Geoffrey Chaucer – The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340s – October 25, 1400) When April with his showers sweet with fruitThe drought of March has pierced unto the rootAnd bathed each vein with liquor that has powerTo generate therein and sire the flower;When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,Quickened again, in every holt and heath,The tender shoots and buds, …

WH Auden – After Reading A Child’s Guide To Modern Physics

Wystan Hugh Auden aka WH Auden (February 21, 1907 – September 29, 1973) If all a top physicist knowsAbout the Truth be true,Then, for all the so-and-so’s,Futility and grime,Our common world contains,We have a better timeThan the Greater Nebulae do,Or the atoms in our brains.Marriage is rarely blissBut, surely it would be worseAs particles to …

Regina Spektor – Theories Of Everything

Regina Spektor (February 18, 1980 -) (When the lecturer’s shirt matches the painting on the wall)He stands there speaking without loveOf theories where, in the democracyOf this universe, or that,There could be legislatorsWho ordain trajectories for falling bodies,Where all things must be dreamed with indifference,And purpose is a momentary silhouetteBacklit by a blue anthropic flash,A …

Emily Dickinson – Under The Light, Yet Under

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886)  Under the Light, yet under,Under the Grass and the Dirt,Under the Beetle’s CellarUnder the Clover’s Root, Further than Arm could stretchWere it Giant long,Further than Sunshine couldWere the Day Year long, Over the Light, yet over,Over the Arc of the Bird —Over the Comet’s chimney —Over the …

Alejandra Pizarnik – All Night I Hear The Noise Of Water Sobbing

Alejandra Pizarnik (April 29, 1936 – September 25, 1972) All night I hear the noise of water sobbing. All night I make night in me, I make the day that begins on my account, that sobs because day falls like water through night.         All night I hear the voice of someone seeking me out. All …

Amanda Gorman – Chorus of the Captains

Amanda Gorman Today we honor our three captainsFor their actions and impact inA time of uncertainty and need.They’ve taken the lead,Exceeding all expectations and limitationsUplifting their communities and neighborsAs leaders, healers, and educators.James has felt the wounds of warfare,But this warrior still sharesHis home with at-risk kids.During Covid, he’s event lent a hand,Live-streaming football for …

Christian Wiman – I Don’t Want To Be A Spice Store

Christian Wiman I don’t want to be a spice store.I don’t want to carry handcrafted Marseille soap,or tsampa and yak butter,or nine thousand varieties of wine.Half the shops here don’t open till noonand even the bookstore’s brined in charm.I want to be the one store that’s open all nightand has nothing but necessities.Something to get …

Emily Dickinson – As Imperceptibly As Grief

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) As imperceptibly as GriefThe Summer lapsed away—Too imperceptible at last,To seem like Perfidy—A Quietness distilledAs Twilight long begunOr Nature spending with herselfSequestered Afternoon—The Dusk drew earlier in—The Morning foreign shone—A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,As Guest, that would be gone—And thus, without a WingOr service of a …

Rita Dove – Pedestrian Crossing, Charlottesville

Rita Frances Dove (August 28, 1952 -) A gaggle of girls giggle over the bricksleading off Court Square. We brakedutifully, and wait; but there’s at leasttwenty of these knob-kneed creatures,blond and curly, still at an age that thinksimpudence is cute. Look how they dartand dither, changing flanks as they lurchalong—golden gobbets of infuriating foolishnessor pure …