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This Week’s Paired: Lisa Congdon + Edward Thomas

imageBirch Forest No. 7 by Lisa Congdon

This week’s paired: Lisa Congdon + Edward Thomas


October

The green elm with the one great bough of gold

Lets leaves into the grass slip, one by one, —

The short hill grass, the mushrooms small milk-white,

Harebell and scabious and tormentil,

That blackberry and gorse, in dew and sun,

Bow down to; and the wind travels too light

To shake the fallen birch leaves from the fern;

The gossamers wander at their own will.

At heavier steps than birds’ the squirrels scold.

The rich scene has grown fresh again and new

As Spring and to the touch is not more cool

Than it is warm to the gaze; and now I might

As happy be as earth is beautiful,

Were I some other or with earth could turn

In alternation of violet and rose,

Harebell and snowdrop, at their season due,

And gorse that has no time not to be gay.

But if this be not happiness, — who knows?

Some day I shall think this a happy day,

And this mood by the name of melancholy

Shall no more blackened and obscured be.

Edward Thomas

This Week’s Paired: Tom Kondrat + Sara Teasdale

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Bildudalur by Tom Kondrat

This Week’s PairedTom Kondrat + Sara Teasdale

Barter

Life has loveliness to sell,
      All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
      Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up,
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
      Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
      Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
      Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
      Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy 
Give all you have been, or could be.

Sara Teasdale

This Week’s Paired: Amy Ross + Emily Dickinson

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Secrets of Living 4 by Amy Ross


This Week’s Paired: Amy Ross + Emily Dickinson


Hope is the Thing with Feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard,
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson

This Week’s Paired: Robert Garcia + Shel Silverstein

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We Are Who We Are by Robert Garcia

This Week’s PairedRobert Garcia + Shel Silverstein

Dirty Face

Where did you get such a dirty face,
My darling dirty-faced child?
I got it from crawling along in the dirt
And biting two buttons off Jeremy’s shirt.
I got it from chewing the roots of a rose
And digging for clams in the yard with my nose.
I got it from peeking into a dark cave
And painting myself like a Navajo brave.
I got it from playing with coal in the bin
And signing my name in cement with my chin.
I got if from rolling around on the rug
And giving the horrible dog a big hug.
I got it from finding a lost silver mine
And eating sweet blackberries right off the vine.
I got it from ice cream and wrestling and tears
And from having more fun than you’ve had in years.
Shel Silverstein

Court of First Model Tenement House in New York, 1936 by Berenice Abbott

This Week’s PairedBerenice Abbott + Maya Angelou

Awaking in New York

Curtains forcing their will  
against the wind,
children sleep,
exchanging dreams with  
seraphim. The city
drags itself awake on  
subway straps; and
I, an alarm, awake as a  
rumor of war,
lie stretching into dawn,  
unasked and unheeded.

Maya Angelou

Burning Down the Second House by Ann Toebbe

The Week’s Paired: Ann Toebbe + Margaret Atwood

Morning in the Burned House

In the burned house I am eating breakfast.
You understand: there is no house, there is no breakfast,
yet here I am.

The spoon which was melted scrapes against
the bowl which was melted also.
No one else is around.

Where have they gone to, brother and sister,
mother and father? Off along the shore,
perhaps. Their clothes are still on the hangers,

their dishes piled beside the sink,
which is beside the woodstove
with its grate and sooty kettle,

every detail clear,
tin cup and rippled mirror.
The day is bright and songless,

the lake is blue, the forest watchful.
In the east a bank of cloud
rises up silently like dark bread.

I can see the swirls in the oilcloth,
I can see the flaws in the glass,
those flares where the sun hits them.

I can’t see my own arms and legs
or know if this is a trap or blessing,
finding myself back here, where everything

in this house has long been over,
kettle and mirror, spoon and bowl,
including my own body,

including the body I had then,
including the body I have now
as I sit at this morning table, alone and happy,

bare child’s feet on the scorched floorboards
(I can almost see)
in my burning clothes, the thin green shorts

and grubby yellow T-shirt
holding my cindery, non-existent,
radiant flesh. Incandescent.

Margaret Atwood

12 Bicycle Drawings by Christine Berrie

This Week’s PairedChristine Berrie + Michael Donaghy

Machines

Dearest, note how these two are alike:
This harpsicord pavane by Purcell
And the racer’s twelve-speed bike.

The machinery of grace is always simple.
This chrome trapezoid, one wheel connected
To another of concentric gears,
Which Ptolemy dreamt of and Schwinn perfected,
Is gone. The cyclist, not the cycle, steers.
And in the playing, Purcell’s chords are played away.

So this talk, or touch if I were there,
Should work its effortless gadgetry of love,
Like Dante’s heaven, and melt into the air.

If it doesn’t, of course, I’ve fallen. So much is chance,
So much agility, desire, and feverish care,
As bicyclists and harpsicordists prove

Who only by moving can balance,
Only by balancing move.

Michael Donaghy

Wedding Portrait by Jorge Colombo

This Week’s Paired: Jorge Colombo + Jane Hirschfeld

A Blessing for Wedding

Today when persimmons ripen
Today when fox-kits come out of their den into snow
Today when the spotted egg releases its wren song
Today when the maple sets down its red leaves
Today when windows keep their promise to open
Today when fire keeps its promise to warm
Today when someone you love has died
     or someone you never met has died
Today when someone you love has been born
     or someone you will not meet has been born
Today when rain leaps to the waiting of roots in their dryness
Today when starlight bends to the roofs of the hungry and tired
Today when someone sits long inside his last sorrow
Today when someone steps into the heat of her first embrace
Today, let this light bless you
With these friends let it bless you
With snow-scent and lavender bless you
Let the vow of this day keep itself wildly and wholly
Spoken and silent, surprise you inside your ears
Sleeping and waking, unfold itself inside your eyes
Let its fierceness and tenderness hold you
Let its vastness be undisguised in all your days

Jane Hirschfeld

Rincon Artificial Island and Pipeline, Ventura, California by Ian Baguskas

This Week’s Paired: Ian Baguskas + Edgar Allan Poe

A Dream Within a Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Edgar Allan Poe

B Side #6 by Rubi Lebovitch

This Week’s Paired: Rubi Lebovitch + Robert Winner

Land’s End

Surviving in its fragile skin,
a white egret rises
from the gulf of its strength.
I want the lightest needle of a pine
to fall on my hand,
a pine with ravaged limbs.

I’d stare through salt-blind eyes
at a remote fragile sea.   I’d roar.
I’d make the skeleton of grief.
I’d roar like you, unreconciled sea.

Robert Winner