We all want to leave this widening night,

            this barking at the thing we can’t see.

No one walks through their story un-stung.

            This yard, this life, like a book of changes,

the moment buzzing by like a prophecy,

            your body a constellation of pain.

We spend our time stumbling through the white fog,

            searching the doctrine of our own breath

when all we need do is crawl deep inside 

            the silence that comes after and face

the teeming hole in the ground, the wasp’s nest, 

            that cousin of the eyelessness of space.  

Do not fear the ache and swell my sweet boy.

            It’s easy to hate what we’re given.

Copyright © 2021 by Peter Grandbois. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 30, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

Well, son, I’ll tell you: 
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a’climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners, 
And sometimes goin’ in the dark, 
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back;
Don’t you sit down on the steps, 
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard;
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

This poem is in the public domain.