january eighteenth

every flex of the muscle

each one moving across his back and arms

like piano keys

gently plucked, one after the other

parts in a melody

the thick dark lines that draw roses and bible verses

moving and shifting

stretching

pulling

his bicep flexes and relaxes

the florescent lights shining

onto the smoothness of his dark skin

creating shadows softly

like the sun on the ocean

pied beauty…gerard manley hopkins

glory be to god for dappled things-

for skies of couple-coulour as a brinded cow;

for rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls;

finches’ wings;

landscape plotted and pieced-fold fallow and plough;

and all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

all things ocunter, original, spare, strange;

whatever is fickle, freckled (who know how?)

with swift , slow;

sweet, sour;

adazzle, dim;

he fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

praise him.

undress…ruby robinson

there is an ash tree behind this house. you

can see it from our bedroom window.

if you stare at it for long enough, you’ll see

it drop a leaf. stare at it now, you said,

and notice the moment a leaf strips away

from its branch, giving a twirl. consider this.

the ash tree unclothes itself octoberly.

from beside our bed, fingering the curtain,

observe the dark candles at the top of

that tree, naked and alert, tending to the breeze.

a sheet of ice between the rooftops

and this noiseless sky has turned the air

inside out. black veins of branches

shake against the blue screen on which they

hang. small mammals are hibernating

in pellets of warm air under ground. but,

in spite of the cold, this ash tree does not shy

from shrugging off its coat, sloping its nude

shoulders to the night. so, you said, undo,

unbutton, unclasp, slowly remove. let down your

hair, breathe out. stand stark in this room until

we remember how not to feel the chill.

stand at the window, lift your arms right up

like a tree. yes — like that. watch leaves drop.

one hundred love sonnets: xvii…pablo neruda

i don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,   

or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:   

i love you as one loves certain obscure things,   

secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

i love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries   

the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,   

and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose   

from the earth lives dimly in my body.

i love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,   

i love you directly without problems or pride:

i love you like this because i don’t know any other way to love,

except in this form in which i am not nor are you,   

so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,   

so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

la figlia che piange…t.s. eliot

stand on the highest pavement of the stair—

lean on a garden urn—

weave, weave the sunlight in your hair—

clasp your flowers to you with a pained surprise—

fling them to the ground and turn

with a fugitive resentment in your eyes:

but weave, weave the sunlight in your hair.

so i would have had him leave,

so i would have had her stand and grieve,

so he would have left

as the soul leaves the body torn and bruised,

as the mind deserts the body it has used.

i should find

some way incomparably light and deft,

some way we both should understand,

simple and faithless as a smile and shake of the hand.

she turned away, but with the autumn weather

compelled my imagination many days,

many days and many hours:

her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers.

and i wonder how they should have been together!

i should have lost a gesture and a pose.

sometimes these cogitations still amaze

the troubled midnight and the noon’s repose.