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.
My mother was sunshine,
not the heat and glare of Summer
or the chill minimum of Winter.
My mother was effortless sunshine,
Slantindicular from the bright window
Across the couch and the low table;
Contrasting clean bright colors,
Highlighting details of
Old vacation seashells
Or a tiny golden Buddha,
and a bookmarked book.
My mother was sunshine,
Warming the room to cozy and
Blessing the cat in his joyful sleep
Numinous – having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity. (Oxford English Dictionary)
The numinous is tucked inside of every atom
Like oranges and chocolates in a Christmas stocking,
you can have some the minute you wake up.
– William Stafford
A piccolo played, then a drum.
Feet began to come – a part of the music. Here comes a horse,
clippety clop, away.
My mother said, “Don’t run –
the army is after someone
other than us. If you stay
you’ll learn our enemy.”
Then he came, the speaker. He stood
in the square. He told us who
to hate. I watched my mother’s face,
its quiet. “That’s him,” she said.
Let it go,
Let it out,
Let it all unravel,
Let it free
And it will be
A path on which to travel.
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.
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.
“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
“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
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
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!
*Aster, Balsam, and Thistle plants are symbolically associated with great love, Rue is associated with regret.
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
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
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.