Showing posts from July, 2007

Primary Wonder

by Denise Levertov

Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes, cap and bells.
And then
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.

from Sands of the Well (1996)


by Sophie Katz

She wrote this poem in memory of her mother, Chaya Esther Perelman, who died on November 22, 1947. When Sophie died on June 10, 2007, Joel Katz, found among her papers a famous Japanese wood block of Nicherin claming the seas on his way into exile. Yes, as the sutra says, being born of a good mother helps a son find the dharma,

My mother died. We opened up her bedside table
Just before the auction. Pills
For migraine, cough drops, a dusty comb,
Old pens that didn't work.
Scraps of cloth from old dresses,
A dozen paperbacks, high sounding titles
On poetry, metaphysics,
But mostly never read.
And papers
Hundreds of papers
Like leaves in an autumn storm,
and just as ragged.
Old bills with lines of poetry --
Her disembodied souls come into being
With no before or after.
Ten-cent notebooks
The home of daring thoughts on women's needs
Before Friedan or Greer.
Health diary of the children, and in the back,
A list of topics that would someday make
Great articles,
Never …