The oriole sings in the greening grove
As if he were half-way waiting,
The rosebuds peep from their hoods of green,
Timid and hesitating.
The rain comes down in a torrent sweep
And the nights smell warm and piney,
The garden thrives, but the tender shoots
Are yellow-green and tiny.
Then a flash of sun on a waiting hill,
Streams laugh that erst were quiet,
The sky smiles down with a dazzling blue
And the woods run mad with riot.
There was no water at my grandfather's when I was a kid and would go for it with two zinc buckets. Down the path, past the cow by the foundation where the fine people's house was before they arranged to have it burned down. To the neighbor's cool well. Would come back with pails too heavy, so my mouth pulled out of shape. I see myself, but from the outside. I keep trying to feel who I was, and cannot. Hear clearly the sound the bucket made hitting the sides of the stone well going down, but never the sound of me.
From The Dance Most of All by Jack Gilbert. Copyright © 2009 by Jack Gilbert. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
I always like summer
you can eat fresh corn
from daddy's garden
and lots of
and homemade ice-cream
at the church picnic
and listen to
at the church
and go to the mountains with
and go barefooted
and be warm
all the time
not only when you go to bed
"Knoxville, Tennessee" from Black Feeling, Black Talk, Black Judgment by Nikki Giovanni. Copyright © 1968, 1970 by Nikki Giovanni. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
after Robert Richardson Warm summer sun, Shine kindly here, Warm southern wind, Blow softly here. Green sod above, Lie light, lie light. Good night, dear heart, Good night, good night.
This poem is in the public domain.