Wednesday, January 30, 2013



Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
   Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
   And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
   And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
   Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
   Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
   Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
   And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
   Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
   In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
   Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
   Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
   Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
   Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
   With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
   Learn to labor and to wait.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Franny Glass Doth Live in Brooklyn

Franny is laying on the oriental carpet, her head almost hidden beneath the bottom of the sofa that once belonged to her boyfriend’s grandmother.

BOY: I don’t understand you when you’re like this.

FRANNY: You don’t understand me, ever.

BOY: No! Franny, stop it! That is exactly what I’m talking about. How can you swing to such extremes? Just yesterday you were telling me how the cosmos knit together into a “fiber of conscious warmth” and now you’re… despondent.


BOY: Oh, my God. I can’t take it. I love you so much, but when you act like this you just push me away. I think you actually enjoy feeling like this.

She speaks through her tears.

FRANNY: How can you say that? Why would anyone want to feel this way?

BOY: Because you indulge it. Look at you! Come on, sit up. Let’s go for a walk. It’ll help you shake this off.

She places a forearm across her eyes like a cold compress.

FRANNY: I can’t.

BOY: You read me that article last week, the one about conditioning? It said that over time a depressed mind will come to react to feelings like this as though they were drugs. That it’s almost like you’re craving this feeling and that on some level you get a, a high from it.

FRANNY: You probably mean a low.

BOY: What? Ok, sure, fine. A low. Come on, Franny, let’s go. Here, I’ll get your boots. We’ll go to the Winter Garden. I bet all those birds will be there, happy to see you. We’ll check if anyone scattered seed today.

When he leaves the room, she turns her head to watch him, pausing before exhaling loudly and slowly propping herself up with her elbows as though she’s seeing the plane in front of her for the first time. Her head sweeps across the room before she pulls herself to sit, drawing her knees up. She turns to place her back against the couch as Boy enters again empty-handed.

BOY: I couldn’t find them.

FRANNY: They’re by the door.

She slides backwards up to the seat of the couch. Boy hovers in front of her, silently willing her to stand. She does.

Ok, let’s go.

Franny pulls on her boots, laces them slowly from a crouched position, and takes her peacoat from the coat rack. She does not turn to Boy; she simply closes the door behind her and we see in the mirror as she walks by the lack of any reflection other than her own.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

to you out there. hi.
how are you?

who are you?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

- Mary Oliver