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 …

David Whyte – Sometimes

David Whyte (November 02, 1955 -) Sometimesif you move carefullythrough the forest,breathinglike the onesin the old stories,who could crossa shimmering bed of leaveswithout a sound,you come to a placewhose only taskis to trouble youwith tinybut frightening requests,conceived out of nowherebut in this placebeginning to lead everywhere.Requests to stop whatyou are doing right now,andto stop what …

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.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) The tide rises, the tide falls,The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;Along the sea-sands damp and brownThe traveller hastens toward the town,And the tide rises, the tide falls.Darkness settles on roofs and walls,But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;The little waves, with their soft, …

Walt Whitman – When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns beforeme,When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divideand measure them,When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured withmuch applause in the lecture-room,How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,Till rising and gliding out I wander' d off …

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 …

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 …

Rebecca Elson – Antidotes To The Fear Of Death

Rebecca Anne Wood Elson (January 02, 1960 – May 19, 1999) Sometimes as an antidoteTo fear of death,I eat the starsThose nights, lying on my back,I suck them from the quenching darkTil they are all, all inside me,Pepper hot and sharp.Sometimes, instead, I stir myselfInto a universe still young,Still warm as blood:No outer space, just …

Ajay Kumar – An Index Of Visitors

Ajay Kumar I’ve seen something like this somewhere, all the time.white, black & red the first colors. as we enter november,the weather turns december. as it was june, it was also may.remember, all the buildings blurring by to the next station.remember the index of visitors, the middle-finger ring-fingers,singers whose songs were just extended foreplays.an old …