the green fields beyond

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Location: Charles City, Virginia, United States

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Two for Tuesday

It's been a hard weekend. It's been a hard couple of weeks, in fact. So we need two poems this time.

TRY TO PRAISE THE MUTILATED WORLD

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.

You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.

Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where the music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.

Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

--Adam Zagajewski (Translated from the Polish, by Clare Cavanagh.)



Why It Matters (song lyrics)

Sit with me and tell me once again
Of the story that's been told us
Of the power that will hold us
Of the beauty, of the beauty
Why it matters

Speak to me until I understand
Why our thinking and creating
Why our efforts of narrating
About the beauty, of the beauty
And why it matters

Like the statue in the park
Of this war torn town
And its protest of the darkness
And the chaos all around
With its beauty, how it matters
How it matters

Show me the love that never fails
The compassion and attention
'Midst confusion and dissention
Like small ramparts for the soul
How it matters

Like a single cup of water
How it matters...

---Sara Groves

3 Comments:

said...

Justin-
Sorry you've had a rough couple of weeks! Thanks for the poems, though: they're great.

I suggest taking a break at some point this week by grabbing a good beer and listening to some Bruce Springsteen. (You might really enjoy reading his lyrics as you listen: it's sheer poetry, I tell you). Here's a bit from The Promised Land:

There's a dark cloud rising from the desert floor
I packed my bags and I'm heading straight into the storm
Gonna be a twister to blow everything down
That ain't got the faith to stand its ground

Blow away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted

12:08 PM  
said...

The Zagajewski left me breathless and in tears. Literally. I mean it...I'm sitting here at my computer with tears streaming down my face feeling very foolish and very, very alive.

Where in the world did you find this? It so incredibly just...says it, doesn't it?

Since we're sharing lyrics, here is one I think appropriate to the occassion from my man Sufjan:

CASIMIR PULASKI DAY
Golden rod and the 4-H stone
The things I brought you
When I found out you had cancer of the bone

Your father cried on the telephone
And he drove his car to the Navy yard
Just to prove that he was sorry

In the morning through the window shade
When the light pressed up against your shoulder blade
I could see what you were reading

Oh the glory that the lord has made
And the complications you could do without
When I kissed you on the mouth

Tuesday night at the bible study
We lift our hands and pray over your body
But nothing ever happens

I remember at Michael's house
In the living room when you kissed my neck
And I almost touched your blouse

In the morning at the top of the stairs
When your father found out what we did that night
And you told me you were scared

Oh the glory when you ran outside
With your shirt tucked in and your shoes untied
And you told me not to follow you

Sunday night when I cleaned the house
I find the card where you wrote it out
With the pictures of your mother

On the floor at the great divide
With my shirt tucked in and my shoes untied
I am crying in the bathroom

In the morning when you finally go
And the nurse runs in with her head hung low
And the cardinal hits the window

In the morning in the winter shade
On the first of March on the holiday
I thought I saw you breathing

Oh the glory that the lord has made
And the complications when I see his face
In the morning in the window

Oh the glory when he took our place
But he took my shoulders and he shook my face
And he takes and he takes and he takes

9:13 PM  
said...

Thanks for the lyrics and encouragement, both of you.
Mark, I first read the Zagajewski poem after September 11th, 2001. He had written it before that, and it grew out of a different experience, but the New Yorker magazine printed it on the back page of their "black issue" after September 11th...it was the one piece of poetry they put in that issue, and it resonated with a lot of folks during that awful, numb time. Anyway, it's becoming one of my favorites.

9:42 AM  

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