Monday, August 31, 2015

Curator's Note: The End is Beginning


With great reluctance I have decided to end this project at the close of 2015. It has been delightful, these past three years, sharing the poetry and companion art with you all; delightful as well, corresponding with you. A Year of Being Here and its ever-growing community of readers have blessed my journey in ways I never anticipated. I will do my best to make these last months a gift to you, with deep bows of gratitude.

An incredible number of you have been donating to the maintenance of this project. Your generosity has been unbelievable, and humbling. I bow to you. But please know that the expenses of my "hobby project" will easily be met through the end of the year. There is no longer a need for your "pennies in the tip jar." I encourage you to channel your resources to where there is real need.

In that spirit, I have removed the tip jar from the Year of Being Here website.

I also wish to apologize to those poets whose submitted poems I won't be able to post before A Year of Being Here concludes. Please don't be discouraged. Keep writing and seeking an audience for your work. I bow to you.

I bow to all of the poets and artists who, knowingly or not, have helped to make A Year of Being Here what it has become. And I bow to you readers, who have been the project's raison d'être. May you thrive on its poetry and art between now and the New Year. And may you continue to thrive, mindfully, on poetry and art long after it's gone.

Let us always be where we are.

Deep peace,

Phyllis Cole-Dai
Project Curator

Diane Ackerman: "School Prayer"

In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.

In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,

I will honor all life
—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.

"School Prayer" by Diane Ackerman. Text as published in I Praise My Destroyer: Poems (Vintage, 2000).

Art credit: Untitled image by unknown artist.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Tom Hennen: "Love for Other Things"

It’s easy to love a deer
But try to care about bugs and scrawny trees
Love the puddle of lukewarm water
From last week’s rain.
Leave the mountains alone for now.
Also the clear lakes surrounded by pines.
People are lined up to admire them.
Get close to the things that slide away in the dark.
Be grateful even for the boredom
That sometimes seems to involve the whole world.
Think of the frost
That will crack our bones eventually.

"Love for Other Things" by Tom Hennen. Text as published in Darkness Sticks to Everything: Collected and New Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2013).

Art credit: Untitled photograph, perhaps by ask4christina. The caption is a quote from John Muir: "God never made an ugly landscape. All that the sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild."

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mary Jo Balistreri: "All That Is Left To Say"

When the scent of wild strawberries wafts from the woods,
and returns the juicy-sweet meadows of childhood,
when the double pleasure of present and past throws me
this heady bouquet
on a day already fully flowered with gifts,   

I praise.

While on the cedar boardwalk through the mangrove forest,
when glossy green leaves reach out,
when tangled and twisted prop roots snare imagination’s
strange wildness, and warblers unseen call out in song,   

I praise.

And when at last the calm pond of the gulf stretches
blue beyond the horizon, sews itself seamlessly to the sky,
when it lifts the edge of its white-skirted flounce to the sand,

what can I do but praise,

and praise again

as thousands of filmy wings flit backward, forward,  hover
their last hurrahs, their last two weeks in the air
after a lifetime of water—
these dragonflies, damsels, their new resplendence
mating, creating—Oh joyous affirmation of life—

Praise and praise and praise. 

"All That Is Left to Say" by Mary Jo Balistreri. © Mary Jo Balistreri. Text presented here by poet submission.  

Art credit: Desktop wallpaper by unknown photographer of two mating dragonflies in flight, by Nature's Desktop.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Dan Gerber: "On My Seventieth Birthday"

          Let everything happen to you:
              beauty and terror.
          Only press on: no feeling is final.

Tens of thousands of people
have drowned in Bangladesh
and a million more
may die from isolation, hunger, cholera,
and its sisters, thirst and loneliness.


This morning, in our lime tree,
I noticed a bee
dusting a single new bud,
just now beginning to bloom,
while all the other branches were sagging
with heavy green fruit.


I read that in Moscow
every man, woman, child, and dog
is inhaling eight packs of cigarettes a day—
or its equivalent in smoke—
from the fires raging over the steppes.


The god of storms
take the shape of a tree,
bowing to the desert
with her back to the sea.


I saw, on television,
a woman in Iran buried up to her breasts,
then wrapped in light gauze
(to protect the spectators),
weeping in terror and pleading for her life
while someone at the edge of the circle
of men dressed in black
picked up the first baseball-sized rock
from the hayrick-sized pile,
to hurl at her eyes, nose, mouth,
ears, throat, breasts, and shoulders.


How big is my heart, I wonder?
How will it encompass these men dressed in black?


Now the fog drifts in over the passes,
screening the peaks into half-tones.
And then into no tones at all.


These goats with names,
with eyes that make you wonder,
these goats
who will be slaughtered today.
Why these goats?


There are reasons,
but they are human reasons.


I listened while my friend
spoke through his grief for his son,
shot to death in a pizza shop he managed
in Nashville
after emptying the safe
for a desperate young man with a gun—
        who my friend told me he’d forgiven—
spoke of consolation through his tears,
the spirit of his son still with him, he said.
The spirit of his son still with him.


Oak tree,
joy of my eye
that reaches in so many directions—
Are the birds that fly from your branches
closer to heaven?


The moon
shimmering on the surface of the pond,
its rippling reflected in your eyes,
of which you are no more aware
than the wind, just passing through this oak,
of the acorns still bobbing.


The mountains, resolute now
in fading light.
With her nose deep in the late-summer grass,
my dog calls up a new story.

"On My Seventieth Birthday" by Dan Gerber. Text as published in Sailing Through Cassiopeia (Copper Canyon Press, 2013). Hear the poet read his poem here.

Art credit: Still from a video clip entitled "Close-up of a happy brown dog looking for something in the field, searching in the grass, camera movement," by TCreativeMedia.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lal Ded: Untitled ["To learn the scriptures is easy"]

                            To learn the scriptures is easy,
                            to live them, hard.
                            The search for the Real
                            is no simple matter.

                            Deep in my looking,
                            the last words vanished.
                            Joyous and silent,
                            the waking that met me there.

Untitled ["To learn the scriptures is easy"] by Lal Ded, translated from the original Kashmiri by Coleman Barks. Text as published in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women, edited by Jane Hirshfield (Harper Perennial, 1995).

Art credit: "Beach Read," oil painting on canvas by Karen Hollingsworth. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

D. H. Lawrence: "Mystic"

They call all experience of the senses mystic, when the
       experience is considered.
So an apple becomes mystic when I taste in it
the summer and the snows, the wild welter of earth
and the insistence of the sun.

All of which things I can surely taste in a good apple.
Though some apples taste preponderantly of water, wet and sour
and some of too much sun, brackish sweet
like lagoon-water, that has been too much sunned.

If I say I taste these things in an apple, I am called mystic, which
       means a liar.
The only way to eat an apple is to hog it down like a pig
and taste nothing
that is real.

But if I eat an apple, I like to eat it with all my senses awake.
Hogging it down like a pig I call the feeding of corpses.

"Mystic" by D. H. Lawrence. Text as published in D. H. Lawrence: Complete Poems (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics, 1994).

Art credit: Detail of "Pig Eating Apples In Barnyard Blue Sky," photograph by Lynn M. Stone/KimballStock.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wayne Dodd: "Of Rain and Air"

All day I have been closed up
inside rooms, speaking of trivial
matters. Now at last I have come out
into the night, myself a center

of darkness.
Beneath the clouds the low sky glows
with scattered lights. I can hardly think
this is happening. Here in this bright absence

of day, I feel myself opening out
with contentment.
All around me the soft rain is whispering
of thousands of feet of air

invisible above us.

"Of Rain and Air" by Wayne Dodd, from Sometimes Music Rises: Poems (University of Georgia Press, 1986). Text as published in A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry, edited by Czeslaw Milosz.

Art credit: Untitled photograph of a man experiencing the "Rain Room" art installation at the Barbican Centre in London, England, by (Xinhua/Wang Lili).

Monday, August 24, 2015

May Sarton: "The Work of Happiness"

I thought of happiness, how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.
No one has heard the root go deeper in the dark,
But the tree is lifted by this inward work
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering.

So happiness is woven out of the peace of hours
And strikes its roots deep in the house alone:
The old chest in the corner, cool waxed floors,
White curtains softly and continually blown
As the free air moves quietly about the room;
A shelf of books, a table, and the white-washed wall––
These are the dear familiar gods of home,
And here the work of faith can best be done,
The growing tree is green and musical

For what is happiness but growth in peace,
The timeless sense of time when furniture
Has stood a life's span in a single place,
And as the air moves, so the old dreams stir
The shining leaves of present happiness?
No one has heard thought or listened to a mind,
But where people have lived in inwardness
The air is charged with blessing and does bless;
Windows look out on mountains and the walls are kind.

"The Work of Happiness" by May Sarton. Text as published in Collected Poems: 1930-1993 (W. W. Norton & Company, 1993).

Art credit: "Oak • 1772–1871 • Missouri [USA] • Chronology constructions," photograph of tree rings by Nicholas Benner.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

W. S. Merwin: "A Momentary Creed"

I believe in the ordinary day
that is here at this moment and is me

I do not see it going its own way
but I never saw how it came to me

it extends beyond whatever I may
think I know and all that is real to me

it is the present that it bears away
where has it gone when it has gone from me

there is no place I know outside today
except for the unknown all around me

the only presence that appears to stay
everything that I call mine it lent me

even the way that I believe the day
for as long as it is here and is me

"A Momentary Creed" by W. S. Merwin. Text as published in The Shadow of Sirius (Copper Canyon Press, 2008).

Art credit: "Fishing in Sri Lanka," photograph of a stilt fisherman by Ng Hock How.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Tamara Madison: "Behaving"

All day I have scowled and looked askance,
thrashing in a tide of hormones. I want
to make the world act the right way
and it has resisted. It will not see the obvious.
I want to tear out its eyes and place them
where they cannot help but see.

Until I go outside.

The warm, late-summer afternoon has spun down
to a balmy evening. A brassy sunset casts light
from somewhere in the sea. This light flows
around the trunks of sycamores arrayed in a row
and through their fluttering branches;
the air is tender on my bare arms and legs
and the world feels for this moment bathed in grace.

At last, I realize, the world is behaving.
At last, says the world, she is behaving.

"Behaving" by Tamara Madison. © Tamara Madison. Text presented here by poet submission.

Art credit: "Tahquitz Sycamores," watermedia on Yupo, painting by Randall David Tipton.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Daron Larson: "Recognition"

It is so difficult to see this flower *
because the countless others
we’ve seen before
cloud the view,
along with how we expect it to look
and how it might be improved.

Even the faces of the ones we love deeply
hide like buried treasure
behind histories of expression.

In order to see
what is right in front of our eyes,
we first have to recognize
we have gradually
become blind,
and then begin
the slow work of forgetting.

* Substitute with any noun: beach, stone, bird, soap bubble, house, grandmother, beef stew, homeless person, celebrity, potato, dollar bill, construction worker, politician, drug addict, child, teacher, report card, mail order catalogue, boss, swimming pool, dog, towel, onion, computer, neighbor, planet, pine cone, cigarette, airplane, spam subject, fork, mountain, etc.

"Recognition" by Daron Larson. Text as posted on the Attentional Fitness Training blog (12/12/2008). © Daron Larson. Reprinted by permission of the poet

Art credit: Untitled photograph taken by the poet. See more of his images here.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Denise Levertov: "The Love of Morning"

It is hard sometimes to drag ourselves
back to the love of morning
after we’ve lain in the dark crying out
O God, save us from the horror. . . .

God has saved the world one more day
even with its leaden burden of human evil;
we wake to birdsong.
And if sunlight’s gossamer lifts in its net
the weight of all that is solid,
our hearts, too, are lifted,
swung like laughing infants;

but on gray mornings,
all incident—our own hunger,
the dear tasks of continuance,
the footsteps before us in the earth’s
belovéd dust, leading the way—all,
is hard to love again
for we resent a summons
that disregards our sloth, and this
calls us, calls us.

"The Love of Morning" by Denise Levertov. Text as published in Selected Poems, edited by Paul Lacey (New Directions, 2002). 

Art credit: "Footprints in the sand create a classic picture" [Thar Desert, India/Pakistan], photograph by Mark Moxon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Kenji Miyazawa: "Be Not Defeated by the Rain"

Unbeaten by the rain
Unbeaten by the wind
Bested by neither snow nor summer heat
Strong of body
Free of desire
Never angry
Always smiling quietly
Dining daily on four cups of brown rice
Some miso and a few vegetables
Observing all things
With dispassion
But remembering well
Living in a small, thatched-roof house
In the meadow beneath a canopy of pines
Going east to nurse the sick child
Going west to bear sheaves of rice for the weary mother
Going south to tell the dying man there is no cause for fear
Going north to tell those who fight to put aside their trifles
Shedding tears in time of drought
Wandering at a loss during the cold summer
Called useless by all
Neither praised
Nor a bother
Such is the person
I wish to be

"Be Not Defeated by the Rain" by Kenji Miyazawa. Translated from the original Japanese by Hart Larrabee. Text as posted on Tomo 友 (08/05/2012).

Curator's note: After the poet's death, a black notebook containing this text was found in his trunk. The poem appears in bold strokes amidst his repetitious copying of a Buddhist mantra. According to its date (November 3, 1931), he had composed it while on his deathbed. He was only in his thirties. Visit this link to view a photograph of the poem in the notebook, the original Japanese text, two very different translations (including Larrabee's, which I prefer), and interviews with the interpreters.

Art credit: "Girl in the rain," Giclée print by Pavlo Tereshin.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Francisco Albánez: "The One Who Is at Home"

Each day I long so much to see
The true teacher. And each time
At dusk when I open the cabin
Door and empty the teapot,
I think I know where he is:
West of us in the forest.

Or perhaps I am the one
Who is out in the night,
The forest sand wet under
My feet, moonlight shining
On the sides of the birch trees,
The sea far off gleaming.

And he is the one who is
At home. He sits in my chair
Calmly; he reads and prays
All night. He loves to feel
His own body around him;
He does not leave the house.

"The One Who Is at Home" by Francisco Albánez. Text as published in The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: Poems for Men, edited by Robert Bly, James Hillman and Michael Meade (HarperCollins, 1992). Translated from the original Spanish by Robert Bly. The Spanish text couldn't be located.

Art credit: "Peaceful and warm image of open book resting on a [sic] arm rest of a couch," photograph by Jussi Pernaa.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Wendell Berry: "The Sorrel Filly"

The songs of small birds fade away
into the bushes after sundown,
the air dry, sweet with goldenrod.
Beside the path, suddenly, bright asters
flare in the dusk. The aged voices
of a few crickets thread the silence.
It is a quiet I love, though my life
too often drives me through it deaf.
Busy with costs and losses, I waste
the time I have to be here—a time
blessed beyond my deserts, as I know,
if only I would keep aware. The leaves
rest in the air, perfectly still.
I would like them to rest in my mind
as still, as simply spaced. As I approach,
the sorrel filly looks up from her grazing,
poised there, light on the slope
as a young apple tree. A week ago
I took her away to sell, and failed
to get my price, and brought her home
again. Now in the quiet I stand
and look at her a long time, glad
to have recovered what is lost
in the exchange of something for money.

"The Sorrel Filly" by Wendell Berry. Text as published in Collected Poems: 1957-1982 (North Point Press, 1985). 

Art credit: "Wild Horse Sunset," photograph by Leland D. Howard.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Jeffrey Harrison: "To a Snake"

I knew you were not poisonous
when I saw you in the side garden;
even your name—milk snake—
sounds harmless, and yet your pattern
of copper splotches outlined in black
frightened me, and the way you were
curled in loops; and it offended me
that you were so close to the house
and clearly living underneath it
if not inside, in the cellar, where I
have found your torn shed skins.

You must have been frightened too
when I caught you in the webbing
of the lacrosse stick and flung you
into the woods, where you landed
dangling from a vine-covered branch,
shamelessly twisted. Now I
am the one who is ashamed, unable
to untangle my feelings,
braided into my DNA or buried
deep in the part of my brain
that is most like yours.

"To a Snake" by Jeffrey Harrison, from Into Daylight (Tupelo Press, 2014). © Jeffrey Harrison. Reprinted with permission of the poet. All rights reserved.

Art credit: Photograph of a milk snake by George Grall/NGS.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Camille A. Balla: "The Poet and His Craft"

He sculpts, carves, whittles
a fresh block of words
he’s been led to
by winds that whisper
or make him shiver.

Slowly, lines take shape,               
come alive with sounds
the ear cannot hear;
reflections only seen
by the inner eye;
raw, natural scents
from the tree itself.

He pulls colors from a rainbow,         
the surf, or maybe the sand;
at times he adds moisture
from a tear.

And as with raw wood,
he whittles—whittles, going with                         
the grain—braces the wood                                
to flatten a knot, smiles at its
character coming through—
will make a good piece.

He sands until is all-over smooth,
seals it with the joy of the craft,
a fine piece that holds
a part of himself—

now transformed into form
     that lets the poem speak

"The Poet and His Craft" by Camille A. Balla. Text as published in Simple Awakenings (Linebyline Press, 2010). © Camille A. Balla. Presented here by poet submission.

Art credit: Untitled photograph of wood grain by Stefan Schweihofer.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Ruth L. Schwartz: "I had been sad for so long that it shocked me,"

the enormous yellow moon
balanced like a honeydew

on the hill's knife-edge,
fat and implacable.

It wavered there as long as it could,
then started—and who can blame it—

its slow slide.
As if it meant to show me what was missing.

As if the world were asking, Will you learn
to stand beside this pain?

No, I said,
I wish it dead.

I said no. But the world
said yes.

"I had been sad for so long that it shocked me," by Ruth L. Schwartz. Text as published in The Sun (April 2013). © Ruth L. Schwartz. Reprinted by permission of the poet.

Art credit: Untitled image by unknown photographer.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

John O'Donohue: "Fluent"

                                                   I would love to live
                                                   Like a river flows,
                                                   Carried by the surprise
                                                   Of its own unfolding.

"Fluent" by John O'Donohue. Text as published in Conamara Blues: Poems (HarperPerennial, 2004 edition).

Art credit: Untitled photograph, perhaps of the Truckee River in Reno, Nevada (USA), perhaps by James Q Martin, found at this link.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mary Oliver: "To Begin With, the Sweet Grass"

Will the hungry ox stand in the field and not eat
    of the sweet grass?
Will the owl bite off its own wings?
Will the lark forget to lift its body in the air or
    forget to sing?
Will the rivers run upstream?

Behold, I say—behold
the reliability and the finery and the teachings
    of this gritty earth gift.

Eat bread and understand comfort.
Drink water, and understand delight.
Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets
    are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds
who are drinking the sweetness, who are
    thrillingly gluttonous.

For one thing leads to another.
Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.

And someone's face, whom you love, will be as a star
both intimate and ultimate,
and you will be both heart-shaken and respectful.

And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper:
oh, let me, for a while longer, enter the two
beautiful bodies of your lungs.

The witchery of living
is my whole conversation
with you, my darlings.
All I can tell you is what I know.

Look, and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for the eyes.

It's more than bones.
It's more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
It's more than the beating of the single heart.
It's praising.
It's giving until the giving feels like receiving.
You have a life—just imagine that!
You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe
   still another.

Someday I am going to ask my friend Paulus,
the dancer, the potter,
to make me a begging bowl
which I believe
my soul needs.

And if I come to you,
to the door of your comfortable house
with unwashed clothes and unclean fingernails,
will you put something into it?

I would like to take this chance.
I would like to give you this chance.

We do one thing or another; we stay the same, or we
Congratulations, if
   you have changed.

Let me ask you this.
Do you also think that beauty exists for some
   fabulous reason?

And, if you have not been enchanted by this adventure—
   your life—
what would do for you?

What I loved in the beginning, I think, was mostly myself.
Never mind that I had to, since somebody had to.
That was many years ago.
Since then I have gone out from my confinements,
   though with difficulty.
I mean the ones that thought to rule my heart.
I cast them out, I put them on the mush pile.
They will be nourishment somehow (everything is nourishment
somehow or another).

And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope.
I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is.
I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned,
I have become younger.

And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.

"To Begin With, the Sweet Grass" by  Mary Oliver. Text as published in Evidence: Poems (Beacon Press, 2010).

Curator's note: A very long poem today, but I didn't have the heart to break it into excerpts. Please take time with it. Savor it. The "friend Paulus" to whom Oliver refers is Paulus Berensohn, dancer, potter, teacher, ecologist.... Read more about him, or watch a trailer from a documentary about his life and work.

Art credit: Untitled photograph of Paulus Berensohn holding one of his beautiful clay bowls, by True Kelly (digitally enhanced by curator).

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Eleanor Lerman: "Starfish"

This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who says, Last night,
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you
were born at a good time. Because you were able
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

"Starfish" by Eleanor Lerman. Text as published in Our Post Soviet History Unfolds (Sarabande Books, 2005). © Eleanor Lerman. Reprinted by permission of the poet.

Art credits: Poet photograph by Robin Hudler. Untitled companion art image by unknown photographer.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Brendan Kennelly: "Begin"

Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.

"Begin" by Brendan Kennelly, from Begin (Bloodaxe Books, 2000). Text as posted on The Poetry Project: poetry and art from Ireland (01/01/13).  

Art credit: Video of this poem created and text read by Tom Cleary, himself an Irishman (05/06/14). Music track: "The Soft Voices Die," by Apparat.