Lisel Mueller – In Passing

Lisel Mueller (February 8, 1924 – February 21, 2020) How swiftly the strained honeyof afternoon lightflows into darknessand the closed bud shrugs offits special mysteryin order to break into blossom:as if what exists, existsso that it can be lostand become precious.

Linda Pastan – The Gardener

Linda Pastan (May 27, 1932 -) He’s out rescuing his fallen holliesafter the renegade snowstorm,sawing their wounded limbs offquite mercilessly (I think of the scenein “Kings Row,” the young soldier wakingto find his legs gone).He’s tying up young bamboo—their delicate tresses litter the driveway—shovelling a door through the snowto free the imprisoned azaleas.I half expect …

Walt Whitman – When I Heard The Learn’d Astronomer

Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) When I heard the learn’d astronomer,When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,How soon unaccountable I …

Adrienne Rich – What Kind Of Times Are These

Adrienne Rich (May 16, 1929–March 27, 2012) There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphilland the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadowsnear a meeting-house abandoned by the persecutedwho disappeared into those shadows.I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooledthis isn’t a Russian poem, …

Andrea Hollander – Premonition

Andrea Hollander (April 28, 1947 -) Dusk, and the trees barely visibleon either side of the two-lane,west through the Rockiesin our secondhand Ramblerthat growled through the landscapelike some hulking animal. Our first trip together,my husband’s attention more on methan on the darkening road,our newness a kingdomof only two. From the forest edge a deer flashedtoward …

Joyce Sutphen – The Art of Revision

Joyce Sutphen (August 10, 1949 -) In the morning I take outmost of what I put in last night.I cross out everything that seemsexcessive, every frill and fandango,anything fluffy—a word that shouldnever again appear in a poem,along with blossom and awesome.Once I have deleted everythingexcept the title—which now seemsto have been written by a poetwho …

Marge Piercy – Limited But Fertile Possibilities

Marge Piercy (March 31, 1936 -) We cannot have monogrammed towelsor matches with our names on. We cannothave children. We cannot share jointtax returns. We don’t have a past.Our future is a striped unicorn, fragile,shy, the first of a newspecies born without kindto hostile kin. We can work togethersnarling and giggling and grunting.Every few years …

Jo McDougall – Straightpins

Jo McDougall Growing up in a small town,we didn't noticethe background figures of our lives,gray men, gnarled women,dropping from us silentlylike straightpins to a dressmaker's floor.The old did not diebut simply vanishedlike discs of snow on our tongues.We knew nothing then of nothingnessor pain or loss--our days filled with open fields,football,turtles and cows.One day we …

Charles Bukowski – The Way It Is Now

Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) I’ll tell youI’ve lived with some gorgeous womenand I was so bewitched by thosebeautiful creatures thatmy eyebrows twitched.but I’d rather drive to New Yorkbackwardsthan to live with any of them again.the next classic stupiditywill be the historyof those fellowswho inherit my femalelegacies.in their caseas in minethey …

Marcia F Brown – When I Look at the Old Car

Marcia F. Brown When I look at the old carbacked into the cleared-out space in the shed,I can almost understandthose bewildered men who leavetheir softening wives in middle age,up-and-walk-out after decadesof marriage and family, to take upwith some buffed and waxed young thingwith great lines, horsepowerto burn and a dazzling arrayof untested equipment.When I look …

James Broughton – Wondrous The Merge

James Broughton (November 10, 1913 – May 17, 1999) Had my soul tottered off to sleeptaking my potency with it?Had they both retired before I couldleaving me a classroom somnambulist?Why else should I at sixty-onefeel myself shriveling into fadeout?Then on a cold seminar Mondayin walked an unannounced redeemerdisguised as a taciturn studentBrisk and resolute in …

Eunice Odio – W.C.W.

Eunice Odio (October 18, 1919 – March 23, 1974) The whole arboris contained in him.It is his will,an entranceto the clear designof the waters.Heavenly musicwakes in his ear.(When God stirred,the moon never variednor the wind,a rumorof approaching dawn,stillness becomeGod’s silence.)When I saw himof an afternoon—an island facein the air—when I came upon himfrom within,the sprouting …