To the Garden the World

To the garden the world anew ascending,
Potent mates, daughters, sons, preluding,
The love, the life of their bodies, meaning and being,
Curious here behold my resurrection after slumber,
The revolving cycles in their wide sweep having brought me again,
Amorous, mature, all beautiful to me, all wondrous,
My limbs and the quivering fire that ever plays through them, for
reasons, most wondrous,
Existing I peer and penetrate still,
Content with the present, content with the past,
By my side or back of me Eve following,
Or in front, and I following her just the same.

- Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Revolutionary Letter #22

what do you want
your kids to learn, do you care
if they know factoring, chemical formulae, theory
of numbers, equations, philosophy, semantics
symbolic logic, latin, history, socalled, which is
merely history of mind of western man, least interesting
of numberless manifestations on this planet?

do you care
if he learns to eat off the woods, to set
a broken arm, to mend
his own clothes, cook simple food, deliver
a calf or baby? if there are cars should he not
be able to keep his running?
how will he learn these things, will he learn them
cut off in a plaster box, encased
in a larger cement box called 'school' dealing with paper
from morning till night, grinding no clay or mortar, no
pigment, setting no seedlings in black earth
come spring, how will he
know to trap a rabbit, build a raft,
to navigate by the stars, or find safe ground
to sleep on? what is he doing all his learning years
inside, as if the planet were no more than a vehicle
for carrying our plastic constructs around the sun

Diane di Prima (1934-)

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

- William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)


My close-walled soul has never known
That innermost darkness, dazzling sight,
Like the blind point, whence the visions spring
In the core of the gazer’s chrysolite...
The mystic darkness that laps God’s throne
In a splendor beyond imagining,
So passing bright.

But the many twisted darknesses
That range the city to and fro,
In aimless subtlety pass and part
And ebb and glutinously flow;
Darkness of lust and avarice,
Of the crippled body and the crooked heart...
These darknesses I know.

- Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

After Many Days

I wonder if with you, as it is with me,
If under your slipping words, that easily flow
About you as garment, easily,
Your violent heart beats to and fro!

Long have I waited, never once confessed,
Even to myself, how bitter the separation;
Now, being come again, how make the best

If I could cast this clothing off from me,
If I could lift my naked self to you,
Of if only you would repulse me, a wound would be
Good; it would let the ache come through.

But that you hold me still so kindly cold
Aloof my floating heart will not allow;
Yea, but I loathe you that you should withhold
Your pleasure now.

- D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)


I had been sitting alone with books,
Till doubt was a black disease,
When I heard the cheerful shout of rooks
In the bare, prophetic trees.

Bare trees, prophetic of new birth,
You lift your branches clean and free
To be a beacon to the earth,
A flame of wrath for all to see.

And the rooks in the branches laugh and shout
To those that can hear and understand:
"Walk through the gloomy ways of doubt
With the torch of vision in you hand."

- Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

A Dream Within a Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow--
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep -- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp!
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

- Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Air Mail

I have a photo of a friend leaping
from a mailbox. He was thirteen,
an express airmail parcel trying out
his wings. It was the year of the famous

postal strike, Nixon calling in reserves
to preserve the flow of mail, my parents
in a tizzy, fearful all this fuss would
raise the price of stamps from five cents up to

six, first class, a dime to send it airmail.
Pennies tend to add up; in a year, they
both were gone, from one thing or another-
call it the rising cost of living. Still

I have this photo, though it's only black
and white, my friend, forever flying,
airmail delivery on its way to
the future, unconcerned about the cost.

- Angelo Giambra


I demand that the human race
ceases multiplying its kind
and bow out
I advise it

And as punishment & reward
for making this plea I know
I'll be reborn
the last human
Everybody else dead and I'm
an old woman roaming the earth
groaning in caves
sleeping on mats

And sometimes I'll cackle, sometimes
pray, sometimes cry, eat & cook
at my little stove
in the corner
"Always knew it anyway,"
I'll say
And one morning won't get up from my mat

- Jack Kerouac (1922-1969)

A Baby Asleep After Pain

As a drenched, drowned bee
Hangs numb and heavy from a bending flower,
So clings to me
My baby, her brown hair brushed with wet tears
And laid against her cheek;
Her soft white legs hanging heavily over my arm
Swinging heavily to my movements as I walk.
My sleeping baby hangs upon my life,
Like a burden she hangs on me.
She has always seemed so light,
But now she is wet with tears and numb with pain
Even her floating hair sinks heavily,
Reaching downwards;
As the wings of a drenched, drowned bee
Are a heaviness, and a weariness.

- D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)

High Desert Arizona

Like and old-timer
easy with hard luck
will roll up pantleg
and shirtsleeve
to show what
a snapped cable
or a black widow
can do,
the land here
bares its stories
about where wind makes its rounds
on rock,
has taught ridgeline
junipers to twist;
about where water went
and changed
its mind,
where a scrub oak
wanted so bad
for water,
it lay down on
its side and
cracked granite
to have it.

- Shelia Sanderson

Tulips & Chimneys #14

beyond the brittle towns asleep
i look where stealing needles of foam
in the last light

thread the creeping shores

as out of dumb strong hands infinite

the erect deep upon me
in the last light
pours its eyeless miles

the chattering sunset ludicrously
dies,i hear only tidewings

in the last light
twitching at the world

- E.E. Cummings (1894-1962)

the Mercenary Muse

Lover of palaces, muse of my heart,
When January launches snow and sleet
And you sit in the dark night after night-
Will there be coals to thaw your purple feet?

Or were you planning to reanimate
Your marble shoulders in the moonbeams' heat?
With a purse as empty as your palate,
Will you go harvest moonlight in the street?

To earn your nightly bread you'll need to swing
A censer like an acolyte, and sing
Solemnities as if they were no joke,

Or, like a hungry actor, bare your ass,
And hide your tears, and be ridiculous-
The better to amuse the common folk.

- Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)


Even as we speak, our silences
begin to root themselves.
Blind little feelers,
they move with a sly persistence
till an unspoken word strikes water.
Or stone.

As for that leafy business in the sky,
that dazzle and jostle-
it’s harmless,
a benign friction that passes for speech
though public, and not their own:
the leaves repeat
only what the wind has told them.

Even as we speak, the roots
press their questions, reach
deeper into silence.
Each day they grow denser and more detailed
in their grasp of the dark.

- Chana Bloch