Monday, March 10, 2008

I have not the heart to sweep away the tinsel

Rabindranath Tagore


Obstinate are the trammels, but my
heart aches when I try to break them.
     Freedom is all I want, but to hope
for it I feel ashamed.

     I am certain that priceless wealth is
in thee, and that thou art my best
friend, but I have not the heart to
sweep away the tinsel that fills my

     The shroud that covers me is a
shroud of dust and death; I hate it,
yet hug it in love.
     My debts are large, my failures great,
my shame secret and heavy; yet when
I come to ask for my good, I quake in
fear lest my prayer be granted.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The blankness that succeeds gaiety

The Task
John Ashbery

They are preparing to begin again:
Problems, new pennant up the flagpole
In a predicated romance.

About the time the sun begins to cut laterally across
The western hemisphere with its shadows, its carnival echoes,
The fugitive lands crowd under separate names.
It is the blankness that succeeds gaiety, and Everyman must depart
Out there into the stranded night, for his destiny
Is to return unfruitful out of the lightness
That passing time evokes. It was only
Cloud-castles, adept to seize the past
And possess it, through hurting. And the way is clear
Now for linear acting into that time
In whose corrosive mass he first discovered how to breathe.

Just look at the filth you've made,
See what you've done.
Yet if these are regrets they stir only lightly
The children playing after supper,
Promise of the pillow and so much in the night to come.
I plan to stay here a little while
For these are moments only, moments of insight,
And there are reaches to be attained,
A last level of anxiety that melts
In becoming, like miles under the pilgrim's feet.