A stranger came to the door at eve,
     And he spoke the bridegroom fair.
He bore a green-white stick in his hand,
     And, for all burden, care.
He asked with the eyes more than the lips
     For a shelter for the night,
And he turned and looked at the road afar 
     Without a window light.

The bridegroom came forth into the porch
     With ‘Let us look at the sky,
And question what of the night to be,
     Stranger, you and I.’
The woodbine leaves littered the yard,
     The woodbine berries were blue,
Autumn, yes, winter was in the wind;
     ‘Stranger, I wish I knew.’

Within, the bride in the dusk alone
     Bent over the open fire,
Her face rose-red with the glowing coal
     And the thought of the heart’s desire.

The bridegroom looked at the weary road,
     Yet saw but her within,
And wished her heart in a case of gold
     And pinned with a silver pin.

The bridegroom thought it little to give
     A dole of bread, a purse,
A heartfelt prayer for the poor of God,
     Or for the rich a curse;

But whether or not a man was asked
     To mar the love of two
By harboring woe in the bridal house,
     The bridegroom wished he knew.

This poem appears in the public domain.

the big fish i live on writhes
knowing its ancestor 
fills up with smoke 
but it’s too cut up to do 
anything but continue to
rest in the sea it’s known
since the jawbone and some
blood brought it
into the world 
of the light
sometimes the sun shines
too brightly  
so it tries to turn 
its body to face the ocean floor

sometimes the flames 
give up their dancing
and turn to a rage 
that rumbles like the 
godly fetus of earthquakes
in the heart of te ikanui o maaui
they wish for safety
for all their children 
spread across this sea of islands
and if they can’t have that
if we can’t have that
then justice

Copyright © 2024 by essa may ranapiri. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 13, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.