If I had one more day
I would write a love poem
composed of one word
repeated like binary code.
I’ll multiply it by the number
of days that passed
without saying it to you
and I’ll add the days
when I said it with no words
because I want to say it
more. And like a bee
gathering pollen, I’ll collect
everything ever said
in one word like a square root
multiplied by the power of ten.
I’ll count even that day
when my anger at you
or for you turned me into
a stone, and also the days
when I was away
sending my songs like
postcards to the lonely,
feeling you in every touch
of love I gave to the world.
I’ll count all my days,
even the nine months of days
before I was born, to say
this exponential, growing “I love you.”
Copyright © 2021 by Dunya Mikhail. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 2, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
This poem is in the public domain.
Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway . . .
He did a lazy sway . . .
To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
Coming from a black man’s soul.
In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan—
"Ain’t got nobody in all this world,
Ain’t got nobody but ma self.
I’s gwine to quit ma frownin’
And put ma troubles on the shelf."
Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
He played a few chords then he sang some more—
"I got the Weary Blues
And I can’t be satisfied.
Got the Weary Blues
And can’t be satisfied—
I ain’t happy no mo’
And I wish that I had died."
And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.
From The Weary Blues (Alfred A. Knopf, 1926) by Langston Hughes. This poem is in the public domain.