A Poem for Today
By Campbell McGrath
Green and blue and white, it is a flag
for Florida stitched by hungry ibises.
It is a paradise of flocks, a cornucopia
of wind and grass and dark, slow waters.
Turtles bask in the last tatters of afternoon,
frogs perfect their symphony at dusk—
in its solitude we remember ourselves,
dimly, as creatures of mud and starlight.
Clouds and savannahs and horizons,
its emptiness is an antidote, its ink
illuminates the manuscript of the heart.
It is not ours though it is ours
to destroy or preserve, this the kingdom
of otter, kingfisher, alligator, heron.
If the sacred is a river within us, let it flow
like this, serene and magnificent, forever.
Art for Spring – Part I of V: Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860-1920)
Below – “Castles in the Air”
Musings in Spring: Daniel J. Rice
“It occurred to me that no words by the tongue of man can express the simplicities of a quiet land, so I returned to the river.”
Art for Spring – Part II of V: John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925)
Below – “Two Girls Fishing”
A Second Poem for Today
“When There Were Ghosts”
By Alberto Rios
On the Mexico side in the 1950s and 60s,
There were movie houses everywhere
And for the longest time people could smoke
As they pleased in the comfort of the theaters.
The smoke rose and the movie told itself
On the screen and in the air both,
The projection caught a little
In the wavering mist of the cigarettes.
In this way, every story was two stories
And every character lived near its ghost.
Looking up we knew what would happen next
Before it did, as if it the movie were dreaming
Itself, and we were part of it, part of the plot
Itself, and not just the audience.
And in that dream the actors’ faces bent
A little, hard to make out exactly in the smoke,
So that María Félix and Pedro Armendáriz
Looked a little like my aunt and one of my uncles—
And so they were, and so were we all in the movies,
Which is how I remember it: Popcorn in hand,
Smoke in the air, gum on the floor—
Those Saturday nights, we ourselves
Were the story and the stuff and the stars.
We ourselves were alive in the dance of the dream.
Below – Maria Felix and Pedro Armendariz in “Enamorada”
Art for Spring – Part III of V: Scott Rogers (American, contemporary)
Below – “Cheyenne Drum Painter” (bronze)
A Third Poem for Today
“The Star in the Hills”
By William Stafford
A star hit in the hills behind our house
up where the grass turns brown touching the sky.
Meteors have hit the world before, but this was near,
and since TV; few saw, but many felt the shock.
The state of California owns that land
(and out from shore three miles), and any stars
that come will be roped off and viewed on week days 8 to 5.
A guard who took the oath of loyalty and denied
any police record told me this:
“If you don’t have a police record yet
you could take the oath and get a job
if California should be hit by another star.”
“I’d promise to be loyal to California
and to guard any stars that hit it,” I said,
“or any place three miles out from shore,
unless the star was bigger than the state–
in which case I’d be loyal to it.”
But he said no exceptions were allowed,
and he leaned against the state-owned meteor
so calm and puffed a cork-tip cigarette
that I looked down and traced with my foot in the dust
and thought again and said, “OK–any star.”
Art for Spring – Part IV of V: Antonio Sannino (Italian, contemporary)
Below – “Toscana”
Musings in Spring: Joseph Campbell
“Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.”
Below – Edward Hopper: “New York Movie”
Art for Spring – Part V of V: Ben Abril (American, 1923-1995)
Below – “Monterey Lone Cypress – Monterey Coast”