Friday, December 25, 2009

Ballerinas Aren't Supposed To Speak -or- Have You Seen My Calliope?

painting by Sir Edward Burne-Jones

We had a great closing on Sunday, December 20th. At the party each member of the cast brought a poem that was near-and-dear to them and read it at the cast party. Wonderful words from wonderful people to commemorate a most wonderful experience.

From Emily Pope-Blackman:

by Sylvia Plath

Haunched like a faun, he hooed
From grove of moon-glint and fen-frost
Until all owls in the twigged forest
Flapped black to look and brood
On the call this man made.

No sound but a drunken coot
Lurching home along river bank.
Stars hung water-sunk, so a rank

Of double star-eyes lit
Boughs where those owls sat.

An arena of yellow eyes
Watched the changing shape he cut,
Saw hoof harden from foot, saw sprout
Marked how god rose
And galloped woodward in that guise.

From Lucie Baker:

A Blessing
by James Wright

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

From Dr. Donald Kolisch:

By Tony Hoagland

Why should I have to deal with so-called human beings
when I can be up on the roof
hammering shingles harder than necessary,

driving the sharp nails down
into the forehead of the house
like words I failed earlier to say?

And when a few wasps eddy up
from their hidden place beneath the eaves
To zoom in angry agitation near my face

I just raise a canister of lethal spray
and shoot them down without a thought.
Don’t speak to me, please,
about clarity and proportionate response.

The world is a can of contents under pressure;
a human being should have a warning label on the side
that says: Disorganized Narrative Inside;
Beware of frequent sideways bursting
Of one feeling through another
-to stare into the tangled midst of which
would make you as sick and dizzy as those wasps,

then leave you stranded on the roof
on a beautiful day in autumn
with a mouth full of nails,

trying to transplant pain
by hammering down
into a house full of echoes.

From Gregg Mozgala:

The Last Wolverine
By James Dickey

They will soon be down
To one, but he still will be
For a little while still will be stopping

The flakes in the air with a look,
Surrounding himself with the silence
Of whitening snarls.
Let him eat
The last red meal of the condemned

To extinction,
tearing the guts

From an elk.
Yet that is not enough
For me.
I would have him eat

The heart, and, from it, have an idea
Stream into his gnawing head
That he no longer has a thing
To lose, and so can walk

Out into the open, in the full
Pale of the sub-Arctic sun
Where a single spruce tree is dying

Higher and higher.
Let him climb it
With all his meanness and strength.
Lord, we have come to the end
Of this kind of vision of heaven,

As the sky breaks open
Its fans around him and shimmers
And into its northern gates he rises

Snarling complete in the joy of a weasel
With an elk's horned heart in his stomach
Looking straight into the eternal
Blue, where he hauls his kind. I would have it all

My way: at the top of that tree I place

The New World's last eagle
Hunched in mangy feathers giving

Up on the theory of flight.
Dear God of the wildness of poetry, let them mate
To the death in the rotten branches,
Let the tree sway and burst into flame

And mingle them, crackling with feathers,

In crownfire. Let something come
Of it something gigantic legendary

Rise beyond reason over hills
Of ice SCREAMING that it cannot die,
That it has come back, this time
On wings, and will spare no earthly thing:

That it will hover, made purely of northern

Lights, at dusk and fall
On men building roads: will perch

On the moose's horn like a falcon
Riding into battle into holy war against
Screaming railroad crews: will pull
Whole traplines like fibers from the snow
In the long-jawed night of fur trappers.

But, small, filthy, unwinged,
You will soon be crouching

Alone, with maybe some dim racial notion
Of being the last, but none of how much
Your unnoticed going will mean:
How much the timid poem needs

The mindless explosion of your rage,

The glutton's internal fire the elk's
Heart in the belly, sprouting wings,

The pact of the "blind swallowing
Thing," with himself, to eat
The world, and not to be driven off it
Until it is gone, even if it takes

Forever. I take you as you are

And make of you what I will,
Skunk-bear, carcajou, bloodthirsty


Lord, let me die but not die

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