“I feel older, younger, both at once.” ~ Joyce Sutphen, from “Older, Younger, Both”

consenescere other wordly

This isn’t the poem that I had wanted, but I cannot for the life of me remember the title of the other one in which the speaker is looking on at an elderly couple, obviously still comfortable in their togetherness. But you cannot go wrong with Wendell Berry.

They Sit Together on the Porch

They sit together on the porch, the dark
Almost fallen, the house behind them dark.
Their supper done with, they have washed and dried
The dishes–only two plates now, two glasses,
Two knives, two forks, two spoons–small work for two.
She sits with her hands folded in her lap,
At rest. He smokes his pipe. They do not speak,
And when they speak at last it is to say
What each one knows the other knows. They have
One mind between them, now, that finally
For all its knowing will not exactly know
Which one goes first through the dark doorway, bidding
Goodnight, and which sits on a while alone.

~ Wendell Berry

                   

Music by Bob Dylan, “Tomorrow is a Long Time” (Video is from “The Walking Dead,” our newest television addiction; zombies, go figure)

“My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage.” ~ Alice Hoffman, from Practical Magic

I have always loved this particular painting by Alexander, and I thought that it was the perfect complement to this word:

"Repose" (1895, oil on canvas)John White Alexander
“Repose” (1895, oil on canvas)
John White Alexander

                   

quaintrelle other-wordly

                   

Music by Ray LaMontagne, “Empty”

                  

Let Everything Happen

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“The world has an infinite beauty, but not, always, for us.” ~ Charles Wright, from “Scar Tissue II”

“Blue Cornflowers and Orange Tree” (nd)
by Pol Ledent

                   

“Who knows the heart of another’s heart?
Our lives are the length of a struck match,
And our days are sure to end in a dark confusion.” ~ Charles Wright, from “Buffalo Yoga”

Reblogged from Other-wordly and A Poet Reflects:

                     

Music by Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner, “Big Red Machine”

                    

October

The leaves fall from my fingers
Cornflowers scattered across the field like stars,
like smoke stars,
By the train tracks, the leaves in a drift

Under the slow clouds
and the nine steps to heaven,
The light falling in great sheets through the trees,
Sheets almost tangible.

The transfiguration will start like this, I think,
breathless,
Quick blade through the trees,
Something with red colors falling away from my hands,

The air beginning to go cold …
And when it does
I’ll rise from this tired body, a blood-knot of light,
Ready to take the darkness in.

—Or for the wind to come
And carry me, bone by bone, through the sky,
Its wafer a burn on my tongue,
its wine deep forgetfulness.

~ Charles Wright

Night does not show things, it suggests them. It disturbes and surprises us with its strangeness. It liberates forces within us which are dominated by our reason during the daytime.” ~ Brassai

                   

                   

“This Night” by Black Lab

                   

In the Secular Night

In the secular night you wander around
alone in your house. It’s two-thirty.
Everyone has deserted you,
or this is your story;
you remember it from being sixteen,
when the others were out somewhere, having a good time,
or so you suspected,
and you had to baby-sit.
You took a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream
and filled up the glass with grapejuice
and ginger ale, and put on Glenn Miller
with his big-band sound,
and lit a cigarette and blew the smoke up the chimney,
and cried for a while because you were not dancing,
and then danced, by yourself, your mouth circled with purple.
Now, forty years later, things have changed,
and it’s baby lima beans.
It’s necessary to reserve a secret vice.
This is what comes from forgetting to eat
at the stated mealtimes. You simmer them carefully,
drain, add cream and pepper,
and amble up and down the stairs,
scooping them up with your fingers right out of the bowl,
talking to yourself out loud.
You’d be surprised if you got an answer,
but that part will come later.
There is so much silence between the words,
you say. You say, The sensed absence
of God and the sensed presence
amount to much the same thing,
only in reverse.
You say, I have too much white clothing.
You start to hum.
Several hundred years ago
this could have been mysticism
or heresy. It isn’t now.
Outside there are sirens.
Someone’s been run over.
The century grinds on.
~ Margaret Atwood
                   

couldn’t decide between the two, so posting both . . .
                   
The Starry Night

“That does not keep me from having a terrible need of—shall I say the word—religion.

Then I go out at night to paint the stars.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother
The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die.
It moves. They are all alive.
Even the moon bulges in its orange irons
to push children, like a god, from its eye.
The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die:
into that rushing beast of the night,
sucked up by that great dragon, to split
from my life with no flag,
no belly,
no cry.
~ Anne Sexton

“the heart is a deep wild rock” ~ D. H. Lawrence, from “Know Deeply, Know Thyself More Deeply”

                   

Know Deeply, Know Thyself More Deeply

Go deeper than love, for the soul has greater depths,
love is like the grass, but the heart is deep wild rock
molten, yet dense and permanent.

Go down to your deep old heart, woman, and lose sight of yourself.
And lose sight of me, the me whom you turbulently loved.

Let us lose sight of ourselves, and break the mirrors.
For the fierce curve of our lives is moving again to the depths
out of sight, in the deep dark living heart.

But say, in the dark wild metal of your heart
is there a gem, which came into being between us?
is there a sapphire of mutual trust, a blue spark?
Is there a ruby of fused being, mine and yours, an inward glint?

If there is not, O then leave me, go away.
For I cannot be bullied back into the appearances of love,
any more than August can be bullied to look like March.

Love out of season, especially at the end of the season
is merely ridiculous.
If you insist on it, I insist on departure.

Have you no deep old heart of wild womanhood
self-forgetful, and gemmed with experience,
and swinging in a strange union of power
with the heart of the man you are supposed to have loved?

If you have not, go away.
If you can only sit with a mirror in your hand, an ageing woman
posing on and on as a lover,
in love with a self that now is shallow and withered,
your own self–that has passed like a last summer’s flower–

then go away–

I do not want a woman whom age cannot wither.
She is a made-up lie, a dyed immortelle
of infinite staleness.

~ D. H. Lawrence

“Everything seems an echo of something else.” ~ Robert Penn Warren, from “A Way to Love God”

Rising Tide by Greg Gibbs (CapturingTheNight) on 500px.com
Rising Tide by Greg Gibbs

                   

A Way to Love God

Here is the shadow of truth, for only the shadow is true.
And the line where the incoming swell from the sunset Pacific
First leans and staggers to break will tell all you need to know
About submarine geography, and your father’s death rattle
Provides all biographical data required for the Who’s Who of the dead.

I cannot recall what I started to tell you, but at least
I can say how night-long I have lain under the stars and
Heard mountains moan in their sleep. By daylight,
They remember nothing, and go about their lawful occasions
Of not going anywhere except in slow disintegration. At night
They remember, however, that there is something they cannot remember.
So moan. Theirs is the perfected pain of conscience that
Of forgetting the crime, and I hope you have not suffered it. I have.

I do not recall what had burdened my tongue, but urge you
To think on the slug’s white belly, how sick-slick and soft,
On the hairiness of stars, silver, silver, while the silence
Blows like wind by, and on the sea’s virgin bosom unveiled
To give suck to the wavering serpent of the moon; and,
In the distance, in plaza, piazza, place, platz, and square,
Boot heels, like history being born, on cobbles bang.

Everything seems an echo of something else.

And when, by the hair, the headsman held up the head
Of Mary of Scots, the lips kept on moving,
But without sound. The lips,
They were trying to say something very important.

But I had forgotten to mention an upland
Of wind-tortured stone white in darkness, and tall, but when
No wind, mist gathers, and once on the Sarré at midnight,
I watched the sheep huddling. Their eyes
Stared into nothingness. In that mist-diffused light their eyes
Were stupid and round like the eyes of fat fish in muddy water,
Or of a scholar who has lost faith in his calling.

Their jaws did not move. Shreds
Of dry grass, gray in the gray mist-light, hung
From the side of a jaw, unmoving.

You would think that nothing would ever again happen.

That may be a way to love God.

~ Robert Penn Warren

“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” ~ Jack Kerouac

“Falling Star” (1884, oil on canvas)
by Witold Pruszkowski

What a find. This beautiful image by Pruszkowski showed up on my Tumblr dash. I had never seen it before. I just love it.

                   

Reblogged from other-wordly:

 

other-wordly:pronunciation | ‘noc-tU-er-E
 

                   

Music by Bonobo, “Noctuary”

                   

At the Equinox

The tide ebbs and reveals orange and purple sea stars.
I have no theory of radiance,

but after rain evaporates
off pine needles, the needles glisten.

In the courtyard, we spot the rising shell of a moon,
and, at the equinox, bathe in its gleam.

Using all the tides of starlight,
we find
vicissitude is our charm.

On the mud flats off Homer,
I catch the tremor when waves start to slide back in;

and, from Roanoke, you carry
the leafing jade smoke of willows.

Looping out into the world, we thread
and return. The lapping waves

cover an expanse of mussels clustered on rocks;
and, giving shape to what is unspoken,

forsythia buds and blooms in our arms.

~ Arthur Sze