Reflect

ImageI’m reading Circle’s Apprentice by Dan Beachy-Quick, rather slowly, I think because I’m trying to take in his impressions of Emerson’s philosophy. Sometimes it’s interesting to read poetry while thinking about philosophy. Sometimes it’s interesting to think about philosophy while looking at a lake, like Thoreau did.

Homing


A view from the backyard at my parents’ house, where I grew up, tells the story of my poetic obsessions. Yes, there’s the apple tree. Yes, the reflective lake and moody sky. Yes, even the clipped lawn.

I drove instead of taking a flight again this summer. It’s a long 12 hours from New York, but somehow, the landscape seems to awaken for me on the road, and for the first time ever, I felt like I was going home. Pretty significant for me, because in my poetry practice, I attempt “home” in my voice alone. Today, here, a resonance, like an echo, like a reflection.

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I noticed this flower in Battery Park last weekend after visiting the Poets House’s annual showcase of every volume of poetry published this year in the US. The photo is my metaphor for the roomful of books– brilliant, flame-hued beauty with its roots around the stones in the fountain. I didn’t really want to take any photos of the exhibit, partly because I was too busy reading, touching the beautiful paper, admiring the fonts. I think I was partly embarrassed to have such a room all to myself on a Saturday morning.

Lakes

The church seems to be wearing an earring, the ornate lamp hanging over the steps. Lake Bled in Slovenia captivates its visitors with the bluest water I’ve ever seen, the picturesque mountain backdrop, and the free wishes granted by ringing the bronze bell inside this church on the teardrop-shaped island. According to legend, a gold bell was commissioned for the church by a widow, in memory of her husband. It sank during a storm on the lake, and so the one hanging in the church is a younger one. I’ve been working on a poem about this place, hoping to catch some of the resonance of those sister bells.

Poets Corner

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I didn’t know we had an American version of Poets Corner. At the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York, to the left near the rear of the nave, the names of our literary greats are etched in stone, along with a few of their words. On my visit yesterday, I got to see an exhibit of Japanese poetry and art from the aftermath of last year’s earthquake. I took this photo from the clerestory, looking down at the tanka poems, written by ordinary people in grief and in hope.