Wise Poets – Gabrielle Calvocoressi – Hammond B3 Organ Cistern

Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Gabrielle Calvocoressi The days I don’t want to kill myselfare extraordinary. Deep bass. All the peoplein the streets waiting for their high fivesand leaping, I mean leaping,when they see me. I am the sun-filledgod of love. Or at least an optimisticunder-secretary. There should be a word for it.The days you wake up and do not wantto …

Wise Poets – Barbara Quick – Falling

Barbara Quick

Barbara Quick That hair’s breadth of a moment,knowing that the body has lurched outsidethe mind’s controland is falling. The head-first journey of nine feetpowered by a thirty-pound backpack–seeing not lights, but the hubrisof that one false, resentful stepupwards onto the fallen tree-trunkblocking the trail–that one unpracticed vaultup to a place where balance–my balance–is suddenly gone. …

Wise Poets – Lisel Mueller – Romantics

Lisel Mueller

Lisel Mueller (February 8, 1924 – February 21, 2020) For Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms The modern biographers worry“how far it went,” their tender friendship.They wonder just what it meanswhen he writes he thinks of her constantly,his guardian angel, beloved friend.The modern biographers askthe rude, irrelevant questionof our age, as if the eventof two bodies …

Wise Poets – Elinor Morton Wylie – Full Moon

Elinor Morton Wylie

Elinor Morton Wylie (September 7, 1885 – December 16, 1928) My bands of silk and miniverMomently grew heavier;The black gauze was beggarly thin;The ermine muffled mouth and chin;I could not suck the moonlight in. Harlequin in lozengesOf love and hate, I walked in theseStriped and ragged rigmaroles;Along the pavement my footsolesTrod warily on living coals. …

Wise Poets – Kim Robert Stafford – Curse Of The Charmed Life

Kim Robert Stafford

Kim Robert Stafford (October 15, 1949 -) Things pretty much worked out for you—you have what you need, and if you need more,you have people ready and able to provide. Sure, someday your luck will run out,you’ll be helpless, then gone, and your peoplewill gather in your honor. There will be music, and tears. People …

Wise Poets – Linda Pastan – The Ordinary Weather of Summer

Linda Pastan

Linda Pastan (May 27, 1932 -) In the ordinary weather of summerwith storms rumbling from west to eastlike so many freight trains haulingtheir cargo of heat and rain,the dogs sprawl on the back steps, panting,insects assemble at every window,and we quarrel again, bombardingeach other with small grievances,our tempers flashing on and offin bursts of heat …

Wise Poets – John Keats – Ode To A Grecian Urn

John Keats

John Keats (October 31, 1795 – February 23, 1821) Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness!Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,Sylvan historian, who canst thus expressA flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shapeOf deities or mortals, or of both,In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?What men or gods are …

Wise Poets – Roxane Beth Johnson – Blues for Almost Forgotten Music

Roxane Beth Johnson

Roxane Beth Johnson I am trying to remember the lyrics of old songsI’ve forgotten, mostlyI am trying to remember one-hit wonders, hymns,and musicals like West Side Story.Singing over and over what I can recall, I hum remnants onbuses and in the car. I am so often alone these days with echoes of these old songsand …

Wise Poets – Dana Gioia – Photograph Of My Mother As A Young Girl

Dana Gioia

Dana Gioia (December 24, 1950 -) She wasn't lookingwhen they took this picture:sitting on the grassin her bare feetwearing a cotton dress,she stares off to the sidewatching something on the lawnthe camera didn't catch.What was it?A ladybug? A flower?Judging from her expression,possibly nothing at all,or elsethe lawn was like a mirror,and she sat watching herself,wondering …

Wise Poets – William Shakespeare – Excerpt from The Tempest Act 4, Scene 1

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616) Our revels now are ended. These our actors,As I foretold you, were all spirits andAre melted into air, into thin air:And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,The solemn temples, the great globe itself,Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolveAnd, like …

Wise Poets – Grace Paley – The Poet’s Occasional Alternative

Grace Paley

Grace Paley (December 11, 1922 – August 22, 2007) I was going to write a poemI made a pie instead      it tookabout the same amount of timeof course the pie was a finaldraft      a poem would have had somedistance to go      days and weeks andmuch crumpled paperthe pie already had a talkingtumbling audience among smalltrucks and a fire …

Wise Poets – Hazem Fahmy – Rehearsal For The New World

Hazem Fahmy

Hazem Fahmy Hours before the TV, my mouthagape, repeating after every American cartoonendlessly. Call it a meditation; was I not emptying my mindof language? Mouthing every syllable,like prayer–God, make me a true American,i.e. invisible, yetever-present. What a rush it wasto speak empireat such a young age. Later, I am asked: how did you getthis accent? …

Wise Poets – Galway Mills Kinnell – Wait

5d4b4 galway kinnell

Galway Mills Kinnell (February 1, 1927 – October 28, 2014) Wait, for now.Distrust everything if you have to.But trust the hours. Haven’t theycarried you everywhere, up to now?Personal events will become interesting again.Hair will become interesting.Pain will become interesting.Buds that open out of season will become interesting.Second-hand gloves will become lovely again;their memories are what …

Wise Poets – Jane Hirshfield – Today, When I Could Do Nothing

Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -) Today, when I could do nothing,I saved an ant. It must have come in with the morning paper,still being deliveredto those who shelter in place. A morning paper is still an essential service. I am not an essential service. I have coffee and books,time,a garden,silence enough to fill cisterns. …

Wise Poets – Robert Herrick – To The Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Robert Herrick

Robert Herrick (August 24, 1591 – October 15, 1674) Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,Old Time is still a-flying;And this same flower that smiles todayTomorrow will be dying. The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,The higher he’s a-getting,The sooner will his race be run,And nearer he’s to setting. That age is best which is the …

Wise Poets – Matthew Olzmann – Mountain Dew Commercial Disguised as a Love Poem

Matthew Olzmann

Matthew Olzmann So here’s what I’ve got, the reasons why our marriagemight work: Because you wear pink but write poemsabout bullets and gravestones. Because you yellat your keys when you lose them, and laugh,loudly, at your own jokes. Because you can hold a pistol,gut a pig. Because you memorize songs, even commercialsfrom thirty years back …

Wise Poets – Tiana Clark – First Date During Social Distance

Tiana Clark

Tiana Clark Everything wanted to be touched:My bottom lip, the freshly bustedcherry blossoms, creamy drippingslike soft fluttering pearls that edgedthe lack (I meant to write lakebut kept the mistake) as I rimmedthe risky desires. And you, youwere all new, suffused with muskand sadness, height and a milk-chocolate sweater that curledat the collar rim, filling outyour …

Wise Poets – Sara Teasdale – There Will Come Soft Rains

Sara Teasdale

Sara Teasdale (August 8, 1884 – January 29, 1933) (War Time)There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;And frogs in the pools singing at night,And wild plum trees in tremulous white,Robins will wear their feathery fireWhistling their whims on a low fence-wire;And not one will know …

Wise Poets – Stephen Elliot Dunn – An Evolution Of Prayer

96557 stephen dunn

Stephen Elliot Dunn (June 24, 1939 – June 24, 2021) As a child, some of his prayers were answeredbecause he prayed out loud for a kite or bike,which his mother would overhear, and pass onto her husband, his father, the Lord. Later, he understood that when he prayedhe was mostly talking to himself—albeit a better,more …

Wise Poets – William Carlos Williams – Pastoral

William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams (September 17, 1883 – March 4, 1963) When I was youngerit was plain to meI must make something of myself.Older nowI walk back streetsadmiring the housesof the very poor:roof out of line with sidesthe yards clutteredwith old chicken wire, ashes,furniture gone wrong;the fences and outhousesbuilt of barrel stavesand parts of boxes, all,if …

Wise Poets – Jennifer Chang – The Lonely Humans

Jennifer Chang

Jennifer Chang A type of hickory, it grows by water.So are we fools to drive to the riverthe day after our most savage stormshave finally stopped to seea tree we’ve never seen before?To hike in cold mud through a leafless forest,to behold clearings now clutteredby whatever fell last night—mostly oaks,no hickory—to attend the mad performanceof …

Wise Poets – Jane Kenyon – Three Songs at the End of Summer

ffee1 jane kenyon

Jane Kenyon (May 23, 1947 – April 22, 1995) A second crop of hay lies cutand turned. Five gleaming crowssearch and peck between the rows.They make a low, companionable squawk,and like midwives and undertakerspossess a weird authority. Crickets leap from the stubble,parting before me like the Red Sea.The garden sprawls and spoils. Across the lake …

Wise Poets – Paul Laurence Dunbar – In Summer Time

0796b paul lawrence dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar (June 27, 1872 – February 9, 1906) When summer time has come, and allThe world is in the magic thrallOf perfumed airs that lull each senseTo fits of drowsy indolence;When skies are deepest blue above,And flow'rs aflush,—then most I loveTo start, while early dews are damp,And wend my way in woodland trampWhere …

Wise Poets – Clint Margrave – Toad Dies And Goes To Heaven

8dd7b clint margrave

Clint Margrave In memory of Gerald Locklin Nobody is more surprised than he is.First of all, Toad doesn’t believe in heaven,and secondly, even if he did,he never expected to visit. In fact, he’s minorly disappointed.Has he failed to achieve the properlydebauched life he so often courted? But the food tastes good.And you can drink all …

Wise Poets – Apple – To The Crazy Ones

6ae86 steve job

Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) Apple Here’s to the crazy ones.The misfits.The rebels.The troublemakers.The round pegs in square holes.The ones who see things differently.There’re not fond or rules.And they have no respect for the status quo.You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,disbelieve them, glorify them or vilify them.About …

Wise Poets – James Davis May – Red in Tooth and Claw

ced87 james davis may

James Davis May Even on the night my friend died     after a long illness— I won’t use the word       battle,     but the cancer was gone, and then it came back, like some slasher film killer—  even on that night, the feral cat, the one that’s white and fluffy and sometimes affectionate, still crossed our driveway, …

Wise Poets – Eleanor Wilner – When Vision Narrows To A Single Beam of Light

06dc5 eleanor wilner

Eleanor Rand Wilner For years he had been hidden, quiet,huge head on his paws,almost a sphinx in his composure,a figure waitingfor a breeze to move the densegreen canopy of leaves overhead,enough to bring a hair-thin laser lineof light downinto the endless twilightbelow;he had been patient, waitingfor the underbrush to open, for a lowwind to enter, …

Wise Poets – Phillip Lopate – It’s Good We Only See Each Other Once a Week

527b2 image 1

Phillip Lopate It's good we only see each other once a week.A young man about to move in with his fiancéedied of a sudden heart attack at twenty-six.One hears these stories all the time.The heart is trained to handle deprivation,not unforeseen happiness. Just as when youthrow your arms around me I start to overflow,but then …

Wise Poets – Ellen Bass – The Big Picture

184f1 ellen bass

Ellen Bass (June 16, 1947 -) I try to look at the big picture. The sun, ardent tonguelicking us like a mother besottedwith her new cub, will wear itself out. Everything is transitory.Think of the meteorthat annihilated the dinosaurs.And before that, the volcanoesof the Permian period — all those burnt fernsand reptiles, sharks and bony fish —that …

Wise Poets – Elizabeth Gaskell – On Visiting the Grave of My Stillborn Little Girl

918b1 image

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (September 29, 1810 – November 12, 1865) Sunday July 4th 1836 I made a vow within my soul, O Child,When thou wert laid beside my weary heart,With marks of death on every tender partThat, if in time a living infant smiled,Winning my ear with gentle sounds of loveIn sunshine of such joy, …

Wise Poets – Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer – The Price Of Nothing

16bdd rosemerry wahtola trommer

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer What could be more valuablethan nothing? The nothing thatframes “The Thinker,” the nothingthat holds every bowl,every vase, every bust, every thought.Let others buy the clay, the steel,the papier-mâché. I will be satisfiedwith nothing more than nothing.Nothing pleases me. Nothingenchants me. Nothing,as Heisenberg says,has a weight. Just thinkof the space here beside mewhere …

Wise Poets – Tracy K Smith – I Sit Outside In Low Late Afternoon Light To Feel Earth Call To Me

1eded tracy k smith

Tracy K Smith (April 16, 1972 -) I wish it would grab me by the ankles and pull.I wish its shadow would dance up close, closing in.When I close my eyes a presence forms, backs away.I float above a lake, am dragged backfrom a portion of sky. Down, down, the falling doesn’t end.Every marked body …

Wise Poets – Anya Krugovoy Silver – Red Never Lasts

74038 anya krugovoy

Anya Krugovoy Silver (December 22, 1968 – August 6, 2018) There’s no doubt it’s the most glamorous,the one you reach for first—its luscious gloss.Russian Roulette, First Dance, Apéritif, Cherry Pop.For three days, your nails are a Ferris wheel,a field of roses, a flashing neon Open sign.Whatever you’re wearing feels like a tight dressand your hair …

Wise Poets – Lisel Mueller – Brendel Playing Schubert

Lisel Mueller

Lisel Mueller (February 8, 1924 – February 21, 2020) We bring our hands togetherin applause, that absurd noise,when we want to be silent. We might as wellbe banging pots and pans,it is that jarring, a violationof the music we've listened towithout moving, almost holding our breath.The pianist in his blindinglywhite summer jacket bowsand disappears and …

Wise Poets – Deborah Landau – Skeletons

d8f5c 03cdf598 6dbf 4157 9ddd 2619d8eaedcd

Deborah Landau So whatever’s the opposite of a Buddhist that’s what I am.Kindhearted, yes, but knee deep in existential gloom,except when the fog smokes the bridges like this—like, instead of being afraid we might juice ourselves up,eh, like, might get kissed again? Dwelling in bones I go straightthrough life, a sublime abundance—cherries, dog’s breath, the …

Wise Poets – Vanessa Jimenez Gabb – Basic Needs

bf418 photo sep 16 2021 at 214838

Vanessa Jimenez Gabb There will be workBy late fallRaining inHabana ViejoIt’s so hardTo not think of youPrivacy is complicatedThe famous hotelBy the seaWhere did you come fromWhere did you come fromSometimes the verbsAren't importantThank youFor this organizationThe conspicuous absenceOf logosThese mountains I believeWill absolve meWhen I rememberTo look upMoney doesn't alwaysMean what I thinkIt doesIt …

Wise Poets – Franz Xaver Kappus – Sonnet

1df92 1b7fcd82 5b62 4521 8579 bac2064c6c64

Franz Xaver Kappus (May 17, 1883 – October 09, 1966) Through my life there trembles, without complaintor sighs, a deep, dark pain.My dreams of pure snowblossomsconsecrate the stillest day.But oft my path encountersthe great question. I become smalland cold, like a lakewhose waters I dare not measure.Then a sorrow overcomes me, a sorrowlike the dullest …

Wise Poets – Maria Mazziotti Gillan – Bell Bottoms and Platform Shoes

7180f maria mazziotti gillan

Maria Mazziotti Gillan (March 12, 1940 -) A friend sends me a picture of herselffrom the 70s—bell bottoms, platform shoesa patterned button down shirt,hair puffed up from a perm. I can see the outline of the person she is nowand she reminds me of myself in the 70s—married for eight years to a manI knew …

Wise Poets – Gregory Djanikian – Banality

78750 gregory djanikian

Gregory Djanikian There's something to be said for banality,the way it keeps everything on a level plane,one cliché blithely following anotherlike cows heading toward the pasture. How lovely sometimes not to thinkabout Russian Futurism, or the second lawof thermodynamics, or how thinking itselfrequires some thoughtfulness. I'd like to ask if Machiavelliever owned a dog named …

Wise Poets – Ha Jin – I Sing Of An Old Land

efa9e ha jin

Ha Jin (February 21, 1956 -) I sing of an old landwhere the gods have taken shelter underground,where the human idols eat human sacrifice,where hatred runs the business of philanthropy,where blazing dragons eclipse the wronged ghosts,where silence and smiles are the trace of wisdom,where words imitate spears and swords,where truth is always a bloody legend. I …

Wise Poets – Michael Waters – Old School

9d6ef michael waters

Michael Waters (November 23, 1949 -) Seth wrestled the Camaro with one fist & poppedHandfuls of pills while the pistol rode my thigh.I shouted Is it loaded? over Grandmaster Flash.Amateur thug, he slipped the piece into his boot& swaggered like a bouncer into the funeral home. Sunglass’d still & jittery, he scanned the room,Swept past uncles …

Wise Poets – Kim Addonizio – Comfort Of The Resurrection

5db7e kim addonizio

Kim Addonizio (July 31, 1954 -) One day everything that’s over or deadwill come back, oil painting & God,chivalry & the kings (even the madold rotters, why not, while the headsof the plotters are removedfrom their iron spikes & carefully gluedon again)— why not believe in the miracle— plaidhas already come back so why not …

Wise Poets – Barbara Quick – Conjuring Nana

Barbara Quick

Barbara Quick I learned how to make Nana’s chicken soupby shadowing her steps in the kitchen,taking notes on a white paper napkin.A cauldron of sorts is required, as well as aonce-animate chicken submerged abovethe stove’s blue flame.“You put in the onions,” Nana said,her Russian accent as fresh as the breezemust have felt on her face …

Wise Poets – Diane Ackerman – The Consolation Of Apricots

Diane Ackerman

Diane Ackerman (October 07, 1948 -) Especially in early spring,when the sun offers a thin treacle of warmth,I love to sit outdoorsand eat sense-ravishing apricots.Born on sun-drenched trees in Morocco,the apricots have flown the Atlanticlike small comets, and I can tastebroiling North Africa in their flesh.Somewhere between a peach and a prayer,they taste of well …

Wise Poets – Joan Glass – Attending a 12-Step Meeting After Learning That Rust Has Grown on the Moon

f9c72 joan kwon glass

Joan Glass If rust can grow on the moon’s surface,240,000 miles away from oxygen,if solar wind can traverse that vacuum,confounding scientists, turning red the crustof such a scarred and lonesome celestial body,maybe I am capable of more than I think.Maybe everything I need for alchemyis already here, in my core and cells,in this room where …

Wise Poets – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – Birds of Passage

e7198 henry wadsworth longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) Black shadows fallFrom the lindens tall,That lift aloft their massive wallAgainst the southern sky; And from the realmsOf the shadowy elmsA tide-like darkness overwhelmsThe fields that round us lie. But the night is fair,And everywhereA warm, soft vapor fills the air,And distant sounds seem near, …

Wise Poets – Heidi Seaborn – What It’s Like to Fall In Love

Heidi Seaborn

Heidi Seaborn I fall in love todaywith the man fixing my water faucets,how he crouches in his boots, feelshis way deftly to salve the leak.I’m in love with dandelions & ugly bobs& even morning glory as I yanktheir roots free from this dark & luscious soil.O I love, love the rhododendronblushing newborn pink, lovethe neighbor’s …

Wise Poets – Arthur Sze – Transpirations

5fef2 arthur sze

Arthur Sze(December 1, 1950 -) Leafing branches of a back-yard plum—branches of water on a dissolving ice sheet—chatter of magpies when you approach—lilacs lean over the road, weighted with purple blossoms—then the noon sun shimmers the grasses—you ride the surge into summer—smell of piñon crackling in the fireplace—blued notes of a saxophone in the air—not …

Wise Poets – David Kirby – A Few Old Things

b0d47 david kirby

David Kirby Rilke said he wanted a room “with a few old things                        and a window opening onto great trees,” which makesme think of my favorite rooms and their furnishings,            an obvious choice being this brightly-lit bedroom,                        newspapers and coffee cups on the floor, bedclothesscattered everywhere, perfumed with the smell                        of sex, maybe, or maybe …

Wise Poets – Kamilah Aisha Moon – The Emperor’s Deer

c2cd5 kamilah aisha moon copy

Kamilah Aisha Moon I. Their noises make you thinkthey are crying or suffering.They have learned to bow.Even the fawns bow, centuriesof bowingin their blood. They are not considered wild.Precious pests litter parkswith dung, take over the roads.Sweet nuisance worthsaving, thinning these herdsis a last resort — oncea capital offense to spilltheir endangered blood. They are …

Wise Poets – Devon Balwit – Faces In The Clouds

97f3f devon balwit

Devon Balwit Each day, we wake again if we are lucky,reassembling with only minor variations. Too many, and we are no longer ourselves.Too few, and we despair, the symmetryuncanny. Like fractals, we fissure at regular intervals, blind to our beauty,the larger patterns we are part of. We must look outside ourselves to discover what we …

Wise Poets – Joyce Sutphen – What the Heart Cannot Forget

joyce sutphen

Joyce Sutphen (August 10, 1949 -) Everything remembers something. The rock, its fiery bed,cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rubof watery fingers along its edge.The cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,remembers being a veil over the face of the sun,gathering itself together for the fall.The turtle remembers the sea, sliding over and underits belly, …

Wise Poets – Jiordan Castle – The Surrealist

Jiordan Castle

The Lovers II, 1928 by Rene Magritte Jiordan Castle Magritte is saidto have said thateverything we seehides another thing, thatwe always want to seewhat is hiddenby what we see,& in his second paintingof the lovers,with their mouthsseeminglypressed againsteach other’s throughthick white veils,I don’t know what ismeant to be hiddenfrom me,except perhapsMagritte’s dead mother, who diedby …

Wise Poets – Daniel Arias Gómez – Cathedrals: Ode To A Deported Uncle

e410e daniel arias gomez

Daniel Arias Gómez (April 01, 1972 -) Tío, you learn there’s alwaysa border—I imagine a poor family in Jocotepec takes youin. You work as a gardener at the clubacross the lake where rich peoplevacation. The town’s children runshoeless on the dirt roads, stareat the people on the other sidesun-tanning on the decks of theirboats, riding …

Wise Poets – Marie Howe – Fifty

Marie Howe

Marie Howe The soul has a story that has a shape that almost no onesees.  No, no one ever does.  All those kisses, The bedroom chair that rocked with me in it, his bodyhis body and his and his and his.                                                             More, I said, moreand more and more. . . . What has it come to?Like …

Wise Poets – Paul Lawrence Dunbar – We Wear The Mask

0796b paul lawrence dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar (June 27, 1872 – February 9, 1906) We wear the mask that grins and lies,It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—This debt we pay to human guile;With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,And mouth with myriad subtleties. Why should the world be over-wise,In counting all our tears and sighs?Nay, let them …

Wise Poets – Francesca Nemko – On Being 84

69ddd francesca nemko

Francesca Nemko Who’d have thoughtThat reaching 84Would feel like adolescence?All pimples and unmanageable hairStammering over long wordsBeing totally irresponsibleAnd forgetting what timeI’m supposed to be home. I am NOT aging gracefully(even though I may appear to beon the outside)And, to be honest, I don’t reallyWant to grow up!I did that when I was 3040, 50, …

Wise Poets – Natasha Trethewey – Incident

b5c48 natasha trethewey

Natasha Trethewey (April 26, 1966 -) We tell the story every year—how we peered from the windows, shades drawn—though nothing really happened,the charred grass now green again. We peered from the windows, shades drawn,at the cross trussed like a Christmas tree,the charred grass still green. Thenwe darkened our rooms, lit the hurricane lamps. At the …

Wise Poets – Eavan Aisling Boland – Eviction

95eaf eavan boland

Eavan Aisling Boland (September 24, 1944 – April 27, 2020) Back from Dublin, my grandmotherfinds an eviction notice on her door.Now she is in court for rent arrears.The lawyers are amused.These are the Petty Sessions,this is Drogheda, this is the Bank Holiday.Their comments fill a column in the newspaper.Was the notice well served?Was it served …

Wise Poets – Kristene Kaye Brown – For the Woman on Main Street Stopping to Pull Up Her Pantyhose

Kristene Kaye Brown

Kristene Kaye Brown I too have had my hands full of what keeps mecontained, a vastness softened by restraintand made more terriblebecause of it. I think it’s time we talkabout the safety of distance,how the tire tread of rush hour trafficsounds like something being patiently worn down,how the cars parked along the streetnever seem to …

Wise Poets – Linda France – Murmuration

4c6f7 linda france

Linda France (May 21, 1958 -) 1 Because we love watching the flock’s precision glide       upstroke for height, tilt of wing spun mid-flightjust for a moment              we’re in the frenzied swirling rush              home for the winged       owls hoot their love through the dark                     chiffchaff creeps up stalks              fennel and flowdipper and wagtail              Arctic terns like dartsgeese honking              each note weigheda duck sits on …

Wise Poets – Derek Jarman – To Whom It May Concern

2588b derek jarman

Derek Jarman (January 31, 1942–February 19, 1994) to whom it may concernin the dead stones of a planetno longer remembered as earthmay he decipher this opaque hieroglyphperform an archeology of soulon these precious fragmentsall that remains of our vanished dayshere — at the sea’s edgeI have planted a stony gardendragon tooth dolmen spring upto defend …

Wise Poets – Walter Everette Hawkins – Ask Me Why I Love You

c4581 walter everette hawkins

Walter Everette Hawkins Ask me why I love you, dear,And I will ask the roseWhy it loves the dews of SpringAt the Winter’s close;Why the blossoms’ nectared sweetsLoved by questing bee,—I will gladly answer you,If they answer me. Ask me why I love you, dear,And I will ask the flowerWhy it loves the Summer sun,Or …

Wise Poets – Danusha Laméris – Fictional Characters

Danusha Laméris

Danusha Laméris Do they ever want to escape?Climb out of the white pagesand enter our world?Holden Caulfield slipping in the movie theaterto catch the two o'clockAnna Karenina sitting in a diner,reading the paper as the waitressserves up a cheeseburger.Even Hector, on break from the Iliad,takes a stroll through the park,admires the tulips.Maybe they grew tiredof …

Wise Poets – Bartholomew Griffin – Fair Is My Love

Sorry No Image Available

Bartholomew Griffin Fair is my love that feeds among the lilies,The lilies growing in the pleasant garden,Where Cupid’s mount, that well-beloved hill is,And where that little god himself is warden.See where my love sits in the beds of spices,Beset all round with camphor, myrrh and roses,And interlac’d with curious devices,Which her from all the world …

Wise Poets – Gregory Loselle – The Whole Of Him Collected

a0c3d gregory loselle

Gregory Loselle (1963 -) The box of papers on the closet floorcontains his discharge papers from the war,a couple letters, dog tags: amuletsagainst prospective dangers, even betson futures filed away, here; telegramsmy grandmother amended in shorthandnotes (“May God protect you,”) on their backs;her death certificate, its seal (not waxlike his diplomas also here with hers)stamped …

The Poetry Of Tao Writer – Memento Mori (Remember You Will Die)

Tao Writer

Life, Death, and Time Tao Writer (April 17, 1948 -) Memento Mori (Remember You Will Die) At my age, Death is always waiting just around the corner,standing in the half hidden doorways of my favorite hauntsin a mix of shadows and light, rolling my life or deathbetween his spiny fingers like a pair of dice.Sometimes …

Wise Poets – Phillip B. Williams – Final Poem For My Father Misnamed In My Mouth

dff98 phillip b. williams

Phillip B. Williams Sunlight still holds you and givesyour shapelessness to every room.By noon, the kitchen catches your hands,misshapen sun rays. The windowshave your eyes. Taken from me,your body. I reorder my life withabsence. You are everywhere nowwhere once I could not find youeven in your own body. Death meanseverything has becomepossible. I’ve been told …

Wise Poets – Amanda Gorman – At the Age of 18 – Ode to Girls of Color

amanda gorman

Amanda Gorman (March 07, 1998 -) At the age of 5I saw how we always pick the flower swelling with the most color.The color distinguishes it from the rest, and tells us:This flower should not be left behind.But this does not happen in the case of colored girls.Our color makes hands pull back, and we, …

Wise Poets – Amanda Gorman – Chorus of the Captains

amanda gorman

Amanda Gorman Today we honor our three captainsFor their actions and impact inA time of uncertainty and need.They’ve taken the lead,Exceeding all expectations and limitationsUplifting their communities and neighborsAs leaders, healers, and educators.James has felt the wounds of warfare,But this warrior still sharesHis home with at-risk kids.During Covid, he’s event lent a hand,Live-streaming football for …

Wise Poets – Jane Hirshfield – Mountainal

45a05 jane hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -) This first-light mountain, its east peak and west peak.Its first-light creeks:Lagunitas, Redwood, Fern. Their fishes and mosses.Its night and day hawk-life, slope-life, fogs, coyote, tan oaks,white-speckled amanita. Its spiderwebs’ sequins.To be personal is easy:Wake. Slip arms and legs from sleep into name, into story.I wanted to be mountainal, wateral, …

Wise Poets – Virgil Suárez – Bad Sons Anonymous

3e73b virgilio suarez

Virgil Suárez At this year’s conventionwe gather to pay homageto our fathers, responsiblemen who worked hard: laborers, stone cutters, welders,carpenters — blue collar all,men who raged, stormedtheir anger through the house, our mothers couldn’t manage,swept with brooms the debrisof broken things, in silencethey took it out on us, belts in hand, we stood there, cried,long …

Wise Poets – Walt Whitman – Whoever You Are Holding Me Now in Hand

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) Whoever you are holding me now in hand,Without one thing all will be useless,I give you fair warning before you attempt me further,I am not what you supposed, but far different. Who is he that would become my follower?Who would sign himself a candidate for my …

Wise Poets – Tanya Chernov – Someone Else’s Wet Styrofoam

82dd9 tanya chernov

Tanya Chernov I practiced flirting on an Italian trainleaving Switzerland, with a European boycamped out across from me.I liked him when he sat down,liked his messy hair, his loose sweater,his weathered pants that hung on himthe way pants ought to hang on a boy. I pretended not to notice him,tried to look my prettiest staring …

Wise Poets – Emily Dickinson – Nature

Emily Dickinson

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) Nature — the Gentlest Mother is,Impatient of no Child —The feeblest — or the waywardest —Her Admonition mild —In Forest — and the Hill —By Traveller — be heard —Restraining Rampant Squirrel —Or too impetuous Bird —How fair Her Conversation —A Summer Afternoon —Her Household …

Wise Poets – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls

e7198 henry wadsworth longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) The tide rises, the tide falls,The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;Along the sea-sands damp and brownThe traveller hastens toward the town,    And the tide rises, the tide falls.Darkness settles on roofs and walls,But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;The little waves, with …

Wise Poets – Marilyn Nelson – The Children’s Moon

fc3dc marilyn nelson

Marilyn Nelson (April 26, 1946 -) In my navy shirtwaist dress and three-inch heels,my pearl clip-ons and newly red-rinsed curls,I smoothed on lipstick, lipstick-marked my girls,saluted and held thumbs-up to my darling Mel,and drove myself to school for the first day.Over the schoolyard a silver lozengedissolved into the morning’s blue cauldron.Enter twenty seven-year-old white children.Look, …

Wise Poets – William Ernest Henley – Invictus

01ae3 william ernest henley

William Ernest Henley (August 23, 1849 – July 11, 1903) Out of the night that covers me,       Black as the pit from pole to pole,I thank whatever gods may be       For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance       I have not winced nor cried aloud.Under the bludgeonings of chance       My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this …

Wise Poets – Margaret Atwood – Flatline

d2418 margaret atwood

Margaret Atwood (November 18, 1939 -) Things wear out. Also fingers.Gnarling sets in.Your hands crouch in their mittens.Forget chopsticks, and buttons.Feet have their own agendas.They scorn your taste in shoesand ignore your trails, your maps.Ears are superfluous:What are they for,those alien pink flaps?Skull fungus.The body, once your accomplice,is now your trap.The sunrise makes you wince:too …

Wise Poets – Jessica Cohn – Spring

23273 jessica cohn

Jessica Cohn It was the spring when dry goodsheld our fascination. We bottled goldhand-pumped mucous. Toilet paperbecame currency. The cut of ethylalcohol sharpened elbows. We tookour contact in fluid ounces, returnedto fire escapes, back steps, the oppositeside of the street. The public squareemptied, and the crosswalk followed.Masters of airports called the airplaneshome. The cars stopped …

Wise Poets – Nikki Giovanni – Resignation

31acc nikki giovanni 2

Yolande Cornelia Nikki Giovanni Jr (June 7, 1943) I love you            because the Earth turns round the sun            because the North wind blows north                 sometimes            because the Pope is Catholic                 and most Rabbis Jewish            because the winters flow into springs                 and the air clears after a storm            because only my love for …

Wise Poets – Alison Luterman – Some Girls

48d94 alison luterman

Alison Luterman Some girls can’t help it; they are lit sparklers,hot-blooded, half naked in the depths of winter,tagging moving trains with the bright insignia of theirfury.I’ve seen their inked torsos: falcons, swans, meteorshowers.And shadowed their secret rendezvous,walking and flying all night over paths traced like veinsthrough the deep body of the forestwhere they are trying …

Wise Poets – Gabrielle Otero – Self-Portrait, Despite What They Say

dd591 gabrielle otero

Gabrielle Otero Being a Latina from the Bronx means:I am everybody and nobody at the same time. I know the soundwaves of the train tracks better than my father’s voice.I look like I should speak Spanish but nobody ever taught me.I look like you should want to bend me over but you try not tothink …

Wise Poets – David Whyte – Sometimes

David Whyte

David Whyte (November 02, 1955 -) Sometimesif you move carefullythrough the forest,breathinglike the onesin the old stories,who could crossa shimmering bed of leaveswithout a sound,you come to a placewhose only taskis to trouble youwith tinybut frightening requests,conceived out of nowherebut in this placebeginning to lead everywhere.Requests to stop whatyou are doing right now,andto stop what …

Wise Poets – Jasmin Roberts – Self-Selection For Preservation

8aed4 jasmin roberts

Jasmin Roberts My grandmother will tell you thatshe does not like white people,does not look them in the eye. W.E.B. Du Bois coined the term double consciousness in 1903.It refers to the psychological experience of viewing oneselfthrough the lens of a racist white society. He meant that to grow up black in Americais to be …

Wise Poets – Hart Crane – At Melville’s Tomb

7ff77 hart crane

Harold Hart Crane (July 21, 1899 – April 27, 1932) Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledgeThe dice of drowned men’s bones he saw bequeathAn embassy. Their numbers as he watched,Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured. And wrecks passed without sound of bells,The calyx of death’s bounty giving backA scattered chapter, livid …

Wise Poets – Phillis Wheatley – Imagination

47d82 phillis wheatley

Phillis Wheatley Peters (c. 1753 – December 5, 1784) Thy various works, imperial queen, we see,    How bright their forms! how deck'd with pomp by thee!Thy wond'rous acts in beauteous order stand,And all attest how potent is thine hand.     From Helicon's refulgent heights attend,Ye sacred choir, and my attempts befriend:To tell her glories with …

Wise Poets – Jane Hirshfield – Today, Another Universe

45a05 jane hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -) The arborist has determined:senescence      beetles      cankerquickened by drought                           but in any casenot prunable   not treatable   not to be propped.And so.The branch from which the sharp-shinned hawks and their mate-cries.The trunk where the ant.The red squirrels’ eighty-foot playground.The bark   cambium   pine-sap   cluster of needles.The Japanese patterns      the ink-net.The dapple on certain fish.Today, for some, a universe will vanish.First noisily,then …

Wise Poets – Philip Bryant – Miles: Prince Of Darkness

dc93f philip bryant

Philip Bryant I remember my father's storiesabout him being cold, fitful,reproachful, surly, rude, cruel,unbearable, spiteful, arrogant, hateful.But then he'd playSome Day My Prince Will Comein a swirl of bright spring colorsthat come after a heavy rainmaking the world anew againand like the sometimes-tyrannical kingwho is truly repentant of his transgressionssteps out onto the balconyto greet …

Wise Poets – Elizabeth Alexander – Butter

Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander (May 30, 1962 -) My mother loves butter more than I do,more than anyone. She pulls chunks offthe stick and eats it plain, explainingcream spun around into butter! Growing upwe ate turkey cutlets sauteed in lemonand butter, butter and cheese on green noodles,butter melting in small pools in the heartsof Yorkshire puddings, butter …

Wise Poets – Barbara Lydecker Crane – Mother And Child

98356 barbara lydecker crane

Barbara Lydecker Crane Portrait painting, so long out of fashion,was all I did. Not by commission—I’d aska friend whose face was lined by life and passionto sit. Then I’d distort a bit: a maskwould simplify and heighten their emotion.This Harlem neighbor’s eyes are spelling fearas she holds her baby tightly with devotionand protection from who …

Wise Poets – Natalie Diaz – The Facts of Art

f0f3b natalie diaz

Natalie Diaz (September 04, 1978 -)    woven plaque basket with sunflower design, Hopi,                                             Arizona, before 1935 from an American Indian basketry exhibit in                                             Portsmouth, Virginia The Arizona highway sailed across the desert—     a gray battleship drawing a black wake,            halting at the foot of the orange mesa,                  unwilling to go around. Hopi men …

Wise Poets – Dorianne Laux – Lord Of The Flies

fe56d dorianne

Dorianne Laux (January 10, 1952 -) “Coronavirus Conference Gets Canceled Because of Coronavirus.”—Bloomberg News, March 10, 2020 I can already see the streetsfilling with corpses piledtenderly along the curbs.First the homeless, thenthe poor, then those whowere lost, depressed, lonely,alone. The rich will be last,top of the pile as they werein life. Dressed in their finery.Oh …

WisePoet – Marissa Davis – Singularity

3b0b0 marissa davis

Marissa Davis after Marie Howe in the wordless beginningiguana & myrrhmagma & reef              ghost moth& the cordyceps tickling its nerves& cedar & archipelago & anemonedodo bird & cardinal waiting for its redocean salt & crude oil              now blackmuck now most naïve fumbling planktonevery egg clutched in the copycat softof me unwomaned unracedunsexed              as the ecstatic prokaryotethat would rage …

Wise Poets – William Butler Yeats – Down By the Salley Gardens

94d17 william butler yeats

William Butler Yeats (June 13, 1865 – January 28, 1939) Down by the salley gardensmy love and I did meet;She passed the salley gardenswith little snow-white feet.She bid me take love easy,as the leaves grow on the tree;But I, being young and foolish,with her would not agree.In a field by the rivermy love and I …

Wise Poets – Claudia Serea – Parallel Heavens

cf298 claudia serea

Claudia Serea Doors closed,lawns freshly mowed,the heavens line up,a row of suburban houseson a quiet street.I imagine mine painted white,silent and sleepy,a provincial art museumwhere all the angels have been assignedto perpetual paperwork.One can't even thinkto jump from one heaveninto anotherwithout wings,or breaking a bone.And each heavenhas its own way to get to iton parallel …

Wise Poets – Yesika Salgado – Diaspora Writes To Her New Home

66096 yesika salgado

Yesika Salgado I am what comes after the civil warafter the dismembered corpsesthe burnt sugar cane fieldsthe mango tree strung with a single hanging bodythe man with his tongue in his pocketthe soldiers and the guerrillathe exodus of my grandmother’s children I arrived after the fleeing. after the bruise was named a desert.after the new …

Wise Poets – Kim Addonizio – Ways Of Being Lonely

5db7e kim addonizio

Kim Addonizio (July 31, 1954 -) Like a haunted river no bridge wants to lay itself down over.Like a taxidermied grizzly in the student union.You cry at a frequency only subatomic insects can hear.That time with him in Houston.Sometimes you flame into a scary flower.An eruption of coherence in the postmodern seminar.You stand in a …

Wise Poets – Lucille Clifton – Poem to My Yellow Coat

90ccc lucille clifton

Lucille Clifton (June 27, 1936 – February 13, 2010) today i mourn my coat.my old potato.my yellow mother.my horse with buttons.my rind.today she split her skinlike a snake,refusing to excuse my backfor being bigfor being oldfor reaching toward othercuffs and sleeves.she cracked like a whip andfell apart,my terrible teacher to the end;to hell with the …

Wise Poets – ee cummings – humanity i love you

e e cummings

EE Cummings (October 14, 1894–September 3, 1962) because you would rather black the boots ofsuccess than enquire whose soul dangles from hiswatch-chain which would be embarrassing for bothparties and because youunflinchingly applaud allsongs containing the words country home andmother when sung at the old howardHumanity i love you becausewhen you’re hard up you pawn yourintelligence …

Wise Poets – Robert Wrigley – Why Should There Be Stars?

fd028 robert wrigley

Robert Wrigley (1951 -) Wallace Roney (May 25, 1960—March 31, 2020) No one to talk to but a little bird, firstdusky flycatcher of the year, on the final dayof an eternal March. There’s snow falling,and the bird’s unhappy about that. Perched on the lee side of the tree,it’s hunched and plumped,and I’ve opened the window …

Wise Poets – Rafaella Del Bourgo – Tasmania

8aee9 rafaella del bourgo

Rafaella Del Bourgo The frigid waters of the Huon Rivertrudge along sodden banks,muscling aside grasses, and scolding saplings.Twin swans, crayon black with crimson beaks,hiss and feint at a six-foot snaketricked out in beige and chartreuse.The birds take off, slice the sky;the river licks the scallop pattern on its surface. My house, too, is cold, a …

Wise Poets – Carl Phillips – Pale Colors in a Tall Field

Carl Phillips

Carl Phillips (1959 -) Remind me to show you where the horses finally got freedfor good—not for the freedom of it, or anything likebeauty, though their running was for sure a loveliness, I’mthinking more how there’s a kind of violence to re-enteringunexpectedly a space we never meant to leave but gottorn away from so long …

Wise Poets – Mark Jarman – Interesting Times

6473f mark jarman

Mark Jarman (1952 -) Everything’s happening on the cusp of tragedy, the tip of comedy,    the pivot of event.You want a placid life, find another planet. This one is occupied with    the story’s arc:About to happen, on the verge, horizontal. You want another planet,    try the moon.Try any of the eight, try Planet X. It’s out there somewhere, …

Wise Poets – Lisel Mueller – Late Hours

Lisel Mueller

Lisel Mueller (February 8, 1924 – February 21, 2020) On summer nights the worldmoves within earshoton the interstate with its swishand growl, an occasional sirenthat sends chills through us.Sometimes, on clear, still nights,voices float into our bedroom,lunar and fragmented,as if the sky had let them golong before our birth. In winter we close the windowsand …

Wise Poets – Joyce Sutphen – Tango for Ellie

joyce sutphen

Joyce Sutphen (August 10, 1949 -) The music begins—string bass and drums,then saxophoneand a piano.The steps go like this:slow, slow, quick-quick, slow.For now, your partneris the moon, andjust for this night your hairis black and full of stars.The melody is steady asrain, sweet as birdsong—aa little somethingyou will carry in your earwhen you leave usfor …

Wise Poets – Jane Hirshfield – For What Binds Us

45a05 jane hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -) There are names for what binds us:strong forces, weak forces.Look around, you can see them:the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,nails rusting into the places they join,joints dovetailed on their own weight.The way things stay so solidlywherever they've been set down—and gravity, scientists say, is weak.And see how …

Wise Poets – WS Di Piero – Aubade

a6eff ws di piero

WS Di Piero Good morning to what’s left and what has gone.No more of my dense cries and heavy songsabout time’s hardships, my mood, gunfights in schools,our murderous American sunshine.I want a looser grip, a sweeter lightnessand grace and mercy around us, plainer talkwhile my neighborhood’s wild parrots squawkand flash their smart immigrant fineryand acute …

Wise Poets – Linda Pastan – The Gardener

Linda Pastan

Linda Pastan (May 27, 1932 -) He’s out rescuing his fallen holliesafter the renegade snowstorm,sawing their wounded limbs offquite mercilessly (I think of the scenein “Kings Row,” the young soldier wakingto find his legs gone).He’s tying up young bamboo—their delicate tresses litter the driveway—shovelling a door through the snowto free the imprisoned azaleas.I half expect …

Wise Poets – Walt Whitman – When I Heard The Learn’d Astronomer

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) When I heard the learn’d astronomer,When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,How soon unaccountable I …

Wise Poets – Adrienne Rich – What Kind Of Times Are These

Adrienne Rich 

Adrienne Rich (May 16, 1929–March 27, 2012) There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphilland the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadowsnear a meeting-house abandoned by the persecutedwho disappeared into those shadows.I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooledthis isn’t a Russian poem, …

Wise Poets – Andrea Hollander – Premonition

034ee andrea hollander

Andrea Hollander (April 28, 1947 -) Dusk, and the trees barely visibleon either side of the two-lane,west through the Rockiesin our secondhand Ramblerthat growled through the landscapelike some hulking animal. Our first trip together,my husband’s attention more on methan on the darkening road,our newness a kingdomof only two. From the forest edge a deer flashedtoward …

Wise Poets – Joyce Sutphen – The Art of Revision

joyce sutphen

Joyce Sutphen (August 10, 1949 -) In the morning I take outmost of what I put in last night.I cross out everything that seemsexcessive, every frill and fandango,anything fluffy—a word that shouldnever again appear in a poem,along with blossom and awesome.Once I have deleted everythingexcept the title—which now seemsto have been written by a poetwho …

Wise Poets – Marge Piercy – Limited But Fertile Possibilities

Marge Piercy

Marge Piercy (March 31, 1936 -) We cannot have monogrammed towelsor matches with our names on. We cannothave children. We cannot share jointtax returns. We don’t have a past.Our future is a striped unicorn, fragile,shy, the first of a newspecies born without kindto hostile kin. We can work togethersnarling and giggling and grunting.Every few years …

Wise Poets – Jo McDougall – Straightpins

Jo McDougall

Jo McDougall Growing up in a small town,we didn't noticethe background figures of our lives,gray men, gnarled women,dropping from us silentlylike straightpins to a dressmaker's floor.The old did not diebut simply vanishedlike discs of snow on our tongues.We knew nothing then of nothingnessor pain or loss--our days filled with open fields,football,turtles and cows.One day we …

Wise Poets – Charles Bukowski – The Way It Is Now

e8f82 charles bukowski

Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) I’ll tell youI’ve lived with some gorgeous womenand I was so bewitched by thosebeautiful creatures thatmy eyebrows twitched.but I’d rather drive to New Yorkbackwardsthan to live with any of them again.the next classic stupiditywill be the historyof those fellowswho inherit my femalelegacies.in their caseas in minethey …

Wise Poets – Marcia F Brown – When I Look at the Old Car

Marcia F Brown

Marcia F Brown When I look at the old carbacked into the cleared-out space in the shed,I can almost understandthose bewildered men who leavetheir softening wives in middle age,up-and-walk-out after decadesof marriage and family, to take upwith some buffed and waxed young thingwith great lines, horsepowerto burn and a dazzling arrayof untested equipment.When I look …

Wise Poets – Eunice Odio – W.C.W.

44e39 eunice odio

Eunice Odio (October 18, 1919 – March 23, 1974) The whole arboris contained in him.It is his will,an entranceto the clear designof the waters.Heavenly musicwakes in his ear.(When God stirred,the moon never variednor the wind,a rumorof approaching dawn,stillness becomeGod’s silence.)When I saw himof an afternoon—an island facein the air—when I came upon himfrom within,the sprouting …

Wise Poets – Alan Harawitz – Finding Religion

Alan Harawitz

Alan Harawitz The lox man is waitingbehind the counterin the back of the store,an anachronism under an ancientblue Dodger baseball cap,gray hair and goatee surroundinghis pudgy pink cheeks and flabby chin. It doesn’t hurt that his name is Nathanand that he speaks with the slightestJewish inflection when he says,“Hi, what can I get you?”It’s one …

Wise Poets – Adrienne Rich – Sending Love

Adrienne Rich 

Adrienne Rich (May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012) Voicefrom the grainof the forest boughtand condemnedsketched bondin the rockmassthe earthquake soughtand threw                                *Sending love: Molly sends itIvan sends it, Kaorisends it to Brian, Irina sends iton pale green aerograms Abena sends itto Charlie and to JoséphineAnuro sends it, Naomi sends itLourdes sends it to NaoualWalter sends …

Wise Poets – Rebecca Elson – Antidotes To The Fear Of Death

3a533 rebecca elson

Rebecca Elson (January 02, 1960 – May 19, 1999) Sometimes as an antidoteTo fear of death,I eat the starsThose nights, lying on my back,I suck them from the quenching darkTil they are all, all inside me,Pepper hot and sharp.Sometimes, instead, I stir myselfInto a universe still young,Still warm as blood:No outer space, just space,The light …

Wise Poets – Derek Walcott – The Light Of The World

dfc98 derek walcott

Derek Walcott (January 23, 1930 – March 17, 2017) “Zion-ah,                I’ve got to have Zion-ah,                I’ve got to have Zion-ahFor the rain is falling” —Bob Marley Marley was rocking on the transport’s stereoand the beauty was humming the choruses quietly.I could see where the lights on the planes of her cheekstreaked and defined them, if this were …

Wise Poets – Emily Elizabeth Dickinson – I Heard A Fly Buzz…

Emily Dickinson

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—The Stillness in the RoomWas like the Stillness in the Air—Between the Heaves of Storm—The Eyes around—had wrung them dry—And Breaths were gathering firmFor that last Onset—when the KingBe witnessed—in the Room—I willed my Keepsakes—signed awayWhat portions of me …

Wise Poets – Linda Pastan – The Bookstall

Linda Pastan

Linda Pastan (May 27, 1932 -) Just looking at themI grow greedy, as if they werefreshly baked loaveswaiting on their shelvesto be broken open—that oneand that—and I make my choicein a mood of exalted luck,browsing among themlike a cow in sweetest pasture.For life is continuousas long as they waitto be read—these inked pathsopening into the …

Wise Poets – Yi Lei – Flame In The Cloud At Midnight

eed48 yi lei

Yi Lei (1951-2018) Flame in the cloud at midnightBlankets my bed with light.The scent of winter jasmineRises from a tomb to meet my eyes.I watch you as if from my girlhood.I watch as if from death, anonymousBeneath a dim sky, holding aloftThe burden of my body. Death,Bloodless and unfeeling, is familiar.But what if we could …

Wise Poets – William Stafford – Time for Serenity, Anyone?

e4be2 william stafford

William Stafford (January 17, 1914 – August 28, 1993) I like to live in the sound of water,in the feel of mountain air. A sharpreminder hits me: this world still is alive;it stretches out there shivering toward its owncreation, and I'm part of it. Even my breathingenters into the elaborate give-and-take,this bowing to sun and …

Wise Poets – Alejandro Escudé – Bed Sheets (Moving Out After Separation)

Alejandro Escude

Alejandro Escudé I wanted my soul out of the house, too.So, I took all my diaries—twenty or so,from the past twenty years. And I slipped theminto the recycling bin. I took all my photos,baby, childhood, adolescence, college years,and trashed those, too. I took my blood pressure reader,and I took the white carnival mask I bought …

Wise Poets – Adam Clay – A Joke About How Old We’ve Become

377c6 adam clay

Adam Clay I take a break from the morning’s workto pay a credit card bill,to take the dog out, to waterthe plants in the hanging baskets,but why not instead take a walkthrough the early August morningbefore the heat wave hits? The body’sstill stretching itself out. The music goesfrom minor to major when you flipthe album, …

Wise Poets – Priscilla Denise Levertov — The Secret

Denise Levertov

Priscilla Denise Levertov (October 24, 1923 – December 20, 1997) Two girls discoverthe secret of lifein a sudden line ofpoetry.I who don’t know thesecret wrotethe line. Theytold me(through a third person)they had found itbut not what it wasnot evenwhat line it was. No doubtby now, more than a weeklater, they have forgottenthe secret,the line, the …

Wise Poets – Jane Hirshfield – I Wanted To Be Surprised

45a05 jane hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -) To such a request, the world is obliging.Just in the past week, a rotund porcupine,who seemed equally startled by me.The man who swallowed a tiny microphoneto record the sounds of his body,not considering beforehand how he might remove it.A cabbage and mustard sandwich on marbled bread.How easily the large …

Wise Poets – Ajay Kumar – An Index Of Visitors

c8ea2 ajay kumar

Ajay Kumar I’ve seen something like this somewhere, all the time.white, black & red the first colors. as we enter november,the weather turns december. as it was june, it was also may.remember, all the buildings blurring by to the next station.remember the index of visitors, the middle-finger ring-fingers,singers whose songs were just extended foreplays.an old …

Wise Poets – Emma Lazarus – The New Colossus

Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus (July 22, 1849 – November 19, 1887) Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,With conquering limbs astride from land to land;Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall standA mighty woman with a torch, whose flameIs the imprisoned lightning, and her nameMother of Exiles. From her beacon-handGlows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes commandThe …

Wise Poets – Emily Dickinson – A Light Exists In Spring

Emily Dickinson

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) A Light exists in SpringNot present on the YearAt any other period-When March is scarcely hereA Color stands abroadOn Solitary FieldsThat Science cannot overtakeBut Human Nature feels.It waits upon the Lawn,It shows the furthest TreeUpon the furthest Slope you knowIt almost speaks to you.Then as …

Wise Poets – William Wordsworth – I Have Thoughts That Are Fed By The Sun

e784e william wordsworth

William Wordsworth (April 07, 1770 – April 23, 1850) I have thoughts that are fed by the sun:The things which I seeAre welcome to me,Welcome every one –I do not wish to lieDead, dead,Dead, without any company.Here alone on my bedWith thoughts that are fed by the sun,And hopes that are welcome every one,Happy am …

Wise Poets – Eavan Frances Boland – The Fire Gilder

95eaf eavan boland

Eavan Frances Boland (September 24, 1944 – April 27, 2020) She loved silver, she loved gold,my mother. She spoke about the influenceof metals, the congruence of atoms,the art classes where she learnedthese things: think of itshe would say as she told meto gild any surface a master craftsmanhad to meld gold with mercury,had to heat …

Wise Poets – Audre Lorde – The Bees

f0069 audre lorde

Audre Lorde (February 18, 1934 – November 17, 1992) In the street outside a schoolwhat the children learnpossesses them.Little boys yell as they stone a flock of beestrying to swarmbetween the lunchroom window and an iron grate.The boys sling furious rockssmashing the windows.The bees, buzzing their anger,are slow to attack.Then one boy is stunginto quicker …

Wise Poets – Nikki Giovanni – My First Memory (Of Librarians)

31acc nikki giovanni 2

Nikki Giovanni (June 07, 1943 -) This is my first memory:A big room with heavy wooden tables that sat on a creaky       wood floorA line of green shades—bankers’ lights—down the centerHeavy oak chairs that were too low or maybe I was simply       too short              For me to sit in and readSo my first book was always big In …

Wise Poets – Oliver de la Paz – In Defense of Small Towns

1b0aa oliver de la paz

Oliver de la Paz When I look at it, it’s simple, really. I hated life there. September,once filled with animal deaths and toughened hay. And the smellsof fall were boiled-down beets and potatoesor the farmhands’ breeches smeared with oil and dieselas they rode into town, dusty and pissed. The radio stationsplit time between metal and …

Wise Poets – Lisel Mueller – Immortality

Lisel Mueller

Lisel Mueller (February 8, 1924–February 21, 2020) In Sleeping Beauty’s castlethe clock strikes one hundred yearsand the girl in the tower returns to the world.So do the servants in the kitchen,who don’t even rub their eyes.The cook’s right hand, liftedan exact century ago,completes its downward arcto the kitchen boy’s left ear;the boy’s tensed vocal cordsfinally …

Wise Poets – Faith Shearin – Adam Naming the Animals

ed373 faith shearin

Faith Shearin After he could no longer speak with them,after the warm garden had a draft,and Adam found himself naked and mortal,after his wife was made from his owncage of love, and after she introducedhim to the snake that offered its famousadvice, after all these things, God askedAdam to name the animals. Eve wouldbring forth …

Wise Poets – Aria Aber – Afghan Funeral In Paris

78282 aria aber

Aria Aber The aunts here clink Malbec glassesand parade their grief with musky, expensive scentsthat whisper in elevators and hallways.Each natural passing articulatesthe unnatural: every aunt has a sonwho fell, or a daughter who hid in rubblefor two years, until that knock of officersholding a bin bag filled with a dressand bones. But what do …