Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay To what purpose, April, do you return again? Beauty is not enough. You can no longer quiet me with the redness Of little leaves opening stickily. I know what I know. The sun is hot on my neck as I observe The spikes of the crocus. The smell of the earth is good. It is apparent that there is no death. But what does that signify? Not only under ground are the brains of men Eaten by maggots. Life in itself Is nothing, An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs. It is not enough that yearly, down this hill, April Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers. You can find this poem in Collected Poems.
Month: March 2022
Evening Poetry, March 30
I No Longer Pray For Peace by Amy Weems On the edge of war, one foot already in, I no longer pray for peace: I pray for miracles. I pray that stone hearts will turn to tenderheartedness, and evil intentions will turn to mercifulness, and all the soldiers already deployed will be snatched out of harm’s way, and the whole world will be astounded onto its knees. I pray that all the “God talk” will take bones, and stand up and shed its cloak of faithlessness, and walk again in its powerful truth. I pray that the whole world might sit down together and share its bread and its wine. Some say there is no hope, but then I’ve always applauded the holy fools who never seem to give up on the scandalousness of our faith: that we are loved by God…… that we can truly love one another. I no longer pray for peace: I pray for miracles. You can find this poem in From Advent's Alleluia to Easter's Morning Light: Poetry for Worship, Study, and Devotion.
Evening Poetry, March 29
by Naomi Shihab Nye
The river is famous to the fish. The loud voice is famous to silence, which knew it would inherit the earth before anybody said so. The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds watching him from the birdhouse. The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek. The idea you carry close to your bosom is famous to your bosom. The boot is famous to the earth, more famous than the dress shoe, which is famous only to floors. The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it and not at all famous to the one who is pictured. I want to be famous to shuffling men who smile while crossing streets, sticky children in grocery lines, famous as the one who smiled back. I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous, or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular, but because it never forgot what it could do. You can find this poem in Words Under the Words: Selected Poems.
Evening Poetry, March 28
Letters to My Husband Far Away by Gillian Wegener The house is not empty without you. It thrums and bumps, the walls relax and sigh. The water heater dutifully comes on, rumbles with heat, waiting for your shower to start. How many times today have I heard your truck in the driveway, the floor creak with your step, felt your breath against the back of my neck. At least that often, I've turned to tell you something, or hand you a piece of cheese or a plum, but it's two more days until you return. It's just me in this room, with this plum, with this good fortune, with this far-flung love. You can find this in Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection.
Evening Poetry, March 27
by Anya Silver
Last week, a nurse pulled a warm blanket
from a magical cave of heated cotton
and lay it on my lap, even wrapping
my feet. She admired my red sandals.
Once, a friend brought me a chicken
she’d roasted and packed with whole lemons.
I ate it with my fingers while it was still warm.
Kindnesses appear, then disappear so quickly
that I forget their brief streaks: they vanish,
while cruelty pearls its durable shell.
Goodness streams like hot water through my hair
and down my skin, and I’m able to live
again with the ache. Love wakens the world.
Kindness is my mother, sending me a yellow dress in the mail
for no reason other than to watch me twirl.
You can find this poem in Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection.
Evening Poetry, March 26
We Are Of A Tribe by Alberto Ríos We plant seeds in the ground And dreams in the sky, Hoping that, someday, the roots of one Will meet the upstretched limbs of the other. It has not happened yet. We share the sky, all of us, the whole world: Together, we are a tribe of eyes that look upward, Even as we stand on uncertain ground. The earth beneath us moves, quiet and wild, Its boundaries shifting, its muscles wavering. The dream of sky is indifferent to all this, Impervious to borders, fences, reservations. The sky is our common home, the place we all live. There we are in the world together. The dream of sky requires no passport. Blue will not be fenced. Blue will not be a crime. Look up. Stay awhile. Let your breathing slow. Know that you always have a home here. You can find this poem in Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems.
Evening Poetry, March 25
End Results by Alice Wolf Gilborn His turn for blood work this morning. A routine test, but no breakfast, not even coffee. Just twelve degrees— I offer to walk the dog and after the long ritual of dressing for frigid weather, I plunge into the heartless air. An orange cat crouched in the driveway shifts its front paws; puffed up jays squawk in the oak tree. The dog stops—then sneezes mightily, putting cat and cold on notice. When I get back, he’s settled in his favorite chair, newspaper on his lap. Table’s set for one; a pot of water boiling on the stove awaits its egg, tea bag sits in a mug, a single slice of toast is ready to pop. The radio is off for once, so it’s our own voices we hear, chatter we won’t remember in a room warming with winter sun. When he leaves, silence descends like yesterday’s snow. Eating my solitary breakfast, I think of his small habitual gestures, the way he has of wanting to nourish the living: sparrows peck seed he’s spread on the deck, his two feral cats feed at their bowl, at the table I’m about to crack a perfect egg. Sustenance of many years. I wish him well, I wish him love, food for our braided lives. I wish all results positive. You can find this poem in Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection.
Evening Poetry, March 24
Blessing the Boats by Lucille Clifton may the tide that is entering even now the lip of our understanding carry you out beyond the face of fear may you kiss the wind then turn from it certain that it will love your back may you open your eyes to water water waving forever and may you in your innocence sail through this to that You can find this poem in Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000.
Evening Poetry, March 23
Remember by Joy Harjo Remember the sky that you were born under, know each of the star’s stories. Remember the moon, know who she is. Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the strongest point of time. Remember sundown and the giving away to night. Remember your birth, how your mother struggled to give you form and breath. You are evidence of her life, and her mother’s, and hers. Remember your father. He is your life, also. Remember the earth whose skin you are: red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth brown earth, we are earth. Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them, listen to them. They are alive poems. Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the origin of this universe. Remember you are all people and all people are you. Remember you are this universe and this universe is you. Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you. Remember language comes from this. Remember the dance language is, that life is. Remember. You can find this poem in She Had Some Horses.
Evening Poetry, March 22
The Invitation by Oriah t doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing. It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dream for the adventure of being alive. It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon... I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy mine or your own if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful to be realistic to remember the limitations of being human. It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence. I want to know if you can live with failure yours and mine and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "Yes." It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children. It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back. It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments. You can find this poem in The Invitation by Oriah.