Friday, March 17, 2006

Sun Comes Out for Birthday Celebrations

Our fickle West Coast weather has done another stunning turn, from snow and hail and lots of rain into sun and Bay Area warmth. Who knows what the next few days will bring, but at least we're getting the cosmic nod for now! A lot of thin people rushing around ... everyone quietly sparkling.

I'm still hunting for poems about kindness, generosity and self-sacrifice. Anyone know of such? I did find Naomi Shihab Nye's stunning poem Kindness, but I continue to search. All ideas appreciated!

This winter I've discovered Harryette Mullen (a recommendation of Naomi's). It's intoxicating, recursive and word-wild stuff. Reading Mullen alongside Alice Fulton's intense verbal pyrotechnics is enough to make me believe Wallace Stevens is alive and being channeled through these poets. I can imagine either Mullen or Fulton having written these Stevens lines:

After the final no there comes a yes
And on that yes the future world depends.
No was the night. Yes is this present sun.

Though I think no one writing right now reminds me of one of my favorite Stevens poems, "Sea Surface Full of Clouds" -- no poet I know matches the sheer visual spectacle and verbal and philosophical reach of lines like these, from Part 1:

Paradisal green
Gave suavity to the perplexed machine

Of ocean, which like limpid water lay.
Who, then, in that ambrosial latitude
Out of the light evolved the morning blooms,

Who, then, evolved the sea-blooms from the clouds
Diffusing balm in that Pacific calm?
C’était mon enfant, mon bijou, mon âme.

And these lines, from Part 2 of "Sea Surface":


And a sham-like green
Capped summer-seeming on the tense machine

Of ocean, which in sinister flatness lay.
Who, then, beheld the rising of the clouds
That strode submerged in that malevolent sheen,

Who saw the mortal massives of the blooms
Of water moving on the water-floor?
C’était mon frère du ciel, ma vie, mon or.