Recently in Poetry Category

Here's Looking At You, Kid

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You can tell Gail, if she calls

That I'm famous now for all of these rock and roll songs

And even if that's a lie 

She shoulda given me a try


When we were kids on the field of the first day of school

I would've been her fool

And I would've sang out your name in those old high school halls

You tell that to Gail, if she calls


And you can tell Jane, if she writes

That I'm drunk off all these stars and all these crazy

Hollywood nights

And that's total deceit 

But she shoulda married me


And tell her I spent every night of my youth on the floor

Bleeding out from all these wounds

I would've gotten her right out of that town she despised

You tell that to Janie, if she writes


But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes

That'll cut you to ribbons sometimes

And all you can do is just wait by the moon

And bleed if it's what she says you oughta do


You remind Anna, if she asks why

That a thief stole my heart while she was making up her mind

I heard she lives in Brooklyn with the cool

And goes crazy over that New York scene on 7th Avenue


But I used to wait at the diner a million nights without her

Praying she won't cancel again tonight

And the waiter served my coffee with a consolation sigh

You remind Anna, if she asks why


Tell her it's alright

You know it's hard to tell you this

Oh it's hard to tell you this

Here's looking at you, kid.

Tigers

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by Eliza Griswold



What are we now but voices

who promise each other a life

neither one can deliver

not for lack of wanting

but wanting won't make it so

We cling to a vine

at the cliff's edge.

There are tigers above

and below. Let us love

one another and let go.

Winter Grace

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by Patricia Fargnoli


If you have seen the snow
under the lamppost
piled up like a white beaver hat on the picnic table
or somewhere slowly falling
into the brook
to be swallowed by water,
then you have seen beauty
and know it for its transience.
And if you have gone out in the snow
for only the pleasure
of walking barely protected
from the galaxies,
the flakes settling on your parka
like the dust from just-born stars,
the cold waking you
as if from long sleeping,
then you can understand
how, more often than not,
truth is found in silence,
how the natural world comes to you
if you go out to meet it,
its icy ditches filled with dead weeds,
its vacant birdhouses, and dens
full of the sleeping.
But this is the slowed-down season
held fast by darkness
and if no one comes to keep you company
then keep watch over; your own solitude.
In that stillness, you will learn
with your whole body
the significance of cold
and the night,
which is otherwise always eluding you.


What the Bones Know

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BY CAROLYN KIZER

Remembering the past
And gloating at it now,
I know the frozen brow
And shaking sides of lust
Will dog me at my death
To catch my ghostly breath.
 
          I think that Yeats was right,
          That lust and love are one.
          The body of this night 
          May beggar me to death,
          But we are not undone
          Who love with all our breath.
 
                     I know that Proust was wrong,
                     His wheeze: love, to survive,
                     Needs jealousy, and death
                     And lust, to make it strong
                     Or goose it back alive.
                     Proust took away my breath.
 
                                 The later Yeats was right
                                 To think of sex and death
                                 And nothing else. Why wait
                                 Till we are turning old?
                                 My thoughts are hot and cold.
                                 I do not waste my breath.

The Want of Peace

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All goes back to the earth,
and so I do not desire
pride of excess or power,
but the contentments made
by men who have had little:
the fisherman's silence
receiving the river's grace,
the gardner's musing on rows.

I lack the peace of simple things.
I am never wholly in place.
I find no peace or grace.
We sell the world to buy fire,
our way lighted by burning men,
and that has bent my mind
and made me think of darkness
and wish for the dumb life of roots.


THE FATHER By Ronald Ross

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Come with me then, my son;
       Thine eyes are wide for truth:
And I will give thee memories,
       And thou shalt give me youth.

The lake laps in silver,
       The streamlet leaps her length:
And I will give thee wisdom,
       And thou shalt give me strength.

The mist is on the moorland,
       The rain roughs the reed:
And I will give thee patience,
       And thou shalt give me speed.

When lightnings lash the skyline
       Then thou shalt learn thy part:
And when the heav'ns are direst,
       For thee to give me heart.

Forthrightness I will teach thee;
       The vision and the scope;
To hold the hand of honour:--
       And thou shalt give me hope;

And when the heav'ns are deepest
       And stars most bright above;
May God then teach thee duty;
       And thou shalt teach me love.




Sent from my iPad. 


The dead say little in their letters
they haven't said before.
We find no secrets, and yet
how different every sentence sounds
heard across the years.

My father breaks my heart
simply by being so young and handsome.
He's half my age, with jet-black hair.
Look at him in his navy uniform
grinning beside his dive-bomber.

Come back, Dad! I want to shout.
He says he misses all of us
(though I haven't yet been born).
He writes from places I never knew he saw,
and everyone he mentions now is dead.

There is a large, long photograph
curled like a diploma--a banquet sixty years ago.
My parents sit uncomfortably
among tables of dark-suited strangers.
The mildewed paper reeks of regret.

I wonder what song the band was playing,
just out of frame, as the photographer
arranged your smiles. A waltz? A foxtrot?
Get out there on the floor and dance!
You don't have forever.

What does it cost to send a postcard
to the underworld? I'll buy
a penny stamp from World War II
and mail it downtown at the old post office
just as the courthouse clock strikes twelve.

Surely the ghost of some postal worker
still makes his nightly rounds, his routine
too tedious for him to notice when it ended.
He works so slowly he moves back in time
carrying our dead letters to their lost addresses.

It's silly to get sentimental.
The dead have moved on. So should we.
But isn't it equally simpleminded to miss
the special expertise of the departed
in clarifying our long-term plans?

They never let us forget that the line
between them and us is only temporary.
Get out there and dance! the letters shout
adding, Love always. Can't wait to get home!
And soon we will be.
See you there


- Posted from my iPhone

In the Basement of the Goodwill Store

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by Ted Kooser




In the 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







- Posted from my iPhone

Their lonely betters

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As I listened from a beach-chair in the shade
To all the noises that my garden made, 
It seemed to me only proper that words
Should be withheld from vegetables and birds.

A robin with no Christian name ran through
The Robin-Anthem which was all it knew, 
And rustling flowers for some third party waited
To say which pairs, if any, should get mated.

Not one of them was capable of lying, 
There was not one which knew that it was dying
Or could have with a rhythm or a rhyme
Assumed responsibility for time.

Let them leave language to their lonely betters
Who count some days and long for certain letters; 
We, too, make noises when we laugh or weep: 
Words are for those with promises to keep.


W. H. Auden


posted from my iPhone

The More Loving One W.H. Auden

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Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total darkness sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.



- Posted from my iPhone

You are sheep among wolves.

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A late walk by Robert Frost

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When I go up through the mowing field, The headless aftermath, Smooth-laid like thatch with the heavy dew, Half closes the garden path. And when I come to the garden ground, The whir of sober birds Up from the tangle of withered weeds Is sadder than any words A tree beside the wall stands bare, But a leaf that lingered brown, Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought, Comes softly rattling down. I end not far from my going forth By picking the faded blue Of the last remaining aster flower To carry again to you. 
 - Posted from my iPhone

WHY DO YOU STAY UP SO LATE? By Don Paterson

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I'll tell you, if you really want to know: 
remember that day you lost two years ago 
at the rockpool where you sat and played the jeweler 
with all those stones you'd stolen from the shore? 
Most of them went dark and nothing more, 
but sometimes one would blink the secret color 
it had locked up somewhere in its stony sleep. 
This is how you knew the ones to keep. 
 So I collect the dull things of the day 
in which I see some possibility 
but which are dead and which have the surprise 
I don't know, and I've no pool to help me tell--
so I look at them and look at them until 
one thing makes a mirror in my eyes 
then I paint it with the tear to make it bright. 
This is why I sit up through the night. 



 - Posted (badly) from my iPhone

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