April 19th, 2021 – National Poetry Month

In Summer Time

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

When summer time has come, and all

The world is in the magic thrall

Of perfumed airs that lull each sense

To fits of drowsy indolence;

When skies are deepest blue above,

And flow’rs aflush, –then most I love

To start, while early dews are damp,

And wend my way in woodland tramp

Where forests rustle, tree on tree,

And sing their silent songs to me;

Where pathways meet and pathways part, —

To walk with Nature heart by heart,

Till wearied out at last I lie

Where some sweet streams steals singing by

A mossy bank; where violets vie

In color with the summer sky, —

Or take my rod and line and hook,

And wander to some darkling brook,

And idly droop to kiss the stream,

And there to loll from morn till night–

Unheeding nibble, run, or bite–

Just for the joy of being there

And drinking in the summer air,

The summer sounds, and summer sights,

That set a restless mind to rights

When grief and pain and raging doubt

Of men and creeds have worn it out;

The birds’ song and the water’s drone,

The humming bee’s low monotone,

The murmur of the passing breeze,

And all the sounds akin to these,

That make a man in summer time

Feel only fit for rest and rhyme.

Joy springs all radiant in my breast;

Though pauper poor, than king more blest,

The tide beats in my soul so strong

That happiness breaks forth in song,

And rings aloud the welkin blue

With all the songs I ever knew.

O time of rapture! time of song!

How swiftly glide thy days along

Adown the current of the years,

Above the rocks of grief and tears!

‘Tis wealth enough of joy for me

In summer time to simply be.

April 18th, 2021 – National Poetry Month

Superbly Situated

by Robert Hershon

you politely ask me not to die and i promise not to   
right from the beginning—a relationship based on   
good sense and thoughtfulness in little things

i would like to be loved for such simple attainments   
as breathing regularly and not falling down too often   
or because my eyes are brown or my father left-handed

and to be on the safe side i wouldn’t mind if somehow
i became entangled in your perception of admirable objects   
so you might say to yourself: i have recently noticed

how superbly situated the empire state building is
how it looms up suddenly behind cemeteries and rivers   
so far away you could touch it—therefore i love you

part of me fears that some moron is already plotting   
to tear down the empire state building and replace it   
with a block of staten island mother/daughter houses

just as part of me fears that if you love me for my cleanliness   
i will grow filthy if you admire my elegant clothes   
i’ll start wearing shirts with sailboats on them

but i have decided to become a public beach an opera house   
a regularly scheduled flight—something that can’t help being   
in the right place at the right time—come take your seat

we’ll raise the curtain fill the house start the engines   
fly off into the sunrise, the spire of the empire state
the last sight on the horizon as the earth begins to curve

April 17th, 2021 – National Poetry Month

A Litany for Survival

by Audre Lorde

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
futures
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours;

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive.

April 16th, 2021 – National Poetry Month

There Are Birds Here

by Jamaal May

For Detroit

There are birds here,
so many birds here
is what I was trying to say
when they said those birds were metaphors
for what is trapped
between buildings
and buildings. No.
The birds are here
to root around for bread
the girl’s hands tear
and toss like confetti. No,
I don’t mean the bread is torn like cotton,
I said confetti, and no
not the confetti
a tank can make of a building.
I mean the confetti
a boy can’t stop smiling about
and no his smile isn’t much
like a skeleton at all. And no
his neighborhood is not like a war zone.
I am trying to say
his neighborhood
is as tattered and feathered
as anything else,
as shadow pierced by sun
and light parted
by shadow-dance as anything else,
but they won’t stop saying
how lovely the ruins,
how ruined the lovely
children must be in that birdless city.

April 15th, 2021 – National Poetry Month

Summer Stars

by Carl Sandburg

Bend low again, night of summer stars.

So near you are, sky of summer stars,

So near, a long-arm man can pick off stars,

Pick off what he wants in the sky bowl,

So near you are, summer stars,

So near, strumming, strumming,

So lazy and hum-strumming.

April 14th, 2021 – National Poetry Month

Abruptly All the Palm Trees

by William Jay Smith

Abruptly all the palm trees rose like parasols,

and sunlight danced, and green to greenness gave.

Birds flew forth and cast like waterfalls

shadow upon shade.

Where the crab with its linoleum colors crawls,

and coral combs the crystal-caverned sea,

we stood, our blood as bright and fringed as shawls

before the beautiful, progressing leaf.

Abruptly all the palm trees rose like parasols,

and green was the green to greenness gave.

Dimension crumbled, Time lay down its walls.

And all the world went wading towards the wave.

April 13th, 2021 – National Poetry Month

Winter Solstice

by Hilda Morley

A cold night crosses
our path
                  The world appears
very large, very
round now       extending
far as the moon does
                                        It is from
the moon this cold travels
                                        It is
the light of the moon that causes
this night reflecting distance in its own
light so coldly
                                          (from one side of
the earth to the other)
                                        It is the length of this coldness
It is the long distance
between two points which are
not in a line        now
                                       not a
straightness       (however
straight) but a curve only,
silver that is a rock reflecting
                                                      not metal
but a rock accepting
distance
                     (a scream in silence
where between the two
points what touches
is a curve around the world
                                                      (the dance unmoving).
NEW YORK, 1969

What I’ve Been Reading – 4/12/2021

Joyce Manor – “Think I’m Still In Love With You”

Have a good week!

April 12th, 2021 – National Poetry Month

The Peace of Wild Things

by Wendell Barry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

April 11th, 2021 – National Poetry Month

Everything Good between Men and Women

by C.D. Wright

has been written in mud and butter
and barbecue sauce. The walls and
the floors used to be gorgeous.
The socks off-white and a near match.
The quince with fire blight
but we get two pints of jelly
in the end. Long walks strengthen
the back. You with a fever blister
and myself with a sty. Eyes
have we and we are forever prey
to each other’s teeth. The torrents
go over us. Thunder has not harmed
anyone we know. The river coursing
through us is dirty and deep. The left
hand protects the rhythm. Watch
your head. No fires should be
unattended. Especially when wind. Each
receives a free swiss army knife.
The first few tongues are clearly
preparatory. The impression
made by yours I carry to my grave. It is
just so sad so creepy so beautiful.
Bless it. We have so little time
to learn, so much… The river
courses dirty and deep. Cover the lettuce.
Call it a night. O soul. Flow on. Instead.