Second Hand Looks
...second to nun
Life is an opportunity,
benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious,
do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.
— Mother Teresa, Catholic Nun, Missionary, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient
She moved past the placebo shops....
Short, straight hair.
A face that had been a few places and only come back from some.
— Stephen Dunn
WHAT WE WANT
What we want
is never simple.
We move among the things
we thought we wanted:
a face, a room, an open book
and these things bear our names--
now they want us.
But what we want appears
in dreams, wearing disguises.
We fall past,
holding out our arms
and in the morning
our arms ache.
We don't remember the dream,
but the dream remembers us.
It is there all day
as an animal is there
under the table,
as the stars are there
even in full sun.
by Linda Pastan
from Carnival Evening © W.W. Norton.
WHEN YOU ARE OLD
When you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
And bending down beside the glowing bars
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
by William Butler Yeats
from Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats
THE WAY IT IS
There's a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn't change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can't get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time's unfolding.
You don't ever let go of the thread.
— William Stafford
"Sun, don't go!"
I was awake at last.
"No, go I must, they're calling me."
"Who are they?"
Rising he said "Some day you'll know.
They're calling to you too."
Darkly he rose, and then I slept.
From City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O’Hara. Copyright © 1993 by Brad Gooch.
Razors pain you; Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful; Nooses give;
Gas smells awful; You might as well live.
— Dorothy Parker
Invisible, and standing in the rain
and raining raindrops entering each cell
and washing through the molecules
and clearing out old hardened thoughts
and crusty self critiques
and old dustballs of despair
over long-lost and long-forgotten
unrequited longings -
Fanny Kemble according to one historian: "She fished, she wore loose trousers,
she rode alone, didn't water her punch
and so got all the 'best' inhabitants quite drunk at tea one day, as she read unexpurgated versions of Shakespeare."
I think a lot of things are hilariously funny,
and that's kind of the way I live my life.
And I also believe that it's only possible to live
if you can detach yourself
and detach your sort of sense of what's going on a little bit
and take a kind of observational position on everything...
Being detached is the first step to being comic.
— Jane Smiley
To be young is all there is in the world. They talk so beautifully about work and having a family and a home (and I do, too, sometimes) — but it's all worry and headaches and respectable poverty and forced gushing. Telling people how nice it is, when, in reality, you would give all of your last thirty years for one of your first thirty. Old people are tremendous frauds.
— Wallace Stevens