Stephen Crane: Black Riders XXVIII

XXVIII

“Truth,” said a traveller,
“Is a rock, a mighty fortress;
“Often have I been to it,
“Even to its highest tower,
“From whence the world looks black.”

“Truth,” said a traveller,
“Is a breath, a wind,
“A shadow, a phantom;
“Long have I pursued it,
“But never have I touched
“The hem of its garment.”

And I believed the second traveller;
For truth was to me
A breath, a wind,
A shadow, a phantom,
And never had I touched
The hem of its garment.

               –Stephen Crane,
                   from Black Riders and Other Lines


Advertisements

Karl Marx: Nothing to Expect but a Hiding

He, who before was the money owner, now strides in front as capitalist; the possessor of labour power follows as his labourer. The one with an air of importance, smirking, intent on business; the other, timid and holding back, like one who is bringing his own hide to market and has nothing to expect but–a hiding.

                      –Karl Marx, from Capital

Rae Armantrout: Advent

(Image Credit: Charles Bernstein/PennSound)

Advent

In front of the craft shop,
a small nativity,
mother, baby, sheep
made of white
and blue balloons.

        *

Sky
        god
                girl.

Pick out the one
that doesn’t belong.

          *

Some thing

close to nothing
                         flat
from which,

fatherless,
everything has come.

    –Rae Armantrout

Thomas Hardy: The Oxen


The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

–Thomas Hardy


Galway Kinnell: Blackberry Eating

(Image credit: Richard Brown)

Blackberry Eating

I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks  very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinched or broughamed,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
into the silent, startled, icy black language
of blackberry eating in late September.

–Galway Kinnell