when the ghost begins to quicken

van-gogh-rooks-wheatfield

Van Gogh: Wheat Field with Rooks Flying

 

Here’s a poem by William Butler Yeats:

The Cold Heaven

Suddenly I saw the cold and rook-delighting heaven
That seemed as though ice burned and was but the more ice,
And thereupon imagination and heart were driven
So wild that every casual thought of that and this
Vanished, and left but memories, that should be out of season
With the hot blood of youth, of love crossed long ago;
And I took all the blame out of all sense and reason,
Until I cried and trembled and rocked to and fro,
Riddled with light. Ah! when the ghost begins to quicken,
Confusion of the death-bed over, is it sent
Out naked on the roads, as the books say, and stricken
By the injustice of the skies for punishment?

 

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/quicken/”>Quicken</a&gt;

The Center Cannot Hold

 

widening-gyre

When I see the word “center,” I think of this poem by William Butler Yeats.

He wrote it in 1919, but it seems even more relevant now.

 

 

The Second Coming       by William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
gyrewords(Yeats’gyre)

 

 

wideninggyre-emily-tellez

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/center/”>Center</a&gt;

The Tall Camels of the spirit

camels

I have loved the poetry of Richard Wilbur for about thirty years, and this poem was one of the first ones I encountered.  I had the delight of meeting him, even standing in the lunch line with him! at the West Chester Poetry Conference about 10 years ago.

He takes a philosophical quotation and turns it into images which then turn it on its head.

 

A World Without Objects is a Sensible Emptiness

 

The tall camels of the spirit

Steer for their deserts, passing the last groves loud

With the sawmill shrill of the locust, to the whole honey of the

arid

Sun. They are slow, proud,

 

And move with a stilted stride

To the land of sheer horizon, hunting Traherne’s

Sensible emptiness, there where the brain’s lantern-slide

Revels in vast returns.
 

O connoisseurs of thirst,

Beasts of my soul who long to learn to drink

Of pure mirage, those prosperous islands are accurst

That shimmer on the brink

 

Of absence; auras, lustres,

And all shinings need to be shaped and borne.
Think of those painted saints, capped by the early masters

With bright, jauntily-worn

 

Aureate plates, or even

Merry-go-round rings. Turn, O turn

From the fine sleights of the sand, from the long empty oven

Where flames in flamings burn

 

Back to the trees arrayed

In bursts of glare, to the halo-dialing run

Of the country creeks, and the hills’ bracken tiaras made

Gold in the sunken sun,

 

Wisely watch for the sight

Of the supernova burgeoning over the barn,

Lampshine blurred in the steam of beasts, the spirit’s right

Oasis, light incarnate.

 

trees-arrayed-in-bursts-of-glare

 

 

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/arid/”>Arid</a&gt;

 

Changing the Diaper

 

baby-smiling-crib-black-bars

My friend Kate Daniels is the mother of three. Those children are grown up now, but when one of  them was a baby, Kate wrote this “down and dirty” poem:

 

Funk

 

Opening the diaper, each morning

becomes the third day, when God

created the earth, late

in the afternoon, mountains

and continents firmly in place,

the waterways swinging between,

He turned His attention

to the lowlands, malodorous

and steamy, the swampy

muck of undersides mutating

already into something new,

future home of the uncivilized

creatures who will sleep in their own

dung and arise unfazed, a dazzling

smile ripping through the bars

of the crib, sunlight breaking

like tears on their slithering

bodies and their unhaired heads.

 

newborn-baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/baby/”>Baby</a&gt;

she slurs her words

farewell-christian-schloe

painting: “Farewell”   Christian Schloe

 

Here is a heartbreaking poem by Susan Aizenberg:

 

The Nonself: Some Things She Said to Me

 

This is Hell, J. says from her hospital bed, and I
don’t mean Hell, I mean Hell. Like a comic
lush, she slurs her words, Atavan and morphine
swelling her tongue. Pupils shrunk to motes.

Bald now beneath her cotton turban, sparrow
thin, her body’s soft tissues devoured by cancer,
she seems some third sex, the nonself the doctors
speak of. Outside, the leaves burn rust and gold,

brighten as they fall against an indifferent sky.
She crooks a finger I can almost see
through, hisses: She wants to kill me. She’s crazy,
that nurse. You think I’m crazy, but she’s

the one. I want to go home. I want to walk
again. Why won’t you take me home? You don’t know
what it’s like. You don’t know what this pain is like.
You’re putting this in your next book, aren’t you—

 

melody-of-rain-schloe

painting “Melody of Rain”  Christian Schloe

 

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/slur/”>Slur</a&gt;

the rhythmic jarring of brain tissue

going-to-work-prints_0023_big

 

Here’s a poem by Marvin Bell:

 

Wednesday

 

Gray rainwater lay on the grass in the late afternoon.

The carp lay on the bottom, resting,while dusk took shape

in the form of the first stirrings of his hunger,

and the trees, shorter and heavier, breathed heavily upward.

Into this sodden, nourishing afternoon I emerged,

partway toward a paycheck,halfway toward the weekend,

carrying the last mail and holding above still puddles

the books of noble ideas.Through the fervent branches,

carried by momentary breezes of local origin,

the palpable Sublime flickered as motes on broad leaves,

while the Higher Good and the Greater Good contended

as sap on the bark of the maples, and even I

was enabled to witness the truly Existential where it loitered

famously in the shadows as if waiting for the moon.

All this I saw in the late afternoon in the company of no one.

 

And of course I went back to work the next morning. Like you,

like anyone,like the rumored angels of high office,

like the demon foremen,the bedeviled janitors, like you,

I returned to my job–but now there was a match-head in

my thoughts.

In its light, the morning increasingly flamed through the window

and,lit by nothing but mind-light,I saw that the  horizon

was an idea of the eye, gilded from within,and the sun

the fiery consolation of our nighttimes, coming far.

Within this expectant air, which had waited the night indoors,

carried by–who knows?–the rhythmic jarring of brain tissue

by footsteps, by colors visible to closed eyes, by a music

in my head, knowledge gathered that could not last the day,

love and error were shaken as if by the eye of a storm,

and it would not be until quitting that such a man

might drop his arms, that he had held up all day since the dew.
sunrise-city

 

 

 

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/rhythmic/”>Rhythmic</a&gt;

Hideout – now finished

stone-bridgenot finished with this one yet…. had to stop and go to class!

 

Thanks for all the responses to that first line!

 

I wanted to post Irish poet  Desmond Egan’s poem “Hideout” and couldn’t find it online.  All I could find was a YouTube video of him reading it.

So when I got back from class,  I listened to that, and wrote down the words.

I think it is a marvelous poem.

 

Hideout

Oaks down the road

fall into their own shadows

making the quiet

quieter.

And not for double decker Dublin

would I swap my little stream,

its imaginary whisper,

its stone bridge for sitting on,

its bank sloping with saplings

and greeny light,

its flicker of midges.

Down there

the sound of a car empties

like an ambulance passing

or the

crinkle of a trout

and everything is othered

by this puzzle of water

barely moving its cloud.

Once I ran away there

and never came back.

 

 

 

 

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/hideout/”>Hideout</a&gt;