Wednesday, November 23, 2022


When the heart rises to the insight
that everything is gift,
when it makes this discovery,
human beings no longer invent themselves. 

They cease to pretend.

They no longer need to imagine 
what they might be.

Finally they are. 

They acquire the substantial solidity 
which is displayed before their eyes
by the stars. 

Luigi Giussani

I am a man: little do I last
and the night is enormous.
But I look up:
the stars write.
Unknowing I understand:
I too am written,
and at this very moment
someone spells me out.

Octavio Paz
Photo:  Peter Bowers
with thanks: love is a place

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

between what i see and what i say

for Roman Jakobson


Between what I see and what I say,
Between what I say and what I keep silent,
Between what I keep silent and what I dream,
Between what I dream and what I forget:
            It slips
between yes and no,
what I keep silent,
                              keeps silent
what I say,
what I forget.
                      It is not speech:
it is an act.
                  It is an act
of speech.
speaks and listens:
                               it is real.
And as soon as I say
                                 it is real,
it vanishes.
                   Is it then more real?


Tangible idea,
comes and goes
                          between what is
and what is not.
                          It weaves
and unweaves reflections.
scatters eyes on a page,
scatters words on our eyes.
Eyes speak,
                   words look,
looks think.
                   To hear
what we say,
the body of an idea.
                                 Eyes close,
the words open.

Octavio Paz 
A Tree Within
Translated by Eliot Weinberger
Photo: Peter Bowers

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

i would like to describe

I would like to describe the simplest emotion
joy or sadness
but not as others do
reaching for shafts of rain or sun

I would like to describe a light
which is being born in me
but I know it does not resemble
any star
for it is not so bright
not so pure
and is uncertain

I would like to describe courage
without dragging behind me a dusty lion
and also anxiety
without shaking a glass full of water

to put it another way
I would give all metaphors
in return for one word
drawn out of my breast like a rib
for one word
contained within the boundaries
of my skin

but apparently this is not possible

and just to say - I love
I run around like mad
picking up handfuls of birds
and my tenderness
which after all is not made of water
asks the water for a face

and anger
different from fire
borrows from it
a loquacious tongue

so is blurred
so is blurred
in me
what white-haired gentlemen
separated once and for all
and said
this is the subject
and this is the object

we fall asleep
with one hand under our head
and with the other in a mound of planets

our feet abandon us
and taste the earth
with their tiny roots
which next morning
we tear out painfully

Zbigniew Herbert
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Sunday, November 13, 2022

taste of morning

Time's knife slides from the sheath,
as fish from where it swims.

Being closer and closer is the desire 
of the body. Don't wish for union!

There's a closeness beyond that. Why 
would God want a second God?  Fall in 

love in such a way that it frees you 
from any connecting. Love is the soul's 

light, the taste of morning, no me, no
we, no claim of being. These words 

are the smoke the fire gives off as it
absolves its defects, as eyes in silence,

tears, face. Love cannot be said.

Translation: Coleman Barks

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

seeing each other

They were like two mirrors facing each other.  
Who sees, who is seen?
Seeing each other like this, 
they experienced the recognition everyone craves  - 
to be seen exactly as we are, 
nothing more, 
and nothing less.
Seen like this, 
all the many forms in the world 
are the same 
as one's own hand,
one's own face.

Women of the Way
the iron grinder, Liu Tiemo (780-859)
 Sallie Tisdale