The great thing
is not having
a mind. Feelings:
oh, I have those; they
govern me. I have
a lord in heaven
called the sun, and open
for him, showing him
the fire of my own heart, fire
like his presence.
What could such glory be
if not a heart? Oh my brothers and sisters,
were you like me once, long ago,
before you were human? Did you
to open once, who would never
open again? Because in truth
I am speaking now
the way you do. I speak
because I am shattered.
From The Wild Iris, published by Ecco Press, 1992. Copyright © 1992 by Louise Glück. All rights reserved. Used with permission. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on October 10, 2020.
The ferns—sharp lime green, lean over
the concrete like a woman over a boardwalk
on a bright spring day like this, though maybe it is better
with Grace’s curious nose assessing the damp earth
while ignoring its copious lizards.
There is joy in the soft butt
of a dog disappearing into its daily necessities.
I am not sure I have ever had such a joy,
either in discovery or expectation. Looking out
over the side of a boat
with a hat as wide as this fern
is Grace, of the delicate paws.
I have never liked it: The Spring. But this is the
end of Spring! First yellow of summer. They say a poet
can never write a purely happy poem about a dog
greeting the sun and what it has done to rain.
I don’t know about that.
I am light like a canine’s memory;
a minute, a world. Where one of the greatest
and most daring feats is to enjoy
the breeze’s slow boat of fertilization
made by other dogs of other years—the scent of
living in and of itself. Grace among the ferns
likes to place her body right over the pulpit
of the last dog, so they know. I am here, too. Living.
Lime green ribbons touch her soft, wet nose.
Copyright © 2021 by Analicia Sotelo. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 21, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.
When my mom discovers heaven’s just a noise festival
the godchoir of all her loves breathing
unsnagged by asthma or Newport-dragged lung
the true song life makes untethered from a body
tugged at last from the men who hold its reins
will she blame her pastors (like I did)
for Sunday portraits of pooled white gold?
Will she miss the wooden flute of her body
mourn the days corner-propped, cloaked in dust
too pious to disturb a room’s skin cells
and stray hair with her sound
snapped awake at the nightmare of a slip fringe
the private note sung aloud?
Or, unburdened by hell
will she exhale
and hear the bells?
Copyright © 2021 by Kemi Alabi. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 16, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.