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Just a little cache of poetry retrieved from the previous incarnation of this blog on Blogger, put where I can find it easily.

Flying at Night.

Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his.

-Ted Kooser

Selecting a Reader

First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on its shelf. She will say to herself,
“For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned.” And she will.

~ Ted Kooser

COWBOY SONG

I come from Salem County
Where the silver melons grow
Where the wheat is sweet as an angel’s feet
And the zithering zephyrs blow
I walk the blue bone-orchard
In the apple-blossom snow
When the teasy bees take their honeyed ease
And the marmalade moon hangs low

My Maw sleeps prone on the prairie
In a boulder eiderdown
Where the pickled stars in their little jam jars
Hang in a hoop to town
I haven’t seen Paw since a Sunday
In eighteen seventy-three
When he packed his snap in a bitty mess-trap
And said he’d be home by tea

Fled is my flighty sister
All weeping like a willow
And dead is the brother that I loved like no other
Who once did share my pillow
I fly the florid water
Where run the seven geese round
O the townsfolk talk to see me walk
Six inches off the ground

Across the map of midnight
I trawl the turning sky
In my green glass the salt fleets pass
The moon her fire-float by
The girls go gay in the valley
When the boys come down from the farm
Don’t run, my joy, from a poor cowboy
I won’t do you no harm

The bread of my twentieth birthday
I buttered with the sun
Though I sharpen my eyes with lovers’ lies
I’ll never see twenty-one
Light is my shirt with lilies
And lined with lead my hood
On my face as I pass is a plate of brass
And my suit is made of wood

~Charles Causley 

Be Music, Night Be music, night,
That her sleep may go
Where angels have their pale tall choirs

Be a hand, sea,
That her dreams may watch
Thy guidesman touching the green flesh of the world

Be a voice, sky,
That her beauties may be counted
And the stars will tilt their quiet faces
Into the mirror of her loveliness

Be a road, earth,
That her walking may take thee
Where the towns of heaven lift their breathing spires

O be a world and a throne, God,
That her living may find its weather
And the souls of ancient bells in a child’s book
Shall lead her into Thy wondrous house

Kenneth Patchen 

Starlings in Winter

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

~ Mary Oliver ~

 

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