Archive for the 'poetry' Category

Reading: Marianne Moore

My copy of Marianne Moore‘s Collected Poems comes from beloved uncle B, who was the chaplain when Moore received her Litterarum Humaniorium Doctor (L.H.D.) degree. His copy of the Convocation bulletin is tucked inside the book, which let me know Uncle B passed it on to me. I hadn’t thought modern poetry was his thing. Red convertibles, P.G. Wodehouse, fob watches and briar wood pipes are part of my jumbled memories of this kind minister, who always remembered my birthday.

I’m currently reading and re-reading the poem “Light is Speech”. Here’s a snippet:

“Yes light is speech. Free frank / impartial sunlight, moonlight, / starlight, lighthouse light, / are language. The Creach’h / d’ Ouessant light- / house on its defenseless dot of / rock is the descendant of Voltaire….”

Marianne Moore, “Light is Speech” Collected Poems.

It’s a complicated poem, and this snippet doesn’t do it justice. I’m not sure the poem is the right way up in my head, but it helps to ponder it while I try to stave off anxiety. I read a section of poetry, then I knit a few rows of a pretty plain sock. Fortified by this and tea, I check in on work invoices and hope things get better. If you wish to find a copy of the poem, I think it’s only in print. Here’s a WorldCat search for Marianne Moore’s poetry.

I hope things are getting better where you are, and that there’s a lighthouse of talk (with friends and family over the phone) to buoy your spirits and guide you to calm.

Between storms

The moon peeks out, like a golden imp,

framed by milkhaze clouds in the dark sky.

Storms roll through, all exclamation marks and gouts of rain.

People dash for doorsteps, pelting through puddles,

struggling with umbrellas, peering from beneath rainhoods.

The moon peeks out after everything is quiet. Birds chirp about wet feet.

Something creaks in the darkness. Now is the between. (C) 2018, RJ N

Spring blossoms

crocusesCelebrate first blooms…

Snowdrops gaze while crocuses

Toss their sun-tipped heads.


Current status of the world: March is definitely roaring like a lion from offshore. It’s chilly here in the northern hemisphere, even for those of us that have sun. Yesterday we had snow showers that were like moving fog, so I’m enjoying today and going to a park this afternoon, under many layers.

If you want better poetry, try Seelenkarussell’s site (in German).


grasses snow

When clouds reach down to touch the trees,
Their sides snag on tree branches
Dragging against edges until —
Tear, rip, torn —
They spill onto the fields.
Snow drifts against the hedgerows.

© rjn, January 11, 2018

Quick notes on the poem: this was written after watching grey clouds race low across the sky, then seem to struggle in the trees on top of a hill. In the struggle, they dumped snow in an abrupt misty downpour. By the end, the clouds had disappeared into the other clouds above them. All that was left was a fine grit of snow over everything.

If I were a cartoonist, I would have drawn the snow squall as cloud ghosts who were wringing their hands and wailing, while the edges of their wrappings got tangled in the branches.

Autumn ebbs

pumpkinAutumn arrives with October, rising then ebbing

Like a tidal river;

We watch the skies for rain, scan trees for turning leaves…

Worry about winter.

When, really… autumn continues to dance with summer,

Impishly backtracking

Until summer boils our brains, and autumn chills our bones.



Relax into a poem by Elan Mudrow

I sit with her Placing her in memory Giving thoughts strength, yet In her silence, she frightens me. I rely on others Camping upon her shore To soothe my worry. And although I haven’t Seen her rimmed with snow Echoing the clearest of nights, Pitted with raindrops Upon her clear face, Witnessed her held tight […]

via Mountain Lake — Elan Mudrow

Hilde Domin – reading

Thanks to Buchmerkur Schroersche Berlin [Link here], I have started searching for English/German side by side publications of Hilde Domin’s poetry. I’ve stumbled onto the poems translated by Meg Taylor and Elke Heckel online here. Autumn eyes/Herbstaugen is particularly lovely.

I’ve also been enjoying a book on Harlem by Jonathan Gill. From the first altercation between the people already living there and the Dutch, to its place in history as a place for Jewish and Irish immigrants to start out, race clashes, and the Harlem Renaissance. The book continues through 400 years, and I’ve only reached the jazz era. 🙂 But it’s all history we didn’t learn in school, so I’ve been having a great time learning how much I didn’t know.