Friday, September 17, 2010

Poetry Friday: You might have missed

You might have missed this quote from Franz Kafka, via Kurt Scaletta on Facebook:

We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. - Franz Kafka

You might have missed this glorious poem at Francisco Stork's journal, which he posted on an ordinary Tuesday in June.


Do not worry that your love’s beauty
Will dazzle me,
Blind me,
Keep me
From my daily bread.

Do not worry that the bursting
Notes of your anvil
Will stun me to dead stillness.

Taken together, this quote and this poem, make me believe that each book, each poem is a chance to die . . . and rise, living again.

Don't miss that chance.

Poetry Friday is hosted today at Wild Rose Reader


  1. Total swoon . . .

    "Let your giving fall
    As the rain"

    "Let your love fall
    As the rain"

    Actually not a swoon, but a little death. Thank you!

  2. A college prof of mine said once that when we read or write, we have a chance to come back to life, and "anything coming back to life again hurts."
    Great post.

  3. sara, you come up with the best stuff, the best. always.


    sometimes it feels like i'm trying to chip through the polar cap with a toothpick. tap tap tap, one word at a time

    thanks for this.

  4. Francisco X. Stork must have that Kafka quote tacked up where he can read it every day.

    Here's another quote (not sure if it's exactly right, but the sense is true): "Reading is breathing in; writing is breathing out." --Lester Laminack

  5. ooo love this post! You've given me courage today.

  6. Callie, how true. Thank you for that quote.

    You guys, thanks for letting me drop back in; I never know what poem is going to wallop me, but it's nice to know you all have my back when it does.

  7. Oh, Sara, that Kafka quote has been one of my favorites for years. I have a slightly different translation of it in my quote book (and I think you'll like the extra bit at the beginning):

    "If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skull, why then do we read it? We would also be happy if we had no books, and such books as make us happy we could, if need be, write ourselves.

    "But what we must have are those books which come upon us like ill-fortune, and distress us deeply, like the death of one we love better than ourselves, like suicide. A book must be an ice-axe to break the sea frozen inside us."

    And that poem -- thank you and wow. Just gorgeous.

  8. Thank you, Karen, for the fuller quote and the slightly different translation.

    You would think that writers, free to create anything, would chose always to write "such books as make us happy" but I don't know a one of us who isn't drawn to the axe.


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