Monday, September 26, 2005

An antidote to politics

And here, as an antidote to the politics of the previous posts, are two very cool poems. Both by American poets.

The first - "The Fox" - is by
Kenneth Patchen - an anarchist and a pacifist (the two ideologies that my heart finds most attractive even if my brain doubts their plausibility). The second is by Laura Fargas and is about Kuan Yin - the Chinese goddess of mercy.


The Fox

Because the snow is deep
Without spot that white falling through white air

Because she limps a little - bleeds
Where they shot her

Because hunters have guns
And dogs have hangmen's legs

Because I'd like to take her in my arms
And tend her wound

Because she can't afford to die
Killing the young in her belly

I don't know what to say of a soldier's dying
Because there are no proportions in death.

- Kenneth Patchen

Kuan Yin

Of the many buddhas I love best the girl
who will not leave the cycle of pain before anyone else.
It is not the captain declining to be saved
on the sinking ship, who may just want to ride his shame
out of sight. She is at the brink of never being hurt again
but pauses to say, All of us. Every blade of grass.
She chooses to live in the tumble of souls through time.
Perhaps she sees spring in every country,
talks quietly with farm women while helping to lay seed.
Our hearts are a storm she trembles at. I picture her
leaning on a tree or humming or joining a volleyball game
on Santa Monica beach. Her skin shines with sweat.
The others may not know how to notice what she does to them.
She is not a fish or a bee; it is not pity or thirst;
she could go, but here she is.

- Laura Fargas