Poetry

More and more of mine, but most are poems by better writers that I’ve found essential. Fun Fact: All poems prefer being read aloud.

by Michael Leunig

When the heart
Is cut or cracked or broken,
Do not clutch it;
Let the wound lie open.
Let the wind
From the good old sea blow in
To bathe the wound with salt,
And let it sting.
Let a stray dog lick it,
Let a bird lean in the hole and sing
A simple song like a tiny bell,
And let it ring.

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by Philip Larkin

 

What are days for?

Days are where we live.

They come, they wake us

Time and time over.

They are to be happy in:

Where can we live but days?

Ah, solving that question

Brings the priest and the doctor

In their long coats

Running over the fields.

 

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“In the water I am beautiful.” –Kurt Vonnegut

 

At the lake edge, I am a pilgrim, humble, awkward, almost naked.
I step on rocks, cringing forward, top heavy on bone stilts
Entering, absorbing by inches the inhospitable chill
till the short gasp of getting the shoulders underwater.

With an expansive stroke forward I weigh 30 pounds and I can fly. I possess the wisdom of otters.

I hold myself above the earth, my arms, slow-beating wings.

The perfect hug of water, denser than oil, cool as shadows, absorbs me and every whirring, buzzing problem of the day is gone.

My eyes just above the surface, the subtle plashing mirror shows a downwards liquid earth of sloshing trees, sliding hills, and rippling mountains.

Incapable of error, water sings the real tao
it welcomes your joy
it welcomes your expression of slide and float,
of undulate and wave

I am buoyant, spread-eagle human driftwood, eyes closed with a red landscape glowing on my eyelids.
The lake smells like the top of a babies head, like the bed where your beloved slept;
like the iron in blood;
like dusty ozone on the wind before the thunder.

Afterward, the afterglow, lying in the hot sun on the grass
as happy as a tired dog
and blinking up at the shivering aspen
glittering in the blue sky

 

Hugh Miller

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“Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
Down to the stream where the king-cups grow-
Up on a hill where the pine-trees blow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.

Where am I going? The clouds sail by,
Little ones, baby ones, over the sky.
Where am I going? The shadows pass,
Little ones, baby ones, over the grass.

If you were a cloud, and sailed up there,
You’d sail on the water as blue as air.
And you’d see me here in the fields and say:
“Doesn’t the sky look green today?”

Where am I going? The high rooks call:
“It’s awful fun to be born at all.
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
“We do have beautiful things to do.”

If you were a bird, and lived on high,
You’d lean on the wind when the wind
came by,
You’d say to the wind when it took you away:
“That’s where I wanted to go today!”

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.”

― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

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In a dream more real than waking,
we were athletes, running true
and dancing hard, till breath was short
and you breathed me and I breathed you
pressed together, holding tight,
the pressure built to a teapot boil, and

off we took! Away we flew!
Plucked and held by the Angel, Eros
flown at mad speeds, swerving through
the sleeping trees, and over
the fields of aster, balsam, thistle, rue*

Faster than suddenly, lifted UP
UP to the highest open-air
and UP over green hill,
we startled the wind, who softened,
and sighed to an evening prayer

all the town spread out below
all the lights, warm loving stars
face to face, our hair askew
our mouths, as one, agape, ajar, said:
God, I hope you see this too!

 

Hugh Miller

*Aster, Balsam, and Thistle plants are symbolically associated with great love, Rue is associated with regret.

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I know the way you can get
When you have not had a drink of Love:

Your face hardens,
Your sweet muscles cramp.
Children become concerned
About a strange look that appears in your eyes
Which even begins to worry your own mirror
And nose.

Squirrels and birds sense your sadness
And call an important conference in a tall tree.
They decide which secret code to chant
To help your mind and soul.

Even angels fear that brand of madness
That arrays itself against the world
And throws sharp stones and spears into
The innocent
And into one’s self.

O I know the way you can get
If you have not been drinking Love:

You might rip apart
Every sentence your friends and teachers say,
Looking for hidden clauses.

You might weigh every word on a scale
Like a dead fish.

Continue reading

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From blossoms come
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.


From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.


O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us this orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.


There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

– Li Young Lee

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How about them Moose goosers, Ain’t they recluse?
Up in them boondocks, goosin’ them moose
Goosin’ them huge moose, goosin’ them tiny,
Goosin’ them meadow moose in they hiney!
Look at them Moose goosers, Ain’t they dumb?
Some use an umbrella, some use a thumb.
Them obtuse Moose goosers, sneakin’ through the woods,
pokin’ them snoozey moose in they goods,
How to be a Moose gooser? It’ll turn you puce;
Gitcher gooser loose, and rouse a drowsy moose!

-Mason Williams

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in this infinite blue-gray ocean of
moments that never were, and moments that never can be
ours
come to me, before the horizon takes you,

come to me in this beautifully flowered raft for the moment that is ours alone,
drink wine with me and close the never away outside, for now.
let us

love each other foolishly and fearlessly,
by the light of the other’s eyes, a graze of soft warm breath
on the cheek,
along the neck,
then tender kisses, deep kisses, and kisses on the smile.
our bodies merge, inside as inside can be,
it is impossible to say
who is farther inside the other
then everything, everything, shakes hard.

the scent of warm skin,
heads touching, hair mingled.
in the quiet,
a shared thought cradles us as one.

sleep close to me then, with your head on my shoulder
and my arm around yours,
we’ll rise and fall on soft waves, embracing…whispering until
the morning sky claims you and carries you away

no plan. no goal.
none of this to make the future
bend along the path of an old sad story that
we never remembered in quite the same way.
we’ll use our always to cut this glowing moment
out of the never.
forever.

 

Hugh Miller

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I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

 

Theodore Roethke, 1908 – 1963

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