. She wrapped
my arm as a woman might wrap
her hand through the loop
of a leash—as if she
were the one holding me
at the edge of a busy street,
instructing me to stay.

--Kasey Jueds

A Blessing

To be able to trust your eyes–that’s a great blessing.
To believe that the pane of glass in your upstairs window
Is in fact transparent, that the narrow
Winding streets seeming to lie beyond it
Are not a reflection of something narrow
And dark within you, just a winding passage
That will lead, eventually, to an open square.
To believe you’re entitled, when you reach it,
To sit on a bench in the sun by the marble fountain,
That you haven’t come to envy the beautiful,
To belittle it, to despoil it. No.
You’re here to muse on the possibility
It can serve you as an example,
As a lesson in taking pleasure in what you are,
In giving pleasure by not withholding.
Maybe this gracious self is the person
Your friends have noticed from the beginning.
Your inability to observe it so far
Needn’t mean they’re deluded, just that their distance
Provides them the chance to see you whole.
Maybe whatever you need to do
To deserve their loyalty you’ve done already.
If you then do more, it could mean your heart
Has committed itself to overflowing
And you’ve chosen to let it have its way.

--Carl Dennis