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#poetry

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

"Digging," by the late Nobel Prize-winning poet SEAMUS HEANEY.

(Via The Poetry Foundation; h/t NY Times)

theparisreview:

I’ll never be as handsome as my father,singing Vivaldi, when he’s seventy-five,beneath gold domes or strolling by the water.
The choir will go to Harry’s Bar togetherafter the concert. The young tenors grieve:they’ll never be as handsome as my father.
There’s one they call my double. I bet he’d ratherhave my dad’s full head of hair and never leavegold domes, humped bridges and the rising water.
“Why don’t you join us? We could use anothervoice for the Gloria” But I believeI’d never hit the high notes like my father.
Gold domes glow like furnaces, the weatherheating up outside when singers movethrough the Piazza, thirsty for scotch and water.
Where’s the blown-glass mirror to show each otherwhat we both feaer, what we sing to disprove?I’ll never be as handsome as my fatheruntil our funeral gondolas hit the water.
—John Drury, “My Father Singing in the Basilica of San Marco”Photography via

theparisreview:

I’ll never be as handsome as my father,
singing Vivaldi, when he’s seventy-five,
beneath gold domes or strolling by the water.

The choir will go to Harry’s Bar together
after the concert. The young tenors grieve:
they’ll never be as handsome as my father.

There’s one they call my double. I bet he’d rather
have my dad’s full head of hair and never leave
gold domes, humped bridges and the rising water.

“Why don’t you join us? We could use another
voice for the Gloria” But I believe
I’d never hit the high notes like my father.

Gold domes glow like furnaces, the weather
heating up outside when singers move
through the Piazza, thirsty for scotch and water.

Where’s the blown-glass mirror to show each other
what we both feaer, what we sing to disprove?
I’ll never be as handsome as my father
until our funeral gondolas hit the water.

John Drury, “My Father Singing in the Basilica of San Marco”
Photography via

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

Recuerdo by Edna St. Vincent Millay

RECUERDO  Commuters disembarked from the Staten Island Ferry in New York Monday. Transit was slowly returning to normal in New York, but many commuters endured long waits and packed trains one week after superstorm Sandy hit the area. (Photo: John Minchillo / AP via The Wall Street Journal)

RECUERDO  Commuters disembarked from the Staten Island Ferry in New York Monday. Transit was slowly returning to normal in New York, but many commuters endured long waits and packed trains one week after superstorm Sandy hit the area. (Photo: John Minchillo / AP via The Wall Street Journal)

Poem for bus.

50 
50 
minutes late
growing
growing
wee irate
lining
lining
up to wait
whining
whining
quite a state
tourists
tourists
walking, spry
feet hurt
feet hurt
will not cry
waiting
waiting
smoke in eye
fucking
fucking
bus.
come by.

"Mad Men"

  • GINSBERG (un-humblebragging): "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
  • RIZZO: You should read the rest of that poem, you boob.

“Some of the greatest poetry is revealing, to the reader, the beauty in something that is so simple, you had taken it for granted.”

Dr. NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON

The sense of danger must not disappear:
The way is certainly both short and steep,
However gradual it looks from here;
Look if you like, but you will have to leap.

Tough-minded men get mushy in their sleep
And break the by-laws any fool can keep;
It is not the convention but the fear
That has a tendency to disappear.

The worried efforts of the busy heap,
The dirt, the imprecision, and the beer
Produce a few smart wisecracke every year;
Laugh if you can, but you will have to leap.

The clothes that are considered right to wear
Will not be either sensible or cheap,
So long as we consent to live like sheep
And never mention those who disappear.

Much can be said for social savior-faire,
Bu to rejoice when no one else is there
Is even harder than it is to weep;
No one is watching, but you have to leap.

A solitude ten thousand fathoms deep
Sustains the bed on which we lie, my dear:
Although I love you, you will have to leap;
Our dream of safety has to disappear.

W. H. Auden, “Leap Before You Look” (via thebardofavon)


I looked upon a portrait of misery.
Of misters and misses amassed, most miserly.
From opposite of left; of joy, bereft;
indifference woven in, through warp and weft,
to plight of others —
especially sisters, wives, partners, and mothers —
a dance, ‘round empathy, done so deft.
I looked upon this portrait of misery.
Of misters and misses amassed, most miserly.

(Photo of House Speaker John Boehner announcing a deal to avert a shutdown of the federal government by Reuters via the Wall St. Journal)

I looked upon a portrait of misery.

Of misters and misses amassed, most miserly.

From opposite of left; of joy, bereft;

indifference woven in, through warp and weft,

to plight of others —

especially sisters, wives, partners, and mothers —

a dance, ‘round empathy, done so deft.

I looked upon this portrait of misery.

Of misters and misses amassed, most miserly.

(Photo of House Speaker John Boehner announcing a deal to avert a shutdown of the federal government by Reuters via the Wall St. Journal)