Poetry

“Shut Not Your Doors to Me Proud Libraries” – Walt Whitman

Shut not your doors to me, proud libraries,
For that which was lacking among you all, yet needed most, I bring;
A book I have made for your dear sake, O soldiers,
And for you, O soul of man, and you, love of comrades;
The words of my book nothing, the life of it everything;
A book separate, not link’d with the rest, nor felt by the intellect;
But you will feel every word, O Libertad! arm’d Libertad!
It shall pass by the intellect to swim the sea, the air,
With joy with you, O soul of man.

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Poetry

“Divination in the Park” – Vijay Seshadri

1.
Under the bursting dogwoods, et cetera,
Having just finished a pear for lunch,
I lie over the earth, to feel it swim
inside my posture, and sleep,

while full-bellied women pole home with small children,
and black waves fling
grappling hooks and grab by inches
the torn-off, uplifted rocks

stranded offshore like apple trees in the fog.

2.
The upper parts of the earth are slowly thawing.
Less than slowly, the groundwater
rises in the crevices and exposed places,
five strata down where fossils are.

The winter was mild. In the bulbs and empty hives
spring rubs the velvet from its new brace of horn,
and around the drowning rocks
the feral light of equinox

sheds a pattern on the ocean.

3.
To think that before today, of all the days,
I was less than a snake sunning on a rock,
but that now I’m
the lord of the serpents in the temple,

worshipped and adorned in my eloquent lengths.
So what if I fail the test of time?
I cling to the earth as it banks and glides.
Miners enter my abandoned skin

with strings of lights and diagrams.
Gods on couches ring the horizon.

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Poetry

“October” (5) – Louise Glück

5.

It is true that there is not enough beauty in the world.
It is also true that I am not competent to restore it.
Neither is there candor, and here I may be of some use.

I am
at work, though I am silent.

The bland

misery of the world
bounds us on either side, an alley

lined with trees; we are

companions here, not speaking,
each with his own thoughts;

behind the trees, iron
gates of the private houses,
the shuttered rooms

somehow deserted, abandoned,

as though it were the artist’s
duty to create
hope, but out of what? what?

the word itself
false, a device to refute
perception–At the intersection,

ornamental lights of the season.

I was young here. Riding
the subway with my small book
as though to defend myself against

the same world:
you are not alone,
the poem said,
in the dark tunnel.

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Poetry

“October” (4) – Louise Glück

4.

The light has changed;
middle C is tuned darker now.
And the songs of morning sound over-rehearsed.

This is the light of autumn, not the light of spring.
The light of autumn: you will not be spared

The songs have changed; the unspeakable
has entered them.

This is the light of autumn, not the light that says
I am reborn.

Not the spring dawn: I strained, I suffered, I was
delivered
.
This is the present, an allegory of waste.

So much has changed. And still, you are
fortunate:
the ideal burns in you like a fever.
Or not like a fever, like a second heart.

The songs have changed, but really they are still
quite beautiful.
They have been concentrated in a smaller space,
the space of the mind.
They are dark, now, with desolation and anguish.

And yet the notes recur. They hover oddly
in anticipation of silence.
The ear gets used to them.
The eyes gets used to disappearances.

You will not be spared, nor will what you love be
spared.

A wind has come and gone, taking apart the mind;
it has left in its wake a strange lucidity.

How privileged you are, to be passionately
clinging to what you love;
the forfeit of hope has not destroyed you.

Maestro, doloroso:

This is the light of autumn; it has turned on us.
Surely it is a privilege to approach the end
still believing in something.

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