Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fiddler Jones - Edgar Lee Masters

The earth keeps some vibration going
There in your heart, and that is you.
And if the people find you can fiddle,
Why, fiddle you must, for all your life.
What do you see, a harvest of clover?
Or a meadow to walk through to the river?
The wind's in the corn; you rub your hands
For beeves hereafter ready for market;
Or else you hear the rustle of skirts
Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove.
To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust
Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drouth;
They looked to me like Red-Head Sammy
Stepping it off, to "Toor-a-Loor."
How could I till my forty acres
Not to speak of getting more,
With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos
Stirred in my brain by crows and robins
And the creak of a wind-mill — only these?
And I never started to plow in my life
That some one did not stop in the road
And take me away to a dance or picnic.
I ended up with forty acres;
I ended up with a broken fiddle —
And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,
And not a single regret.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

They Flee from Me

They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themself in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.

Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better; but once in special,
In thin array after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small;
Therewithall sweetly did me kiss
And softly said, “Dear heart, how like you this?”

It was no dream: I lay broad waking.
But all is turned thorough my gentleness
Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
And I have leave to go of her goodness,
And she also, to use newfangleness.
But since that I so kindly am served
I would fain know what she hath deserved.

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes by Anne Higgins

Suddenly it is August again, so hot,
breathless heat.
I sit on the ground
in the garden of Carmel,
picking ripe cherry tomatoes
and eating them.
They are so ripe that the skin is split,
so warm and sweet
from the attentions of the sun,
the juice bursts in my mouth,
an ecstatic taste,
and I feel that I am in the mouth of summer,
sloshing in the saliva of August.
Hummingbirds halo me there,
in the great green silence,
and my own bursting heart
splits me with life.

"Cherry Tomatoes” by Anne Higgins from At the Year’s Elbow. © Mellen Poetry Press, 2000

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Love's Philosophy by Shelley

The fountains mingle with the river 
   And the rivers with the ocean, 
The winds of heaven mix for ever 
   With a sweet emotion; 
Nothing in the world is single; 
   All things by a law divine 
In one spirit meet and mingle. 
   Why not I with thine?— 

See the mountains kiss high heaven 
   And the waves clasp one another; 
No sister-flower would be forgiven 
   If it disdained its brother; 
And the sunlight clasps the earth 
   And the moonbeams kiss the sea: 
What is all this sweet work worth 
   If thou kiss not me?


Shelley's statue at the Bodleian Library in Oxford


Monday, July 13, 2015

Antigonish by Hughes Means

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today,
I wish, I wish he'd go away...

When I came home last night at three,
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall,
I couldn't see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don't you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don't slam the door...

Last night I saw upon the stair,
A little man who wasn't there,
He wasn't there again today
Oh, how I wish he'd go away...

Used as a theme in the new book by Owen Sheer, I Saw A Man -

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Wisteria can pull down a house

Wisteria can pull down a house by Marge Piercy

The wisteria means to creep over the world.
Every day its long tendrils wave in the breeze,
seize the bench under its arbor, weave
round the garden fence obstructing
the path. Its arbor’s long outgrown.

Such avidity. Such greed for dominance.
It has already killed the Siberian irises
it shadowed, stealing all their sun.
Should I admire or resent? Neither.
I go out with loppers and hack and hack.

If it could, it would twine around my neck
like a python; like an angry giant squid
it would pull me into a strangling embrace.
I will grow back, it swears, and outlive you.
Its vigor outdoes mine. It will succeed.

“Wisteria can pull down a house” by Marge Piercy from Made in Detroit.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Maybe Alone On My Bike

Maybe Alone On My Bike
by William Stafford

I listen, and the mountain lakes
hear snowflakes come on those winter wings
only the owls are awake to see,
their radar gaze and furred ears
alert. In that stillness a meaning shakes;
And I have thought (maybe alone
on my bike, quaintly on a cold
evening pedaling home), Think!—
the splendor of our life, its current unknown
as those mountains, the scene no one sees.
O citizens of our great amnesty:
we might have died. We live. Marvels
coast by, great veers and swoops of air
so bright the lamps waver in tears,
and I hear in the chain a chuckle I like to hear.

“Maybe Alone On My Bike” by William Stafford from The Way It Is.