Friday, June 17, 2016

Hug

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.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sea Fever

Sea Fever By John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Robert Frost

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work –
                I am the grass; I cover all. 

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
                What place is this?
                Where are we now? 

                I am the grass.
                Let me work.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Tongue Says Loneliness

Today begins National poetry Month:

The tongue says loneliness, anger, grief,
but does not feel them.

As Monday cannot feel Tuesday,
nor Thursday
reach back to Wednesday
as a mother reaches out for her found child.

As this life is not a gate, but the horse plunging through it.

Not a bell,
but the sound of the bell in the bell-shape,
lashing full strength with the first blow from inside the iron.

Jane Hirshfield

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The visible and the in- by Marge Piercy

The visible and the in- by Marge Piercy 

Some people move through your life
like the perfume of peonies, heavy
and sensual and lingering.

Some people move through your life
like the sweet musky scent of cosmos
so delicate if you sniff twice, it’s gone.

Some people occupy your life
like moving men who cart off
couches, pianos and break dishes.

Some people touch you so lightly you
are not sure it happened. Others leave
you flat with footprints on your chest.

Some are like those fall warblers
you can’t tell from each other even
though you search Petersen’s.

Some come down hard on you like
a striking falcon and the scars remain
and you are forever wary of the sky.

We all are waiting rooms at bus
stations where hundreds have passed
through unnoticed and others

have almost burned us down
and others have left us clean and new
and others have just moved in.

"The visible and the in-" by Marge Piercy from Made in Detroit. © Knopf, 2015.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Don't Look Now

Don’t Look Now by William Trowbridge 

It never dies:
the old gag where
Wile E. Coyote,
in hot pursuit
of his rocketing foe,
sprints off a cliff
and keeps running
on thin air till he
happens to look down,
nailing us every time
with that why-me look
in the drawn-out
second after fortune’s
yanked the rug;
and then we follow
the poor chump’s image
growing smaller and
smaller till the quiet
puff of dust
on the canyon floor.

“Don’t Look Now” by William Trowbridge from Put This On, Please. © Red Hen Press, 2014.