Darkness Visible

My morning begins slowly. When I eventually draw the curtains to let in the startling light of another day getting away from me, I notice that it must have rained overnight. The nasturtiums by the side of the house, which have grown thick and large and more like lily pads than something for a salad, are dotted with water that gathers in perfect brilliant droplets like polished glass.

It is almost winter.

It feels as though colour has been leached away. Beneath a dirty white sky everything is a darker, more muted version of itself. It is especially hard to find the beauty in things.

Birds provide some brightness. The blue of fairy-wrens, red-beaked finches, noisy wagtails. There were pelicans in the dam last week. And above the empty cornfield a sea eagle. Below, gathering the maize kernels that the flocks of cockatoos and ravens missed, ducks. Russet-breasted ducks with stark white collars who would reveal themselves as they periodically scan for predators, peeking above the stubble of the field.

The field is beginning to fill with grass and weeds. A carpet of green, slowly forming between the orderly rows of cut corn stalks.

There are moments on the trail, when there are no distant cars or trucks, no low whine of tyres on bitumen, no devices or whirring fans, moments when the only sound is birdsong and the busyness of insects, of tall dried grass stalks rattling against their companions, brief periods that quicken the heart.

they come
different and the same
with each it is different and the same
with each the absence of love is different
with each the absence of love is the same

— Samuel Beckett, 1938

The End of Poetry

Enough of osseous and chickadee and sunflower
and snowshoes, maple and seeds, samara and shoot,
enough chiaroscuro, enough of thus and prophecy
and the stoic farmer and faith and our father and tis
of thee, enough of bosom and bud, skin and god
not forgetting and star bodies and frozen birds,
enough of the will to go on and not go on or how
a certain light does a certain thing, enough
of the kneeling and the rising and the looking
inward and the looking up, enough of the gun,
the drama, and the acquaintance’s suicide, the long-lost
letter on the dresser, enough of the longing and
the ego and the obliteration of ego, enough
of the mother and the child and the father and the child
and enough of the pointing to the world, weary
and desperate, enough of the brutal and the border,
enough of can you see me, can you hear me, enough
I am human, enough I am alone and I am desperate,
enough of the animal saving me, enough of the high
water, enough sorrow, enough of the air and its ease,
I am asking you to touch me.

— Ada Limón, link

Do not forget old friends
you knew long before I met you
the times I know nothing about
being someone
who lives by himself
and only visits you on a raid

— Leonard Cohen (1968)

Miracle Fish

I used to pretend to believe in God. Mainly, I liked so much to talk to someone in the dark. Think of how far a voice must have to travel to go beyond the universe. How powerful that voice must be to get there. Once in a small chapel in Chimayo, New Mexico, I knelt in the dirt because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do. That was before I learned to harness that upward motion inside me, before I nested my head in the blood of my body. There was a sign and it said, This earth is blessed. Do not play in it. But I swear I will play on this blessed earth until I die. I relied on a Miracle Fish, once, in New York City, to tell me my fortune. That was before I knew it was my body’s water that moved it, that the massive ocean inside me was what made the fish swim.

— Ada Limón (2015)

Gray Room

Although you sit in a room that is gray,
Except for the silver
Of the straw-paper,
And pick
At your pale white gown;
Or lift one of the green beads
Of your necklace,
To let it fall;
Or gaze at your green fan
Printed with the red branches of a red willow;
Or, with one finger,
Move the leaf in the bowl–
The leaf that has fallen from the branches of the forsythia
Beside you…
What is all this?
I know how furiously your heart is beating.

— Wallace Stevens

Thistle heads on the trail

The Garden Has Gone Mad

Any chance this is the right summer? Any chance
you’ll come and stay, maybe a year or two?
Here, the garden has gone mad – everything out –
the china broken among these tools
that we have made up to make up –
shears, trowels, a silver-plated emerald-encrusted
shovel, all swallowed up by your absence.
I love our blue hearts. I think often
what it is to wake up in this
waterflesh and then gather rosemary.
What it is to live in this wide house
all alone and smother the ghost
that tells me to do, to do, to do, 
like a train. The orchids have grown teeth
in their mouths. As an aside, I have come
to believe my hips might be sapphire. Any chance?
Evening, shortly. Outside, the woodlice
hold an amorous feast. And in the evening,
I am very over –

— Miruna Fulgeanu (2020)

“The most remarkable preliminary symptoms were the variations of my need of sleep. After initial spells of insomnia, nightmare and falling asleep by day, I found that my capacity for sleep was becoming more and more remarkable: till the hours I spent in or on my bed vastly outnumbered the hours I spent awake; and my sleep was so profound that I might have been under the influence of some hypnotic drug. For two days, meals and the offices in the church — Mass, Vespers and Compline — were almost my only lucid moments. Then began an extraordinary transformation: this extreme lassitude dwindled to nothing; night shrank to five hours of light, dreamless and perfect sleep, followed by awakenings full of energy and limpid freshness. The explanation is simple enough: the desire for talk, movements and nervous expression that I had transported from Paris found, in this silent place, no response or foil, evoked no single echo; after miserably gesticulating for a while in a vacuum, it languished and finally died for lack of any stimulus or nourishment. Then the tremendous accumulation of tiredness, which must be the common property of all our contemporaries, broke loose and swamped everything. No demands, once I had emerged from that flood of sleep, were made upon my nervous energy: there were no automatic drains, such as conversation at meals, small talk, catching trains, or the hundred anxious trivialities that poison everyday life. Even the major causes of guilt and anxiety had slid away into some distant limbo and not only failed to emerge in the small hours as tormentors but appeared to have lost their dragonish validity.”

— Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time to Keep Silence