She is wearing red shoes
Red Converse with black hose
A hole torn at the knee
Tattered jean skirt with a studded belt
An oversized sweatshirt and bangles
That could be me
Twenty years ago
Her headphones are smaller
So is her hair
But her world is larger
We are connected in
So many ways these days
My younger self was more
Yellow railings on the tram, like solid streaks of sun
Yellow triangles repeating patterns on rows of seats
Yellow stripes on the roadside blurred into a continuous stream
Yellow balloon trapped in the branches of a twisting tree
Yellow bird singing atop a red, sloping roof
Yellow car illegally parked with a
Yellow ticket placed on the window
Yellow shirt of a woman clutching her
Yellow purse as she stands to depart
Yellow blanket wrapped around a baby holding a
Yellow rattle shaped like a giraffe
Yellow signs streak by in yellow blurs of light and color
The world is a collage of shapes and colors
When you see it, everything becomes unreal
A replica of the city, like a cardboard set
In a child’s play
“What is this spirit in man that urges him forever to depart from happiness, to toil and to place himself in danger?”
A Solitary World is an homage to H.G. Wells from PBS Digital Studios and filmmaker James W. Griffiths. The text is adapted from: The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The First Men in the Moon (1901), In The Days of the Comet (1906), The World Set Free (1914). Terry Burns is the narrator and the haunting score is from British composer Lennert Busch. It is a breathtaking labor of love in an emerging creative genre: the cinematic poem.
A Solitary World:
By Stanley Kunitz
Stanley Kunitz, “The Layers” from The Collected Poems of Stanley Kunitz. Copyright © 1978 by Stanley Kunitz. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
View with a Grain of Sand
by Wisława Szymborska
We call it a grain of sand,
but it calls itself neither grain nor sand.
It does just fine without a name,
whether general, particular,
incorrect or apt.
Our glance, our touch mean nothing to it.
It doesn’t feel itself seen and touched.
and that it fell on the windowsill
is only our experience, not its.
For it, it is no different from falling on anything else
with no assurance that it has finished falling
or that it is falling still.
The window has a wonderful view of a lake,
but the view doesn’t view itself.
It exists in this world,
soundless, odorless, and painless.
The lake’s floor exists floorlessly,
And its shore exists shorelssly.
Its water feels itself neither wet nor dry
and its waves to themselves are neither singular nor plural.
They splash deaf to their own noise
on pebbles neither large nor small.
And all this beneath a sky by nature skyless
in which the sun sets without setting at all
and hides without hiding behind an unminding cloud.
The wind ruffles it, its only reason being
that it blows
A second passes.
A second second.
But they’re three seconds only for us.
Time has passed like a courier with urgent news
but that’s just our simile.
The character is invented, his haste is make-believe
his news inhuman.
“View with a Grain of Sand” from View with a Grain of Sand, by Wisława Szymborska. Copyright © 1976 by Czytelnik, Warszawa. Text copyright © 1995 by Harcourt Brace & Company. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
by Lewis Allen (aka Abel Meeropol); sung by Billie Holiday
Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the roots
Black bodies swingin’ in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh
And the sudden smell of burning flesh
Here is the fruit
For the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather
For the wind to suck
For the sun to rot
For the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop