Kay Ryan, “Blandeur”

Blandeur (from Poetry) Kay Ryan If it please God, let less happen. Even out Earth’s rondure, flatten Eiger, blanden the Grand Canyon. Make valleys slightly higher, widen fissures to arable land, remand your terrible glaciers and silence their calving, halving or doubling all geographical features toward the mean. Unlean against our hearts. Withdraw your grandeur […]

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Kay Ryan, “Why We Must Struggle”

Why We Must Struggle (from Poetry) Kay Ryan If we have not struggled as hard as we can at our strongest how will we sense the shape of our losses or know what sustains us longest or name what change costs us saying how strange it is that one sector of the self can step […]

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Kay Ryan, “Insult”

Insult (from Persimmon Tree) Kay Ryan Insult is injury taken personally, saying, This is not a random fracture that would have happened to any leg out there; this was a conscious unkindness. We need insult to remind us that we aren’t always just hurt, that there are some sources — even in the self — […]

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Kay Ryan, “Blue China Doorknob”

Blue China Doorknob (from Poetry) Kay Ryan I was haunted by the image of a blue china doorknob. I never used the doorknob, or knew what it meant, yet somehow it started the current of images. – Robert Lowell Rooms may be using us. We may be the agents of doorknobs’ purposes, obeying imperatives china […]

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Kay Ryan, “Thin”

Thin (from Poetry) Kay Ryan How anything is known is so thin — a skin of ice over a pond only birds might confidently walk upon. A bird’s worth of weight or one bird-weight of Wordsworth. Comment: Control breath, focus. Only time to get more oxygen, avoid a blow, respond with training when possible. A […]

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Kay Ryan, “Backward Miracle”

Backward Miracle (from Poetry) Kay Ryan Every once in a while we need a backward miracle that will strip language, make it hold for a minute: just the vessel with the wine in it – a sacramental refusal to multiply, reclaiming the single loaf and the single fish thereby. Comment: Once, after a particularly bad […]

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Kay Ryan, “All Your Horses”

All Your Horses (from Poetry) Kay Ryan Say when rain cannot make you more wet or a certain thought can’t deepen and yet you think it again: you have lost count. A larger amount is no longer a larger amount. There has been a collapse; perhaps in the night. Like a rupture in water (which […]

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Issac Rosenberg, “August 1914”

With thanks to Benjamin Roman August 1914 (from Poetry) Issac Rosenberg What in our lives is burnt In the fire of this? The heart’s dear granary? The much we shall miss? Three lives hath one life— Iron, honey, gold. The gold, the honey gone— Left is the hard and cold. Iron are our lives Molten […]

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