Thursday, May 29, 2008

Two Poems: Laura Riding

Sunlight on my face, backlights the rose, its leaves, its thorns. I sit and read. People walk past--their different walks, each to his or her own heartbeat, to his or her own rhythm.

For no reason... poems have their own reason, but need none: two poems of Laura (Jackson) Riding.

Earth

Have no wide fears for Earth:
Its universal name is 'Nowhere'.
If it is Earth to you, that is your secret.
The outer records leave off there,
And you may write it as in seems,
And as it seems, it is,
A seeming stillness
Amidst seeming speed.

Heavens unseen, or only seen,
Dark or bright space, unearthly space,
Is a time before Earth was
From which you inward move
Toward perfect now.

Almost the place it is not yet,
Potential here of everywhere --
Have no wide fears for it:
Its destiny is simple,
To be further what it will be.

Earth is your heart
Which has become your mind
But still beats ignorance
Of all it knows --

As miles deny the compact present
Whose self-mistrusting past thay are.
Have no wide fears for Earth:
Destruction only on wide fears shall fall.

The Way It Is

It falls to an idiot to talk wisely.
It falls to a sot to wear beauty.
It falls to many to be blessed
In their shortcomings,
As to the common brute it falls
To see real miracles
And howl with irksome joy.

Many are the confusions that fall,
Many are the inspired ones.
Much is there indeed contrary,
Much is there indeed wonderful,
A most improbable one it takes
To tell what is so,
And the strangest creature of all
To be natural.

From A Selection of the Poems of Laura Riding, Persea Books, New York.

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