March 12, 2020

When the witch married the sea,
she slept on beds of kelp
and barked in otter-tongue.
She wove capes of tender weeds
and danced widdershins
in the foamy wakes of whales.
Pearls were as common as pennies;
if she wanted to feel rich
she counted all the ocean’s greens,
her tongue a clapper in the bell
of the world, chiming their names.

When the witch married the stone
she learned it is no sin to be hard.
If she craved softness,
she gloved herself in velvet lichens,
coaxed a sparrow to brush its wing
against her bulk.
She studied the fine art of time and tarry.
She tasted weather, suffering nothing
from sleet and snow
except the subtle shiftings of the earth
beneath her form.
Erosion barely pained her till
one winter’s contraction
cracked her.

When the witch married the wind,
she broke free of the field and fled
to woods and wilds, revisited the sea.
She toured the cities,
every tower and alley.
For kicks she became a thief of hats,
a gambler betting on the races
between tumbling newspaper rivals.
She was an artist then:
all through the winter nights
she practiced her singing;
in the summers she danced
dust-storms and tornadoes.

When the witch married the night,
she rose above day’s fret and fever,
tuned herself to hear the planets’
subtle harmonies beyond the silence.
She sculpted faces in the moon.
She began to forget the world below,
which she had loved in many forms.
When star-fire called to her,
she came,
became pure flame,
a passion that never knew
surcease of burning.

Sandi Leibowitz

When Spring is sprung…

March 12, 2020

When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.

Ernest Hemingway
A Moveable Feast

Interestingly, the historic case of 1868 in England that first defined obscenity — known among lawyers as the Hicklin decision — evolved out of the prosecution of a pamphlet describing how priests were often so sexually aroused while hearing women’s confessions that they sometimes masturbated and even copulated with their repentant subjects in the confessional.

Gay Talese
Thy Neighbour’s Wife

The witching hour, somebody had once whispered to her, was a special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up was in a deep deep sleep, and all the dark things came out from hiding and had the world all to themselves.

Roald Dahl

certain strange moments

March 12, 2020

The pleasures of great poetry are many and varied, and Tennyson’s “Ulysses” is, for me, an endless delight. Only rarely can poetry aid us in communing with others; that is a beautiful idealism, except at certain strange moments, like the instant of falling in love.

Harold Bloom
How to Read and Why

some memory of refuge

March 12, 2020

….Some, the newly translated perhaps, are drawn to certain houses in the night. While the occupants are asleep they move in close, position themselves outside the unlit curtained windows and press their faces to the panes, as if — though it’s pointless to ascribe to them any motives we would recognize — some memory of refuge, of belonging might move in them still. Why these houses? Why these feelings? Who can say? We could assume the houses evoke in them something like nostalgia; probably we’d be wrong. All we really know is that there they are, leaning in against the glass, resigned, unwearied, still and noiseless in their vigils.

Steve Duffy
The Marginals