Fleur Adcock On Weathering

 Fleur Adcock (February 10, 1934 -) Fleur Adcock (February 10, 1934 -)

Literally thin-skinned, I suppose, my face
catches the wind off the snow-line and flushes
with a flush that will never wholly settle. Well:
that was a metropolitan vanity,
wanting to look young for ever, to pass.

I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty
nor anything but pretty enough to satisfy
men who need to be seen with passable women.
But now that I am in love with a place
which doesn’t care how I look, or if I’m happy,

happy is how I look, and that’s all.
My hair will grow grey in any case,
my nails chip and flake, my waist thicken,
and the years work all their usual changes.
If my face is to be weather-beaten as well

that’s little enough lost, a fair bargain
for a year among the lakes and fells, when simply
to look out of my window at the high pass
makes me indifferent to mirrors and to what
my soul may wear over its new complexion.

Listen to Fleur Adcock read “Weathering,” here.

Mary Oliver On One Or Two Things

    Mary Oliver   (September 10, 1935 -)
  Mary Oliver (September 10, 1935 -)

1

Don’t bother me.
I’ve just
been born.

2

The butterfly’s loping flight
carries it through the country of the leaves
delicately, and well enough to get it
where it wants to go, wherever that is, stopping
here and there to fuzzle the damp throats
of flowers and the black mud; up
and down it swings, frenzied and aimless; and sometimes
for long delicious moments it is perfectly
lazy, riding motionless in the breeze on the soft stalk
of some ordinary flower.

3

The god of dirt
came up to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things, I lay
on the grass listening
to his dog voice,
crow voice,
frog voice; now,
he said, and now,
and never once mentioned forever,

4

which has nevertheless always been,
like a sharp iron hoof,
at the center of my mind.

5

One or two things are all you need
to travel over the blue pond, over the deep
roughage of the trees and through the stiff
flowers of lightning—some deep
memory of pleasure, some cutting
knowledge of pain.

6

But to lift the hoof!
For that you need
an idea.

7

For years and years I struggled
just to love my life. And then
the butterfly
rose, weightless, in the wind.
“Don’t love your life
too much,” it said,
and vanished
into the world.

 

🎂Happy Birthday Mary Oliver  (September 10, 1935 -)🎂

James Broughton On Wondrous The Merge

   James Broughton   (November 10, 1913 – May 17, 1999)
James Broughton   (November 10, 1913 – May 17, 1999)

Had my soul tottered off to sleep
taking my potency with it?
Had they both retired before I could
leaving me a classroom somnambulist?
Why else should I at sixty-one
feel myself shriveling into fadeout?

Then on a cold seminar Monday
in walked an unannounced redeemer
disguised as a taciturn student
Brisk and resolute in scruffy mufti
he set down his backpack shook his hair
and offered me unequivocal devotion

He dismissed my rebuffs and ultimatums
He scoffed at suggestions of disaster
He insisted he had been given authority
to provide my future happiness
Was it possible he had been sent
from some utopian headquarters?
I went to his flat to find out

He had two red dogs a yellow cat
a girl roommate an ex boyfriend
and a bedroom ceiling covered
with blue fluorescent stars
But he was ready to renounce anything
that would not accommodate me

He said I held the key to his existence
He said he knew when he first saw me
that I was the reason for his birth
He claimed that important deities
had opened his head three times
to place my star in his brow

This is preposterous I said
I have a wife in the suburbs
I have mortgages children in-laws
and a position in the community

I thoroughly sympathize said He
Why else have I come to your rescue?
These exchanges gave me diarrhea
I tried leaving town on business
but I kept remembering the warmth
that flowed through his healing fingers
We met for lunch at Hamburger Mary’s
and borrowed a bedroom for the afternoon.

He brought a bouquet of red roses
and a ruby-fat jug of red wine
He hung affection around my neck
and massaged the soles of my feet
He offered to arrange instant honeymoons
and guarantee the connecting flights
Are you mad? I said You are half my age
Are you frightened of your fate? said He

At Beck’s Motel on the 7th April
we went to bed for three days
disheveled the king size sheets
never changed the Do Not Disturb
ate only the fruits of discovery
drank semen and laughter and sweat

He seasoned my mouth
sweetened my neck
coddled my nipple
nuzzled my belly
groomed my groin
buffed my buttock
garnished my pubes
renovated my phallus
remodeled my torso
until I cried out
until I cried
I am Yes
I am your Yes
I am I am your
Yes Yes Yes

He took a studio of his own
on the windward slope of Potrero
where I spent after school hours
uprooting my ingrown niceties
and planting fresh beds of bliss
His sheets were grassy green

In his long bathtub
he sat me opposite him
and scrubbed away my guilt
With a breakfast of sunbursts
he woke the sleeping princess
in my castle of armor

Waving blueprints of daring
for twin heroes
he roused my rusty knighthood
To the choked minstrel
aching my throat
he proffered concerts of praise

Off the tip of his tongue
I took each tasty love word
and swallowed it whole
for my own
Are you my Book of Miracles? I said
Are you my Bodhisattva? said He

Ablaze in the thrust of desire
we scathed each other with verve
burned up our fears of forever
streamed ourselves deep in surrender
till I lay drenched under scorch
and joy cried out through my crown

Wondrous Wondrous the merge
Wondrous the merge of soulmates
the surprises of recognition
Wondrous the flowerings of renewal
Wondrous the wings of the air
clapping their happy approval

I severed my respectabilities
and bought a yellow mobile home
in an unlikely neighborhood
He moved in his toaster his camera
and his eagerness to become
my courier seed-carrier and consort

Above all he brought the flying carpet
that upholsters his boundless embrace
Year after year he takes me soaring
out to the ecstasies of the cosmos
that await all beings in love

One day we shall not bother to return

 

Listen to Anne Sophie-Mutter play Meditation From Thais by Jules Massenet here.

Sharon Olds On Diagnosis

   Sharon Olds    (November 19, 1942 -)
Sharon Olds   (November 19, 1942 -)

By the time I was six months old, she knew something
was wrong with me. I got looks on my face
she had not seen on any child
in the family, or the extended family,
or the neighborhood. My mother took me in
to the pediatrician with the kind hands,
a doctor with a name like a suit size for a wheel:
Hub Long. My mom did not tell him
what she thought in truth, that I was Possessed.
It was just these strange looks on my face—
he held me, and conversed with me
chatting as one does with a baby, and my mother
said, She’s doing it now! Look!
She’s doing it now! and the doctor said,
What your daughter has
is called a sense of humor. Ohhh, she said, and took me
back to the house where that sense would be tested
and found to be incurable.

Mary Oliver On Needing A Prod

   Mary Oliver   (September 10, 1935 -) 
Mary Oliver (September 10, 1935 -) 

The Fourth Sign Of The Zodiac by Mary Oliver

I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you’re in it all the same.
So why not get started immediately.
I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.
And to write music or poems about.
Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
Bless touching.

You could live a hundred years, it’s happened.
Or not.
I am speaking from the fortunate platform
of many years,
none of which, I think, I ever wasted.
Do you need a prod?
Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
Let me be as urgent as a knife, then,
and remind you of Keats,
so single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
he had a lifetime.