|I just noticed, after posting this, that I started National Poetry Month poems with John Updike. How fitting to close with another. Hope you enjoyed these daily poems.|
by John Updike
With what stoic delicacy does
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
by Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
by Ezra Pound
And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass.
by Susan Browne
You’re telling that story again about your childhood,
when you were five years old and rode your blue bicycle
from Copenhagen to Espergaerde, and it was night
and snowing by the time you arrived,
and your grandparents were so relieved to see you,
because all day no one knew where you were,
you had vanished. We sit at our patio table under a faded green
umbrella, drinking wine in California’s blue autumn,
red stars of roses along the fence, trellising over the roof
of our ramshackle garage. Too soon the wine glasses will be empty,
our stories told, the house covered with pine needles the wind
has shaken from the trees. Other people will live here.
We will vanish like children who traveled far in the dark,
stars of snow in their hair, riding to enchanted Espergaerde.
Monday, April 27, 2009
|Only up for an hour or so & I've read or heard three Neruda poems already. Here comes four.... |
The Separate Rose: I
| by Pablo Neruda |
Translated by William O'Daly
Today is that day, the day that carried
by Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Autopsy in the Form of an Elegy
by John Stone
in the heart
was the vessel
was the pulse
was the art
was the love
was the clot
small and slow
and the scar
that could not know
the rest of you
was very nearly perfect.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
When I Am Among the Trees
by Mary Oliver
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
by Thich Nhat Hahn
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
by Bill Holm
Earbud—a tiny marble sheathed in foam
to wear like an interior earring so you
can enjoy private noises wherever you go,
protected from any sudden silence.
Only check your batteries, then copy
a thousand secret songs and stories
on the tiny pod you carry in your pocket.
You are safe now from other noises made
by other people, other machines, by chance,
noises you have not chosen as your own.
To get your attention, I touch your arm
to show you the tornado or the polar bear.
Sometimes I catch you humming or talking to the air
as if to a shrunken lover waiting in your ear.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Remembering TJ After the Funeral
We are as confused as the season.
The calendar insists on January,
depicts sparkling, icy-blue scenes.
But snow sags into pitted grey lumps,
runoff pooling into slick driveway bogs
and freezing into deep ruts
while we toss and turn through long starless nights.
Only the wind yields some sympathy,
whirling mercifully into unexpected empty spaces
that should still be warm from your busy body.
It curls around our numb shoulders
and reminds us that this is how things go.
by Brooks Haxton
Cattle egrets in the dry grass waded
Sunday, April 19, 2009
by Diane Lockward
Deep-blue hue of the body, silvery bloom
on its skin. Undersized runt of a fruit,
like something that failed to thrive, dented top
a fontanel. Lopsided globe. A temperate zone.
Tiny paradox, tart and sweet, homely
but elegant afloat in sugar and cream,
baked in a pie, a cobbler, a muffin.
The power of blue. Number one antioxidant fruit,
bantam-weight champ in the fight against
urinary tract infections, best supporting actor
in a fruit salad. No peeling, coring or cutting.
Lay them out on a counter, strands of blue pearls.
Pop one at a time, like M&M's, into your mouth.
Be a glutton and stuff in a handful, your tongue,
lips, chin dyed blue, as if feasting on indigo.
Fruit of the state of New Jersey.
Favorite fruit of my mother.
Sundays she scooped them into pancake batter,
poured circles onto the hot greased griddle, sizzled
them gold and blue, doused with maple syrup.
This is what I want to remember: my mother
and me, our quilted robes, hair in curlers,
that kitchen, that table,
plates stacked with pancakes, blueberries sparkling
like gemstones, blue stars in a gold sky,
the universe in reverse,
the two of us eating blueberry pancakes.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I hang out linens
on a bright raw morning.
The sun sneers,
unwilling to warm up to me
or the season,
so I retreat with moist numb thumbs.
All day I hear the sharp snap of sheets
whipping in the cold spring wind
that tries to rip them from the line.
Dark stick silhouettes
claw along tangled cotton,
but orange cases roundly pillow
with the season’s spite and glow
in a row of summer moons.
In the afternoon I bring them inside,
dry and warm,
and fold up the sweet clear air
caught within their threads.
Friday, April 17, 2009
by Kevin Young
You sat in the tomb
of our family fridge
for years, without
fail. You were all
I wanted covering
my greens, satisfaction
I’ve since sought
for years in restaurants
which claimed soul, but neither
knew you nor
your vinegar prayer.
of bitterness, soothsayer,
me the difference between loss
& holding on. Next to the neon
of the maraschino cherries,
you floated & stayed
constant as a flame
on an unknown soldier’s grave—
I never did know
how you got here
you just were. Adrift
in your mason jar
you were a briny bit of where
we came from, rusty lid
awaiting our touch
& tongue—you were faith
in the everyday, not rare
as the sugarcane
my grandparents sent north
come Christmas, drained
sweet & dry, delicious, gone
by New Year's—
no, you were nearer,
familiar, the thump
thump of an upright bass
or the brass
of a funeral band
bringing us home.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
by William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)
Sorrow is my own yard
where the new grass
flames as it has flamed
often before but not
with the cold fire
that closes round me this year.
I lived with my husband.
The plumtree is white today
with masses of flowers.
Masses of flowers
load the cherry branches
and color some bushes
yellow and some red
but the grief in my heart
is stronger than they
for though they were my joy
formerly, today I notice them
and turn away forgetting.
Today my son told me
that in the meadows,
at the edge of the heavy woods
in the distance, he saw
trees of white flowers.
I feel that I would like
to go there
and fall into those flowers
and sink into the marsh near them.
|by Elizabeth Bishop|
Oh, but it is dirty!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I lately lost a preposition:
It hid, I thought, beneath my chair.
And angrily I cried: "Perdition!
Up from out of in under there!''
Correctness is my vade mecum,
And straggling phrases I abhor;
And yet I wondered: "What should he come
Up from out of in under for?''
Monday, April 13, 2009
The Well Rising
by William E. StaffordThe well rising without sound,
the spring on a hillside,
the plowshare brimming through deep ground
everywhere in the field—
The sharp swallows in their swerve
flaring and hesitating
hunting for the final curve
coming closer and closer—
The swallow heart from wingbeat to wingbeat
counseling decisions, decision:
thunderous examples. I place my feet
with care in such a world.
|Spring Song II|
by Jean Garrigue (1914-1972)
And now my spring beauties,
Friday, April 10, 2009
I never meant
For you to go. The thing you heard
I never meant
for you to hear. The night you went
away I knew our whole absurd
sweet world had fallen with a word
I never meant.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
by Hazel Hall (1886-1924)
The wind is sewing with needles of rain.
With shining needles of rain
It stitches into the thin
Cloth of earth. In,
In, in, in.
Oh, the wind has often sewed with me.
One, two, three.
Spring must have fine things
To wear like other springs.
Of silken green the grass must be
Embroidered. One and two and three.
Then every crocus must be made
So subtly as to seem afraid
Of lifting colour from the ground;
And after crocuses the round
Heads of tulips, and all the fair
Intricate garb that Spring will wear.
The wind must sew with needles of rain,
With shining needles of rain,
Stitching into the thin
Cloth of earth, in,
In, in, in,
For all the springs of futurity.
One, two, three.
Turning Quietly Into Night
2009 Oil on canvas
Here You Are
All day you waited, trudged
along city blocks
past the hard shoulders of strangers,
thinking only of this bend in the path.
Your feet disappear beneath amber ripples
as you sink to the grass. Whorls
of mud silt over your toes and up
to the surface. Sun lingers along the clouds,
sly, keeping your secrets.
The oak must have thickened its bark here
for a hundred years,
season after season
against the weather,
against the deer,
against crimson vines
coiling around its base
and cloaking the trunk.
But it still spreads
into the sky.
The creek tucks into the meadow,
then ripples and twists into the grove.
This is where you stretch your reach.
Here, you are.
Heather M. Moore Niver
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
by Anne Marie Macari
It is a soft thing, it has been sifted
from the sieve of space and seems
asleep there under the moths of light.
Cluster of dust and fire, from up here
you are a stranger and I am dropping
through the funnel of air to meet you.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
by Jill Bialosky
She brought a little of the country into the city
Monday, April 6, 2009
by Rita Dove
Oh you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn,
or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me....
The Heiligenstadt Testament
Three miles from my adopted city
lies a village where I came to peace.
The world there was a calm place,
even the great Danube no more
than a pale ribbon tossed onto the landscape
by a girl's careless hand. Into this stillness
I had been ordered to recover.
The hills were gold with late summer;
my rooms were two, plus a small kitchen,
situated upstairs in the back of a cottage
at the end of the Herrengasse.
From my window I could see onto the courtyard
where a linden tree twined skyward —
leafy umbilicus canted toward light,
warped in the very act of yearning —
and I would feed on the sun as if that alone
would dismantle the silence around me.
At first I raged. Then music raged in me,
rising so swiftly I could not write quickly enough
to ease the roiling. I would stop
to light a lamp, and whatever I'd missed —
larks flying to nest, church bells, the shepherd's
home-toward-evening song — rushed in, and I
would rage again.
I am by nature a conflagration;
I would rather leap
than sit and be looked at.
So when my proud city spread
her gypsy skirts, I reentered,
burning towards her greater, constant light.
Call me rough, ill-tempered, slovenly— I tell you,
every tenderness I have ever known
has been nothing
but thwarted violence, an ache
so permanent and deep, the lightest touch
awakens it. . . . It is impossible
to care enough. I have returned
with a second Symphony
and 15 Piano Variations
which I've named Prometheus,
after the rogue Titan, the half-a-god
who knew the worst sin is to take
what cannot be given back.
I smile and bow, and the world is loud.
And though I dare not lean in to shout
Can't you see that I'm deaf? —
I also cannot stop listening.
|A Summer Outing|
by Du Fu
by Theodore Roethke
This urge, wrestle, resurrection of dry sticks,
Cut stems struggling to put down feet,
What saint strained so much,
Rose on such lopped limbs to a new life?
I can hear, underground, that sucking and sobbing,
In my veins, in my bones I feel it --
The small waters seeping upward,
The tight grains parting at last.
When sprouts break out,
Slippery as fish,
I quail, lean to beginnings, sheath-wet.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
by Joyce Carol Oates
This place up in Charlotte called Chuck's where I
used to waitress and who came in one night
but Elvis and some of his friends before his concert
at the Arena, I was twenty-six married but still
waiting tables and we got to joking around like you
do, and he was fingering the lace edge of my slip
where it showed below my hemline and I hadn't even
seen it and I slapped at him a little saying, You
sure are the one aren't you feeling my face burn but
he was the kind of boy even meanness turned sweet in
Smiled at me and said, Yeah honey I guess I sure am.
Friday, April 3, 2009
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redress of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The Sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs,
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
by Francis Ledwidge (1887-1917)
A blackbird singing
On a moss-upholstered stone,
Shadows wildly blown,
A ship on the sea.
The song was for you
And the ship was for me.
A blackbird singing
I hear in my troubled mind,
I see in a distant wind.
But sorrow and silence
Are the wood’s threnody,
The silence for you
And the sorrow for me.