I will not walk in the wood to-night,
I will not stand by the water’s edge
And see day lie on the dusk’s bright ledge
Until it turn, a star at its breast,
To rest.

I will not see the wide-flung hills
Closing darkly about my grief,
I wore a crown of their lightest leaf,
But now they press like a cold, blue ring,

I dare not meet that caroling blade,
Jauntily drawn in the sunset pine,
Stabbing me with its thrust divine,
Knowing my naked, aching need,
Till I bleed.

Sheathe your song, invincible bird,
Strike not at me with that flashing note,
Have pity, have pity, persistent throat,
Deliver me not to your dread delight

I am afraid of the creeping wood,
I am afraid of the furtive trees,
Hiding behind them, memories,
Ready to spring, to clutch, to tear,
Wait for me there.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 10, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Let the sea beat its thin torn hands
In anguish against the shore,
Let it moan
Between headland and cliff;
Let the sea shriek out its agony
Across waste sands and marshes,
And clutch great ships,
Tearing them plate from steel plate
In reckless anger;
Let it break the white bulwarks
Of harbour and city;
Let it sob and scream and laugh
In a sharp fury,
With white salt tears
Wet on its writhen face;
Ah! let the sea still be mad
And crash in madness among the shaking rocks—
For the sea is the cry of our sorrow.

This poem is in the public domain.

Here at the center      of a field            of green


leaves waving            center of a         grief I can’t


see far enough           to tell how         it will ease


it will not ease           it goes on           and on now


as yours does            in sunlight         and in rain


holding hands with    her in the           last minutes


sky so vast                hear the            wheat roar—

Copyright © 2015 by David Baker. Used with permission of the author. “Pastoral” originally appeared in T Magazine.

Dear darkness. Dear where we bow our heads in disbelief.
     Dear disbelief, hardly bow our heads and
hardly speak, so we sing, such words as darkness
     shows us how on days on end. So I sing it is
not hopeless. Hurry hurry. Nor faithless—to stand
     without faith, keeping open—. Now another
so they say, thus the trees utterly are still, and the wind is,
     and what wings there are utterly still in limbs
darkened above the barn. Bow down, for this darkness
     now above cedars. Smell of mint and tincture of
torn wood-pulp, or was that the last time, yes it was.
     Take shelter, take now cover take nothing
when it is time, for ye need no Thing but—. So I say
     the mighty voice upon the waters is, glory thundereth,
twists of ivy like leather scales along a body
     of the big limbs hanging, bearing down, to break.
Older than a door, older than a holding hand. His voyce
     breaks Cedars: breaks Cedars. The last time,
now lie in the doorway, in the tub, lie down, cover
     us with blankets. Yes hurry. Dear hurry. Dear
disbelief, Great are thy bowell-mercies Lord:
     after thy judgements—. Clap now a great wing
over the barn, the cedars, pelt now, rain now,
     or is that the last time coming wild, stones against
every pane breaking, is it the last, hail now whose
     particles breaking through as little toads, silver
fishes everywhere. Seek shelter—. What more
     do you need from me, it makes the forrest bare: take
the little ones quickly, bow down, great whirlwind
     in grit now, ice, excreate of stone and leaf-shred sound
of howling birds, so I say it is not faithless to lie
     in the doorway going down without faith, dear hurry
keeping open vigil at the site out of stillness out of
     darkness now the sudden breaking down, Dear wind—

Copyright © 2015 by David Baker. Used with permission of the author. “Storm Psalm” originally appeared in The New England Review.