No Fire Can Warm Me

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?”
-Emily Dickinson

In honor of National Poetry Month, I plan to devote some of my April posts to the wonderful world of poetry. Read more

Glut Thy Sorrow

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge really speaks to me. The prompt challenged bloggers to “share a photo inspired by a poem, verse, song lyric or story.” Photography and poetry go together like beauty and melancholy, like joy and sorrow. Opposites attract and complement one another, each bringing out the best in the other. Appreciation of these seemingly incongruous pairings is one of the biggest reasons I’m a fan of Romantic poetry, and John Keats in particular. His “Ode on Melancholy” is one of my favorite poems. It reminds me that life is full of deep sorrow and unbridled joy, but one cannot exist without the other, and neither one lasts indefinitely. Keats’ lines also suggest that beauty is, perhaps, best appreciated in a sudden fit of melancholy: Read more

Regroup

Plum blossoms

Who’s up for taking a moment to regroup? For me, the new year never feels like much of a milestone. Yes, it’s a great reason to get together with friends and family, to celebrate, and to be grateful. But, there’s something about March that really feels like a new beginning for me, personally. Read more

“If you look a word up in the dictionary and twenty minutes later you’re still wandering around in the dictionary, you probably have the most basic equipment you need to be a poet. It’s just liking the texture of language. I think there’s another thing, a kind of attitude—an attitude of not ever getting used to being alive, of not ever taking your life for granted.”
-Billy Collins

via Paris Review – The Art of Poetry No. 83, Billy Collins.

Everything we’ve ever imagined

We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep—it’s as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out of windows or drown themselves or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us, the vast majority, are slowly devoured by some disease or, if we’re very fortunate, by time itself. There’s just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we’ve ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.Michael Cunningham, The Hours

It’s 9 pm on Thursday evening, and I’ve just done something I haven’t done for a very long time. I read an entire book today. I woke up, having finished reading Call the Midwife last night, and sat down at the foot of my bed to pick another book. I reached for The Hours, opened it, and looked up 30 pages later like I had just awoken from a dream. My own surroundings seemed strange, because I had been so completely invested in what this book laid out before me that the story seemed, momentarily, more real than my own existence.

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