Evening Poetry, August 16

Old Lovers at the Ballet

by May Sarton

In the dark theatre lovers sit

Watching the supple dancers weave

A fugue, motion and music melded.

There on the stage below, brilliantly lit

No dancer stumbles or may grieve;

Their very smiles are disciplined and moulded.

And in the dark old lovers feel dismay

Watching the ardent bodies leap and freeze,

Thinking how age has changed them and has mocked.

Once they were light and bold in lissome play,

Limber as willows that could bend with ease–

But as they watch a vision is unlocked.

Imagination springs the trap of youth.

And in the dark motionless, as they stare,

Old lovers reach new wonders and new answers

As in the mind they leap to catch the truth,

For young the soul was awkward, unaware,

That claps its hands now with the supple dancers.

And in the flesh those dancers cannot spare

What the old lovers have had time to learn,

That the soul is a lithe and serene athlete

That deepens touch upon the darkening air.

It is not energy but light they burn,

The radiant powers of the Paraclete.

You can find this in Collected Poems 1930-1993.

Evening Poetry, August 15

II. Love: VII.

by Emily Dickinson

Wild nights! Wild nights!

Were I with thee,

Wild nights should be

Our luxury!

Futile the winds

To a heart in port,–

Done with the compass,

Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!

Ah! the sea!

Might I but moor

To-night in thee!

You can find this in the collection Hope is the Thing With Feathers.

Evening Poetry, July 16

Song

by Edith Wharton

Let us be lovers to the end,

O you to whom my soul is given,

Whose smiles have turned this earth to

heaven,

Fast holding hands as we descend

Life’s pathway devious and uneven,

Let us be lovers to the end.

Dear, let us make Time a friend

To bind us closer with his cares,

And though grief strike us unawares

No poisoned shaft that fate can send

Shall wound us through each other’s

prayers,

If we are lovers to the end.

Let us be lovers to the end

And, growing blind as we grow old,

Refuse forever to behold

How age has made the shoulders bend

And Winter blanched the hair’s young gold.

Let us be lovers to the end.

Whichever way our footsteps tend

Be sure that, if we walk together,

They’ll lead to realms of sunny weather,

By shores where quiet waters wend.

At eventide we shall go thither,

If we are lovers to the end.

You can find this poem in the collection Selected Poems of Edith Wharton.

Evening Poetry, June 27

Poem by Rumi from collection The Essential Rumi.

A night full of talking that hurts,

my worst held-back secrets. Everything

has to do with loving and not loving.

This night will pass.

Then we have work to do.

Evening Poetry, June 24

The TrueLove

by David Whyte

There is a faith in loving fiercely

the one who is rightfully yours

especially if you have

waited years and especially

if part of you never believed

you could deserve this

loved and beckoning hand

held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now

and the testaments of loneliness

and what we feel we are

worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides

I remember an old man

who walked every morning

on the grey stones

to the shore of baying seals

who would press his hat

to his chest in the blustering

salt wind and say his prayer

to the turbulent Jesus

hidden in the water,

and I think of the story

of the storm and everyone

waking and seeing

the distant

yet familiar figure

far across the water

calling to them

and how we are all

preparing for that

abrupt waking,

and that calling,

and taht moment

we have to say yes,

except it will

not come so grandly

so Biblically

but more subtly

and intimately in the face

of the one you know

you have to love.

So that when

we finally step out of the boat

toward them, we find

everything holds

us, and everything confirms

our courage, and if you wanted

to drown you could,

but you don’t

because finally

after all this struggle

and all these years

you don’t want to any more

you’ve simply had enough

of drowning

and you want to live and you

want to love and you will

walk across any territory

and any darkness

however fluid and however

dangerous to take the

one hand you know

belongs to yours.

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

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.

At Night, When the Wind is Blowing (A Poem)

At Night, When the Wind is Blowing

At night, when the wind is blowing

And the Chestnut’s new leaves are rustling 

I think of the first time I climbed the hill

to this house and met you on the steps.

How the spirit of the place made room for me and

invited me to become part of its story.

I remember happy and conflicted days

of everything new and everything

breaking apart. Of wrenching grief and

the starry-eyed hope of starting over.

And I have started over with you.

Who were the first people to walk over

this ground and build their homes here?

To plant fields and grow food for themselves? 

Did they feel the land welcome them too?

Did they walk down this road, 

when it became a road, hand in hand 

in the moonlight, whispering promises?

Did they kiss under the stars and imagine

a life where every day burned bright 

like a summer afternoon because they had

found their hearts hidden in each other,

and their home in this place?

The land beneath my feet and the sky over my head

have moved on since that day,

unconcerned through the seasons

summer, fall, winter, spring.

How I have changed and how I have remained myself,

how we have grown together and have begun to live out

the truth about us–that we belong to one another,

that Fate put us in each other’s paths.

I think about this and other things,

at night, when the wind is blowing.

Poem by Kim Pollack/©2019 All Rights Reserved