Monday, December 22, 2014

from "The Secret History of Secrets" [Joseph Donahue]

from "The Secret History of Secrets"
[Joseph Donahue]

... There’s no real way, 
an authority assures me 
to locate an event in time 
or in space. There is only 
before and after, only here 
and there, there is only 
a point when, wide awake, 
its like you came home 
after many years and found, 
much to your delight, the old 
kinship system had kept 
a classification for you, like 
that tangle of bare branches
that is a horizon with light 
flying across it towards 
the kind of defeat rarely 
ever heard of, because it is 
followed by so great a joy. ...

You have touched the sun 
and found it to be cool. You 
took it down from the sky, 
the light hung there. On 
a winter field you spread 
the sun before you like it was 
no more than a ground-cloth of 
celestial origin, and you 
lay on it, and felt warmth 
from within the winter earth itself.
Without closing your eyes
you began dreaming.

The complete text o"The Secret History of Secrets" by Joseph Donahue appears online currently at Jacket 2. Joseph Donahue’s most recent volume of poetry is Terra Lucida  (2009). He teaches at Duke University.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

"Lines for Winter" (Mark Strand)

"Lines for Winter"
(Mark Strand)

for Ros Krauss

Tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
walking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself—
inside the dome of dark
or under the cracking white
of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back
and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
tell yourself
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Guinness Christmas pudding: holiday over-indulgence ahead


Depending on your point of view, the holidays are either (a) just around the corner and not a moment too soon, or (b) the right time to up your meds to holiday strength. Darkness swirls in earlier and the north face of winter can mean a cold, bitter slope with a fatal crash into the none-too-festive retail season. The good news: tomorrow's winter solstice means the days will begin their slow march toward spring. The bad news: Spring is three months away.

Better get to your doctor right away, then.

Many folks just banish all the misanthropic gloom with the joys of over-indulgence and damn the expense -- and calories too. Just in case you've misplaced your Christmas pudding recipe (and, you thought, just in time for the holidays, too -- unlucky you!) your luck's improved: here's the replacement: step-by-step instructions from Barrie Pepper's The Bedside Book of Beer. The collection is a convivial compendium of beer and ale in British literature -- and, of course, English politics. 

The book was originally published by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, complete with CAMRA application form in the back. Here are cartoons, limericks, poems, histories written by authors high and low and anonymous about the joys and sorrows of bitters, plains and smalls through the ages. No need during the impending months to belabor the point: there's too much to do to just sit and read about beer, when there's a holiday party somewhere we're all going to be late for. Cheers ....