Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Stephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Stephon's kiss was lost in jest,
Robin's lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin's eyes
Haunts me night and day.

“to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”
Ellen Bass


They came to tell your faults to me,
 They named them over one by one;
 I laughed aloud when they were done,
 I knew them all so well before,
— Oh, they were blind, too blind to see 
Your faults had made me love you more.

by Sara Teasdale


Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it's mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

6:59 AM

I’ve been told
that people in the army
do more by 7:00 am
than I do
in an entire day

but if I wake
at 6:59 am
and turn to you
to trace the outline of your lips
with mine
I will have done enough
and killed no one
in the process.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

I Have A Need For Water Near

I never lived this far from the ocean.


Searching my heart for its true sorrow,
This is the thing I find to be:
That I am weary of words and people,
Sick of the city, wanting the sea;

Wanting the sticky, salty sweetness
Of the strong wind and shattered spray;
Wanting the loud sound and the soft sound
Of the big surf that breaks all day.

Always before about my dooryard,
Marking the reach of the winter sea,
Rooted in sand and dragging drift-wood,
Straggled the purple wild sweet-pea;

Always I climbed the wave at morning,
Shook the sand from my shoes at night,
That now am caught beneath great buildings,
Stricken with noise, confused with light.

If I could hear the green piles groaning
Under the windy wooden piers,
See once again the bobbing barrels,
And the black sticks that fence the weirs,

If I could see the weedy mussels
Crusting the wrecked and rotting hulls,
Hear once again the hungry crying
Overhead, of the wheeling gulls,

Feel once again the shanty straining
Under the turning of the tide,
Fear once again the rising freshet,
Dread the bell in the fog outside,—

I should be happy,—that was happy
All day long on the coast of Maine!
I have a need to hold and handle
Shells and anchors and ships again!

I should be happy, that am happy
Never at all since I came here.
I am too long away from water.
I have a need of water near.

Edna St Vincent Millay

 People that build their houses inland,
People that buy a plot of ground  
Shaped like a house, and build a house there,  
Far from the sea-board, far from the sound
Of water sucking the hollow ledges,  
Tons of water striking the shore --  
What do they long for, as I long for  
One salt smell of the sea once more?   

People the waves have not awakened,  
Spanking the boats at the harbor's head,  
What do they long for, as I long for, 
--  Starting up in my inland bed,   

Beating the narrow walls, and finding 
 Neither a window nor a door,  
Screaming to God for death by drowning 
--  One salt taste of the sea once more? 
-- Edna St Vincent Millay

Missing the Sea

Something removed roars in the ears of this house,
Hangs its drapes windless, stuns mirrors
Till reflectons lack substance.

Some sounds like the gnashing of windmills ground
To a dead halt;
A deafening absence, a blow.

It hoops the valley, weighs this mountain,
Estranges gesture, pushes this pencil
Through a thick nothing now,

Freights cupboards with silence, folds sour laundry
Like the clothes of the dead left exactly
As the dead behaved by the beloved,

Incredulous, expecting occupancy.

Derek Walcott

Sea change
by Jane Verburg

Do you know what it’s like to live with the sea

in your hair,

inside your head, knitted into your sleep?

Its noiselessness, noisiness, tied to your fingertips,

its seaweed rolled in strandlines strung to your toes,

its thumbprint pebbles caught in the curve

of your turn,

its sea glass in your pockets,

its curlews lifting in wide ribbons wrapped in

the palm of your hand.

Do you? Do you? I do.


      NO matter what I say,
      All that I really love
      Is the rain that flattens on the bay,
      And the eel-grass in the cove;
      The jingle-shells that lie on the beach
      At the tide-line, and the trace
      Of higher tides along the beach:
      Nothing in this place.

      Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sunday, 4 September 2011

A perfect day.

Today was spent on a balcony in Paris, wiling away the hours over almond tea and banana pancakes with Frances. And this poem cropped up:

When, in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least,
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate

For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings,
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

William Shakespeare

Friday, 2 September 2011

Your Way

I read somewhere that once 'I love you' is uttered in a love poem, the poem instantly loses its meaning. I've been thinking and writing recently about love, and that as nice as it is to write about such a thing, there really is no point. As nothing can express love better than love itself.
When love strikes, metaphors about roses and lovehearts and weeping in the rain become totally redundant and embarrassingly trivial...

This captures the essence of love so beautifully and so simply. Leonard wins my heart once more:

The Sweetest Little Song

You go your way
I'll go your way too.

- Leonard Cohen

Which brought to mind this quote: “Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction” Antoine de Saint-Exupery