Friday, December 31


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Thursday, December 30

From A Notebook

The whiteness near and far.
The cold, the hush . . .
A first word stops
The blizzard, steps
Out into fresh
Candor. You ask no more.

Each never taken stride
Leads onward, though
In circles ever
Smaller, smaller.
The vertigo
Upholds you. And now to glide

Across the frozen pond,
Steelshod, to chase
Its dreamless oval
With loop and spiral
Until (your face
Downshining, lidded, drained

Of any need to know
What hid, what called,
Wisdom or error,
Beneath that mirror)
The page you scrawled
Turns. A new day. Fresh snow.

-- James Merrill, from Collected Poems

Collected Poems

Sunday, December 26


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Friday, December 24

That night frost stretched
the fields into stiff white sheets;
from post, strut and roof glinting
ice-fingers pointed to the ground.
But within walls, reed-woven,
mud-baked, we warded off
the wind-beast's bellow and bite.
Herded in the wool of our own warmth,
near red-gold flames that licked
logs, then leapt to find the hole
to heaven, we defeated winter's pikes.
That festive night we filled
our bodies' troughs with roasted meats,
with mead that honeys the senses, muzzes
the mind. As ever I kept quiet,
stoked myself with the comfort rising
from the rush-strewn floor, the goodwill
steaming through talk and laughter.

-- Myra Schneider, from 'Caedmon'

Interview with Myra Schneider


Cædmon's Hymn

Thursday, December 23


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There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons–
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes–

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us–
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are.

None may teach it –Any–
'Tis the Seal, Despair–
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air–

When it comes, the Landscape listens–
Shadows– hold their breath–
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death–

-- Emily Dickinson

Read: 'Forms of Reticence' by Saskia Hamilton

Friday, December 17


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Saturday, December 11

late shadows gather in the dark

words unwrite
as they are written
as they are spoken

songs sprung
from heart and lung
to tongue


drunk winds stumble over shuffling roofs
shake his sleep who dreams
a lost love
will not

recurring swirls
of old gold
blown light

you can't help
but be in it

as it opens
and falls back on itself
unfolds and unsays

I do not want to die
without writing the unwritten

pleasure of water

-- Tom Pickard, lines from "Lark & Merlin"

Lark & Merlin