moments :: mary oliver

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There are moments that cry out to be fulfilled.
Like, telling someone you love them.
Or giving your money away, all of it.

Your heart is beating, isn’t it?
You’re not in chains, are you?

There is nothing more pathetic than caution
when headlong might save a life,
even, possibly, your own.

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a mistake

 

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I thought: all this is only preparation
For learning, at last, how to die.
Mornings and dusks, in the grass under a maple
Laura sleeping without pants, on a headrest of raspberries,
While Filon, happy, washes himself in the stream.
Mornings and years. Every glass of wine,
Laura, and the sea, land, and archipelago
Bring us nearer, I believed, to one aim
And should be used with a thought to that aim.

But a paraplegic in my street
Whom they move together with his chair
From shade into sunlight, sunlight into shade,
Looks at a cat, a leaf, the chrome steel on an auto,
And mumbles to himself, “Beau temps, beau temps.”

It is true. We have a beautiful time
As long as time is time at all.

 

by Czeslaw Milosz

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transformation

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I haven’t written a single poem
in months.
I’ve lived humbly, reading the paper,
pondering the riddle of power
and the reasons for obedience.
I’ve watched sunsets
(crimson, anxious),
I’ve heard the birds grow quiet
and night’s muteness.
I’ve seen sunflowers dangling
their heads at dusk, as if a careless hangman
had gone strolling through the gardens.
September’s sweet dust gathered
on the windowsill and lizards
hid in the bends of walls.
I’ve taken long walks,
craving one thing only:
lightning,
transformation,
you.
poem by adam zagajewski
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come ye disconsolate

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God lingers,

in the clouds,

distressed

 

and

 

I suppose no

greater affection can

be paid to another,

than to be heart-

broken in their

absence.

 

(poem by christopher woodhull)

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Listening / William Stafford

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My father could hear a little animal step,
or a moth in the dark against the screen,
and every far sound called the listening out
into places where the rest of us had never been.More spoke to him from the soft wild night
than came to our porch for us on the wind;
we would watch him look up and his face go keen
till the walls of the world flared, widened.My father heard so much that we still stand
inviting the quiet by turning the face,
waiting for a time when something in the night
will touch us too from that other place.

 

art by Mark Rothko

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ordering breakfast

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what to make of it,
for instance,
before a smile –

all this waiting
in a single moment
falling away into

her eyes, and her
hands touching the
counter, lightly

as if playing
for the first time

before she says

can she help me?

 

 

by Chris Woodhull

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besieged

 

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i am in
a crowd
of selves

talking and
telling,
standing

to close
i step back
my arms open:

a kind of
untethering,
resignation

letting go as they say,
drifting from the
shore, (what shore?)
unmoored into –
languor? buoyancy?

alone:

it all grows still
unknown, irresponsible,
not responsible

at sea

after days it occurs
to me

the only
thing left to do

is slip from the boat
and into my body.
(second attempt)

i used to court
sadness like
a lover

sinewy and
sensuous
beguiling

everything i wanted

we went
everywhere
together

i believed
everything

i gave her
a place

but she is gone

and that made
me sad
in another way

a beauty
uprooted

a possession, a toy

my keeping kept

something from growing
(final attempt)

she is back
in my life

unrecognizable

though not
as sadness

as someone else,

not sure who.

 

chris woodhull

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befuddled

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Out of bed
with the feeling
i had left
already
making it
twice in one day
i awake with
out a clue
where to find
my next self
sleeping again.

 

chris woodhull

 

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out of nowhere

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some days, the words

find me or i

find them and

 

they may or

may not open

the hatch,

 

the secret opening,

the place where

God is said

to be.

 

who made the hatch?

 

in one side, out the other

and back again.

 

forgetting the hatch

i am free.

 

chris woodhull

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as if it mattered

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the night tears away
like a match, billowing
and booming in
movie stills —

the mind, a hand turning
images, sepia
and azure blue.

something slips on nights
as these, the track of being?

i sat in the car all night
nearly frozen, alone
surrounded by the machinery
of worry –

she had left

this storm is dark, I am
a character looking for a line –

what is the meaning
of this storm and rain
and why is my mind
fixed on it?

as if it mattered.

 

 

poem by chris woodhull / art by mark rothko

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