With last night’s rain pooled
on the leaves below the tulip
escapes its scape
This haiku was first posted on Twitter with a different last line: ‘overflows itself.” Rilke? I dunno. That didn’t quite capture the happening. I did some research and came up with this version. The verbal play makes it more like a riddle. I’ve been reading the Anglo-Saxon riddles in The Word-Exchange and very much like that approach to the mysterious presence of things. Or maybe it’s just the abrupt act coming after the rather slow and literal l-dominated tune — mellifluous but still literal — well, so much of poetry is in the sounds of it, how they take place in that most sensitive and tender fleshy scene the mouth.
I am already
riding this bicycle o-
ver the roadside curb
“Wittgenstein, in a well-known passage in the Philosophical Investigations, describes what happens when someone, watching another person writing down a sequence numbers, suddenly grasps how the series is developing: ‘Now I can go on!’ The principle of the series will be expressible in a formula: yet it is not, says Wittgenstein, that ‘a formula occurs to [the observer]’ when the observer successfully continues the series. Understanding is not in that sense a ‘mental process,’ the summoning up of a key principle by conscious thought, it is the skill or confidence to go on, to follow the series through: a skill in the exercise of a habit, if you like. It is as Wittgenstein goes on to argue, like the experience of reading. We don’t apply a procedure in our minds, a series of operations that allows us to move from seeing a sign to making a noise or at least imagining making a noise; we simply exercise a skill, closer to knowing how to ride a bicycle than performing a calculation.” Rowan Williams, The Edge of Words (2016) 68-69
My name is Skythinos, not the author
of Herakleitos Commentaries
but just one epigram. I wrote it while
at school and Plato saw it and kicked me out.
It was in praise of Beauty, origin
of mind. It sealed my fate. I tutored children
in this village and died a pauper. Do not pity
me; flowers grow here all year round.
Time is mortal. It is perhaps the most mortal “thing” — the essence of mortality. But in a particularly dense and poetic passage, Desmond speaks of the origin of time: “The ecstasy of time is time’s own ecstasy, but as given from the origin, it is also a rejoicing with the origin which leaps in its leaping . . .” (God and the Between 297).
eternity loves time
my cat toys with his old toy
a fine pas de deux
NOTES Other possible sections: time’s ecstacy , time flows in time . . .
The ambiguity of the “of” in the phrase “the gift of time” is confusing but ultimately helpful. There ARE two interpretations, and each has its truth.
Time presupposes its other as eternity. This is dialectical logic and is supported by usage. So we can say that time is the gift of eternity. “The gift of time.”
The second interpretation is also valid: all things happen in time. “The gifts of time.” This is a matter of contention, perhaps; idealists protest but the logic holds in usage. The space we live and move in is temporal; we are temporal. Every thing is the gift of time.
Sometimes I work into the night.
I murder every rhyme on sight
As other to my thought until
I’m left alone with naked will.
just that daffodil
against a sun-bleached wooden fence
and all shall be well