"There is so much we don't understand about poetry. No other utterance, we know, gives more lasting dimensions to our beliefs than that spiraling intertwining of music, image, and conviction. Yet we cannot see into the depths of that magical fusion, we do not understand how it can transmute any subject matter into a presence." -- Serge Hughes
"He never described himself as a poet or his work as poetry. The fact that the lines do not come to the edge of the page is no guarantee. Poetry is a verdict, not an occupation. He hated to argue about the techniques of verse. The poem is a dirty, bloody, burning thing that has to be grabbed first with bare hands. Once the fire celebrated Light, the dirt Humility, the blood Sacrifice. Now the poets are professional fire-eaters, freelancing at any carnival. The fire goes down easily and honors no one in particular.
"Once, for awhile, he seemed to serve something other than himself. Those were the only poems he ever wrote."
Leonard Cohen, The Favorite Game
I met Chris Martin through my work with kids with autism. He is a poet with a deep contemplative streak who has published several books. Here is a vertical poem he shared with me.
and no less
me and you
and more dear
or more idea
I want to plead
want to be
plea and flue
the hole the fire
of brick walled
the fire feeds
on air to meet
groan and cleave
against this cold
and whitest winter
- Chris Martin
You can get to know him better through this website:
there are not many songs
there is only one song
the animals lope to it
the fish swim to it
the sun circles to it
the stars rise
the snow falls
the grass grows
there is no end to the song and no beginning
the singer may die
but the song is forever
truth is the name of the song
and the song is truth.
-- Robert Lax
As I walk
All was taken away from you: white dresses,
wings, even existence.
Yet I believe in you, messengers.
There, where the world is turned inside out,
a heavy fabric embroidered with stars and beasts,
you stroll, inspecting the trustworthy seams.
Short is your stay here:
now and then at a matinal hour, if the sky is clear
in a melody repeated by a bird,
or in the smell of apples at the close of day
when the light makes the orchards magic.
They say somebody has invented you
but to me this does not sound convincing
for humans invented themselves as well.
The voice -- no doubt it is a valid proof,
as it can belong only to radiant creatures
weightless and winged (after all, why not?}
girdled with the lightning.
I have heard that voice many a time when asleep
and, what is strange, I understood more or less
an order or an appeal in an unearthly tongue.
day draws near
do what you can
Czeslaw Millosz, 1911 - 2004
I've been reading the biography of my favorite poet, Robert Lax, called Pure Act, by Michael N. McGregor. Beautiful story of a beautiful contemplative poet. This is a quote from Lax that I read last night: "This just occurred to me: my idea of a good contemplative is something more like a cow than it is like a dancing master." Ha!
If a tree falls in the forest
and there is no poet to notice it
is it still a poem?
I've never thought of poetry as something someone just makes up and writes down. No more than love is just an emotion. The reason we feel love is that we are made of it and surrounded by it. The reason we write poetry is that we are made of it and surrounded by it. The world itself is composed of poetry. We take note of it or not, write it down or not, but we don't invent it.
The joy of reading a great poem is in the recognition of our own world, isn't it?
Or so it seems to me.
IT GOES WITHOUT
It goes without saying,
there is poetry
everywhere you look.
But who, these days
It goes without saying.
I have written some poetry, and translated a few short poems from the ancient Chinese.
- New Work, 2020, 2021
Gallery of Visual Art
- Self Published Books
- Gallery of Student Work