Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
This poem originally appeared in Waxwing, Issue 10, in June 2016. Used with permission of the author.
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.
You can never have enough of this world,
its peaches, their taste so sudden a sitting man
stands, the kind hands of dusk, the boulders along the highway,
great blooms of time; you can never have enough
of wakening in a bed beside a woman you love,
her body fragrant with itself, and the nasturtium out the window
holding the dew, the sweet water of dawn,
in their frail green bowls; you can never have enough
of the poet in the prison infirmary
looking out every window just to find one single tree,
nor enough of the night-fisherman’s net dragging in stars,
the dark veils of tadpoles swimming in the ditch,
the dog sleeping in the shade of the mule,
the mule sleeping as the afternoon cools,
the boy kissing the girl’s breasts behind the water tank;
you can never have enough of this world …
and yet how we tire of it, how we raise our hand against it,
how we avoid it, as if it were a mother saying,
Look me in the eye. Just look me in the eye.
Copyright © 2015 by Teddy Macker. This poem originally appeared in This World (White Cloud Press, 2015). Used with permission of the author.
It moves my heart to see your awakened faces;
the look of “aha!”
shining, finally, in
wide open eyes.
Yes, we are the 99%
all of us
refusing to forget
no matter, in our hunger, what crumbs
are dropped by
The world we want is on the way; Arundhati
and now we
hearing her breathing.
That world we want is Us; united; already moving
Copyright © 2014 by Alice Walker. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.