Thursday, 25 December 2014



Sometimes I think
the Navajo had it right…
there has only ever been
one wind in the world.

One wind blowing for all time,
one wind touching all of us,
one wind moving in all of us,
one wind we call many names.

I don’t know any other way
to explain how seeing you,
outside, the wind in your hair,
could seem like the whole world.



I love all films that start with rain:

rain, braiding a windowpane

or darkening a hung-out dress

or streaming down her upturned face;

one big thundering downpour
right through the empty script and score

before the act, before the blame,

before the lens pulls through the frame

to where the woman sits alone

beside a silent telephone

or the dress lies ruined on the grass

or the girl walks off the overpass,

and all things flow out from that source

along their fatal watercourse.

However bad or overlong

such a film can do no wrong,

so when his native twang shows through

or when the boom dips into view
or when her speech starts to betray

its adaptation from the play,

I think to when we opened cold

on a starlit gutter, running gold 

with the neon of a drugstore sign

and I’d read into its blazing line:

forget the ink, the milk, the blood —

all was washed clean with the flood

we rose up from the falling waters

the fallen rain’s own sons and daughters

and none of this, none of this matters.

—Don Paterson

Emptying Out

this poem didn't come from me, poems never do,
it didn't come by thinking what was pleasing, what was true,
it came by unannounced because that's what poems do,
and it left me just as quickly paddling in the blue.


In that Great River

I don’t write poetry when I wish,
I write when I can’t,
when my larynx is flooded
and my throat is shut.

—Anna Kamieńska,
(June 2010)
“In That Great River: A Notebook”


The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.
Long ago you kissed the names of the nine muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,
something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.
Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue
or even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.
It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.
No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

—Billy Collins

Loving You

I take it all back. Life is boring,
except for flowers, sunshine, your perfect legs.
A glass of cold water when you are really thirsty.
The way bodies fit together. Fresh and young and sweet.
Coffee in the morning. These are just moments.
I struggle with the in-betweens.
I just want to never stop loving 
like there is nothing else to do,
because what else is there to do?


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