Into the Book


Posts by Elizabeth Kirkwood

  1. There was a train station.

    All trains come to where the world all stands. Some people may sit on the roof for a time, but they all come to the gap eventually.

    Scrawled, horrible words cover the walls, the floor, the beams and ceiling. Some tried to paint over, some tried to clean them off, and some tried to fix it with beautiful words. Chaos mingles here with the brushing shoulders of strangers, caking memory.

    But the station still, just barely, quakes when the trains rumble by and when the brakes screech and gravel peppers the station. (more…)

  2. Vincent van Gogh wrote consistently to his brother Theo about his art. In letter 272, he said, “Yet it’s precisely then that I feel what the work is; how, regardless of approval or disapproval, it gives tone to life, and how on days when one would otherwise feel melancholy one is glad to have a will. ” This poem is not just for the dry moments in writing, but in life. (more…)

  3. “I would say this poem came out of a sunset car ride, but it’s really the result of concepts I have been trying to fully grasp all my life. The more we try to push the world as we see it into mere words, the more it resists us. God pushes back: we simply don’t always see what He is doing.” (more…)

  4. bright and flicker,
    the morning rises again
    as the earth tilts,
    still falling through space
    planned and careening,
    orchestrated to teem with wildness
    and the sun is a smokescreen
    glimpsed underneath the clouds.


  5. For Paris, and the young woman who lay in the theater for hours waiting for rescue. –Elizabeth
    For the couple screaming at each other in the apartment building last night, and all the grief in the world. –Andrew (more…)

  6. I started this poem trying to capture fall, and thinking about how it mirrors spring for a little while before winter begins to come. Life is full of ups and downs, and sometimes it seems like I get stuck in the mileage: things are going well, and there are many windows in the world, but the big picture–the explosion of spring–hasn’t fully arrived in the present. In short, it is trying to notice the moments and echoes among the everyday, and remind myself that the daily running counts. (more…)

  7. frosted windshields,
    and beautiful mercy:
    clear as the light
    as it makes glaciers
    dripping from the eaves

    oh, the wonder
    oh, the joy

    midnight ice,
    and a palette of color
    to paint the woodwork with
    green and white
    salt and blue.

    oh, the wonder
    oh, the joy

    thin brown packages
    and loved eyes
    that fill up with

    green boughs,
    patient and life,
    pine scent, rain and dirt
    soaking. glory.

    out of the woodwork
    oh, the wonder
    oh, the joy

    fading words and rust.
    old notebooks.
    dimmed in quiet
    like candles.
    I want to make you smile
    because laughter
    is a kind of
    beautiful mercy

    a palette to paint with.

    oh, the wonder
    oh, the joy
    for the Painter has come
    and we are undone
    in a splash of color
    brighter than we imagined
    color surely dreamed

    oil paintings
    were gold on black
    shadows before the light
    like that Christmas light
    by Rembrandt.

    after all,
    this is just a winter
    of frozen seas and
    northern lights
    beyond the clouds stretched like
    cotton ground.

    oh, the wonder
    oh, the joy

    the sky is never fully
    without character;
    blue. and the stars are
    pinned, out-of-reach
    bright fistfuls like

    oh, the wonder
    oh, the joy

    you are enough
    because infant hands
    can catch the stars
    so etch the frost
    in glass

    because the light
    the morning comes
    gold, a running creek
    and turns midnight ice
    –frost on windshields, woodwork–
    all to diamonds of painted glass

    oh, the wonder
    oh, the joy
    oh, the morning

  8. come
    you with the bones of a straining soul
    come to the cascade

    you with the scars of living in flesh
    come to the dripping brim (more…)

  9. Sometimes I can see the world lit up.

    Sometimes I can name pencils, and colors, like “handwritten notes” or “Saturday morning” or “ocean brontide” or “laughing because you know.”  Sometimes I can laugh at how small I am, at the stripes of color in rock that span and double until I am in a mere thunderclap.  Languages, new words I cannot pronounce, lift my head and sharpen my eyes as I try to taste the sound. (more…)