Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Bee Is Not Afraid of Me

The bee is not afraid of me by Emily Dickinson 

The bee is not afraid of me,
I know the butterfly;
The pretty people in the woods
Receive me cordially.
The brooks laugh louder when I come,
The breezes madder play.
Wherefore, mine eyes, thy silver mists?
Wherefore, O summer’s day?

“The bee is not afraid of me” by Emily Dickinson. Public Domain

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Cinderella's Diary

Cinderella’s Diary by Ron Koertge 

 I miss my stepmother. What a thing to say,
but it’s true. The prince is so boring: four
hours to dress and then the cheering throngs.
Again. The page who holds the door is cute
enough to eat. Where is he once Mr. Charming
kisses my forehead goodnight?
Every morning I gaze out a casement window
at the hunters, dark men with blood on their
boots who joke and mount, their black trousers
straining, rough beards, calloused hands, selfish,
Oh, dear diary—I am lost in ever after:
those insufferable birds, someone in every
room with a lute, the queen calling me to look
at another painting of her son, this time
holding the transparent slipper I wish
I’d never seen.

“Cinderella’s Diary” by Ron Koertge from Vampire Planet. © Red Hen Press, 2016

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Talking About The Day

Each night after reading three books to my two children—
we each picked one—to unwind them into dreamland,
I’d turn off the light and sit between their beds
in the wide junk shop rocker I’d reupholstered blue,
still feeling the close-reading warmth of their bodies beside me,
and ask them to talk about the day—we did this,
we did that, sometimes leading somewhere, sometimes
not, but always ending up at the happy ending of now.
Now, in still darkness, listening to their breath slow and ease
into sleep’s regular rhythm.
                                                    They are grown, you might've guessed.
The past tense solid, unyielding, against the dropped bombs
of recent years. But how it calmed us then, rewinding
the gentle loop, and in the trusting darkness, pressing play.

"Talking About the Day" by Jim Daniels from Apology to the Moon. © Bat Cat Press, 2015. Reprinted with permission.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

She Gives Me the Watch off Her Arm

She Gives Me the Watch off Her Arm by Marjorie Saiser

my mother wants me to
go to college
the closest she has ever been
is this
the dorm
her father had needed her
to dig the potatoes
and load them into burlap bags
but here she is
leaving her daughter
on the campus in the city time to go
we are at the desk
the clerk is wide-
eyed when my mother
asks her if she will
take an out-of-town check
if the need arises
if something comes up
so my girl will have money
even I know
this isn’t going to happen
this check-cashing
a clerk helping me with money
but miracle of miracles
the clerk says nothing
and I say nothing
and my mother feels better
we go to the parking lot
old glasses thick graying hair
she is wearing a man’s shirt
has to get back to the job
we stand beside her Ford and it is
here she undoes the buckle of the watch
and holds it out to me
my father’s watch
keeping good time for him
and then for her
she says she knows I will
need a watch to get to class
we hug and she gets in
starts the car
eases into traffic
no wave
the metal of the back of the watch
is smooth to my thumb
and it keeps for a moment
a warmth from her skin.

“She Gives Me the Watch off Her Arm” by Marjorie Saiser from I Have Nothing To Say About Fire.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid

For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid - by William Stafford

There is a country to cross you will
find in the corner of your eye, in
the quick slip of your foot—air far
down, a snap that might have caught.
And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing
voice that finds its way by being
afraid. That country is there, for us,
carried as it is crossed. What you fear
will not go away: it will take you into
yourself and bless you and keep you.
That’s the world, and we all live there.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Hug by Ron Padgett 

The older I get, the more I like hugging. When I was little the
people hugging me were much larger. In their grasp I was a rag
doll. In adolescence, my body was too tense to relax for a hug.
Later, after the loss of virginity—which was anything but a
loss—the extreme proximity of the other person, the smell of
hair, the warmth of the skin, the sound of breathing in the
dark—these were mysterious and delectable. This hug had
two primary components: the anticipation of sex and the plea-
sure of intimacy, which itself is a combination of trust and
affection. It was this latter combination that came to character-
ize the hugging I have experienced only in recent years, a hug-
ging that knows no distinctions of gender or age. When this
kind of hug is mutual, for a moment the world is perfect the
way it is, and the tears we shed for it are perfect too. I guess it
is an embrace.

“Hug” by Ron Padgett from Collected Poems. © Coffee House Press, 2013.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Gerard Manley Hopkins
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
       As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
       Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
       Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
       Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.
I say more: the just man justices;
       Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
       Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
       To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

“As Kingfishers Catch Fire” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Public Domain.