we become our choices

“As water given sugar sweetens, given salt grows salty,
we become our choices.
Each yes, each no continues,”

– from Rebus, by Jane Hirshfield

I’ve been on a poetry kick the last few days. It’s rhythms, its saturation, seep into the meaning of everything. I could become worse, I suppose, than reading poetry.

I discovered Hirshfield via a blog on mathematics in poetry, which I very much enjoyed. I then picked up Given Sugar, Given Salt, and everything in the collection (so far) has really resonated, Rebus included.

Poetry month… day two

Who knows if this will last, but I’ve decided to try and read and write at least a poem a day this month. This has given me an excuse to finally dig into The Making of a Poem, which I have had sitting on the bottom of a stack of books on my nightside stand. I plowed through the first poem in bleary-eyed sleepiness, mistakenly attributing it to Mark Strand before realizing it was actually by just the beginning of his essay “On Becoming a Poet”, and was actually by Archibald MacLeish. Anyway, I have a feeling this book will help me find some great poetry quotes for my collection. Like this one, from the end of Strand’s essay:

A poem is a place where the conditions of beyondness and withinness are made palpable, where to imagine is to feel what it is like to be. It allows us to have the life we are denied because we are too busy living. Even more paradoxically, a poem permits us to live in ourselves as if we were just out of reach of ourselves.

Marketa Inglova at this year’s Oscars

I just spent the last twenty minutes googling for a good image of Marketa Inglova’s dress at the oscars (for florence). I didn’t really come up with anything, but in the process we watched her and Glen Hansard performing their Oscar winning song, Falling Slowly, both at the oscars, and then, randomly, in a much earlier performance. Then we watched their acceptance speech, which was cut off after Hansard spoke by the infamous music of cutting-people-off, and before Inglova could get a single word in edgewise. But then… later, she was brought back out onto the stage to speak her piece! I really have no idea whether that has ever happened before, but it seems unprecedented to me.

Anyway, the point is that, after all that, her speech was quite moving. Here is an excerpt:

“No matter how far out your dreams are it’s possible and, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don’t give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope. And hope, at the end of the day, connects us all, no matter how different we are.” -Marketa Inglova