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.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-the one who the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

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Even as we try
to behave as
decently as little ministers
ought to:

We ought to
salute the rippling black
pirate flag
snapping in the windy sky within us.

Even as we try
to behave as
decently as the Sunday school teachers
ought to:

We ought to
enjoy the Sunshine
on the leather brown skin of our pirate souls
and the way it glitters off our
bone notched blade.

Hugh Miller

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When your father dies, say the Irish,
you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Welsh,
you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Canadians,
you run out of excuses.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the French,
you become your own father.
May you stand up in his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Indians,
he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Russians,
he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the English,
you join his club you vowed you wouldn’t.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shifts forever.
And you walk in his light.


~ Diana Der-Hovanessian ~

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(Read aloud, even if under your breath)

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle, and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

 

 

 

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There is a deep cool to this city
like the chill underside of a large rock lifted from the soil.
And Spring fights for every moment of warm sunshine pried from the hands of Winter.
There is a chill in the bones of this deep water town, crowned with western blue skies and a storm to the east, the color of navy hulls and sorrow.
There is a wind across this tall forest town that sets the daisies and the pine trees to nodding their heads in agreement.

 

Hugh Miller

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by Wendell Berry

I.

I dream of you walking at night along the streams
of the country of my birth, warm blooms and the nightsongs
of birds opening around you as you walk.
You are holding in your body the dark seed of my sleep.

II.

This comes after silence. Was it something I said
that bound me to you, some mere promise
or, worse, the fear of loneliness and death?
A man lost in the woods in the dark, I stood
still and said nothing. And then there rose in me,
like the earth’s empowering brew rising
in root and branch, the words of a dream of you
I did not know I had dreamed. I was a wanderer
who feels the solace of his native land
under his feet again and moving in his blood.
I went on, blind and faithful. Where I stepped
my track was there to steady me. It was no abyss
that lay before me, but only the level ground.

III.

Sometimes our life reminds me
of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing
and in that opening a house,
an orchard and garden,
comfortable shades, and flowers
red and yellow in the sun, a pattern
made in the light for the light to return to.
The forest is mostly dark, its ways
to be made anew day after day, the dark
richer than the light and more blessed,
provided we stay brave
enough to keep on going in.

IV.

How many times have I come to you out of my head
with joy, if ever a man was,
for to approach you I have given up the light
and all directions. I come to you
lost, wholly trusting as a man who goes
into the forest unarmed. It is as though I descend
slowly earthward out of the air. I rest in peace
in you, when I arrive at last.

V. Continue reading

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In the life I didn’t live with you I am not such a pain in the ass, and you are slower to anger. 

In the life I didn’t live with you, you didn’t find so many reasons to give up and I didn’t provide so many in the first place.

In the life I didn’t live with you we had more sex and accepted the imperfections calmly.

Partly as a result, in the life I didn’t live with you, we have two children. Yes, a boy and a girl.

And In the life I did not live with you, we are driving with them, through the forest to the sea.

Hugh Miller

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by Hugh Miller

At the peak of summer, the people here turn into bears
on the day we realize
that the blackberries are ripe

bicycles lie beside the bushes and cars are parked
next to sunny, vacant lots that usually nobody comes to visit

blackberry: the practical sister of the glamorous rose
a factory weaving its blue-black sweetness in a nest of cruel thorns
as if it hated being thought generous and didn’t want to be bothered
by fingers and beaks and mandibles reaching like jewel thieves for the dark gems

red berries gleam a warning sign “Stop, all I have is bitterness”
and resist greedy hands like proud virgins

but the purple ones, like little jam fingerprints among the thorns,
drunk on their own sugar,
cooked by sunshine,
& yearning to drop their seeds,
sigh with pleasure as
they tumble
into
your mouth.

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Gary Snyder

How intelligent he looks!
on his back
both feet caught in my one hand
his glance set sideways,
on a giant poster of Geronimo
with a Sharp’s repeating rifle by his knee.

I open, wipe, he doesn’t even notice
nor do I.
Baby legs and knees
toes like little peas
little wrinkles, good-to-eat,
eyes bright, shiny ears
chest swelling drawing air,

No trouble, friend,
you and me and Geronimo
are men.

 

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All of us need a perfect, imperfect thing
that completes the circuits of a life worth living:
Someone too short, or intemperate,
Someone a little chubby, who never puts away her socks

Someone who doesn’t talk to us often enough
or a little too often
perhaps someone slightly crazy, drunk or bitter…

someone we weren’t expecting,
who makes weird noises while sleeping
and ties their shoes strangely.

But without them, our whole story would tilt, droop, linger pointlessly for a while, and collapse into the swamp.

The perfect thing is the thing we couldn’t live without
because of the way that it slipped through our defenses,
tamed us and became another word for Home before
we even knew what was happening.

 

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