Saturday, September 24, 2016

Poetry about Moments

(“Sing the song of the moment...”)

By Rabindranath Tagore 1861–1941


Sing the song of the moment in careless carols, in the transient light of the day;

Sing of the fleeting smiles that vanish and never look back;

Sing of the flowers that bloom and fade without regret.

Weave not in memory’s thread the days that would glide into nights.

To the guests that must go bid God-speed, and wipe away all traces of their steps.

Let the moments end in moments with their cargo of fugitive songs.

With both hands snap the fetters you made with your own heart chords;

Take to your breast with a smile what is easy and simple and near.

Today is the festival of phantoms that know not when they die.         

Let your laughter flush in meaningless mirth like twinkles of light on the ripples;

Let your life lightly dance on the verge of Time like a  dew on the tip of a leaf.

Strike in the chords of your harp the fitful murmurs of moments.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Music by Ravi Shankar

A Small Moment

By Cornelius Eady b. 1954

I walk into the bakery next door  

To my apartment. They are about  

To pull some sort of toast with cheese  

From the oven.   When I ask:  

What’s that smell? I am being  

A poet, I am asking   

What everyone else in the shop  

Wanted to ask, but somehow couldn’t;  

I am speaking on behalf of two other  

Customers who wanted to buy the  

Name of it.   I ask the woman  

Behind the counter for a percentage  

Of her sale. Am I flirting?  

Am I happy because the days  

Are longer?   Here’s what  

She does: She takes her time  

Choosing the slices.   “I am picking  

Out the good ones,” she tells me.   It’s   

April 14th.. Spring, with five to ten   

Degrees to go.   Some days, I feel my duty;  

Some days, I love my work.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Blues for Bird  by Oscar Peterson and Dizzy Gillespie


By Robert Browning 1812–1889

Out of your whole life give but one moment!

All of your life that has gone before,

All to come after it, – so you ignore,

So you make perfect the present, – condense,

In a rapture of rage, for perfection’s endowment,

Thought and feeling and soul and sense –

Merged in a moment which gives me at last

You around me for once, you beneath me, above me –

Me – sure that despite of time future, time past, –

This tick of our life-time’s one moment you love me!

How long such suspension may linger? Ah, Sweet –

The moment eternal – just that and no more –

When ecstasy’s utmost we clutch at the core

While cheeks burn, arms open, eyes shut and lips meet!

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Andante cantabile, from Piano Quartet by Robert Schumann

A Momentary Longing To Hear Sad Advice from One Long Dead

By Kenneth Koch 1925–2002  

Who was my teacher at Harvard. Did not wear overcoat

Saying to me as we walked across the Yard

Cold brittle autumn is you should be wearing overcoat. I said

You are not wearing overcoat. He said,

You should do as I say not do as I do.

Just how American it was and how late Forties it was

Delmore, but not I, was probably aware. He quoted Finnegans Wake to me

In his New York apartment sitting on chair

Table directly in front of him. There did he write? I am wondering.

Look at this photograph said of his mother and father.

Coney Island. Do they look happy? He couldn't figure it out.

Believed Pogo to be at the limits of our culture.

Pogo. Walt Kelly must have read Joyce Delmore said.

Why don't you ask him?

Why don't you ask Walt Kelly if he read Finnegans Wake or not.

Your parents don't look happy but it is just a photograph.

Maybe they felt awkward posing for photographs.

Maybe it is just a bad photograph. Delmore is not listening

I want to hear him tell me something sad but however true.

Delmore in his tomb is sitting. People say yes everyone is dying

But here read this happy book on the subject. Not Delmore. Not that rueful man.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Mouvements Perpetuels by Francis Poulenc

This Moment

By Alice Wagner


This moment, fragile and transparent,

blows off the table, under foot and onto the street, behind its  gentleman caller

This moment, fleeting and hurried,

blurring faces, masking weakness and rushing meaning through hidden doorways

This moment intangible and foreign,

reaching through touch and feeling, past truth, forever shifting.

This moment, frightening and heartbreaking,

waking  passion, as loss hides behind you and meaning evaporates while you are still naming it.

Stay in this moment,

aching and blissful, strange and powerful,  beyond reason or guarantee.

Ask nothing of the future, carry nothing from the past, just this moment.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Lament (from Sonata for Viola and Piano), by Kenji Bunch 

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