Oh, I am very weary,
     Though tears no longer flow;
My eyes are tired of weeping,
     My heart is sick of woe;

My life is very lonely,
     My days pass heavily,
I’m weary of repining;
     Wilt thou not come to me?

Oh, didst thou know my longings
     For thee, from day to day,
My hopes, so often blighted,
     Thou wouldst not thus delay!

This poem is in the public domain.

I won’t ever tell you how it ended.
But it ended. I was told not to act
Like it was some big dramatic moment.
She swiveled on her heels like she twirled just
The other day on a bar stool, the joy
Gone out of it now. Then she walked away.
I called out to her once. She slightly turned.
But she didn’t stop. I called out again.
And that was when, well, that’s just when
You know: You will always be what you were
On that small street at that small time, right when
She left and Pluto sudsed your throat and said,
Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche
Tú la quisiste, y a veces ella también te quiso.

Copyright © 2016 by Rowan Ricardo Phillips. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 22, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Wait, for now.
Distrust everything if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried 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 give them
the need for other hands. The desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.

Wait.
Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a little and listen:
music of hair,
music of pain,
music of looms weaving our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.

Copyright © 1980 by Galway Kinnell. From Mortal Acts, Mortal Words (Mariner Books, 1980). Used with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

What was it I was going to say?
Slipped away probably because
it needn’t be said. At that edge

almost not knowing but second
guessing the gain, loss, or effect
of an otherwise hesitant remark.

Slant of light on a brass box. The way
a passing thought knots the heart.
There’s nothing, nothing to say.

Copyright © 2015 by Thomas Meyer. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 1, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

I needed, for months after he died, to remember our rooms—
            some lit by the trivial, others ample

with an obscurity that comforted us: it hid our own darkness.
            So for months, duteous, I remembered:

rooms where friends lingered, rooms with our beds,
            with our books, rooms with curtains I sewed

from bright cottons. I remembered tables of laughter,
            a chipped bowl in early light, black

branches by a window, bowing toward night, & those rooms,
            too, in which we came together

to be away from all. And sometimes from ourselves:
            I remembered that, also.

But tonight—as I stand in the doorway to his room
            & stare at dusk settled there—

what I remember best is how, to throw my arms around his neck,
            I needed to stand on the tip of my toes.

Copyright © 2015 by Laure-Anne Bosselaar. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 25, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

I remembered what it was like,
knowing what you want to eat and then making it,
forgetting about the ending in the middle,
looking at the ocean for 
a long time without restlessness,
or with restlessness not inhabiting the joints,
sitting Indian style on a porch
overlooking that water, smooth like good cake frosting. 
And then I experienced it, falling so deeply
into the storyline, I laughed as soon as my character entered
the picture, humming the theme music even when I’d told myself
I wanted to be quiet by some freezing river
and never talk to anyone again. 
And I thought, now is the right time to cut up your shirt. 

Copyright © 2013 by Katie Peterson. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on October 25, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Dear Lord
Show me
The way—
Take
My heart
And throw
It away

Lord, take
My heart
And throw
It out

Lord, throw
My heart
Way out

Copyright © 2013 by Robert Glück. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on June 28, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

It’s no use walking the beasts of my longing without you, compañero,
you whose name means stone the sun

moves across. Remember our house, and the statuary of clouds
drifting through the rooms? And the sheets and blankets of our habits,

and ourselves two hounds lying down. We loved
like we fought, slugging our way toward each other,
sending up flares to announce our advance. And when our city

burned, we stood in the ashes, and admired each other’s
bodies. Now I ask you: how will we manage

without the steadiness of our long unhappiness?
Can you say you don’t miss our furious
putting up with each other? The silver waves
go on polishing themselves. The sun goes down
alone. Tell me: is this
as it should be? My body goes on

without you burnishing its crevices. Without
your faults, there is no salt. I will not again be fat.
Even my hair will abandon me, like a woman walking away

until you can’t see her. So what
if I’m given other dawns? I ache
for the grandeur of uproar. Light

brings on its armadas of taxis and butterflies,
and I’m forced to go into the street

and talk to agreeable strangers.

Copyright © 2015 by Marilyn Krysl. Originally published in Prairie Schooner in 2015. Used with permission of the author.

        [for Ishion Hutchinson]

The thing about entertaining them,
about keeping their company,
about fraternizing,
is you must remember
they are bloodless
and have many faces,
though it’s easy enough
to walk in sunlight,
where either you or they
become invisible,
never together seen;
easy to get in bed with them,
to bed them,
to be seduced by them—
listing in their own dominance.
Remember what makes one human,
animal, is not the high road
but the baseness in the heart,
the knowledge that they could,
at any moment, betray you.

Copyright © 2011 by Dante Micheaux. Used with permission of the author.

I failed him and he failed me—
Together our skinned glance makes a sorry bridge 
For some frail specter who can't get through.

I failed him 
               but maybe it was the lamp that failed,
Maybe it was the meal,
Maybe it was the potter 
Who would not intervene, maybe the clay, 
Maybe the plateau's topaz, too steady to help, 
Or was it the meat cut two days late, was it 
The deciduous branch and its dull wait for bloom—

But I remember the small thing rotating in us 
Towards hunger, how it did not fail to guide, 
And that we made no request of our souls or all souls 
Or the one perfectly distant soul 
                                         and so did not fail in what we did not do, 
Never begging at the sky but moving 
On the islands beneath it, hungry together by its rivers and bones. 

Who told us we had failed
If not the human world gone wrong? 

It was the world?

Ah, then we will fail again and again in the waters apart,
Bridging nothing, bridging nowhere 
Towards what we, failures, are.

Copyright © 2011 by Katie Ford. Used with permission of the author.

This was once a love poem,
before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short,
before it found itself sitting,
perplexed and a little embarrassed,
on the fender of a parked car,
while many people passed by without turning their heads.

It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement.
It remembers choosing these shoes,
this scarf or tie.

Once, it drank beer for breakfast,
drifted its feet
in a river side by side with the feet of another.

Once it pretended shyness, then grew truly shy,
dropping its head so the hair would fall forward,
so the eyes would not be seen.

IT spoke with passion of history, of art.
It was lovely then, this poem.
Under its chin, no fold of skin softened.
Behind the knees, no pad of yellow fat.
What it knew in the morning it still believed at nightfall.
An unconjured confidence lifted its eyebrows, its cheeks.

The longing has not diminished.
Still it understands. It is time to consider a cat,
the cultivation of African violets or flowering cactus.

Yes, it decides:
Many miniature cacti, in blue and red painted pots.
When it finds itself disquieted
by the pure and unfamiliar silence of its new life,
it will touch them—one, then another—
with a single finger outstretched like a tiny flame.

—1998

From Given Sugar, Given Salt (HarperCollins, 2001) by Jane Hirshfield. Copyright © 2001 by Jane Hirshfield. Reprinted by permission of the author, all rights reserved.

Some folks will tell you the blues is a woman,
Some type of supernatural creature.
My mother would tell you, if she could,
About her life with my father,
A strange and sometimes cruel gentleman.
She would tell you about the choices
A young black woman faces.
Is falling in with some man
A deal with the devil
In blue terms, the tongue we use
When we don't want nuance
To get in the way,
When we need to talk straight.
My mother chooses my father
After choosing a man
Who was, as we sing it,
Of no account.
This man made my father look good,
That's how bad it was.
He made my father seem like an island
In the middle of a stormy sea,
He made my father look like a rock.
And is the blues the moment you realize
You exist in a stacked deck,
You look in a mirror at your young face,
The face my sister carries,
And you know it's the only leverage
You've got.
Does this create a hurt that whispers
How you going to do?
Is the blues the moment
You shrug your shoulders
And agree, a girl without money
Is nothing, dust
To be pushed around by any old breeze.
Compared to this,
My father seems, briefly,
To be a fire escape.
This is the way the blues works
Its sorry wonders,
Makes trouble look like
A feather bed,
Makes the wrong man's kisses 
A healing.

From Autobiography of a Jukebox by Cornelius Eady. Used with permission.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

From The Complete Poems 1927-1979 by Elizabeth Bishop, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. Copyright © 1979, 1983 by Alice Helen Methfessel. Used with permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

Love has gone and left me and the days are all alike;
   Eat I must, and sleep I will,—and would that night were here!
But ah!—to lie awake and hear the slow hours strike!
   Would that it were day again!—with twilight near!

Love has gone and left me and I don't know what to do;
   This or that or what you will is all the same to me;
But all the things that I begin I leave before I'm through,—
   There's little use in anything as far as I can see.

Love has gone and left me,—and the neighbors knock and borrow,
   And life goes on forever like the gnawing of a mouse,—
And to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow
   There's this little street and this little house. 

This poem is in the public domain.

Never seek to tell thy love,
  Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind doth move
  Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
  I told her all my heart,
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears.
  Ah! she did depart!

Soon after she was gone from me,
  A traveller came by,
Silently, invisibly:
  He took her with a sigh.

This poem is in the public domain.

She is gone, where did she go?
He can’t imagine how the house will feel
when he enters it, moving room to room.
Now that the wait is over, a larger pause
will blanket the roof, softness settling
slowly down. By which window or door
may future days enter?  And what about minor
questions called out, to which there was always
that lilting reply?

Copyright © by Naomi Shihab Nye. Used with the permission of the author.