Saturday, June 30, 2007


The mountains grow unnoticed,
Their purple figures rise
Without attempt, exhaustion,
Assistance or applause.

In their eternal faces
The sun with broad delight
Looks long--and last--and golden
For fellowship at night.

--Emily Dickinson

Friday, June 29, 2007


I am not an idealist, nor a cynic,
but merely unafraid of contradictions.
I have seen men face each other when
both were right, yet each was determined
to kill the other, which was wrong.
What each man saw was an image of the other,
made by someone else. That is
what we are prisoners of.

--Donald Hogan

Thursday, June 28, 2007


When you tried to tell me
baseball was a metaphor

for life: the long, dusty travail
around the bases, for instance,

to try to go home again;
the Sacrifice for which you win

approval but not applause;
the way the light closes down

in the last days of the season--
I didn't believe you.

It's just a way of passing
the time, I said.

And you said: that's it.

--Linda Pastan

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Sunday News

Looking for something in the Sunday paper,
I flipped by accident through Local Weddings,
Yet missed the photograph until I saw
Your name among the headings.

And there you were, looking almost unchanged,
Your hair still long, though now long out of style,
And you still wore that stiff and serious look
You called a smile.

I felt as though we sat there face to face.
My stomach tightened. I read the item through.
It said too much about both families,
Too little about you.

Finished at last, I threw the paper down,
Stung by jealousy, my mind aflame,
Hating this man, this stranger whom you loved,
This printed name.

And yet I clipped it out to put away
Inside a book like something I might use,
A scrap I knew I wouldn't read again
But couldn't bear to lose.

--Dana Gioia

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


And for success, I ask no more than this--
To bear unflinching witness to the truth.
All true whole men succeed; for what is worth
Success's name, unless it be the thought,
The inward surety, to have carried out
A noble purpose to a noble end.

--James Russell Lowell

Monday, June 25, 2007

Polonious in 'Hamlet'

...Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel,
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatched unfledged comrad. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy--rich, not gaudy.
For the apparel oft proclaims the man...
Neither a borrower nor a lender be.
For loan oft loses both itself and friend
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

--William Shakespeare

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Truth crushed to earth shall rise again,
The eternal years of God are hers;
But error, wounded, writhes in pain,
And dies among his worshippers.

--William Cullen Bryant

Saturday, June 23, 2007


after Dante

I try to find words to fit the untold look,
Necessary as the binding for the book.
We search for ways to say what must now be said;
But we'll be together only when we're dead.

Heaven or hell, I don't care. What is heaven
Without you but hell; hell's heaven if you're there.
So, here we are in hell's fiery embrace,
Held by love six feet short of heavenly grace.

Although our lives were taken while we sinned,
Given life, we'd have to do it all again;
For Love, which absolves no one loved from loving,
Seized us both, forcing us to feed this feeling.

If we were apart, penance would be complete,
But hell would freeze with the absence of love's heat.
Here in your arms, my love, love is burning bright,
An atoning flame to light hell's endless night.

--Loraine Walker

Friday, June 22, 2007

So That's Who I Remind Me Of

When I consider men of golden talents,
I'm delighted, in my introverted way,
To discover, as I'm drawing up the balance,
How much we have in common, I and they.

Like Burns, I have a weakness for the bottle,
Like Shakespeare, little Latin and less Greek;
I bite my fingernails like Aritstotle;
Like Thackeray, I have a snobbish streak.

I'm afflicted with the vanity of Byron,
I've inherited the spitefulness of Pope;
Like Petrarch, I'm a sucker for a siren,
Like Milton, I've a tendency to mope.

My spelling is suggestive of a Chaucer;
Like Johnson, well, I do not wish to die.
(I also drink my coffee from the saucer);
And if Goldsmith was a parrot, so am I.

Like Villon, I have debits by the carload,
Like Swinburne, I'm afraid I need a nurse;
By my dicing is Christopher out-Marlowed,
And I dream as much as Coleridge, only worse.

In comparison with men of golden talents,
I am all a man of talent ought to be;
I resemble every genius in his vice, however henious--
Yet I only write like me.

--Ogden Nash