A Crosstown Breeze, by Henry Taylor — A drift of wind when August wheeled brought back to mind an alfalfa field where green windrows bleached down to hay while storm clouds rose and rolled our way. With lighthearted strain in our pastoral agon we raced the rain with baler and wagon, driving each other to hold the turn out of the weather […]
A Noun Sentence, by Mahmoud Darwish — A noun sentence, no verb to it or in it: to the sea the scent of the bed after making love … a salty perfume or a sour one. A noun sentence: my wounded joy like the sunset at your strange windows. My flower green like the phoenix. My heart exceeding my need, hesitant between […]
And You Thought You Were the Only One, by Mark Bibbins — Someone waits at my door. Because he is dead he has time but I have my secrets– this is what separates us from the dead. See, I could order take-out or climb down the fire escape, so it’s not as though he is keeping me from anything I need. While this may sound like something […]
Antigonish [I met a man who wasn’t there], by Hughes Mearns — Yesterday, upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there He wasn’t there again today I wish, I wish he’d go away… When I came home last night at three The man was waiting there for me But when I looked around the hall I couldn’t see him there at all! Go away, go […]
Because You Asked about the Line Between Prose and Poetry, by Howard Nemerov — Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzle That while you watched turned to pieces of snow Riding a gradient invisible From silver aslant to random, white, and slow. There came a moment that you couldn’t tell. And then they clearly flew instead of fell.
Before, by Carl Adamshick — I always thought death would be like traveling in a car, moving through the desert, the earth a little darker than sky at the horizon, that your life would settle like the end of a day and you would think of everyone you ever met, that you would be the invisible passenger, quiet in the […]
Beyond the Years, by Paul Laurence Dunbar — I Beyond the years the answer lies, Beyond where brood the grieving skies And Night drops tears. Where Faith rod-chastened smiles to rise And doff its fears, And carping Sorrow pines and dies— Beyond the years. II Beyond the years the prayer for rest Shall beat no more within the breast; The darkness clears, And […]
Blue or Green, by James Galvin — We don’t belong to each other. We belong together. Some poems belong together to prove the intentionality of subatomic particles. Some poems eat with scissors. Some poems are like kissing a porcupine. God, by the way, is disappointed in some of your recent choices. Some poems swoop. When she said my eyes were definitely blue, […]
Breaking Across Us Now, by Katie Ford — I began to see things in parts again, segments, a pen drawn against the skin to show where to cut, lamppost through the stained glass with its etchings of light against the wall — it was the middle of the night. It was something we would tell no one: The hospital roads with standing water, […]
Descriptions of Heaven and Hell, by Mark Jarman — The wave breaks And I’m carried into it. This is hell, I know, Yet my father laughs, Chest-deep, proving I’m wrong. We’re safely rooted, Rocked on his toes. Nothing irked him more Than asking, “What is there Beyond death?” His theory once was That love greets you, And the loveless Don’t know what to say.
Diving into the Wreck, by Adrienne Rich — First having read the book of myths, and loaded the camera, and checked the edge of the knife-blade, I put on the body-armor of black rubber the absurd flippers the grave and awkward mask. I am having to do this not like Cousteau with his assiduous team aboard the sun-flooded schooner but here alone. There […]
Fog, by Carl Sandburg — The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.
Haunted Houses, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow — All houses wherein men have lived and died Are haunted houses. Through the open doors The harmless phantoms on their errands glide, With feet that make no sound upon the floors. We meet them at the door-way, on the stair, Along the passages they come and go, Impalpable impressions on the air, A sense of […]
Haunted Seas, by Cale Young Rice — A gleaming glassy ocean Under a sky of grey; A tide that dreams of motion, Or moves, as the dead may; A bird that dips and wavers Over lone waters round, Then with a cry that quavers Is gone—a spectral sound. The brown sad sea-weed drifting Far from the land, and lost; The faint warm […]
i am witness to the threshing of the grain, by John Hoffman — i am witness to the threshing of the grain the man of corn hanging from a dry oak bough bade us to be silent in our flailing he bade us the understanding that pervades the silence that is veiled his whisper is no louder than the locust bade us no louder whrr chk chk whrr […]
If It All Went Up in Smoke, by George Oppen — that smoke would remain the forever savage country poem’s light borrowed light of the landscape and one’s footprints praise from distance in the close crowd all that is strange the sources the wells the poem begins neither in word nor meaning but the small selves haunting us in the stones and is less always than […]
Latin & Soul, by Victor Hernández Cruz — 1 some waves a wave of now a trombone speaking to you a piano is trying to break a molecule is trying to lift the stage into orbit around the red spotlights a shadow the shadows of dancers dancers they are dancing falling out that space made for dancing they should dance on […]
Lyric, by Khaled Mattawa — Will answers be found like seeds planted among rows of song? Will mouths recognize the hunger in their voices, all mouths in unison, the ah in harmony, the way words of hope are more than truth when whispered? Will we turn to each other and ask, how long has it been…how long since? A world […]
No, Love Is Not Dead, by Robert Desnos — No, love is not dead in this heart these eyes and this mouth that announced the start of its own funeral. Listen, I’ve had enough of the picturesque, the colorful and the charming. I love love, its tenderness and cruelty. My love has only one name, one form. Everything disappears. All mouths cling to that […]
One Art, by Elizabeth Bishop — The art of losing isn’t hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, […]
Rain, by Claribel Alegría — As the falling rain trickles among the stones memories come bubbling out. It’s as if the rain had pierced my temples. Streaming streaming chaotically come memories: the reedy voice of the servant telling me tales of ghosts. They sat beside me the ghosts and the bed creaked that purple-dark afternoon when I learned you were […]
Science, by Robert Kelly — Science explains nothing but holds all together as many things as it can count science is a basket not a religion he said a cat as big as a cat the moon the size of the moon science is the same as poetry only it uses the wrong words.
The Blade of Nostalgia, by Chase Twichell — When fed into the crude, imaginary machine we call the memory, the brain’s hard pictures slide into the suggestive waters of the counterfeit. They come out glamorous and simplified, even the violent ones, even the ones that are snapshots of fear. Maybe those costumed, clung-to fragments are the first wedge nostalgia drives into our dreaming. […]
The Cities Inside Us, by Alberto Ríos — We live in secret cities And we travel unmapped roads. We speak words between us that we recognize But which cannot be looked up. They are our words. They come from very far inside our mouths. You and I, we are the secret citizens of the city Inside us, and inside us There go all […]
The Face of All the World (Sonnet 7), by Elizabeth Barrett Browning — The face of all the world is changed, I think, Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul Move still, oh, still, beside me, as they stole Betwixt me and the dreadful outer brink Of obvious death, where I, who thought to sink, Was caught up into love, and taught the whole Of life […]
The Forms Of Love, by George Oppen —Parked in the fields All night So many years ago, We saw A lake beside us When the moon rose. I remember Leaving that ancient car Together. I remember Standing in the white grass Beside it. We groped Our way together Downhill in the bright Incredible light Beginning to wonder Whether it could be lake […]
The White Rose, by John Boyle O’Reilly — The red rose whispers of passion, And the white rose breathes of love; O, the red rose is a falcon, And the white rose is a dove. But I send you a cream-white rosebud With a flush on its petal tips; For the love that is purest and sweetest Has a kiss of desire on […]
The Writer, by Richard Wilbur — In her room at the prow of the house Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden, My daughter is writing a story. I pause in the stairwell, hearing From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys Like a chain hauled over a gunwale. Young as she is, the stuff Of her life […]
Who Shall Doubt, by George Oppen — consciousness in itself of itself carrying ‘the principle of the actual’ being actual itself ((but maybe this is a love poem Mary) ) nevertheless neither the power of the self nor the racing car nor the lilly is sweet but this