Outward Bound Ideas

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

78. The End of the Poem: Oxford Lectures by Paul Muldoon

From "The End of the Poem" Oxford Lectures by Paul Muldoon

Aleister Crowley:
"The difference between Cambridge and Oxford is that the former makes you the equal of anybody alive; the latter leaves you in the invidious position of being his superior."

About Robert Lowell:
W. H. Auden to Charles Monteith about his reservations about Lowell's candidacy for the Oxford Professorship of Poetry:
"His supporters should be aware, if they aren't already, that Cal has times when he has to go into the bin. The warning signals are three: a) He announces that he is the only living poet b) a romantic and usually platonic attraction to a young girl and c) he gives a huge party."

....It was surely some version of this religious mania that had lain behind Lowell's presenting himself as a conscientious objector, and his subsequent refusal to serve in the U.S. Army..... Jim Peck, another C.O. would tell Ian Hamilton of Lowell's being held for a few days in West Street jail in New York:
"Lowell was in a cell next to Lepke, you know, Murder Incorporated, and Lepke says to him: "I'm in for killing. What are you in for?" "Oh, I'm in for refusing to kill."

It was, presumably, "because he was a Lowell" that he felt so spectacularly entitled, on September 7, 1943 to write directly to President Roosevelt:
Dear Mr. President:
I very much regret that I must refuse the opportunity you offer me in your communication of August 6, 1943, for service in the Armed Forces.

With the inauguration of John F. Kennedy, an event which he attended, Lowell might have found a president whom he could come close to admiring. After a May 1962 White House dinner in honour of André Malraux, however, Lowell wrote to Edmund Wilson with a perceptive sense of the true significance of the poet to the politician:
"Except for you, everyone there seemed addled with adulation at having been invited. It was all good fun but next morning you read the the President has sent the 7th fleet to Laos, or he might have invaded Cuba again––not that he will. But I feel we intellectuals play a very pompous and frivolous roll––we should be windows not window dressing. Then, now in our times, of all times, the sword hangs over us and our children, and not a voice is lifted."

Friday, October 27, 2006

77. Thank Youse II

Thank you Dorothy Parker
"Her mind lives tidily, apart
From cold and noise and pain,
And bolts the door against her heart
Out wailing in the rain."

Thank you George Borrow
"The mountain snow: the crust is sound;
The wind doth twist the reeds around.
Where ignorance is, no grace is found."

Thank you Gerald Stern
"What would you give for your dream
to be as clear and simple as it was then
in the dark afternoons, at the old scarred tables?"

Thank you Howard Neverov
"Two universes mosey down the street
Connected by love and a leash and nothing else."

Thank you Jane Hirshfield
"There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight."

Thank you Jo Carson
"When I am dead, it will not matter
how hard you press your ear to the ground."

Thank you John Koethe
"It troubles me that time should make things sweeter, that
Instead of learning how to perceive things as they are I've
Learned to lose them, or to see them as they disappear
Into the insubstantial future."

Thank you John Stuart Williams
"Then, before you can touch him
He is gone, leaving on your fingers
A little more of his weariness
A little more of his love."

Thank you Jonathan Swift
"How very mean a thing's a duke;
From all his ill-got honors flung,
Turned to that dust from whence he sprung."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

76. Thank Youse I

Thank you A. D. Hope
"A parable of all we are or do!
The life of Nature is a formal dance
In which each step is ruled by what has been
and yet the pattern emerges always new:
The marriage of linked cause and random chance
Gives birth perpetually to the unforeseen."

Thank you A. R Ammons
"Tipping on its handle
the Dipper unobtrusively
poured out the night."

Thank you Adrienne Rich
"I know you are reading this poem
standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean
on a grey day of early spring, faint flakes driven
across the plains’ enormous spaces around you."

"Thank you Anne Sexton
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone."

Thank you Archibald MacLeish
"To lie late in the odor of coffee
thinking of nothing at all, listening . . ."

Thank you Billy Collins
"No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart."

Thank you charles Bukowski
"you must refuse to join them.
you must remain yourself.
you must open the curtains
or the blinds
or the windows
to the gentle light.
to joy.
it's there in life
and even in death
it can be

Thank you Constantine P. Cavafy
"And even more honor is due to them
when they foresee (as many do foresee)
that Ephialtis will turn up in the end,
that the Medes will break through after all."

Thank you Czeskaw Milosz
"Look, see the long shadow cast by the trees;
And flowers and people throw shadows on the earth:
What has no shadow has no strength to live."

Thank you David Wagoner
"If what a tree or bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you."

Thank you Delmore Schwartz
"In dark accidents the mind's sufficient grace."

Thank you Denise Levertov
"All others talked as if
talk were a dance.
Clodhopper I, with clumsy feet
would break the gliding ring."

From Outwardboundideas.blogspot.com

Friday, October 06, 2006

75. A Toast

A Toast by Rabbi ?

May you get a clean bill of health from your dentist, your
cardiologist, your gastro-enterologist, your urologist, your
proctologist, your podiatrist, your psychiatrist, your plumber and
the I.R.S.

May your hair, your teeth, your face-lift, your abs and your stocks
not fall.

May your blood pressure, your triglycerides, your cholesterol, your white blood
count and your mortgage interest not rise.

May New Year's Eve find you seated around the table, together with
your beloved family and cherished friends.

May you find the food better, the environment quieter, the cost much cheaper,
and the pleasure much more fulfilling than anything else you might ordinarily do that night.

May what you see in the mirror delight you, and what others see in
you delight them.

May someone love you enough to forgive your faults, be blind to your blemishes,
and tell the world about your virtues.

May the telemarketers wait to make their sales calls until you finish dinner.

May the commercials on TV not be louder than the program you
have been watching, and may your check book and your budget balance -
and include generous amounts for charity.

May you remember to say "I love you" at least once a day to your
spouse, your child, your parent, your siblings; but not to your secretary,
your nurse, your masseuse, your hairdresser or your tennis instructor.

And may we live in a world at peace and with the awareness of God's
love in every sunset, every flower's unfolding petals, every baby's
smile, every lover's kiss, and every wonderful, astonishing, miraculous
beat of our heart.