Thursday, June 30, 2011
By Czeslaw Milosz
When I die, I will see the lining of the world.
The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.
The true meaning, ready to be decoded.
What never added up will add Up,
What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.
- And if there is no lining to the world?
If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,
But just a thrush on the branch? If night and day
Make no sense following each other?
And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?
- Even if that is so, there will remain
A word wakened by lips that perish,
A tireless messenger who runs and runs
Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,
And calls out, protests, screams.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
One’s Ship Comes In
By Joe Paddock
my way now will be
to continue without
plan or hope, to accept
the drift of things, to shift
from endless effort
to joy in, say,
that robin, plunging
into the mossy shallows
of my bird bath and
splashing madly till
the air shines with spray.
Joy it will be, say,
in Nancy, pretty in pink
and rumpled T-shirt,
rubbing sleep from her eyes, or
joy even in
just this breathing, free
of fright and clutch, knowing
how one’s ship comes in
with each such breath.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
This Was Once a Love Poem
by Jane Hirshfield
This was once a love poem,
before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short,
before it found itself sitting,
perplexed and a little embarrassed,
on the fender of a parked car,
while many people passed by without turning their heads.
It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement.
It remembers choosing these shoes,
this scarf or tie.
Once, it drank beer for breakfast,
drifted its feet
in a river side by side with the feet of another.
Once it pretended shyness, then grew truly shy,
dropping its head so the hair would fall forward,
so the eyes would not be seen.
IT spoke with passion of history, of art.
It was lovely then, this poem.
Under its chin, no fold of skin softened.
Behind the knees, no pad of yellow fat.
What it knew in the morning it still believed at nightfall.
An unconjured confidence lifted its eyebrows, its cheeks.
The longing has not diminished.
Still it understands. It is time to consider a cat,
the cultivation of African violets or flowering cactus.
Yes, it decides:
Many miniature cacti, in blue and red painted pots.
When it finds itself disquieted
by the pure and unfamiliar silence of its new life,
it will touch them—one, then another—
with a single finger outstretched like a tiny flame.
Monday, June 13, 2011
By Rita Dove
Imagine you wake up
with a second chance: The blue jay
hawks his pretty wares
and the oak still stands, spreading
glorious shade. If you don't look back,
the future never happens.
How good to rise in sunlight,
in the prodigal smell of biscuits -
eggs and sausage on the grill.
The whole sky is yours
to write on, blown open
to a blank page. Come on,
shake a leg! You'll never know
who's down there, frying those eggs,
if you don't get up and see.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
By Charles Simic
The plastic statue of the Virgin
On top of a bedroom dresser
With a blackened mirror
From a bad-dream grooming salon.
Two pebbles from the grave of a rock star,
A small, grinning windup monkey,
A bronze Egyptian coin
And a red movie-ticket stub.
A splotch of sunlight on the framed
Communion photograph of a boy
With the eyes of someone
Who will drown in a lake real soon.
An altar dignifying the god of chance.
What is beautiful, it cautions,
Is found accidentally and not sought after.
What is beautiful is easily lost.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
By Don Thompson
My leaf blower lifted the blackbird—
wings still spread, weightless,
floating on the loud, electric wind
almost as if it were alive.
Three or four times it flew,
but fell again, sideslipped down
like a kite with no string,
so I gave up. . . I had work to do,
and when the dust I raised
had settled in that other world
under the rose bushes, the ants
came back to finish theirs.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
By Kenneth Rexroth
Once, camping on a high bluff
Above the Fox River, when
I was about fourteen years
Old, on a full moonlit night
Crowded with whippoorwills and
Frogs, I lay awake long past
Midnight watching the moon move
Through the half drowned stars. Suddenly
I heard, far away on the warm
Air a high clear soprano,
Purer than the purest boy's
Voice, singing, "Tuck me to sleep
In my old 'Tucky home."
She was in an open car
Speeding along the winding
Dipping highway beneath me.
A few seconds later
An old touring car full of
Boys and girls rushed by under
Me, the soprano rising
Full and clear and now close by
I could hear the others singing
Softly behind her voice. Then
Rising and falling with the
Twisting road the song closed, soft
In the night. Over thirty
Years have gone by but I have
Never forgotten. Again
And again, driving on a
Lonely moonlit road, or waking
In a warm murmurous night,
I hear that voice singing that
Common song like an
Sunday, June 5, 2011
By Joshua Michael Stewart
from Vintage Gray
If you've gone through life without experiencing
rejection,death will make it up to you.
The only signs of your existence: a small child
sipping tea with an imaginary friend, the family dog
jerking his head from sleep, ears perked
in the direction of an empty room. No wonder
the dead drop plates,slam doors, thump their feet.
I'm thinking myself lifeless, sick of the living-
how they flaunt their solid bodies, carelessly
spill blood down the sink as if warmth
were easily obtained. I'd miss the tiny city thriving
beneath my skin, the business of survival. Crave
Duck Breasts with Calvados, and applewood burning.
But it's the ability to imagine, the art of ignorance
I'd pine for above all things. Perhaps this is why
apparitions often haunt our dreams. It's not our lives
they want but our nescience-another chance, a gift,
which is to wonder what happens when you die.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Sweeping the Cemetery
By David Lee Garrison
I swept young lovers back
into their dormitories
by midnight after Saturday
dances. Tall trees
and overgrown shrubberies
made the hill darker than dark
where their whispers floated
on humidity, perfume, and sweat.
My footsteps were the threat
that raised them from the dead,
roused those apparitions
mixing lust and dread
among the headstones.
One night I caught a couple
on a marble bed, told them
in my sternest voice
to get on home.
When they were gone,
I lay down in their place
and watched the stars die
deep in space.