Enero 26, 2004

handled with a chain

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

"A Book" by Emily Dickinson

Posted by naomi at 09:09 AM

Enero 21, 2004

a national institute of warts

I cannot begin to guess at all the causes of our cultural sadness, not even the most important ones, but I can think of one thing that is wrong with us and eats away at us: we do not know enough about ourselves. We are ignorant about how we work, where we fit in, and most of all about the enormous imponderable system of life in which we are embedded as working parts. We do not really understand nature, at all. We have come a long way indeed, but just enough to become conscious of our ignorance.

The Medusa and the Snail by Lewis Thomas

Posted by naomi at 03:05 PM

Enero 15, 2004

the devil he wore such a fine fine shirt

I will be rocks, I will be water,
I will leave this to my daughter.
Lift your head up in the wind.
When you feel yourself grow colder,
wrap the night around your shoulders
and I will be with you even then,
even when I cannot see your face anymore.

"Rocks and Water," by Deb Talan

Posted by naomi at 10:03 AM

Enero 08, 2004

night falls on transylvania

And why did I never ask her a simple question?

What was it like where you were born, Mama? Was the countryside beautiful? Did you see mountains? hills? a river? Was the snow very deep in winter? Did you pick berries in the spring?

The truth is that even if I'd asked, Mama wouldn't have been much help. When it came to the natural world, she tended to be a little high-handed, Marxist even; something on the order of nature simply being an instrument in the course of human progress. "It was nice," she might have said. Or, "It wasn't so nice." Or, "It was the way it was. Snow? Berries? Sure, we had them."

How I Came Into My Inheritance by Dorothy Gallagher

Posted by naomi at 07:46 PM

Enero 05, 2004

set the pond on fire

THE WEASEL thieves in silver suit,
The rabbit runs in gray;
And Pan takes up his frosty flute
To pipe the cold away.

The flocks are folded, boughs are bare,
The salmon take the sea;
And O my fair, would I somewhere
Might house my heart with thee!

"Somewhere," by John Vance Cheney

Posted by naomi at 03:41 PM

Enero 04, 2004

the hookworm parade

I made myself a snowball
As perfect as could be.
I thought I'd keep it as a pet
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for its head.
Then last night it ran away,
But first -- it wet the bed.

"Snowball," by Shel Silverstein

Posted by naomi at 09:23 PM

Enero 02, 2004

the scrape of his hoof


Pale tunes irresolute
And traceries of old sounds

Blown from a rotted flute
Mingle with noise of cymbals rouged with rust,
Nor not strange forms and epicene

Lie bleeding in the dust,
Being wounded with wounds.

For this it is
That in thy counterpart
Of age-long mockeries

There seemed to me a certain inconsistency as between the first and last lines of this. I tried, with bent brows, to resolve the discord. But I did not take my failure as wholly incompatible with a meaning in Soames's mind. Might it not rather indicate the depth of his meaning? As for the craftsmanship, "rouged with rust" seemed to me a fine stroke, and "nor not" instead of "and" had a curious felicity. I wondered who the "young woman" was and what she had made of it all. I sadly suspect that Soames could not have made more of it than she. Yet even now, if one doesn't try to make any sense at all of the poem, and reads it just for the sound, there is a certain grace of cadence. Soames was an artist, in so far as he was anything, poor fellow!

It seemed to me, when first I read "Fungoids," that, oddly enough, the diabolistic side of him was the best. Diabolism seemed to be a cheerful, even a wholesome influence in his life.

Enoch Soames by Max Beerbohm

Posted by naomi at 07:02 PM