Two friends shared poems with me this week. (Friends who are dear and wise and writers.) I figure I should share them with you.
The Madness Vase
by Andrea Gibson
The nutritionist said I should eat root vegetables,
said if I could get down thirteen turnips each day
I would be grounded, rooted.
Said my head would not keep flying away to where the darkness lives.
The psychic told me my heart carries too much weight,
said for twenty dollars she’d tell me what to do.
I handed her the twenty and she said, “Stop worrying, darling,
you will find a good man soon.”
The first psycho-therapist said I should spend three hours a day
sitting in a dark closet with my eyes closed and my ears plugged.
I tried it once but couldn’t stop thinking
about how gay it was to be sitting in the closet.
The yogi told me to stretch everything but the truth,
said focus on the out breath,
said everyone finds happiness
if they can care more about what they can give
than what they get.
The pharmacist said Klonopin, Lamictal, Lithium, Xanax.
The doctor said an antipsychotic might help me forget
what the trauma said.
The trauma said, “Don’t write this poem.
Nobody wants to hear you cry about the grief inside your bones.”
But my bones said, “Tyler Clementi dove into the Hudson River
convinced he was entirely alone.”
My bones said, “Write the poem.”
by Alberto Caeiro (Fernando Pessoa), translated by Edouard Roditi
The frightful reality of things
Is my everyday discovery.
Each thing is what it is.
How can I explain to anyone how much
I rejoice over this, and find it enough?
To be whole, it is enough to exist.
I have written quite a number of poems
And may write many more, of course.
Each poem of mine explains it,
Though all my poems are different,
Because each thing that exists is always proclaiming it.
Sometimes I busy myself with watching a stone,
I don’t begin thinking whether it feels.
I don’t force myself to call it my sister,
But I enjoy it because of its being a stone,
I enjoy it because it feels nothing,
I enjoy it because it is not at all related to me.
At times I also hear the wind blow by
And find that merely to hear the wind blow makes
it worth having been born.
I don’t know what others will think who read this;
But I find it must be good because I think it
And without the idea of others hearing me think,
Because I think it without thoughts,
Because I say it as my words say it.
Once they called me a materialist poet
And I admired myself because I never thought
That I might be called by any name at all.
I am not even a poet: I see.
If what I write has any value, it is not I who am
The value is there, in my verses.
All this has nothing whatever to do with any will