We are a public forum committed to collective reasoning and the imagination of a more just world. Join today to help us keep the discussion of ideas free and open to everyone, and enjoy member benefits like our quarterly books.
If by succeeding you mean doing things right,
and exactly, then it has no future.
Ash blows from us madly and without cause.
To keep things the same, where do you stop
to worship and repair? It is natural to decline. I decline.
The modicum of life that strung the little necks
of crocuses, that lulled the feeble seed
into its disease called grass, that heaped the pious
branches with their only whiteness,
that broke silver from the jawbone of moon,
now walks me through the same lesson of snow
until I am humble, until I am grateful, until birches
lean far enough to undermine their spot, their root,
until aftergrass turns to wheat and rope, and what can I do
but walk over it, divine another origin, cast it off.
Joan Houlihan is the author of four books of poetry, including The Us, The Mending Worm, Hand-Held Executions: Poems and Essays. Ay, a sequel to The Us, is forthcoming in 2013. Her critical essays on contemporary poetry are archived online at Bostoncomment.com, and she is a contributing editor to Contemporary Poetry Review.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
in your carpeted office you lay my life down / and say open up to that small room in my sternum.
In his new book, the former Fed chair cuts through economic orthodoxy on central banking. But he fails to reckon deeply with its political consequences.