Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Alice Notley

"Grief isn't empty it's black and material I've seen it
It's a force, independent, and eats you while you're sleeping."

"The universe is ruled by love and countervalent sorrow
Grief's not a social invention
Grief is visible, substantial, I've literally seen it."

"Grief is opportunistic and uncontrollable
it doesn't exactly come
from you, you allow it in
It's godlike
as in possession."

"One is magically struck down at certain
moments, can't move, can't arise,
and inside is poison: grief gets caught
in intensifying pockets which when opened
cause sensations of illness. On Christmas morning
I can't stand up."

"If you immerse your feet in icy water
you forget grief for a moment. I did this once, my
brother-in-law made us cross a cold stream barefoot,
that winter, walking in the woods--I was emptied, then elated,
blissful; but didn't try it again. Grief
returns vengeful after you've repulsed it."

Alice Notley, excerpts from the poem "I--Towards a Definition" in her book Mysteries of Small Houses


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