The Poem that Took the Place of a Mountain

By Wallace Stevens

There it was, word for word,
The poem that took the place of a mountain.

He breathed its oxygen,
Even when the book lay turned in the dust of his table.

It reminded him how he had needed
A place to go to in his own direction,

How he had recomposed the pines,
Shifted the rocks and picked his way among clouds,

For the outlook that would be right,
Where he would be complete in an unexplained completion:

The exact rock where his inexactnesses
Would discover, at last, the view toward which they had edged,

Where he could lie and, gazing down at the sea,
Recognize his unique and solitary home.

To Reflect an Intimate Part of the Red. Anish Kapoor. 1981

To Reflect an Intimate Part of the Red. Anish Kapoor.
1981


Calder/Miró

Calder Miro calder_miro

My old Sandy, this burly man with the
soul of a nightingale who blows on mobiles
this nightingale who makes his nest
in his mobiles
these mobiles scraping the bark
of the orange-coloured
sphere
where my great friend Sandy lives

Poem written by Miró for their 1961 exhibition “Miró-Calder” at Perls Gallery in New York

Miro by Calder

Portrait of Miro by Calder

Alexander Calder and Joan Miró first met in 1928 when the American artist visited Miró’s studio in Paris. Since then they maintained a deep and mutually inspiring friendship lasting almost 50 years during which they exchanged ideas, letters, paintings and gifts and collaborated on numerous exhibitions. There is a remarkable similarity in their creative sensibility. They were both heavily influenced by the surrealist movement, taking their inspiration from the unconscious, and applied heavy symbolism in their abstractions. They also shared a thematic interest in the circus and astrology.

Alexander Calder, Mobile au plomb Joan+Miro+-+The+Birth+of+the+World+
Calder’s mobiles have been been described as “living Miró abstractions” (Genauer, Emily, New York World-Telegram, 15 February 1936)

Joan Miro - Circus 1934

Circus. Joan Miró. 1934

calder-alexander-sandy-1898-19-1-circus-rider-

Circus Rider. Alexander Calder

Constellations by Miro

Constellations by Miro

Calder constellation 2

Constellation by Calder

the-flight-of-the-dragonfly-in-front-of-the-sun MIRO

The Flight of the Dragonfly in Front of the Sun. Joan Miro

Calder

Painting by Calder


February

By Margaret Atwood

Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He’ll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here
should snip a few testicles. If we wise
hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s love that does us in. Over and over
again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
thirty below, and pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

Litany

By Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea-cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.

You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and – somehow – the wine.


You Want, You Eat, and Afterwards You Have Eaten

British poet Mandy Coe makes a good argument for cheese and pickle sandwiches over men. I think I’m with her on this one.

Go To Bed With a Cheese and Pickle Sandwich

It is life enhancing.
It doesn’t chat you up.
You have to make it.

A cheese and pickle sandwich
is never disappointing.
You don’t lie there thinking:
Am I too fat?
Too fertile?
Too insecure?

Your thoughts are clear,
your choices simple:
to cut it in half
or not to cut it in half,
how thin to slice the cheese
and where you should place the pickle.

From a cheese and pickle sandwich
you do not expect flowers,
poems and acts of adoration.
You expect what you get:
cheese… and pickle.

You want, you eat,
and afterwards you have eaten.
No lying awake resentful,
listening to it snore.

Safe snacks.
It comes recommended.

Mandy Coe, from Pinning the Tail on the Donkey (Spike)
and 101 Poems that Could Save Your Life
Edited by Daisy Goodwin, Harper Collins


After The Storm

By Derek Walcott

There are so many islands!
As many islands as the stars at night
on that branched tree from which meteors are shaken
like falling fruit around the schooner Flight.
But things must fall, and so it always was,
on one hand Venus, on the other Mars;
fall, and are one, just as this earth is one
island in archipelagoes of stars.
My first friend was the sea. Now, is my last.
I stop talking now. I work, then I read,
cotching under a lantern hooked to the mast.
I try to forget what happiness was,
and when that don’t work, I study the stars.
Sometimes is just me, and the soft-scissored foam
as the deck turn white and the moon open
a cloud like a door, and the light over me
is a road in white moonlight taking me home.
Shabine sang to you from the depths of the sea.


And the Moon and the Stars and the World

By Charles Bukowski

Long walks at night–
that’s what good for the soul:
peeking into windows
watching tired housewives
trying to fight off
their beer-maddened husbands.