Poem of the Day: Mockingbird

I can hear him,
now, even in darkness,
a trickster under the moon,
bristling his feathers,
sounding as merry
as a man whistling in a straw hat,
or a squeaky gate
to the playground, left ajar
or the jingling of a star,
having wandered too far
from the pasture.

Poem copyright © 2010 by Judith Harris, whose most recent book of poetry is The Bad Secret, Louisiana State University Press, 2006. Poem reprinted from Narrative, Summer, 2011, by permission of Judith Harris. 

Judith Harris

More poems by this author

no comments


Poem of the Day: This Ecstasy

It's not paradise I'm looking for
but the naming I hardly gave a thought to.
Call it the gift I carried in my loneliness
among the animals before I started
listening to the news. Call it the hint
I had about the knowledge that would explode.
In the meantime, which is real time
plus the past, you're swishing your skirt
and speaking French, which is more
than I can take, which I marvel at
like a boy from the most distant seat
in the Kronos Dome, where I am one
of so many now I see the point
of falling off. There's not enough seats
for us all to attend the eschaton.
This ecstasy that plants beauty
on my tongue, so that if it were
a wing, I'd be flying with the quickness
of a hummingbird and grace of a heron,
is so much mercy in light of the darkness
that comes. Who would say consolation?
Who would say dross? Not that anyone
would blame them. All night I hear
so many echoes in the forest I'm tempted
to look back, to save myself in hindsight,
where all I see is the absence of me.
Where all I hear is your voice,
which couldn't be more strange.
How to go on walking hand in hand
without our bodies on the path
we made for our feet, talking, talking?

Chard deNiord, "This Ecstacy" from The Double Truth. Copyright © 2011 by Chard deNiord. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Source: The Double Truth (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011)

Chard DeNiord

More poems by this author

no comments


Poem of the Day: Night

It's all right   
Unless you're either lonely or under attack.   
That strange effortful
Repositioning of yourself. Laundry, shopping,   
Hours, the telephone—unless misinformed—
Only ever ringing for you, if it ever does.   
The night—yours to decide,
Among drink, or books, or lying there.
On your back, or curled up.

An embarrassment of poverty.

Source: Poetry (June 2008).

Michael Hofmann

More poems by this author

no comments


Poem of the Day: The Speaking Tree

Great Alexander sailing was from his true course turned
By a young wind from a cloud in Asia moving
Like a most recognizable most silvery woman;
Tall Alexander to the island came.
The small breeze blew behind his turning head.
He walked the foam of ripples into this scene.
The trunk of the speaking tree looks like a tree-trunk
Until you look again.     Then people and animals
Are ripening on the branches;     the broad leaves
Are leaves;     pale horses, sharp fine foxes
Blossom;     the red rabbit falls
Ready and running.     The trunk coils, turns,
Snakes, fishes.     Now the ripe people fall and run,
Three of them in their shore-dance, flames that stand
Where reeds are creatures and the foam is flame.
Stiff Alexander stands.     He cannot turn.
But he is free to turn : this is the speaking tree,
It calls your name.     It tells us what we mean.

Muriel Rukeyser, "The Speaking Tree" from The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 2006 by Muriel Rukeyser.  Reprinted by permission of William L. Rukeyser.

Source: The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006)

Muriel Rukeyser

More poems by this author

no comments


Alone In The Crowd – Rick Stephen

Large crowd of peopleI sat by myself
in a crowd today
just another seat
filled anonymously
not unlike
so many others around me
and a woman
somewhere near
wore your perfume
I knew it instantly
and as if by instinct,
breathing in deep,
I closed my eyes
and was taken away
the crowd vanished,
the din faded
and there I was
alone in the crowd
with you




A stop or pause in a metrical line, often marked by punctuation or by a grammatical boundary, such as a phrase or clause. A medial caesura splits the line in equal parts, as is common in Old English poetry (see Beowulf). Medial caesurae (plural of caesura) can be found throughout contemporary. . .

no comments


Poem of the Day: Hazy Alley Incident

Girl shouting Oliver! at the top of the cut-through
by Jacob's Gallery, you have now entered
the slenderest of histories, the skin-bound book
I store between my temples; in that mean
and moonless city, you must hang fraught
in your too-long coat, not a winner, but placed,
and in this cutty version of forever, forever
calling on your unseen beau, one flake in
a limbic blizzard, one spark in the synaptic blaze.
And now the rain turns, light but going steady
on the Willamette. Along the bank, I lift my pace
from devil-may-have-me to heading-somewhere
and still your mouth in the haze calling is
a ruby carbuncle woken by a miner's head-beam,
the reddest berry in the hedgerow, which all
but the bird in the fable know not to pluck.

Source: Poetry (May 2010).

Roddy Lumsden

More poems by this author

no comments


Poem of the Day: White-Eyes

In winter
    all the singing is in
         the tops of the trees
             where the wind-bird

with its white eyes
    shoves and pushes
         among the branches.
             Like any of us

he wants to go to sleep,
    but he's restless—
         he has an idea,
             and slowly it unfolds

from under his beating wings
    as long as he stays awake.
         But his big, round music, after all,
             is too breathy to last.

So, it's over.
    In the pine-crown
         he makes his nest,
             he's done all he can.

I don't know the name of this bird,
    I only imagine his glittering beak
         tucked in a white wing
             while the clouds—

which he has summoned
    from the north—
         which he has taught
             to be mild, and silent—

thicken, and begin to fall
    into the world below
         like stars, or the feathers
               of some unimaginable bird

that loves us,
    that is asleep now, and silent—
         that has turned itself
             into snow.

Source: Poetry (October 2002).

Mary Oliver

More poems by this author

no comments


The Train Doesn’t Stop Here by Rick Stephen


Waiting at the depot
darkness having longed chased
the last tinge of color
from the inky-black sky
a darkness perforated only
by the brightest few stars

I stand here alone
it’s late,
damp and cold
a fog builds in the distance
my breath fills the air
with swirls and curls of mist
drifting before my face
that spread out, then vanish
I think to myself,
“Now there’s a metaphor!”
while turning up my collar
against the chill
a shiver runs down my spine
I’m not sure
if it’s from the cold
or the irony of the metaphor
I laugh under my breath

My eyes anxiously alternate
between the watch on my wrist
and the tracks off in distance
it’s late, dammit, it would be
it couldn’t be on time today
damn you, Murphy!

Still, I look
leaning over the edge of a platform
illuminated by a lone,
flickering floodlight
straining to spot,
hoping to see
the glint of a headlight
piercing the distant blackness
the first sign even before
the wail of a horn or
the sound of diesel or
the clack of unforgiving wheels
on cold, steel tracks
the first sign
that tells me my long, bleak,
wearisome wait
will shortly be over



Poem of the Day: A Poem for the Cruel Majority

The cruel majority emerges!

Hail to the cruel majority!

They will punish the poor for being poor.
They will punish the dead for having died.

Nothing can make the dark turn into light
for the cruel majority.
Nothing can make them feel hunger or terror.

If the cruel majority would only cup their ears
the sea would wash over them.
The sea would help them forget their wayward children.
It would weave a lullaby for young & old.

(See the cruel majority with hands cupped to their ears,
one foot is in the water, one foot is on the clouds.)

One man of them is large enough to hold a cloud
between his thumb & middle finger,
to squeeze a drop of sweat from it before he sleeps.

He is a little god but not a poet.
(See how his body heaves.)

The cruel majority love crowds & picnics.
The cruel majority fill up their parks with little flags.
The cruel majority celebrate their birthday.

Hail to the cruel majority again!

The cruel majority weep for their unborn children,
they weep for the children that they will never bear.
The cruel majority are overwhelmed by sorrow.

(Then why are the cruel majority always laughing?
Is it because night has covered up the city's walls?
Because the poor lie hidden in the darkness?
The maimed no longer come to show their wounds?)

Today the cruel majority vote to enlarge the darkness.

They vote for shadows to take the place of ponds
Whatever they vote for they can bring to pass.
The mountains skip like lambs for the cruel majority.

Hail to the cruel majority!
Hail! hail! to the cruel majority!

The mountains skip like lambs, the hills like rams.
The cruel majority tear up the earth for the cruel majority.
Then the cruel majority line up to be buried.

Those who love death will love the cruel majority.

Those who know themselves will know the fear
the cruel majority feel when they look in the mirror.

The cruel majority order the poor to stay poor.
They order the sun to shine only on weekdays.

The god of the cruel majority is hanging from a tree.
Their god's voice is the tree screaming as it bends.
The tree's voice is as quick as lightning as it streaks across the sky.

(If the cruel majority go to sleep inside their shadows,
they will wake to find their beds filled up with glass.)

Hail to the god of the cruel majority!
Hail to the eyes in the head of their screaming god!

Hail to his face in the mirror!

Hail to their faces as they float around him!

Hail to their blood & to his!

Hail to the blood of the poor they need to feed them!
Hail to their world & their god!

Hail & farewell!
Hail & farewell!
Hail & farewell!

"A Poem for the Cruel Majority" By Jerome Rothenberg, from A Paradise of Poets, copyright © 1991, 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999 by Jerome Rothenberg. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Source: A Paradise of Poets (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1999)

Jerome Rothenberg

More poems by this author

no comments

Back to top


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: