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,


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,


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.

Evening Poetry, May 5

How to Be a Poet

by Wendell Berry

Make a place to sit down.   
Sit down. Be quiet.   
You must depend upon   
affection, reading, knowledge,   
skill—more of each   
than you have—inspiration,   
work, growing older, patience,   
for patience joins time   
to eternity. Any readers   
who like your poems,   
doubt their judgment.   

Breathe with unconditional breath   
the unconditioned air.   
Shun electric wire.   
Communicate slowly. Live   
a three-dimensioned life;   
stay away from screens.   
Stay away from anything   
that obscures the place it is in.   
There are no unsacred places;   
there are only sacred places   
and desecrated places.   

Accept what comes from silence.   
Make the best you can of it.   
Of the little words that come   
out of the silence, like prayers   
prayed back to the one who prays,   
make a poem that does not disturb   
the silence from which it came.

You can find this poem at the Poetry Foundation and in the collection Given: Poems.