Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Poetry Post

Picture from early October,
Poem from 1926.

Click for larger

Ars Poetica
by Archibald MacLeish

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.


A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind—

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.


A poem should be equal to:
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—

A poem should not mean
But be.


  1. Jim, You be thoughty today.
    Anything about the Moon catches my eye. But this is more than that.
    About being.

    We could all take a moment to rediscover being. In such a hurry to get to or get done. In a funk for what didn't happen or what we failed to do.
    Instead of enjoying now, what is, Being.

    Made progress on the editing. Will do more this morning.
    Relaxing Sunday for All.

  2. You know I had to share this one. It was in the August issue of Asimov's. I'm not sure about the meter, but what the hey.

    Chicken from Minsk
    Karin L. Frank

    Hey rooster,
    Tyrannosaurus Rex descendant,
    You've come a long way down
    From that creature resplendent.
    The thunder of your footfalls
    Once ruled the earth,
    Now here you are fallen
    To an object of mirth.
    You squawk for a handout
    And scratch in the dregs,
    You cannot stop humans
    From devouring hen's eggs.
    Your ancestor would have rent
    Them limb from limb
    If they had lived
    In the same millennium.
    Preen your plumage, rooster,
    And dream if you can
    Of your days of glory,
    Days of dominion
    While stripped to the bone
    In museums, stands Sue
    Whose terrible beauty
    Has devolved into you.

  3. Poem as Zen koan? Why not?

    I like the pic, darkness to light…

  4. Loved the photo, Jim. I thought for a moment the tiny red spot was the maple leaf in the poem, but the enlargement shows it is something much more common place. :-) I enjoyed the poem too.

    You're right, Lisa. Each moment is a moment to be treasured.

    Far: Loved the poem. It sounds very modern. When was it written? Each time I see any bird I say hello to T-Rex. Amazing isn't it.

  5. Afternoon! Most of the girls gone - one left, who I'll take up to Tampa tomorrow. She's one of my dearest friends, so she's very welcome.

    Love the pic - thanks for the peek into your world.

    Happy Sunday, all! :-)

  6. Sorry so late; school work Sunday.

    Lisa, I'm sure you understand. Do you find that the kids who are most concerned with what they are going to do next haven't done what they need to do now?

    Farf, expect to see the poem recycyled. I have the photo in mind; I just have to take it. I thought Zen koans were poems and visa versa.

    Coneflower, sorry it wasn't a red maple leaf but only an orange Stihl 2-cycle oil can for the chain saw at the door.

    Beth, you're welcome to wander back up and peek in anytime. I'd recommend you wait until after gun season for deer though -- quieter and safer you know.

  7. Cone, Asimov's mostly publishes original works, so the poem was probably written in the last year or so.

    Jim, I'm looking forward to that pic. Y'know, if you look into a chicken's eyes, you might see it does remember that they were once the ones who did the eating. I guess that's what makes 'em evil.

  8. Enjoyed this poem Jim -- and wonderful photo you've selected. Love seeing through to that bright green.