“So what’s the deal with you and poetry?” you may ask. Well it’s simple. I love it, always have, always will and I know that there are many out there who long for an opportunity to be affected by a word, an image, or a theme in a way that leads to a deeper reflection of the human experience. In ABC of Reading, Pound, writes, ” Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.”

I share simply to offer an opportunity for others to feel the electrical charge…ENJOY!

May 9, 2022

Dusting

By Julia Alvarez

 

Each morning I wrote my name

On the dusty cabinet, then crossed

The dining table in script, scrawled

In capitals on the backs of chairs,

Practicing signatures like scales

While mother followed, squirting

Linseed from a burping can

Into a crumpled-up flannel.

 

 

She erased my fingerprints

From the bookshelf and rocker,

Polished mirrors on the desk

Scribbled with my alphabets.

My name was swallowed in the towel

With which she jeweled the table tops.

The grain surfaced in the oak

And the pine grew luminous.

But I refused with every mark

 

To be like her, anonymous.

May 2, 2022

Some Feel Rain

By Joanna Klink

 

Some feel rain. Some feel the beetle startle

in its ghost-part when the bark

slips. Some feel musk. Asleep against

each other in the whiskey dark, scarcely there.

When it falls apart, some feel the moondark air

drop its motes to the patch-thick slopes of

snow. Tiny blinkings of ice from the oak,

a boot-beat that comes and goes, the line of prayer

you can follow from the dusking wind to the snowy owl

it carries. Some feel sunlight

well up in blood-vessels below the skin

and wish there had been less to lose.

Knowing how it could have been, pale maples

drowsing like a second sleep above our temperaments.

Do I imagine there is any place so safe it can’t be

snapped? Some feel the rivers shift,

blue veins through soil, as if the smokestacks were a long

dream of exhalation. The lynx lets its paws

skim the ground in snow and showers.

The wildflowers scatter in warm tints until

the second they are plucked. You can wait

to scrape the ankle-burrs, you can wait until Mercury

the early star underdraws the night and its blackest

districts. And wonder. Why others feel

through coal-thick night that deeply colored garnet

star. Why sparring and pins are all you have.

Why the earth cannot make its way towards you.

April 25, 2022

After Winter

By Claud McKay

 

Some day, when trees have shed their leaves

  And against the morning’s white

The shivering birds beneath the eaves

  Have sheltered for the night,

We’ll turn our faces southward, love,

  Toward the summer isle

Where bamboos spire the shafted grove

  And wide-mouthed orchids smile.

 

And we will seek the quiet hill

  Where towers the cotton tree,

And leaps the laughing crystal rill,

  And works the droning bee.

And we will build a cottage there

  Beside an open glade,

With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near,

  And ferns that never fade.

April 11, 2022

From Blossoms

By Li-Young Lee

 

From blossoms comes

this brown paper bag of peaches

we bought from the boy

at the bend in the road where we turned toward   

signs painted Peaches.

 

From laden boughs, from hands,

from sweet fellowship in the bins,

comes nectar at the roadside, succulent

peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,

comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

 

O, to take what we love inside,

to carry within us an orchard, to eat

not only the skin, but the shade,

not only the sugar, but the days, to hold

the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into   

the round jubilance of peach.

 

There are days we live

as if death were nowhere

in the background; from joy

to joy to joy, from wing to wing,

from blossom to blossom to

impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

 

The world began

 

April 4, 2022

Unusually Warm March Day, Leading to Storms

By Francesca Abbate

 

Everything is half here,

like the marble head

of the Roman emperor

and the lean torso

of his favorite.

The way the funnel cloud

which doesn’t seem

to touch ground does—

flips a few cars, a semi—

we learn to walk miles

above our bodies.

The pig farms dissolve,

then the small hills.

As in dreams fraught

with irrevocable gestures,

the ruined set seems larger,

a charred palace the gaze

tunnels through

and through. How well

we remember the stage—

the actors gliding about

like petite sails, the balustrade

cooling our palms.

Not wings or singing,

but a darkness fast as blood.

It ended at our fingertips:

the fence gave way

to the forest.

The world began.

March 28, 2022

Mother of Letters

By Tiana Nobile

 

For hours my mother hovered over us,

her hand gently guiding mine, her wrist

a helm for my unsteady ship.

I knew how to hold a pencil,

how to grip it between my thumb

and pointer finger, how to lean softly

to avoid a callus. I knew how to form

all my letters perfectly before starting school.

For every birthday, a new notebook

would appear wrapped tightly with a bow.

I would bury my nose inside it

as if the pages would write themselves

with my breath. The pages I’d fill with words

my young tongue was too knotted to express.

March 21, 2022

St. Patrick’s Day

By Jean Blewett

 

There’s an Isle, a green Isle, set in the sea,

Here’s to the Saint that blessed it!

And here’s to the billows wild and free

That for centuries have caressed it!

 

Here’s to the day when the men that roam

Send longing eyes o’er the water!

Here’s to the land that still spells home

To each loyal son and daughter!

 

Here’s to old Ireland—fair, I ween,

With the blue skies stretched above her!

Here’s to her shamrock warm and green,

And here’s to the hearts that love her!

March 14, 2022

In Passing

BY Lisel Mueller

 

How swiftly the strained honey

Of afternoon light

Flows into darkness

 

And the closed bud shrugs off

Its special mystery

In order to break into blossoms

 

As if what exists, exists

So that it can be lost

And become precious

 

March 7, 2022

In Sum

BY RÜŞTÜ ONUR

(Translated from Turkish)

If  I were to die my dear mother

I would have nothing to leave you.

The butcher would take my jacket,

The grocer, my coat

On account of my debts … 

What about my loves

And my poems

How could you face the neighbors

And not be ashamed.

In sum, my dear mother,

No corn in the cellar

No wife at home.

Naked I was born

Naked I will die …

 

February 28, 2022

Lift Every Voice and Sing

By James Wheldon Johnson

 

Lift every voice and sing   

Till earth and heaven ring,

Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise

High as the listening skies,

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us.   

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,

Let us march on till victory is won.

 

Stony the road we trod,

Bitter the chastening rod,

Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;   

Yet with a steady beat,

Have not our weary feet

Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,

We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

Out from the gloomy past,   

Till now we stand at last

Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

 

God of our weary years,   

God of our silent tears,

Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;

Thou who hast by Thy might   

Led us into the light,

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,

Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;

Shadowed beneath Thy hand,   

May we forever stand.   

True to our God,

True to our native land.

.

February 14, 2022

I, Too

By Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

 

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.

 

Tomorrow,

I’ll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me,

“Eat in the kitchen,”

Then.

 

Besides,

They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed—

 

I, too, am America.

 

February 7, 2022

Caged Bird

By Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

January 31, 2022

Permeability

By Izumi Shikibu

(Translated from Japanese by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani)

 

Although the wind

blows terribly here,

the moonlight also leaks

between the roof planks

of this ruined house.

 

January 24, 2022

Encounter

By Czeslaw Milosz

 

We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.

A red wing rose in the darkness.

 

And suddenly a hare ran across the road.

One of us pointed to it with his hand.

 

That was long ago. Today neither of them is alive,

Not the hare, nor the man who made the gesture.

 

O my love, where are they, where are they going

The flash of a hand, streak of movement, rustle of pebbles.

I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder.

January 17, 2022

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

By Walt Whitman

 

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,

When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,

When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,

How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,

Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

January 10, 2022

Rest

By Christina Rosetti

 

O Earth, lie heavily upon her eyes;

Seal her sweet eyes weary of watching, Earth;

Lie close around her; leave no room for mirth

With its harsh laughter, nor for sound of sighs.

She hath no questions, she hath no replies,

Hush’d in and curtain’d with a blessèd dearth

Of all that irk’d her from the hour of birth;

With stillness that is almost Paradise.

Darkness more clear than noonday holdeth her,

Silence more musical than any song;

Even her very heart has ceased to stir:

Until the morning of Eternity

Her rest shall not begin nor end, but be;

And when she wakes she will not think it long.

January 3, 2022

Elegy in Joy  (Excerpt)

By Muriel Rukeyser

 

We tell beginnings: for the flesh and the answer,

or the look, the lake in the eye that knows,

for the despair that flows down in widest rivers,

cloud of home; and also the green tree of grace,

all in the leaf, in the love that gives us ourselves.

 

The word of nourishment passes through the women,

soldiers and orchards rooted in constellations,

white towers, eyes of children: 

saying in time of war What shall we feed?

I cannot say the end.

 

Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings.

Not all things are blest, but the

seeds of all things are blest.

The blessing is in the seed.

 

This moment, this seed, this wave of the sea, this look, this instant of 

love.

Years over wars and an imagining of peace. Or the expiation journey

toward peace which is many wishes flaming together,

fierce pure life, the many-living home.

Love that gives us ourselves, in the world known to all

new techniques for the healing of the wound,

and the unknown world. One life, or the faring stars.

December 20, 2021

A Gift

By Kathryn Starbuck

 

Who is that creature   

and who does he want?   

Me, I trust. I do not   

attempt to call out his   

name for fear he will   

tread on me. What do   

you believe, he asks.   

 

That we all want to be   

alone, I reply, except when   

we do not; that the world   

was open to my sorrow   

and ate most of it; that   

today is a gift and I am   

ready to receive you.

 

December 13, 2021

Robbing the Bees

By Carrie Green

 

Brother, one day the grove and hives will empty:

the neighbor’s trees frozen back to stumps,

our father’s bees scattered across the scrub.

But today the scent of orange blossom

reaches our patch of sand, and the beeyard

teems with thieving wings. Our father works

the hives, white shirt buttoned to the neck,

hands glove-clumsy. Veiled, he’s mysterious

 

as a bride. Brother, we’ll want to recall

the pollen-dusted light kissing scrub oak

and sand pine, the needles smoking in tin,

the bees’ stunned flight as our father offers

a taste of honey on his pocketknife.

Our tongues steal sweetness from the rusted blade.

December 6, 2021

I Was Washing at Night Out in the Yard

By Osip Mandelstam

(translated by Peter France)

 

I was washing at night out in the yard—

the heavens glowing with rough stars.

A star-beam like salt upon an axe,

the water barrel brimful and cold.

 

A padlock makes the gate secure,

and conscience gives sternness to the earth—

hard to find a standard anywhere

purer than the truth of new-made cloth.

 

A star melts in the barrel like salt,

and the ice-cold winter is blacker still,

death is more pure, disaster saltier

and earth more truthful and more terrible.

November 29, 2021

Let me Remember

By Winston O. Abbott

 

Let 

Me

Remember

Beyond forgetting–

 

Let 

Me

Remember–

 

Let me remember always

For my spirit is often shrouded in the

mists–

 

Let me remember beyond forgetting

That my life is not a solitary thing–

It is a bit of a rushing tide

A leaf of the bending tree–

A kernel of grain in the golden wheat fields–

A whisper of wind about the mountaintop–

A reflection of sunlight upon the

Shining waters–

It is fleeting

It is of the moment

It is timeless

It is eternity

November 22, 2021

In Passing

By Matthew Shenoda

 

There is something inside

each of us

that scurries toward the past

in our bodies a rooted history

perhaps in the balls of our feet

a microscopic yearning

that floats inside that sphere

yearning in a language we’ve forgotten.

 

History is too in our knees

in the ball that pops

& twists as we journey.

 

And for those of us blessed to be old

& for those of us blessed to be young

it lives inside the tiny ball of skin

deep inside the belly button

tickles recollections from our tongues

stories of stories from then—

 

history lives in circles & spheres

 

floating

 

always suspended

 

waiting for release

 

November 15, 2021

The Carpenter

By Jaques Reda

 

A carpenter’s a witness as I write

These lines–atop the roof next door, he works

With noisy  nails, mortar, and brush. It might

Be that he sees me (and the little workshop

 

Made up of pencil, cigarette, and half

A sheet on which my halting hand is sketching)

As an example of a curious craft

One practices, immobile, in one’s kitchen.

 

To each his own domain.  Yet I must say

The work I do is not as far away

From his as he perhaps believes: slate

 

By slate he mends a roof; I build four walls

Of writing word by word, a makershift place

I’m glad to leave behind, tool and all,

 

To go outside to breathe a bit in nature.

November 8, 2021

November for Beginners

By Rita Dove

 

Snow would be the easy

way out—that softening

sky like a sigh of relief

at finally being allowed

to yield. No dice.

We stack twigs for burning

in glistening patches

but the rain won’t give.

 

So we wait, breeding

mood, making music

of decline. We sit down

in the smell of the past

and rise in a light

that is already leaving.

We ache in secret,

memorizing

 

a gloomy line

or two of German.

When spring comes

we promise to act

the fool. Pour,

rain! Sail, wind,

with your cargo of zithers!

November 1, 2021

Song

By Brenda Cardenas

 

You shout my name

from beyond my dreams,

beyond the picture window

of this Rosarito beach house.

Rushing from bed to shore

I glimpse their backs—

volcanoes rising out of the sea.

Your back, a blue-black silhouette,

feet wet with the wash of morning waves.

Fountains spring from mammal minds,

my hands lifting a splash of sand.

I’m on my knees,

toes finding a cool prayer

beneath them, fingers pressing

sea foam to my temples,

while you open arms wide as a generation,

raise them to a compass point,

dive.

If you could reach them,

you would ride their fins

under the horizon,

then surf the crash of waves

left in their wake.

And if I could grasp

my own fear,

I’d drown it,

leave it breathless and blue

as this ocean,

as the brilliant backs

of whales

surfacing

for air.

October 25, 2021

October

By Robert Frost

 

O hushed October morning mild,

Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;

Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,

Should waste them all.

The crows above the forest call;

Tomorrow they may form and go.

O hushed October morning mild,

Begin the hours of this day slow.

Make the day seem to us less brief.

Hearts not averse to being beguiled,

Beguile us in the way you know.

Release one leaf at break of day;

At noon release another leaf;

One from our trees, one far away.

Retard the sun with gentle mist;

Enchant the land with amethyst.

Slow, slow!

For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,

Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,

Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—

For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

October 18, 2021

Between Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice, Today

By Emily Jungmin Yoon

 

I read a Korean poem

with the line “Today you are the youngest

you will ever be.” Today I am the oldest

I have been. Today we drink

buckwheat tea. Today I have heat

in my apartment. Today I think

about the word chada in Korean.

It means cold. It means to be filled with.

It means to kick. To wear. Today we’re worn.

Today you wear the cold. Your chilled skin.

My heart kicks on my skin. Someone said

winter has broken his windows. The heat inside

and the cold outside sent lightning across glass.

Today my heart wears you like curtains. Today

it fills with you. The window in my room

is full of leaves ready to fall. Chada, you say. It’s tea.

We drink. It is cold outside.

October 11, 2021

Gathering Leaves

By Robert Frost

 

Spades take up leaves

No better than spoons,

And bags full of leaves

Are light as balloons.

 

I make a great noise

Of rustling all day

Like rabbit and deer

Running away.

 

But the mountains I raise

Elude my embrace,

Flowing over my arms

And into my face.

 

I may load and unload

Again and again

Till I fill the whole shed,

And what have I then?

 

Next to nothing for weight,

And since they grew duller

From contact with earth,

Next to nothing for color.

 

Next to nothing for use,

But a crop is a crop,

And who’s to say where

The harvest shall stop?

October 4, 2021

Signs

By Larry Levis

 

All night I dreamed of my home,

of the roads that are so long

and straight they die in the middle—

among the spines of elderly weeds

on either side, among the dead cats,

the ants who are all eyes, the suitcase

thrown open, sprouting failures.

 

   2.

And this evening in the garden

I find the winter

inside a snail shell, rigid and

cool, a little stubborn temple,

its one visitor gone.

 

   3.

If there were messages or signs,

I might hear now a voice tell me

to walk forever, to ask

the mold for pardon, and one

by one I would hear out my sins,

hear they are not important—that I am

part of this rain

drumming its long fingers, and

of the roadside stone refusing

to blink, and of the coyote

nailed to the fence with its

long grin.

 

And when there are no messages

the dead lie still—

their hands crossed so strangely

like knives and forks after supper.

 

   4.

I stay up late listening.

My feet tap the floor,

they begin a tiny dance

which will outlive me.

They turn away from this poem.

It is almost Spring.

September 27, 2021

On Children

By Kahlil Gibran

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.

  And he said:

  Your children are not your children.

  They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

  They come through you but not from you,

  And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

  You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

  For they have their own thoughts.

  You may house their bodies but not their souls,

  For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your 

dreams.

  You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

  For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

  You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

  The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might 

that His arrows may go swift and far.

  Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

  For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

September 20, 2021

En la Calle San Sebastián

By Martin Espada

      En Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico 1998

Here in a bar on the street of the saint

en la calle San Sebastián,

a dancer in white with a red red scarf

en la calle San Sebastián,

calls to the gods who were freed by slaves

en la calle San Sebastián,

and his bronze face is a lantern of sweat

en la calle San Sebastián,

and hands smack congas like flies in the field

en la calle San Sebastián,

and remember the beat of packing crates

en la calle San Sebastián,

from the days when overseers banished the drum

en la calle San Sebastián,

and trumpets screech like parrots of gold

en la calle San Sebastián,

trumpets that herald the end of the war

en la calle San Sebastián,

as soldiers toss rifles on cobblestone

en la calle San Sebastián,

and the saint himself snaps an arrow in half

en la calle San Sebastián,

then lost grandfathers and fathers appear

en la calle San Sebastián,

fingers tugging my steel-wool beard

en la calle San Sebastián,

whispering your beard is gray

en la calle San Sebastián,

spilling their rum across the table

en la calle San Sebastián,

till cousins lead them away to bed

en la calle San Sebastián,

and the dancer in white with a face of bronze

en la calle San Sebastián,

shakes rain from his hair like the god of storms

en la calle San Sebastián,

and sings for the blood that drums in the chest

en la calle San Sebastián,

and praises the blood that beats in the hands

en la calle San Sebastián,

en la calle San Sebastián.

September 13, 2021

Translation for Mamá

By Richard Blanco

What I’ve written for you, I have always written

in English, my language of silent vowel endings

never translated into your language of silent h’s.

           Lo que he escrito para ti, siempre lo he escrito

           en inglés, en mi lengua llena de vocales mudas

           nunca traducidas a tu idioma de haches mudas.

I’ve transcribed all your old letters into poems

that reconcile your exile from Cuba, but always

in English. I’ve given you back the guajiro roads

you left behind, stretched them into sentences

punctuated with palms, but only in English.

           He transcrito todas tus cartas viejas en poemas

           que reconcilian tu exilio de Cuba, pero siempre

           en inglés. Te he devuelto los caminos guajiros

           que dejastes atrás, transformados en oraciones

           puntuadas por palmas, pero solamente en inglés.

I have recreated the pueblecito you had to forget,

forced your green mountains up again, grown

valleys of sugarcane, stars for you in English.

           He reconstruido el pueblecito que tuvistes que olvidar,

           he levantado de nuevo tus montañas verdes, cultivado

           la caña, las estrellas de tus valles, para ti, en inglés.

In English I have told you how I love you cutting

gladiolas, crushing ajo, setting cups of dulce de leche

on the counter to cool, or hanging up the laundry

at night under our suburban moon. In English,

           En inglés te he dicho cómo te amo cuando cortas

           gladiolas, machacas ajo, enfrías tacitas de dulce de leche

           encima del mostrador, o cuando tiendes la ropa

           de noche bajo nuestra luna en suburbia. En inglés

I have imagined you surviving by transforming

yards of taffeta into dresses you never wear,

keeping Papá’s photo hinged in your mirror,

and leaving the porch light on, all night long.

           He imaginado como sobrevives transformando

           yardas de tafetán en vestidos que nunca estrenas,

           la foto de papá que guardas en el espejo de tu cómoda,

           la luz del portal que dejas encendida, toda la noche.

           Te he captado en inglés en la mesa de la cocina

           esperando que cuele el café, que hierva la leche

           y que tu vida acostumbre a tu vida. En inglés

           has aprendido a adorer tus pérdidas igual que yo.

I have captured you in English at the kitchen table

waiting for the café to brew, the milk to froth,

and your life to adjust to your life. In English

you’ve learned to adore your losses the way I do.

September 6, 2021

Reflection 

by Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

 

Keep me fully glad with nothing.  Only take my

hand in your hand.

In the gloom of the deepening night take up my

heart and play with it as you wish. Bind me close to you 

with nothing.

I will spread myself out at your feet and lie still.

Under this clouded sky I will meet silence with silence.

I will become one with the night clasping the earth in

my breast.

Make my life glad with nothing.

The rains sweep the sky from end to end. Jasmines

in the wet untamable wind revel in their own perfume.

The cloud hidden stars thrill in secret. Let me fill to

the full my heart with nothing but my own depth of joy.

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