Another Commonplace Book

Gramarye, Divine Philosophy, the Usual

5 notes

"We are a dispersed people whose history

is a sensation of opaque fidelity.

When or why our exile began

among the speech-ridden, we cannot tell

but solidarity comes flooding up in us

when we hear their legends of infants discovered

floating in coracles towards destiny

or of king’s biers heaved and borne away

on the river’s shoulders or out into the sea roads.”

Seamus Heaney, from his poem, “From the Land of the Unspoken,” in his collection, The Haw Lantern

Filed under Seamus Heaney poetry lit National Poetry Month

2 notes

"Call them out of that quietness.

Knock them in their nothing, against their empty enamel,

against the dark that has no way to hold them

and no appetite.

Call in the dead to touch them.

Let them slip on their own chinks of light.”

Mary Szybist, from her poem “Knocking or Nothing,” in her collection Incarnadine

Filed under poetry lit Mary Szybist National Poetry Month

410 notes


Happy owl

Some images just hit the right spot. This cute owl in his best red coat is part of a decorated page in a Pontifical, a book that was read during a special Mass in the church, often by the bishop himself. Having ploughed through a full page of big chunky letters, he was treated to a change of pace: a bit of entertainment in the lower margin. Hidden inside the colourful display sits the owl, who is looking, puzzled, at a bell. While the significance of the scene is lost on me, it made my day. Having been locked out of my Tumblr account for three days (see my previous post), it is good to be able to show you entertaining medieval things like this again. Thank you Tumblr Support Team!

Pic: Aarau, Aargauer Kantonsbibliothek, MS MurF 3 (dated 1508). The full manuscript can be browsed here.


Filed under medieval manuscripts owls things that make me happy

4 notes

"And so by night and day to be transported

Through galleried earth with them, the only relict

Of all that I belonged to, hurtled forward, 

Reflecting in a window mirror-backed

By blasted weeping rock-walls.


Seamus Heaney, from his poem “District and Circle,” in his collection of the same name.

Filed under poetry lit Seamus Heaney National Poetry Month

22 notes

Slut by Daphne Gottlieb


i die first

in every horror movie,
before the innocent boyfriend, the too-
curious best friend
and the foolhardy pal.
death comes blind fast
and easy, familiar as the top button of
my blouse popping open
and suddenly i’m an angel
on the cutting room
floor, wearing gore,
a blank stare, not much

i do it over and over.
i can play
like this for hours.

sometimes i enter a dark
room and unbutton
my shirt, rock my hips 
side to side
until the killer’s music comes on.
then I button up
quick, laughing or
shaking, sometimes

from the way i look
after i’m split open
you’d never know:
i was born a baby.
i still sleep
with my stuffed poodle.
her name is “tammy.”
after my parents divorced, i wet
the bed for a year.
i want to be a nurse.
my favorite color is blue.

first kiss at 12,
first shame at 13,
first blood at 14.
skipped four years
of gym, skimmed just the tips
of my stepfather’s
fingers, nothing more.
i never took my clothes off
for a doctor but my body
became a secret
all the boys knew
and i didn’t.
the ghost story
made me a ghost.

now, at 16,
i only remember my own
skin when i am touched.
it makes me real
when i strip down,
take it off, find the edges of my body
through your eyes or under
your hands, against your skin.
it feels like death
every time you

there is nothing i can do
except open my throat
and say the word for girls
who are the ghosts of want:

i’ll take my shirt off
while you watch—
call it love
when the knife rips
through my ribs,
when the ice pick cracks
my chest, or however
it happens this time
but first

here’s my prayer:
that what happens to girls like me
who die dirty, give it up
with a shudder like pleasure—
pray that when we’re killed as martyrs
we get loved like saints.

- from her collection Final Girl

And you can find new work by Gottlieb all over our store.

Filed under poetry lit National Poetry Month Daphne Gottlieb