Category Archives: quotations and poetry

If your eyes are open

“Don’t scorn your life just because it’s not dramatic, or it’s impoverished, or it looks dull, or it’s workaday. Don’t scorn it. It is where poetry is taking place if you’ve got the sensitivity to see it, if your eyes are open.” – Philip Levine

The light left me, but not the memory of its glow

Illness – or, more specifically, the threat of death – has a way of putting an edge one everything, of bringing bounty where before there was none.  It’s not a question of making lemonade out of lemons or anything like that.  It’s a question of having the film pulled back from your sticky eyes, the […]

it seems to me that there has been something simpler than I could ever believe

Just Now In the morning as the storm begins to blow away the clear sky appears for a moment and it seems to me that there has been something simpler than I could ever believe simpler than I could have begun to find words for not patient not even waiting no more hidden than the […]

Time offers this gift in its millions of ways

The Gift Time wants to show you a different country. It’s the one that your life conceals, the one waiting outside when curtains are drawn, the one Grandmother hinted at in her crochet design, the one almost found over at the edge of the music, after the sermon…. It’s a balance, the taking and passing […]

… I could feel it being painted within me

THIS MUCH I DO REMEMBER It was after dinner. You were talking to me across the table about something or other, a greyhound you had seen that day or a song you liked, and I was looking past you over your bare shoulder at the three oranges lying on the kitchen counter next to the […]

what it means to live

“I don’t think poetry is based just on poetry; it is based on a thoroughly lived life. And so I couldn’t just decide I was going to write no matter what; I first had to find out what it means to live.” – Jane Hirschfield Thanks to my friend Kris for pointing me to this perfect […]

stirring everything it touches

I am a lake, my poem is an empty boat, and my life is the breeze that blows through the whole scene stirring everything it touches– the surface of the water, the limp sail, even the heavy, leafy trees along the shore. – Billy Collins (excerpt from My Life)

It’s all here

What scene would I want to be enveloped in more than this one, an ordinary night at the kitchen table, floral wallpaper pressing in, white cabinets full of glass, the telephone silent, a pen tilted back in my hand? It gives me time to think about all that is going on outside– leaves gathering in […]

the best is often when nothing is happening

Highlights and Interstices We think of lifetimes as mostly the exceptional and sorrows. Marriage we remember as children, vacations and emergencies. The uncommon parts. But the best is often when nothing is happening. The way a mother picks up the child almost without noticing and carries her across Waller Street while talking with the other […]

I wish her safe passage

In her room at the prow of the house Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden, My daughter is writing a story. I pause in the stairwell, hearing From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys Like a chain hauled over a gunwale. Young as she is, the stuff Of her life […]