100 Day Project – Days 23 and 24

DAY 23 (June 2nd, 2017)

Adrienne Rich
Adrienne Rich

The Roofwalker

for Denise Levertov

Over the half-finished houses
night comes. The builders
stand on the roof. It is
quiet after the hammers,
the pulleys hang slack.
Giants, the roofwalkers,
on a listing deck, the wave
of darkness about to break
on their heads. The sky
is a torn sail where figures
pass magnified, shadows
on a burning deck.

I feel like them up there:
exposed, larger than life,
and due to break my neck.

Was it worth while to lay—
with infinite exertion—
a roof I can’t live under?
—All those blueprints,
closings of gaps
measurings, calculations?
A life I didn’t choose
chose me: even
my tools are the wrong ones
for what I have to do.
I’m naked, ignorant,
a naked man fleeing
across the roofs
who could with a shade of difference
be sitting in the lamplight
against the cream wallpaper
reading–not with indifference—
about a naked man
fleeing across the roofs.

My Commentary

An idea so fragile
as a porcelain egg
gilded with gold leaf words.
Why not break it?
A newborn god
  awaits your mothering hand.

DAY 24 (June 3rd, 2017)

Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Above These Cares

Above these cares my spirit in calm abiding
Floats like a swimmer at sunrise, facing the pale sky;
Peaceful, heaved by the light infrequent lurch of the heavy wave serenely sliding
Under his weightless body, aware of the wide morning, aware of the gull on the red buoy bedaubed with guano, aware of his sharp cry;
Idly athirst for the sea, as who should say:
In a moment I will roll upon my mouth and drink it dry.

Painfully, under the pressure that obtains
At the sea’s bottom, crushing my lungs and my brains
(For the body makes shift to breathe and after a fashion flourish
Ten fathoms deep in care,
Ten fathoms deep in an element denser than air
Wherein the soul must perish)
I trap and harvest, stilling my stomach’s needs;
I crawl forever, hoping never to see
Above my head the limbs of my spirit no longer free
Kicking in frenzy, a swimmer enmeshed in weeds.

My Commentary

The last sigh
heaves your soul into air
suffused with questions
that no longer matter but
you no longer care as you rise
toward the emerald palace
in the glittering black sky.

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/


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