Ye Who Enter In
(after Antonio Machado)
- Jamie McKendrick
To plumb the depths of hell and meet
ministers, saladins and scholars,
Marilyn Monroe and Cleopatra,
the latter naked as the day they died;
to give audience where you please
and where you don’t to curl your lip
or deftly rabbit-punch a kidney
sure that your arm is power-assisted.
To be steered about by someone who just
happens to be Virgil, and you like his poems.
To write as a chisel writes on rock
so every phrase you write resounds forever:
ABANDON ALL HOPE … You first.
No really I insist please after you.
(From 101 Sonnets: From Shakespeare to Heaney, edited by Don Paterson, Faber & Faber, 2002)
- Margaret Atwood
Evening comes on and the hills thicken;
red and yellow bleaching out of the leaves.
The chill pines grow their shadows.
Below them the water stills itself,
a sunset shivering in it.
One more going down to join the others.
Now the lake expands
and closes in, both.
The blackness that keeps itself
under the surface in daytime
emerges from it like mist
or as mist.
Distance vanishes, the absense
of distance pushes against the eyes.
There is no seeing the lake,
only the outlines of the hills
which are almost identical,
familiar to me as sleep,
shores unfolding upon shores
in their contours of slowed breathing.
It is touch I go by,
the boat like a hand feeling
through shoals and among
dead trees, over the boulders
lifting unseen, layer
on layer of drowned time falling away.
This is how I learned to steer
through darkness by no stars.
To be lost is only a failure of memory.
(From Eating Fire: Selected Poetry, 1965-1995, Virago, 2001)
Well done society.
I swear if this gets any more notes then I fear for the next generation.
as I reblog this. I was the kid who had the misfortune of transferring into school, having just moved from another country, and the school administration decided to announce this fact at the first-of-the-year assembly.
448,136 as of my reblog. I moved from the North of England to the very South of England. From a tiny village primary school to a middle school that had as many people in my year as had previously been in my entire school. Add in a northern accent, a household with no TV which meant cultural references were not my friend, and my general desire to Not Be There because it was not the north, and you have a recipe for fucking disaster.
The General Misinterpretation of Edward Hopper
- Kate DeRight
His paintings have been measured
as an index of the shades of depression
always yellow, grey and white
Every colour’s primary
Each picture a still
of the punch of hopelessness
There’s a lovely symmetry to the obvious loneliness
and you never see any teeth
Instead of a deathly empty space
I see rows in a field sown with breath
A breeze as soft as the tip of a horse’s nose
the wave of a curtain caught at the edge of hello
Porches that words haven’t discovered
Looks drowned in the fractals of cream fading black coffee
The triumph of tender geometry
And the gracious reminder of ecstasy
that dances through us so swiftly
we haven’t time to twirl it and smile
only to bow at its sensuous, promising disappearance
(From you too can have this beautiful life, White Trash Intellectuals, 2004)
A fun thing to do when people accuse you of “thinking people should just have stuff HANDED TO THEM! ! !” Is to just cold be like yes. I absolutely do believe that. I think every single person should have their needs met unconditionally without ever having to prove that they “deserve” it based on arbitrary criteria of usefulness. You got me. Busted.