Earlier this year, I wrote about Italo Calvino's novel, If on a winter's night a traveler... and mentioned that there was yet another Calvino book on my shelf. , however, isn't so much a novel as an epic poem. Read more about Invisible Cities
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THE SPIDER AND THE FLY
'Will you walk into my parlour?' said the Spider to the Fly,
''Tis the prettiest parlour that ever did you spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there.'
'Oh no, no,' said the little Fly, 'to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again.'
'I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?' said the Spider to the Fly.
'There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin;
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Confide ye aye in Providence, for Providence is kind,
And bear ye a' life's changes, wi' a calm and tranquil mind,
Though pressed and hemmed on every side, ha'e faith and ye 'll win through,
For ilka blade o' grass keps its ain drap o' dew.
Gin reft frae friends or crest in love, as whiles nae doubt ye've been,
Grief lies deep hidden in your heart or tears flow frae your een,
I don't think I've posted this one before. My friend Mary is a Scotswoman, now living in Massachusetts, who likes to ski. We were two of the Radical Women of Door County back in the 70's. I wrote a series of poems about a few of the women I knew then. This one is Mary's. She always reminds me of my favorite things.
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Mary gentle hands to touch
Blackberry a wilding bramble
Butternut a sapling springing
Hundred feet a hundred years.
Silent snow is soft and cold
And deep along the river shallows
Down she follows, glistening rocks
An ice-glow road of full moon tears
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The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn't a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.
Frozen by Fire, by Donald Kentop, is a collection of poems imagining the lives of those who are forever frozen in those few moments after 4:40 p.m. on March 25, 1911. It is available from Paper Wings Press (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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In England, the Edwardians were poised
upon the peak of power, while the French
reveled gaily in La Belle Époque,
and in America, a hangover
For the Koch Brothers, et al. A cautionary tale from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
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As in at the gate we rode, behold,
A tower that is called the Tower of Gold!
For there the Kalif had hidden his wealth,
Heaped and hoarded and piled on high,
Like sacks of wheat in a granary;
And thither the miser crept by stealth
To feel of the gold that gave him health,
This is a hymn sung every Christmas Eve during midnight mass at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, Renee Fleming sings it with Rufus Wainwright on her recent Christmas album, and it reinforces my assertion that December 21st is the middle, not the beginning, of winter.
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With our national holiday of praise and thanksgiving for the Native Americans, who welcomed us to this new world, nearly upon us, I choose this poem by Mary Oliver, one of us, who wrote in honest tribute to one of them.
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I went down not long ago
to the Mad River, under the willows
I knelt and drank from that crumpled flow, call it
what madness you will, there's a sickness
worse than the risk of death and that's