Always at dusk, the same tearless experience,
The same dragging of feet up the same well-worn path
To the same well-worn rock;
The same crimson or gold dropping away of the sun
The same tints—rose, saffron, violet, lavender, grey
Meeting, mingling, mixing mistily;
Before me the same blue black cedar rising jaggedly to a point;
Over it, the same slow unlidding of twin stars,
Two eyes, unfathomable, soul-searing,
Watching, watching—watching me;
The same two eyes that draw me forth, against my will dusk after dusk;
The same two eyes that keep me sitting late into the night, chin on knees
Keep me there lonely, rigid, tearless, numbly miserable,
—The eyes of my Regret.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on February 18, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.
Odd how you entered my house quietly,
Quietly left again.
While you stayed you ate at my table,
Slept in my bed.
There was much sweetness,
Yet little was done, little said.
After you left there was pain,
Now there is no more pain.
But the door of a certain room in my house
Will be always shut.
Your fork, your plate, the glass you drank from,
The music you played,
Are in that room
With the pillow where last your head was laid.
And there is one place in my garden
Where it’s best that I set no foot.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on June 5, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.
Meticulous, past midnight in clear rime,
Infrangible and lonely, smooth as though cast
Together in one merciless white blade—
The bay estuaries fleck the hard sky limits.
—As if too brittle or too clear to touch!
The cables of our sleep so swiftly filed,
Already hang, shred ends from remembered stars.
One frozen trackless smile... What words
Can strangle this deaf moonlight? For we
Are overtaken. Now no cry, no sword
Can fasten or deflect this tidal wedge,
Slow tyranny of moonlight, moonlight loved
And changed... “There’s
Nothing like this in the world,” you say,
Knowing I cannot touch your hand and look
Too, into that godless cleft of sky
Where nothing turns but dead sands flashing.
“—And never to quite understand!” No,
In all the argosy of your bright hair I dreamed
Nothing so flagless as this piracy.
Draw in your head, alone and too tall here.
Your eyes already in the slant of drifting foam;
Your breath sealed by the ghosts I do not know:
Draw in your head and sleep the long way home.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on June 4, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.
He was a boy when first we met; His eyes were mixed of dew and fire, And on his candid brow was set The sweetness of a chaste desire: But in his veins the pulses beat Of passion, waiting for its wing, As ardent veins of summer heat Throb through the innocence of spring. As manhood came, his stature grew, And fiercer burned his restless eyes, Until I trembled, as he drew From wedded hearts their young disguise. Like wind-fed flame his ardor rose, And brought, like flame, a stormy rain: In tumult, sweeter than repose, He tossed the souls of joy and pain. So many years of absence change! I knew him not when he returned: His step was slow, his brow was strange, His quiet eye no longer burned. When at my heart I heard his knock, No voice within his right confessed: I could not venture to unlock Its chambers to an alien guest. Then, at the threshold, spent and worn With fruitless travel, down he lay: And I beheld the gleams of morn On his reviving beauty play. I knelt, and kissed his holy lips, I washed his feet with pious care; And from my life the long eclipse Drew off; and left his sunshine there. He burns no more with youthful fire; He melts no more in foolish tears; Serene and sweet, his eyes inspire The steady faith of balanced years. His folded wings no longer thrill, But in some peaceful flight of prayer: He nestles in my heart so still, I scarcely feel his presence there. O Love, that stern probation o’er, Thy calmer blessing is secure! Thy beauteous feet shall stray no more, Thy peace and patience shall endure! The lightest wind deflowers the rose, The rainbow with the sun departs, But thou art centred in repose, And rooted in my heart of hearts!
This poem is in the public domain.