Wise Poets – William Blake – To the Evening Star

William Blake

William Blake  (November 28, 1757 – August 12, 1827) Thou fair-haired angel of the evening,Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, lightThy bright torch of love; thy radiant crownPut on, and smile upon our evening bed!Smile on our loves; and, while thou drawest theBlue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dewOn every flower …

Wise Poets – Anna Akhmatova – In Memory of M. B.

1b4ca anna akhmatova

Anna Andreyevna Gorenko (June 11, 1889 – 05, March 1966) better known by the pen name Anna Akhmatova Here is my gift, not roses on your grave,not sticks of burning incense.You lived aloof, maintaining to the endyour magnificent disdain.You drank wine, and told the wittiest jokes,and suffocated inside stifling walls.Alone you let the terrible stranger …

Wise Poets – WS Merwin – One Summer

d3411 5d661528 eac4 4709 bc90 327cd4526fb8

He stands at the window baffledby pleasure and how brief it is.Pleasure followed by the memoryof pleasure. Lightthen dark with a splinterleft in. Something like that.The woman in the chair is reading,drinking tea in the ground glasshaze of evening.The sudden swell he feelswatching herilluminates the past she spentgetting to this place:a lover who left, perhaps. …

Wise Poets – David Watts – Man at the Window

675d8 66cb4461 0ab9 4262 b72c 96a96580898f

David Watts He stands at the window baffledby pleasure and how brief it is.Pleasure followed by the memoryof pleasure. Lightthen dark with a splinterleft in. Something like that.The woman in the chair is reading,drinking tea in the ground glasshaze of evening.The sudden swell he feelswatching herilluminates the past she spentgetting to this place:a lover who …

Wise Poets – Ariel Francisco – Along The East River And In The Bronx Young Men Were Singing

5bee9 627c7d40 1aca 45c8 9025 08e236d7f4e8

Ariel Francisco I heard them and I still hear themabove the threatening shrieks of police sirensabove the honking horns of morning traffic,above the home-crowd cheers of Yankee Stadiumabove the school bells and laughterlighting up the afternoonabove the clamoring trudge of the 1 trainand the 2 and 4, 5, 6, the B and the Dabove the …

Wise Poets – Kathleen A Dale – A Question of Time

4dc5e img 0094

Kathleen A Dale i.  Nine thousand years seems long but for the imagination: see a Siberian girl smile as she reaches out to touch the saggital crest (shaped like an arrow, indicating strong jaw muscles) on the head of a Husky, once-removed from wolf, panting by the fire after pulling home a sled of reindeer meat.  Now, see them …

Wise Poets – Maurice Manning – Turner

5b42b image

Maurice Manning One morning when the weather was strangeand haunted following a rain—I believe a fog had settled likea thought over the field and the sunthat peered through it troubled the thought—I remember saying to myself,for no one was around, it’s likewe’re living in a Turner painting,a haunted cave of melodyso indistinct, almost unseen.As if …

Wise Poets – Jim Peterson – Following You

f5102 b2462aa9 ee20 4665 8249 a07163bea1c8

Jim Peterson For Harriet I followed you up the faceof that cliff-riddled mountain.I am tall, stiff, scared of heights. You are small, lithe, quick and notscared of anything in the physicalworld. At first the easy handholds and footholds gave me confidence.But narrow ledges curving underoverhangs began to take their toll. I stalled, my face pressed …

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 – Philip Schultz – Failure

f7517 philip schultz

Philip Schultz (January 06, 1945 -) To pay for my father’s funeralI borrowed money from peoplehe already owed money to.One called him a nobody.No, I said, he was a failure.You can’t remembera nobody’s name, that’s whythey’re called nobodies.Failures are unforgettable.The rabbi who read a stock eulogyabout a man who didn’t belong toor believe in anythingwas …

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 – Emily Elizabeth Dickinson – The Looking Back On Grief

Emily Dickinson

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) ‘Tis good — the looking back on Grief —To re-endure a Day —We thought the Mighty Funeral —Of All Conceived Joy —To recollect how Busy GrassDid meddle — one by one —Till all the Grief with Summer — wavedAnd none could see the stone.And though …

Wise Poets – Dorianne Laux – Against Endings

fe56d dorianne

Dorianne Laux (January 10, 1952 -) On the street outside the windowsomeone is talking to someone else,a baffling song, no words, only the musicof voices—low contralto of questions,laughter’s plucked strings—voices in darknessbelow stars where someone straddles a bikeup on the balls of his feet, and someone elsestands firm on a curb, her arms crossed, twodogs …

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 – Dawn Lundy Martin – They will tell you that I was sick, that I was a drug addict.

35dda dawn lundy martin

Dawn Lundy Martin They will tell you that I was sick, that I was a drug addict. They will tell you I died a natural death. Sometimes young people just die, they will say, we don’t know why. They will say I was lazy, that I could not work because of disease and just general …

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

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 – Edna St. Vincent Millay – Time Does Not Bring Relief

Edna St Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay (February 22, 1892 – October 19, 1950) Time does not bring relief; you all have lied   Who told me time would ease me of my pain!   I miss him in the weeping of the rain;   I want him at the shrinking of the tide;The old snows melt from every mountain-side,   And last year’s leaves are …

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 – Hayden Saunier – 14 Degrees Below Zero in the Grocery Store Parking Lot

fce5f hayden saunier

Hayden Saunier A dog and I stare at each otherfrom our separate cars, waiting for our people to return.He’s a shepherd mix, big head, big ears,like me, he’s riding shotgun.Heat blares inside my car,exhaust plumes from the pickup truck he’s in,so I know he isn’t freezing but I don’t knowif he’s a he or a …

Wise Poets – William Carlos Williams – Complaint

William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams (September 17, 1883 – March 4, 1963) They call me and I go.It is a frozen roadpast midnight, a dustof snow caughtin the rigid wheeltracks.The door opens.I smile, enter andshake off the cold.Here is a great womanon her side in the bed.She is sick,perhaps vomiting,perhaps laboringto give birth toa tenth child. Joy! …

Wise Poets – Hayden Carruth – An Apology for Using the Word ‘Heart’ in Too Many Poems

Hayden Carruth

Hayden Carruth (August 3, 1921 – September 29, 2008) What does it mean? Lord knows; least of all I.        Faced with it, schoolboys are shy,And grown-ups speak it at moments of excess        Which later seem more or lessUnfeasible. It is equivocal, sentimental,        Debatable, really a sort of lentil—Neither pea nor bean. Sometimes it’s a muscle,        Sometimes courage or at …

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 – Elinor Wylie – Wild Peaches

Elinor Morton Wylie

Elinor Morton Wylie (September 7, 1885 – December 16, 1928) 1 When the world turns completely upside downYou say we’ll emigrate to the Eastern ShoreAboard a river-boat from Baltimore;We’ll live among wild peach trees, miles from town,You’ll wear a coonskin cap, and I a gownHomespun, dyed butternut’s dark gold color.Lost, like your lotus-eating ancestor,We’ll swim …

Wise Poets – Edna St. Vincent Millay – What Lips My Lips Have Kissed

Edna St Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay (February 22, 1892 – October 19, 1950) What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,I have forgotten, and what arms have lainUnder my head till morning; but the rainIs full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sighUpon the glass and listen for reply,And in my heart there stirs a …

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 – William Wordsworth – Surprised By Joy

William Wordsworth

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes its origins from emotion recollected in tranquility. The emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquility gradually disappears. William Wordsworth (April 07, 1770 - April 23, 1850) Surprised by joy—impatient as the WindI turned to share the transport—Oh! with whomBut Thee, long …

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 – Ross Gay – Wedding Poem

Ross Gay

Ross Gay (August 01, 1974 -) Friends I am here to modestly reportseeing in an orchardin my towna goldfinch kissinga sunfloweragain and againdangling upside downby its tiny clawssteadying itself by snapping openlike an old-timey fanits wingsagain and again,until, swooning, it tumbled offand swooped back to the very same perch,where the sunflower curled its giantswirling of …

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 – Jane Hirshfield – After Work

Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -) I stop the car along the pasture edge,gather up bags of corncobs from the back,and get out.Two whistles, one for each,and familiar sounds draw close in darkness—cadence of hoof on hardened bottomland,twinned blowing of air through nostrils curious, flared.They come deepened and muscular movementsconjured out of sleep: each small …

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 …

Wise Poets – Tess Gallagher – Ambition

tess gallagher

Tess Gallagher (July 21, 1943 -) We had our heads downbaiting hooks—three wild salmonalready turned back that morningfor the in-season hatchery silversnow out there somewherecounting their luck—whenunder our small boat the seagave a roll like a giant turning overin sleep, lifting us so high I thoughtan ocean liner or freighter hadslipped up on us, the …

Wise Poets – Elizabeth Bishop – At The Fishhouses

Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop (February 8, 1911 - October 6, 1979) Although it is a cold evening,down by one of the fishhousesan old man sits netting,his net, in the gloaming almost invisible,a dark purple-brown,and his shuttle worn and polished.The air smells so strong of codfishit makes one’s nose run and one’s eyes water.The five fishhouses have steeply …

Wise Poets – Natalie Diaz – My Brother at 3 A.M.

f0f3b natalie diaz

Natalie Diaz (September 04, 1978 -) He sat cross-legged, weeping on the stepswhen Mom unlocked and opened the front door.        O God, he said. O God.                He wants to kill me, Mom. When Mom unlocked and opened the front doorat 3 a.m., she was in her nightgown, Dad was asleep.        He wants to kill me, …

Wise Poets – Lisel Mueller – A Prayer For Rain

Lisel Mueller

Lisel Mueller (February 8, 1924 – February 21, 2020) Let it come down: these thicknesses of airhave long enough walled love away from love;stillness has hardened until words despairof their high leaps and kisses shut themselvesback into wishing. Crippled lovers lieagainst a weather which holds out on them,waiting, awaiting some shrill sign, some cry,some screaming …

Wise Poets – Karen Moulton – It’s Getting Late

18e2e karen moulton

Karen Moulton Charlie Daniels is blaring from the jukeboxas she strolls into the bar, surveys tonight’sselection, then sidles up to the guy on the end.He admires her ass, curls his arm around her waist.“Hammer’s the name,” he says in a loud voice.She looks him over: alligator boots, green cords,plaid flannel shirt unbuttoned to show offhis …

Wise Poets – Sarah P. Strong – After 75 Years, She Finally Gets Angry

cdb36 sarah p. strong

Sarah P. Strong At first we did not know what was happening.The tea on the porch table cooled several degreeswhile she stood up, clutchedthe scrollwork back of the chair. The lineson her face arranged themselves in a waywe’d never seen, her nostrils flaredand the bird in the tree behind her stoppedsinging. Someone, not me, tooka …

Wise Poets – Tracy K Smith – We Feel Now A Largeness Coming On

cff15 tracy k smith

Tracy K Smith (April 16, 1972 -) Being called all manner of thingsfrom the Dictionary of Shame—not English, not words, not heard,but worn, borne, carried, never spent—we feel now a largeness coming on,something passing into us. We knownot in what source it was begun, butrapt, we watch it rise through our fallen,our slain, our millions …

Wise Poets – Harryette Mullen – We Are Not Responsible

Harryette Mullen

Harryette Mullen (July 01, 1953 -) We are not responsible for your lost or stolen relatives.We cannot guarantee your safety if you disobey our instructions.We do not endorse the causes or claims of people begging for handouts.We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. Your ticket does not guarantee that we will honor your …

Wise Poets – Joyce Carol Oates – This Is Not A Poem

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates (June 16, 1938 -)  in which the poet discoversdelicate white-parched bonesof a small creatureon a Great Lake shoreor the desiccated remainsof cruder roadkillbeside the rushing highway.Nor is it a poem in whicha cracked mirror yieldsa startled face,or sere grasses hiss-ing like consonantsin a foreign language.Family photo albumfilled with yearningstrangers long deceased,closet of …

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 -Red Hawk – The Never-Ending Serial

8dcb3 red hawk

Red Hawk When I was a boy, the Varsity Theaterwas a mile from our house. Saturdayswe were allowed to walk there, and for a dimewe got a cowboy double-feature and a long-running serial, which involvedan incredibly stupid, weak and helplessbut beautiful woman, upon whomunimaginable indignities and cruelties were enacted by darkly evil men with mustaches.Week …

Wise Poets – Maxine Kumin – Custodian

8acc4 maxine kumin

Maxine Kumin (June 6, 1925 – February 6, 2014) Every spring when the ice goes outblack commas come scribbling across the shallows.Soon they sprout forelegs.Slowly they absorb their tailsand by mid-June, full-voiced, announce themselves.Enter our spotted dog.Every summer, tense with the scent of them,tail arced like a pointer's but waggingin anticipation, he stalks his frogstwo …

Wise Poets – Beverley Bie Brahic – Apple Thieves

d3ebf beverley bie brahic

Beverley Bie Brahic In his dishevelled garden my neighborHas fourteen varieties of apples,Fourteen trees his wife put in as seedlingsBecause, being sick, she wanted somethingDifferent to do (different from being sick).In winter she ordered catalogues, poredOver subtleties of mouthfeel and touch:Tart and sweet and crisp; waxy, smooth,And rough. Spring planted an orchard,Spring projected summersOf green …

Wise Poets – Sharon Olds – The Sisters of Sexual Treasure

Sharon Olds

Sharon Olds (November 19, 1942 -) As soon as my sister and I got out of ourmother’s house, all we wanted todo was fuck, obliterateher tiny sparrow body and narrowgrasshopper legs. The men’s bodieswere like our father’s body!                            The massivehocks, flanks, thighs, elegantknees, …

Wise Poets – Geoffrey Chaucer – The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340s – October 25, 1400) When April with his showers sweet with fruitThe drought of March has pierced unto the rootAnd bathed each vein with liquor that has powerTo generate therein and sire the flower;When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,Quickened again, in every holt and heath,The tender shoots and buds, …

Wise Poets – WH Auden – After Reading A Child’s Guide To Modern Physics

W.H. Auden

Wystan Hugh Auden aka WH Auden (February 21, 1907 – September 29, 1973) If all a top physicist knowsAbout the Truth be true,Then, for all the so-and-so’s,Futility and grime,Our common world contains,We have a better timeThan the Greater Nebulae do,Or the atoms in our brains.Marriage is rarely blissBut, surely it would be worseAs particles to …

Wise Poets – Regina Spektor – Theories Of Everything

a3f6e regina spektor

Regina Spektor (February 18, 1980 -) (When the lecturer’s shirt matches the painting on the wall)He stands there speaking without loveOf theories where, in the democracyOf this universe, or that,There could be legislatorsWho ordain trajectories for falling bodies,Where all things must be dreamed with indifference,And purpose is a momentary silhouetteBacklit by a blue anthropic flash,A …

Wise Poets – Emily Dickinson – Under The Light, Yet Under

Emily Dickinson

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886)  Under the Light, yet under,Under the Grass and the Dirt,Under the Beetle’s CellarUnder the Clover’s Root, Further than Arm could stretchWere it Giant long,Further than Sunshine couldWere the Day Year long, Over the Light, yet over,Over the Arc of the Bird —Over the Comet’s chimney —Over the …

Wise Poets – Alejandra Pizarnik – All Night I Hear The Noise Of Water Sobbing

Alejandra Pizarnik

Alejandra Pizarnik (April 29, 1936 – September 25, 1972) All night I hear the noise of water sobbing. All night I make night in me, I make the day that begins on my account, that sobs because day falls like water through night.         All night I hear the voice of someone seeking me out. All …

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 – Christian Wiman – I Don’t Want To Be A Spice Store

02778 christian wiman

Christian Wiman I don’t want to be a spice store.I don’t want to carry handcrafted Marseille soap,or tsampa and yak butter,or nine thousand varieties of wine.Half the shops here don’t open till noonand even the bookstore’s brined in charm.I want to be the one store that’s open all nightand has nothing but necessities.Something to get …

Wise Poets – David Biespiel – Men Waiting For A Train

7fdb0 david biespiel

David Biespiel At first they stand, orphaned, like a line of birds,First on one foot, then the other, in unison,Like any other unnamed someones, as if poisedFor a firing line, until someone thinks he knowsA train is coming in the sparrow-morning light,And someone else taps a pack of cigarettesAgainst his gloved hand, not exotic,But it’s …

Wise Poets – Tadeusz Różewicz – In the Midst of Life

86347 tadeusz rozewicz

Tadeusz Różewicz (October 09, 1921 – April 24, 2014)  In the Midst of LifeAfter the end of the worldafter deathI found myself in the midst of lifecreating myselfbuilding lifepeople animals landscapes this is a table I saidthis is a tableon the table is bread a knifea knife is to cut breadpeople live on bread man must be …

Wise Poets – Emily Dickinson – As Imperceptibly As Grief

Emily Dickinson

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) As imperceptibly as GriefThe Summer lapsed away—Too imperceptible at last,To seem like Perfidy—A Quietness distilledAs Twilight long begunOr Nature spending with herselfSequestered Afternoon—The Dusk drew earlier in—The Morning foreign shone—A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,As Guest, that would be gone—And thus, without a WingOr service of a …

Wise Poets – Rita Dove – Pedestrian Crossing, Charlottesville

Rita Dove

Rita Dove (August 28, 1952 -) A gaggle of girls giggle over the bricksleading off Court Square. We brakedutifully, and wait; but there’s at leasttwenty of these knob-kneed creatures,blond and curly, still at an age that thinksimpudence is cute. Look how they dartand dither, changing flanks as they lurchalong—golden gobbets of infuriating foolishnessor pure joy, …

Wise Poets – Hafizah Geter – Naming Ceremony

e421e hafizah geter

Hafizah Geter My father, who spends most of his days paintingpictures, says coming home to my motherstroking out was like walking in on an affair.Bending, he demonstrates howan aneurism hugged my motherto her knees. A man alwaysat his easel, my father tries to draw clarityfrom obfuscation. Every retelling:bluer, then redder. His memorya primary color saturatingthe …

Wise Poets – Rainer Maria Rilke – The Duino Elegies X

Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke (December 04, 1875 – December 29, 1926) The Duino Elegies are among my favorite mystical, existential love poems. I hold Rilke in the same ethereal realm as Rumi and Blake. To ease your enjoyment of Rilke’s creation written over a ten year period, I present them as individual verses, one each day …

Wise Poets – Rainer Maria Rilke – The Duino Elegies IX

Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke (December 04, 1875 – December 29, 1926) The Duino Elegies are among my favorite mystical, existential love poems. I hold Rilke in the same ethereal realm as Rumi and Blake. To ease your enjoyment of Rilke’s creation written over a ten year period, I present them as individual verses, one each day for the …

Wise Poets – Rainer Maria Rilke – The Duino Elegies VIII

Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke (December 04, 1875 – December 29, 1926) The Duino Elegies are among my favorite mystical, existential love poems. I hold Rilke in the same ethereal realm as Rumi and Blake. To ease your enjoyment of Rilke’s creation written over a ten year period, I present them as individual verses, one each day …

Wise Poets – Rainer Maria Rilke – The Duino Elegies IV

Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke (December 04, 1875 – December 29, 1926) The Duino Elegies are among my favorite mystical, existential love poems. I hold Rilke in the same ethereal realm as Rumi and Blake. To ease your enjoyment of Rilke’s creation written over a ten year period, I present them as individual verses, one each day …

Wise Poets – Elizabeth Acevedo – Ode to the Head Nod

Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo the slight angling up of the foreheadneck extension quick jut of chin meeting the strangers’ eyesa gilded curtsy to the sunfill in another in yourself tithe of respectin an early version the copy editor deleted the word “head” from the titlethe copy editor say it’s implied the copy editor means wellthe copy editor …

Wise Poets – Michael T Young – The One In Power

31a09 michael t young

Michael T Young He had a dog that failedto come when he called,so had it executedand stuffed.He likes to squeezethe pinched neckof an hourglassto imagine himselfstrangling time.In his garden, treesare cultivated to bowtoward the main pathso it seems, as he passes,even nature obeys him.To calm his nerves,he’ll sit in bed at nightwith a dictionary,crossing out …

Wise Poets – Barbara Kingsolver – How to Survive This

84651 barbara kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver (April 08, 1955 -) O misery. Imperfectuniverse of days stretched outahead, the string of pearlsand drops of venom on the web,losses of heart, of lifeand limb, news of the worst:Remind me againthe day will comewhen I look back amazedat the waste of sorry saltwhen I had no more than thisto cry about.Now I …

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 – T.S. Eliot – Burnt Norton

4af35 t.s. eliot

T.S. Eliot (September 26, 1888–January 4, 1965) Time present and time pastAre both perhaps present in time futureAnd time future contained in time past.If all time is eternally presentAll time is unredeemable.What might have been is an abstractionRemaining a perpetual possibilityOnly in a world of speculation.What might have been and what has beenPoint to one …

Wise Poets – Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer – The Afternoon the World Health Organization Declared the Pandemic

rosemerry wahtola trommer

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer That was the afternoonwe watched the avalanches—dozens and dozens of themflowing over the cliff bands.How beautiful they werefrom a distance—bright falls of billowing snow.They began as dark rumble,then burst into plume, into rush.Unstoppable they were.Powerful. Inevitable.Such a gift to feel humbled,to exult in forcesgreater than our own. Later that night, readingthe tumbling …

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

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 – David Graham – Listening for Your Name

049d9 david graham

David Graham As a father steals into his child's half-lit bedroomslowly, quietly, standing long and longcounting the breaths before finally slippingback out, taking care not to wake her,and as that night-lit child is fully awake the wholetime, with closed eyes, measured breathing,savoring a delicious blessing she couldn'tname but will remember her whole life,how often we …

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 – Erika L Sánchez – Instructions For Living

60bcb erika l. sanchez

Erika L. Sánchez It was the way summer hunted me:a sequence of instructionsin the folds of a flower.How do I explain the hatred of the sun,the terrible wonder of being alive?Fuck the fucking birds. I lookedto the sky to join the storms. I couldn’thave imagined you, swift as the lightningI traced with my finger, a …

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

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 – Howard Nemerov – Figures Of Thought

0796a howard nemerov

Howard Nemerov (February 29, 1920 – July 5, 1991) To lay the logarithmic spiral onSea-shell and leaf alike, and see it fit,To watch the same idea work itself outIn the fighter pilot’s steepening, tightening turnOnto his target, setting up the kill,And in the flight of certain wall-eyed bugsWho cannot see to fly straight into deathBut …

Wise Poets – Francesca Bell – Spring

545f7 francesca bell

for my husband, 21 years my senior Francesca Bell There are so many timesI could have killed you.After 28 years of marriage—the only contact sportI’ve ever stuck with—I found myselfcrying this morning,after a trip outside,singing Happy Birthdaythree times through,just to be sure,scrubbing despitethe sting of my split skinas I’ve loved youthrough even the rubof the …

Wise Poets – Galway Kinnell – When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone

ec13d galway kinnell

Galway Mills Kinnell (February 1, 1927 – October 28, 2014) 1 When one has lived a long time alone,one refrains from swatting the flyand lets him go, and one hesitates to strikethe mosquito, though more than willing to slapthe flesh under her, and one lifts the toadfrom the pit too deep to hop out ofand …

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 their soft, …

Wise Poets – Jennifer Chang – Obedience, Or The Lying Tale

49672 jennifer chang

Jennifer Chang I will do everything you tell me, Mother.I will charm three gold hairsfrom the demon’s head.I will choke the mouse that gnawsan apple tree’s roots and keep its skinfor a glove. To the wolf, I will bepretty and kind and curtsyhis crossing of my path. The forest, vocaleven in its somber tread, rages.A …

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 – 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 beforeme,When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divideand measure them,When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured withmuch applause in the lecture-room,How soon unaccountable I became tired and …

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 – Kim Addonizio – Sestina Writing

b2d45 kim addonizio

Kim Addonizio (July 31, 1954 -) I spent an entire day at my desk writingvapid effluvia like I’m so sick of writingpages of drivel, not feeling like a writerat all even though “A writer writesand doesn’t just talk about writing”was drilled into me by a writing instructor years ago. “Writingbegets writing”was another lesson I learned …

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 …