And I carried to that emptiness
between us the birds
that had been calling out
all night. I carried an old
bicycle, a warm meal,
some time to talk.
I would have brought
them to you sooner
but was afraid your own
hopelessness would keep you
crouched there. If you spring up,
let it not be against me
but like a weed or a
fountain. I grant you
the hard spine of your
childhood. I grant you
the frowning arc of this morning.
If I could I would grant you
a bright throat and even
brighter eyes, this whole hill
of olive trees, its
calmness of purpose.
Let me not forget
ever what I owe you.
I have loved the love
you felt for those gardens
and I would grant you
the always steadying
presence of seeds.
I bring to that trouble
between us a bell that might
blur into air. I bring the woods
and a sense of what lives there.
Like you, I turn to sunlight for
answers. Like you, I am
not sure where it has gone.
Otis on vinyl
the barn. Blessed
is this day. The camera
captures us youthful
Blessed be this day,
of friends coming
together. Last night,
those I love, I had wanted
to read Berrigan's
"Words For Love,"
but I didn't want to say
the heart breaks, even though I know
it's true & the breaking
can be a good thing
sometimes, like the way
my heart shatters
a little each time
I think of my friends
& how lucky in life
I've been to get
to know them, to have
had the time to laugh &
drink & dance & to argue
& feel hurt too.
How can one possibly
that should be said?
just feelings, not
defined by words.
To be overwhelmed,
caught in a whirlwind
& up to one's
ankles in the creek
as lightning bugs
polka-dot the sky
& Otis, again Otis,
always Otis in my
Not every day
can be a good day
but this is one
of them, one
of the best days.
Copyright © 2012 by Gina Myers. Used with permission of the author.
Remember when you put on that wig
From the grab bag and then looked at yourself
In the mirror and laughed, and we laughed together?
It was a transformation, glamorous flowing tresses.
Who knows if you might not have liked to wear
That wig permanently, but of course you
Wouldn’t. Remember when you told me how
You meditated, looking at a stone until
You knew the soul of the stone? Inwardly I
Scoffed, being the backwoods pragmatic Yankee
That I was, yet I knew what you meant. I
Called it love. No magic was needed. And we
Loved each other too, not in the way of
Romance but in the way of two poets loving
A stone, and the world that the stone signified.
Remember when we had that argument over
Pee and piss in your poem about the bear?
“Bears don’t pee, they piss,” I said. But you were
Adamant. “My bears pee.” And that was that.
Then you moved away, across the continent,
And sometimes for a year I didn’t see you.
We phoned and wrote, we kept in touch. And then
You moved again, much farther away, I don’t
Know where. No word from you now at all. But
I am faithful, my dear Denise. And I still
Love the stone, and, yes, I know its soul.
Used with permission by Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org
Dear friends, reproach me not for what I do, Nor counsel me, nor pity me; nor say That I am wearing half my life away For bubble-work that only fools pursue. And if my bubbles be too small for you, Blow bigger then your own: the games we play To fill the frittered minutes of a day, Good glasses are to read the spirit through. And whoso reads may get him some shrewd skill; And some unprofitable scorn resign, To praise the very thing that he deplores; So, friends (dear friends), remember, if you will, The shame I win for singing is all mine, The gold I miss for dreaming is all yours.
This poem is in the public domain.
can be enough to make you look up
at the yellowed leaves of the apple tree, the few
that survived the rains and frost, shot
with late afternoon sun. They glow a deep
orange-gold against a blue so sheer, a single bird
would rip it like silk. You may have to break
your heart, but it isn’t nothing
to know even one moment alive. The sound
of an oar in an oarlock or a ruminant
animal tearing grass. The smell of grated ginger.
The ruby neon of the liquor store sign.
Warm socks. You remember your mother,
her precision a ceremony, as she gathered
the white cotton, slipped it over your toes,
drew up the heel, turned the cuff. A breath
can uncoil as you walk across your own muddy yard,
the big dipper pouring night down over you, and everything
you dread, all you can’t bear, dissolves
and, like a needle slipped into your vein—
that sudden rush of the world.
Copyright © 2016 by Ellen Bass. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 18, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.