Monday, January 28, 2013

Making a Fist






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For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
I felt the life sliding out of me,
a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.
I was seven, I lay in the car
watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.
My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.

“How do you know if you are going to die?”
I begged my mother.
We had been traveling for days.
With strange confidence she answered,
“When you can no longer make a fist.”

Years later I smile to think of that journey,
the borders we must cross separately,
stamped with our unanswerable woes.
I who did not die, who am still living,
still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,
clenching and opening one small hand. 


Naomi Shihab Nye 
Grape Leaves




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image via in love i persevere



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Thursday, January 24, 2013

What No One Plans




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What No One Plans
is to inhale for sixty years the fumes
of burning nightshade, then with lungs
stiff and pocked, between coughings-up
and sippings-in from a flammable tank
you have to wheel or carry, to continue
to light those leaves and try to breathe, 
to cast every hour or oftener from the bed
the plastic tube out to your only other room,
already fully sfumato, so you can have a “safe” smoke,
which the neighbors smell and try to evict
before it explodes, then afterward
to reel your line back, to reinsert
your cannula like jewelery, little reed-flute
only the dead can hear.
No one plans to make their nurse,
paid a little by the state, love them
for selling their car to her for one dollar,
then hate you, to make everybody hate you,
for jerking your tubes out, dialing the police
when we weren’t looking to charge us
with leaving you, you swore, in your piss and shit.
No one is born planning to swear that no one comes.
No one is born planning to order everyone to stop coming.
Therefore if there are creatures of fire and light
whose task it is when someone dies
to lift off the roof of the house, and carry
to judgement everything hidden,
the person that did these things
will be screened (may she be screened)
behind the heaven of what she did plan,
dancing as she does in a black-and-white,
snapped in Cuba, as far as I can tell, before the war,
furniture pushed back, dress caught, flagrante,                                                 in the act of swinging out to the tune,
the mighty tune of black moiré caught tight
at her tiny, not-bloated waist, rhinestones
at her throat, ear, and wrists, where no skin
is as though burned or scarred or torn,
in the arms of a handsome man
not my father, not knowing all of us
that she would come to know,
not yet driven mad by too much love
and nowhere near enough.

Patrick Donnelly 




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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Open Yale Course: PHIL 176: Death




About the Course

There is one thing I can be sure of: I am going to die. But what am I to make of that fact?

This course will examine a number of issues that arise once we begin to reflect on our mortality. The possibility that death may not actually be the end is considered. Are we, in some sense, immortal? Would immortality be desirable? Also a clearer notion of what it is to die is examined. What does it mean to say that a person has died? What kind of fact is that? 

And, finally, different attitudes to death are evaluated. Is death an evil? How? Why? Is suicide morally permissible? Is it rational? How should the knowledge that I am going to die affect the way I live my life?


About Professor Shelly Kagan

Shelly Kagan is Clark Professor of Philosophy at Yale. After receiving his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1976, and his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1982, he taught at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Illinois at Chicago before coming to Yale in 1995. 

 He is the author of the textbook Normative Ethics, which systematically reviews alternative positions concerning the basic rules of morality and their possible foundations, and The Limits of Morality, which challenges two of the most widely shared beliefs about the requirements of morality. 

He is currently at work on The Geometry of Desert.


find this free course here




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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

the lovers know the loveliness




 

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The lovers know the loveliness
That is not of their bodies only
(Though they be lovely) but is of
Their bodies given up to love.
They find the open-heartedness
Of two desires which both are lonely
Until by dying they have their living,
And gain all they have lost in giving,
Each offering the desired desire.
Beyond what time requires, they are
What they surpass themselves to make;
They give the pleasure that they take.

–Wendell Berry 
  




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via larger loves




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Monday, January 21, 2013




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The last time I saw my mother was in a parking lot,
but not the one she would die in.
Technically, she died in the hospital.
They didn’t know her pelvis had been shattered,
that she was filling with her own blood,
that dark matter was both draining and drowning her.


This is a dark poem, I’m sorry.
I wanted to write a light poem about dark matter.
Something about all the dark matter that makes up the vastness
of the universe, but cannot be seen.


To be precise, dark matter is not dark at all.
It’s closer to transparent.
It’s everything that cannot be seen
but still exists in between what can be.


The young man who ran over my mother
said he didn’t see her. I question the truth
behind this statement. Is not looking the same
as not seeing? Matter exists between everything
we see, even if we don’t see it. 


Perhaps we are not looking.
When I’ve been under the influence of certain substances
I swear I can see every molecule,
every atom, wherever I look.


My mother was not dark matter
the day the young man rolled his SUV over her.
But she is today. Sometimes I think I see her,
but then I wake up. Sometimes I sense that she exists
in the spaces that emit no light or color or radiation—
but I am no sentimentalist. It’s not a spirit I feel,
it’s an absence—her dark matter
that cannot be detected by any instrument,
nor seen by any eyes, not even heard.


But as hard as it is to imagine,
I feel the not being of her
as certainly as I feel the gravity
that keeps me from floating away,
or the gravity that keeps me from
writing a light poem about dark matter.

 

–Henry Israeli




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image via datura



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Saturday, January 19, 2013







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via datura




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Saturday, January 12, 2013

I Have Loved Hours at Sea

 

 

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I have loved hours at sea, gray cities,
The fragile secret of a flower,
Music, the making of a poem
That gave me heaven for an hour;

First stars above a snowy hill,
Voices of people kindly and wise,
And the great look of love, long hidden,
Found at last in meeting eyes.

I have loved much and been loved deeply
Oh when my spirit’s fire burns low,
Leave me the darkness and the stillness,
I shall be tired and glad to go.


—Sara Teasdale



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Friday, January 11, 2013

live your life, live your life, live your life


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wonderful.
thank you, the beauty i love





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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

hawk roosting




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I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.
Inaction, no falsifying dream
Between my hooked head and hooked feet:
Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.
The convenience of the high trees!
The air's buoyancy and the sun's ray
Are of advantage to me;
And the earth's face upward for my inspection.

My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
It took the whole of Creation
To produce my foot, my each feather:
Now I hold Creation in my foot

Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly -
I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body:
My manners are tearing off heads -

The allotment of death.
For the one path of my flight is direct
Through the bones of the living.
No arguments assert my right:

The sun is behind me.
Nothing has changed since I began.
My eye has permitted no change.
I am going to keep things like this.


–Ted Hughes




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image via vivre !






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Monday, January 7, 2013

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Sunday, January 6, 2013



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via datura




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Friday, January 4, 2013






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Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us, 
even in the leafless winter, even in the ashy city. 

I am thinking now of grief, and of getting past it;
I feel my boots trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart pumping hard. 


I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. 
I want to be light and frolicsome. 
I want to be improbable, beautiful, and afraid of nothing, 
as though I had wings.

–Mary Oliver






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