But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing
—Mary Oliver, from ”What Is There Beyond Knowing,” New and Selected Poems, Volume 2 (Beacon Press, 2005)
There is a song the body sings to itself
about time’s arrow, that has pierced
Its sentimental shining heart: about the eternal
flow of fire over the medulla oblongata,
And the oceanic backwash of lymph
in the cells’ interstices. Call that song an angel.
Call it space. The body sings, and does not know
or care about the corrosive dark matter
Sealed in burial urns. The body sings, and when it stops
for breath, nothing sings back its harmony.
T. R. Hummer, "Maria Ranier Rilke, 1875-1926," from Urn: Poems (Diode Editions, 2014)
TR Hummer had just published an excellent new collection of poems, entitled Skandalon.
Your life was a hypothesis. Those who die old are made of the past. Thinking of them, one thinks of what they have done. Thinking of you, one thinks of what you could have become. You were, and you will remain, made up of possibilities.
—Édouard Levé, from Suicide (Gallimard, 2008)
"It’s not enough to have my one dream in hand long after I am gone. I’ll be a locust by then, learning in the next life how to fly transparently, how to deposit my old skins on the outside of the screened-in porch in some pastoral set in the last open space in America a hundred years from now. For now, I am transfixed by possessing the things of this world."
Lucie Brock-Broido, from “Lucie & Her Sisters,” Mississippi Review (v. 15, no. 1 & 2, Fall/Winter 1986)
A small door, slightly ajar, etched on the left side of his chest.
—Mary Ruefle, “His Tattoo,” from “A Half-Sketched Head,” Mississippi Review (v. 16, no. 1, Fall/Winter 1987)
My today and each of my yesterdays, my rises and falls, are so diverse that I sometimes feel as if I had lived not one, but several existences, each one different from the others.
—Stefan Zweig, from The World of Yesterday (University of Nebraska Press, 1942)
There’s a door that begins with a hole in the heart.
There are these old feelings I carry on the chain.
There are little cloisters of darkness in the light.
There is the desire of the rain for the willow’s roots.
There’s the rain bringing its memories
of what happens higher up.
The dust is already settling in my dreams.
There’s a suitcase beside a road afraid to go on.
I’m not saying it’s mine. I’m not saying it’s yours.
Richard Jackson, from “Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame,” Mississippi Review (v. 20, no. 3, Spring 1992)
I tried to write invisibly,
but all lifetime is a candle.
—Richard Kenney, closing lines to “Coda,” The New Yorker (15 October 2007)