Through the ear, we shall enter the invisibility of things.
“What we need to question is bricks, concrete, glass, our table manners, our utensils, our tools, the way we spend our time, our rhythms. To question that which seems to have ceased forever to astonish us. We live, true, we breathe, true; we walk, we go downstairs, we sit at a table in order to eat, we lie down on a bed on order to sleep. How? Where? When? Why?
Describe your street. Describe another. Compare.”
I was walking along Forty-Second Street as night was falling.
On the other side of the street was Bryant Park.
Walking behind me were two men
and I could hear some of their conversation:
“What you must do,” one of them was saying to his companion,
“is to decide on what you want to do
and then stick to it. Stick to it!
And you are sure to succeed finally.”
I turned to look at the speaker giving such good advice
and was not surprised to see that he was old.
But his companion
to whom the advice was given so earnestly,
was just as old;
and just then the great clock on top of a building across the park
began to shine.
Charles Reznikoff, from By the Well of Living & Seeing: New & Selected Poems 1918-1973 (Los Angeles, California: Black Sparrow Press, 1974)
There is never a later, but for most of my life I have believed in later.
Yes. Thank you, apoetreflects.
You will never be alone, you hear so deep
a sound when autumn comes. Yellow
pulls across the hills and thrums,
or in the silence after lightning before it says
its names — and then the clouds’ wide-mouthed
apologies. You were aimed from birth:
you will never be alone. Rain
will come, a gutter filled, an Amazon,
long aisles — you never heard so deep a sound,
moss on rock, and years. You turn your head —
that’s what the silence meant: you’re not alone.
The whole wide world pours down.
Thank you to Beyond the Fields We Know.
Who knows, maybe the root is the flower of that other life.
—Mary Oliver, from Blue Pastures (Harvest Original, 1995)
Thank you, apoetreflects)
Give up sitting dutifully at your desk. Leave
your house or apartment. Go out into the world.
It’s all right to carry a notebook but a cheap
one is best, with pages the color of weak tea
and on the front a kitten or a space ship.
Avoid any enclosed space where more than
three people are wearing turtlenecks. Beware
any snow-covered chalet with deer tracks
across the muffled tennis courts.
Not surprisingly, libraries are a good place to write.
And the perfect place in a library is near an aisle
where a child a year or two old is playing as his
mother browses the ranks of the dead.
Often he will pull books from the bottom shelf.
The title, the author’s name, the brooding photo
on the flap mean nothing. Red book on black, gray
book on brown, he builds a tower. And the higher
it gets, the wider he grins.
You who asked for advice, listen: When the tower
falls, be like that child. Laugh so loud everybody
in the world frowns and says, “Shhhh.”
Then start again.