Evening Poetry, September 28

The Well of Stars

by David Whyte

Blue lights on the runway like stars
on the surface of a well
into which I fall each night from the sky,
emerging through the tunnel door
of the jetway, and the black waters
of the night, in the cities of America.

In the lit rooms of glass and steel,
in the still and secret towers,
under the true stars hid by cloud
and the steam shrouded roofs
of the mansions of money and hope,
I come with my quiet voice and
my insistence, and my stories,
and out of that second and
deeper well I see again those other
blue stars and that other darkness
closer even than the night outside,
the one we refuse to mention,
the darkness we know so well
inside everyone.
I have a few griefs and joys
I can call my own
and through accident it seems,
a steadfast faith in each of them
and that's what I will say
matters when the story ends.

But it takes a little while to get there,
all the unburdening
and the laying down
and the willingness
to really tire of yourself,
and the step by step
the ways
the poets through time
generously gave themselves
to us,
walking like pilgrims
through doubt,
combining their fear
their fierceness and their faith.

and you now,
in front of the room
under the florescent light
by the reflected window
hiding all the stars
you have forgotten....

One more member of the prison population
whose eyes have caught
the open gate at last.
You are the one for whom the gift was made.

Keep that look in your eyes
and you'll gladly grow tired of your reflection.

There, for all to see,
the well of stars,
the great night from which you were born.

You can find this poem in The House of Belonging.

Evening Poetry, September 27

The Dance

by Wendell Berry

I would have each couple turn,
join and unjoin, be lost
in the greater turning
of other couples, woven
in the circle of a dance,
the song of long time flowing

over them, so they may return,
turn again in to themselves
out of desire greater than their own,
belonging to all, to each,
to the dance, and to the song
that moves them through the night.

What is fidelity? To what
does it hold? The point
of departure, or the turning road
that is departure and absence
and the way home? What we are
and what we were once

are far estranged. For those
who would not change, time
is infidelity. But we are married
until death, and are betrothed
to change. By silence, so,
I learn my song. I earn

my sunny fields by absence, once
and to come. And I love you
as I love the dance that brings you
out of the multitude
in which you come and go.
Love changes, and in change is true.

You can find this poem in New Collected Poems.

Evening Poetry, September 26

How I Go To The Woods

by Mary Oliver

Ordinarily I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing.

**

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.

You can find this poem in Swan: Poems and Prose Poems.

Evening Poetry, September 25

Willingness

by Danna Faulds

In the willingness to feel,
there is healing. In the
choice not to closet, cast
aside or deny experience,
energy is freed, and I
dive deeper into life.

There may be maturity in
choosing not to act, but
there are no rewards for
suppression and denial.

To be fully alive is saying
yes to the wide array of
human feelings. When I
soften, release and breathe,
I discover I am more than
what I think, feel, reason,
or believe.

You can find this book in Go In and In: Poems From The Heart of Yoga.

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Evening Poetry, September 22

To Autumn

by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; 
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, 
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, 
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease, 
      For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells. 

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find 
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; 
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep, 
   Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook 
      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers: 
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep 
   Steady thy laden head across a brook; 
   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look, 
      Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours. 

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they? 
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,— 
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; 
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn 
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft 
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; 
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft 
   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft; 
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

You can find this in A Poem For Every Night Of The Year.

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Evening Poetry, September 21

End of Summer

by Stanley Kunitz

An agitation of the air,
A perturbation of the light
Admonished me the unloved year
Would turn on its hinge that night.

I stood in the disenchanted field
Amid the stubble and the stones,
Amazed, while a small worm lisped to me
The song of my marrow-bones.

Blue poured into summer blue,
A hawk broke from his cloudless tower,
The roof of the silo blazed, and I knew
That part of my life was over.

Already the iron door of the north
Clangs open: birds, leaves, snows
Order their populations forth,
And a cruel wind blows.

You can find this in The Collected Poems of Stanley Kunitz.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. This helps pay the cost of running the blog. Thank you!

Evening Poetry, September 18

The Journey

by David Whyte

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving,
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.

You can find this poem in The House of Belonging.

Evening Poetry, September 17

Why I Need The Birds

by Lisel Mueller

When I hear them call
in the morning, before
I am quite awake,
my bed is already traveling
the daily rainbow,
the arc toward evening;
and the birds, leading
their own discreet lives
of hunger and watchfulness,
are with me all the way,
always a little ahead of me
in the long-practiced manner
of unobtrusive guides.

By the time I arrive at evening,
they have just settled down to rest;
already invisible, they are turning
into the dreamwork of trees;
and all of us together —
myself and the purple finches,
the rusty blackbirds,
the ruby cardinals,
and the white-throated sparrows
with their liquid voices —
ride the dark curve of the earth
toward daylight, which they announce
from their high lookouts
before dawn has quite broken for me.

You can find this poem in Alive Together: New and Selected Poems.

Evening Poetry, September 16

The Laughter of Women

by Lisel Mueller

The laughter of women sets fire
to the Halls of Injustice
and the false evidence burns
to a beautiful white lightness

It rattles the Chambers of Congress
and forces the windows wide open
so the fatuous speeches can fly out

The laughter of women wipes the mist
from the spectacles of the old;
it infects them with a happy flu
and they laugh as if they were young again

Prisoners held in underground cells
imagine that they see daylight
when they remember the laughter of women

It runs across water that divides,
and reconciles two unfriendly shores
like flares that signal the news to each other

What a language it is, the laughter of women,
high-flying and subversive.
Long before law and scripture
we heard the laughter, we understood freedom.

You can find this poem in Alive Together: New and Selected Poems.

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Evening Poetry, September 15

Opening Up

by Peter Davison

Weekend: a country custom, a century old,
English in origin, secular, elite,
depended on railway schedules for its ritual:
breakfast in silver warmers, tweeds till tea,
tennis or crocquet when there was no hunting,
dress for dinner, billiards after port,
later, adultery in upstairs bedrooms.

Now as the car turns willingly off asphalt
and gravel stings its tires, we try our hand,
Arriving’s, all the same, though all has changed.
The buds have swollen: or the leaves have turned;
the house is still surprisingly intact.
An unlocked door will let the world back in groceries,
canvas satchels, lists of chores.

Stop. Watch the maples bending in the wind
tossing their boughs in summer agitation.
Quick, before sunset, swim the salt creek
that creeps up from the coast a mile away
to hiss beneath the bridges, trickle through
the swaying stalks of marsh grass, burdened with
more nourishment than twenty tons of humus.
Here one is happiest when not too clean.

Come on, walk barefoot over new-cut stalks
of green lawn grass, pausing to wipe off
the sticky blades that squeeze between your toes.
Along the granite of the garden wall
a hundred varied blossoms flash their hues
of gold and scarlet, peach and ivory.

One skyscraper stands up among the lilies,
brandishing blossoms like archangels’ trumpets—
All while the thirsty grasses dream the day.
Bend toward them. I can hear the tide of green
engorge and stiffen, music in the blood,
lifting sensation past the reach of time,
mingling with the future. Come, let’s turn,
let’s walk indoors and open up the house.

You can find this in The Poems of Peter Davison.