Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Cleaning out my desk today, I came upon a stack of poems printed on loose sheets that had slipped under the paper I used to line a drawer.  They aren’t old favorites, so I feel like I’m discovering them again for the first time.  Here’s one of the more delightful.



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the more loving one

I don’t know what it is about this poem that strikes me — I’m not even sure I particularly agree with it. But something about it rings such a beautiful note. And — truth and beauty, right, Keats?

by W.H. Auden 

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

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A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them. — William Stafford, A Way of Writing.

Found this lovely bit while searching my archives for some other snippet — it echoes the same sentiments as the example with artists and colors, which I once worked into a statement d’artiste for Sam Witt.

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Came across this while reading this morning…

The great city, then, could not be understood as an artifact of human choice. It was much closer to a natural, organic process — less like a building that has been deliberately constructed and more like a garden erupting into full bloom with the arrival of spring — a mix of human planning and the natural developmental patterns that emerge with increasing energy supplies. — Steven Johnson

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the gift outright

It’s been awhile since poetry was on so prominent a national stage. And with due respect to Elizabeth Alexander (to her credit, few occasional poems, especially those that speak directly to the occasion, are all that glorious), she was no Robert Frost. At JFK’s inauguration, Frost intended to read Dedication but, blinded by the glare, was unable to see his notes. Instead, he recited by heart an older poem, written in 1942.

Robert Frost

The land was ours before we were the land’s.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.

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