I’m talking to you, 2012. You were a long and hard year for so many of those I love. You felt helpless and horrifying at times. And you are almost over. I’m thinking about the smallness of human life. The smallness of my life. Of this year. The smallnesses are what I remember. Like the … Continue reading "Though your life felt arduous/ new and unmapped and strange. . ."
A Quiet Joy – Yehuda Amichai (translated by Chana Bloch) I’m standing in a place where I once loved. The rain is falling. The rain is my home. I think words of longing: a landscape out to the very edge of what’s possible. I remember you waving your hand as if wiping mist from the … Continue reading Poem of the Week, by Yehuda Amichai (tr. by Chana Bloch)
December – Gary Johnson A little girl is singing for the faithful to come ye Joyful and triumphant, a song she loves, And also the partridge in a pear tree And the golden rings and the turtle doves. In the dark streets, red lights and green and blue Where the faithful live, some joyful, some … Continue reading Poem of the Week, by Gary Johnson
Tired of Speaking Sweetly (excerpt) – Hafiz Love wants to reach out and manhandle us, break all our teacup talk of God. If you had the courage and could give the Beloved His choice, some nights, he would just drag you around the room by your hair, ripping from your grip all those toys in … Continue reading Poem of the Week (excerpt), by Hafiz
You’ve always loved this drawing. One of your students gave it to you long ago, when you quit your teaching job at South High School. It was his parting gift to you. His name was Binh, which means “peace” in Vietnamese, and he had emigrated to the U.S. when he was a baby. Binh was … Continue reading "Ni hao" (on teaching, another in a series)
The classroom was square and windowless, with white cinder block walls and overhead fluorescent lighting. Six rows of six chairs each filled most of the space, with my gray, regulation-size desk facing them. Behind my desk was a tall filing cabinet. A blackboard covered the wall next to me, a real blackboard with real chalk. … Continue reading “We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.” (On teaching, the first in a series.)
My Father’s Track and Field Medal, 1932 – Edward Hirsch Cup the tarnished metal in your palm. Look closely and you’ll see a squirrel scampering up a beech-wood in the forest. You’ll see a cardinal flaming in the branches. You’ll see a fleet-footed antelope racing through the woods ahead of the hunters. — For more … Continue reading Poem of the Week, by Edward Hirsch
I. Falling is never as bad as the anticipation of falling. It happens so quickly that there’s no time for fear or pain. One moment you’re walking down a little ramp that leads from one room of the bakery to another, the next you’re lying on the floor looking up at the ceiling. II. When … Continue reading 13 Ways of Looking at a Broken Leg