Showing posts from March, 2013


by Octavio Paz (tr. Charles Tomlinson)

If it is real the white
light from this lamp, real
the writing hand, are they
real, the eyes looking at what I write?

From one word to the other
what I say vanishes.
I know that I am alive
between two parentheses.


John Henry, a photo by visitwv on Flickr.

Lissen to my story Tis a story true Bout a mighty man John Henry was his name. An' John Henry was a steel-driver, too. Lawd, Lawd. John Henry was a steel-driver, too.
One of my favorite American legends is the one about John Henry. John Henry was a former slave who got work with the C and O Railroad Company right after the American Civil War. He worked on the railroad as a steel-driver in the Reconstruction South. Steel drivers were known as "hammer men" because they spent their workdays driving holes into rock by hitting thick steel drills or spikes. 
Because this type of menial work was repetitive, the hammer men would create songs with a definite meter in order to get a rhythm going and to pass the time of day. "The Ballad of John Henry" is believed to have grown out of this culture.
According to this website, the railroad was being built at a rapid pace across Virginia when Big Bend Mountain in West Virginia stood in the stee…


Ireland, a photo by on Flickr.
HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. 
by William Butler Yeats

One of my favorite types of literature is the poem. Oh, not just any old poem. No, I want a poem that is full of angst and misery. I want a tragedy, a metaphorical blubbering drunk in a pub of a Saturday night. Give me a sad song and I will make it the most interesting piece of literature on God's green earth. Or at least I'll talk about it until you agree with me that it is the best poem on God's green earth.
Poetry is a Monarch Butterfly. Poetry has no useful purpose but oh how it makes our lives so rich and full of meaning. We can take a poem and roll the words around on our tongues and…


IMG_1979, a photo by goforchris on Flickr.
A lyric poem is a short poem with a single speaker expressing personal thoughts and feelings. Lyric poems can be written in traditional or open forms. They cover many subjects, from love and death to everyday experiences, and create a strong, unified impression.
The Wind is a Living Thing
is a stark reminder of eternity clawing its way upward toward a tawny peak
is a black hawk circling searching the fields for one bones that are picked clean and shiny
is a fawn wandering too far abroad a field and  being hunted at dawn
is an uttered sigh and silent roll of r's that distinguish  themselves of all that may be
The wind is a living thing