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Monday, April 7, 2008

Send us a favorite poem!

April is National Poetry Month. Perhaps, with recent sightings of crocuses blooming in select locations in town, this is truly the perfect month for poetry. It is, after all, a time of hope.

In the course of a very busy life, I don't make much time for poems anymore. Nowadays, I find myself thinking of poems as a luxury reserved for the young, when one feels pain and joy most acutely. But it shouldn't be like that. So, in honor of National Poetry Month, I'll throw a poem out there and see if anyone else would like to chime in with a favorite of their own.

By way of introduction, I heard this poem on the radio and tracked it down via the Internet. It made a lovely Father's Day gift.

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's autere and lonely offices?

Robert Hayden


Anonymous said...

Here is one a poem from one of my favorite poets, Jane Kenyon.


The dog searches until he finds me
upstairs,lies down with a clatter
of elbows,puts his head on my foot.

Sometimes the sound of his breathing
saves my life-in and out,in
and out;a pause,a long sigh....

Anonymous said...

A favorite poem by Jane Kenyon

The dog searches until he finds me
upstairs,lies down with a clatter
of elbows,puts his head on my foot.

Sometimes the sound of his breathing
saves my life- in and out,in
and out; a pause, a long sigh....

Matthew said...

Oh! I have far too many favorites. Here at random are two.


Stars, I have seen them fall,
  But when they drop and die
No start is lost at all
  From all the star-sown sky.
The toil of all that be
  Helps not the primal fault;
It rains into the sea,
  And still the sea is salt.

A. E. Housman


I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinches,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy, black language
of blackberry-eating in late September.

Matthew said...

That last poem (Blackberry Eating) was by Galway Kinnell

Anonymous said...

I always come back to Homer's Odyssey.

So ran that craft and showed her heels to the swell,
her bow wave riding after, and her wake
on the purple night sea foaming.
Hour by hour
she held her pace; not even a falcon wheeling
downwind, swiftest bird, could stay abreast of her
in that most arrowy flight through open water,
with her great passenger -godlike in counsel,
he that in twenty years had borne such blows
in his deep heart, breaking through ranks in war
and waves on the bitter sea
This night at last
he slept serene, his long-tried mind at rest.

omnivorous reader said...

I grew up near this ghost town. Poem by the ever wonderful Donald Hall.

The Town of Hill

Back of the dam,under
a flat pad

of water, church
bells ring

inthe ears of lilies,
a child's swing

curls in the current
of a yard,horned

pout sleep
in a green

mailbox, and
a boy walks

from a screened
porch beneath

the man-shaped
leaves of an oak

down the street looking
at the town

of Hill that water
covered forty

years ago,
and the screen
door shuts
under dream water.

Rachel Senechal said...

Here's one from a Vermont Poet.

Fish Song

the heron is
my patience

my thoughtfulness
the loon

the kingfisher
my nerve

but the osprey
I am wholly

the osprey's -

Jody Gladding
from her book, Stone Crop

Rachel Senechal said...

Another Vermont Poet:

New Home

I do not know this place,
this place does not know me.
I am a stranger here, pretending
to belong.

I have to introduce myself to everything I meet:
this rock, this flower, this fat moth on the cold window
trying to get in where it's warm.

I bring in the rock, the flower,
the moth wanting to be warm,
place each of them on a chair around the table,
then take the last one for myself.

The rock says, I've waited so long for someone to pick me up. The primrose is a common sort,
says last fall's aphids just drove her crazy.
And the moth talks about how hard it is to be on the outside looking in, how long it's been since anyone commented on the pattern
of her velvet wings, how closely it mimics some fine gray-with-gold antique Persian carpets.

I say to each of them the words we must say to those who endure what they must. And see?
Now they are my guests and I am in my home.

Francette Cerulli
from her book,
The Spirits Need to Eat

Spending time with this book is a joy!

Anonymous said...


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
then moves on.

Carl Sandburg

One of my favorites from growing up on the coast of Maine.

Jane Napier said...

My favorite Shel Silverstein:

I love you,
I love you,
I love you, divine,
Please give me your bubblegum,
You're sitting on mine.

And my favorite recitable from my Grandmother:

I'd rather be a could be
If I could not be an are
For a could be is a maybe
With a chance of reaching par

I'd rather be a has been
Than a might have been by far
For a might have been has never been, but a has was once an are

basementblogger said...

From MOUNTAIN HOME, by David Hinton, translations of the Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China.

The birds have vanished into deep skies.
A last cloud drifts away, all idleness.

Inexhaustible, this mountain and I
gaze at each other, it alone remaining.

Anonymous said...

Francette's poems are an absolute feast - yes "The
Spirits Have to Eat"


Morgan W. Brown said...

Among my favorite poems -- of which there are too many to mention -- is a George Albert Leddy poem recited by his grandson, storyteller Chris Abair, which I stumbled across online one day: The Old Picket Fence [via YouTube].

Morgan W. Brown said...

Although you were asking for readers to share their favorite poems written by someone else as well as also not merely focused on the general subject of poetry itself and, thus the following is sort of off topic, below is what I wrote relating to poetry about 10 years ago, which came to mind one night near the edge of a cliff high up above a roaring brook swollen after heavy rains while primitive camping off the Long Trail I was hiking by myself for few days in late May of 2008:


Poetry is a brook from which I drink by,
fish and swim, wade through, lay near and listen;
envisioning the distant stars of the night sky;
that it reflects, forever twinkling, upon to glisten;
always satisfied, yet something is oft a miss'n.

by Morgan W. Brown
May 1998

via my Website, here.

Morgan W. Brown said...

opps. had *meant* to write:

... for *a* few days in late May of *1998*: