Wednesday Feb 28

ReneeAshley Renée Ashley is the author of four volumes of poetry—Salt (Brittingham Prize in Poetry, U of Wisconsin P), The Various Reasons of Light, The Revisionist's Dream, and Basic Heart (X. J. Kennedy Prize, Texas Review Press)—as well as two chapbooks, The Museum of Lost Wings and The Verbs of Desiring, and a novel, Someplace Like This. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and is on the core faculty of Fairleigh Dickinson University's low-residency Program in Creative Writing.


We are Weaving the Beginning on the Loom of Everything

she falls down in her hours each thread a fire & there's
an air of a more vagrant fallenness inside (her griefs with-
drawn) she's become the room inside the room things in

the distance look bluer they hover in the hospitable air
& the angels of I-Thought-It-Would-Be-Otherwise & I-
Never-Thought-At-All have affixed the small countries

of their wings—though neither knows a feather from a flame
—so that trees move aside & the wind blows too fast past
the bolted windows (you cannot be your own regret) listen:

we invent things when facts are insufficient we weave
the beginning on the loom of everything pick up those
branches that the wind took down & the moon's full-up

with exit wounds & inertia (of quiescence & a structure
reminiscent of turbulent equations) all hours are not equal
in this that we find is neither one thing nor another when

the message leaves the body we do this to live I'm telling
only you the world's ablaze with foreboding & all that
is at rest (yes) still gesture's a part of our mistakable say




Consider this World in All Its Blue Extremities

she's spoken too often of waves like those & of one man
dying—now again the world is made of rain & of a dark too
entirely visible—absurd to list one's sorrows like wants or
like symptoms: there are limits to a language stacked like
that—the mystery's still half-hearted & stars remain just small
pricks of absence in an otherwise unlit sky: the perfect moon's
light is spinning in the dogwoods—the slumbery pond's being
choked by the beautiful lilies—there is so much to grieve for
it has never been easy grieving in this world—& this is how
one small poem unfolds in her long Book of Difficulty—she
has the notion every instant should be reconsidered, that
pain's just a reliquary—that each sudden moment should be
perceived & praised as blue



Less than the Plow

Your life is less, than the plow than the whitening world
(now snow like a hail of heavens white against the dark trees
dark against the white sky -- and whatever falls here fades).

He thinks you are a bottle filled with blue milk he thinks
you must come the way music must come from the body
and enter again. Like your fretless throat. (The persuasion

of sorrow.) (A conflation of bodies.) Like laurel right down
to the water. (You are counting up the enemy.) (The number
is high.) You must pity what falls and cannot find its wings.