high weir

November 15, 2006

On Sapphics

Filed under: Poetry, Uncategorized — jstreed1476 @ 2:54 am

Sapphics for Patience
~Annie Finch

Look there—something rests on your hand and even
lingers, though the wind all around is asking
it to leave you. Passing the open passage,
you have been chosen

Seed. Like dust or thistle it sits so lightly
that your hand while holding the trust of silk gets
gentle. Seed like hope has come, making stillness.
Wish, in the quiet

If I stood there—stopped by an open passage—
staring at my hand—which is always open—
hopeful, maybe, not to compel you, I’d wish
only for patience.

Sapphics Against Anger
~Timothy Steele

Angered, may I be near a glass of water;
May my first impulse be to think of Silence,
Its deities (who are they? do, in fact, they
Exist? etc.).

May I recall what Aristotle says of
The subject: to give vent to rage is not to
Release it but to be increasingly prone
To its incursions.

May I imagine being in the Inferno,
Hearing it asked: “Virgilo mio, who’s
That sulking with Achilles there?” and hearing
Virgil say: “Dante,

That fellow, at the slightest provocation
Slammed phone receivers down, and waved his arms like
A madman. What Atilla did to Europe,
What Genghis Khan did

To Asia, that poor dope did to his marriage.”
May I, that is, put learning to good purpose,
Mindful that melancholy is a sin, though
Stylish at present.

Better than rage is the post-dinner quiet,
The sink’s warm turbulence, the streaming platters,
The suds rehearsing down the drain in spirals
In the last rinsing.

For what is, after all, the good life save that
Conducted thoughtfully, and what is passion
If not the holiest of powers, sustaining
Only if mastered.



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