For the Lady who Posts Poems on her Front Door Only to be Asked to Increase the Frequency of the Posting

 

Sometimes someone will knock and ask her to post poems more frequently.

 

 

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She also leaves the names of poets on my answering machine in the tones of someone speaking of a lover. Which, of course they are.

 

 

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You can hear the rustling of paper.  To make you long for a particular book you used to have.

 

 

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When I call her, she will say:  “Listen to this line….”

 

 

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She is also building a garden.  That is how I met her:  she was poring over a catalogue of exquisite rose varieties.

 

 

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Jane, come away from the edge of the city and live near me!

 

 

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Love Calls Us to The Things of This World

Richard Wilbur, American, 1921-2017.  From Collected Poems, 1943-2004

 

 

The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,

 

 

And spirited from sleep, the astounded  soul     

                      

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Detail of Summer, 1546/48, oil on canvas.   Jacopo Tintoretto, 1518/19-1594, Venetian.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

 

Hangs for a moment bodiless and simple   

                                  

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Detail  of Summer, 1546/48, oil on canvas.  Jacopo Tintoretto, 1518/19-1594, Venetian.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

 

 

As false dawn.

                              Outside the open window   

The morning air is all awash with angels.

 

 

 

 

   Angel mannequins made by the National Gallery of Art, Washtington, DC to display a technique of Jacopo Tintoretto, 1518/19-1594

 

Some are in bed-sheets, some are in blouses 

Some are in smocks: but truly there they are.                                                                     

 

 

As Above 

 

 

Now they are rising together in calm swells                                                                     

Of halcyon feeling, filling whatever they wear                                                                      

With the deep joy of their impersonal breathing;                                                                 

 

 

    Now they are flying in place, conveying

 

 

 

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As above

 

 

 

The terrible speed of their omnipresence,  moving                                                                

And staying like white water; and now of  a sudden                                                              

They swoon down into so rapt a quiet

That nobody seems to be there.

                                                 The soul shrinks

 

 

From all that it is about to remember,

From the punctual rape of every blessèd day                                                                        

And cries,

               “Oh, let there be nothing on earth                                                        but laundry,   

Nothing but rosy hands in the rising  steam                                                              

And clear dances done in the sight of  heaven.”

 

 

 

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Untitled (The Dancers), 1944, oil on canvas.  Stanley William Hayter, 1901-1988, English. Promised gift to the Philadelphia Art Museum

 

 

 

    Yet, as the sun acknowledges

With a warm look the world’s hunks and colors,                                                                     

The soul descends once more in bitter love

 

 

                                                                          

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To accept the waking body, saying now

 

 

 

 

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Hallucie, 1998, screenprint.  Sigmar Polke, 1941-2010, German.  MOMA, NY

 

In a changed voice as the man yawns and rises,                                                            

 

 

“Bring them down from their ruddy gallows;                                                              

Let there be clean linen for the backs of thieves;                                                             

Let lovers go fresh and sweet to be undone,     

                                                               

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Taboo, 1963, tempera on hardboard, with light interference. Jacob Lawrence, 1917-2000, American.  Philadelphia Art Museum

 

 

 

 

And the heaviest nuns walk in a pure floating 

 

                                                                   

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Of dark habits,

 

 

 

 

 

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                                            keeping their difficult balance.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Ensemble spring/summer 2014; black and white synthetic crepe and white cotton canvas.  Moschino, Italian. 

Loaned by Moschino to the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute exhibition, Heavenly Bodies, in 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “For the Lady who Posts Poems on her Front Door Only to be Asked to Increase the Frequency of the Posting

    1. If you mean the poem, I agree! It was my friend, Jane, who left this poem’s name on my answering machine, too! Thanks for reading!

      1. Yes. I find the poem matches my daily reality except I don’t dance much! The art I love, of course….

    1. Yes, hopeful is a good word. I also find it realistic. Some people say that realistic is no different from tragic. Dreams are often easier and more pleasant than life. But life is everything and why not be hopeful?

      1. That’s sad if they say realistic is tragic. I guess everyone has their own interpretation. A poet that puts poems on their door sounds like the kind to spread the love around.

      2. She spreads the beauty around, I would say. Sometimes it is love. And I would say that realistic is tragic more than it is not tragic because we don’t control a whole lot and because we are going to die. Tragic is an overall sense. But not day to day necessarily. Day to day it is as the poem says: let’s get on with the laundry and let the nuns walk about in their habits if they want to………

  1. Tha k you so much for the poem, its neighbourly nudge and the pictorial juxtapositions. Tho would have liked some billowing white sheets. Have loved the Wilbur poem for years but hadn’t read of his death 2 years ago.

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