Poetry

Nuisance?

From around 1947 or so. Seems particularly apropos, if not entirely accurate, on several fronts today.


No Holy Wars for Them


Robert Frost

States strong enough to do good are but few,
Their number would seem limited to three,
Good is a thing that they, the great, can do,
But puny little states can only be.
And being good for these means standing by
To watch a war in nominal alliance,
And when it's over watch the worlds supply
Get parceled out among the winning giants.
God, have You taken cognizance of this?

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Hope and Change

Purple prosody, perhaps. But that's what happens when you mix red and blue.

For You, O Democracy

Come, I will make the continent indissoluble,
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon,
I will make divine magnetic lands,
With the love of comrades,
With the life-long love of comrades.

I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America,
and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies,

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To Sue

On Monday, I said something about my friend Sue and a poem I wrote for her way back when. Sue and I met when we both worked for a tree nursery in Door County, Wisconsin, in the late 70's. I drove a tractor pulling a tree planter that sat six. Six other women with a never-ending supply of evergreen seedlings. I hauled them up one set of rows and down another while they put tiny trees in the ground. It must be entirely automated now. I can't find a single picture of a tree planter with actual human beings aboard. Read more about To Sue

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Second Summer

At first I thought this lovely poem by Emily Dickinson was one of the few I've read so far that didn't reference death in some way. But a second look at the one I call Second Summer convinces me that Emily does not mistake signs of life for life itself.

These are the days when Birds come back --
A very few -- a Bird or two --
To take a backward look.

These are the days when skies resume
The old -- old sophistries of June --

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Rumi

The core of any people, any religion, lies in its poets. When we remember that, this contention will cease.

The Freshness

Rumi

When it's cold and raining,
you are more beautiful.

And the snow brings me
even closer to your lips.

The inner secret, that which was never born,
you are that freshness, and I am with you now.

I can't explain the goings,
or the comings. You enter suddenly,

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I Have Not Yet A Winter Face

Elegy IX: The Autumnal

By John Donne

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one autumnal face.
Young beauties force our love, and that's a rape,
This doth but counsel, yet you cannot scape.
If 'twere a shame to love, here 'twere no shame;
Affection here takes reverence's name.
Were her first years the golden age? That's true,
But now she's gold oft tried and ever new.
That was her torrid and inflaming time,

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The Pinewoods

The Pinewoods

Mary Oliver

This morning
Two deer
In the pinewoods
In the five A.M. mist,

In a silky agitation,
Went leaping
Down into the shadows
Of the bog

And together
Across the bog
And up the hill
And into the dense trees --

But once
Years ago,
In some kind of rapturous mistake
The deer did not run away

But walked toward me
And touched my hands--
And I have been, ever since,
Separated from my old, comfortable life

Of experience and deduction--

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