100 Day Project – Days 43 and 44

DAY 43 (June 22nd, 2017)

Theodore Roethke
Theodore Roethke

Root Cellar

Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch,
Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark,
Shoots dangled and drooped,
Lolling obscenely from mildewed crates,
Hung down long yellow evil necks, like tropical snakes.
And what a congress of stinks!—
Roots ripe as old bait,
Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich,
Leaf-mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks.
Nothing would give up life:
Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.

My Commentary

If I would but love then I would lay
this illusive fog into the grave.

And then the sun and all her children,
lazily roaming, silver and snowy …

would reveal their truths to me.

DAY 44 (June 23rd, 2017)

A. E. Housman
A. E. Housman

When green buds hang in the elm

When green buds hang in the elm like dust
And sprinkle the lime like rain,
Forth I wander, forth I must,
And drink of life again.
Forth I must by hedgerow bowers
To look at the leaves uncurled,
And stand in the fields where cuckoo-flowers
Are lying about the world.

My Commentary

This way the raven cried
so loud and shrill I could not hide
from the regal imperative.

Dutifully bent, I rose to follow,
the day now spent, the world now hollow
and into the clutching darkness went.


The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project is a creativity excavation. It’s about unearthing dormant or unrealized creativity by committing to a daily practice everyday for 100 days.
Creativity is a skill. The more we practice, the more skilled we become. Practice takes time. Practice takes commitment. Practice is a radical act in this speeded up world. Through practice, we develop a creative habit. Through habit, we reconnect with and know ourselves again as a creative being.

I started this 100 Day Project on May 11th. My project is to read a poem, and write at least one first-draft stanza inspired by that poem. I’ll post the results at www.bradseverance.com/category/100-day-project/

Enjoy!

100 Day Project – Days 41 and 42

DAY 41 (June 20th, 2017)

Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke

From the Book of Hours

We must not portray you in king’s robes,
you drifting mist that brought forth the morning.

Once again from the old paintboxes
we take the same gold for scepter and crown
that has disguised you through the ages.

Piously we produce our images of you
till they stand around you like a thousand walls.
And when our hearts would simply open,
our fervent hands hide you.

My Commentary

Do you hear them?
You spoke those words in your youth,
and still they are written,
penned in shadows on the dark hillside,
and still they are sung
by angels on the other side of the bright, blue sky.

DAY 42 (June 21st, 2017)

Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke

From the Book of Hours

I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.

Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that’s wide and timeless.

So I am sometimes like a tree
rustling over a gravesite
and making real the dream
of the one its living roots
embrace:

a dream once lost
among sorrows and songs.

My Commentary

It is not the face of God
I see in this creature,
but God himself.
And God sees in me my mortality,
And loves and pities me for it.


The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project is a creativity excavation. It’s about unearthing dormant or unrealized creativity by committing to a daily practice everyday for 100 days.
Creativity is a skill. The more we practice, the more skilled we become. Practice takes time. Practice takes commitment. Practice is a radical act in this speeded up world. Through practice, we develop a creative habit. Through habit, we reconnect with and know ourselves again as a creative being.

I started this 100 Day Project on May 11th. My project is to read a poem, and write at least one first-draft stanza inspired by that poem. I’ll post the results at www.bradseverance.com/category/100-day-project/

Enjoy!

100 Day Project – Days 39 and 40

DAY 39 (June 18th, 2017)

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Days

Daughters of Time, the hypocritic Days,
Muffled and dumb like barefoot dervishes,
And marching single in an endless file,
Bring diadems and fagots in their hands.
To each they offer gifts after his will,
Bread, kingdoms, stars, or sky that holds them all.
I, in my pleached garden, watched the pomp,
Forgot my morning wishes, hastily
Took a few herbs and apples, and the Day
Turned and departed silent. I, too late,
Under her solemn fillet saw the scorn.

My Commentary

I was born chasing the sun.
I’ll die with it in my hands.
There’s no more room for shadows
  in my heart,
where ghosts may roam and
  murmur in tongues …

DAY 40 (June 19th, 2017)

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nemesis

Already blushes in thy cheek
The bosom-thought which thou must speak;
The bird, how far it haply roam
By cloud or isle, is flying home;
The maiden fears, and fearing runs
Into the charmed snare she shuns;
And every man, in love or pride,
Of his fate is never wide.

Will a woman’s fan the ocean smooth?
Or prayers the stony Parcae sooth,
Or coax the thunder from its mark?
Or tapers light the chaos dark?
In spite of Virtue and the Muse,
Nemesis will have her dues,
And all our struggles and our toils
Tighter wind the giant coils.

My Commentary

Speak to your God truly.
He is as omnipotent
  as you are honest.


The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project is a creativity excavation. It’s about unearthing dormant or unrealized creativity by committing to a daily practice everyday for 100 days.
Creativity is a skill. The more we practice, the more skilled we become. Practice takes time. Practice takes commitment. Practice is a radical act in this speeded up world. Through practice, we develop a creative habit. Through habit, we reconnect with and know ourselves again as a creative being.

I started this 100 Day Project on May 11th. My project is to read a poem, and write at least one first-draft stanza inspired by that poem. I’ll post the results at www.bradseverance.com/category/100-day-project/

Enjoy!

100 Day Project – Days 37 and 38

DAY 37 (June 16th, 2017)

Stephen Crane
Stephen Crane

In the Desert

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it
“Because it is bitter,
“And because it is my heart.”

My Commentary

With what is your heart filled?
Watch your thoughts
ripple across the canvas of the sea.
You and the sea are inextricably bound.

Your steady gaze will quell the tempest,
scatter the clouds like ashes
and lift up the newborn sun …

and the seagulls will dance in the coddling breezes
and cry for your joy.

DAY 38 (June 17th, 2017)

Stephen Crane
Stephen Crane

A Learned Man Came to Me Once

A learned man came to me once.
He said, “I know the way,—come.”
And I was overjoyed at this.
Together we hastened.
Soon, too soon, were we
Where my eyes were useless,
And I knew not the ways of my feet.
I clung to the hand of my friend;
But at last he cried, “I am lost.”

My Commentary

Let your thoughts range far, far,
to the farthest shore.
There you will find a true friend waiting.

He’ll know why you’ve come.


The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project is a creativity excavation. It’s about unearthing dormant or unrealized creativity by committing to a daily practice everyday for 100 days.
Creativity is a skill. The more we practice, the more skilled we become. Practice takes time. Practice takes commitment. Practice is a radical act in this speeded up world. Through practice, we develop a creative habit. Through habit, we reconnect with and know ourselves again as a creative being.

I started this 100 Day Project on May 11th. My project is to read a poem, and write at least one first-draft stanza inspired by that poem. I’ll post the results at www.bradseverance.com/category/100-day-project/

Enjoy!

100 Day Project – Days 35 and 36

DAY 35 (June 14th, 2017)

A. E. Housman
A. E. Housman

Loveliest of Trees

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

My Commentary

You leave each moment
as you entered it—
stumbling in the night
from room to dusty room
or holding a lantern
and walking out to sea.

DAY 36 (June 15th, 2017)

W. B. Yeats
W. B. Yeats

Leda and the Swan

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
     Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

My Commentary

When will be the last day?
And the last morning?
And the last looking up
into a sky full of questions?
And the last tear shed
for the tiny, tremulous bird
with an undying love for flight
beating in its tiny breast.


The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project is a creativity excavation. It’s about unearthing dormant or unrealized creativity by committing to a daily practice everyday for 100 days.
Creativity is a skill. The more we practice, the more skilled we become. Practice takes time. Practice takes commitment. Practice is a radical act in this speeded up world. Through practice, we develop a creative habit. Through habit, we reconnect with and know ourselves again as a creative being.

I started this 100 Day Project on May 11th. My project is to read a poem, and write at least one first-draft stanza inspired by that poem. I’ll post the results at www.bradseverance.com/category/100-day-project/

Enjoy!

100 Day Project – Days 33 and 34

DAY 33 (June 12th, 2017)

Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke

From the Book of Hours

What will you do, God, when I die?

I am your pitcher (when I shatter?)
I am your drink (when I go bitter?)
I, your garment; I, your craft.
Without me what reason have you?

Without me what house
where intimate words await you?
I, velvet sandal that falls from your foot.
I, cloak dropping from your shoulder.

Your gaze, which I welcome now
as it warms my cheek,
will search for me hour after hour
and lie at sunset, spent,
on an empty beach
among unfamiliar stones.

What will you do, God? I am afraid.

My Commentary

This is the hour
for which I’ve been waiting,
or was the hour waiting for me?
… if the hour is God
and the moon is flight,
and I the blue heron
alone in my thoughts
was lost in the bulrushes.

DAY 34 (June 13th, 2017)

Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke

From the Book of Hours

I have hymns you haven’t heard.

There is an upward soaring
in which I bend close.
You can barely distinguish me
from the things that kneel before me.

They are like sheep, they are grazing.
I am the shepherd on the brow of the hill.
When evening draws them home
I follow after, the dark bridge thudding.

And the vapor rising from their backs
hides my own homecoming.

My Commentary

There God goes
she dances like a child
among the wildflowers
on a honey-colored hillock
this side of eventide.

Up and over,
into darkness smiling,
her lips are tinged with twilight
and solace.


The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project is a creativity excavation. It’s about unearthing dormant or unrealized creativity by committing to a daily practice everyday for 100 days.
Creativity is a skill. The more we practice, the more skilled we become. Practice takes time. Practice takes commitment. Practice is a radical act in this speeded up world. Through practice, we develop a creative habit. Through habit, we reconnect with and know ourselves again as a creative being.

I started this 100 Day Project on May 11th. My project is to read a poem, and write at least one first-draft stanza inspired by that poem. I’ll post the results at www.bradseverance.com/category/100-day-project/

Enjoy!

100 Day Project – Days 31 and 32

DAY 31 (June 10th, 2017)

Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay

The Shroud

Death, I say, my heart is bowed
Unto thine,—O mother!
This red gown will make a shroud
Good as any other!

(I, that would not wait to wear
My own bridal things,
In a dress dark as my hair
Made my answerings.

I, to-night, that till he came
Could not, could not wait,
In a gown as bright as flame
Held for them the gate.)

Death, I say, my heart is bowed
Unto thine,—O mother!
This red gown will make a shroud
Good as any other!

My Commentary

I AM THE LITTLE LIFE

I am the little life
My thoughts are sometimes long.
And on my skin and in my bones,
are quiet little reckonings.

I am the little life
And I am sometimes whole.
Today I was a cloud.
Tommorrow—an eternity.

DAY 32 (June 11th, 2017)

James Arlington Wright
James Arlington Wright

Beginning

The moon drops one or two feathers into the fields.
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.
Now.
There they are, the moon’s young, trying
Their wings.
Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow
Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone
Wholly, into the air.
I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen.
The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.

My Commentary

When my body moves, so does my soul.

My roots are legs,
birds are my thoughts,
my arms branch out
and all my creations—leaves,
now green and alive;
now brown and dying or dead.

And what are you, my soul?

Neither tree nor bird nor living thing.
quite unseen,
even unbidden,
and now I must make sense of you.


The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project is a creativity excavation. It’s about unearthing dormant or unrealized creativity by committing to a daily practice everyday for 100 days.
Creativity is a skill. The more we practice, the more skilled we become. Practice takes time. Practice takes commitment. Practice is a radical act in this speeded up world. Through practice, we develop a creative habit. Through habit, we reconnect with and know ourselves again as a creative being.

I started this 100 Day Project on May 11th. My project is to read a poem, and write at least one first-draft stanza inspired by that poem. I’ll post the results at www.bradseverance.com/category/100-day-project/

Enjoy!

100 Day Project – Days 29 and 30

DAY 29 (June 8th, 2017)

Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke

From the Book of Hours

Our hands shake as we try to construct you,
block on block.
But you, cathedral we dimly perceive—
who can bring you to completion?

What’s Rome? It crumbled?
What is the world? We are destroying it
before your towers can taper into spires,
before we can assemble your face
from piles of mosaic.

Yet sometimes in dreams
I take in your whole expanse,
from its deepest beginnings
up to the rooftop’s glittering ridge.

And then I see: it is my mind
that will fashion
and set the last pieces in place.

My Commentary

What is a font of marble and silver to you?
Or an apse gilded in gold mosaics?
Or stone towers wreathed in clouds?

Do you forgive man for his feeble desire
to make you a corporeal home?

Is it not better to breath your majesty
in the eastern wind?
Or to swim in your calm, warm waters?

DAY 30 (June 9th, 2017)

Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke

From the Book of Hours

Because once someone dared
to want you,
I know that we too, may want you.

When gold is in the mountain
and we’ve ravaged the depths
til we’ve given up digging,

it will be brought forth into day
by the river that mines
the silences of stone.

Even when we don’t desire it,
God is ripening.

My Commentary

You are always in front of us.
If we would but wish it,
you could not hide from us
and you would take our hands
and walk with us together
like old friends.


The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project is a creativity excavation. It’s about unearthing dormant or unrealized creativity by committing to a daily practice everyday for 100 days.
Creativity is a skill. The more we practice, the more skilled we become. Practice takes time. Practice takes commitment. Practice is a radical act in this speeded up world. Through practice, we develop a creative habit. Through habit, we reconnect with and know ourselves again as a creative being.

I started this 100 Day Project on May 11th. My project is to read a poem, and write at least one first-draft stanza inspired by that poem. I’ll post the results at www.bradseverance.com/category/100-day-project/

Enjoy!

100 Day Project – Days 27 and 28

DAY 27 (June 6th, 2017)

Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay

God’s World

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
    Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
    Thy mists, that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!

Long have I known a glory in it all,
    But never knew I this;
    Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart,—Lord, I do fear
Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me,—let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

My Commentary

I am here.
Why not stay?
The rutted road
oft blindly traveled
wends the other way.

DAY 28 (June 7th, 2017)

Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sorrow

Sorrow like a ceaseless rain
Beats upon my heart.
People twist and scream in pain, —
Dawn will find them still again;
This has neither wax nor wane,
Neither stop nor start.

People dress and go to town;
I sit in my chair.
All my thoughts are slow and brown:
Standing up or sitting down
Little matters, or what gown
Or what shoes I wear.

My Commentary

Is it better to not know the truth
or is it not better to know the truth?


The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project is a creativity excavation. It’s about unearthing dormant or unrealized creativity by committing to a daily practice everyday for 100 days.
Creativity is a skill. The more we practice, the more skilled we become. Practice takes time. Practice takes commitment. Practice is a radical act in this speeded up world. Through practice, we develop a creative habit. Through habit, we reconnect with and know ourselves again as a creative being.

I started this 100 Day Project on May 11th. My project is to read a poem, and write at least one first-draft stanza inspired by that poem. I’ll post the results at www.bradseverance.com/category/100-day-project/

Enjoy!

100 Day Project – Days 25 and 26

DAY 25 (June 4th, 2017)

Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke

Mid-December, 1926; last entry in last notebook, less than two weeks before his death

Come you, you last one, whom I avow,
wretched pain in the corporeal weaving:
as I burned in spirit, see, I burn now
in you; the wood resisted receiving
for a long time the flame which in you glows,
now I feed you and burn in you as well.
In your rage my native being-mild grows
to a rage not from here but of hell.

Quite pure, quite planlessly free from future I
climbed the tangled funeral pile of pain.
so sure nowhere to buy a future gain
for this heart, in which has grown silent the supply.
Is it still I who burns unrecognizably?
Memories I do not seize inside.
O life. life: being-outside.
And I in flame. No one who knows me.

Renunciation. That is not what illness
once was in childhood. Procrastination. Pretense for
growing bigger. Everything whispered and called.
Do not mix into this what early enthralled.

My Commentary

Write me.
These are your words, not mine.
Arrogant ambitions I’ll harbor not
that prop me on a marble pedestal
and buoy my pride … better to aspire
for freedom from stone and quarry.

DAY 26 (June 5th, 2017)

Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke

Magic

From indescribable transformation flash
such creations—: Feel! and trust!
We suffer it often: flames become ash;
yet. in art: flames come from dust.

Here is magic. In the realm of a spell
the common word seems lifted up above …
and yet is really like the call of the male
who calls for the invisible female dove.

August, 1924

My Commentary

This is your moment
It burns like a diamond,
the last on a string of gems,
the crowning jewel
of a diadem.


The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project is a creativity excavation. It’s about unearthing dormant or unrealized creativity by committing to a daily practice everyday for 100 days.
Creativity is a skill. The more we practice, the more skilled we become. Practice takes time. Practice takes commitment. Practice is a radical act in this speeded up world. Through practice, we develop a creative habit. Through habit, we reconnect with and know ourselves again as a creative being.

I started this 100 Day Project on May 11th. My project is to read a poem, and write at least one first-draft stanza inspired by that poem. I’ll post the results at www.bradseverance.com/category/100-day-project/

Enjoy!