Joho the Blog » poems

April 16, 2013

Marathon

Everything happens by ones.
Each step
Each cobble
Each mile
Each leg
crossing a line.

Then in a moment
we close our eyes
and remember how
the sea’s front edge
paws at its shore.

April 16, 2013

Please remember that according to the official Rules of Blogging, on the Web we must forgive one another’s bad poetry

Be the first to comment »

October 14, 2012

Evergreen

I woke up this morning with this forming in my head. Afterwards, I realized it’s about my friend Michael O’Connor Clarke who died yesterday.

Evergreen

The yew that margins our yard
grew so implacably large
that it shoved off the walk
mothers with strollers,
and brought dogs to curse
at its succor for squirrels.
So, when the cold days set in
I did what the Internet said
and lopped and sawed
and hemmed past its quick,
revealing the brute as
a pile of scratchy sticks
without shape except
where it ends.

Now my yew is catching
leaves from more proper plants
that have learned by falling
that autumn is a lie
that winter smoothly tells.

My deepest condolences to Michael’s family. I cannot express the joy he brought to anyone within earshot, and especially to his friends.

Some links: his blog, a page of support, his tweets, tweets about him, joey devilla remembers him, akma celebrates him, Jeneane mourns the loss of a brother on the Net

5 Comments »

October 11, 2009

Net uncovers new type of cloud

There are reports of a new type of cloud, one that is not currently in the official International Cloud Atlas. Or, possibly, it is a formation that’s been around forever, but the scattered reports are only now coalescing thanks to the Net.

According to Amazon’s review of Richard Hamblyn’s The Invention of Clouds, we only began thinking clouds could be categorized in 1802 when Luke Howard started giving public lectures. The very idea that clouds — the paradigm of uncatchable — could be divided into groups was (apparently) fascinating and thrilling. (Lamarck had also categorized clouds, but it didn’t catch on.)

A quick googly scan makes it seem that the cloud taxonomy is pretty messy. For example, the University of Illinois’ “cloud types” page lists four broad categories, and a list of miscellaneous clouds, each of which is categorized under one of the four basic types, evoking a “Huh?” reaction from at least one of us. The cloud taxonomy page at Univ. Missouri-Columbia lists eight types. Do you categorize by what they look like, how high they are, what they do (rain or not?), which celebrity profiles they resemble …? Categorizing clouds is truly a Borgesian task.

And, dammit, wouldn’t you know? Here’s a poem by Jorge Luis Borges called: “Clouds (II)” (with the line-endings probably removed):

Placid mountains meander through the air, or tragic cordilleras cast a pall, overshadowing the day. They are what we call clouds. And their shapes are often strange and rare. Shakespeare observed one once. It seemed to be a dragon. That one cloud of an afternoon still kindles in his words and blazes down, so that we go on seeing it today. What are the clouds? An architecture of chance? Perhaps they are the necessary things from which God weaves his vast imaginings, threads of a web of infinite expanse. Maybe the cloud is emptiness returning, just like the man who watches it this morning.

(translated by Richard Barnes. B; Robert Mezey; Richard Barnes. “Clouds (II). (poem).” The American Poetry Review. World Poetry, Inc. 1996. HighBeam Research. 11 Oct. 2009 v)

More Borges poems

2 Comments »

January 28, 2009

RIP John Updike

Hoeing
by John Updike

I sometimes fear the younger generation
will be deprived
of the pleasures of hoeing;
there is no knowing
how many souls have been formed by this
simple exercise.

The dry earth like a great scab breaks,
revealing
moist-dark loam –the pea-root’s home,
a fertile wound perpetually healing.

How neatly the great weeds go under!
The blade chops the earth new.
Ignorant the wise boy who
has never rendered thus the world
fecunder.

[Tags: ]

3 Comments »