Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dust of Snow

By Robert Frost

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
 A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Holding Pattern I

By Julia Rose Lewis

 We are greeting,
greedily holding and hugging

he and I. I retreat to the beach
to read

beneath the umbrellas: yellow,
blue, green. Then

to the blue bench, looking to the parking lot
the beach lies to the left.

While I watch the end of the afternoon
he takes the flag down.

long-time part-time island traditions,

the seagulls here are all called Herman,
for the man who listened to Captain Pollard’s tale.

I wore gray
on gray on faded denim

sea-stained and sand encrusted.
He passed over gray floor boards full

of splinters. I have been on the wrong side
of the cliffside for so long.

Here he was an ant
soldier in the war

he taught me was waged against the sand,
afterward I rolled up my jeans. Inside,

he paused beside
me to brush the hair from his eyes.

Learn all the stories the hotel has to tell,
I tell myself,

the little Pennsylvania girl with the man
who comes from the northeast

of Indiana, he points out the nearest
town on an atlas, his family farm

is too small to see.
He lets himself blush; he really

needs a headband. His beautiful hair
falls into his eyes and I allow

my fingers to follow. Yet,
I can’t taste yellow, only old salt.

Memorial Day to Labor Day,
I land

isle while away.
Could I love a place as I should

love a person?
He is

a guy with
a green soft-top Jeep Wrangler,

a permit to go out to Coatue,
a long picnic at Great Point,

Terrible teeth are meaningless
when kissing,

On hot sand and broken shells feet harden,
he has beastly feet;

I have reading hands.
He reaches for his reading glasses

as the sun burns through the fog
in the morning.

I’m leaving,
reaching out to hug him.

Where the seagulls are all called Herman,
We are good at hugg
A holding pattern
here we are as old as our beloved.

Julia Rose Lewis is a working towards her MFA at Kingston University London. She received her BA in Biology and Chemistry from Bryn Mawr College PA. She lives on Nantucket island and is a member of the Moors Poetry Collective of Nantucket.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Siren Song

By Margaret Atwood

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:

the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see the beached skulls

the song nobody knows
because anyone who has heard it
is dead, and the others can't remember.

Shall I tell you the secret
and if I do, will you get me
out of this bird suit?

I don't enjoy it here
squatting on this island
looking picturesque and mythical

with these two feathery maniacs,
I don't enjoy singing
this trio, fatal and valuable.

I will tell the secret to you,
to you, only to you.
Come closer. This song

is a cry for help: Help me!
Only you, only you can,
you are unique

at last. Alas
it is a boring song
but it works every time.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Survival Course

By William Stafford

This is the grip, like this:
both hands. You can close
your eyes if you like. When I say,
"Now," it's time. Don't wait
or it's all over. But not
too soon, either just right.
Don't worry. Let's go.
Both hands.

Monday, February 16, 2015

An Abandoned Factory, Detroit

By Philip Levine

 The gates are chained, the barbed-wire fencing stands,
 An iron authority against the snow,
 And this grey monument to common sense
 Resists the weather. Fears of idle hands,
 Of protest, men in league, and of the slow
 Corrosion of their minds, still charge this fence.

 Beyond, through broken windows one can see 
Where the great presses paused between their strokes
 And thus remain, in air suspended, caught
 In the sure margin of eternity.
 The cast-iron wheels have stopped; one counts the spokes

 Which movement blurred, the struts inertia fought,
 And estimates the loss of human power,
 Experienced and slow, the loss of years,
 The gradual decay of dignity.
 Men lived within these foundries, hour by hour;

 Nothing they forged outlived the rusted gears
 Which might have served to grind their eulogy.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ode to a Blizzard

By Tom Disch
O! wonderful for weight and whiteness!
       Ideolog whose absolutes
               Are always proven right
                      By white and then
               More white and white again,
       Winning the same argument year
After year by making the opposition

O! dear miniature of infinity with no
       End in sight and no snow-
             Flake exactly like
                      Another, all
             A little different no
       Matter how many may fall,
Just like our own DNA or the human face

O! still keep covering the street
       And sidewalks, cemeteries, even
               Our twice-shoveled drive,
                      And all that is alive,
               With geometries that sleet
       Will freeze into Death's
Impromptu vision of a heaven
                              Wholly white!

For we know who your sponsor is, whose will
       You so immensely serve,
               Whose chill is more severe
                      Than any here.
               Though his name may be unspoken,
       His commandments are unbroken,
And every monument that you erect
                              Belongs to him!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

First Poem for You

By Kim Addonizio

I like to touch your tattoos in complete
darkness, when I can’t see them. I’m sure of
where they are, know by heart the neat
lines of lightning pulsing just above
your nipple, can find, as if by instinct, the blue
swirls of water on your shoulder where a serpent
twists, facing a dragon. When I pull you

to me, taking you until we’re spent
and quiet on the sheets, I love to kiss
the pictures in your skin. They’ll last until
you’re seared to ashes; whatever persists
or turns to pain between us, they will still
be there. Such permanence is terrifying.
So I touch them in the dark; but touch them, trying.

Friday, February 6, 2015

We grow accustomed to the Dark -

By Emily Dickinson

We grow accustomed to the Dark -
When Light is put away -
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Good bye -

A Moment - We Uncertain step
For newness of the night -
Then - fit our Vision to the Dark -
And meet the Road - erect -

And so of larger - Darknesses -
Those Evenings of the Brain -
When not a Moon disclose a sign -
Or Star - come out - within -

The Bravest - grope a little -
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead -
But as they learn to see -

Either the Darkness alters -
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight -
And Life steps almost straight.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I Need Trees

By Edward Nudelman

I need their birds
and dampened bark.
I need their loud swift
jingling and I need
their rare composure
over this moving
raucous house. I need
every angle triangulated,
every lean and turn
fully integrated.
My stilted speech
wavers hallelujahs
among their branches

This poem previously appeared in the Israeli newspaper Haeretz.