word art

“A poem should not mean
But be.”
Ars Poetica

I’m not sure I could ever articulate what exactly it is about words that I find myself so drawn to – so incredibly mesmerized by. To me, words are absolute beauty, and I still believe words create the most beauty I will ever find in this world. Their sounds, the way they look on paper and they way they fit together captivate me, and rarely fail to produce immediate feeling, emotion and thought upon reading or writing them. For as long as I can remember this inexplicable passion has followed me; I have been collecting books, poems, quotations and lyrics and pasting them everywhere from the paint on my walls to the margins of my school notebooks.

The first book I ever (consciously) saved was a children’s collection of poetry and nursery rhymes my parents gave me from Australia. My first memorized lines came from the beginning of one of my mother’s favorite poems, Poe’s The Bells (how they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle in the icy air of night. While the stars that oversprinkle, all the heavens seem to twinkle…). I have also been writing for most of my life. Underneath my bed at home I have a box of worn and overused journals storing thoughts and words from the past ten or fifteen years – recording everything from what type of division homework my third grade teacher left me to short stories about stars and spacecars to hundreds of pieces of poetry.

Perhaps later I’ll find the courage to share some of those pieces. Today, I write to share some of the words that will forever remain beautiful to me… and to perhaps inspire an appreciation of words as well.

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The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm
Wallace Stevens

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

Mock Orange
Louise Gluck

It is not the moon, I tell you.
It is these flowers
lighting the yard.

I hate them.
I hate them as I hate sex,
the man’s mouth
sealing my mouth, the man’s
paralyzing body—

and the cry that always escapes,
the low, humiliating
premise of union—

In my mind tonight
I hear the question and pursuing answer
fused in one sound
that mounts and mounts and then
is split into the old selves,
the tired antagonisms. Do you see?
We were made fools of.
And the scent of mock orange
drifts through the window.

How can I rest?
How can I be content
when there is still
that odor in the world?

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Explore some other well-known (wonderful) pieces and poets:

i carry your heart with me
e.e.cummings

Puedo escribir
Pabla Neruda

Knoxville Tennessee
Nikki Giovanni

My Father’s Hats
Mark Irwin

Questions About Angels
Billy Collins