27 Mar 2013

Quote – Robert Frost

[1874–1963, American]

In Robert Frost's letter to Louis Untermeyer (1 January 1916):

"A poem...begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. It is a reaching-out toward expression; an effort to find fulfillment. A complete poem is one where an emotion finds the thought and the thought finds the words."

Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Robert_Frost 27 March 2013.

Keeping Things Whole – Mark Strand

[1934–current, born Canada, has lived in North, South and Central Americas]

In a field 
I am the absence 
of field. 
This is 
always the case. 
Wherever I am 
I am what is missing. 

When I walk 
I part the air 
and always 
the air moves in 
to fill the spaces 
where my body’s been. 

We all have reasons 
for moving. 
I move 
to keep things whole.

Source: Strand, M, 2002, Selected Poems, Random House.

One Art – Elizabeth Bishop

[1911–1979, American]

The art of losing isn’t hard to master; 
so many things seem filled with the intent 
to be lost that their loss is no disaster. 

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster 
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. 
The art of losing isn’t hard to master. 

Then practice losing farther, losing faster: 
places, and names, and where it was you meant 
to travel. None of these will bring disaster. 

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or 
next-to-last, of three loved houses went. 
The art of losing isn’t hard to master. 

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, 
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. 
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster. 

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture 
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident 
the art of losing’s not too hard to master 
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster. 

Source: Bishop, E 1983, The Complete Poems 1927-1979, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC.

The Bad Thing – John Wain

[1925–1994, English]

Sometimes just being alone seems the bad thing

Solitude can swell until it blocks the sun,
It hurts so much, even fear, even worrying
Over the past and future, get stifled. It has won,
You think; this is the bad thing, it is here.
Then sense comes; you go to sleep, or have
Some food, write a letter or work, get something clear.
Solitude shrinks; you are not all its slave.

Then you think: the bad thing inhabits yourself.
Just being alone is nothing; not pain, not balm.
Escape, into poem, into pub, wanting a friend
Is not avoiding the bad thing. The high shelf
Where you stacked the bad thing, hoping for calm,
Broke. It rolled down. It follows you to the end.

Source: Wain, J 1956, A Word Carved on a Sill, Routledge & K Paul.