Sunday, April 22, 2007

Poetry in Motion, Day 22 (Mark Strand)

One of my favorite poets is Mark Strand. In Chicago, where he teaches, the following, awesome poster, ran. The poem is from his great prize-winning book, Blizzard of One

A Piece of the Storm

for Sharon Horvath

From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,
A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room
And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up
From your book, saw it the moment it landed. That's all
There was to it. No more than a solemn waking
To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly,
A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that
Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm,
Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back,
That someone years hence, sitting as you are now, might say:
"It's time. The air is ready. The sky has an opening."

Mark Strand (b.1934)
As a special bonus, I'm throwing you two Strand poems. As good as the first one is, this second one is better, and was probably seen by more people, having run on the New York City buses and subways. I will go out on a limb and say that this is my favorite poster in the series:

Keeping Things Whole

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

Pure brilliance. I actually have 2 of these posters signed. The framed one is inscribed to me by Strand, I believe from a poetry reading he did once at the Russian Samovar restaurant in Manhattan. The signed one, I'm not sure, but it is slightly bent and I decided I wanted an inscribed one since the poem is so marvelous.

Previous BillyBlog Poetry in Motion posts:

from "My Grandmother's New York Apartment" by Elizabeth Alexander (Day 1)
from "A Bouquet" by Bei Dao (Day 2)
"Separation" by W.S. Merwin (Day 3)
"The Groundfall Pear" by Jane Hirshfield (Day 4)
"For Friendship" by Robert Creeley (Day 5)
from "Crazy Horse Speaks" by Sherman Alexie (Day 6)
"Hunger" by Billy Collins (Day 7)
from "Little Man Around the House" by Yusef Komunyakaa (Day 8)
"The Loon on Oak-Head Pond" by Mary Oliver (Day 9)
from "I Am Vertical" by Sylvia Plath (Day 10 - part 1)
"Two Haiku" by
Kobayashi Issa (Robert Hass, trans.) (Day 10 - part 2)
"you say 'i will come' " by Lady Otomo No Sakanoe (Kenneth Rexroth, trans.) (Day 11)
"You Called Me Corazón" by Sandra Cisneros (Day 12)
"Too Much Heat, Too Much Work" by Tu Fu (Carolyn Kizer, trans.) (Day 13)
"Sew" by Donald Hall (Day 14)
"Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden (Day 15)
"Luck" by Langston Hughes (Day 16)
"0˚" by Elizabeth Spires (Day 17 - part 1)
"I Finally Managed to Speak with Her" by Hal Sirowitz (Day 17 - part 2)
"Window" by Carl Sandburg (Day 18)
" 'Hope' is the thing with feathers" by Emily Dickinson (Day 19)
from "Watch Repair" by Charles Simic (Day 20)
"Thank You, My Dear" by Sappho (Mary Barnard, trans.) (Day 21)

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