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 …

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 …

William Ernest Henley – Invictus

William Ernest Henley (August 23, 1849 – July 11, 1903) Out of the night that covers me,       Black as the pit from pole to pole,I thank whatever gods may be       For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance       I have not winced nor cried aloud.Under the bludgeonings of chance       My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this …

Jessica Cohn – Spring

Jessica Cohn It was the spring when dry goodsheld our fascination. We bottled goldhand-pumped mucous. Toilet paperbecame currency. The cut of ethylalcohol sharpened elbows. We tookour contact in fluid ounces, returnedto fire escapes, back steps, the oppositeside of the street. The public squareemptied, and the crosswalk followed.Masters of airports called the airplaneshome. The cars stopped …

Jane Hirshfield – Today, Another Universe

Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -) The arborist has determined:senescence      beetles      cankerquickened by drought                           but in any casenot prunable   not treatable   not to be propped.And so.The branch from which the sharp-shinned hawks and their mate-cries.The trunk where the ant.The red squirrels’ eighty-foot playground.The bark   cambium   pine-sap   cluster of needles.The Japanese patterns      the ink-net.The dapple on certain fish.Today, for some, a universe will vanish.First noisily,then …

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.

Yesika Salgado – Diaspora Writes To Her New Home

Yesika Salgado I am what comes after the civil warafter the dismembered corpsesthe burnt sugar cane fieldsthe mango tree strung with a single hanging bodythe man with his tongue in his pocketthe soldiers and the guerrillathe exodus of my grandmother’s children I arrived after the fleeing. after the bruise was named a desert.after the new …

Lucille Clifton – Poem to My Yellow Coat

Lucille Clifton (June 27, 1936 – February 13, 2010) today i mourn my coat.my old potato.my yellow mother.my horse with buttons.my rind.today she split her skinlike a snake,refusing to excuse my backfor being bigfor being oldfor reaching toward othercuffs and sleeves.she cracked like a whip andfell apart,my terrible teacher to the end;to hell with the …

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, …

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 …

William Carlos Williams — The Widow’s Lament In Springtime

William Carlos Williams (September 17, 1883 – March 4, 1963) Sorrow is my own yardwhere the new grassflames as it has flamedoften before but notwith the cold firethat closes round me this year.Thirty-five yearsI lived with my husband.The plum tree is white todaywith masses of flowers.Masses of flowersload the cherry branchesand color some bushesyellow and …

Patricia Carroll Mathes – Another Lovely Day

Patricia Carroll Mathes (January 20, 1943 -) Thank you for another lovely day,”you said, as we drove to yet anothertemporary lodging.These days are hard,but you make them easier.The smoke that permeates our clothes,the darkened rooms smelling of disaster.The charred remains of two livesloving books, music, and art.Two sisters, the sweet and the serious,resident ladies of …