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 …

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 …

Jane Hirshfield – Mountainal

Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -) This first-light mountain, its east peak and west peak.Its first-light creeks:Lagunitas, Redwood, Fern. Their fishes and mosses.Its night and day hawk-life, slope-life, fogs, coyote, tan oaks,white-speckled amanita. Its spiderwebs’ sequins.To be personal is easy:Wake. Slip arms and legs from sleep into name, into story.I wanted to be mountainal, wateral, …

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 …

Marilyn Nelson – The Children’s Moon

Marilyn Nelson (April 26, 1946 -) In my navy shirtwaist dress and three-inch heels,my pearl clip-ons and newly red-rinsed curls,I smoothed on lipstick, lipstick-marked my girls,saluted and held thumbs-up to my darling Mel,and drove myself to school for the first day.Over the schoolyard a silver lozengedissolved into the morning’s blue cauldron.Enter twenty seven-year-old white children.Look, …

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 …

Natalie Diaz – The Facts of Art

Natalie Diaz (September 04, 1978 -)    woven plaque basket with sunflower design, Hopi,                                             Arizona, before 1935 from an American Indian basketry exhibit in                                             Portsmouth, Virginia The Arizona highway sailed across the desert—     a gray battleship drawing a black wake,            halting at the foot of the orange mesa,                  unwilling to go around. Hopi men …

Claudia Serea – Parallel Heavens

Claudia Serea Doors closed,lawns freshly mowed,the heavens line up,a row of suburban houseson a quiet street.I imagine mine painted white,silent and sleepy,a provincial art museumwhere all the angels have been assignedto perpetual paperwork.One can't even thinkto jump from one heaveninto anotherwithout wings,or breaking a bone.And each heavenhas its own way to get to iton parallel …

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 …

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 …