Month: October 2006

Michael Donaghy

Machines Dearest, note how these two are alike: This harpsichord pavane by Purcell And the racer’s twelve-speed bike. The machinery of grace is always simple. This chrome trapezoid, one wheel connected To another of concentric gears, Which Ptolemy dreamt of and Schwinn perfected, Is gone. The cyclist, not the cycle, steers. And in the playing, Purcell’s chords are played away. So this talk, or touch if I were there, Should work its effortless gadgetry of love, Like Dante’s heaven, and melt into the air. If it doesn’t, of course, I’ve fallen. So much is chance, So much agility, desire, and feverish care, As bicyclists and harpsichordists prove Who only by moving can balance, Only by balancing move.…

Richard Wilbur

A Barred Owl The warping night-air having brought the boom Of an owl’s voice into her darkened room, We tell the wakened child that all she heard Was an odd question from a forest bird, Asking of us, if rightly listened to, “Who cooks for you?” and then “Who cooks for you?” Words, which can make our terrors bravely clear, Can also thus domesticate a fear, And send a small child back to sleep at night Not listening for the sound of stealthy flight Or dreaming of some small thing in a claw Borne up to some dark branch and eaten raw.…

Anthony Thwaite

Simple Poem I shall make it simple so you understand. Making it simple will make it clear for me. When you have read it, take me by the hand As children do, loving simplicity. This is the simple poem I have made. Tell me you understand. But when you do Don’t ask me in return if I have said All that I meant, or whether it is true.…

Michael Scott on Feynman

There were 183 of us freshmen, and a bowling ball hanging from the three – story ceiling to just above the floor. Feynman walked in and, without a word, grabbed the ball and backed against the wall with the ball touching his nose. He let go, and the ball swung slowly 60 feet across the room and back – stopping naturally just short of crushing his face. Then he took the ball again, stepped forward, and said: “I wanted to show you that I believe in what I’m going to teach you over the next two years.”…

James Fenton

The Ideal This is where I came from. I passed this way. This should not be shameful Or hard to say. A self is a self. It is not a screen. A person should respect What he has been. This is my past Which I shall not discard. This is the ideal. This is hard.…

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