About Me

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As the poet in residence at EcoHealth Alliance, my verse finds inspiration these days in topics of ecology and public health. I am reappraising the sonnets of E. A. Robinson for my dissertation at LMU's Amerika-Institut, where I tutor composition and edit @poetrytuesday. I also teach at MHVS and Amerikahaus.

20170115

Over the Carnage

by Walt Whitman

Over the carnage rose prophetic a voice,
Be not dishearten’d—Affection shall solve the problems of Freedom yet;
Those who love each other shall become invincible—they shall yet make Columbia victorious.
  
Sons of the Mother of All! you shall yet be victorious!
You shall yet laugh to scorn the attacks of all the remainder of the earth.         
  
No danger shall balk Columbia’s lovers;
If need be, a thousand shall sternly immolate themselves for one.
  
One from Massachusetts shall be a Missourian’s comrade;
From Maine and from hot Carolina, and another, an Oregonese, shall be friends triune,
More precious to each other than all the riches of the earth.  
  
To Michigan, Florida perfumes shall tenderly come;
Not the perfumes of flowers, but sweeter, and wafted beyond death.
  
It shall be customary in the houses and streets to see manly affection;
The most dauntless and rude shall touch face to face lightly;
The dependence of Liberty shall be lovers,  
The continuance of Equality shall be comrades.
  
These shall tie you and band you stronger than hoops of iron;
I, extatic, O partners! O lands! with the love of lovers tie you.
  
(Were you looking to be held together by the lawyers?
Or by an agreement on a paper? or by arms?  
—Nay—nor the world, nor any living thing, will so cohere.)

Note: A recitation can be heard here.


#writeourdemocracy #loudertogether

20170112

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; 
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells 
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's 
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name; 
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: 
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; 
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells, 
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came. 

I say móre: the just man justices; 
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces; 
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is — 
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places, 
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his 
To the Father through the features of men's faces. 

Note: A recitation can be heard here.

20170111

God's Grandeur

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God. 
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; 
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil 
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? 
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; 
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; 
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil 
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod. 

And for all this, nature is never spent; 
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; 
And though the last lights off the black West went 
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs — 
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent 
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20170110

Pied Beauty

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things – 
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; 
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; 
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; 
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough; 
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. 

All things counter, original, spare, strange; 
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) 
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; 
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 
                                Praise him.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20170109

Tanagra

von Rainer Maria Rilke

Ein wenig gebrannter Erde,
wie von großer Sonne gebrannt.
Als wäre die Gebärde
einer Mädchenhand
auf einmal nicht mehr vergangen;
ohne nach etwas zu langen,
zu keinem Dinge hin
aus ihrem Gefühle führend,
nur an sich selber rührend
wie eine Hand ans Kinn.

Wir heben und wir drehen
eine und eine Figur;
wir können fast verstehen
weshalb sie nicht vergehen, 
aber wir sollen nur
tiefer und wunderbarer
hängen an dem was war
und lächeln: ein wenig klarer
vielleicht als vor einem Jahr.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20170106

At a Window

by Carl Sandburg

Give me hunger, 
O you gods that sit and give 
The world its orders. 
Give me hunger, pain and want, 
Shut me out with shame and failure 
From your doors of gold and fame, 
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger! 

But leave me a little love, 
A voice to speak to me in the day end, 
A hand to touch me in the dark room 
Breaking the long loneliness. 
In the dusk of day-shapes 
Blurring the sunset, 
One little wandering, western star 
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow. 
Let me go to the window, 
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk 
And wait and know the coming 
Of a little love. 

Note: A recitation can be heard here.

20170101

Jahres-Ende

von Maria Luise Weissmann

Du greises Jahr: du eilst, dem Ziele zu
Rascher und rascher, sehnst dich nach der Ruh
In einem tiefen grenzenlosen Tod.
Doch sieh: ich eile schneller, nach dem Rot
Des neuen Morgens gierig, dir voraus.
O komm! Hinübergeh! Lösch aus, lösch aus!
Gezeichnetes, Beladenes, befleckt
Mit großer Müdigkeit, mit Schmerz bedeckt -
Vergeh - ich werde! Stirb - und ich vermag
Aufzuerstehn: o neuer, reinster Tag! 

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.