Evening Poetry, December 3

A Chair in Snow

By Jane Hirshfield

A chair in snow
should be
like any other object whited
& rounded

and yet a chair in snow is always sad

more than a bed
more than a hat or house
a chair is shaped for just one thing

to hold
a soul its quick and few bendable
hours

perhaps a king

not to hold snow
not to hold flowers

You can find this poem in The Beauty: Poems.

Evening Poetry, November 15

America, I Sing Back

by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

for Phil Young, my father, Robert Hedge Coke, Whitman, and Hughes

America, I sing back. Sing back what sung you in.
Sing back the moment you cherished breath.
Sing you home into yourself and back to reason.

Oh, before America began to sing, I sung her to sleep,
held her cradleboard, wept her into day.
My song gave her creation, prepared her delivery,
held her severed cord beautifully beaded.

My song helped her stand, held her hand for first steps,

nourished her very being, fed her, placed her three sisters strong.
My song comforted her as she battled my reason

broke my long held footing sure, as any child might do.

Lo, as she pushed herself away, forced me to remove myself,
as I cried this country, my song grew roses in each tear’s fall.

My blood veined rivers, painted pipestone quarries
circled canyons, while she made herself maiden fine.

Oh, but here I am, here I am, here, I remain high on each and every peak,
carefully rumbling her great underbelly, prepared to pour forth singing—

and sing again I will, as I have always done.

Never silenced unless in the company of strangers, singing

the stoic face, polite repose, polite, while dancing deep inside, polite
Mother of her world. Sister of myself.

When my song sings aloud again. When I call her back to cradle.
Call her to peer into waters, to behold herself in dark and light,

day and night, call her to sing along, call her to mature, to envision—

Then, she will make herself over. My song will make it so

When she grows far past her self-considered purpose,
I will sing her back, sing her back. I will sing. Oh, I will—I do.

America, I sing back. Sing back what sung you in.

Copyright © 2014 by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke. Originally published in Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

You can find this poem in Streaming.

Evening Poetry, November 12

Man, Woman, Moon

by Freya Manfred

Drink in the alien eyes of this wild one

you don’t want to lose,

who doesn’t want to lose you.

Make sure he can find his way home in the dark,

when he forgets who he is, or you forget,

because even after thirty years

you don’t know what he’s thinking

when he stares out the window at the snow

falling in veils past the moon–

the same moon you’ve been watching

every month since you were born.

You can find this poem in Swimming With A Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle.

Evening Poetry, November 11

What Came To Me

by Jane Kenyon

I took the last

dusty piece of china

out of the barrel.

It was your gravy boat,

with a hard, brown

drop of gravy still

on the porcelain lip.

I grieved for you then

as I never had before.

You can find this poem in The Boat of Quiet Hours.

Evening Poetry, November 9

November

By Maggie Dietz

Show’s over, folks. And didn’t October do
A bang-up job? Crisp breezes, full-throated cries
Of migrating geese, low-floating coral moon.

Nothing left but fool’s gold in the trees.
Did I love it enough, the full-throttle foliage,
While it lasted? Was I dazzled? The bees

Have up and quit their last-ditch flights of forage
And gone to shiver in their winter clusters.
Field mice hit the barns, big squirrels gorge

On busted chestnuts. A sky like hardened plaster
Hovers. The pasty river, its next of kin,
Coughs up reed grass fat as feather dusters.

Even the swarms of kids have given in
To winter’s big excuse, boxed-in allure:
TVs ricochet light behind pulled curtains.

The days throw up a closed sign around four.
The hapless customer who’d wanted something
Arrives to find lights out, a bolted door.

You can find this poem in That Kind of Happy.

Evening Poetry, November 7

The Mist and All

by Dixie Wilson

I like the fall,

The mist and all.

I like the night owl’s

Lonely call–

And wailing sound

of wind around.

I like the gray

November day,

And bare, dead boughs

That coldly sway

Against my pane.

I like the rain.

I like to sit

And laugh at it–

And tend

My cozy fire a bit.

I like the fall–

The mist and all.–

You can find this poem in Favorite Poems Old and New.

Evening Poetry, November 4

A Decade

by Amy Lowell

When you came, you were like red wine and honey.

And the taste of you burnt in my mouth with its sweetness.

Now you are like morning bread,

Smooth and pleasant.

I hardly taste you at all for I know your savour,

But I am completely nourished.

You can find this poem in Amy Lowell: Selected Poems.

Evening Poetry, November 3

The Last Supper

by Rainer Maria Rilke

They are assembled–astonished, panicked–

around him, who like a sage concludes himself

and who withdraws from those he’s gathered

and who ungraspably flows past them.

The old solitude comes over him,

which reared him for his deep action;

now he will wander through the olive woods again,

and those who love him will flee before him.

He has summoned them to the last meal

and (as a shot scatters birds from the wheat)

he scatters their hands from the loaves

with his word: they fly up to him;

they flap, terrified, all around the table

and seek a way out. But no use: he

like a twilight hour, is everywhere.

You can find this poem in The Book of Images: Poems / Revised Bilingual Edition (English and German Edition)""“>The Book of Images.

Evening Poetry, October 30

Theme in Yellow

by Carl Sandburg

I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o’-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling.

You can find this poem in Poetry For Kids: Carl Sandburg.

Evening Poetry, October 26

The Owl Cries At Night

by Freya Manfred

The owl cries at night,

and I imagine her wide gold eyes

and feathered ears tuned

to the trembling woods and waters,

seeing and hearing what

I will never see or hear:

a red fox with one bloody paw,

a hunch-backed rabbit running,

sand grains grating on the shore,

a brown leaf crackling

under a brown mouse foot.

With so much to learn,

I could stop writing forever,

and still live well.

You can find this poem in Swimming With a Hundred Year Old Turtle.