Jane Kenyon On Melancholy

   Jane Kenyon   (May 23, 1947 – April 22, 1995)
Jane Kenyon (May 23, 1947 – April 22, 1995)

Having It Out With Melancholy by Jane Kenyon

1 FROM THE NURSERY

When I was born, you waited
behind a pile of linen in the nursery, 
and when we were alone, you lay down
on top of me, pressing
the bile of desolation into every pore.

And from that day on
everything under the sun and moon
made me sad — even the yellow
wooden beads that slid and spun
along a spindle on my crib.

You taught me to exist without gratitude. 
You ruined my manners toward God:
“We’re here simply to wait for death; 
the pleasures of earth are overrated.”

I only appeared to belong to my mother, 
to live among blocks and cotton undershirts
with snaps; among red tin lunch boxes
and report cards in ugly brown slipcases. 
I was already yours — the anti-urge, 
the mutilator of souls.

2 BOTTLES

Elavil, Ludiomil, Doxepin, 
Norpramin, Prozac, Lithium, Xanax, 
Wellbutrin, Parnate, Nardil, Zoloft. 
The coated ones smell sweet or have
no smell; the powdery ones smell
like the chemistry lab at school
that made me hold my breath.

3 SUGGESTION FROM A FRIEND

You wouldn’t be so depressed
if you really believed in God.

4 OFTEN

Often I go to bed as soon after dinner
as seems adult
(I mean I try to wait for dark)
in order to push away
from the massive pain in sleep’s
frail wicker coracle.

5 ONCE THERE WAS LIGHT

Once, in my early thirties, I saw
that I was a speck of light in the great
river of light that undulates through time.

I was floating with the whole
human family. We were all colors — those
who are living now, those who have died, 
those who are not yet born. For a few

moments I floated, completely calm, 
and I no longer hated having to exist.

Like a crow who smells hot blood
you came flying to pull me out
of the glowing stream.
“I’ll hold you up. I never let my dear
ones drown!” After that, I wept for days.

6 IN AND OUT

The dog searches until he finds me
upstairs, lies down with a clatter
of elbows, puts his head on my foot.

Sometimes the sound of his breathing
saves my life — in and out, in
and out; a pause, a long sigh. . . . 

7 PARDON

A piece of burned meat
wears my clothes, speaks
in my voice, dispatches obligations
haltingly, or not at all.
It is tired of trying
to be stouthearted, tired
beyond measure.

We move on to the monoamine
oxidase inhibitors. Day and night
I feel as if I had drunk six cups
of coffee, but the pain stops
abruptly. With the wonder
and bitterness of someone pardoned
for a crime she did not commit
I come back to marriage and friends, 
to pink fringed hollyhocks; come back
to my desk, books, and chair.

8 CREDO

Pharmaceutical wonders are at work
but I believe only in this moment
of well-being. Unholy ghost, 
you are certain to come again.

Coarse, mean, you’ll put your feet
on the coffee table, lean back, 
and turn me into someone who can’t
take the trouble to speak; someone
who can’t sleep, or who does nothing
but sleep; can’t read, or call
for an appointment for help.

There is nothing I can do
against your coming. 
When I awake, I am still with thee.

9 WOOD THRUSH

High on Nardil and June light
I wake at four, 
waiting greedily for the first
note of the wood thrush. Easeful air
presses through the screen
with the wild, complex song
of the bird, and I am overcome

by ordinary contentment. 
What hurt me so terribly
all my life until this moment? 
How I love the small, swiftly
beating heart of the bird
singing in the great maples; 
its bright, unequivocal eye. 

 

Listen to Amanda Palmer reading Jane Kenyon’s “Having It Out With Melancholy here. 

🎂Happy Birthday Jane Kenyon (May 23, 1947 – April 22, 1995) In Memoriam🌹

Tom Hanks On Protests

   Tom Hanks    (July 09, 1956 -)
Tom Hanks   (July 09, 1956 -)

I would not have been able to imagine that we would be living in a country where neo-Nazis are doing torchlight parades in Charlottesville [Virginia] and jokes about Pocahontas are being made in front of the Navajo code talkers. And individually we have to decide when we take to the ramparts. You don’t take to the ramparts necessarily right away, but you do have to start weighing things. You may think: “You know what? I think now is the time.”

Melissa Pritchard On Writers And Art

   Melissa Pritchard   (December 12, 1948 -) 
Melissa Pritchard (December 12, 1948 -) 

Great writers are witnesses to the spirit of their age. They need not be accepted by their times; they rarely are. Speaking the truth, they may go unheard, be misunderstood or criticized. Later, posthumously, it is said they were ahead of their time…What you have chosen is a profound vocation of healing, and your stories and poems are as sacraments, as visible blessings. Be at the heart and soul of your time, not resigned to what is safe or peripheral. Try to free yourself from attachment to results, to awards, publications, praise, to indifference, rejection, and misunderstanding. Immerse yourself in the common ground of the universe so that your true voice – not the egoistic voice that clamors vainly for power (for it will ruin you if you listen to it) your authentic voice, supported by sacred reality, may be heard. May your words illuminate your vision, find you compassionate, attuned to human suffering and committed to its alleviation…All great literature has an uncreeded and luminous theology behind it… Art [is] a form of active prayer.

 

 

Alan Watts On The Universe Inside Us

   Alan Watts   (January 06, 1915 – November 16, 1973) 
Alan Watts (January 06, 1915 – November 16, 1973) 

Sometimes I get the queerest feeling that things going on in the world around one, are in some odd way reflections of things happening in the depths of one’s own mind. It is almost as if the world gets calm as you keep calm yourself, and vice versa. Yet it would be absurd to imagine that one could actually control the course of events in that way because this would imply the belief that oneself alone is real and all else a figment of thought. But it convinces me more and more that there is a universe inside one, which contains Hitler and all forms of human madness as well as love and beauty.

Randy Shields On Revolution

   Randy Shields
Randy Shields

The one thing the film (Whose Streets?) left out was that some of the rebels actually shot back with rifles in the night at the cops and they were never caught. And within a day or two, the state turned down the heat by taking the National Guard off the streets. This was a victory — pay attention to it. At the moment, for all its armed might, the state apparently doesn’t want to replay the 1967 Detroit rebellion. Leftists need to stop saying mindless shit like “violence doesn’t work.” Violence has been part of every successful revolution.