curved as a lip pouting for a kiss
sponge of sunlight,
filaments stand in ceremony
to your song of color
insects decide to walk the labyrinth
of your perfumed path
are you tickled by these
sipping your sweet wine of particulates
would you have preferred to be a robin
burdened with the sky’s
most unique song
do you wish you were the moon
a whole planet of petals
with an atmosphere of cologne
a dolphin bathing in the coral medicines
of an oceanic garden?
when you are closed
shy & anxious
unconcerned with weather
death or dementia
you are the earth’s soldier of love,
yet––what do you know of it?
From Martian: The Saint of Loneliness. Copyright © 2022 by James Cagney. Published by Nomadic Press. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
Look, in the early light,
Down to the infinite
Depths at the deep grass-roots;
Where the sun shoots
In golden veins, as looking through
A dear pool one sees it do;
Where campion drifts
Its bladders, iris-brinded, through the rifts
Of rising, falling seed
That the winds lightly scour—
Down to the matted earth where over
And over again crow’s-foot and clover
And pink bindweed
Dimly, steadily flower.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on August 20, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.
and buttercups in the grass
remind me of other summer
flowers, simple blossoms
roses and tiger lilies by the wall
milk pod, sumac branches
lilacs across the road, daisies, blueberries
snaps, cut violets
three years ago still grow in my mind
as peonies or planted geraniums, bachelor buttons
in downy fields filled with clover
lover, come again and again up fern
path upheld as memory’s perennial
against stern hard-faced officers of imprisonment
and cold regulation more painful than lover’s arms
or flowers charming but not more lasting.
No, the wild tulip shall outlast the prison wall
no matter what grows within.
From Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners, edited by Joshua Beckman, CAConrad, and Robert Dewhurst © 2015 John Wieners Literary Trust, Raymond Foye, Administrator. Reprinted with the permission of The John Wieners Literary Trust.
I have robbed the garrulous streets,
Thieved a fair girl from their blight,
I have stolen her for a sacrifice
That I shall make to this mysteried night.
I have brought her, laughing,
To my quietly sinister garden.
For what will be done there
I ask no man’s pardon.
I brush the rouge from her cheeks,
Clean the black kohl from the rims
Of her eyes; loose her hair;
Uncover the glimmering, shy limbs.
I break wild roses, scatter them over her.
The thorns between us sing like love’s pain.
Her flesh, bitter and salt to my tongue,
I taste with endless kisses and taste again.
At dawn I leave her
Asleep in my wakening garden
(For what was done there
I ask no man’s pardon.)
From On a Grey Thread (Will Ransom, 1923) by Elsa Gidlow. This poem is in the public domain.