Monday, April 30, 2018

Squirrel • National Poetry Month

Thank you for spending National Poetry Month here with us at Hedgehog Lover. Keep reading poetry, keep sharing poetry, and keep loving poetry!


It's not a dignified end, dangling
from my fingers, held fast with
a candy wrapper salvaged from
my car floor. I found no napkin, so
I improvised, judging the safety
of the road while drudging about
for a makeshift shroud.
                                     She is small,
light, and I whisper a prayer. No,
more of an apology: had it been me,
I would have stopped, she would have
made it across. When one stops,
others follow, whether out of shame
or habit or kindness I never can tell.

I lay her gently at the curb, tuck
the wrapper under her, too small for a shroud.
A prayer, unbidden, escapes my lips:
for her, for me, for the careless driver
who brought us here, together, on the side
of the now-quiet road. It’s too late for
the peace I beg for in my fervent whisper.
It’s too late for us both.

By Chris Fow Cohen
Shared with the author's permission

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Ring • National Poetry Month

The Ring

Soon my father will lose his wedding ring
but before that happens we take the path
along the cliff-edge past the sign that says
Danger: Keep Back because the waves below
have undermined it, and the next big storm
will be enough to bring the whole face down.

I know this but I can’t help looking down
and noticing how each wave throws a ring
of pretty foam that’s nothing like a storm
round fallen rocks forming a sort of path
for someone who might find themselves below
which no one ever would, my father says.

It’s much too dangerous, my father says,
new rock-falls any time might tumble down
and injure them, and while the sea below
looks calm, a quickly-rising tide would ring
and terrify them, devastate the path,
then drown them just as surely as a storm.

I hear him out about the calm and storm
and fall in line with everything he says,
continuing along the cliff-top path
until it leads us in a zig-zag down
onto the sea-shore where a wormy ring
of sand recalls the tunneling below.

My father says the North Sea is below
freezing almost, thanks to a recent storm,
and so he eases off his wedding ring
because the cold is bound to shrink, he says,
his fingers, and his ring would then slip down
and vanish like the dangerous cliff path.

He turns around to see once more the path,
the dizzy fall, the rocks, the waves below.
He thinks his only choice is to set down
on one stone of the many that the storm
has carried from their North Sea bed, which says
a lot about the power of storms, his ring.

It slides down out of sight as though the storm
has also switched his path to run below.
This neither of us says. He never finds his ring.

by Andrew Motion

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Photograph of Earth From Space • National Poetry Month

Photograph of Earth
From Space

On the outskirts of Luanda, Angola,
Gerald Nduma has walked an hour to school
carrying his chair, which is really
an empty coffee can. Nine years old,
 he holds in his other hand a mango which
will be his lunch.At school,
which is really a tree, Gerald
places his lunch beneath his chair.
This day, a missionary has come
With magazines. Gerald takes what
is given him. Soon he does not hear
the teacher’s instructions. He does not hear
the students’ chatter. He is looking
at the photograph of Earth
floating in a dark sea
which Gerald imagines
is plenteous with fish.

By Pamela Porter
The League of Canadian Poets

Friday, April 27, 2018

Trees • National Poetry Month

Happy Arbor Day!


I think that I shall never see 
A poem lovely as a tree. 

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest 
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; 

A tree that looks at God all day, 
And lifts her leafy arms to pray; 

A tree that may in Summer wear 
A nest of robins in her hair; 

Upon whose bosom snow has lain; 
Who intimately lives with rain. 

Poems are made by fools like me, 
But only God can make a tree.

by Joyce Kilmer

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Migration • National Poetry Month

It's Poem in Your Pocket Day! Print multiple copies of this poem and keep one copy in your pocket, then scatter the rest.

Leave them on your desk, or on the train. Put them in the lunch room. Hand them to strangers or friends. Share them liberally.


The police squint 

into the glare on the water looking 
for small boats. On a clear day 
the lightkeeper sees all the way 

to Algeria. Over his sofa 
hangs a tapestry woven 
by his grandmother from red 

human hair. Only the birds 
travel without papers. 
Though often now 

their tiny legs 
when they perch 
on the lighthouse railings 

are colour banded.

by Eleonore Schönmaier
The League of Canadian Poets

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

If All of My Relationships Fail and I Have No Children Do I Even Know What Love Is • National Poetry Month

If All of My Relationships Fail and I Have No Children Do I Even Know What Love Is
This fireman comes every afternoon
to the café on the corner
dressed for his shift in clean dark blues
This time       it’s the second Wednesday of January
and he’s meeting his daughter again
who must be five or six
and who is always waiting for her father like this
in her charcoal gray plaid skirt
with green and red stripes
She probably comes here straight from school
her glasses a couple nickels thick
By now I know     that she can sit       (except
for her one leg swinging from the chair)  
absolutely still      while her father pulls   
fighters’ wraps from his work bag
and begins half way down the girl’s forearm
winding the fabric in overlapping spirals
slowly toward her fist           then     he props      
her wrist      like a pro    on his own hand 
unraveling the black cloth   weaving it   
between her thumb and forefinger
around the palm             taut but
not so much that it cuts off the blood          then
up the hand and between the other fingers
to protect the knuckles         the tough    
humpback guppies just under the skin  
He does this once with her left       then again
to her right   To be sure her pops knows he has done
a good job     she nods        Good job       Good 
Maybe you’re right              I don’t know what love is
A father kisses the top of his daughter’s head
and knocks her glasses cockeyed
He sits back and downs the last of the backwash
in his coffee cup         They got 10 minutes to kill
before they walk across the street    down the block
and out of sight         She wants to test
her dad’s handiwork            by throwing  
a couple jab-cross combos from her seat
There is nothing in the daughter’s face  
that says     she is afraid     
There is nothing in the father’s face       
to say he is not                     He checks his watch         
then holds up his palms    as if to show his daughter    
that nothing is burning                     In Philadelphia
there are fires      I’ve seen those  in my lifetime too

by Patrick Rosal

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Wolf’s Trees • National Poetry Month

In memory of J.D. McClatchy, who died two weeks ago.

Wolf’s Trees

If trees fall in a wood and no one hears them,
Do they exist except as a page of lines
That words of rapture or grief are written on?
They are lines too while alive, pointing away
From the primer of damped air and leafmold
That underlie, or would if certain of them
Were not melon or maize, solferino or smoke,
Colors into which a sunset will collapse
On a high branch of broken promises.
Or they nail the late summer’s shingles of noon
Back onto the horizon’s overlap, reflecting
An emptiness visible on leaves that come and go.

How does a life flash before one’s eyes
At the end? How is there time for so much time?
You pick up the book and hold it, knowing
Long since the failed romance, the strained
Marriage, the messenger, the mistake,
Knowing it all at once, as if looking through
A lighted dormer on the dark crest of a barn.
You know who is inside, and who has always been
At the other edge of the wood. She is waiting
For no one in particular. It could be you.
If you can discover which tree she has become,
You will know whether it has all been true.

for Wolf Kahn

by J. D. McClatchy