Evening Poetry, June 15

Peonies at Dusk

by Jane Kenyon

White peonies blooming along the porch

send out light

while the rest of the yard grows dim.

Outrageous flowers as big as human

heads! They’re staggered

by their own luxuriance: I had

to prop them up with stakes and twine.

The moist air intensifies their scent,

and the moon moves around the barn

to find out what it’s coming from.

In the darkening June evening

I draw a blossom near, and bending close

search it as a woman searches

a loved one’s face.

This poem can be found in the collection Otherwise by Jane Kenyon.

Evening Poetry, June 14

gloria mundi

by Lucille Clifton

so knowing,

what is known?

that we carry our baggage

in our cupped hands

when we burst through

the waters of our mother.

that some are born

and some are brought

to the glory of this world.

that it is more difficult

than faith

to serve only one calling

one commitment

one devotion

in one life.

You can find this poem in the collection The Book of Light.

Evening Poetry, June 13

The Night Will Never Stay

by Eleanor Farjeon

The night will never stay,

The night will still go by,

Though with a million stars

You pin it to the sky;

Though you bind it with the blowing wind

And buckle it with the moon,

The night will slip away

Like a sorrow or a tune.

You can find this poem in Eleanor Farjeon’s Poems For Children.

Evening Poetry, June 12

The Sea in You

by David White

When I wake under the moon,

I do not know who I have become unless

I move closer to you, obeying the give and take

Of the earth as it breathes the slender length

Of your body, so that in breathing with the tide that breathes 

In you, and moving with you as you come and go,

And following you, half in light and half in dark,

I feel the first firm edge of my floating palm touch 

And then trace the pale light of your shoulder

To the faint, moonlit shadow of your smooth cheek

And drawing my finger through the pearl water of your skin,

I sense the breath on your lips touch and then warm

The finest, furthest, most unknown edge of my sense of self,

So that I come to you under the moon as if I had

Swum under the deepest arch of the ocean,

To find you living where no one could possibly live,

And to feel you breathing, where no one could

Possibly breathe, and I touch your skin as I would

Touch a pale whispering spirit of the tides that my arms

Try to hold with the wrong kind of strength and my lips

Try to speak with the wrong kind of love and I follow

You through the ocean night listening for your breath

In my helpless calling to love you as I should, and I lie

Next to you in your sleep as I would next to the sea,

Overwhelmed by the rest that arrives in me and by the weight

That is taken from me and what, by morning,

Is left on the shore of my waking joy.

You can find this poem in the collection The Sea in You.

Evening Poetry, June 11

Where Everything Is Music

by Rumi

Don’t worry about saving these songs!

And if one of our instruments breaks,

it doesn’t matter.

We have fallen into the place

where everything is music.

The strumming and the flute notes

rise into the atmosphere,

and even if the whole world’s harp

should burn up, there will still be

hidden instruments playing.

So the candle flickers and goes out.

We have a piece of flint, and a spark.

This singing art is sea foam.

The graceful movements come from a pearl

somewhere on the ocean floor.

Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge

of driftwood along the beach, wanting!

They derive

from a slow and powerful root

that we can’t see.

Stop the words now

Open the window in the center of your chest,

and let the spirits fly in and out.

You can find this poem and many more in The Essential Rumi.

Evening Poetry, June 10

The Swing

by Robert Louis Stevenson

How do you like to go up in a swing,

Up in the air so blue?

Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing

Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,

Till I can see so wide,

Rivers and trees and cattle and all

Over the countryside–

Till I look down on the garden green,

Down on the roof so brown–

Up in the air I go flying again,

Up in the air and down!

You can find this poem in the collection Eloise Wilkin’s Poems to Read to the Very Young, illustrated by Josette Frank.

Evening Poetry, June 9

City

by Langston Hughes

In the morning the city

Spreads its wings

Making a song

In stone that sings.

In the evening the city

Goes to bed

Hanging lights

About its head.

You can find this poem on Favorite Poems: Old and New.