Lightly Child, Lightly

I remember how [the sparrow] felt
When I got my hand, and how it burst
that hand open
when I took it outside, a strength

that must have come out of hopelessness
and the sudden light
and the trees…

Stephen Dunn, from “The Sudden Light and the Trees,” in Landscape at the End of the Century


Notes:

  • Photo: Sparrow by © sergey_polyushko
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call

hair-back-black-and-white

The invented person, borrowed from the real—abstracted, isolated—is the person we finally know, or feel we know.  I make myself up from everything I am, or could be.

For many years I was more desire than fact.

When I stop becoming, that’s when I worry.”

Stephen Dunn, from “Notes” in Walking Light: Essays and Memoirs

 


Notes: Photo – Eric Rose Photography. Quote: – W.W. Norton

Good. Now here’s what poetry can do.

photograph-butterfly-butterflies-hand,

Good. Now here’s what poetry can do.

Imagine yourself a caterpillar.
There’s an awful shrug and, suddenly,
You’re beautiful for as long as you live.

~ Stephen Dunn, from Poem For People That Are Understandably Too Busy To Read Poetry (1966)

 


Notes:

  • Post inspired by: “Butterflies are not insects,’ Captain John Sterling said soberly. ‘They are self-propelled flowers.” from Robert A. Heinlein, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. Thank you Beth at Alive on All Channels.
  • And inspired by ZME Science: “The caterpillar’s  metamorphosis from a tree clinging, 12-legged pest into the majestic flying butterfly is one of the most used metaphors to describe a 180 transformation. It’s truly a fantastic mechanism developed by nature, yet while all my seem fantastic on the outside, this transformation looks pretty gruesome deep inside the chrysalis. In short, for a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly it digests itself using enzymes triggered by hormones, before sleeping cells similar to stem cells grow into the body parts of the future butterfly.”
  • Stephen Dunn Poem excerpt from The Vale of Soul-Making
  • Photo from We Heart It

 

 

asleep in the hollows of its rigging, waiting to be stirred

Gabriel-isak-moon-solitude

[…]

Always tempted, what a sad
combination of words. And so
you take a walk into the neighborhood,
where the rhododendrons are out
and also some yellowy things

and the lilacs remind you of a song
by Nina Simone. “Where’s my love?”
is its refrain. Up near Gravel Hill
two fidgety deer cross the road,
whitetails, exactly where

the week before a red fox
made a more confident dash.
Now and then the world rewards,
and so you make your way back

past the careful lawns, the drowsy backyards,
knowing the soul on its own
is helpless, asleep in the hollows
of its rigging, waiting to be stirred.

~ Stephen Dunn, from “And So


Credits: Poem: A Pair of Ragged Claws. Photograph: gabriel isak

To come so far, to taste so good

woman-black and white-portrait-ponder

Often a sweetness comes
as if on loan,
stays just long enough
to make sense of what it means to be alive,
then returns to its dark source.
As for me,
I don’t care
where it’s been,
or what bitter road it’s traveled
to come so far,
to taste so good.

~ Stephen Dunn


Credits: Poem – Thank you The Sensual Starfish. Photo by Andrea Tomas via Journal of Nobody
More Stephen Dunn: Is that a Path or a Rut?


Is that a path or a rut?

photograph,sand,dune,desert,path,solitude,

“What we don’t know chains us, leaves us sitting in the valley with a stupid smile. We discover our ignorance as we go. After a lifetime, if we’ve been attentive, we should fall to our knees before the vastness, the ungraspable minutiae of our world. We should suspect that it constitutes our God. And we so-called experts of this or that, could we have done more than play our one chord? Wisdom is to know, at best, that we make only a little good noise, a few small dents. It’s why the wise laugh a lot, why the laughter of metaphysicians echoes in the spaces they probe. We walk out of our houses into the enormity of our task. What kind of ant is that? Who named the phlox? Is that a path or a rut?”

 ~ Stephen Dunn, Ignorance – Riffs & Reciprocities


Stephen Dunn (born 1939) is an American poet. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2001 collection, Different Hours.  He was born in Forest Hills, Queens in New York. Dunn completed his B.A. in English at Hofstra University and his M.A. in creative writing at Syracuse. He has taught at Wichita State, University of Washington, Columbia University, University of Michigan and Princeton University.  Dunn lives in Ocean City New Jersey.


Sources: Quote – whiskeyriver.blogspot.com. Image: Jakupwashere

%d bloggers like this: