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 …

Jane Hirshfield – For What Binds Us

Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -) There are names for what binds us:strong forces, weak forces.Look around, you can see them:the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,nails rusting into the places they join,joints dovetailed on their own weight.The way things stay so solidlywherever they've been set down—and gravity, scientists say, is weak.And see how …

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 …