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  • Writer's pictureMr. B


I know that Mr. B has lately been encouraging listeners to really dig in and engage actively in living out the difficult process of personal growth, so it only seems right that now Mr. B would take some risks himself ... like embracing the mysteries of the most beautiful of the literary arts, poetry! Here, Mr. B shares five of the poems that have mystified and challenged him, provides just enough commentary (he hopes) to inspire us to embrace the innermost poet within, and does his best to help others see poetry as a fountain of light --of truth and guidance --in the sea of darkness that is the world today. 

David Whyte ... "Poetry is language against which you have no defenses."

Julio Cortazar: "To Be Read in the Interrogative"

Have you seen

have you truly seen

the snow the stars the felt steps of the breeze

Have you touched

really have you touched

the plate the bread the face of the woman you love

so much

Have you lived

like a blow to the head

the flash the gasp the fall the flight

Have you known

known in every pore of your skin

how your eyes your hands your sex your soft heart

must be thrown away

must be invented all over again

A.R. Ammons: "The City Limits"

When you consider the radiance, that it does not withhold

itself but pours its abundance without selection into every

nook and cranny not overhung or hidden; when you consider

that birds' bones make no awful noise against the light but

lie low in the light as in a high testimony; when you consider

the radiance, that it will look into the guiltiest

swervings of the weaving heart and bear itself upon them,

not flinching into disgust or darkening; when you consider

the abundance of such resource as illumines the glow-blue

bodies and gold-skeined wings of flies swarming the dumped

guts of a natural slaughter or the coil of shit and in no

way winces from its storms of generosity; when you consider

that air or vacuum, snow or shale, squid or wolf, rose or lichen,

each is accepted into as much light as it will take, then

the heart moves roomier, the man stands and looks about, the

leaf does not increase itself above the grass, and the dark

work of the deepest cells is of a tune with May bushes

and fear lit by the breadth of such calmly turns to praise.

Yrsa Daley-Ward: "Poetry"

Nobody is saying anything at the

dinner table tonight,

because everyone is too angry.

The only noise is the clinking of

fine silver on bone china and

the sound of other people's children

playing outside

but this will give you poetry.

There is no knife in the kitchen sharp

enough to cut the tension

and your grandmother's hands are


The meat and yam stick in your


and you do not dare even to whisper,

please pass the salt,

but this will give you poetry.

Your father is breathing out of his


he is set to beat the spark out of you


for reasons he isn't even sure of

himself yet.

You will come away bruised.

You will come away bruised

but this will give you poetry.

The bruising will shatter.

The bruising will shatter into

black diamond.

No one will sit beside you in class.

Maybe your life will work.

Most likely it won't at first

but that

will give you poetry.

Christian Wiman: "Lake View Cemetery"

This is the time of year

the lengthening dark appears

as light in all the trees.

Enameled chestnuts ease

from their skins

and I am holding again

the deep casked color and shape

a low note might take

before becoming its sound.

Mary Oliver: "Mysteries, Yes"

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous

to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the

mouths of the lambs.

How rivers and stones are forever

in allegiance with gravity

while we ourselves dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds will

never be broken.

How people come, from delight or the

scars of damage,

to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those

who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say

'Look!' and laugh in astonishment,

and bow their heads.

Blaise Pascal ... "In difficult times carry something beautiful in your heart."

Denise Levertov: "Statement on Poetics"

Franz Kafka...

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading it for? So that it will make us happy...? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. That is my belief."

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