Evening Poetry, December 15

This Time of No Room

by Jane Tyson Clement

He who has come to men

dwells where we cannot tell

nor sight reveal him,

until the hour has struck

when the small heart does break

with hunger for him:

those who do merit least;

those whom no tongue does praise

the first to know him,

and on the face of the earth

the poorest village street

blossoming for him.

You can find this poem in No One Can Stem the Tide.

Evening Poetry, December 14

Where Dreams Meet Daily Life

by Freya Manfred

Sometimes I’m harsh with my family.

Beneath my harshness lie my tears.

Beneath my tears a woman filled with dreams,

who gave birth to words and children and gardens.

But now my children walk the earth

with bones that have finished growing,

and my husband read the newspaper until I speak,

then answers and calls it love.

My words seem irrevelant, like my dreams,

crowded with strangers at loud parties

where I can’t find anything to drink.

Did my dreams ripen because my rich life fed them?

Or did my hungry dreams feed my life?

The place where dreams meet daily life

must be blessed by what is unknown.

We move as a spirit flies, or as underground

water flows, the way stones still breathe

with the spirit that gave them birth.

You can find this poem in Swimming With a Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle.

Evening Poetry, December 13

White-Eyes

by Mary Oliver

In winter
    all the singing is in
         the tops of the trees
             where the wind-bird

with its white eyes
    shoves and pushes
         among the branches.
             Like any of us

he wants to go to sleep,
    but he’s restless—
         he has an idea,
             and slowly it unfolds

from under his beating wings
    as long as he stays awake.
         But his big, round music, after all,
             is too breathy to last.

So, it’s over.
    In the pine-crown
         he makes his nest,
             he’s done all he can.

I don’t know the name of this bird,
    I only imagine his glittering beak
         tucked in a white wing
             while the clouds—

which he has summoned
    from the north—
         which he has taught
             to be mild, and silent—

thicken, and begin to fall
    into the world below
         like stars, or the feathers
               of some unimaginable bird

that loves us,
    that is asleep now, and silent—
         that has turned itself
             into snow.

Source: Poetry (Poetry Foundation, 2002)

Evening Poetry, December 12

Hi, dear blog friends! I’m so sorry I’ve missed getting poetry out to you the past few evenings. Between holiday sip & shop events with my natural bodycare and aromatherapy business, and a music gig for our acoustic duo, life’s been busy. In the back of my mind, though, I’ve been thinking about poetry and the blog and how much I missed this.

The Darkling Thrush

By Thomas Hardy

I leant upon a coppice gate
      When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
      The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
      Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
      Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
      The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
      The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
      Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
      Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
      The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
      Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
      In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
      Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
      Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
      Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
      His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
      And I was unaware.

You can find this poem in Thomas Hardy: The Complete Poems.

Evening Poetry, December 8

Mosaic of the Nativity

by Jane Kenyon

Serbia, Winter 1993

On the domed ceiling God

is thinking:

I made them my joy,

and everything else I created

I made to bless them.

But see what they do!

I know their hearts

and arguments:

“We’re descended from

Cain. Evil is nothing new,

so what does it matter now

if we shell the infirmary,

and the well where the fearful

and rash alike must

come for water?”

God thinks Mary into being.

Suspended at the apogee

of the golden dome,

she curls in a brown pod,

and inside her the mind

of Christ, cloaked in blood,

lodges and begins to grow.

You can find this poem in Otherwise: New & Selected Poems.

Evening Poetry, December 7

Old Mama Saturday

By Marie Ponsot

“Saturday’s child must work for a living.”“I’m moving from Grief  Street.
Taxes are high here
though the mortgage’s cheap.

The house is well built.
With stuff to protect, that
mattered to me,
the security.

These things that I mind,
you know, aren’t mine.
I mind minding them.
They weigh on my mind.

I don’t mind them well.
I haven’t got the knack
of  kindly minding.
I say Take them back
but you never do.

When I throw them out
it may frighten you
and maybe me too.

                 Maybe
it will empty me
too emptily

and keep me here
asleep, at sea
under the guilt quilt,
under the you tree.”

You can find this in Springing: New and Selected Poems.

Evening Poetry, December 6

Aubade

by Amy Lowell

As I would free the white almond from the green husk

So would I strip your trappings off,

Beloved.

And fingering the smooth and polished kernel

I should see that in my hands glittered a gem beyond

counting.

You can find this poem in Amy Lowell: Selected Poems.

Evening Poetry, December 5

Stars

by Sara Teasdale

Alone in the night

On a dark hill

With pines around me

Spicy and still,

And a heaven full of stars

Over my head,

White and topaz

And misty red;

Myriads with beating

Hearts of fire

That aeons

Cannot vex or tire;

Up the dome of heaven

Like a great hill,

I watch them marching

Stately and still,

And I know that I

Am honored to be

Witness

Of so much majesty.

You can find this poem in Favorite Poems Old and New.

Evening Poetry, December 4

Dust of Snow

by Robert Frost

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

You can find this poem in The Poetry of Robert Frost.

Evening Poetry, December 3

A Chair in Snow

By Jane Hirshfield

A chair in snow
should be
like any other object whited
& rounded

and yet a chair in snow is always sad

more than a bed
more than a hat or house
a chair is shaped for just one thing

to hold
a soul its quick and few bendable
hours

perhaps a king

not to hold snow
not to hold flowers

You can find this poem in The Beauty: Poems.