The moon rises as Shizu rises from her couch,
still in the shadow of her husband
who puts her to work early at his vegetable stand.
The mountains take the light.
Her calligraphy, the dark brush stroke
with which she frees herself,
lies in loose sheets on her drawing table.
The tide recedes, the tectonic plates
grind into the flesh of the peninsula.
She is one grain of sand
in the rippling ground well –
a fan opening and closing.
Ordinary Words (1999)
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Oh! Kangaroos, sequins, chocolate sodas!
You really are beautiful! Pearls,
harmonicas, jujubes, aspirins! All
the stuff they’ve always talked about
still makes a poem a surprise!
These things are with us every day
even on beachheads and biers. They
do have meaning. They’re as strong as rocks.
Frank O’Hara (1950)
poet and curator of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
Seen in the Nelson Gallery at the Exhibition “Make”
under “Alice Blue,” an acrylic painting Robert Arneson
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We might have given birth to a butterfly
With the daily news
Printed in blood on its wings
Mina Loy (1915-17)
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I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread,
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor,
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wondering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
William Butler Yeats (1897/1906)
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Claire de Lune by Paul Verlaine
Votre âme est un paysage choisi
Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques
Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi
Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.
Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur
L’amour vainqueur et la vie opportune,
Ils n’ont pas l’air de croire à leur bonheur
Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune,
Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,
Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres
Et sangloter d’extase les jets d’eau,
Les grands jets d’eau sveltes parmi les marbres.
(Your soul is a chosen landscape
where charming masqueraders and bergamasquers go,
playing the lute and dancing and almost
sad beneath their fantastic disguises.
They all sing in a minor key
about love triumphant, and the fortunate life –
they do not seem to believe in their own happiness,
and their song blends with the light of the moon,
in the calm moonlight, sad and beautiful,
which makes the birds dream in the trees
and the fountains weep in ecstasy –
the tall fountains, slender amid marble statues.)
Listen: “Claire de Lune,” op. 46, no. 2 by Fauré
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Lorsque au soleil couchant les rivières sont roses
Et qu’un tiède frisson court sur les champs de blé,
Un conseil d’être heureux semble sortir des choses
Et monter vers le coeur troublé.
Un conseil de goûter le charme d’être au monde
Cependant qu’on est jeune et que le soir est beau,
Car nous nous en allons, comme s’en va cette onde:
Elle à la mer, nous au tombeau.
When streams turn pink in the setting sun,
And a slight shudder rushes through the wheat fields,
A plea for happiness seems to rise out of all things
And it climbs up towards the troubled heart.
A plea to relish the charm of life
While there is youth and the evening is fair,
For we pass away, as the wave passes:
The wave to the sea, we to the grave.
Music by Claude Debussy
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