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Poem of the Day: Raptus
The door to the past is a strange door. It swings open and things pass through it, but they pass in one direction only. No man can return across that threshold, though he can look down still and see the green light waver in the weeds.

          Loren Eiseley

A door opens in the wilderness.
People cross through it–bloused women families
Acquaintances friends all the ones I have loved
Sleep-walkers night-walkers each dazed and shorn–
Street aurous with ice, a snowfall scratched into
Moons–and everything I’d known–
Inside the bleak floating light of my lungs
In the capillaries of my eyes a blood
Glancing through the hatches–
If I said I would always be grateful
If I lied or touched with spite
If night is just a foamline of shadows
Though we were both lost–the door
Opening–the fear of being shown
Whole to the one who must love you still
And stopped as if on a walk to say
Look at that and what matters what really counts
And I’ll tell you everything if you promise I promise
I stood at door and behind me heard
Snow-plows scrape against roads
At the center of night–unknown to yourself
And the word I said out-loud to no one
That meant it was all to no purpose
The word for the desire inside destruction
For everything that can never be brought back–
Loose snow blown hard to each bank
And the common reel of those who
To avoid one extreme rush toward its opposite–
Snow blasted to piles–and never opened up to
Anything that could reach me until you reached me–
Which hours belonged to us
When was I unknowingly alone
Why did you always return to walk here a path
Behind my closed eyes shedding salt
Dry snowfall and sticks–still were you here
With me I might say The moon rose in the casement window
The red-haired boy across the street has learned to ride his bike
There are still picnics there are fountains
And the world I am leaving behind says
One learns to see one learns to be kind–
I closed my eyes I closed my hands
I shut down the fields in my arms
The cattle on the plains veins ditches
Blue ravines a gray bird
Sailing through a poplar brake kids
Throwing snow I closed the last swinging juncos
Sheep wool caught on barbed wire I closed
Fumes and clear patches of sky I seized
The river the town I shut down
The hard muscles of sleep farmlands
Warming under midnight salt-lights scruff-pines
On the ridge animals scattering across slopes I closed
The smooth bone of evening a storm
On the hills white and noiseless spindled
Prairies where I was born I shut I seized
The clouds I closed in ager–fervor–ardor

"Raptus" from Raptus by Joanna Klink, copyright © 2010 by Joanna Klink.  Used by permission of Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. 

Joanna Klink

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Poem of the Day: Home [“Often I had gone this...
Often I had gone this way before:
But now it seemed I never could be
And never had been anywhere else;
'Twas home; one nationality
We had, I and the birds that sang,
One memory.
They welcomed me. I had come back
That eve somehow from somewhere far:
The April mist, the chill, the calm,
Meant the same thing familiar
And pleasant to us, and strange too,
Yet with no bar.
The thrush on the oaktop in the lane
Sang his last song, or last but one;
And as he ended, on the elm
Another had but just begun
His last; they knew no more than I
The day was done.
Then past his dark white cottage front
A labourer went along, his tread
Slow, half with weariness, half with ease;
And, through the silence, from his shed
The sound of sawing rounded all
That silence said.

Poem of the Day: Song for the Last Act
Now that I have your face by heart, I look   
Less at its features than its darkening frame   
Where quince and melon, yellow as young flame,   
Lie with quilled dahlias and the shepherd’s crook.   
Beyond, a garden. There, in insolent ease
The lead and marble figures watch the show   
Of yet another summer loath to go
Although the scythes hang in the apple trees.

Now that I have your face by heart, I look.

Now that I have your voice by heart, I read   
In the black chords upon a dulling page   
Music that is not meant for music’s cage,
Whose emblems mix with words that shake and bleed.   
The staves are shuttled over with a stark   
Unprinted silence. In a double dream   
I must spell out the storm, the running stream.   
The beat’s too swift. The notes shift in the dark.

Now that I have your voice by heart, I read.

Now that I have your heart by heart, I see
The wharves with their great ships and architraves;   
The rigging and the cargo and the slaves
On a strange beach under a broken sky.
O not departure, but a voyage done!
The bales stand on the stone; the anchor weeps
Its red rust downward, and the long vine creeps   
Beside the salt herb, in the lengthening sun.

Now that I have your heart by heart, I see.

Louise Bogan, “Song for the Last Act” from The Blue Estuaries: Poems 1923-1968. Copyright © 1968 by Louise Bogan. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, http://us.macmillan.com/fsg. All rights reserved.

Source: The Blue Estuaries: Poems 1923-1968(Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1968)

Louise Bogan

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Poem of the Day: “Altar (#3)” from...
Why cry over dried flowers?
They’re meant to be straw.
Why cry over miniature roses?
They’re meant to be small.
Why cry over Buddha’s hand citron?
Why cry over the hidden flower?
Why cry over Mother’s burnt forehead?
Her votive deathglow, her finest hour.

“Altar (#3)” from “Broken Chord Sequence,” from Rhapsody in Plain Yellow by Marilyn Chin. Copyright © 2002 by Marilyn Chin. Used by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Source: Rhapsody in Plain Yellow(W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 2002)

Marilyn Chin

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Poem of the Day: Amoretti XXIII: Penelope for...
Penelope for her Ulisses sake,
Deviz’d a Web her wooers to deceave:
In which the worke that she all day did make
The same at night she did again unreave:
Such subtile craft my Damzell doth conceave,
Th’ importune suit of my desire to shonne:
For all that I in many dayes doo weave,
In one short houre I find by her undonne.
So when I thinke to end that I begonne,
I must begin and never bring to end:
For with one looke she spils that long I sponne,
And with one word my whole years work doth rend.
Such labour like the Spyders web I fynd,
Whose fruitless worke is broken with least wynd.

Poem of the Day: Koi Pond, Oakland Museum
Our shadows bring them from the shadows:
a yolk-yellow one with a navy pattern
like a Japanese woodblock print of fish scales.
A fat 18-karat one splashed with gaudy purple
and a patch of gray. One with a gold head,
a body skim-milk-white, trailing ventral fins
like half-folded fans of lace.
A poppy-red, faintly disheveled one,
and one, compact, all indigo in faint green water.
They wear comical whiskers and gather beneath us
as we lean on the cement railing
in indecisive late-December light,
and because we do not feed them, they pass,
then they loop and circle back. Loop and circle. Loop.
“Look,” you say, “beneath them.” Beneath them,
like a subplot or a motive, is a school
of uniformly dark ones, smaller, unadorned,
perhaps another species, living in the shadow
of the gold, purple, yellow, indigo, and white,
seeking the mired roots and dusky grasses,
unliveried, the quieter beneath the quiet.

Poem copyright ©2011 by Susan Kolodny from her first book of poems, After the Firestorm, Mayapple Press, 2011. Poem first appeared in the New England Review, Vol. 18, no. 1, 1997. Reprinted by permission of Susan Kolodny and the publisher.

Susan Kolodny

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Poem of the Day: Inside the Blues Whale
It is not just my problem. It belongs
to us all. I have been cajoled into
coming to the emergency room where
everything scares me. Black folk
shoot and cut each other until they end
here where guards have guns. I refuse
to be taken upstairs and locked away.
I was trying to think of a poem. It got me
to this place. With my mother, I stand
against the wall, guards on either side.
They have guns, and this is my mother.
It is now everybody’s problem. A bird
is singing in my hair, more important
than Thorazine. My head is a tree
stretching its leaves to burn in the sun.
They say if I make a treaty to take
the medicine, I can leave with my family
since my family is crazy. I look at the guns
on the hips of the guards and know I must
be as still and quiet as death or this will
turn into psychosis as sick as nightmares.
I am angry that they would have me here
with my mother, angry at white doctors.
I am in a whale in the ocean. Who can
swim out to me? Who can cast a line?
If I take out the first guard by breaking
his neck, I can protect my mother, but
it is more important that we are all now
underwater, inside a whale who laughs.
Later the therapist they say likes me
keeps talking about the appointment.
She is doing something subliminal with
the word “come,” repeating, repeating.
She leans to me when she says it.
It bothers me that such people think
crazy people are stupid, but it is more
important that my head is a tree
with a bird singing in it inside a whale
in the ocean. The most important thing
of all is that this whale that ate us
likes to laugh a lot. He has the blues.

Afaa Michael Weaver, “Inside the Blues Whale” from Multitudes: Poems Selected & New. Copyright © 2000 by Afaa Michael Weaver. Reprinted by permission of Sarabande Books, Inc.

Source: Multitudes: Poems Selected & New(Sarabande Books, 2000)

Afaa Michael Weaver

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Poem of the Day: Life is Beautiful

                             and remote, and useful,
if only to itself. Take the fly, angel
of the ordinary house, laying its bright
eggs on the trash, pressing each jewel out
delicately along a crust of buttered toast.
Bagged, the whole mess travels to the nearest
dump where other flies have gathered, singing
over stained newsprint and reeking
fruit. Rapt on air they execute an intricate
ballet above the clashing pirouettes
of heavy machinery. They hum with life.
While inside rumpled sacks pure white
maggots writhe and spiral from a rip,
a tear-shaped hole that drools and drips
a living froth onto the buried earth.
The warm days pass, gulls scree and pitch,
rats manage the crevices, feral cats abandon
their litters for a morsel of torn fur, stranded
dogs roam open fields, sniff the fragrant edges,
a tossed lacework of bones and shredded flesh.
And the maggots tumble at the center, ripening,
husks membrane-thin, embryos darkening
and shifting within, wings curled and wet,
the open air pungent and ready to receive them
in their fecund iridescence. And so, of our homely hosts,
a bag of jewels is born again into the world. Come, lost
children of the sun-drenched kitchen, your parents
soundly sleep along the windowsill, content,
wings at rest, nestled in against the warm glass.
Everywhere the good life oozes from the useless
waste we make when we create—our streets teem
with human young, rafts of pigeons streaming
over the squirrel-burdened trees. If there is
a purpose, maybe there are too many of us
to see it, though we can, from a distance,
hear the dull thrum of generation's industry,
feel its fleshly wheel churn the fire inside us, pushing
the world forward toward its ragged edge, rushing
like a swollen river into multitude and rank disorder.
Such abundance. We are gorged, engorging, and gorgeous.

Dorianne Laux, "Life is Beautiful" from Smoke. Copyright © 2000 by Dorianne Laux.  Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.

Source: Smoke(BOA Editions Ltd., 2000)

Dorianne Laux

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Poem of the Day: Life of Sundays
Down the street, someone must be praying, and though I don’t
Go there anymore, I want to at times, to hear the diction
And the tone, though the English pronoun for God is obsolete—

What goes on is devotion, which wouldn’t change if I heard:
The polished sermon, the upright’s arpeggios of vacant notes.
What else could unite widows, bankers, children, and ghosts?

And those faces are so good as they tilt their smiles upward
To the rostrum that represents law, and the minister who
Represents God beams like the white palm of the good hand

Of Christ raised behind the baptistry to signal the multitude,
Which I am not among, though I feel the abundance of calm
And know the beatitude so well I do not have to imagine it,

Or the polite old ones who gather after the service to chat,
Or the ritual linen of Sunday tables that are already set.
More than any other days, Sundays stand in unvarying rows

That beg attention: there is that studied verisimilitude
Of sanctuary, so even mud and bitten weeds look dressed up
For some eye in the distant past, some remote kingdom

Where the pastures are crossed by thoroughly symbolic rivers.
That is why the syntax of prayers is so often reversed,
Aimed toward the dead who clearly have not gone ahead

But returned to prior things, a vista of angels and sheep,
A desert where men in robes and sandals gather by a tree.
Hushed stores, all day that sense a bell is about to ring—

I recognized it, waking up, before I weighed the bulk of news
Or saw Saturday night’s cars parked randomly along the curb,
And though I had no prayer, I wanted to offer something

Or ask for something, perhaps out of habit, but as the past
Must always be honored unconsciously, formally, and persists
On this first and singular day, though I think of it as last.

Rodney Jones, “Life of Sundays” from Transparent Gestures. Copyright © 2003 by Rodney Jones. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: Poetry October/November 1987

Rodney Jones

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Poem of the Day: Old Country Portraits
My lost sister used to try the trick
with the tablecloth, waiting until
the wine had been poured, the gravy boat filled,
before snapping the linen her way
smug as a matador, staring down
silver and crystal that would dare move,
paying no mind to the ancestor gloom
gliding across the wallpaper like clouds
of a disapproving front—no hutch
or bureau spared, no lost sister sure
the trick would work this time, all those she loved
in another room, nibbling saltines,
or in the kitchen, plating the last
of the roast beef. How amazed they would be
to be called to the mahogany room
for supper, to find something missing,
something beautiful, finally, they could
never explain, the wine twittering
in its half-globes, candles aflutter, each
thing in its place, or so it seemed then,
even though their lives had changed for good.

Poem copyright ©2017 by Richard Robbins, "Old Country Portraits," from Body Turn to Rain, (LynxHouse Press, 2017). Poem reprinted by permission of Richard Robbins and the publisher.  

Richard Robbins

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Poem of the Day: Poetry, a Natural Thing
Neither our vices nor our virtues   
further the poem. “They came up   
      and died
just like they do every year
      on the rocks.”

      The poem
feeds upon thought, feeling, impulse,
      to breed    itself,
a spiritual urgency at the dark ladders leaping.

This beauty is an inner persistence
      toward the source
striving against (within) down-rushet of the river,   
      a call we heard and answer
in the lateness of the world
      primordial bellowings
from which the youngest world might spring,

salmon not in the well where the   
      hazelnut falls
but at the falls battling, inarticulate,   
      blindly making it.

This is one picture apt for the mind.

A second: a moose painted by Stubbs,
where last year’s extravagant antlers   
      lie on the ground.
The forlorn moosey-faced poem wears   
      new antler-buds,
      the same,

“a little heavy, a little contrived”,

his only beauty to be   
      all moose.

Robert Duncan, “Poetry, a Natural Thing” from The Opening of the Field. Copyright © 1960 by Robert Duncan. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: The Opening of the Field(New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1960)

Robert Duncan

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Poem of the Day: Epiphany, 1937
The flowering sea and the mountains in the moon’s waning
the great stone close to the Barbary figs and the asphodels
the jar that refused to go dry at the end of day
and the closed bed by the cypress trees and your hair
golden; the stars of the Swan and that other star, Aldebaran.

I’ve kept a rein on my life, kept a rein on my life, travelling
among yellow trees in driving rain
on silent slopes loaded with beech leaves,
no fire on their peaks; it’s getting dark.
I’ve kept a rein on my life; on your left hand a line
a scar at your knee, perhaps they exist
on the sand of the past summer perhaps
they remain there where the north wind blew as I hear
an alien voice around the frozen lake.
The faces I see do not ask questions nor does the woman
bent as she walks giving her child the breast.
I climb the mountains; dark ravines; the snow-covered
plain, into the distance stretches the snow-covered plain, they ask nothing
neither time shut up in dumb chapels nor
hands outstretched to beg, nor the roads.
I’ve kept a rein on my life whispering in a boundless silence
I no longer know how to speak nor how to think; whispers
like the breathing of the cypress tree that night
like the human voice of the night sea on pebbles
like the memory of your voice saying ‘happiness’.

I close my eyes looking for the secret meeting-place of the waters
under the ice the sea’s smile, the closed wells
groping with my veins for those veins that escape me
there where the water-lilies end and that man
who walks blindly across the snows of silence.
I’ve kept a rein on my life, with him, looking for the water that touches you
heavy drops on green leaves, on your face
in the empty garden, drops in the motionless reservoir
striking a swan dead in its white wings
living trees and your eyes riveted.

This road has no end, has no relief, however hard you try
to recall your childhood years, those who left, those
lost in sleep, in the graves of the sea,
however much you ask bodies you’ve loved to stoop
under the harsh branches of the plane trees there
where a ray of the sun, naked, stood still
and a dog leapt and your heart shuddered,
the road has no relief; I’ve kept a rein on my life.

                                                                        The snow
and the water frozen in the hoofmarks of the horses.

George Seferis, "Epiphany, 1937" from Collected Poems (George Seferis). Translated, edited, and introduced by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Copyright © 1995 by George Seferis.  Reprinted by permission of Princeton University Press.

Source: George Seferis: Collected Poems(Princeton University Press, 1995)

George Seferis

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Poem of the Day: Warm Days in January
It has never been so easy to cry
openly or to acknowledge children.
Never before could I walk directly
to the center of an island city
feeling the automatism of millions
drawing one pious breath, shouldering
the sunset, holding it up in the oily
tree-line a while longer. Years ago,
I was never sad enough and nothing
but a hotel that I could tear to pieces
and reconstruct inside a shoebox
felt like home. My parents died. Their miserable
possessions washed up in other hotels,
dioramas of the febrile romantic.

I take my first lover, already
gray at her temples and more reticent
than shy, more tacit than admiring,
to the bus stop by the Jewish Museum.
We wait in the dark a long time.
She does not kiss me. She hurries
up out of the oily street onto the humming,
fluorescent podium of the last bus
where I see her a last time, not waving
to me, not lovable, erect in the freedom
we traduced years ago in our first kiss.

Never deny the power of withdrawal.
Never doubt that thought and time make things small.
Never refuse the easy exit line or prescribed
uncomprehending gesture. At childhood’s end,
none can tell happiness from buoyancy.
None of it made any difference—
the patricides, the hotels ill-constructed,
the inconstant starlight of drugs and rebellion.
We are no more complicated
than our great-grandparents who dreaded
the hotel life. Like them, we seek the refuge
of warm days in January, a piety
whose compulsion is to survive according
to explicit laws no young woman adores
or young man follows with darling hunger.

“Warm Days in January” by Donald Revell from Erasures (Wesleyan University Press, 1992). Copyright 1992 by Donald Revell and reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: Erasures(Wesleyan University Press, 1992)

Donald Revell

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Poem of the Day: In the Basement of the...
In musty light, in the thin brown air
of damp carpet, doll heads and rust,
beneath long rows of sharp footfalls
like nails in a lid, an old man stands
trying on glasses, lifting each pair
from the box like a glittering fish
and holding it up to the light
of a dirty bulb. Near him, a heap
of enameled pans as white as skulls
looms in the catacomb shadows,
and old toilets with dry red throats
cough up bouquets of curtain rods.

You’ve seen him somewhere before.
He’s wearing the green leisure suit
you threw out with the garbage,
and the Christmas tie you hated,
and the ventilated wingtip shoes
you found in your father’s closet
and wore as a joke. And the glasses
which finally fit him, through which
he looks to see you looking back—
two mirrors which flash and glance—
are those through which one day
you too will look down over the years,
when you have grown old and thin
and no longer particular,
and the things you once thought
you were rid of forever
have taken you back in their arms.

Ted Kooser, “In the Basement of the Goodwill Store” from One World at a Time. Copyright © 1985 by Ted Kooser. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, www.upress.pitt.edu. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.

Source: One World At A Time(University of Pittsburgh Press, 1985)

Ted Kooser

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Poem of the Day: Wac-A-Mole Realism™

At the carnival, Robo-Boy sees only things he recognizes. The Ferris Wheel is an overgrown version of his own bells and whistle eyes. His Flashers, his mother calls them. The Tilt-A-Whirl is the angle his head tilts when the Flirt Program goes into effect, usually in the vicinity of a Cindy or a Carrie, though once he found himself tilting at the school librarian which caused him to wheel in reverse into the Civil War section knocking over a cart of books that were waiting to be shelved under B. There’s a dangerously low stratosphere of pink cotton-candy clouds being carried around by the children. If Robo-Boy goes near them, the alarms will go off. It’s the kind of sticky that would cause joint-lock for sure. In a darker, safer corner Robo-Boy finds the Whack-A-Mole game. He pays a dollar and starts whacking the plastic moles on their heads each time they pop up from the much-dented log. He wins bear after bear. It’s only when he's lugging them home, the largest one skidding face-down along the sidewalk getting dirt on its white nose and light blue belly, that he remembers the program: Wac-A-Mole Realism™—the disc on the installer’s desk. Suddenly it all fits together: the way a deliciously strange thought will start wafting out of his unconscious—and then WHAM, it disappears.

“Wac-A-Mole Realism” © 2007 Matthea Harvey. Reprinted from Modern Life with the permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul Minnesota.

Source: Modern Life(Graywolf Press, 2007)

Matthea Harvey

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Poem of the Day: Living

If this is Wednesday, write Lazartigues, return library books, pick up passport form, cancel the paper.

If this is Wednesday, mail B her flyers and K her shirts. Last thing I asked as I walked K to her car, “You sure you have everything?” “Oh yes,” she smiled, as she squalled off. Whole wardrobe in front closet.

Go to Morrison’s for paint samples, that’s where housepainter has account (near Pier One), swing by Gano St. for another bunch of hydroponic lettuce. Stop at cleaners if there’s parking.

Pap smear at 4. After last month with B’s ear infections, can’t bear sitting in damn doctor’s office. Never a magazine or picture on the wall worth looking at. Pack a book.

Ever since B born, nothing comes clear. My mind like a mirror that’s been in a fire. Does this happen to the others.

If this is Wednesday, meet Moss at the house at noon. Pick B up first, call sitter about Friday evening. If she prefers, can bring B to her (hope she keeps the apartment warmer this year).

Need coat hooks and picture hangers for office. Should take car in for air filter, oil change. F said one of back tires low. Don’t forget car payment, late last two months in a row.

If this is Wednesday, there’s a demo on the green at 11. Took B to his first down at Quonset Point in August. Blue skies. Boston collective provided good grub for all. Long column of denims and flannel shirts. Smell of patchouli made me so wistful, wanted to buy a woodstove, prop my feet up, share a J and a pot of Constant Comment with a friend. Maybe some zucchini bread.

Meet with honors students from 1 to 4. At the community college I tried to incite them to poetry. Convince them this line of work, beat the bejesus out of a gig as gizzard splitter at the processing plant or cleaning up after a leak at the germ warfare center. Be all you can be, wrap rubber band around your trigger finger until it drops off.

Swim at 10:00 before picking up B, before demo on the green, and before meeting moss, if it isn’t too crowded. Only three old women talking about their daughters-in-law last Wednesday at 10:00.

Phone hardware to see if radon test arrived.

Keep an eye out for a new yellow blanket. Left B’s on the plane, though he seems over it already. Left most recent issue of Z in the seat. That will make a few businessmen boil. I liked the man who sat next to me, he was sweet to B. Hated flying, said he never let all of his weight down.

Need to get books in the mail today. Make time pass in line at the P.O. imagining man in front of me butt naked. Fellow in the good-preacher-blue-suit, probably has a cold, hard bottom.

Call N for green tomato recipe. Have to get used to the Yankee growing season. If this is Wednesday, N goes in hospital today. Find out how long after marrow transplant before can visit.

Mother said she read in paper that Pete was granted a divorce. His third. My highschool boyfriend. Meanest thing I could have done, I did to him, returning a long-saved-for engagement ring in a Band-Aid box, while he was stationed in Da Nang.

Meant to tell F this morning about dream of eating grasshoppers, fried but happy. Our love a difficult instrument we are learning to play. Practice, practice.

No matter where I call home anymore, feel like a boat under the trees. Living is strange.

This week only; bargain on laid paper at East Side Copy Shop.

Woman picking her nose at the stoplight. Shouldn’t look, only privacy we have anymore in the car. Isn’t that the woman from the colloquium last fall, who told me she was a stand-up environmentalist. What a wonderful trade, I said, because the evidence of planetary wrongdoing is overwhelming. Because because because of the horrible things we do.

If this is Wednesday, meet F at Health Department at 10:45 for AIDS test.

If this is Wednesday, it’s trash night.

C. D. Wright, “Living” from Steal Away: New and Selected Poems. Copyright � 2002 by C. D. Wright. Reprinted with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P. O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA 98368-0271, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Source: Steal Away: New and Selected Poems(2002)

C. D. Wright

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Poem of the Day: To the New Year
With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible

W. S. Merwin, “To the New Year” from Present Company (Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by W. S. Merwin. Reprinted with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Source: Present Company(Copper Canyon Press, 2005)

W. S. Merwin

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Poem of the Day: Burning the Old Year
Letters swallow themselves in seconds.   
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,   
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,   
lists of vegetables, partial poems.   
Orange swirling flame of days,   
so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,   
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.   
I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,   
only the things I didn’t do   
crackle after the blazing dies.

Naomi Shihab Nye, “Burning the Old Year” from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (Portland, Oregon: Far Corner Books, 1995). Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Words Under the Words: Selected Poems(Far Corner Books, 1995)

Naomi Shihab Nye

More poems by this author

Poem of the Day: Winter Love
I would like to decorate this silence,   
but my house grows only cleaner
and more plain. The glass chimes I hung   
over the register ring a little
when the heat goes on.
I waited too long to drink my tea.   
It was not hot. It was only warm.

Linda Gregg, “Winter Love” from Chosen By the Lion. Copyright © 1999 by Linda Gregg. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.

Source: Chosen by the Lion(Graywolf Press, 1999)

Linda Gregg

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Poem of the Day: Choices
I go to the mountain side
of the house to cut saplings,
and clear a view to snow
on the mountain. But when I look up,
saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in
the uppermost branches.
I don’t cut that one.
I don’t cut the others either.
Suddenly, in every tree,   
an unseen nest
where a mountain   
would be.

                              for Drago Štambuk

Tess Gallagher, "Choices" from Midnight Lantern: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2011 by Tess Gallagher.  Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

Source: Midnight Lantern: New and Selected Poems(Graywolf Press, 2011)

Tess Gallagher

More poems by this author

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