A Dead Poet's Society

Dedicated to Sappho, and other poetic excepts with a Sapphic sensibility.

“In the life we lead together
every paradise is lost.”

—   Robert Hass, from Against Botticelli

“I have always lived with the most exquisite sense of shame.”

—   Sarah Arvio, Night Thoughts

“I must cultivate the cuts, discontinuities, ruptures, cracks, fissures, holes, hitches, snags, leaps, shifts of reference, and emptiness inside the semantic dimension. Inside the sentence. Explode its snakelike beauty and movement.”

—   Rosemarie Waldrop, from Pre + Con or Positions and Junctions (via ahyperballad)

I am tired of my
own mind. Its wanderlust
and lust lust, its mis-
trust of the blind
suck of sea-–

With you all
is undertow.

With me the tide
is never enough-– I become
beached, splayed,
sandbound, dreaming water.

—   Kevin Young, On My Mind

“The kiss you give another
will echo in my ears
through deep caverns
that return me to your every word.”

—   Gabriela Mistral, from God Wills It (trans: Doris Dana)

“                                              Eros shook my
mind like a mountain wind falling on oak trees”

—   Sappho, Fragment 47 (via lovedbyapollo)

(via tranqvillitas)

“He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.”

—   William Butler Yeats, from “Easter, 1916

“I want the one rapture of an inspiration…”

—   Gerard Manley Hopkins, from “To R.B

“It’s lost, it’s gone, it’s scattered to all four winds.
I myself am amazed at myself, how little of me remains:
an individual being, for the moment of human kind,
who yesterday merely lost an umbrella in a streetcar.”

—   Wislawa Szymborska, from “A Speech in the Lost-and-Found Office

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”

—   William Butler Yeats, from “The Second Coming

“Again and again, however we know the landscape of love
and the little churchyard there, with its sorrowing names,
and the frighteningly silent abyss into which the others
fall: again and again the two of us walk out together
under the ancient trees, lie down again and again
among the flowers, face to face with the sky.”

—   Rainer Maria Rilke, “Again and Again, However We Know the Landscape of Love" (trans: Stephen Mitchell)

“Some words live in my throat
breeding like adders. Other know sun
seeking like gypsies over my tongue
to explode through my lips
like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Some words
bedevil me…”

—   Audre Lorde, from “Coal

Okay, Ophelia ”

We’ve heard you were a victim.
Stop crouching in shadows, chewing your hair.

You can be graceful, not like a ballerina,
like a hedge of coral,

Built up and eaten and worn down
yet alive, carving the rhythms of the seas.

You can be a threshing sledge,
new and sharp with many teeth.

—   Jeannine Hall Gailey, “Okay, Ophelia" (from her collection "Becoming the Villainess" 

“…You’ve kissed my hair
to wake me. I dreamed you were a poem,
I say, a poem I wanted to show someone…
and I laugh and fall dreaming again
of the desire to show you to everyone I love.”

—   Adrienne Rich, from Part II of “Twenty-One Love Poems

“Ah, but high, high in the air I flew.
And far, far beyond the curb of her will,
were the blue hills where the falcons nest.
And then I saw west to the dying sun—
it seemed my human soul went down in flames.”

—   Robert Duncan, “My Mother Would Be a Falconress