Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

A Man of God

February 6, 2011

A man of God I met today
Who acted most irately
And all because I chanced to say
“My soul is itching greatly!”

I told a poet of my plight
(no man of God could match it)
His answer gave me great delight,
He merely told me “Scratch it.”

– by William Buell at age 16 (circa 1965)

The Pleasures of Merely Circulating

November 25, 2010

I personally equate the joy (pleasure) of conversation, dialogue, blogging with the joy that I sense in Wallace Stevens’ poetry – I just looked up “The Pleasures of Merely Circulating” But there is also a kind of compulsion. Wallace Stevens in his collected correspondence once spoke of a certain poet as being less than extraordinary because “he does not write as if he must.” I am also reminded of Robert Ornstein’s T.W.I.T. (The Western Intellectual Tradition) which says that we do not and cannot feel that we have experienced something UNTIL we share it with others by recounting it (which makes me think of all the recountings in the Odyssey.) I sometimes ask myself WHY I cannot just think my thoughts and be content to keep them to myself. Then I realize that I CANNOT think in isolation but I must be in some context of interaction with others.

The Theater and Religion

October 29, 2010

It is interesting that the term “Thespian” comes from the ancient Greek choir director “Thespis.” The antiphonal choirs (right and left) sang sacred hymns during religious rituals. One day, for some reason, Thespis decided to stand between the two choirs and recite monologues in between choruses and, Lo, the theater was born (and born out of religious ritual no less.) I recount this from memory. Actual accounts may differ significantly in details, but what do I care?

Thespian – 1670s, “of or pertaining to tragedy or dramatic acting,” from Gk. Thespis, poet of 6c. B.C.E., the traditional father of Greek tragedy. The names is lit. “inspired by the gods.” The noun meaning “an actor” is attested from 1827, from the adj.; short form thesp is attested from 1962.

To this very day Greek and Russian churches have a right and a left choir (whenever they can muster sufficient talent) and they sing antiphonally.

A Facebook Reading of Cavafy’s Poem 1903

August 6, 2010

Nice reading, Charlie! I discovered Cavafy when I read Lawrence Durrell’s “The Alexandrian Quartet: Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive and Clea.”

I just now found this link:

I do not often see these books for sale in the bookstores of NYC. Once I found Balthazar at Strand’s for $1, bought it and re-read it.

Last year I read something about Cavafy’s death. Cavafy was born into a Greek Orthodox Christian family. I think a high ranking bishop came to his death-bed.

I just found this great link

I can read the Greek portion of the poem the way a modern Greek speaker might read it. I should practice and do a Youtube video. I am a bit rusty with my modern Greek.

We are all somehow seeking to regain some past experience which perhaps shall never come to us again because we are no longer as young, no longer naive and inexperienced. If we are wise we shall realize the vanity of our dreams and shall settle upon a more realistic but less exotic experience but an experience which is there for us every day, within reach, and not a figment which haunts our fantasies.

Out of So Many – a poem

June 26, 2010

Funny how just one can find us out.
Out of so many
Fireflies in the night.

So much darkness,
Yet there is some light.

(Sept. 2005)

Three Questions

June 26, 2010

Who is this “I” within me,
At war with imagination and desires?

When and how
Did this whole become

And shall they ever reunite?

(Written Friday, July 21, 2006 at 5:00 a.m.)

Contrast, by Emily Dickinson

June 9, 2010

A door just opened on a street–
I, lost, was passing by–
An instant’s width of warmth disclosed,–
And wealth, and company.–

The door as sudden shut, and I,–
I, lost, was passing by,–
Lost doubly, but by contrast most,–
Enlightening misery.

One Thing Only

April 2, 2010

If you only know one thing,
One thing only,
You know that we loved each other
We realize that it can never become anything
But we know with the deepest certainty
That it can NEVER be nothing.
So, if you are never certain of anything else,
Then stand upon the rock of this
One lone truth.
For our souls have touched
In that field beyond
All notions of right and wrong.

My Heart Is Now Your Home

February 4, 2010

If you are depressed,
Then enter into my mind
And you shall find
Shelter from the storm
And I shall comfort you.

You know I am always here for you.

I am never far away.

You know that I see deep
Within your heart
And feel what you feel.

You know that is is no accident
That you have come here
To me.

You have received something
Within your heart
From my heart
And that shall never leave.

As you run in the morning sunlight
Breathing heavily
And tasting sweat
Your thoughts shall return
To these things
To these words.

Home is where
When you go there
They have to let you in.

My heart is now your home.

Song of Childhood
By Peter Handke

When the child was a child
It walked with its arms swinging,
wanted the brook to be a river,
the river to be a torrent,
and this puddle to be the sea.

When the child was a child,
it didn’t know that it was a child,
everything was soulful,
and all souls were one.

When the child was a child,
it had no opinion about anything,
had no habits,
it often sat cross-legged,
took off running,
had a cowlick in its hair,
and made no faces when photographed.

When the child was a child,
It was the time for these questions:
Why am I me, and why not you?
Why am I here, and why not there?
When did time begin, and where does space end?
Is life under the sun not just a dream?
Is what I see and hear and smell
not just an illusion of a world before the world?
Given the facts of evil and people.
does evil really exist?
How can it be that I, who I am,
didn’t exist before I came to be,
and that, someday, I, who I am,
will no longer be who I am?

When the child was a child,
It choked on spinach, on peas, on rice pudding,
and on steamed cauliflower,
and eats all of those now, and not just because it has to.

When the child was a child,
it awoke once in a strange bed,
and now does so again and again.
Many people, then, seemed beautiful,
and now only a few do, by sheer luck.

It had visualized a clear image of Paradise,
and now can at most guess,
could not conceive of nothingness,
and shudders today at the thought.

When the child was a child,
It played with enthusiasm,
and, now, has just as much excitement as then,
but only when it concerns its work.

When the child was a child,
It was enough for it to eat an apple, … bread,
And so it is even now.

When the child was a child,
Berries filled its hand as only berries do,
and do even now,
Fresh walnuts made its tongue raw,
and do even now,
it had, on every mountaintop,
the longing for a higher mountain yet,
and in every city,
the longing for an even greater city,
and that is still so,
It reached for cherries in topmost branches of trees
with an elation it still has today,
has a shyness in front of strangers,
and has that even now.
It awaited the first snow,
And waits that way even now.

When the child was a child,
It threw a stick like a lance against a tree,
And it quivers there still today.

Apocryphal Spurious Quotes from Antiquity?

January 20, 2010

(Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky)

How is it they live for eons in such harmony – the billions of stars –

when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their mind against someone they know.

There are wars where no one marches with a flag, though that does not keep casualties from mounting.

Our hearts irrigate this earth.

We are fields before each other.

How can we live in harmony?

First we need to know: we are all madly in love with the same God.

– attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas

Love Poems from God : Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West ISBN 0-14-219612-6

If this author is intentionally falsifying the writings of antiquity, then he should be publicly censored,… it should reach the headlines in some fashion. The world must be reminded that scholars of antiquity are guardians of our proper understanding of the past and our heritage.

IF Mr. Ladinsky can provide us with a source and the original text, then we must have it. IF however it is the case that this poem is some hoax, then the penalty should be as serious as plagiarism or misappropriation of intellectual property, since it is a willful misrepresentation of the thoughts of an author whom the Roman Catholic Church has offered as a model for Roman Catholic intellectuals to emulate.