Evening Poetry, May 18

Stone

by David Whyte

The face in the stone is a mirror looking into you.

You have gazed at the moving waters

you have seen the slow light, in the sky

above Lough Inagh, beneath you, streams have flowed,

and rivers of earth have moved beneath your feet,

but you have never looked into the immovability

of stone like this, the way it holds you, gives you

not a way forward but a doorway in, staunches

your need to leave, becomes faithful by going nowhere

something that wants you to stay here and look back,

be weathered by what comes to you, like the way you too

have travelled from so far away to be here, once reluctant

and now as solid and as here and as willing

to be touched as everything you have found.

You can find this poem in the collection The Bell and The Blackbird by David Whyte.

Evening Poetry, May 17

Moonlight

by Sara Teasdale

It will not hurt me when I am old.

A running tide where moonlight burned

Will not sting me like silver snakes;

The years will make me sad and cold,

It is the happy heart that breaks.

The heart asks more than life can give,

When that is learned, then all is learned;

The waves break fold on jewelled fold,

But beauty itself is fugitive,

It will not hurt me when I am old.

You can find this poem in the collection The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry.

Evening Poetry, May 16

May Song

by Wendell Berry

For whatever is let go

there’s a taker.

The living discovers itself

where no preparation

was made for it,

where its only privilege

is to live if it can.

The window flies from the dark

of the subway mouth

into the sunlight

stained with the green

of the spring weeds

that crowd the improbable

black earth

of the embankment,

their stout leaves

like the tongues and bodies

of a herd, feeding

on the new heat,

drinking in the seepage

of the stones:

the freehold of life,

triumphant

even in the waste

of those who possess it.

But it is itself the possessor,

we know at last,

seeing it send out weeds

to take back

whatever is left:

Proprietor, pasturing foliage

on the rubble,

making use

of the useless–a beauty

we have less than not

deserved.

This poem can be found in New Collected Poems by Wendell Berry.

Evening Poetry, May 15

The Clothes Pin

by Jane Kenyon

How much better it is

to carry wood to the fire

than to moan about your life.

How much better

to throw garbage

onto the compost, or to pin the clean

sheet on the line

with a gray-brown wooden clothes pins!

You can find this poem in the collection Otherwise by Jane Kenyon.

Evening Poetry, May 14

Here is a poem from a classic children’s poetry collection. If you have young children at home, please read poetry to them! Let their young ears become accustomed to the rhythm, cadence, and pure joy that can be found in poetry. One simple way to introduce them to poetry is during dinner: often while my kids were eating, I would read them a poem or two. Nursery rhymes count, as do Dr. Seuss and Jack Prelutsky! I am certain there is poetry out there for every person, old or young.

Hold Fast Your Dreams

by Louise Driscoll

Hold fast your dreams!

Within your heart

Keep one still, secret spot

Where dreams may go,

And sheltered so,

May thrive and grow–

Where doubt and fear are not.

Oh, keep a place apart

Within your heart,

For little dreams to go.

You can find this poem in the collection Favorite Poems Old and New selected by Helen Ferris.

Evening Poetry, May 13

Seeing You

by David Whyte

I want you

to see

yourself

the way

I sometimes

see you.

I want you

to see

yourself

with the

self-same

eyes

that have me

shy

of telling you

what I see.

I want you

to come across

your self

and see

yourself,

the way I did

that first

morning,

as a beautiful

incredibly

kind

and inviting

stranger.

I want you

to knock

gently on

your

own door

and stand

there

astonished

as I do

unable

to speak

to the one

who has come

out to meet you.

Like Rilke’s

visiting

angel

of the

Annunciation

who forgot

his message

to Mary,

and could only

fall back

to singing

her praises,

stuttering and

everwhelmed

as he was,

by the untroubled

beauty

of her soul.

You can find this poem in the collection The Bell and The Blackbird by David Whyte.

Evening Poetry, May 11

This poem can be found in the March 2019 edition of Poetry Magazine.

Maybe my most important identity is being a son

by Raymond Antrobus

my mother

asking how

to open a tab

on her laptop,

to email a photo,

calling to ask–

can you change

the lightbulb

at the top of the stairs?

my mother

spending hours

helping me find

a doctor’s form,

a hearing aid battery,

anything

misplaced, my mother

who keeps leaving

her keys in the doors

or on the walls,

who keeps saying

I might have to change

the locks, mother

of self-sufficiency,

of beads and trolleys,

of handlebars,

short-tempered

spiteful mother,

mother of resistance,

licorice and seaweed

on the table,

lonely mother,

mother needs-no-man,

mother deserves my cooking,

deserves a long sleep,

a cuppa tea, a garden

of lavender mothers,

all her heads up,

mother’s tooth

falls out, mother

dyes her hair,

don’t say graying

say sea salt

and cream, remedy,

immortal mother.

You can find the poetry of Raymond Antrobus in the collection To Sweeten Bitter.