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Archive for September, 2011

THERE was a child went forth every day;
And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became;
And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs, and the sow’s pink-faint litter, and the mare’s foal, and the cow’s calf,
And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there—and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads—all became part of him.

The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month became part of him;
Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and the esculent roots of the garden,
And the apple-trees cover’d with blossoms, and the fruit afterward, and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road;
And the old drunkard staggering home from the out-house of the tavern, whence he had lately risen,
And the school-mistress that pass’d on her way to the school,
And the friendly boys that pass’d—and the quarrelsome boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheek’d girls—and the barefoot negro boy and girl,
And all the changes of city and country, wherever he went.

His own parents,
He that had father’d him, and she that had conceiv’d him in her womb, and birth’d him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that;
They gave him afterward every day—they became part of him.

The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on the supper-table;
The mother with mild words—clean her cap and gown, a wholesome odor falling off her person and clothes as she walks by;
The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, anger’d, unjust;
The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the crafty lure,
The family usages, the language, the company, the furniture—the yearning and swelling heart,
Affection that will not be gainsay’d—the sense of what is real—the thought if, after all, it should prove unreal,
The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time—the curious whether and how,
Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes and specks?
Men and women crowding fast in the streets—if they are not flashes and specks, what are they?
The streets themselves, and the façades of houses, and goods in the windows,
Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank’d wharves—the huge crossing at the ferries,
The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset—the river between,
Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of white or brown, three miles off,
The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the tide—the little boat slack-tow’d astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,
The strata of color’d clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint, away solitary by itself—the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon’s edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud;
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

-Walt Whitman

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All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—
And Winter, slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.

Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrighten’d, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And Hope without an object cannot live.

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Because I’ll die

I’ll die and someday this will all be gone
This spot
My clients
This class
Rachel Ephraim
Josh’s apartment
Scott, Scott’s cat
All of Rochester
Mike and his house in the suburbs
All those feelings I thought were so real

I could just keep caring
Caring about everything
About every word
Said or imagined
About every thoughts or feeling
Weighed against me
About every idea here or there that cannot be understood
I can make it matter so much
And yet

I will die

And even Nick will be gone
And these young handsome men
With tattoos on their backs
Who are walking by
And the people who take themselves seriously
Or don’t
And the beauty
In so many faces
The beauty they don’t know

The need to be right
Or recriminate
The need to feel my family
Should have been there
Or the universe should have provided
A safer net
Or that I was wrong
Or right
At any turn
To just feel like the silence isn’t enough

To feel wrong
Or right
Is just
Nothing

Because is it over
Already
Already it
Never happened
Already
There is no person to be mad at
There is no person to receive
The anger

There is no recrimination
There is no wrong or right
In what I did or did not do
In what they did or did not do

It was all just form
Taking its turn
Around the dance floor

And I’ll die
So it’s okay

And I’ll die, Josh,
So it’s okay you didn’t love me

And I’ll die, Rachel
So it’s okay you will go away

And I’ll die, Amber
So it’s okay that you don’t like me

And I’ll die, Betsy
So it’s okay

And I’ll die, Victor
So it’s already okay

And I’ll die, Mom,
So thank you for giving me life

And I’ll die, Dad,
So thank you for supporting this child’s body

And I’ll die, Rochester,
Hometown, with all your welcome and unwelcome
Your kindness and tiredness

And I’ll die, and so will you, and it will one day be as
If neither had been here at all

None of these grilled cheese sandwiches
None of these gray-haired women who love their food so much

And the youth and beauty of the Latin women and their text books
And the sun of the June day in this double-numbered year
And if people think I am crazy
And if people think I am lazy
And if people will not respect me
And if the person that is Nina Alvarez will not respect herself
And if the money continues to dwindle
And if it goes out like a candle
And if the nerves in her cheeks were sallow

And if the look in her eyes was haunted
And if she hadn’t the tools to fix their griefs
And if she hadn’t the tools to save a heart
And if she hadn’t the tools to make the world move

And if she felt or was small
And if she had little or was poor
and if she showed up in this strange world with all sorts of weird feelings
that made her tingle but had little resonance
if she did not reconcile while she was here
the things in her head to the things of the earth
if she did not reconcile
the things in her head to the things of the earth
and even if she did
reconcile
the things of her heart to some things

even if she did

it is okay

 

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