Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Journey — National Poetry Month

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.

by Mary Oliver

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Pity. We Were Such a Good Invention — National Poetry Month

A Pity. We Were Such a Good Invention

They amputated
Your thighs off my hips.
As far as I'm concerned
They are all surgeons. All of them.

They dismantled us
Each from the other.
As far as I'm concerned
They are all engineers. All of them.

A pity. We were such a good
And loving invention.
An aeroplane made from a man and wife.
Wings and everything.
We hovered a little above the earth.

We even flew a little.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bored — National Poetry Month


All those times I was bored
out of my mind. Holding the log
while he sawed it. Holding
the string while he measured, boards,
distances between things, or pounded
stakes into the ground for rows and rows
of lettuces and beets, which I then (bored)
weeded. Or sat in the back
of the car, or sat still in boats,
sat, sat, while at the prow, stern, wheel
he drove, steered, paddled. It
wasn’t even boredom, it was looking,
looking hard and up close at the small
details. Myopia. The worn gunwales,
the intricate twill of the seat
cover. The acid crumbs of loam, the granular
pink rock, its igneous veins, the sea-fans
of dry moss, the blackish and then the graying
bristles on the back of his neck.
Sometimes he would whistle, sometimes
I would. The boring rhythm of doing
things over and over, carrying
the wood, drying
the dishes. Such minutiae. It’s what
the animals spend most of their time at,
ferrying the sand, grain by grain, from their tunnels,
shuffling the leaves in their burrows. He pointed
such things out, and I would look
at the whorled texture of his square finger, earth under
the nail. Why do I remember it as sunnier
all the time then, although it more often
rained, and more birdsong?
I could hardly wait to get
the hell out of there to
anywhere else. Perhaps though
boredom is happier. It is for dogs or
groundhogs. Now I wouldn’t be bored.
Now I would know too much.
Now I would know.

by Margaret Atwood
from her Facebook page

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Rondeau — National Poetry Month




When April's here and meadows wide
Once more with spring's sweet growths are pied
    I close each book, drop each pursuit,
    And past the brook, no longer mute,
I joyous roam the countryside.
Look, here the violets shy abide
And there the mating robins hide—
    How keen my sense, how acute,
      When April's here!
And list! down where the shimmering tide
Hard by that farthest hill doth glide,
    Rise faint strains from shepherd's flute,
    Pan's pipes and Berecyntian lute.
Each sight, each sound fresh joys provide
      When April's here.

by Jessie Redmon Fauset
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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Haiku: Cold wind — National Poetry Month

 With spring coming and going, here's a haiku we can all feel! thanks to Crystal for sharing!

Cold wind whips around
Winter music sings aloud
Calling the flowers

by Jonathan Busser, USA

Friday, April 18, 2014

Travel — National Poetry Month


The railroad track is miles away,     
      And the day is loud with voices speaking, 
Yet there isn't a train goes by all day     
      But I hear its whistle shrieking. 

All night there isn't a train goes by,     
      Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming, 
But I see its cinders red on the sky,     
      And hear its engine steaming. 

My heart is warm with friends I make,     
      And better friends I'll not be knowing; 
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,     
      No matter where it's going.

by Edna St. Vincent Millay 
from Second April (1921), available online via Project Gutenberg

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Survivor — National Poetry Month

Congratulations to Vijay Seshadri for winning the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his latest book, 3 Sections.


We hold it against you that you survived.
People better than you are dead,
but you still punch the clock.
Your body has wizened but has not bled 

its substance out on the killing floor
or flatlined in intensive care
or vanished after school
or stepped off the ledge in despair. 

Of all those you started with,
only you are still around;
only you have not been listed with 
the defeated and the drowned. 

So how could you ever win our respect?—
you, who had the sense to duck,
you, with your strength almost intact
and all your good luck.

by Vijay Seshadri
From The Long Meadow, published by Graywolf Press.