Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Monopoly: 1955

Monopoly: 1955 by Barbara Crooker

We start by fanning out the money, colored
like Necco wafers: pink, yellow, mint, gold.
From the first roll of the dice, differences widen:
the royal blues of Boardwalk and Park Place
look down their noses at the grapey immigrants
from Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues.
My grandparents coming from Italy in steerage
measured their gold in olive oil, not bank notes
and deeds. The man in the top hat and tuxedo
always holds the good cards. The rest of us
hope we can pay the Electric Company.
We know there is no such thing as Free Parking,
and Bank Errors are never in our favor.
In the background, Johnny Mathis croons
Chances Are from the cracked vinyl radio.
We played for hours, in those years
before television, on the Formica table,
while my mother coaxed a chicken,
cooking all day on the back burner, to multiply
itself into many meals. The fat rose to the surface,
a roiling ocean of molten gold.

"Monopoly: 1955” by Barbara Crooker from Gold. © Cascade Books, 2013.

ed note: I remember this very well...

Monday, December 28, 2015

Hippos On Holiday

Hippos on Holiday by Billy Collins 

is not really the title of a movie
but if it were I would be sure to see it.
I love their short legs and big heads,
the whole hippo look.
Hundreds of them would frolic
in the mud of a wide, slow-moving river,
and I would eat my popcorn
in the dark of a neighborhood theatre.
When they opened their enormous mouths
lined with big stubby teeth
I would drink my enormous Coke.
I would be both in my seat
and in the water playing with the hippos,
which is the way it is
with a truly great movie.
Only a mean-spirited reviewer
would ask on holiday from what?

“Hippos on Holiday” by Billy Collins from Aimless Love.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Say It by Joyce Sutphen

Say that it is the continuous life
you desire, that one day might stretch into
the next without a seam, without seeming
to move one minute away from the past
or that in passing through whatever comes
you keep coming to the faces you love,
never leaving them entirely behind.
Say that it is simply a wish to waste
time forever, lingering with the friends
you’ve gathered together, a gradual
illumination traveling the spine,
eyes brimming with the moment that is now.
Say that it is the impulse of the soul
to endure forever. Say it again.

“Say It” by Joyce Sutphen from Modern Love & Other Myths. © Red Dragonfly Press, 2015.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Corn Picking 1956

Corn Picking 1956 — Afternoon Break by Tom Hennen

I needed a heavy canvas jacket riding the cold red tractor, air
an ice cube on bare skin. Blue sky over the aspen grove I drove
through on the way back to the field, throttle wide open, the
empty wagon I pulled hitting all the bumps on the dirt road. In
the high branches of the aspens little explosions now and then
sent leaves tumbling and spinning like coins tossed into the air.
The two-row, tractor-mounted corn-picker was waiting at the
end of the corn rows, the wagon behind it heaped so high with
ears of corn their yellow could be seen a mile away. My father,
who ran the picker, was already sitting on the ground, leaning
back against the big rear wheel of the tractor. In that spot out
of the wind we ate ham sandwiches and doughnuts, and drank
hot coffee from a clear Mason jar wrapped in newspaper to
keep it warm. The autumn day had spilled the color gold every-
where: aspen, cornstalks, ears of corn piled high, coffee mixed
with fresh cream, the fur of my dog, Boots, who was sharing
our food. And when my father and I spoke, joking with the
happy dog, we did not know it then, but even the words that
we carelessly dropped were left to shine forever on the bottom
of the clear, cold afternoon.

"Corn Picking 1956 — Afternoon Break” by Tom Hennen from Darkness Sticks to Everything. © Copper Canyon Press, 2013.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Harvesting All Night

Harvesting All Night by Jane Hoogestraat

Twenty years ago, my father stops
in the small farm town where he was a boy
to watch his nephews, already men, play softball.
The long arc of a ball hit toward the far corner
leaves the light behind for a long sigh.
He told us later he wanted to stay that night.
When the harvest is late, the ground too muddy,
the players will wait until the earth freezes, then harvest
all night, the sodium lights of expensive combines
eerie as UFOs on the horizon, ringed by frost stars.
A family cemetery dated 1949 holds now the second
generation after the immigrants, and a few small graves
from the third. It will all last another generation or two,
be tended, that cemetery, the games in the park.
Dvorak visiting in Iowa caught it once,
as it retreated from him, a country that could
not be his, although he called it a new world, and brave.
His largo captures all he would know
of native melody, the indigenous music of the plains
that will outlive everything we’re losing, everything we are.





Wednesday, October 21, 2015

As imperceptibly as Grief

As imperceptibly as Grief by Emily Dickinson

As imperceptibly as Grief
The Summer lapsed away—
Too imperceptible at last,
To seem like Perfidy—
A Quietness distilled
As Twilight long begun
Or Nature spending with herself
Sequestered Afternoon—
The Dusk drew earlier in—
The Morning foreign shone—
A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,
As Guest, that would be gone—
And thus, without a Wing
Or service of a Keel
Our Summer made her light escape
Into the Beautiful.

 http://writersalmanac.org/

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Night Migrations

The Night Migrations by Louise Glück

This is the moment when you see again
the red berries of the mountain ash
and in the dark sky
the birds’ night migrations.
It grieves me to think
the dead won’t see them—
these things we depend on,
they disappear.
What will the soul do for solace then?
I tell myself maybe it won’t need
these pleasures anymore;
maybe just not being is simply enough,
hard as that is to imagine.

“The Night Migrations” by Louise Glück from Averno. © Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

And Now it's October

And Now it’s October by Barbara Crooker
the golden hour of the clock of the year. Everything that can run
to fruit has already done so: round apples, oval plums, bottom-heavy
pears, black walnuts and hickory nuts annealed in their shells,
the woodchuck with his overcoat of fat. Flowers that were once bright
as a box of crayons are now seed heads and thistle down. All the feathery
grasses shine in the slanted light. It’s time to bring in the lawn chairs
and wind chimes, time to draw the drapes against the wind, time to hunker
down. Summer’s fruits are preserved in syrup, but nothing can stopper time.
No way to seal it in wax or amber; it slides though our hands like a rope
of silk. At night, the moon’s restless searchlight sweeps across the sky.

“And Now it’s October” by Barbara Crooker from Small Rain. © Purple Flag Press, 2014.
Thanks to The Writers Almanac

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Talk About Walking

Talk about Walking by Philip Booth

Where am I going? I’m going
out, out for a walk. I don’t
know where except outside.
Outside argument, out beyond
wallpapered walls, outside
wherever it is where nobody
ever imagines. Beyond where
computers circumvent emotion,
where somebody shorted specs
for rivets for airframes on
today’s flights. I’m taking off
on my own two feet. I’m going
to clear my head, to watch
mares’-tails instead of TV,
to listen to trees and silence,
to see if I can still breathe.
I’m going to be alone with
myself, to feel how it feels
to embrace what my feet
tell my head, what wind says
in my good ear. I mean to let
myself be embraced, to let go
feeling so centripetally old.
Do I know where I’m going?
I don’t. How long or far
I have no idea. No map. I
said I was going to take
a walk. When I’ll be back
I’m not going to say.

"Talk about Walking” by Philip Booth from Lifelines: Selected Poems 1950-1999 (Viking Press).

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Call Away

The Call Away by Robert Bly

A cold wind flows over the cornfields;
Fleets of blackbirds ride that ocean.
I want to be out of here, go out,
Outdoors, anywhere in wind.
My back against a shed wall, I settle
Down where no one can find me.
I stare out at the box-elder leaves
Moving frond-like in that mysterious water.
What is it that I want? Not money,
Not a large desk, not a house with ten rooms.
This is what I want to do: to sit here,
To take no part, to be called away by wind.
I want to go the new way, build a shack
With one door, sit against the door frame.
After twenty years, you will see on my face
The same expression you see in the grass.

"The Call Away” by Robert Bly from Like the New Moon, I Will Live My Life. © White Pine Press, 2015.

Monday, September 14, 2015

When Death Comes

When Death Comes by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Nemerov: September: The First Day of School

A school is where they grind the grain of thought,
And grind the children who must mind the thought.
It may be those two grindings are but one,
As from the alphabet come Shakespeare’s Plays,
As from the integers comes Euler’s Law,
As from the whole, inseperably, the lives,
The shrunken lives that have not been set free
By law or by poetic phantasy.
But may they be. My child has disappeared
Behind the schoolroom door. And should I live
To see his coming forth, a life away,
I know my hope, but do not know its form
Nor hope to know it. May the fathers he finds
Among his teachers have a care of him
More than his father could. How that will look
I do not know, I do not need to know.
Even our tears belong to ritual.
But may great kindness come of it in the end.

"September, The First Day Of School” by Howard Nemerov from The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov. © University of Chicago Press, 1981.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Prayer

Prayer 
by Diane Ackerman

In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.

In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,

I will honor all life
-wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell-on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

"Wynken, Blinken and Nod” by Eugene Field

Wynken, Blinken and Nod by Eugene Field

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
     Sailed off in a wooden shoe,—
Sailed on a river of crystal light
     Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
     The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring-fish
     That live in this beautiful sea;
     Nets of silver and gold have we,”
               Said Wynken,
               Blynken,
               And Nod.
The old moon laughed and sang a song,
     As they rocked in the wooden shoe;
And the wind that sped them all night long
     Ruffled the waves of dew;
The little stars were the herring-fish
     That lived in the beautiful sea.
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish,—
     Never afraid are we!”
     So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
               Wynken,
               Blynken,
               And Nod.
All night long their nets they threw
     To the stars in the twinkling foam,—
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
     Bringing the fishermen home:
‘Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
     As if it could not be;
And some folk thought ‘twas a dream they’d dreamed
     Of sailing that beautiful sea;
     But I shall name you the fishermen three:
               Wynken,
               Blynken,
               And Nod.
Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
     And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
     Is a wee one’s trundle-bed;
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
     Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
     As you rock in the misty sea
     Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:—
               Wynken,
               Blynken,
               And Nod.

"Wynken, Blinken and Nod” by Eugene Field.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Forgetfulness

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.


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.

Friday, June 19, 2015

In Bed With A Book

by Mona Van Duyn 
 
In police procedurals they are dying all over town,
the life ripped out of them, by gun, bumper, knife,
hammer, dope, etcetera, and no clues at all.
All through the book the calls come in: body found
in bed, car, street, lake, park, garage, library,
and someone goes out to look and write it down.
Death begins life’s whole routine to-do
in these stories of our fellow citizens.
Nobody saw it happen, or everyone saw,
but can’t remember the car. What difference does it make
when the child will never fall in love, the girl will never
have a child, the man will never see a grandchild, the old maid
will never have another cup of hot cocoa at bedtime?
Like life, the dead are dead, their consciousness,
as dear to them as mine to me, snuffed out.
What has mind to do with this, when the earth is bereaved?
I lie, with my dear ones, holding a fictive umbrella,
while around us falls the real and acid rain.
The handle grows heavier and heavier in my hand.
Unlike life, tomorrow night under the bedlamp
by a quick link of thought someone will find out why,
and the policemen and their wives and I will feel better.
But all that’s toward the end of the book. Meantime, tonight,
without a clue I enter sleep’s little rehearsal.

“In Bed With A Book” by Mona Van Duyn from Near Changes. © Knopf, 1992.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Peacock's Eye

The Peacock's Eye by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Mark you how the peacock's eye°
Winks away its ring of green,
Barter'd for an azure dye,
And the piece that's like a bean,
The pupil, plays its liquid jet°
To win a look of violet.

Friday, June 12, 2015

It Is Raining On The House of Anne Frank

It is raining on the house
of Anne Frank
and on the tourists
herded together under the shadow
of their umbrellas,
on the perfectly silent
tourists who would rather be
somewhere else
but who wait here on stairs
so steep they must rise
to some occasion
high in the empty loft,
in the quaint toilet,
in the skeleton
of a kitchen
or on the map—
each of its arrows
a barb of wire—
with all the dates, the expulsions,
the forbidding shapes
of continents.
And across Amsterdam it is raining
on the Van Gogh Museum
where we will hurry next
to see how someone else
could find the pure
center of light
within the dark circle
of his demons.

“It Is Raining on the House of Anne Frank” by Linda Pastan from Carnival Evening. © Norton, 1998.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Yorkshiremen in Pub Gardens

Yorkshiremen in Pub Gardens by Gavin Ewart

As they sit there, happily drinking,
their strokes, cancers and so forth are not in their minds.
Indeed, what earthly good would thinking
about the future (which is Death) do? Each summer finds
beer in their hands in big pint glasses.
And so their leisure passes.
Perhaps the older ones allow some inkling
into their thoughts. Being hauled, as a kid, upstairs to bed
screaming for a teddy or a tinkling
musical box, against their will. Each Joe or Fred
wants longer with the life and lasses
And so their time passes.
Second childhood: and ‘Come in, number eighty!’
shouts inexorably the man in charge of the boating pool.
When you’re called you must go, matey,
so don’t complain, keep it all calm and cool,
there’s masses of time yet, masses, masses…
And so their life passes.

“Yorkshiremen in Pub Gardens” by Gavin Ewart from Selected Poems. © New Directions, 1988.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Villanelle - Roland Leighton

Villanelle

Violets from Plug Street Wood,
Sweet, I send you oversea.
(It is strange they should be blue,
Blue, when his soaked blood was red,
For they grew around his head;
It is strange they should be blue.)
Violets from Plug Street Wood-
Think what they have meant to me-
Life and Hope and Love and You
(And you did not see them grow
Where his mangled body lay
Hiding horror from the day;
Sweetest it was better so.)
Violets from oversea,
To your dear, far, forgetting land
These I send in memory,
Knowing You will understand.

Bio at the Western Front Association

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Hundred Names Of Love

The Hundred Names of Love

The children have gone to bed.
We are so tired we could fold ourselves neatly
behind our eyes and sleep mid-word, sleep standing
warm among the creatures in the barn, lean together
and sleep, forgetting each other completely in the velvet,
the forgiveness of that sleep.
Then the one small cry:
one strike of the match-head of sound:
one child’s voice:
and the hundred names of love are lit
as we rise and walk down the hall.
One hundred nights we wake like this,
wake out of our nowhere
to kneel by small beds in darkness.
One hundred flowers open in our hands,
a name for love written in each one.

“The Hundred Names of Love” by Annie Lighthart from Iron String © Airlie Press, 2015.
Thanks to The Writers Almanac

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Blessing of the Animals - Faith Shearin

At my daughter’s Catholic school there is
a blessing of the animals at which
the children line up with their fat hamsters
and gauzy goldfish, their dogs so old
they can barely climb the hill. They bring
their cats with bald patches
and their lizards sleeping in cages
under a fake sun. In the line
to the priest there are snakes
with white eyes and birds without songs.
There are ant farms and worms and rats
with long, exposed tails. The children
wait hours for their animals
to be blessed: for the priest’s hand
to hover over the weight they carry.
They bring shoe boxes full of turtles,
hairy spiders, frogs with dry skin.
I like watching my daughter
among the other children: her dog
small in her arms, her gaze protective.
Children believe in the power
of animals, tucked into their feathers
and shells; they believe
in blessings: the sprinkle
of holy water, each tiny
unexplained life.

"Blessing of the Animals" by Faith Shearin from Telling the Bees. © Stephen Austin State University Press, 2015. Thanks to The Writers Almanac

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The rented lakes of my childhood

The rented lakes of my childhood - by Marge Piercy

I remember the lakes of my Michigan
childhood. Here they are called ponds.
Lakes belonged to summer, two-week
vacations that my father was granted by
Westinghouse when we rented some cabin.

Never mind the dishes with spiderweb
cracks, the crooked aluminum sauce
pans, the crusted black frying pans.
Never mind the mattresses shaped
like the letter V. Old jangling springs.

Moldy bathrooms. Low ceilings
that leaked. The lakes were mysteries
of sand and filmy weeds and minnows
flickering through my fingers. I rowed
into freedom. Alone on the water

that freckled into small ripples,
that raised its hackles in storms,
that lay glassy at twilight reflecting
the sunset then sucking up the dark,
I was unobserved as the quiet doe

coming with her fauns to drink
on the opposite shore. I let the row-
boat drift as the current pleased, lying
faceup like a photographer’s plate
the rising moon turned to a ghost.

And though the voices called me
back to the rented space we shared
I was sure I left my real self there—
a tiny black pupil in the immense
eye of a silver pool of silence.

“The rented lakes of my childhood” by Marge Piercy from Made in Detroit. © Knopf, 2015.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale by Dan Albergotti

Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life’s ten million choices. Endure moments
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
the things you did and could have done. Remember
treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into the black depths.

“Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale” by Dan Albergotti from The Boatloads. © BOA Editions, Ltd., 2008.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

For The Fallen

For The Fallen - Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

This is one of the most famous and enduring war poems, and it was written at an historic moment … just after the retreat from Mons and the victory of the Marne.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

WILD GEESE

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Listen to Mary read Wild Geese

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae

I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind,
Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,
Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, all the time, because the dance was long:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,
But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,
Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! the night is thine;
And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Frank Stanford


 A body with very few clothes
An old radio
Some apples
You get to eat
as many slices of bacon as you want
the morning of a home game
The way his sweater smells
It gets so hot it smokes
After awhile
just when Sam Cooke’s new song
comes on
Worms and a homely girl from Texas
who can read quicker than you
Good marks
and a lost crop
like a whole season
that passed without a letter
from my brother.

Frank Stanford

The singer Lucinda Williams, a lover of Frank, wrote this song about him
Lyrics to Pineola 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Shakespeare

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. (Macbeth, Act V, Scene v)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Endymion Excerpt - John Keats

From Endymion Book I

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases, it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made of our searching; yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits.

Excerpt from "Endymion" Book I by John Keats.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Really Eternal City

Really Eternal City by George Bilgere

After we’d walked for at least an hour,
heading toward the Vatican
on a broiling August day,
I began thinking about how long
the tour we’d signed up for was going to be,
and how many sacred things would be on view,
and how much complicated information
the guide would tell us about the ancient paintings
and Roman numerals and relics
and tombs and holy knuckle bones.

I knew it would all kind of just melt together
and congeal into one big lumpen mass
of guilt and suffering and miracles
and gloomy old men in sandals.

And as I was thinking this
we were passing through a shady little square
where a couple of bare-breasted marble nymphs
were playing in the fountain,
and there were no tour guides anywhere,
there was no suffering or crucifixions,
nor was there even one important name or date
I would have to try to remember.

And the cheap red wine at the sidewalk ristorante
where we ended up spending the afternoon
instead of going to the Vatican
was wonderful, even miraculous,
as was the spaghetti bolognese.

“Really Eternal City” by George Bilgere. © George Bilgere. Reprinted with permission of the author

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Destruction of Sennacherib (1815) George Gordon Byron

The Destruction of Sennacherib (1815) George Gordon Byron
 
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still.

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride:
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow and the rust on his mail;
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

The Day Lady Died - Frank O'Hara

The Day Lady Died (1964) Frank O'Hara

It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don’t know the people who will feed me

I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets
in Ghana are doing these days
I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)
doesn’t even look up my balance for once in her life
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or
Brendan Behan’s new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don’t, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness

and for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANE
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it

and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing

Saturday, March 14, 2015

This is the House that Jack Built

This is the House that Jack Built 

This is the house that Jack built!
This is the malt that lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cat that killed the rat
That ate the malt that lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the priest all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cock that crowed in the morn
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the farmer sowing his corn
That kept the cock that crowed in the morn
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built!

“This is the House that Jack Built” by Anonymous.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

When all the others were away at Mass by Seamus Heaney

When all the others were away at Mass by Seamus Heaney

In Memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.
So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

Winner of the best Irish poem

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happiness

Happiness by Jane Kenyon

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon,
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basket maker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.

It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

“Happiness” by Jane Kenyon from Otherwise: New and Selected Poems. © Graywolf Press, 1997

Friday, March 6, 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. 


Thomas Wyatt
 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Day Nothing Happened by Jeffrey Harrison

On that day in history, history
took a day off. Current events
were uneventful. Breaking news
never broke. Nobody
of any import was born, or died.
(If you were born that day,
bask in the inverted glory
of your unimportance.)
No milestones, no disasters.
The most significant thing going on
was a golf tournament (the Masters).
It was a Sunday. In Washington,
President Eisenhower
(whose very name induces sleep)
practiced his putt
on the carpet of the Oval Office,
a little white ball crossing
and recrossing the presidential seal
like one of Jupiter’s moons
or a hypnotist’s watch.
On the radio, Perry Como
was putting everyone into a coma.
But the very next day,
in New York City,
Bill Haley & His Comets
recorded “Rock Around the Clock;”
and a few young people
began to regain consciousness …
while history, like Polyphemus
waking from a one-day slumber,
stumbled out of his cave,
blinked his giant eye, and peered around
for something to destroy.

"The Day Nothing Happened" by Jeffrey Harrison from Into Daylight. © Tupelo Press, 2014. Reprinted with permission.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Remorseful Day - A E Housman

...Ensanguining the skies
How heavily it dies
Into the west away;
Past touch and sight and sound
Not further to be found,
How hopeless under ground
Falls the remorseful day.

Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

The Monks of St. John’s File in for Prayer by Kilian McDonnell

In we shuffle, hooded amplitudes,
scapulared brooms, a stray earring, skin-heads
and flowing locks, blind in one eye,
hooked-nosed, handsome as a prince
(and knows it), a five-thumbed organist,
an acolyte who sings in quarter tones,
one slightly swollen keeper of the bees,
the carpenter minus a finger here and there,
our pre-senile writing deathless verse,
a stranded sailor, a Cassian scholar,
the artist suffering the visually
illiterate and indignities unnamed,
two determined liturgists. In a word,
eager purity and weary virtue.
Last of all, the Lord Abbot, early old
(shepherding the saints is like herding cats).
These chariots and steeds of Israel
make a black progress into church.
A rumble of monks bows low and offers praise
to the High God of Gods who is faithful forever.

Various; Keillor, Garrison (2006-08-29). Good Poems for Hard Times

Sunday, February 22, 2015

What Lips My Lips Have Kissed

What lips my lips have kissed... by Edna St. Vincent Millay

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

"What lips my lips have kissed..." by Edna St. Vincent Millay from Selected Poems. © The Library of America, 2003.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Blizzard

The Blizzard by Phillis Levin

Now that the worst is over, they predict
Something messy and difficult, though not
Life-threatening. Clearly we needed
To stock up on water and candles, making
Tureens of soup and things that keep
When electricity fails and phone lines fall.
Igloos rise on air conditioners, gargoyles
Fly and icicles shatter. Frozen runways,
Lines in markets, and paralyzed avenues
Verify every fear. But there is warmth
In this sudden desire to sleep,
To surrender to our common condition
With joy, watching hours of news
Devoted to weather. People finally stop
To talk to each other—the neighbors
We didn’t know were always here.
Today they are ready for business,
Armed with a new vocabulary,
Casting their saga in phrases as severe
As last night’s snow: damage assessment,
Evacuation, emergency management,
The shift of the wind matters again,
And we are so simple, so happy to hear
The scrape of a shovel next door.

“The Blizzard” by Phillis Levin from Mercury. © Penguin, 2001. Reprinted with permission. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

You Can Have It - Philip Levine

You Can Have It by Philip Levine 

My brother comes home from work
and climbs the stairs to our room.
I can hear the bed groan and his shoes drop
one by one. You can have it, he says.

The moonlight streams in the window
and his unshaven face is whitened
like the face of the moon. He will sleep
long after noon and waken to find me gone.

Thirty years will pass before I remember
that moment when suddenly I knew each man
has one brother who dies when he sleeps
and sleeps when he rises to face this life,

and that together they are only one man
sharing a heart that always labors, hands
yellowed and cracked, a mouth that gasps
for breath and asks, Am I gonna make it?

All night at the ice plant he had fed
the chute its silvery blocks, and then I
stacked cases of orange soda for the children
of Kentucky, one gray boxcar at a time

with always two more waiting. We were twenty
for such a short time and always in
the wrong clothes, crusted with dirt
and sweat. I think now we were never twenty.

In 1948 in the city of Detroit, founded
by de la Mothe Cadillac for the distant purposes
of Henry Ford, no one wakened or died,
no one walked the streets or stoked a furnace,

for there was no such year, and now
that year has fallen off all the old newspapers,
calendars, doctors’ appointments, bonds,
wedding certificates, drivers licenses.

The city slept. The snow turned to ice.
The ice to standing pools or rivers
racing in the gutters. Then bright grass rose
between the thousands of cracked squares,

and that grass died. I give you back 1948.
I give you all the years from then
to the coming one. Give me back the moon
with its frail light falling across a face.

Give me back my young brother, hard
and furious, with wide shoulders and a curse
for God and burning eyes that look upon
all creation and say, You can have it.

The NY Times - An Appraisal of Levine, who died February 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Hound Of Heaven - Francis Thompson

I FLED Him, down the nights and down the days;
  I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
    Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.           
      Up vistaed hopes I sped;
      And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
  From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
      But with unhurrying chase,        
      And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
      They beat—and a Voice beat
      More instant than the Feet—
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’     

Sunday, February 8, 2015

So This Is Death

So this is death - these harrowing things,
Room of light - angels' wings
Noise and tumult, beating loud -
Wings surround me, creatures wild.
Bright light opens all within,
Showing faults and failures - sin.
My soul turns over, heart on fire,
So this is death, this funeral pyre.
Gabriel aims his deadly dart
And pierces through my beating heart.
Thunderous music, unending pain.
This then is death - and birth again.

Then blessedly the tumult dies.
I float above unseeing eyes.
Sudden quiet - some new place
Stream of water, hills of grace,
There stands the Lord of glory, come
To gather in this poor poor crumb.

Mary Murphy

Friday, January 30, 2015

From Our House to Your House

From Our House to Your House by Jack Ridl 

It is 1959. It is the cusp of the coming revolution.
We still like Ike. We are still afraid of Sputnik.
We read Life magazine and Sports Illustrated
where the athletes grow up shooting hoops
in the driveway, playing catch in the backyard.
We sit on our sectional sofa. My mother loves
Danish modern. Our pants have cuffs. Our hair
is short. We are smiling and we mean it. I am
a guard. My father is my coach. I am sitting
next to him on the bench. I am ready to go in.
My sister will cheer. My mother will make
the pre-game meal from The Joy of Cooking.
Buster is a good dog. We are all at an angle.
We are a family at an angle. Our clothes are
pressed. We look into the eye of the camera.
“Look ‘em in the eye,” my father teaches us.
All we see ahead are wins, good grades,
Christmas. We believe in being happy. We
believe in mowing the lawn, a two-car garage,
a freezer, and what the teacher says. There is
nothing on the wall. We are facing away
from the wall. The jungle is far from home.
Hoses are for cleaning the car, watering
the gardens. My sister walks to school. My
father and I lean into the camera. My mother
and sister sit up straight. Ike has kept us
safe. In the spring, we will have a new car,
a Plymouth Fury with whitewalls and a vinyl top.

“From Our House to Your House” by Jack Ridl, from Practicing to Walk Like a Heron. © Wayne State University Press, 2013.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Music by Anne Porter

Music by Anne Porter 

When I was a child
I once sat sobbing on the floor
Beside my mother’s piano
As she played and sang
For there was in her singing
A shy yet solemn glory
My smallness could not hold

And when I was asked
Why I was crying
I had no words for it
I only shook my head
And went on crying

Why is it that music
At its most beautiful
Opens a wound in us
An ache a desolation
Deep as a homesickness
For some far-off
And half-forgotten country

I’ve never understood
Why this is so

But there’s an ancient legend
From the other side of the world
That gives away the secret
Of this mysterious sorrow
For centuries on centuries
We have been wandering
But we were made for Paradise
As deer for the forest

And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country

We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams

And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows

Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander.

“Music” by Anne Porter, from Living Things. © Zoland Books, 2006

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Promissory Note

Promissory Note by Galway Kinnell

If I die before you
which is all but certain
then in the moment
before you will see me
become someone dead
in a transformation
as quick as a shooting star's
I will cross over into you
and ask you to carry
not only your own memories
but mine too until you
too lie down and erase us
both together into oblivion.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Let Me Die

Let me die a youngman's death 
not a clean and inbetween 
the sheets holywater death 
not a famous-last-words 
peaceful out of breath death 

When I'm 73 
and in constant good tumour 
may I be mown down at dawn 
by a bright red sports car 
on my way home 
from an allnight party 

Or when I'm 91 
with silver hair 
and sitting in a barber's chair 
may rival gangsters 
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in 
and give me a short back and insides 

Or when I'm 104 
and banned from the Cavern 
may my mistress 
catching me in bed with her daughter 
and fearing for her son 
cut me up into little pieces 
and throw away every piece but one 

Let me die a youngman's death 
not a free from sin tiptoe in 
candle wax and waning death 
not a curtains drawn by angels borne 
'what a nice way to go' death

Roger McGough

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Stories

Stories by Stephen Dunn

It was back when we used to listen to stories,
     our minds developing
pictures as we were taken into the elsewhere
of our experience or to the forbidden
     or under the sea.
Television was wrestling, Milton Berle,
Believe It Or Not. We knelt before it
     like natives
in front of something sent by parachute,
but when grandfather said “I’ll tell you a story,”
     we stopped with pleasure,
sat crosslegged next to the fireplace, waited.
He’d sip gin and hold us, his voice
     the extra truth
beyond what we believed without question.
When grandfather died and changed
     what an evening meant,
it was 1954. After supper we went
to the television, innocents in a magic land
     getting more innocent,
a thousand years away from Oswald and the shock,
the end of our enormous childhood.
     We sat still
for anything, laughed when anyone slipped
or lisped or got hit with a pie. We said
     to our friends
“What the hey?” and punched them in the arms.
The television had arrived, and was coming.
     Throughout the country
all the grandfathers were dying,
giving their reluctant permission, like Indians.

"Stories" by Stephen Dunn from Local Time. © Quill Press, 1986. Reprinted with permission.

Monday, January 5, 2015

November Again

November again and the snow comes sudden and heavy.
This is what we like best. This is what we paid our money
for. Snow on snow, all day and all night, everything muffled,
distant. Tomorrow, no school, no work, no worship service,
no visitation of the sick, the poor, the widows or the
orphans. Whatever it was, nothing can be done about it
now. Your old position has been filled. Your footsteps have
been filled. The roads are filled, drifted shut. All directions
are obliterated in the heavy snowfall.


"November Again" by Louis Jenkins from Just Above Water. © Holy Cow! Press, 1997. Reprinted with permission.