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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Equinox

Clouds go over.  The maples flare again.

In the garden the last bright asters

blaze in the autumn air

the way my skin burned

when you turned to me

in the chill breeze off the lake.

 

The days are cool now,

the nights are deep, and long.

At the feeder a red-winged blackbird

has come in from the fields

and sorts among the seeds.

A rare visitor –

even if he finds what he wants,

he’ll never stay here.

 

These are the last days.

Already the stalks of lilies

have withered, and the gold petals

of the rose melt on the grass.

But the sky flames, more intense.

I didn’t see it coming.

For the few days you were here with me,

all the familiar warnings disappeared.

 

                     ~ Patricia Hooper

 

"Red-Winged Blackbird" by Ltshears

“Red-Winged Blackbird” by Ltshears

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End of Summer

An agitation of the air,

A perturbation of the light

Admonished me the unloved year

Would turn on its hinge that night.

 

I stood in the disenchanted field

Amid the stubble and the stones,

Amazed, while a small worm lisped to me

The song of my marrow-bones.

 

Blue poured into summer blue,

A hawk broke from his cloudless tower,

The roof of the silo blazed, and I knew

That part of my life was over.

 

Already the iron door of the north

Clangs open: birds, leaves, snows

Order their populations forth,

And a cruel wind blows.

 

~ Stanley Kunitz

 

Caspar David Friedrich, circa 1830

Caspar David Friedrich, circa 1830

 

 

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My Ambition

is to become a footnote

in a learned work of the

 

22nd century   not just a

“cf” or a “see” but a sol-

 

id note such as Raby gives

Walafrid Straho in Christ-

 

ian Latin Poetry or Ernst

Robert Curtius (the most

 

erudite German who ever

lived) devotes to Alber-

 

tino Mussato in his Euro-

päische Literatur und La-

 

teinisches Mittelalter   I

hope the scholar of the

 

22nd will lick his schol-

arly lips when he finds me

 

in some forgotten source

(perhaps the Obloquies of

 

Dreadful Edward Dahlberg)

and think here is an odd-

ball I would have liked,

immortalizing me in six

 

turgid lines of footnote.

 

~ James Laughlin

 

"Daydreams" by Thomas Couture, 1859

“Daydreams” by Thomas Couture, 1859

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September Midnight

Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,

Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,

Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,

Ceaseless, insistent.

 

The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples,

The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence

Under a moon waning and worn, broken,

Tired with summer.

 

Let me remember you, voices of little insects,

Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,

Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,

Snow-hushed and heavy.

 

Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,

While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,

As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,

Lest they forget them.

 

                                                             ~ Sara Teasdale

 

"A Moonlit Evening" by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880

“A Moonlit Evening” by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880

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Ninety-Fifth Street

Words can bang around in your head

Forever, if you let them and you give them room.

I used to love poetry, and mostly I still do,

Though sometimes “I, too, dislike it.” There must be

Something real beyond the fiddle and perfunctory

Consolations and the quarrels—as of course

There is, though what it is is difficult to say.

The salt is on the briar rose, the fog is in the fir trees.

I didn’t know what it was, and I don’t know now,

But it was what I started out to do, and now, a lifetime later,

All I’ve really done. The Opening of the Field,

Roots and Branches, Rivers and Mountains: I sat in my room

Alone, their fragments shored against the ruin or revelation

That was sure to come, breathing in their secret atmosphere,

Repeating them until they almost seemed my own.

We like to think our lives are what they study to become,

And yet so much of life is waiting, waiting on a whim.

So much of what we are is sheer coincidence,

Like a sentence whose significance is retrospective,

Made up out of elementary particles that are in some sense

Simply sounds, like syllables that finally settle into place.

You probably think that this is a poem about poetry

(And obviously it is), yet its real subject is time,

For that’s what poetry is—a way to live through time

And sometimes, just for a while, to bring it back.

 

~ From “Ninety-Fifth Street” by John Koethe

 

"Personification of Time in a Flower Garland" by Carstian Luyckx, 1650

“Personification of Time in a Flower Garland” by Carstian Luyckx, 1650

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One face looks out from all his canvases,

One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans:

We found her hidden just behind those screens,

That mirror gave back all her loveliness.

A queen in opal or in ruby dress,

A nameless girl in freshest summer-greens,

A saint, an angel—every canvas means

The same one meaning, neither more nor less.

He feeds upon her face by day and night,

And she with true kind eyes looks back on him,

Fair as the moon and joyful as the light:

Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim;

Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;

Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.

 

                                       ~ Christina Rossetti

 

"The Artist and His Model" by Carl Schweninger (1854-1912)

“The Artist and His Model” by Carl Schweninger (1854-1912)

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August

When the blackberries hang

swollen in the woods, in the brambles

nobody owns, I spend

 

all day among the high

branches, reaching

my ripped arms, thinking

 

of nothing, cramming

the black honey of summer

into my mouth; all day my body

 

accepts what it is. In the dark

creeks that run by there is

this thick paw of my life darting among

 

the black bells, the leaves; there is

this happy tongue.

 

             ~ Mary Oliver

 

"Blackberry Picking" by John George Brown, 1875

“Blackberry Picking” by John George Brown, 1875

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