EppsNet Archive: Poetry

I Feared That the Dam Might Break So I Loosed the River

I can never remake the thing I have destroyed;   I brushed the golden dust from the moth’s bright wing, I called down wind to shatter the cherry-blossoms,   I did a terrible thing. I feared that the cup might fall, so I flung it from me;   I feared that the bird might fly, so I set it free; I feared that the dam might break, so I loosed the river:   May its waters cover me. — Aline Murray Kilmer, “Shards” Read more →

You Will Know Whether it Has All Been True

How does a life flash before one’s eyes At the end? How is there time for so much time? You pick up the book and hold it, knowing Long since the failed romance, the strained Marriage, the messenger, the mistake, Knowing it all at once, as if looking through A lighted dormer on the dark crest of a barn. You know who is inside, and who has always been At the other edge of the wood. She is waiting For no one in particular. It could be you. If you can discover which tree she has become, You will know whether it has all been true. — J.D. McClatchy, “Wolf’s Trees” Read more →

Essay on the One Hand and the Other

Consider the palms. They are faces, eyes closed, their five spread fingers soft exclamations, sadness or surprise. They have smile lines, sorrow lines, like faces. Like faces, they are hard to read. Somehow the palms, though they have held my life piece by piece, seem young and pale. So much has touched them, nothing has remained. They are innocent, maybe, though they guess they have a darker side that they cannot grasp. The backs of my hands, indeed, are so different that sometimes I think they are not mine, shadowy from the sun, all bones and strain, but time on my hands, blood on my hands— for such things I have never blamed my hands. One hand writes. Sometimes it writes a reminder on the other hand, which knows it will never write, though it has learned, in secret, how to type. That is sad, perhaps, but the dominant hand… Read more →

Though Much is Taken, Much Abides

Though much is taken, much abides; and though We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are, One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. — Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses” Read more →

She Never Even Knew It

Chapter XXII of George Eliot’s Middlemarch starts with an epigraph from Alfred de Musset: Nous câusames longtemps; elle était simple et bonne. Ne sachant pas le mal, elle faisait le bien; Des richesses du coeur elle me fit l’aumône, Et tout en écoutant comme le coeur se donne, Sans oser y penser je lui donnai le mien; Elle emporta ma vie, et n’en sut jamais rien. Some editions of Middlemarch provide a translation in a footnote: We talked for a long time; she was simple and kind. Knowing no evil, she did only good: She gave me alms from the riches of her heart, And listening intently as she poured out her heart, Scarcely daring to think, I gave her mine; Thus she carried off my life, and never even knew it. Read more →

Rhapsody

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” Read more →

All the Hemispheres

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 Read more →

Funeral: For Us His Gold

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… Read more →

Ghosts

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: Read more →

How Did the Rose Ever Open Its Heart?

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 Read more →

Good Morning Midnight

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 Read more →

The 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 Read more →

One Last Goodbye

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 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… Read more →

The Things We Have That Go

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.” Read more →

2 Weeks

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” Read more →

For My Daughter

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” Read more →

Jesus at Gethsemane

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. — –Alfred de Vigny, “Le Mont des Oliviers” Read more →

Fight

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 Read more →

Shut Not Your Doors to Me Proud Libraries

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” Read more →

January

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” Read more →

Next Page »