from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra…

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Art by Henry Cline.

 

The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne,
Burnt on the water. The poop was beaten gold,
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar’d all description: she did lie
In her pavilion—cloth of gold, of tissue—
O’er-picturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature.

– Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra

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Kiss

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One regret, dear world
That I am determined not to have
When I am lying on my deathbed
Is that
I did not kiss you enough.

– Hafiz

“Meditation at Lagunitas”— a Poem by Robert Hass, 1979

 

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Meditation at Lagunitas

Robert Hass, 1979


All the new thinking is about loss.
In this it resembles all the old thinking.
The idea, for example, that each particular erases
the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown-
faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk
of that black birch is, by his presence,
some tragic falling off from a first world
of undivided light. Or the other notion that,
because there is in this world no one thing
to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
a word is elegy to what it signifies.
We talked about it late last night and in the voice
of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone
almost querulous. After a while I understood that,
talking this way, everything dissolves: justice,
pine, hair, woman, you
and I. There was a woman
I made love to and I remembered how, holding
her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,
I felt a violent wonder at her presence
like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river
with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,
muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish
called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her.
Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances. I must have been the same to her.
But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled
bread,
the thing her father said that hurt her, what
she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as
numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.

(from Praise, 1979)

(Art: “Blackberries” watercolor artist unknown. Pinterest)

“…and let the century gush.”

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American Poet, Wanda Coleman. Photographer unknown. (Pinterest)

“Imagine Jack Micheline, half pint riding the left hip pocket of his holy corduroys, walking sunset, one arm around the sky, the other around the Earth, as he rages against The Clowns who’ve denied The Poet’s Blood—then get a firm grip on your soul, bust the cover of the Outlaw Bible and let the century gush.”*

– Wanda Coleman, poet, activist, author, from Bathwater Wine

About Coleman: http://journals.openedition.org/ideas/1422

*epigraph, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, ed. by Alan Kauffman (Basic Books, 1999)