“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies… (Bradbury) (repost)

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

*originally shared on 12/22/15

“Mrs. God” by Connie Wanek

Someone had to do the dirty work,
spading the garden, moving mountains,
keeping the darkness out of the light,
and she took every imperfection personally.

Mr. Big Ideas, sure,
but someone had to run the numbers.
Then talk about babies: he never imagined
so many.

That was part of his charm, of course,
his frank amazement at consequences.
The pretty songs he gave the finches:
those spoke to his

innocence, his ability to regard
every moment as fresh. “Let’s give them
free will and see what happens,”
he said, ever the optimist.

“Mrs. God” by Connie Wanek from Consider the Lilies: Mrs. God Poems. Will o’ the Wisp Books, 2018.

“When I Am Asked” by Lisel Mueller (repost)

When I am asked
how I began writing poems,
I talk about the indifference of nature.

It was soon after my mother died,
a brilliant June day,
everything blooming.

I sat on a gray stone bench
in a lovingly planted garden,
but the day lilies were as deaf
as the ears of drunken sleepers
and the roses curved inward.
Nothing was black or broken
and not a leaf fell
and the sun blared endless commercials
for summer holidays.

I sat on a gray stone bench
ringed with the ingenue faces
of pink and white impatiens
and placed my grief
in the mouth of language,
the only thing that would grieve with me.

Lisel Mueller, “When I am Asked” from Alive Together: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1996 by Lisel Mueller.

originally posted 06/15/15

“If I should die tomorrow, please note that I will miss the particular” by Chen Chen

music of the word “callipygian,”
which means the having of well-shaped buttocks.
I will miss the particular cruelty

of tongue twisters in my first tongue:
“Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī.
Shì shíshí shì shì shì shī.”

I will miss the particularly high volume
YES of correctly completing this tongue twister,
even once. & the deadpan ditty

of the English translation: “Mr. Shi, the poet
from a stone den, likes to eat lions. He pledges
solemnly to eat ten lions. Regularly

he goes to the market to look at the lions.”
I will miss the roar of those lions,
hungering for freedom

while Mr. Shi hungers for them. & outside
the market, on a nearby street, the bright
ding-ding of a bicycle bell. & the messenger

singing, A telegram, a telegram
from overseas
 . . .
& the sound of the sea.

The sound the sea makes at night,
delivering its own telegrams—
a sort of sensual

moo. I will miss the particular quiet
of my body, your body, opening
a window to listen.



Chen Chen, “If I should die tomorrow, please note that I will miss the particular” from When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities.  Copyright © 2017 by Chen Chen.  BOA Editions, Ltd., http://www.boaeditions.org.

“The Outcry” by William Bronk

What I want to do is shout. Happiness? No.
Outrage? No. What I want to do is shout
because we were all wrong, because the point
was not the point, because the world, or what
we took for the world, is breaking, breaking. We were wrong
and are not right. Break! Break! We are here!
What I want to do is shout! Break! Shout!

“The Outcry” by William Bronk