Evolving Dew as It Forms
Today the trees woke me
said see the ponds outside,
into one another,
formed from grit,
and repair of wounds.
There is no place to judge.
No view is good or bad.
The shack in
The Texan mansion.
They are the same.
Until the Romantics
opened the mountains,
Europeans feared them.
They hid from what we flock to,
and clamor to climb.
We open and dissect.
We want to touch our past,
to see when this world began.
We want to hear the bang.
The pearl is an animal product,
secreted by a mollusk,
one living in the sea,
and the other in water that is fresh.
And now we learn that not all pearls
began to heal a wound,
to fight an invasion.
They just began,
uniform all the way through,
like our heart,
when we choose to view,
it as a drop of dew,
which is how the ancients,
I woke this morning feeling so amazing, a place of non-judgment, just being. I have no words for it, and I know it won't last, but I thought if this is one of the gifts of chemo, it is so worth it. I am learning to rest when I need to rest, and I have the luxury of that right now, and it is wonderful to feel and honor. I am learning not to fight the fatigue, or to judge it, and sometimes, I do, but I think I am learning. I think the creeky old carriage is being pulled out of the carriage house and attached to the horse. I woke, so grateful for life this morning, so grateful to be alive.
"Instead of a poem today...this from the Post...it is so close to what I imagine being able to get to in my writing, someday...... it is my intention."
I read this, and know I need to read the poems of Linda Gregg. What she says, I want one day, also, to say, and maybe her saying it is enough.
By Robert Pinsky
Sunday, February 19, 2006;
"Poetry is a Destructive Force." That sentence is the title of a poem by Wallace Stevens, meaning among other things that poetry breaks and devours comforting sentiments, soothing language, elevated humbug, wishful thinking. It re-imagines in language what we are used to. It presents anew what we thought or meant to say or expected to see a moment before encountering the poem. Stevens imagines poetry as a lion, "a violent beast."
The violence is figurative, not the literal splash and crash of special effects. It menaces or devours not flesh and blood but cozy preconceptions. In keeping with that consuming force, here is a poem from Linda Gregg's new book:
The woman walks up the mountain
and then down. She wades into the sea
and out. Walks to the well,
pulls up a bucket of water
and goes back into the house.
She hangs wet clothes.
Takes clothes back to fold them.
Every evening she crochets
from six until dark.
Birds, flowers, stars. Her rabbit lives
in an empty donkey pen. The sea is out
there as far as the stars.
No one there. She may not believe
in anything. Not know
what she is doing. Every morning
she waters the geranium plant.
And the leaves smell like lemons.
Specific realities like the rabbit in an empty donkey pen have a shorn quiddity beyond philosophizing. To quote another Stevens title, her image invokes not ideas about the thing but the thing itself. The leaves smell like lemons, "and that was all" -- a phrase that concludes Robert Frost's great poem "The Most of It," on a similar subject, the idea of pure being, perception without preconception.
Here is another poem by Gregg on that theme:
Of course there is the otherness,
right away inside you when
the doe steps carefully down
the embankment. Then clatter
of hoof and the dappled water
with leaf shade. The otherness
and the invisible until you came.
Here the jabber of consciousness is changed by perceiving something out of the ordinary. The otherness of the natural tableau is "right away inside you": The poem notes the parts of that setting: the hoof, its clatter, the dappled water, the leaf shade. And that naming of parts makes the scene alive, inside the poet, the thing that was invisible before she came to apprehend it and -- in the words of Stevens's poem about the destructive lion -- "feel it breathing there."
(Linda Gregg's poems "Being" and "The Otherness" are from her book
"In the Middle Distance."
Copyright © 2006 by Linda Gregg.)
I have in front of me an absolutely blank page.
This is today's poem.
The President and the Ports
Published: February 22, 2006
If President Bush follows through on his threat, he'll be making a strange choice for his first veto after more than five years in office. After giving a pass to a parade of misbegotten Congressional initiatives and irresponsible budget packages, he'd be choosing to take a stand over the right to hand control of operations at major American ports to a company based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, and controlled by that government.
And Congress, which is making a bipartisan show of beating its collective chest, is being rather tardy in taking a stand, given the way it has looked on indifferently as the administration has ignored Congress's own rights of oversight and its constituents' right not to be targets of extralegal spying.
Nevertheless, Congress is right to resist the ports deal, in which the company, Dubai Ports World, would take over the British company now running these operations. The issue is not, as Mr. Bush is now claiming, a question of bias against a Middle Eastern company. The United Arab Emirates is an ally, but its record in the war on terror is mixed. It is not irrational for the United States to resist putting port operations, perhaps the most vulnerable part of the security infrastructure, under that country's control. And there is nothing in the Homeland Security Department's record to make doubters feel confident in its assurances that all proper precautions will be taken.
The Bush administration has followed a disturbing pattern in its approach to the war on terror. It has been perpetually willing to sacrifice individual rights in favor of security. But it has been loath to do the same thing when it comes to business interests. It has not imposed reasonable safety requirements on chemical plants, one of the nation's greatest points of vulnerability, or on the transport of toxic materials. The ports deal is another decision that has made the corporations involved happy, and has made ordinary Americans worry about whether they are being adequately protected.
It is no secret that this administration has pursued an aggressive antiregulatory agenda, and it has elevated corporate leaders to its highest positions. Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose department convened the panel that approved the ports deal, came to government after serving as the chief executive of the CSX Corporation, which was a major port operator when he worked there. (After he left, CSX sold its port operations to Dubai Ports World.)
The administration's intransigence has inspired a rare show of bipartisanship. The Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, and the speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, along with a slew of other Republican members of Congress, have joined leading Democrats in objecting to the move. Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Representative Peter King, a New York Republican, are introducing a bill that would put the decision on hold and require closer examination of the proposal. The bill would ultimately give Congress the final say.
The Schumer-King bill takes the right approach, and members of Congress from both parties should rally around it. Rather than using his first veto on such a wrongheaded cause, President Bush should make the bill unnecessary by acting on his own to undo the ports deal.
This poem goes along with that space and place for me.
... there is a silent beat in between the drums.
That silent beat makes the drumbeat, it makes the drum, it makes the beat. Without it there is no drum, no beat. It is not the beat played by who is beating the drum. He is a noisy loud one, the silent beat is beaten by who is not beating on the drum, his silent beat drowns out all the noise, it comes before and after every beat, you hear it in between its sound is
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
To speak your
To the living walls.
Who are you?
Are you? Whose
Silence are you?
Here, before bed, are some words of Charlotte Selver, the founder of Sensory Awareness.
"Living has nothing to do with methods.
We learn from the seagulls,
or from little children,
or from growing plants
what living means.
We have the ability within ourselves,
if we become awake,
to feel more closely
what our own nature has to tell us."
"What this work means to me is the the person comes to his own nature .... the discovery of the magnificent wisdom of the organism."
May it be so for each of us! Good Night!