EppsNet Archive: Poetry

Rhapsody

11 Feb 2018 /

I am glad daylong for the gift of song,
     For time and change and sorrow;
For the sunset wings and the world-end things
     Which hang on the edge of to-morrow.
I am glad for my heart whose gates apart
     Are the entrance-place of wonders,
Where dreams come in from the rush and din
     Like sheep from the rains and thunders.

— William Stanley Braithwaite, “Rhapsody”
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All the Hemispheres

28 Jan 2018 /

Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.
Make a new water-mark on your excitement
And love.

Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.

Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire
Chatting

While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of
You.

Hafez
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Funeral: For Us His Gold

25 Jan 2018 /

after Gerald Stern

The insect was yellow with crumpled-black banded legs
        and shellacked back that would outlast us
        and wistful eyes from what I could discern on that trail
                between fields,
and we laid him out in the open air under a sky fast-blue with
                change, wedging
        a leaf beneath his triple-belted belly so he didn’t rest on
                plain dirt,
        and we placed two cloverblooms by his head and he was old
you said, could tell by how definite the stripes were, how
                complete
        the patterns bold and dark, almost engraved,
and he was beautiful in that pasture of thirty-three cows and we
                drank
        milk in the blaring heat and ate the cake you’d made. We
                were
        the only humans there—unholy-seeming things with two
                legs, dismal histories—
drinking and eating around his elegant husk,
        and from the furze, fellow insects rose, a frenzied static
                around our bodies,
while he remained in situ an unremitting yellow, the color more
        vivid, louder now that he was a remnant. Was color the
                purpose here?
Yellow had alerted us to him, and we took care
        with leaf and clover to make his bed.
The insect’s gold our togetherness, its death from which we fed.

— Alessandra Lynch, “Funeral: For Us His Gold”

Ghosts

22 Jan 2018 /

You must not think that what I have
accomplished through you

could have been accomplished by any other means.

Each of us is to himself
indelible. I had to become that which could not

be, by time, from human memory, erased.

I had to burn my hungry, unappeasable
furious spirit

so inconsolably into you

you would without cease
write to bring me rest.

Bring us rest. Guilt is fecund. I knew

nothing I made
myself had enough steel in it to survive.

I tried: I made beautiful
paintings, beautiful poems. Fluff. Garbage.

The inextricability of love and hate?

If I had merely made you
love me you could not have saved me.

— Frank Bidart, “The Ghost”
 

By Robert Lowell:
"The Ghost" by Robert Lowell


How Did the Rose Ever Open Its Heart?

17 Jan 2018 /
Last rose

How
Did the rose
Ever open its heart

And give this world
All its
Beauty?

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its
Being,

Otherwise,
We all remain

Too

Frightened

Hafez
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Good Morning Midnight

9 Nov 2017 /

Emily Dickinson

Good Morning—Midnight—
I’m coming Home—
Day—got tired of Me—
How could I—of Him?

Sunshine was a sweet place—
I liked to stay—
But Morn—didn’t want me—now—
So—Goodnight—Day!

I can look—can’t I—
When the East is Red?
The Hills—have a way—then—
That puts the Heart—abroad—

You—are not so fair—Midnight—
I chose—Day—
But—please take a little Girl—
He turned away!

— Emily Dickinson

The Pearl

4 Nov 2017 /
Pearl

A raindrop, dripping from a cloud,
Was ashamed when it saw the sea.
‘Who am I when there is a sea?’ it said.
When it saw itself with the eye of humility,
A shell nurtured it in its embrace.

— Saadi of Shiraz
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One Last Goodbye

16 Apr 2017 /

We spread Lightning‘s ashes at Huntington Dog Beach this weekend. We didn’t make a big production of it — it’s probably illegal, for one thing — but we hiked out to the end of the rock pier and gave him back to the sea.

The Dog Beach and the Irvine Dog Park were the places he was at his best — off-leash and able to be his dominant alpha pug self.

For example, here’s a (blurry) photo of him assassinating a puggle who carelessly but intentionally blindsided him at the dog park:

Lightning at the dog park

Lightning wrote a poem he wanted us to read when we spread his ashes. I think he plagiarized it, to be honest . . . he wasn’t much of a poet but we loved him . . .

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.


The Things We Have That Go

10 Mar 2017 /
Sara Teasdale

It was a spring that never came;
But we have lived enough to know
That what we never have, remains;
It is the things we have that go.

— Sara Teasdale, St. Louis poetess, who drowned herself many years ago, circa 1933

Or as Jesus used to say, “For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.”


2 Weeks

12 Sep 2016 /

Sometimes I feel I know
how the story ends
But I go
through the motions anyways
And try to forget

— Arlene Kim Suda, “2 Weeks”

For My Daughter

10 Aug 2016 /

When I die choose a star
and name it after me
that you may know
I have not abandoned
or forgotten you.
You were such a star to me,
following you through birth
and childhood, my hand
in your hand.

When I die
choose a star and name it
after me so that I may shine
down on you, until you join
me in darkness and silence
together.

— David Ignatow, “For My Daughter”

Jesus at Gethsemane

19 Jun 2016 /

For those not familiar with the story: Jesus knows he’s going to die. He prays to God for help in the garden of Gethsemane, at the Mount of Olives. But there is no answer.

If it is true that in the sacred Garden of the Scriptures,
The Son of Man said what we see reported;
Mute, blind and deaf to the cry of all creatures,
If Heaven abandons us like an aborted world,
The just will oppose disdain to this absence,
And will answer from now on with only cold silence
The eternal silence of the Divinity.

Jesus at Gethsemane


Fight

27 May 2016 /

That is the difference between me and you.
You pack an umbrella, #30 sun goo
And a red flannel shirt. That’s not what I do.
I put the top down as soon as we arrive.
The temperature’s trying to pass fifty-five.
I’m freezing but at least I’m alive.
Nothing on earth can diminish my glee.
This is Florida, Florida, land of euphoria,
Florida in the highest degree.
You dig in the garden. I swim in the pool.
I like to wear cotton. You like to wear wool.
You’re always hot. I’m usually cool.

You want to get married. I want to be free.
You don’t seem to mind that we disagree.
And that is the difference between you and me.

— Laurel Blossom

Shut Not Your Doors to Me Proud Libraries

7 Feb 2016 /
Walt Whitman

Steel engraving of Walt Whitman. Published in 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass

Shut not your doors to me, proud libraries,
For that which was lacking among you all, yet needed most, I bring;
A book I have made for your dear sake, O soldiers,
And for you, O soul of man, and you, love of comrades;
The words of my book nothing, the life of it everything;
A book separate, not link’d with the rest, nor felt by the intellect;
But you will feel every word, O Libertad! arm’d Libertad!
It shall pass by the intellect to swim the sea, the air,
With joy with you, O soul of man.

— Walt Whitman, “Shut Not Your Doors to Me Proud Libraries”

January

5 Jan 2016 /
William Carlos Williams

Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
                                        Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
                                        And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.

— William Carlos Williams, “January”

A Man’s a Man For A’ That

9 Dec 2015 /
Robert Burns

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an’ a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man’s a Man for a’ that:
For a’ that, and a’ that,
Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that;
The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor,
Is king o’ men for a’ that.

— Robert Burns, “A Man’s a Man For A’ That”

Overheard (Samuel T. Coleridge Edition)

22 Sep 2015 /

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

HIM: Sir Leoline, the Baron rich– Hath a toothless mastiff bitch–
HER: Which.
HIM: I beg your pardon.
HER: Which, not bitch.
HIM: We’ll look it up.


“Nature” is What We See

18 Sep 2015 /

Emily Dickinson

“Nature” is what we see—
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse—the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Thunder—the Cricket—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.


How Can You Ever Be Sure?

1 Sep 2015 /

W.S. Merwin

I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can’t

you can’t you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don’t write

— W.S. Merwin, “Berryman”

Abeyance

25 Aug 2015 /
Mirror

Photo by Siderola

Guess what, Dad and I finally figured out Pandora,
and after all those years of silence, our old music
fills the air. It fills the air, and somehow, here,
at this instant and for this instant only
—perhaps three bars—what I recall
equals all I feel, and I remember all the words.

— Rebecca Foust, “Abeyance”

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