When did I know that I’d have to carry it around
in order to have it when I need it, say in a pocket,
the dark itself not dark enough but needing to be
added to, handful by handful if necessary, until
the way my mother would sit all night in a room
without the lights, smoking, until she disappeared?
Where would she go, because I would go there.
In the morning, nothing but a blanket and all her
absence and the feeling in the air of happiness.
And so much loneliness, a kind of purity of being
and emptiness, no one you are or could ever be,
my mother like another me in another life, gone
where I will go, night now likely dark enough
I can be alone as I’ve never been alone before.
Copyright © 2019 by Stanley Plumly. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 7, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.
Why are you grieving?
Because the others are grieving.
You are not compelled to grieve independently?
The grass needs raking.
The leaves. I will build a fence to keep them from the sea.
Then will you help the others?
Tollers ring bells even the dead can hear,
a ringing such that I am bound to.
And the leaves?
When they are taken by the waves I give them names,
desiring in this act a homecoming
to which I am constantly denied
on account of other people’s prayers.
Copyright @ 2014 by Rob Schlegel. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on May 26, 2014.
I whisper to the tree, the tree,
the murmuring Tree
“I might take action”
Snow sun melts into streams increasing in volume
I control with my lips
Around History. Our eyes meet. White ancient
Roar I hear stream-
Side, my invisible dress threatening
A slow death. The rest I want to carry
So I listen
For the tree, and its never quite obsolete magic.
Copyright © 2016 by Rob Schlegel. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 13, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.