Aquí te amo.
En los oscuros pinos se desenreda el viento.
Fosforece la luna sobre las aguas errantes.
Andan días iguales persiguiéndose.

Se desciñe la niebla en danzantes figuras.
Una gaviota de plata se descuelga del ocaso.
A veces una vela. Altas, altas estrellas.

O la cruz negra de un barco. Solo.
A veces amanezco, y hasta mi alma está húmeda.
Suena, resuena el mar lejano.
Este es un puerto. Aquí te amo.

Aquí te amo y en vano te oculta el horizonte.
Te estoy amando aún entre estas frías cosas.
A veces van mis besos en esos barcos graves,
que corren por el mar hacia donde no llegan.

Ya me veo olvidado como estas viejas anclas.
Son más tristes los muelles cuando atraca la tarde.
Se fatiga mi vida inútilmente hambrienta.
Amo lo que no tengo. Estás tú tan distante.

Mi hastío forcejea con los lentos crepúsculos.
Pero la noche llega y comienza a cantarme.
La luna hace girar su rodaje de sueño.

Me miran con tus ojos las estrellas más grandes.
Y como yo te amo, los pinos en el viento,
quieren cantar tu nombre con sus hojas de alambre.

—by Pablo Neruda

 

Here I Love You

Here I love you.
In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself.
The moon glows like phosphorous on the vagrant waters.
Days, all one kind, go chasing each other.

The snow unfurls in dancing figures.
A silver gull slips down from the west.
Sometimes a sail. High, high stars.
Oh the black cross of a ship.
Alone.

Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.

Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
I love you still among these cold things.
Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels
that cross the sea towards no arrival.
I see myself forgotten like those old anchors.

The piers sadden when the afternoon moors there.
My life grows tired, hungry to no purpose.
I love what I do not have. You are so far.
My loathing wrestles with the slow twilights.
But night comes and starts to sing to me.

The moon turns its clockwork dream.
The biggest stars look at me with your eyes.
And as I love you, the pines in the wind
want to sing your name with their leaves of wire.

 

 

 

 

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Introduction To Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

-Billy Collins

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Bluebeard

This door you might not open, and you did;
So enter now, and see for what slight thing
You are betrayed… Here is no treasure hid,
No cauldron, no clear crystal mirroring

The sought-for truth, no heads of women slain
For greed like yours, no writhings of distress,
But only what you see… Look yet again—
An empty room, cobwebbed and comfortless.

Yet this alone out of my life I kept
Unto myself, lest any know me quite;
And you did so profane me when you crept
Unto the threshold of this room to-night

That I must never more behold your face.
This now is yours. I seek another place.

–Edna St. Vincent Millay

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Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

These woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

-Robert Frost

I wrote this down from memory.  Haven’t thought of Robert Frost in a while, actually…

I’m curious about the mistakes I made.  Thanks, Kim Rosen, for the suggestion that what I forget allows me deeper intimacy with both the poem and myself!

I wrote village instead of farmhouse.  Feeling into that…  I’ve always thought of myself as a city guy, though this may be changing.

I also wrote “coldest evening” instead of “darkest evening,” which totally makes sense.  Many bodily sensations I can handle: hunger, tiredness, anything.  Cold gets to me.  Easily.  So it’s interesting that my mind would bring it up.

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The Dying Man

The Dying Man
in memoriam W.B. Yeats

1. His words

I heard a dying man
Say to his gathered kin,
“My soul’s hung out to dry,
Like a fresh salted skin;
I doubt I’ll use it again.

“What’s done is yet to come;
The flesh deserts the bone,
But a kiss widens the rose
I know, as the dying know
Eternity is Now.

“A man sees, as he dies,
Death’s possibilities;
My heart sways with the world.
I am that final thing,
A man learning to sing.

2. What Now?

Caught in the dying light,
I thought myself reborn.
My hand turn into hooves.
I wear the leaden weight
Of what I did not do.

Places great with their dead,
The mire, the sodden wood,
Remind me to stay alive.
I am the clumsy man
The instant ages on.

I burned the flesh away,
In love, in lively May.
I turn my look upon
Another shape than hers
Now, as the casement blurs.

In the worst night of my will,
I dared to question all,
And would the same again.
What’s beating at the gate?
Who’s come can wait.

3. The Wall

A ghost comes out of the unconscious mind
To grope my sill: It moans to be reborn!
The figure at my back is not my friend;
The hand upon my shoulder turns to horn.
I found my father when I did my work,
Only to lose myself in this small dark.

Though it reject dry borders of the seen,
What sensual eye can keep and image pure,
Leaning across a sill to greet the dawn?
A slow growth is a hard thing to endure.
When figures our of obscure shadow rave,
All sensual love’s but dancing on a grave.

The wall has entered: I must love the wall,
A madman staring at perpetual night,
A spirit raging at the visible.
I breathe alone until my dark is bright.
Dawn’s where the white is. Who would know the dawn
When there’s a dazzling dark behind the sun.

4. The Exulting

Once I delighted in a single tree;
The loose air sent me running like a child–
I love the world; I want more than the world,
Or after image of the inner eye.
Flesh cries to flesh, and bone cries out to bone;
I die into this life, alone yet not alone.

Was it a god his suffering renewed?–
I saw my father shrinking in his skin;
He turned his face: there was another man,
Walking the edge, loquacious, unafraid.
He quivered like a bird in birdless air,
Yet dared to fix his vision anywhere.

Fish feed on fish, according to their need:
My enemies renew me, and my blood
Beats slower in my careless solitude.
I bare a wound, and dare myself to bleed.
I think a bird, and it begins to fly.
By dying daily, I have come to be.

All exultation is a dangerous thing.
I see you, love, I see you in a dream;
I hear a noise of bees, a trellis hum,
And that slow humming rises into song.
A breath is but a breath: I have the earth;
I shall undo all dying with my death.

5. They Sing, They Sing

All women loved dance in a dying light–
The moon’s my mother: how I love the moon!
Out of her place she comes, a dolphin one,
Then settles back to shade and the long night.
A beast cries out as if its flesh were torn,
And that cry takes me back where I was born.

Who thought love but a motion in the mind?
Am I but nothing, leaning towards a thing?
I scare myself with sighing, or I’ll sing;
Descend O gentlest light, descend, descend.
I sweet field far ahead, I hear your birds,
They sing, they sing, but still in minor thirds.

I’ve the lark’s word for it, who sings alone:
What’s seen recededs; Forever’s what we know!–
Eternity defined, and strewn with straw,
The fury of the slug beneath the stone.
The vision moves, and yet remains the same.
In heaven’s praise, I dread the thing I am.

The edges of the summit still appall
When we brood on the dead or the beloved;
Nor can imagination do it all
In this last place of light: he dares to live
Who stops being a bird, yet beats his wings
Against the immense immeasurable emptiness of things.

- Theodore Roethke

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The Journey

The author recites it

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

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Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

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