by Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Fashion Photography by Alexei Kremov
See more of his work here.
I love when photos have a sense of intimacy. I think immediacy has something to do with it, also expression, movement. The natural state in a static moment.
I miss mountains. I miss waking up and seeing black peaks against a blue sky, viewing the starkness of the day. I miss the west coast– the blues so very blue it’s violet, the whites so very white they seem opaque, like an eye that is looking back at you. I miss the air, how it’s cold and pure and hurts in your lungs (but it’s a good kind of hurt). It tells you that everything is new here, everything hasn’t been bruised or damaged or ruined. The air just keeps giving and giving and you take it all in believing in what it tells you.
photos via nivaldo de lima
In the window, not the world but a squared-off landscape
representing the world. The seasons change,
each visible only a few hours a day.
Green things followed by golden things followed by whiteness-
abstractions from which come intense pleasures,
like the figs on the table.
At dusk, the sun goes down in a haze of red fire between two poplars.
It goes down late in summer- sometimes it’s hard to stay awake.
Then everything falls away.
The world for a little longer
is something to see, then only something to hear,
Or to smell sometimes, aroma of lemon trees, of orange trees.
Then sleep takes away this also.
But it’s easy to give things up like this, experimentally,
for a matter of hours.
I open my fingers-
I let everything go.
Visual world, language,
rustling of leaves in the night,
smell of high grass, of woodsmoke.
I let it go, then I light the candle.
- Louise Gluck
I never appreciated Robert Frost when I was in college. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’ve slowed down a bit but now, NOW, I totally get it. I totally understand his appeal. His rambling, sort of quiet, beautiful tones.
If he was a color he’d be this somber moss grey, he’d be a trombone’s low drone, but full of warm notes. I totally dig his rhythm and the way his sentences seem slow but swerve almost dizzily off into another place. I get it now. I’m sorry I didn’t see it, Mr. Frost, when I was 18. But now, I see your beauty.
When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust–
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows–
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
photo via greaterland
- Louise Gluck, The Village Life
She sat on a bench, somewhat hidden by oak trees.
Far away, fear approached and departed;
from the train station came the sound it made.
- Louise Gluck, A Summer Garden
How quiet the garden is;
no breeze ruffles the Cornelian cherry.
Summer has come.
How quiet it is
now that life has triumphed. The rough
pillars of the sycamores
support the immobile
shelves of the foliage,
the lawn beneath
And in the middle of the sky,
the immodest god.
Things are, he says. They are, they do not change;
response does not change.
How hushed it is, the stage
as well as the audience; it seems
breathing is an intrusion.
He must be very close,
the grass is shadowless.
How quiet it is, how silent,
like an afternoon in Pompeii.
- Louise Gluck, A Summer Garden