Where has your first dream vanished now? Your dream.

+++ Letters to a Stranger, by Thomas James, is one of my favorite books of poetry. It was James’ first and only collection, published in 1973. The poems in this book stun me, over and over again. James’s poems are filled with his singular turns of phrase (“whitely established”…”nest of rubble”) and odd but clear images (“your hands are gloved in shadow”…”sheeping coming unstuffed like ancient cushions”). I’m incredibly glad that Gray Wolf brought Letters to a Stranger back into print in 2008, but so many of my favorite poems are still impossible to find online. Here are my two absolute…

That God can be such a bitch sometimes

+++ AND when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. AND I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.AND Abram fell on his face: And God talked with him, saying, As for me… -GENESIS 17 +++


+++ versicle, noun. A short sentence said or sung by the minister in a church service, to which the congregation gives a response. popsicle, noun. A piece of flavored ice or ice cream on a stick. +++

To teach the sea what it may do

+++ A VALEDICTION: OF WEEPING by John Donne  Let me pour forth My tears before thy face, whilst I stay here, For thy face coins them, and thy stamp they bear, And by this mintage they are something worth,          For thus they be          Pregnant of thee; Fruits of much grief they are, emblems of more, When a tear falls, that thou falls which it bore, So thou and I are nothing then, when on a diverse shore.          On a round ball A workman that hath copies by, can lay An Europe, Afric, and an Asia, And quickly make that, which…

Sleep of the sword / bright guarantee of God

+++ Time and again, foul things attacked me,Lurking and stalking, but I lashed out,gave as good as I got with my sword.My flesh was not for feasting on, there would be no monsters gnawing and gloatingover their banquet at the bottom of the sea.Instead, in the morning, mangled and sleepingthe sleep of the sword, they slopped and floatedlike the ocean’s leavings. From now onsailors would be safe, the deep-sea raidswere over for good. Light came from the east, bright guarantee of God, and the waveswent quiet; I could see headlandsand buffeted cliffs. –Beowulf, Heaney translation, 559-574 +++ mizzle, noun.Light rain; drizzle. kith,…

Rhetorical things

chiasmus: A rhetorical or literary figure in which words, grammatical constructions, or concepts are repeated in reverse order, in the same or a modified form; inversion in the second of two parallel forms. But O, what damned minutes tells he o’erWho dotes, yet doubts; suspects, yet strong loves. —Shakespeare, Othello 3.3 antimetabole: the repetition of words or ideas in successive clauses, but in transposed grammatical order. Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. –JFK +++ Milton, Upon the Circumcision: O more exceeding love or law more just? Just law indeed, but…

vocab via Beowulf, Heaney

tumulous, adj. Having many mounds or small hills. lambent, adj.1. Flickering lightly over or on a surface: lambent moonlight.2. Effortlessly light or brilliant: lambent wit.3. Having a gentle glow; luminous.  chthonic, adj. Concerning, belonging to, or inhabiting the underworld. oneiric, adj. Of or relating to dreams or dreaming.