Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
Remember.

“Remember.” Copyright © 1983 by Joy Harjo from She Had Some Horses by Joy Harjo. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Mine are the night and morning,
The pits of air, the gulf of space,
The sportive sun, the gibbous moon,
The innumerable days.

I hid in the solar glory,
I am dumb in the pealing song,
I rest on the pitch of the torrent,
In slumber I am strong.

No numbers have counted my tallies,
No tribes my house can fill,
I sit by the shining Fount of Life,
And pour the deluge still;

And ever by delicate powers
Gathering along the centuries
From race on race the rarest flowers,
My wreath shall nothing miss.

And many a thousand summers
My apples ripened well,
And light from meliorating stars
With firmer glory fell.

I wrote the past in characters
Of rock and fire the scroll,
The building in the coral sea,
The planting of the coal.

And thefts from satellites and rings
And broken stars I drew,
And out of spent and aged things
I formed the world anew;

What time the gods kept carnival,
Tricked out in star and flower,
And in cramp elf and saurian forms
They swathed their too much power.

Time and Thought were my surveyors,
They laid their courses well,
They boiled the sea, and baked the layers
Or granite, marl, and shell.

But he, the man-child glorious,—
Where tarries he the while?
The rainbow shines his harbinger,
The sunset gleams his smile.

My boreal lights leap upward,
Forthright my planets roll,
And still the man-child is not born,
The summit of the whole.

Must time and tide forever run?
Will never my winds go sleep in the west?
Will never my wheels which whirl the sun
And satellites have rest?

Too much of donning and doffing,
Too slow the rainbow fades,
I weary of my robe of snow,
My leaves and my cascades;

I tire of globes and races,
Too long the game is played;
What without him is summer's pomp,
Or winter’s frozen shade?

I travail in pain for him,
My creatures travail and wait;
His couriers come by squadrons,
He comes not to the gate.

Twice I have moulded an image,
And thrice outstretched my hand,
Made one of day, and one of night,
And one of the salt sea-sand.

One in a Judaean manger,
And one by Avon stream,
One over against the mouths of Nile,
And one in the Academe.

I moulded kings and saviours,
And bards o’er kings to rule;—
But fell the starry influence short,
The cup was never full.

Yet whirl the glowing wheels once more,
And mix the bowl again;
Seethe, fate! the ancient elements,
Heat, cold, wet, dry, and peace, and pain.

Let war and trade and creeds and song
Blend, ripen race on race,
The sunburnt world a man shall breed
Of all the zones, and countless days.

No ray is dimmed, no atom worn,
My oldest force is good as new,
And the fresh rose on yonder thorn
Gives back the bending heavens in dew.

From American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century, Volume I, published by Library of America.

In   the   milliseconds   &      minutes     &  
millennia  when   I    no   longer   am   the  
bundle of meat & need  unpoeming  itself  
in   the still   hours   of  a   full   or   empty  
house,  I  dream  my  eye socket   encased  
underground   with    root    &   worm    &  
watershed threading  through it.  |  |  The  
summers   become  hotter  &   hotter.  |  |  
Unbearable  &  luminous,  the  refrain  of  
the  song  of  extinction— 

My  children  &  my   children’s   children  
will  inherit   the  edges of cumulonimbus  
clouds,     the       unexpected      sunflower  
blooming   from   a     second-story     rain 
gutter,   the  gentleness   of   the  marbling 
sunlight  on  the  fur  of a  rabbit  stilled in  
a  suburban  backyard.  |  |  I  am  in   love 
 with    the   Earth.   |  |   There    are    still  
blackberries  enough   to  light the    brain  
with the star charts of a sweetness— 

&  yet  &  yet  &  yet, the  undertow  of  the  
expanding    universe     repeats    to      the  
mitochondria    in   my    cells.   The     tiny  
bluebird  in my throat continues   to   build  
her  nest   with  twigs   & mud  &  scraps of  
Amazon packing tape.  |  |   I feel  the  now 
of   now  fluttering   diastole  &  systole   in  
my  biceps  & lungs  &  toe  bones   |  |  The  
oranges  &  reds  &   yellows  of   my   many  
Octobers   leaf  to   life   &   spill   from   my  
mouth:  unaccountable  acorns,   midnight 
loam, overgrown meadows,  

a wee spore adrift among the fireflies—

Copyright © 2024 by Dante Di Stefano. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 12, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets. 

(while wandering in the forest at Indian Point, Ellsworth, Maine)

Bats watched them fall, cupped like tiny palms, 
toward earthen forests. 
They land, eager ears up, 
on twigs and felled branches. 

They nestle between lichen, 
  fungi, 
  figure out hyphae, 
  the deep composting web. 

Once homed, aliens echolocate via sonar chirps, 
mimic
Blue Jay, 
Hairy Woodpecker, 
Song Sparrow, 
Black-Capped Chickadee, 
Northern Parula, 
the Black-Throated Green Warbler. 

Thin sound beams traverse the woods, establish generations, 
the milky way’s travelers in their new division. 
The trill of me, me, me, a tiny army of green shells, 
parsing old and new ocean kinships. 

And then they wait. 
Wood fibers decay, 
car tires feed carbon black into morning breezes, 
a hint of rock dust, 
rush hour exhaust fumes. 

They stir the pot, assemble new fuel,
toward the day that conflagration will send them,         
spores and all, 
  toward, 
  toward the orbit, 
  beyond it, 
  into nebulae, 
  closer, so much closer 
  into the dark.

Copyright © 2023 by Petra Kuppers. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 31, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

translated from the Italian by Will Schutt.

You pursue me with a thought, are a thought 
that comes to me without thinking, like a shiver 
you slowly scorch my skin and lead my eyes 
toward a clear point of light. You’re a memory 
retrieved and glowing, you’re my dream 
beyond dreams and memories, the door that closes 
and opens onto a wild river. You’re something 
no word can express, and in every word you resonate 
like the echo of a slow exhale, you’re my wind 
rustling the spring foliage, the voice that calls 
from a place I do not know but recognize as mine.
You’re the howl of a wolf, the voice of the deer 
alive and mortally wounded. My stellar body.

 


 

Corpo Stellare 

Mi segui con un pensiero, sei un pensiero 
che non devo nemmeno pensare, come un brivido 
mi strini piano la pelle, muove gli occhi 
verso un punto chiaro di luce. Sei un ricordo 
perduto e luminoso, sei il mio sogno 
senza sogno e senza ricordi, la porta che chiude 
e apre sulla corrente di un fiume impetuoso. Sei una cosa 
che nessuna parola può dire e che in ogni parola 
risuona come l’eco di un lento respiro, sei il mio vento 
di foglie e primavere, la voce che chiama 
da un posto che non so e riconosco e che è mio.
Sei l’ululato di un lupo, la voce del cervo 
vivo e ferito a morte. Il mio corpo stellare.

Reprinted by permission of Princeton University Press. “Corpo stellare” in Corpo stellare, Fabio Pusterla, Marcos y Marcos, Milano 2010.

And who will kiss open
the spine of the resurrection fern
hunched like a widow, like a shamed child?
How it locks and hides and browns
under the sun—a laborer’s hands
picking blistered tomatoes
or a pile of bones, perhaps
bird bones—small, dry, silent.

Here is the damp and thickest marsh
of your interior wetland. And here,
your tundra of moss, rock, and shrub.
Here is the thing you lost,
perhaps the saddest or loveliest thing
—remember? It was suddenly taken—
as a fish spine is plucked from
its open body on an open plate.


You are helpless and wild here,
a murmuration of starlings in your chest.
Cicadas scream petrified from treetops.
The feral sounds of wilderness
sharpen your teeth.

It is November. Goldfish scales crunch
under your soles, the autumnal scent
of a fire inhales you, the aerials come and go.
Adding up all the dead things you carry,
you realize there is so much dirt in you.
Still, your nautilus ears listen, waiting
to hear your native sea.

Copyright © 2021 by Gloria Muñoz. This poem appeared in Danzirly (University of Arizona Press, 2021)Used with permission of the author.

the moon’s rose madder in composite image: capture 
photons from the upper atmosphere, gather all the images  
together, aggregate raw data analyzed into a single instance, come,
fovea and nerve cell and ganglion, fold over on yourself, awake—
it will be a celebration 

“worldmaking is a territorializing process” someone posts on the internet.
“deep down in the bible-black vents” writes Nick Lane in his book about the
biochemistry origins of metabolic processes  

I am trying to tell you something about the architecture of time
I am trying to understand something about the structure of the shared universe 

I am trying to build a nest, in our minds, together 
out of everything, all together. as if we could bear that, 
poet.  

that it is a universe to all but a multiverse to each 
or the opposite, I don’t know, vice versa? I have to go 

sweep my small corner of the universe, the dogs track in 
so much dirt, I have to make breakfast, two or three eggs on toast.  

the shining fats, the protein strands, the sugars, the yeasts, the sun
streaming in at an angle now, the music of the spheres is getting louder— 

the sound of a distant chainsaw, laughter, maybe where you are,
traffic, or birds, or construction, or wind down the canyons of avenues 

honking horns, sirens, a TV in the next room, the sound  
of someone cooking, someone playing an instrument, vibrations 

in the molecules of air, the radio playing Bach or Megan Thee Stallion
or Marketplace Morning Report 

and the constant new hum of electricity coursing through wires,
leaking its bracts and tendrils into the effusive livingrooms and countertops of our
incandescing time  

isn’t there some oscillating connection between a cycle and a trajectory?
this is the calendar of the future, sailing outward, this is how a battery works 

all cycles are rituals 
your tracking number will be provided 

think of every chicken egg on earth, right now. palm-sized 
fruit, or cell, or orbit. there is a way

the present can cannibalize the future, 
the Pleiades come up in the power-line cut, now 

my mother emails me “my credit cards  
aren’t working, please bake me a cake  

with a metal file in it” and  
“the hawks are migrating, again!”  

ants are a game played by chemicals 
humans are a game played by myth 

supply-chain disruptions “uncoiled” 
humans are a game played by markets 

caterpillar tractor, Texas instruments, Boeing signed a deal for 
8,000 more machinists and aerospace engineers, the GDP 

contracted again, this rocky birth, weird chrysalis, phase-converter, please,
algorithm, know me, show me to myself again, to each other, give— 

“weaker global activity…” “lowered demand for grapes”  
“what the actual price of raisins is right now in Tokyo” “speaking
of apples” “to dust we shall return” 

sunlight and sugar: atoms and the void 
dimensional time: to live inside 

for thine is the kingdom, the phyla, the glory 
for thine is the order, the genius, the species 

don’t mess this thing up for us, us apes of kinship and grief 
at the corner of online shopping and heaven 

at the corner of the combustion engine and All-Life-On-Earth 
under this wide swath of infinitely expanding universe, bless 

New-Babel, New-Uruk, New-Arkadelphia, New-Gate 
of-All-Nations, New- Moon-Landing, New-Rain-on-Genetically 

Modified-Wheat, New-Blessings, New-Cyanobacteria-crusting-on-the-small-rocks,
small crustaceans exploring the chromatic topography of our shared mind, let us go
out and ask of it, the World.  

let us go out and ask of it, the world which is hard and made of a hard materia,
electron-repulsion of negatively charged particles which is all you have ever touched,  

neck, body of a lover, table, rock, the space between where atoms sing to the void,
soprano, acapella, queen-of-the-night, king-of-the-road, master-of-puppets, come
back to me, world, work of our hands—

Copyright © 2023 by Cody-Rose Clevidence. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 9, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

Live as if you were already dead.  – Zen admonition



1. About the Dead Man and Fungi

The dead man has changed his mind about moss and mold.
About mildew and yeast.
About rust and smut, about soot and ash.
Whereas once he turned from the sour and the decomposed, now he breathes deeply in the underbelly
     of the earth.
Of mushrooms, bakers yeast, fungi of wood decay, and the dogs preceding their masters to the
     burnt acre of morels.
And the little seasonals themselves, stuck on their wobbly pin stems. 
For in the pan they float without crisping.
For they are not without a hint of the sublime, nor the curl of a hand.
These are the caps and hairdos, the mini-umbrellas, the zeppelins of a world in which human
     beings are heavy-footed mammoths.
Puffballs and saucers, recurrent, recumbent, they fill the encyclopedia.
Not wrought for the pressed eternity of flowers or butterflies.
Loners and armies alike appearing overnight at the point of return.
They live fast, they die young, they will be back.


2. More About the Dead Man and Fungi

Fruit of the fungi, a mushroom's birthing is an arrow from below.
It is because of Zeno's Paradox that one cannot get there by half-measures.
It is the fault of having anything else to do.
The dead man prefers the mushroom of the gatherer to that of the farmer.
Gilled or ungilled, stemmed or stemless, woody or leathery, the mushroom is secretive, yes, by
     nature.
Each mushroom was a button, each a flowering, some glow in the dark.
Medicinal or toxic, each was lopped from the stump of eternity.
The dead man has seen them take the shapes of cups and saucers, of sponges, logs and bird nests. 
The dead man probes the shadows, he fingers the crannies and undersides, he spots the mushroom
     underfoot just in time.
When the dead man saw a mushrooming cloud above Hiroshima, he knew.
He saw that death was beautiful from afar.
He saw that nature is equidistant from the nourishing and the poisonous, the good and the bad,
     the beginning and the end.
He knew the littlest mushroom, shivering on its first day, was a signal.

Copyright © 2009 by Marvin Bell. Used by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

The forest rings so wide, it is the world. The sky, ocean,
        hand
In hand rising to tides, particulate excreta. The river mouth

The moon lights in blindness through the forest, hot,
        tumbling silver by houses
Like mushrooms crowded. Ladder by ladder, neighbors
        pass ore in ladles

While this planet hushes into a cinder. The moon unlocks
        its continents of water
So the outline of a sail appears as its cobalt face—the forest

A ring tight as the throat sings wider: who arrives
Who arrives who arrives. In the office I ask

If the cup my coworker is holding is real. It doesn’t look
        real. It looks like math’s
Translated bed. Beside their chainsaws, loggers smoking—        
        brain-

Dead, lung-dead, I am the operator of something—the
        mouth with green rot touching
The metal slurry of the ocean.

The singer sings the last verse. The last
Song we hear, stepping outside the heat

Into the dark pine, the moon dissolving like lead.
In the office I ask, How could the news come?

In our terror echoing as profit.

Copyright © 2016 Joe Hall. Used with permission of the author.