Variation on a Theme
Thank you my life long afternoon
late in this spring that has no age
my window above the river
for the woman you led me to
when it was time at last the words
coming to me out of mid-air
that carried me through the clear day
and come even now to find me
for old friends and echoes of them
those mistakes only I could make
homesickness that guides the plovers
from somewhere they had loved before
they knew they loved it to somewhere
they had loved before they saw it
thank you good body hand and eye
and the places and moments known
only to me revisiting
once more complete just as they are
and the morning stars I have seen
and the dogs who are guiding me
W.S. Merwin via Poem-A-Day
Whatever purifies you is the right path, I will not try to define it.
The week after you died, Mom,
you were in my checkout line,
little old lady who met my stare
with the fear, the yearning
of a mortal chosen by a god,
feeling herself change
painfully cell by cell
into a shadow, a laurel, you, a constellation.
James Richardson via Poem-A-Day
There is nothing beautiful here
However I may want it. I can’t
Spin a crystal palace of this thin air,
Weave a darkness plush as molefur with my tongue
However I want. Yet I am not alone
In these alleys of vowels, which comfort me
As the single living nun of a convent
Is comforted by the walls of that catacomb
She walks at night, lit by her own moving candle.
I am not afraid of mirrors or the future
—Or even you, lovers, wandering cow-fat
And rutting in the gardens of this earthly verge
Where I too trod, a sunspot, parasol-shaded,
Kin to the trees, the bees, the color green.
Monica Ferrell via Poem-A-Day
At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.
It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.
You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late,
But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant’s fate.
Though my soul may set in darkness,
It will rise in perfect light,
I have loved the stars too fondly
To be fearful of the night.
Sarah Williams, (“The Old Astronomer to his Pupil”)
This is me.
Muffin of Sunsets
The sky is melting. Me too.
Who hasn’t seen it this way?
Pink between the castlework
drizzled over clouds.
It is almost catastrophic how heavenly.
A million poets, at least,
have stood in this very spot,
groceries in hand, wondering:
“Can I witness the Rapture
and still make it home in time for dinner?”
Elaine Equi via Poem-A-Day
In Portraits in Seasons
As a feral thing would. As a dead leaf whose crunch she herself hears, whose buggy interior floods the sidewalk. Beamy the world, yet a blank all the same. Where you've tucked your pen into your notes, I tuck my fingernail, burned and cursed and shut tight my eyes. I tuck my feet up like a girl. In this corner, warm milk fall of light something far from revealing its bone-blank eyes, that is, the eyes downcast in every portrait, shaded the ribbon a bright blue furl across the gaze, the peculiar mother, her arm around a naked toddler the fall of light. Betrays nothing. The book in hand, betrays. As a feral thing would, I shred its binding and burn through it for warmth.
Danielle Pafunda via Poem-A-Day