Don’t ask me why I came down to the water’s edge— hell, I was young, and I thought I knew life, I thought I could hold the darkness the way a man holds a cup of coffee before he wakens — Philip Levine, from “Here and Now,” Poetry (September 1977)
Deep experience is never peaceful. — Henry James, from “Madame de Mauves,” Galaxy Magazine (February/March 1874), ch. V, reprinted in A Passionate Pilgrim (1875) and later in The Madonna of the Future and Other Tales (1879) and the New York Edition of James’ works, vol. 13 (1908).
I am in my remembering. — Seán Ó Coileáin, from “The Ruins of Timoleague Abbey,” Poetry (vol. CCV, no. 2, November 2014)
Night falls and the empty intimacy of the whole world fills my heart to frothing. The past has trudged to this one spot and falls into the stream, its flashlight in its mouth. Ancient tears beneath the surface rise and scatter like carp, while an ivory hairpin floats away like a loose tooth going back… Continue reading Mary Ruefle
The past is a terrifying place. Why would anyone choose to live there? Don’t forget me, they say, the ghosts expulsed by dawn have ceased to phosphoresce. It is not crucial that I write but that I record a few of these atypical migrations of the human soul. Yes, there is one I recognize only… Continue reading D. A. Powell
I met a traveler from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on… Continue reading Percy Bysshe Shelley
Ode, Aubade And the morning, too, falters, struggles to assert itself, burn through the errant fog, the pines, scorch the whole grove of trees and crooked streetlamps. Your body’s turning, turning beside me in my bed’s— sprawl? Badlands? You sigh on my neck. Startled, the crick and sob buried inside it like a pulsar behind… Continue reading Greg Wrenn