Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark green fields; on; on; and out of sight.

Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted,
And beauty came like the setting sun.
My heart was shaken with tears and horror
Drifted away ... O but every one
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

This poem is in the public domain.

Sometimes you don’t die

when you’re supposed to

& now I have a choice

repair a world or build

a new one inside my body

a white door opens

into a place queerly brimming

gold light so velvet-gold

it is like the world

hasn’t happened

when I call out

all my friends are there

everyone we love

is still alive gathered

at the lakeside

like constellations

my honeyed kin

honeyed light

beneath the sky

a garden blue stalks

white buds the moon’s

marble glow the fire

distant & flickering

the body whole bright-

winged brimming

with the hours

of the day beautiful

nameless planet. Oh

friends, my friends—

bloom how you must, wild

until we are free.

Copyright © 2018 by Cameron Awkward-Rich. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 30, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

(Miles Davis, 1926–1991)

This is what heroin must feel like—

Miles Davis exacting

his way through “Autumn Leaves”—
pretty and cold, a slowly spreading frost

along synapses and veins,
mapping interstellar darkness

one blue note at a time. Sometimes you could hear
him thinking through the changes

like he was hunting himself, relentless
and without mercy, then a burst of blue

flame, squeezing the Harmon mute like a man screaming
from the bottom of a mine shaft—

but however brightly the darkness glows,
it is still darkness, and Miles was a blackbird

on a field of snow, beautiful, distant, quiet—

and however many steps you take to meet him he flies
ten more feet away.

Copyright © 2015 by Anthony Walton. This poem was first printed in Black Renaissance Noire, Vol. 15, Issue 1 (Spring–Summer 2015). Used with the permission of the author.