I begin
to talk to violets.
Tears fall into my soup
and I drink them.
Sooner or later
everyone donates something.
I carry wood, stone, and
hay in my head.
The eyes of the violets
grow very wide.
At the end of the day
I reglue the broken foot
of the china shepherd
who has put up with me.
Next door, in the house
of the clock-repairer,
a hundred clocks tick
at once. He and his wife
go about their business
sleeping peacefully at night.

Copyright © 2018 by Mary Ruefle. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 31, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Are you bowed down in heart?
Do you but hear the clashing discords and the din of life?
Then come away, come to the peaceful wood,
Here bathe your soul in silence. Listen! Now,
From out the palpitating solitude
Do you not catch, yet faint, elusive strains?
They are above, around, within you, everywhere.
Silently listen! Clear, and still more clear, they come.
They bubble up in rippling notes, and swell in singing tones.
Now let your soul run the whole gamut of the wondrous scale
Until, responsive to the tonic chord,
It touches the diapason of God’s grand cathedral organ,
Filling earth for you with heavenly peace
And holy harmonies.

This poem is in the public domain.

I know it will be quiet when you come:
No wind; the water breathing steadily;
A light like ghost of silver on the sea;
And the surf dreamily fingering his drum.
Twilight will drift in large and leave me numb
With nearness to the last tranquility;
And then the slow and languorous tyranny
Of orange moon, pale night, and cricket hum.

And suddenly there will be twist of tide,
A rustling as of thin silk on the sand,
The tremor of a presence at my side,
The tremble of a hand upon my hand:
And pulses sharp with pain, and fires fanned,
And words that stumble into stars and hide.

This poem is in the public domain.

                                    in the backseat a
                             portion of our music is
                          mucus flying into stillness
                          at what point do we submit
                           to the authority of flowers
                          at what point after it enters
                   the mouth is it no longer in the
                  mouth but the throat the colon
making sumptuous death of the world
  this is what crossing the line gains
                 no need to pretend we
                     are the people we
                           want to be in
                            the next life
                             bone under
                          tongue drives
             taste of snow to metal
        sorry I threw up at your wedding
     it wasn’t from drinking it was from
thinking on mountain all night waking
      tangled in spirits of morning light
            our planet floats on emptiness
                         the undisclosed mirror
                                       held to flame
                                      pushed it into
                                      a pile of ash
                                      a trail of ash
                                         leading us
                                         toe to toe
                                       with wild sides
                                     what’s emerging is
                                       a grip we’ve been
                                     reaching for please
                                       grab hold with us

Copyright © 2017 by CAConrad. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 7, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

I am so tired and weary, 
   So tired of the endless fight,
So weary of waiting the dawn
    And finding endless night. 

That I ask but rest and quiet—
    Rest for days that are gone, 
And quiet for the little space
     That I must journey on. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

If light pours like water
into the kitchen where I sway
with my tired children,

if the rug beneath us
is woven with tough flowers,
and the yellow bowl on the table

rests with the sweet heft 
of fruit, the sun-warmed plums, 
if my body curves over the babies, 

and if I am singing,
then loneliness has lost its shape,
and this quiet is only quiet.

From Haywire by Rachel Contreni Flynn. Copyright © 2009 by Rachel Contreni Flynn. Used by permission of Bright Hill Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

When night comes,
                I am so flushed with wine,
I undo my hair slowly:
                a plum calyx is
        stuck on a damaged branch.
I wake dazed when smoke
        breaks my spring sleep.
The dream distant,
                so very distant;
        and it is quiet, so very quiet.
The moon spins and spins.
The kingfisher blinds are drawn;
                and yet I rub the injured bud,
        and yet I twist in my fingers this fragrance,
        and yet I possess these moments of time!

From The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese, poems by Li Ch’ing-chao, translated by Arthur Sze, and published by Copper Canyon Press. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press (www.coppercanyonpress.org). Copyright © 2000. All rights reserved.

Twilight—and you
Quiet—the stars;
Snare of the shine of your teeth,
Your provocative laughter,
The gloom of your hair;
Lure of you, eye and lip;
Yearning, yearning,
Languor, surrender;
Your mouth,
And madness, madness,
Tremulous, breathless, flaming,
The space of a sigh;
Then awakening—remembrance,
Pain, regret—your sobbing;
And again, quiet—the stars,
Twilight—and you.

This poem is in the public domain.

You are not beautiful, exactly.
You are beautiful, inexactly.
You let a weed grow by the mulberry
and a mulberry grow by the house.
So close, in the personal quiet
of a windy night, it brushes the wall
and sweeps away the day till we sleep.

A child said it, and it seemed true:
"Things that are lost are all equal."
But it isn't true. If I lost you,
the air wouldn't move, nor the tree grow.
Someone would pull the weed, my flower.
The quiet wouldn't be yours. If I lost you,
I'd have to ask the grass to let me sleep.

"To Dorothy," from Nightworks: Poems 1962-2000, published by Copper Canyon Press. Copyright © 2000 by Marvin Bell. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press and the author. All rights reserved.