where the child is—seems uneven
within limits—of fragile lightshadows: emptiness!—for
the world Grows
in her—to Listen
in its Fullness
22 January 1983
From Child & Rose by Gennady Aygi. Copyright © 2003 by Gennady Aygi and Peter France. Used by permission of New Directions. All rights reserved.
The rising sun had crowned the hills,
And added beauty to the plain;
O grand and wondrous spectacle!
That only nature could explain.
I stood within a leafy grove,
And gazed around in blissful awe;
The sky appeared one mass of blue,
That seemed to spread from sea to shore.
Far as the human eye could see,
Were stretched the fields of waving corn.
Soft on my ear the warbling birds
Were heralding the birth of morn.
While here and there a cottage quaint
Seemed to repose in quiet ease
Amid the trees, whose leaflets waved
And fluttered in the passing breeze.
O morning hour! so dear thy joy,
And how I longed for thee to last;
But e’en thy fading into day
Brought me an echo of the past.
‘Twas this,—how fair my life began;
How pleasant was its hour of dawn;
But, merging into sorrow’s day,
Then beauty faded with the morn.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on November 23, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.
Each morning, before the sun rises
over the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer
on the Côte d’Azur, cruise ships drop anchor
so that motor launches from shore
can nurse alongside. All afternoon we studied
les structures où nous sommes l’objet, structures
in which we are the object—le soleil
me dérange, le Côte d’Azur nous manque—
while the pompiers angled their Bombardiers
down to the sea, skimming its surface
like pelicans and rising, filled
with water to drop on inland, inaccessible
wildfires. Once, a swimmer was found face down
in a tree like the unfledged robin I saw
flung to the ground, rowing
its pink shoulders as if in the middle
of the butterfly stroke, rising a moment
above water. Oiseau is the shortest word
in French to use all five vowels: “the soul
and tie of every word,” which Dante named
auieo. All through December, a ladybug circles
high around the kitchen walls looking for
spring, the way we search for a word that will hold
all vows and avowals: eunoia, Greek
for “beautiful thinking,” because the world’s
a magic slate, sleight of hand—now
you see it, now you don’t—not exactly
a slight, although in Elizabethan English, “nothing”
was pronounced “noting.” In the Bodleian Library
at Oxford, letters of the alphabet hang
from the ceiling like the teats
of the wolf that suckled Romulus
and Remus, but their alibi
keeps changing, slate gray like the sea’s
massage: You were more in me than I was
in me. . . . You remained within while I
went outside. Hard to say
whether it was Augustine
speaking to God or my mother
talking to me. Gulls ink the sky
with view, while waves throw themselves
on the mercy of the shore.
Copyright © 2017 by Angie Estes. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 21, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.
Such are the little memories of you;
They come and go, return and lie apart
From all main things of life; yet more than they,
With noiseless feet, they come and grip the heart.
Gay laughter leading quick and stormy tears,
Then smiles again and pulse of flying feet,
In breathless chase of fleeting gossamers,
Are memories so dear, so bitter-sweet.
No more are echoes of your flying feet.
Hard by, where Pike’s Peak rears its head in state,
The erstwhile rushing feet, with halting steps,
For health’s return in Denver watch and wait.
But love and memories of noiseless tread,
Where angels hovered once, all shining fair,
To tuck you in your little trundle bed,
Kneel nightly now in agony of prayer.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on April 21, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.