Recommended by Kate Pourshariati, AV Librarian
by Pablo Neruda
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once on the face of the earth,
let's not speak in any language;
let's stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about...
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with
Now I'll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
Extravagaria : A Bilingual Edition
by Pablo Neruda (Author), Alastair Reid (Translator)
Recommended by Kelly Cox, Administrative Assistant for Libraries and Academic Support
"Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale"
by Dan Albergotti
Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life’s ten million choices. Endure moments
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
the things you did and could have done. Remember
treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into the black depths.
Recommended by Terri Sharif, West Campus Senior Librarian
"How the Light Comes"
by Jan Richardson
I cannot tell you
how the light comes.
What I know
is that it is more ancient
That it travels
across an astounding expanse
to reach us.
That it loves
what is hidden
what is lost
what is forgotten
or in peril
or in pain.
That it has a fondness
for the body
for finding its way
for tracing the edges
for shining forth
through the eye,
I cannot tell you
how the light comes,
but that it does.
That it will.
That it works its way
into the deepest dark
that enfolds you,
though it may seem
long ages in coming
or arrive in a shape
you did not foresee.
may we this day
turn ourselves toward it.
May we lift our faces
to let it find us.
May we bend our bodies
to follow the arc it makes.
May we open
and open more
and open still
to the blessed light
© Jan Richardson from her website: http://adventdoor.com/2011/12/21/christmas-day-how-the-light-comes/
Recommended by Nicole Maugle, Technical Services Librarian
"Hesitations Outside the Door"
by Margaret Atwood
I’m telling the wrong lies,
they are not even useful.
The right lies would at least
be keys, they would open the door.
The door is closed; the chairs,
the tables, the steel bowl, myself
shaping bread in the kitchen, wait
That was a lie also,
I could go in if I wanted to.
Whose house is this
we both live in
but neither of us owns
How can I be expected
to find my way around
I could go in if I wanted to,
that’s not the point, I don’t have time,
I should be doing something
other than you.
What do you want from me
you who walk towards me over the long floor
your arms outstretched, your heart
luminous through the ribs
around your head a crown
of shining blood
This is your castle, this is your metal door,
these are your stairs, your
bones, you twist all possible
dimensions into your own
Alternate version: you advance
through the grey streets of this house,
the walls crumble, the dishes
thaw, vines grow
on the softening refrigerator
I say, leave me
alone, this is my winter,
I will stay here if I choose
You will not listen
to resistances, you cover me
with flags, a dark red
season, you delete from me
all other colours
Don’t let me do this to you
you are not those other people,
you are yourself
Take off the signatures, the false
bodies, this love
which does not fit you
This is not a house, there are no doors,
get out while it is
open, while you still can
If we make stories for each other
about what is in the room
we will never have to go in.
You say: my other wives
are in there, they are all
beautiful and happy, they love me, why
I say: it is only
a cupboard, my collection
of envelopes, my painted
eggs, my rings
In your pockets the thin women
hang on their hooks, dismembered
Around my neck I wear
the head of the beloved, pressed
in the metal retina like a picked flower
Should we go into it
together / If I go into it
with you I will never come out
If I wait outside I can salvage
this house or what is left
of it, I can keep
my candles, my dead uncles
but you will go
way is loss
Tell me what it is for
In the room we will find nothing
In the room we will find each other
Source: Poetry Magazine (November 1970)
Recommended by Kristyna Carroll, Reference Librarian
"Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems"
By Alice Walker
Hard times require furious dancing. Each of us is proof.
...the world has changed: it did not change without your prayers without your faith without your determination to believe in liberation and kindness; without your dancing through the years that had no beat.
Excerpts from: Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems, by Alice Walker, 2010, New World Library.
Click here to see Alice Walker perform a reading from her collection!
Recommended by Mary Beth Parkinson, Information Literacy Librarian
By Elizabeth Bishop
I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling finger-tips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!
There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.