October 25, 2016


A wisp of old woman,
curved like a scythe,
tottered to me as she
fussed her shopping,
her walking stick hooked
on her chopstick wrist.

She spoke to me then
in a dried leaf voice.
Inaudible there
in that busy street,
swept by rude gales
from passing trucks.

I leaned closer to hear:
Mein eyes not gut.
time for bus, ven comes it?

“Which bus do you want?”

She smiled, shook her head
then sang to herself
– and somebody else,
in – not German. Yiddish?
“Which bus?”
She leaned towards me,
her tiny claw reached
to stroke my face.
Du she said.


Janet Kenny


October 25, 2016


Haunted, they say, believing
the soft, shifty
dunes are made up
of false promises.

Many believe
whatever happens
is the other half
of a conversation.

Many whisper
white lies
to the dead.

“The boys are doing really well.”

Some think
nothing is so
until it has been witnessed.

They believe
the bits are iffy;

the forces that bind them,

Rae Armantrout



For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.

Anne Lamott
Bird by Bird: Some instructions on writing and life



October 25, 2016


Novel writing doesn’t breed serenity. It is lying, you know, and the novelist has to spend a lot of time during the course of his writing worrying about whether he is going to get away with his lies. If he fails to, his novel isn’t going to work.

Kurt Vonnegut to Charles Reilly
College Literature 1980

All Hallows Night

October 24, 2016


Two things I did on Hallows Night:-
Made my house April-clear;
Left open wide my door
To the ghosts of the year.
Then one came in. Across the room

It stood up long and fair –
The ghost that was myself –
And gave me stare for stare.

Lizette Woodworth Reese

a would-be poet…

October 24, 2016


So a would-be poet begins to learn that poetry is more various than he imagined and that he can like and dislike different poems for different reasons. His Censor, however, has still not yet been born. Before he can give birth to him, he has to pretend to be somebody else; he has to get a literary transference upon some poet in particular.

If poetry were in great public demand so that there were overworked professional poets, I can imagine a system under which an established poet would take on a small number of apprentices who would begin by changing his blotting paper, advance to typing his manuscripts and end up by ghostwriting poems for him which he was too busy to start or finish. The apprentices might really learn something for, knowing that he would get the blame as well as the credit for their work, the Master would be extremely choosy about his apprentices and do his best to teach them all he knew. In fact, of course, a would-be poet serves his apprenticeship in a library. This has its advantages. Though the Master The Dyer’s Hand is deaf and dumb and gives neither instruction nor criticism, the apprentice can choose any Master he likes, living or dead, the Master is available at any hour of the day or night, lessons are all for free, and his passionate admiration of his Master will ensure that he work hard to please him.

W H Auden
The Dyer’s Hand
Making, Knowing and Judging

write the truth…

October 24, 2016


The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.

Margaret Atwood
The Blind Assassin

Samhain essentials….

October 24, 2016