Why I Am Not a Painter
by Frank O’ Hara
I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,
for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
“Sit down and have a drink” he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. “You have SARDINES in it.”
“Yes, it needed something there.”
“Oh.” I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. “Where’s SARDINES?”
All that’s left is just
letters, “It was too much,” Mike says.
But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike’s painting, called SARDINES.
photo Rose Cook
Out of my deeper heart
Out of my deeper heart a bird rose and flew skyward.
Higher and higher did it rise, yet larger and larger did it grow.
At first it was but like a swallow, then a lark, then an eagle,
then as vast as a spring cloud, and then it filled the starry heavens.
Out of my heart a bird flew skyward.
And it waxed larger as it flew.
Yet it left not my heart.
~ Kahlil Gibran
photograph Rose Cook
One Breath Lisa Kristine
When my mother was dying
We made a agreement that when she passed
I would have to find her in new ways
You can find me in the wind
Or in the scent of a rose..
You will find me in the decisions you make…
Help each other
We are all children of the Gods
And we all share one language
And we all share one breath.
photograph Rose Cook
Red Onion, Cherries, Boiling Potatoes, Milk-
by Jane Hirshfield
Here is a soul, accepting nothing.
Obstinate as a small child
refusing tapioca, peaches, toast.
The cheeks are streaked, but dry.
The mouth is firmly closed in both directions.
Ask, if you like,
if it is merely sulking, or holding out for better.
The soup grows cold in the question.
The ice cream pools in its dish.
Not this, is all it knows. Not this.
As certain cut flowers refuse to drink in the vase.
And the heart, from its great distance, watches, helpless.
(photograph Rose Cook)
MCMXIV, by Phillip Larkin
Those long uneven lines
Standing as patiently
As if they were stretched outside
The Oval or Villa Park,
The crowns of hats, the sun
On moustached archaic faces
Grinning as if it were all
An August Bank Holiday lark;
And the shut shops, the bleached
Established names on the sunblinds,
The farthings and sovereigns,
And dark-clothed children at play
Called after kings and queens,
The tin advertisements
For cocoa and twist, and the pubs
Wide open all day;
And the countryside not caring:
The place-names all hazed over
With flowering grasses, and fields
Shadowing Domesday lines
Under wheat’s restless silence;
The differently-dressed servants
With tiny rooms in huge houses,
The dust behind limousines;
Never such innocence,
Never before or since,
As changed itself to past
Without a word – the men
Leaving the gardens tidy,
The thousands of marriages,
Lasting a little while longer:
Never such innocence again.
Be with those who help your being.
Don’t sit with indifferent people, whose breath
comes cold out of their mouths.
Not these visible forms, your work is deeper.
A chunk of dirt thrown in the air breaks to pieces.
If you don’t try to fly,
and so break yourself apart,
you will be broken open by death,
when it’s too late for all you could become.
Leaves get yellow. The tree puts out fresh roots
and makes them green.
Why are you so content with a love that turns you yellow?
translation Coleman Barks
photo Rose Cook