Why pause in the middle of your busy life to read poetry?
Because poetry can penetrate to the center of what truly matters. What a subversive act, in a culture hell-bent on filling space with activity and silence with noise, to slow down and read a poem. Turning to poetry, as Adrienne Rich said, “…can break open locked chambers of possibility, restore numbed zones to feeling, recharge desire.” Poetry has even saved lives. It’s true. Dang good reasons. Nuff said. Onward!
Image: Paul Cezanne, Still life, pitcher and fruit
A stunning tribute to Stephen Hawking (1942 – 2014), who understood the universe itself
is poetry. Howe’s heart-felt poem is full of ache and wonder and celebration of our shared reality.
Do you sometimes want to wake up to the singularity
we once were?
so compact nobody
needed a bed, or food or money —
nobody hiding in the school bathroom
or home alone
pulling open the drawer
where the pills are kept.
For every atom belonging to me as good
Belongs to you. Remember?
There was no Nature. No
them. No tests
to determine if the elephant
grieves her calf or if
the coral reef feels pain. Trashed
oceans don’t speak English or Farsi or French;
would that we could wake up to what we were
— when we were ocean and before that
to when sky was earth, and animal was energy, and rock was
liquid and stars were space and space was not
at all — nothing
before we came to believe humans were so important
before this awful loneliness.
Can molecules recall it?
what once was? before anything happened?
No I, no We, no one. No was
No verb no noun
only a tiny tiny dot brimming with
is is is is is
All everything home
By Marie Howe, composed for The Universe in Verse event at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Full program here: brainpickings.org/the-universe-in-verse/
For added enjoyment, take 2:34 minutes to check out this most amazing Song of the Universe:
The wee Luckster has actually always known his true nature,
while I, on the other hand, have needed help. Read on.
I could not lie anymore
so I started to call my dog
First he looked
he started smiling, then
he even danced.
I kept at it: now
he doesn’t even bite.
I am wondering
if this might work
Takuram (1608 –1650), found in Love Poems from God.
Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West. Translations by Daneil Ladinsky
Remix: My dog could not lie anymore
My dog could not lie anymore
so he started to call me
First I looked
I started smiling, then
I even danced.
He kept at it: now
I don’t even bite.
He and I are wondering
if this might work on
Remix by Krayna & Lucky
A blessing: May we be released from the cog of repetition, busyness, and familiarity.
May we sing ourselves and one another awake. Now.
This is what was bequeathed us:
This earth the beloved left
Left to us.
No other world
But this one:
Willows and the river
And the factory
With its black smokestacks.
No other shore, only this bank
On which the living gather.
No meaning but what we find here.
No purpose but what we make.
That, and the beloved’s clear instructions:
Turn me into song; sing me awake.
Suggested musical selection to accompany you: Cello music in Gregorian style:
Gregory Orr, from How Beautiful the Beloved
Copyrighted material; for educational/therapeutic purposes only.