as I am

“I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.
One world is aware, and by the far the largest to me, and that is myself,
And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness, I can wait.”

― Walt Whitman



“I was a heavy heart to carry
My beloved was weighed down
My arms around his neck
My fingers laced to crown.
I was a heavy heart to carry
My feet dragged across ground
And he took me to the river
Where he slowly let me drown
My love has concrete feet
My love’s an iron ball
Wrapped around your ankles
Over the waterfall”
― Florence Welch


by Sylvia Plath

For Ruth Fainlight
I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root:
It is what you fear.
I do not fear it: I have been there.
Is it the sea you hear in me,
Its dissatisfactions?
Or the voice of nothing, that was your madness?
Love is a shadow.
How you lie and cry after it
Listen: these are its hooves: it has gone off, like a horse.
All night I shall gallop thus, impetuously,
Till your head is a stone, your pillow a little turf,
Echoing, echoing.
Or shall I bring you the sound of poisons?
This is rain now, this big hush.
And this is the fruit of it: tin-white, like arsenic.
I have suffered the atrocity of sunsets.
Scorched to the root
My red filaments burn and stand, a hand of wires.
Now I break up in pieces that fly about like clubs.
A wind of such violence
Will tolerate no bystanding: I must shriek.
The moon, also, is merciless: she would drag me
Cruelly, being barren.
Her radiance scathes me. Or perhaps I have caught her.
I let her go. I let her go
Diminished and flat, as after radical surgery.
How your bad dreams possess and endow me.
I am inhabited by a cry.
Nightly it flaps out
Looking, with its hooks, for something to love.
I am terrified by this dark thing
That sleeps in me;
All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.
Clouds pass and disperse.
Are those the faces of love, those pale irretrievables?
Is it for such I agitate my heart?
I am incapable of more knowledge.
What is this, this face
So murderous in its strangle of branches?——
Its snaky acids hiss.
It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults
That kill, that kill, that kill.

The Night Dances

by Sylvia Plath
A smile fell in the grass.
And how will your night dances
Lose themselves. In mathematics?
Such pure leaps and spirals –
Surely they travel
The world forever, I shall not entirely
Sit emptied of beauties, the gift
Of your small breath, the drenched grass
Smell of your sleeps, lilies, lilies.
Their flesh bears no relation.
Cold folds of ego, the calla,
And the tiger, embellishing itself –
Spots, and a spread of hot petals.
The comets
Have such a space to cross,
Such coldness, forgetfulness.
So your gestures flake off –
Warm and human, then their pink light
Bleeding and peeling
Through the black amnesias of heaven.
Why am I given
These lamps, these planets
Falling like blessings, like flakes
Six sided, white
On my eyes, my lips, my hair
Touching and melting.

Love's Philosophy

by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In another’s being mingle–
Why not I with thine?
See, the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower could be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;–
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?

Come as you are…

by Rabindranath Tagore

Come as you are, tarry not over your toilet.
If your braiding has come loose, if the parting of your hair be not straight, if the ribbons of your bodice be not fastened, do not mind.
Come as you are, tarry not over your toilet.
Come with quick steps over the grass.
If your feet are pale with the dew, if your anklets slacken, if pearls drop out of your chain, do not mind.
Come with quick steps over the grass.
Do you see the clouds wrapping the sky?
Flocks of cranes fly up from the further riverbank and fitful gusts of wind rush over the heath.
The anxious cattle run to their stalls in the village.
Do you see the clouds wrapping the sky?
In vain you light your toilet lamp; it flickers and goes out in the wind.
Surely, who would know that with lamp-black your eyelids are not touched? For your eyes are darker than rain clouds.
In vain you light your toilet lamp; it goes out.
Come as you are, tarry not over your toilet.
If the wreath is not woven, who cares? If the wrist-chain has not been tied, leave it by.
The sky is overcast with clouds; it is late.
Come as you are, tarry not over your toilet.

Night Notes

by Philippe Jacottet
Back to the wall
worm-eaten, precarious
let me scatter nothing but words
over the rooftops
(even thatch weighs too heavy
if it keeps out the apiary of the night) –
words that will do
what the flowers do, in blues and reds,
in perfume.
No more labyrinths
even if there’s a way out.
A corner post will do
and plenty of air –
the feet, the spirit, unbound
free to look and to touch –
thus to undermine
these below-stairs
griefs of the night.
The moon over the highway
was a bowl of milk
for Toby’s dog.
The child sits at the feet
of the very nice, very old lady
in the black dress of long ago –
in the workbasket
the thread of her life
yet to be unrolled,
and the scissors.
The ritual never changes.
The faces that turn to them
may change,
but at this or that place in the heavens
at the same season
the same candles burn.
I recall also a table at evening
and the beautiful eyes, meeting mine –
then averted.
For halo
these saints have only their hair
or the bees of our last sunset together
swarming behind.
There used to be
(in a room no longer ours)
a bed so dishevelled
you’d think my burning cloud
in her impatience had wrecked it
as she might rip a shirt.
Later will come tears
the kind that stain
once and for ever
the sheet’s coarse weave.
The nighthawk
is the dark Fates’ spinning wheel.
For those of us remaining
the thread is short.