Elizabeth Gaskell – On Visiting the Grave of My Stillborn Little Girl

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (September 29, 1810 – November 12, 1865) Sunday July 4th 1836 I made a vow within my soul, O Child,When thou wert laid beside my weary heart,With marks of death on every tender partThat, if in time a living infant smiled,Winning my ear with gentle sounds of loveIn sunshine of such joy, …

Kamilah Aisha Moon – The Emperor’s Deer

Kamilah Aisha Moon I. Their noises make you thinkthey are crying or suffering.They have learned to bow.Even the fawns bow, centuriesof bowingin their blood. They are not considered wild.Precious pests litter parkswith dung, take over the roads.Sweet nuisance worthsaving, thinning these herdsis a last resort — oncea capital offense to spilltheir endangered blood. They are …

John Clare – I Am

John Clare (July 13, 1793 – May 20, 1864) I am—yet what I am none cares or knows;My friends forsake me like a memory lost:I am the self-consumer of my woes—They rise and vanish in oblivion’s host,Like shadows in love-frenzied stifled throes—And yet I am and live—like vapours tossed Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,Into …

Edna St. Vincent Millay – Time Does Not Bring Relief

Edna St. Vincent Millay (February 22, 1892 – October 19, 1950) Time does not bring relief; you all have lied   Who told me time would ease me of my pain!   I miss him in the weeping of the rain;   I want him at the shrinking of the tide;The old snows melt from every mountain-side,   And last year’s leaves are …

Derek Jarman – To Whom It May Concern

Derek Jarman (January 31, 1942–February 19, 1994) to whom it may concernin the dead stones of a planetno longer remembered as earthmay he decipher this opaque hieroglyphperform an archeology of soulon these precious fragmentsall that remains of our vanished dayshere — at the sea’s edgeI have planted a stony gardendragon tooth dolmen spring upto defend …

William Wordsworth – Surprised By Joy

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes its origins from emotion recollected in tranquility. The emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquility gradually disappears. William Wordsworth (April 07, 1770 - April 23, 1850) Surprised by joy—impatient as the WindI turned to share the transport—Oh! with whomBut Thee, long …

Gregory Loselle – The Whole Of Him Collected

Gregory Loselle (1963 -) The box of papers on the closet floorcontains his discharge papers from the war,a couple letters, dog tags: amuletsagainst prospective dangers, even betson futures filed away, here; telegramsmy grandmother amended in shorthandnotes (“May God protect you,”) on their backs;her death certificate, its seal (not waxlike his diplomas also here with hers)stamped …

Joyce Carol Oates – This Is Not A Poem

Joyce Carol Oates (June 16, 1938 -)  in which the poet discoversdelicate white-parched bonesof a small creatureon a Great Lake shoreor the desiccated remainsof cruder roadkillbeside the rushing highway.Nor is it a poem in whicha cracked mirror yieldsa startled face,or sere grasses hiss-ing like consonantsin a foreign language.Family photo albumfilled with yearningstrangers long deceased,closet of …

Charles Simic- The Saint

Charles Simic (May 9, 1938 -) The woman I love is a saintWho deserves to havePeople falling on their kneesBefore her in the streetAsking for her blessing.Instead, here she is on the floor,Hitting a mouse with a shoeAs tears run down her face.