Why I am not a Painter

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

 

 

Jane Hirschfield

 

Standing Deer

As the house of a person
in age sometimes grows cluttered
with what is
too loved or too heavy to part with,
the heart may grow cluttered.
And still the house will be emptied,
and still the heart.
As the thoughts of a person
in age sometimes grow sparer,
like a great cleanness come into a room,
the soul may grow sparer;
one sparrow song carves it completely.
And still the room is full,
and still the heart.
Empty and filled,
like the curling half-light of morning,
in which everything is still possible and so why not.
Filled and empty,
like the curling half-light of evening,
in which everything now is finished and so why not.
Beloved, what can be, what was,
will be taken from us.
I have disappointed.
I am sorry. I knew no better.
A root seeks water.
Tenderness only breaks open the earth.
This morning, out the window,
the deer stood like a blessing, then vanished.
~ Jane Hirschfield
from The Lives of the Heart

Photograph Rose Cook

Out of my Deeper Heart – Kahlil Gibran


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

‘Fall’ a poem for the autumn equinox

img_0774

Fall by Edward Hirsch 

 

Fall, falling, fallen. That’s the way the season
Changes its tense in the long-haired maples
That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves
Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition
With the final remaining cardinals) and then
Begin to sidle and float through the air, at last
Settling into colorful layers carpeting the ground.
At twilight the light, too, is layered in the trees
In a season of odd, dusky congruences—a scarlet tanager
And the odor of burning leaves, a golden retriever
Loping down the center of a wide street and the sun
Setting behind smoke-filled trees in the distance,
A gap opening up in the treetops and a bruised cloud
Blamelessly filling the space with purples. Everything
Changes and moves in the split second between summer’s
Sprawling past and winter’s hard revision, one moment
Pulling out of the station according to schedule,
Another moment arriving on the next platform. It
Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away
From their branches and gather slowly at our feet,
Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us,
Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets.
And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.

 

 

Photograph Rose Cook


One Breath by Lisa Kristine

IMG_3421

 

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

 

She said,

 

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

Present – W.S. Merwin

1C6B0458-3516-4DF5-8159-73D23DA2E1ED

Present

 

 

As they were leaving the garden

one of the angels bent down to them and whispered

 

I am to give you this

as you are leaving the garden

 

I do not know what it is

or what it is for

what you will do with it

 

you will not be able to keep it

but you will not be able

 

to keep anything

yet they both reached at once

 

for the present

and when their hands met

 

they laughed

 

 

~ W.S. Merwin

from  Garden Time

 

Photograph Rose Cook

Red Onion, Cherries, Boiling Potatoes, Milk by Jane Hirshfield

FFD28351-2CF3-43F3-B0A4-E679649ADC24
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)

Thanks -WS Werwin

 

 

photograph Rose Cook

On the 100 years’ anniversary of the end of the First World War

677DAF6F-72F1-4DDA-A795-C8CF7DDAD642
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.

Rumi ~ Be with those who help your being

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?
~ Rumi
 translation Coleman Barks
photo Rose Cook