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.
Nighthawk and sun-bird
beauty of the world beauty of the world
How can one write beauty of the world?
Fumbled for each other in the dark
familiar, unfamiliar, the touch
of watery air
walls, weight of watery air
cards scattered across a table,
game of chance they had played
• • •
So, Alyosha, maybe it is true
that we live in perhaps.
Perhaps the earth . . . perhaps the sky . . .
chemical winds, auroras, tides,
chalk hills and blistered pines
and the microtonal bells.
And those who swallow ink
(the ringers of bells),
perhaps they will inherit
the bogs and salt marshes,
the swamp grass and samphire,
jacket with torn pockets, shredded cuffs.
Will inherit the sea-foam, the dust,
the ferrous mud
that reabsorbs us.
• • •
Along the corridors
of the invisible world, Raúl,
gardeners raise such flowers
as need no light
watered by voices
as need no eyes
to be seen
• • •
It is the role of the lovers to set fire to the book.
In the palm garden at night they set fire to the book
and read by the light of the book.
Syllables, particles of glass, they pass back and forth in the dark.
The two, invisible—transparent—in the book,
their voices muffled by the book.
It is the role of the lovers to be figures of the book, the
changing as the pages turn,
now joined, now clawing the fruit from each other’s limbs,
now interlaced, now tearing at throat and vein,
then splayfoot, then winged, then ember,
as the music of the book,
rustling through the palms,
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
In her new book, Danish poet Olga Ravn writes with open love, pity, and compassion for her strange yet familiar creations.
Draconian individual punishment distracts from systemic change and reinforces the cruelest and most racist system of incarceration on the planet.
Our well-being depends on a better understanding of how the logic of labor has twisted our relationship with pleasure.