A Poem For Sunday

 

"miss rosie" by Lucille Clifton:

when I watch you
wrapped up like garbarge
sitting, surrounded by the smell
of too old potato peels
or
when I watch you
in your old man’s shoes
with the little toe cut out
sitting, waiting for your mind
like next week’s grocery
i say
when I watch you
you wet brown bag of a woman
who used to be the best looking gal in georgia
used to be called the Georgia Rose
i stand up
through your destruction
i stand up

(From The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 (BOA Editions, Ltd.) © 2012, The Estate of Lucille T. Clifton)

A Poem For Saturday

Sept

"A Field in Scurry County" by Christian Wiman:

Late evening, cool, September, and the ground
giving its clays and contours to the sky.
The colors swirl and merge and fall back down
and for a moment, as the reds intensify,

I am a ghost of all I don’t remember,
a grown man standing where a child once stood.
It is late evening. It is cool. September.
Pain like a breeze goes through me as if it could.

(Reprinted from Hard Night © 2005 Christian Wiman. Reprinted with the permission of the author and Copper Canyon Press. Image by Flickr user St0rmz)

A Poem For Tuesday

The poet Lucille Clifton wrote "September Song: A Poem in Seven Days" after watching the wreckage of the Twin Towers on television. She says, "I thought a lot about that and about the fact that my eldest daughter had, had a new baby girl five days before, and about love and continuing and fear and hope." The "Tuesday" poem from the sequence:

thunder and lightning and our world
is another place no day
will ever be the same no blood
untouched

they know this storm in otherwheres
israel ireland palestine
but God has blessed America
we sing

and God has blessed America
to learn that no one is exempt
the world is one all fear
is one all life all death
all one

Listen to Clifton read this and another section of the poem here.

A Poem For Sunday

Alone

From Idea by Michael Drayton (1563-1631):

You’re not alone when you are still alone;
O God!  from you that I could private be!
Since you one were, I never since was one,
Since you in me, myself since out of me,
Transported from myself into your being,
Though either distant, present yet to either;
Senseless with too much joy, each other seeing
And only absent when we are together.

Give me my self, and take your self again!
Devise some means by how I may forsake you!
So much is mine that doth with you remain,
That taking what is mine, with me I take you.
    You do bewitch me! O that I could fly
    From my self you, or from your own self I!

(Photo by Flickr user JanLendL)

A Poem For Monday

Summ_evening

"The Poet at Seven" by Donald Justice:

And on the porch, across the upturned chair,
The boy would spread a dingy counterpane
Against the length and majesty of the rain,
And on all fours crawl under it like a bear
To lick his wounds in secret, in his lair;
And afterwards, in the windy yard again,
One hand cocked back, release his paper plane
Frail as a May fly to the faithless air.
And summer evenings he would whirl around
Faster and faster till the drunken ground
Rose up to meet him; sometimes he would squat
Among the low weeds of the vacant lot,
Waiting for dusk and someone dear to come
And whip hm down the street, but gently, home.

(Reprinted from Collected Poems by Donald Justice © 2004, with permission from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Photo by Flickr user Michael Ragazzon)

A Poem For Saturday

Chairs

"Houseguests" by Anne Porter:

"All of us are coming"
No they are not coming
They may be coming
They may not be coming.

Four of them are coming,
That is, if they are coming!
Five will come on Friday
Three will leave on Sunday
Two will come back Tuesday,
That is, if they are coming.

If they were coming
Two of them would be coming
But they are not coming . . .

Six of them are coming!

(Reprinted from Living Things by Anne Porter, published by Zoland Books, an imprint of Steerforth Press, 2006. Photo by Flickr user Gruenemann)

A Poem For Thursday

Reeds

"The Argument of His Book" by Robert Herrick (1591-1674):

I sing of Brooks, of Blossomes, Birds, and Bowers:
Of April, May, of June, and July-Flowers.
I sing of May-poles, Hock-carts, Wassails, Wakes,
Of Bride-grooms, Brides, and of their Bridall-cakes.
I write of Youth, of Love, and have Accesse
By these, to sing of cleanly-Wantonnesse.
I sing of Dewes, of Raines, and piece by piece
Of Balme, of Oyle, of Spice, and Amber-Greece.
I sing of Times trans-shifting; and I write
How Roses first came Red, and Lillies White.
I write of Groves, of Twilights, and I sing
The Court of Mab, and of the Fairie-King.
I write of Hell; I sing (and ever shall)
Of Heaven, and hope to have it after all.

A Poem For Sunday

Gnomon

"Gnomon" by Noelle Kocot:

A mirthy owl stands past breathing.
It is a plate-glass rescue
Of the ten thousand things.
Martha knew it once, came
To her own conclusions.
Then her spirit cried for respite
And release. There was no
Other season for the blatant cross-
Road of the yellow trees.
There was no other, Martha
Knew as she flew to the giant
Warmth in the desert of the real.

(From The Bigger World by Noelle Kocot © 2011. Reprinted with permission of Wave Books and the author. Photo by Flickr user Mr. T in DC)

A Poem For Saturday

Maple

An untitled poem by J.V. Cunningham:

I write only to say this,
In a syllabic dryness
As inglorious as I feel:
Sometime before drinking time
For the first time in some weeks
I heard of you, the casual
News of a new life, silence
Of unconfronted feeling
And maples in the slant sun
The gay colour of decay.
Was it unforgivable,
My darling, that you loved me?

(# 14 from the sequence "To What Strangers, What Welcome" from The Collected Poems and Epigrams of J.V. Cunningham © 1942, 1971 by J.V. Cunningham. This material is reprinted with the permission of Ohio University Press, http://www.ohioswallow.com. Photo by Flickr user mikecpeck)