- Day 362: Joanna Newsom – Ys (swoleear.com)
- Afternoon Bites: Sendak Homages, Newsom & Glass Collaborating, Penelope Houston Returns, And More (vol1brooklyn.com)
Just when it has seemed I couldn’t bear
one more friend
waking with a tumor, one more maniac
with a perfect reason, often a sweetness
and changed nothing in the world
except the way I stumbled through it,
for a while lost
in the ignorance of loving
someone or something, the world shrunk
hand-size, and never seeming small.
I acknowledge there is no sweetness
that doesn’t leave a stain,
no sweetness that’s ever sufficiently sweet ….
Tonight a friend called to say his lover
was killed in a car
he was driving. His voice was low
and guttural, he repeated what he needed
to repeat, and I repeated
the one or two words we have for such grief
until we were speaking only in tones.
Often a sweetness comes
as if on loan, stays just long enough
to make sense of what it means to be alive,
then returns to its dark
source. As for me, I don’t care
where it’s been, or what bitter road
to come so far, to taste so good.
Sweetness, a poem by Stephen Dunn
A quiet love poem. I enjoy Amy Lowell’s poetry, in general, but the imagery here—of strawberries, needlework, and the moon—feels a little like home right now.
It’s coming up to strawberry season again…the prices are dropping, and the fruits are getting massive. I remember reading, in a copy of Farmer’s Almanac that Dad brought from a trip to the U.S, that Native Americans gave each full moon in the year a name. Full Strawberry Moon is actually the name for June’s moon, but since we’re getting strawberries now, it’s my Strawberry moon month.
I love strawberries. The story is that my mom wanted to eat strawberries when she was pregnant with me. No idea whether that’s actually true, but it may explain my voracious love for the plump berries. Though broccoli makes me wild, too, and I don’t recall Mum ever wanting to eat broccoli during a pregnancy. Besides, that’s not a very romantic before-you-were-born story, is it? “Your mother wanted to eat nothing but broccoli when she was carrying you, and you looked just like one when you were born; that’s why you have curly green hair…and smell a little funny.”
…such was a poet and shall be and is
—who’ll solve the depths of horror to defend
a sunbeam’s architecture with his life:
and carve immortal jungles of despair
to hold a mountain’s heartbeat in his hand
excerpt from “no man, if men are gods;” from 1 X 1 [One Times One] by e.e.cummings
e.e. cummings. At last.
I was introduced to his poetry in 1991, as a freshman at uni, by the sculptor and artist Jenny Cortes(then apprentice of the not-always-lovable-but-certainly-never-boring master sculptor Jerry Araos)…I wonder where she is now…
Bookstores in Manila were still very basic in the 90s; a ‘poetry section’ was usually thirty books—’treasuries’, mostly, of love poems, or the ubiquitous university-sanctioned collections of dead poets—languishing alongside those cheap edition paperback classics that only high school students bought, and only because they were forced to write book reports on them. No one had ever heard of e.e.cummings.
I found him in the state university’s library…crumbling yellow pages in books that had long ago been rebound by the university librarians in their trademark ugly maroon bookcloth, with the pocked orange peel texture, and the blurry gold-stamped title in condensed (Orator?) all-caps on the spine.
The idiosyncratic way he played with the language,—the words rattling, dancing around on the page the way phrases often did in my own head—the romantic love sonnets given a jazzy twist…the satire and humor in his poems about war or about humanity…endeared themselves to me, and I have loved this poet ever since. He was like Gertrude Stein, minus the deutschkopf and the German-Jewish baggage.
I copied 370 of his poems by hand into a big notebook, and they were all that I ever had on paper of his works.
Then I moved to Darwin and found his Complete Poems 1904-1962 at the local library. From then on the library and I entered into a sort of ‘joint ownership’ of the book (not that they realized what was going on) where I would borrow the Complete Poems of e.e.cummings, keep it the full month, renew my borrowing twice (the maximum number of renewals permitted) and then reluctantly bring the book back to them after having had it for three months. The day after I had brought it back, I would go and take it out again. I think I have had that library book in my possession for nearly a year, all counted. I once went back to borrow it again, and was told that it was out. I was happy to know that someone else in Darwin read cummings, but I also couldn’t relax until it reappeared on the library’s shelves.
Crazy lady. Uh huh.
Then last October I finally did what I should have done fifteen years ago: I hunted down and bought my own copy of Complete Poems. No more stalking the librarians of the Council Library…
at last perfection,now and here
—but look:not sunlight?yes!
and(plunging rapturously up)
we spill our masterpiece
“to start,to hesitate;to stop” from XAIPE by e.e.cummings