Always in the dream I seemed conscious of myself having the dream even as I dreamed it.
Even now, the dream moving towards light, the field of light flowing gently towards me,
I watch myself dreaming, I watch myself dreaming and watching, I watch both watchers together.
It almost seems that this is what dream is about, to think what happens as it’s happening
At last, sometimes, perhaps driven to this, perhaps falling upon it in exhaustion or resignation,
I try to recapture how I once dreamed, innocently, with no thought of being beside or beyond:
I imagine myself in that healing accord I still somehow believe must precede or succeed dream.
My vigilance never flags, though; I behold the infernal beholder, I behold the uncanny beheld,
this mind streaming through me, its turbulent stillness, its murmur, inexorable, beguiling.
Tracy K. Smith is an outstanding American poet. Her most recent book, Life on Mars, won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, so she’s no secret. Recently, I’ve been reading an earlier work, Duende (2007), and came across these lines from her poem “September”:
Our eyes see in plurals:
What we understand, and what will fail.
They’re both the only world.
This is the last of my four sets of street photos from Vilnius, taken in June 2012. (Here are parts one, two, and three.) Firefighters were marching down Gedimino Prospektas, one of the city’s main avenues, from the parliament to the cathedral, to protest severe budget cuts. These weren’t firefighters from the capital, but from small towns and municipalities around the country, where the recession has hit even harder. They’re asking for a living wage, and I admired how the protest was multigenerational.
Through a high gate
Adorned with words and wreaths,
Through a high gate
Like a guest
Vaulted by forests,
The flight of wild swans…
And with lips roughened
By northern winds
The black night
And the white day
As bread and salt.
This is the first part of a series of photos from a recent trip to Vilnius, one of my favorite cities in Europe. With each visit, I see new layers of uncompleted change, which, to me, is best represented by its spirited youth against the backdrop of its medieval old town. It reminds me of this short, sharp poem by the Sigitas Geda, a Lithuanian poet who died (too soon) in 2008. (You may click on the images for a larger view.)
AN UNFINISHED DRAWING ON THE STREET