I usually write a poem a day in November. Today, during a Study Hall when I couldn’t concentrate on grading, I pulled up a couple Rilke poems about autumn and tried my hand at translation. I had forgotten how extremely satisfying it is to translate poems from German. This gives me three poems to post today, so in the interest of blog brevity, I will create a second post tonight in order to post the poems.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.” –Roald Dahl, The Witches
“For women who are tied to the moon, love alone is not enough. We insist each day wrap its’ knuckles through our heart strings and pull. The lows, the joy, the poetry. We dance at the edge of a cliff. You have fallen off. So it goes. You will climb up again.” –Anais Nin
“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
“On such a day each road is planned
To lead to some enchanted land;
Each turning meets expectancy.
The signs I read on every hand.
I know by autumn’s wizardry
On such a day the world can be
Only a great glad dream for me–
Only a great glad dream for me!”
–Eleanor Myers Jewett, “An Autumn Day”
“Change is not merely necessary to life, it is life.”
“In the morning I went out to pick dandelions and was drawn to the Echinacea patch where I found a honeybee clinging to one of the pink flowers. She seemed in distress, confused and weak. She kept falling off the flower and then catching herself in midair and flying dizzily back. She kept trying to get back to work, to collect her pollen and nectar to take home to the hive to make honey but she was getting weaker and weaker and then she fell into my hand. I knew she would never make it back to her hive. For the next half hour she rested in my palm, her life slowly ebbing away as a thunderstorm started to brew. I sat on the earth waiting for death with her. The lightening flashed over the mountains, a family of turkeys slowly walked the ridge, a wild dog keyed into what was happening circled past us. The trees appeared startlingly vivid and conscious as the wind blew up and the thunder cracked and then her death was finished. She was gone forever. But in her going she taught me to take every moment as my last flower, do what I could and make something sweet of it.” –Layne Redmond
Let me seek, then, the gift of silence, and poverty, and solitude, where everything I touch is turned into prayer: where the sky is my prayer, the birds are my prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all.
“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”
–Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, author of Frankenstein
“Learn to tell the story of the red leaves against water.
Read the alphabet of walnut branches newly bared for winter.
Become literate in the language of cricket and of wren,
of the footsteps of skunk and the changeability of weather.
Interpret the text of the wind in the hollow.
Scan the documents of cloud and constellation.
Enter the tale of rose hip and nettle and sassafras.
Study Wisdom and she will find you.”
“For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.
Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest external horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.
As they become known and accepted to ourselves, our feelings, and the honest exploration of them, become sanctuaries and fortresses and spawning grounds for the most radical and daring of ideas, the house of difference so necessary to change and the conceptualization of any meaningful action. Right now, I could name at least ten ideas I would have once found intolerable or incomprehensible and frightening, except as they came after dreams and poems. This is not idle fantasy, but the true meaning of “it feels right to me.” We can train ourselves to respect our feelings, and to discipline (transpose) them into a language that matches those feelings so they can be shared. And where that language does not yet exist, it is our poetry which helps to fashion it. Poetry is not only dream or vision, it is the skeleton architecture of our lives.”
by Clyde Watson
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.
“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.” –Khalil Gibran
3. How dreams seep into waking
4. How waking seeps into dreams
5. Form and freedom
May we walk in Beauty!