Elegant by Linda Gregg

All that is uncared for.
Left alone in the stillness
in that pure silence married
to the stillness of nature.
A door off its hinges,
shade and shadows in an empty room.
Leaks for light. Raw where
the tin roof rusted through.
The rustle of weeds in their
different kinds of air in the mornings,
year after year.
A pecan tree, and the house
made out of mud bricks. Accurate
and unexpected beauty, rattling
and singing. If not to the sun,
then to nothing and to no one.

It’s ok for the rich

Title Poem – Rainer Maria Rilke (trans. Robert Bly)

It’s O.K. for the rich and the lucky to keep still;
no one wants to know about them anyway.
But those in need have to step forward,
have to say: I am blind,
or: I’m about to go blind,
or: nothing is going well with me,
or: I have a child who is sick,
or: right there I’m sort of glued together…

And probably that doesn’t do anything either.

They have to sing; if they didn’t sing, everyone
would walk past, as if they were fences or trees.

That’s where you hear good singing.

People really are strange: they prefer
to hear castratos in boy choirs.

But God himself comes and stays a long time
when the world of half-people start to bore him.

At the earliest ending of winter

Not Ideas About the Thing but the Thing Itself
BY WALLACE STEVENS

At the earliest ending of winter,
In March, a scrawny cry from outside
Seemed like a sound in his mind.

He knew that he heard it,
A bird’s cry, at daylight or before,
In the early March wind.

The sun was rising at six,
No longer a battered panache above snow . . .
It would have been outside.

It was not from the vast ventriloquism
Of sleep’s faded papier-mâché . . .
The sun was coming from outside.

That scrawny cry—it was
A chorister whose c preceded the choir.
It was part of the colossal sun,

Surrounded by its choral rings,
Still far away. It was like
A new knowledge of reality.

“Not Ideas About the Thing but the Thing Itself”, from The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens

20171227_110048.jpg

Photo, Solvang, CA – December 2017

today and every day we have a need for…

a need for permanence in a civilization of transience;
a need for the absolute when all else has become relative;
a need for silence in the midst of noise;
a need for gratuitousness in the face of unbelievable greed;
a need for poverty amid the flaunting of wealth;
a need for contemplation in a century of action, for without
contemplation, action risks become mere agitation;
a need for communication in a universe content with
entertainment and sensationalism;
a need for peace amid today’s universal outbursts of violence;
a need for quality to counterbalance the increasingly prevalent
response to quantity;
a need for humility to counteract the arrogance of power and
science;
a need for human warmth when everything is being rationalized
or computerized;
a need to belong to a small group rather than to be part of a crowd;
a need for slowness to compensate the present eagerness for
speed;
a need for truth when the real meaning of words is distorted in
political speeches and sometimes even in religious
discourses;
a need for transparency when everything seems opaque.

  • J.P. Dumbois-Dumee