Home  |  Business Directory  |  Announcements  |  Contact  |  Events Calendar  |  FREE Listing!  |  Submit News  |  Login  |  Register

All Things New Daily

Daily Motivation, Inspiration, and Information! HERE

Search Our Site
Search for:

Poem of the Day

Poem of the Day Logo Poem of the Day

Bookmark and Share

Poem of the Day: February Sky
I must have left a fingerprint, a molecule of oil,

a seal, a slick when I took my hands away

from her throat—the way she liked in loving

to have her pearls exchanged for the torque

of my fingers and so kill her eminence for a second.

The queen is dead. Long live the queen. The evidence

was volatile, was fugitive, was a story told

in menstrual blood and glycerines, Chanel and boss

sauce. It failed in the telling to be events

and sequence, the spell of water and bridge, and became

rain and distance, the first faint smell of rose

dismembering, masking the rigor mortis of the coyotes.

I took my hands away as from the child

sleeping or from the hot stove, and I was no longer I.

I saw the sky in the windshield of another city.

The sky an empty karate studio, the sky Route 95.

Because she saw herself everywhere,

The sky a fugue, the folds of a gown where the dragons are.

there could be no other. A film was her darling,

the sky Artists’ Supplies, the sky six-thirty darkening.

a mirror of her hair—fixed or deranged

Sky of correspondences, the color of G minor, the taste of gray.

She thought, from the audience: I should be up there.

February sky a copy center, relocated elsewhere.

I loved to go out into the audience, the bebopist said,

and walk in the crowd to feel

what they feel. Jumping down from the bandstand, I

broke my foot, lay there, had to blare it from my back.

The sky nineteenth-century smoke, the sky a drum,

then here comes the bass solo.

Vote Hoffa, the sky says, labor sky, the dollar soaring with the yen.

The sky popularized, blue-red, the access and the factory.

I take myself to the movies—the romance of sheets,

the dustup of things and her magnificent face: stylish,

the sky inside her eyes, chlorine and glass.

I tithe to the darkness and I’m glad for the dark

two hours where I undo her, where I remember the eye

I indulged, the opposite of sacrifice, the lamb’s throat

uncut, the woolly body kindled in the green

like a dream of Lorca’s, betrayed in the telling.

The sky Repairables, the sky Pony Rides.

Some nights in the house by the river, I walked out

into a collective dream of home—an overstory

overlooking a body of water—where I found

the horse like smoke or luck, a muscled earth, an avatar,

and I held him, face to flank, and felt the skeleton

under the skin and the fear of the human touched back

by hunger. The great white eye another moon.

It was a lesser and a greater form of the feeling

after fucking, if it has a form, if its past is present.

Sky an empty shelf in the Salvation Army Thrift Store.

A few fine hairs like her lashes on my hands

The sky a white peony, the sky a paper life.

when I came back and found her bound in the sheets,

the opposite of spectacle, not absorbing the gaze but

giving off light like night water, giving back the gorgeous

I had inscribed there, a fallen form, small, fursheen, film

still, a body suddenly small enough to fill a tear duct.

The sky a shell, a lull in the shelling.

What was it like, the loving? Like Sarajevo

under siege, no electricity, no gas, no water,

and yet the dance goes on in which a bathtub is filled,

and, although the theater is twenty degrees, the dancer

of the god-kissed tendons for her finale

jumps into it—the leap that takes away the breath

and rations it to everyone, and

it’s the only bath for anyone in two months.

The sky orchestra and karma, the sky Gold Bought and Sold.

The windows of the house I won’t live in held light

and the island fires on the river, held hawk and heron.

Under siege in dream, the panes slash my face when they shatter

with difference, inside, outside, with distance, what was

not. A second dream: kids go by on bikes and big wheels,

their faces grown up and disfigured, scabbed,

hydrocephalic with sadness. Finally the whole body

The sky a gray whale, the sky magnanimous and cruel.

and not just its parts, wants to be unloved, beginning

The sky Purgatory Road, the sky a god mouth, a crow.

with its parts, the fetish of her: a cell from the lining,

spit, a follicle, the thousand ships of her face,

the torso and ratio, rib whittle, unbound feet, beginning

to become vast, nothing you can touch, a taste,

The sky a copper pot blackened, picked clean of puchero.

a smell, familiar and far away, unlocked by thaw,

feral and essential, like a language lost, like night

illuminated by the night.

Bruce Smith, “February Sky” from The Other Lover (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000). Copyright © 2000 by Bruce Smith. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: The Other Lover(2000)

Bruce Smith

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: My Country ’Tis of Thee

Of course you have faced the dilemma: it is announced, they all smirk and rise. If they are ultra, they remove their hats and look ecstatic; then they look at you. What shall you do? Noblesse oblige; you cannot be boorish, or ungracious; and too, after all it is your country and you do love its ideals if not all of its realities. Now, then, I have thought of a way out: Arise, gracefully remove your hat, and tilt your head. Then sing as follows, powerfully and with deep unction. They’ll hardly note the little changes and their feelings and your conscience will thus be saved:

My country tis of thee,
Late land of slavery,
         Of thee I sing.
Land where my father’s pride
Slept where my mother died,
From every mountain side
         Let freedom ring!

My native country thee
Land of the slave set free,
         Thy fame I love.
I love thy rocks and rills
And o’er thy hate which chills,
My heart with purpose thrills,
         To rise above.

Let laments swell the breeze
And wring from all the trees
          Sweet freedom’s song.
Let laggard tongues awake,
Let all who hear partake,
Let Southern silence quake,
         The sound prolong.

Our fathers’ God to thee
Author of Liberty,
         To thee we sing
Soon may our land be bright,
With Freedom’s happy light
Protect us by Thy might,
         Great God our King.

W. E. B. Du Bois, “My Country ’Tis of Thee” from Creative Writings by W. E. B Du Bois (KrausThomson Organization Limited, 1985). Reprinted with the permission of the Estate of W. E. B. Du Bois.

Source: Creative Writings by W. E. B. Du Bois(KrausThomson Organization Limited, 1985)

W. E. B. Du Bois

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: I, Too
I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

Langston Hughes, “I, Too” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes. Reprinted with the permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated.

Source: The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes(Vintage Books, 2004)

Langston Hughes

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: Malcolm X, February 1965
i will die this month. how
i do not know. still there
is much work to be done. i
am afraid not for myself but
for betty and the girls. some
nights i stay awake looking
out the window, a gun in my
hand. i know how cruel people
can be. i have known hatred and
blindness. there are brothers
waiting to do me harm. i will
die for them. i will love them
as only i can. may allah be my

Ethelbert Miller, “Malcolm X, February 1965” from First Light: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by Ethelbert Miller. Reprinted by permission of Black Classic Press.

Source: First Light: New and Selected Poems(1994)

E. Ethelbert Miller

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: Nina's Blues
Your body, hard vowels
In a soft dress, is still.

What you can't know
is that after you died
All the black poets
In New York City
Took a deep breath,
And breathed you out;
Dark corners of small clubs,
The silence you left twitching

On the floors of the gigs
You turned your back on,
The balled-up fists of notes
Flung, angry from a keyboard.

You won't be able to hear us
Try to etch what rose
Off your eyes, from your throat.

Out you bleed, not as sweet, or sweaty,
Through our dark fingertips.
We drum rest
We drum thank you
We drum stay.

Cornelius Eady, "Nina's Blues," from Hardheaded Weather: New and Selected Poems, published by Putnam. Copyright 2008 by Cornelius Eady. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: Hardheaded Weather: New and Selected Poems(Putnam, 2008)

Cornelius Eady

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: The President Flies Over
Aloft between heaven and them,
I babble the landscape—what staunch, vicious trees,
what cluttered roads, slow cars. This is my
country as it was gifted me—victimless, vast.
The soundtrack buzzing the air around my ears
continually loops ditties of eagles and oil.
I can’t choose. Every moment I’m awake,
aroused instrumentals channel theme songs,
what I cannot.
I don’t ever have to come down.
I can stay hooked to heaven,
dictating this blandness.
My flyboys memorize flip and soar.
They’ll never swoop real enough
to resurrect that other country,
won’t ever get close enough to give name
to tonight’s dreams darkening the water.
I understand that somewhere it has rained.

Patricia Smith, “The President Flies Over” from Blood Dazzler. Copyright © 2008 by Patricia Smith. Reprinted by permission of Coffee House Press. www.coffeehousepress.org

Source: Blood Dazzler(Coffee House Press, 2008)

Patricia Smith

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: A Woman Speaks
Moon marked and touched by sun   
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.   
I seek no favor
untouched by blood
unrelenting as the curse of love   
permanent as my errors
or my pride
I do not mix
love with pity
nor hate with scorn
and if you would know me
look into the entrails of Uranus   
where the restless oceans pound.

I do not dwell
within my birth nor my divinities   
who am ageless and half-grown   
and still seeking
my sisters
witches in Dahomey
wear me inside their coiled cloths   
as our mother did

I have been woman
for a long time
beware my smile
I am treacherous with old magic   
and the noon's new fury
with all your wide futures   
I am
and not white.

Audre Lorde, “A Woman Speaks” from The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. Copyright © 1997 by Audre Lorde. Reprinted with the permission of Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency and W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., www.nortonpoets.com.

Source: The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde(W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1997)

Audre Lorde

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: February Evening in New York
As the stores close, a winter light
    opens air to iris blue,
    glint of frost through the smoke
    grains of mica, salt of the sidewalk.
As the buildings close, released autonomous   
    feet pattern the streets
    in hurry and stroll; balloon heads
    drift and dive above them; the bodies   
    aren't really there.
As the lights brighten, as the sky darkens,
    a woman with crooked heels says to another woman   
    while they step along at a fair pace,
    "You know, I'm telling you, what I love best   
    is life. I love life! Even if I ever get
    to be old and wheezy—or limp! You know?   
    Limping along?—I'd still ... " Out of hearing.   
To the multiple disordered tones
    of gears changing, a dance
    to the compass points, out, four-way river.   
    Prospect of sky
    wedged into avenues, left at the ends of streets,   
    west sky, east sky: more life tonight! A range   
    of open time at winter's outskirts.

Denise Levertov, “February Evening in New York” from Collected Earlier Poems 1940-1960. Copyright © 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1979 by Denise Levertov. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation, www.wwnorton.com/nd/welcome.htm.

Source: Collected Earlier Poems 1940-1960(New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1979)

Denise Levertov

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: New Year
a child carrying flowers walks toward the new year
a conductor tattooing darkness
listens to the shortest pause

hurry a lion into the cage of music
hurry stone to masquerade as a recluse
moving in parallel nights

who's the visitor? when the days all
tip from nests and fly down roads
the book of failure grows boundless and deep

each and every moment's a shortcut
I follow it through the meaning of the East
returning home, closing death's door

"New Year" by Bei Dao, translated by David Hinton with Yanbing Chen, from LANDSCAPE OVER ZERO, copyright © 1995, 1996 by Zhao Zhenkai, Translation copyright © 1995, 1996 by David Hinton with Yanbing Chen. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Source: LANDSCAPE OVER ZERO(New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1996)

Bei Dao

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: Frederick Douglass
When it is finally ours, this freedom, this liberty, this beautiful
and terrible thing, needful to man as air,   
usable as earth; when it belongs at last to all,   
when it is truly instinct, brain matter, diastole, systole,   
reflex action; when it is finally won; when it is more   
than the gaudy mumbo jumbo of politicians:   
this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro   
beaten to his knees, exiled, visioning a world   
where none is lonely, none hunted, alien,   
this man, superb in love and logic, this man   
shall be remembered. Oh, not with statues’ rhetoric,   
not with legends and poems and wreaths of bronze alone,
but with the lives grown out of his life, the lives   
fleshing his dream of the beautiful, needful thing.

Robert Hayden, “Frederick Douglass” from Collected Poems of Robert Hayden, edited by Frederick Glaysher. Copyright © 1966 by Robert Hayden. Reprinted with the permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.

Source: The Collected Poems of Robert Hayden(Liveright Publishing Corporation, 1966)

Robert Hayden

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: Valentine
Cherry plums suck a week’s soak,
overnight they explode into the scenery of before
your touch. The curtains open on the end of our past.
Pink trumpets on the vines bare to the hummingbirds.
Butterflies unclasp from the purse of their couplings, they
light and open on the doubled hands of eucalyptus fronds.
They sip from the pistils for seven generations that bear
them through another tongue as the first year of our
punishing mathematic begins clicking the calendar
forward. They land like seasoned rocks on the
decks of the cliffs. They take another turn
on the spiral of life where the blossoms
blush & pale in a day of dirty dawn
where the ghost of you webs
your limbs through branches
of cherry plum. Rare bird,
extinct color, you stay in
my dreams in x-ray. In
rerun, the bone of you
stripping sweethearts
folds and layers the
shedding petals of
my grief into a
decayed holo-
for ever

"Valentine" by Lorna Dee Cervantes, from From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger. Copyright © 1991 by Lorna Dee Cervantes, Used with permission of Arte Público Press, www.arte.uh.edu

Source: From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger(Arte Público Press, 1991)

Lorna Dee Cervantes

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: [love is more thicker than...
love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

E.E. Cummings, “[love is more thicker than forget]” from Complete Poems 1904-1962, edited by George J. Firmage. Copyright 1926, 1954, 1991 by the Trustees for the E.E. Cummings Trust. Copyright © 1985 by George James Firmage. Reprinted with the permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.

Source: Poetry January 1939

E. E. Cummings

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: Lincoln Is Dead
He is gone, the strong base of the nation,
    The dove to his covet has fled;
Ye heroes lament his privation,
    For Lincoln is dead.
He is gone down, the sun of the Union,
    Like Phoebus, that sets in the west;
The planet of peace and communion,
    Forever has gone to his rest.
He is gone down from a world of commotion,
    No equal succeeds in his stead;
His wonders extend with the ocean,
    Whose waves murmur, Lincoln is dead.
He is gone and can ne’er be forgotten,
    Whose great deeds eternal shall bloom;
When gold, pearls and diamonds are rotten,
    His deeds will break forth from the tomb.
He is gone out of glory to glory,
    A smile with the tear may be shed,
O, then let us tell the sweet story,
    Triumphantly, Lincoln is dead.

Source: “Words for the Hour”: A New Anthology of American Civil War Poetry, edited by Faith Barrett and Cristanne Miller(University of Massachusetts Press, 2005)

George Moses Horton

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: Green-Thumb Boy
Hybridization, cross-breeding, evolution:
He takes to new theories
like a puppy takes to ice cream.
We whisper that our Green-Thumb Boy
is the black Mendel, that Darwin
would have made good use of Carver's eyes.
So clear his gift for observation:
the best collector I've ever known.
I think we have an entirely new species
of Pseudocercospora.
And always in his threadbare lapel
a flower. Even in January.
I've never asked how.

We had doubts
about giving him a class to teach,
but he's done a bang-up job
with the greenhouse. His students
see the light of genius
through the dusky window of his skin.
Just yesterday, that new boy,
what's-his-name, from Arkansas,
tried to raise a ruckus when Carver
put his dinner tray down.
He cleared his throat, stared, rattled
his own tray, scraped his chair legs
in a rush to move away. Carver
ate on in silence. Then the boys
at the table the new boy had moved to
cleared their throats, rattled their trays
and scraped their chair legs as they got up
and moved to Carver's table.

Something about the
man does that, raises the best
in you. I've never asked what.
I guess I'll put his name next to mine
on that article I'm sending out.

Marilyn Nelson, "Green-Thumb Boy" from Carver. Copyright © 2001 by Marilyn Nelson. Reprinted by permission of Highlights for Children/Boyds Mills Press.

Source: Carver: A Life in Poems(Front Street, 2001)

Marilyn Nelson

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: February
Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He’ll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here
should snip a few testicles. If we wise
hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s love that does us in. Over and over
again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
thirty below, and pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

Margaret Atwood, “February” from Morning in the Burned House. Copyright © 1995 by Margaret Atwood. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: Morning in the Burned House(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1995)

Margaret Atwood

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: Narrative: Ali

My head so big
they had to pry
me out. I’m sorry
Bird (is what I call
my mother). Cassius
Marcellus Clay,
Muhammad Ali;
you can say
my name in any
language, any
continent: Ali.


Two photographs
of Emmett Till,
born my year,
on my birthday.
One, he’s smiling,
happy, and the other one
is after. His mother
did the bold thing,
kept the casket open,
made the thousands look upon
his bulging eyes,
his twisted neck,
her lynched black boy.
I couldn’t sleep
for thinking,
Emmett Till.

One day I went
Down to the train tracks,
found some iron
shoe-shine rests
and planted them
between the ties
and waited
for a train to come,
and watched the train
derail, and ran,
and after that
I slept at night.


I need to train
around people,
hear them talk,
talk back. I need
to hear the traffic,
see people in
the barbershop,
people getting
shoe shines, talking,
hear them talk,
talk back.


Bottom line: Olympic gold
can’t buy a black man
a Louisville hamburger
in nineteen-sixty.

Wasn’t even real gold.
I watched the river
drag the ribbon down,
red, white, and blue.   


Laying on the bed,
praying for a wife,
in walk Sonji Roi.

Pretty little shape.
Do you like
chop suey?

Can I wash your hair
that wig?

Lay on the bed,
Girl. Lie
with me.

Shake to the east,
to the north,
south, west—

but remember,
remember, I need
a Muslim wife. So

Quit using lipstick.
Quit your boogaloo.
Cover up your knees

like a Muslim
wife, religion,
religion, a Muslim

wife. Eleven
months with Sonji,
first woman I loved.


There’s not
too many days
that pass that I
don’t think
of how it started,
but I know
no Great White Hope
can beat
a true black champ.
Jerry Quarry
could have been
a movie star,
a millionaire,
a senator,
a president—
he only had
to do one thing,
is whip me,
but he can’t.

7. Dressing-Room Visitor

He opened
up his shirt:
“KKK” cut
in his chest.
He dropped
his trousers:
latticed scars
where testicles
should be, His face
bewildered, frozen
in the Alabama woods
that night in 1966
when they left him
for dead, his testicles
in a Dixie cup.
You a warning,
they told him,
to smart-mouth,
sassy-acting niggers,
meaning niggers
still alive,
meaning any nigger,
meaning niggers
like me.

8. Training

Unsweetened grapefruit juice
will melt my stomach down.
Don’t drive if you can walk,
don’t walk if you can run.
I add a mile each day
and run in eight-pound boots.

My knuckles sometimes burst
the glove. I let dead skin
build up, and then I peel it,
let it scar, so I don’t bleed
as much. My bones
absorb the shock.

I train in three-minute
spurts, like rounds: three
rounds big bag, three speed
bag, three jump rope, one-
minute breaks,
no more, no less.

Am I too old? Eat only
kosher meat. Eat cabbage,
carrots, beets, and watch
the weight come down:
two-thirty, two-twenty,
two-ten, two-oh-nine.


Will I go
like Kid Paret,
a fractured
skull, a ten-day
sleep, dreaming
alligators, pork
chops, saxophones,
slow grinds, funk,
fishbowls, lightbulbs,
bats, typewriters,
tuning forks, funk
clocks, red rubber
ball, what you see
in that lifetime
knockout minute
on the cusp?
You could be
let go,
you could be
snatched back.

10. Rumble in the Jungle

Ali boma ye,
Ali boma ye,
means kill him, Ali,
which is different
from a whupping
which is what I give,
but I lead them chanting
anyway, Ali
boma ye, because
here in Africa
black people fly
planes and run countries.

I’m still making up
for the foolishness
I said when I was
Clay from Louisville,
where I learned Africans
live naked in straw
huts eating tiger meat,
grunting and grinning,
swinging from vines,
pounding their chests—

I pound my chest but of my own accord.


I said to Joe Frazier,
first thing, get a good house
in case you get crippled
so you and your family
can sleep somewhere. Always
keep one good Cadillac.
And watch how you dress
with that cowboy hat,
pink suits, white shoes—
that’s how pimps dress,
or kids, and you a champ,
or wish you were, ‘cause
I can whip you in the ring
or whip you in the street.
Now back to clothes,
wear dark clothes, suits,
black suits, like you the best
at what you do, like you
President of the World.
Dress like that.
Put them yellow pants away.
We dinosaurs gotta
look good, gotta sound
good, gotta be good,
the greatest, that’s what
I told Joe Frazier,
and he said to me,
we both bad niggers.
We don’t do no crawlin’.


They called me “the fistic pariah.”

They said I didn’t love my country,
called me a race-hater, called me out
of my name, waited for me
to come out on a stretcher, shot at me,
hexed me, cursed me, wished me
all manner of ill will,
told me I was finished.

Here I am,
like the song says,
come and take me,

“The People’s Champ,”

“Narrative: Ali” Copyright © 2001 by Elizabeth Alexander. Reprinted from Antebellum Dream Book, with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.

Source: Antebellum Dream Book(Graywolf Press, 2001)

Elizabeth Alexander

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: Dr. Booker T. Washington to...
’Tis strange indeed to hear us plead
   For selling and for buying
When yesterday we said: “Away
   With all good things but dying.”   

The world’s ago, and we’re agog
   To have our first brief inning;
So let’s away through surge and fog
   However slight the winning.

What deeds have sprung from plow and pick!
   What bank-rolls from tomatoes!
No dainty crop of rhetoric
   Can match one of potatoes.

Ye orators of point and pith,
   Who force the world to heed you,
What skeletons you’ll journey with
   Ere it is forced to feed you.

A little gold won’t mar our grace,
   A little ease our glory.
This world’s a better biding place
   When money clinks its story.

Source: African-American Poetry of the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology(University of Illinois Press, 1992)

Joseph Seamon Cotter, Sr.

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: The Amen Stone
On my desk there is a stone with the word “Amen” on it,
a triangular fragment of stone from a Jewish graveyard destroyed
many generations ago. The other fragments, hundreds upon hundreds,
were scattered helter-skelter, and a great yearning,
a longing without end, fills them all:
first name in search of family name, date of death seeks
dead man’s birthplace, son’s name wishes to locate
name of father, date of birth seeks reunion with soul
that wishes to rest in peace. And until they have found
one another, they will not find a perfect rest.
Only this stone lies calmly on my desk and says “Amen.”
But now the fragments are gathered up in lovingkindness
by a sad good man. He cleanses them of every blemish,
photographs them one by one, arranges them on the floor
in the great hall, makes each gravestone whole again,
one again: fragment to fragment,
like the resurrection of the dead, a mosaic,
a jigsaw puzzle. Child’s play.

Yehuda Amichai, “The Amen Stone” from Open Closed Open, trans. by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld, published by Harcourt, Inc. Copyright © 2000 by Yehuda Amichai. Reprinted by permission of Hana Amichai.

Source: Open Closed Open: Poems(Harcourt Inc., 2000)

Yehuda Amichai

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: The Birth of John Henry
  The night John Henry is born an ax
         of lightning splits the sky,
  and a hammer of thunder pounds the earth,
     and the eagles and panthers cry!

     John Henry—he says to his Ma and Pa:
         “Get a gallon of barleycorn.
     I want to start right, like a he-man child,
         the night that I am born!”

  Says: “I want some ham hocks, ribs, and jowls,
         a pot of cabbage and greens;
     some hoecakes, jam, and buttermilk,
         a platter of pork and beans!”

     John Henry’s Ma—she wrings her hands,
         and his Pa—he scratches his head.
     John Henry—he curses in giraffe-tall words,
         flops over, and kicks down the bed.

     He’s burning mad, like a bear on fire—
         so he tears to the riverside.
 As he stoops to drink, Old Man River gets scared
         and runs upstream to hide!

     Some say he was born in Georgia—O Lord!
         Some say in Alabam.
  But it’s writ on the rock at the Big Bend Tunnel:
     “Lousyana was my home. So scram!”
Melvin B. Tolson, "The Birth of John Henry" from Harlem Gallery & Other Poems. Copyright © 1999 by Melvin B. Tolson.  Reprinted by permission of The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, on behalf of The University of Virginia Press.

Source: The Black Poets(Bantam Books, 1985)

Melvin B. Tolson

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: Runagate Runagate
Runs falls rises stumbles on from darkness into darkness
and the darkness thicketed with shapes of terror
and the hunters pursuing and the hounds pursuing
and the night cold and the night long and the river
to cross and the jack-muh-lanterns beckoning beckoning
and blackness ahead and when shall I reach that somewhere
morning and keep on going and never turn back and keep on going
Many thousands rise and go
many thousands crossing over
                                                           O mythic North
                                               O star-shaped yonder Bible city

Some go weeping and some rejoicing
some in coffins and some in carriages
some in silks and some in shackles

                 Rise and go or fare you well

No more auction block for me
no more driver’s lash for me

         If you see my Pompey, 30 yrs of age,
         new breeches, plain stockings, negro shoes;
         if you see my Anna, likely young mulatto
         branded E on the right cheek, R on the left,
         catch them if you can and notify subscriber.
         Catch them if you can, but it won’t be easy.
         They’ll dart underground when you try to catch them,
         plunge into quicksand, whirlpools, mazes,
         turn into scorpions when you try to catch them.

And before I’ll be a slave
I’ll be buried in my grave

         North star and bonanza gold
         I’m bound for the freedom, freedom-bound
         and oh Susyanna don’t you cry for me


Rises from their anguish and their power,

                                       Harriet Tubman,

                                       woman of earth, whipscarred,
                                       a summoning, a shining

                                       Mean to be free

          And this was the way of it, brethren brethren,
          way we journeyed from Can’t to Can.
          Moon so bright and no place to hide,
          the cry up and the patterollers riding,
          hound dogs belling in bladed air.
          And fear starts a-murbling, Never make it,
          we’ll never make it. Hush that now,
          and she’s turned upon us, levelled pistol
          glinting in the moonlight:
          Dead folks can’t jaybird-talk, she says;
          you keep on going now or die, she says.

Wanted     Harriet Tubman     alias The General
alias Moses     Stealer of Slaves

In league with Garrison     Alcott     Emerson
Garrett     Douglas     Thoreau     John Brown

Armed and known to be Dangerous

Wanted     Reward     Dead or Alive

          Tell me, Ezekiel, oh tell me do you see
          mailed Jehovah coming to deliver me?

Hoot-owl calling in the ghosted air,
five times calling to the hants in the air.
Shadow of a face in the scary leaves,
shadow of a voice in the talking leaves:

          Come ride-a my train

          Oh that train, ghost-story train
          through swamp and savanna movering movering,
          over trestles of dew, through caves of the wish,
          Midnight Special on a sabre track movering movering,
          first stop Mercy and the last Hallelujah.

          Come ride-a my train

                   Mean mean mean to be free.

Robert Hayden, “Runagate Runagate” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1962, 1966 by Robert Hayden. Copyright © 1985 by Emma Hayden. Reprinted with the permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.

Source: Collected Poems(Liveright Publishing Corporation, 1985)

Robert Hayden

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: Miz Rosa Rides the Bus
That day in December I sat down
by Miss Muffet of Montgomery.
I was myriad-weary. Feets swole
from sewing seams on a filthy fabric;
tired-sore a pedalin’ the rusty Singer;
dingy cotton thread jammed in the eye.
All lifelong I’d slide through century-reams
loathsome with tears. Dreaming my own
It was not like they all say. Miss Liberty Muffet
she didn’t
jump at the sight of me.
Not exactly.
They hauled me
away—a thousand kicking legs pinned down.
The rest of me I tell you—a cloud.
Beautiful trouble on the dead December
horizon. Come to sit in judgment.
How many miles as the Jim Crow flies?
Over oceans and some. I rumbled.
They couldn’t hold me down. Long.
My feets were tired. My eyes were
sore. My heart was raw from hemming
dirty edges of Miss L. Muffet’s garment.
I rode again.
A thousand bloody miles after the Crow flies
that day in December long remembered when I sat down
beside Miss Muffet of Montgomery.
I said—like the joke say—What’s in the bowl, Thief?
I said—That’s your curse.
I said—This my way.
She slipped her frock, disembarked,
settled in the suburbs, deaf, mute, lewd, and blind.
The bowl she left behind. The empty bowl mine.
The spoiled dress.
Jim Crow dies and ravens come with crumbs.
They say—Eat and be satisfied.
I fast and pray and ride.

Angela Jackson, "Miz Rosa Rides the Bus" from And All These Roads Be Luminous. Copyright © 1998 by Angela Jackson.  Reprinted by permission of TriQuarterly Books.

Source: And All These Roads Be Luminous(TriQuarterly Books, 1998)

Angela Jackson

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: Billie Holiday
sometimes the deaf
hear better than the blind

some men
when they first
heard her sing

were only attracted
to the flower in her hair

Ethelbert Miller, “Billie Holiday” from First Light: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by Ethelbert Miller. Reprinted by permission of Black Classic Press.

Source: First Light: New and Selected Poems(1994)

E. Ethelbert Miller

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: Robeson at Rutgers
Hard to picture, but these Goliath trees
are taller still than Robeson. Outside
vast plate windows in this lecture hall,
I imagine him running down autumn fields,
see his black thighs pumping that machinery
across chalk-painted lines.

                                        He loved the woman
in the lab, Eslanda, who saw order
in swimming circles on inch-wide slides, who
made photographs. I picture her standing
in darkness, led by red light, bathing paper
in broth, extracting images. Did this woman smile
to watch white paper darken, to pull wet
from the chemicals Paul Robeson’s totem face?

Elizabeth Alexander, “Robeson at Rutgers”  Copyright © 1990 by the Rectors and Visitors of the University of Virginia. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press. Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.

Source: The Venus Hottentot(Graywolf Press, 2004)

Elizabeth Alexander

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: BLK History Month
If Black History Month is not
viable then wind does not
carry the seeds and drop them
on fertile ground
rain does not
dampen the land
and encourage the seeds
to root
sun does not
warm the earth
and kiss the seedlings
and tell them plain:
You’re As Good As Anybody Else
You’ve Got A Place Here, Too

Nikki Giovanni, "BLK History Month" from Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea.  Copyright © 2002 by Nikki Giovanni.  Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers Inc..

Source: Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea(HarperCollins Publishers, 2002)

Nikki Giovanni

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: Lunar Baedeker
A silver Lucifer
cocaine in cornucopia

To some somnambulists
of adolescent thighs
in satirical draperies

Perisin livery
for posthumous parvenues

Delirious Avenues
with the chandelier souls
of infusoria
from Pharoah’s tombstones

to mercurial doomsdays
Odious oasis
in furrowed phosphorous

the eye-white sky-light
white-light district
of lunar lusts

             Stellectric signs
“Wing shows on Starway”
“Zodiac carrousel”

of ecstatic dust
and ashes whirl
from hallucinatory citadels
of shattered glass
into evacuate craters

A flock of dreams   
browse on Necropolis

From the shores
of oval oceans
in the oxidized Orient

Onyx-eyed Odalisques
and ornithologists
the flight
of Eros obsolete

And “Immortality”
mildews ...   
in the museums of the moon

“Nocturnal cyclops”
“Crystal concubine”

Pocked with personification
the fossil virgin of the skies
waxes and wanes

Copyright © 1996 by the Estate of Mina Loy. All rights reserved.

Source: The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems of Mina Loy. Reprinted by permission of Roger Conover, Literary Executor.(1996)

Mina Loy

More poems by this author

Articles last updated at Feb 24, 2018 05:59:42am.
Next update in 60 minutes.

Date and Time

Copyright 2018, TheAttleboroZone.com