April 23 Poem
The Twenty-Third Psalm
by Sir Philip Sidney
Dominus regit me
The Lord the Lord my shepherd is,
And so can never I
He rests me in green pasture His.
By waters still and sweet
He guides my feet.
He me revives, leads me the way
Which righteousness doth take,
For His name’s sake.
Yea though I should through valleys stray
Of death’s dark shade I will
No whit fear ill.
For Thou dear Lord Thou me beset’st,
Thy rod and Thy staff be
To comfort me.
Before me Thou a table set’st,
Ev’n when foe’s envious eye
Doth it espy.
With oil Thou dost anoint my head,
And so my cup dost fill
That it doth spill.
Thus thus shall all my days be fed,
This mercy is so sure
It shall endure,
And long yea long abide I shall,
There where the Lord of all
Doth hold His hall.
April 22 Poem
Woman on Twenty-Second Eating Berries
by Stanley Plumly
She’s not angry exactly but all business,
eating them right off the tree, with confidence,
the kind that lets her spit out the bad ones
clear of the sidewalk into the street. It’s
sunny, though who can tell what she’s tasting,
rowan or one of the serviceberries—
the animal at work, so everybody,
save the traffic, keeps a distance. She’s picking
clean what the birds have left, and even,
in her hurry, a few dark leaves. In the air
the dusting of exhaust that still turns pennies
green, the way the cloudy surfaces
of things obscure their differences,
like the mock orange or the apple rose that
cracks the paving stone, rooted in the plaza.
No one will say your name, and when you come to
the door no one will know you, a parable
of the afterlife on earth. Poor grapes, poor crabs,
wild black cherry trees, on which some forty-six
or so species of birds have fed, some boy’s dead
weight or the tragic summer lightning killing
the seed, how boyish now that hunger
to bring those branches down to scale,
to eat of that which otherwise was waste,
how natural this woman eating berries, how alone.
April 21 Poem
Becoming Weather, 21
by Chris Martin
I was out interviewing clouds amassing
the notes of a sky pornographer while patches
of the city subnormalized
by fear of fear like a reef bleaching closed
I took to the streets
looking for a human velocity
heavy in the abundance
of summer light
the silent apathy
of stars which is neither
silent nor apathetic
I am becoming weather
plan on doing
April 20 Poem
by Jim Moore
Did I forget to look at the sky this morning
when I first woke up? Did I miss the willow tree?
The white gravel road that goes up from the cemetery,
but to where? And the abandoned house on the hill, did it get
even a moment? Did I notice the small clouds so slowly
moving away? And did I think of the right hand
of God? What if it is a slow cloud descending
on earth as rain? As snow? As shade? Don’t you think
I should move on to the mop? How it just sits there, too often
unused? And the stolen rose on its stem?
Why would I write a poem without one?
Wouldn’t it be wrong not to mention joy? Sadness,
its sleepy-eyed twin? If I’d caught the boat
to Mykonos that time when I was nineteen
would the moon have risen out of the sea
and shone on my life so clearly
I would have loved it
just as it was? Is the boat
still in the harbor, pointing
in the direction of the open sea? Am I
still nineteen? Going in or going out,
can I let the tide make of me
what it must? Did I already ask that?
– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23212#sthash.YTqF0sb6.dpuf
April 19 Poem
by Charles Bukowski
weary to the bone,
dancing in the dark with the
the Suicide Kid gone
ah, the swift summers
over and gone
is that death
no, it’s only my cat,
April 18 Poem
Design for a Silver Box in the Shape of a Melon, 1918
by Jonathan Thirkield
In sheet metal or silver shallows
filled with these:
where some assumed votives
would be lit. Or
Do you see the time of day? With still
some red to
flush the waders,
scatter against a few
boats, and fire
Distantly, first. When we see the flare,
Sand buries at
our ankles. They appear,
the apples or
Printed along the wallpaper, half
their setting, brushed
dark with stems, the silver
flats folded in
Many of the waders grasp the stem
and pull off
the top of an
apple or melon, so
the base fills with
And sinks. Silver leaves from the stem. One
pearl earring drops
like so many others
in the shallows.
I met a woman in Viennese
glass. What was
in her jewel case?
A shade that turns over
a blue trellis.
Theater (or garden) on the flattened
a gray screen where
boats fire, the blush falls
and dyes a cherry
April 17 Poem
Alice at Seventeen: Like a Blind Child
by Darcy Cummings
One summer afternoon, I learned my body
like a blind child leaving a walled
school for the first time, stumbling
from cool hallways to a world
dense with scent and sound,
pines roaring in the sudden wind
like a huge chorus of insects.
I felt the damp socket of flowers,
touched weeds riding the crest
of a stony ridge, and the scrubby
ground cover on low hills.
Haystacks began to burn,
smoke rose like sheets of
translucent mica. The thick air
hummed over the stretched wires
of wheat as I lay in the overgrown field
listening to the shrieks of small rabbits
bounding beneath my skin.
– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19048#sthash.4kiL73t9.dpuf
April 16 Poem
by W. B. Yeats
I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
That woman’s days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our wingèd horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
A terrible beauty is born.
Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute to minute they live;
The stone’s in the midst of all.
Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse –
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
April 15 Poem
Fifteen, Maybe Sixteen Things to Worry About
by Judith Viorst
My pants could maybe fall down when I dive off the diving board.
My nose could maybe keep growing and never quit.
Miss Brearly could ask me to spell words like stomach and special.
(Stumick and speshul?)
I could play tag all day and always be “it.”
Jay Spievack, who’s fourteen feet tall, could want to fight me.
My mom and my dad–like Ted’s–could want a divorce.
Miss Brearly could ask me a question about Afghanistan.
Somebody maybe could make me ride a horse.
My mother could maybe decide that I needed more liver.
My dad could decide that I needed less TV.
Miss Brearly could say that I have to write script and stop printing.
(I’m better at printing.)
Chris could decide to stop being friends with me.
The world could maybe come to an end on next Tuesday.
The ceiling could maybe come crashing on my head.
I maybe could run out of things for me to worry about.
And then I’d have to do my homework instead.
April 14 Poem
If thou must love me… (Sonnet 14)
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say,
“I love her for her smile—her look—her way
Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day”—
For these things in themselves, Belovèd, may
Be changed, or change for thee—and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry:
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.
April 13 Poem
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
by Wallace Stevens
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman
A man and a woman and a blackbird
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.
– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15746#sthash.SirzFJ4t.dpuf
April 12 Poem
Secret Last Year (A Calendar Twelve-tone) [4. April, maybe]
by Adriano Spatola
translated by Paul Vangelisti
The sun is made of many mysterious concepts
cowardly resentments with listless rotation
they say they don’t say but they demand attention
something rotten a little enlarged or rosy
a slight lividness applied to our pettiness
with light brush strokes exhausted by the heat
I speak of the heat that spoils and enthuses
of this black and magic heat that doesn’t survive
innocuously childish to the organism’s purpose
softened by the veritable verities drawing near
in April which is the fourth month of the year
– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/21546#sthash.Mqm9A1go.dpuf
April 11 Poem
by Jean Valentine
one arm still a swan’s wing
The worst had happened before: love—before
I knew it was mine—
turned into a wild
swan and flew
across the rough water
until I die
I will be open to you as an egg
– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/21676#sthash.OoQBXbqu.dpuf
April 10 Poem
Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock
by Wallace Stevens
The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
In red weather.
April 9 Poem
by C. P. Cavafy
translated by Daniel Mendelsohn
Half past twelve. The time has quickly passed
since nine o’clock when I first turned up the lamp
and sat down here. I’ve been sitting without reading,
without speaking. With whom should I speak,
so utterly alone within this house?
The apparition of my youthful body,
since nine o’clock when I first turned up the lamp,
has come and found me and reminded me
of shuttered perfumed rooms
and of pleasure spent—what wanton pleasure!
And it also brought before my eyes
streets made unrecognizable by time,
bustling city centres that are no more
and theatres and cafés that existed long ago.
The apparition of my youthful body
came and also brought me cause for pain:
deaths in the family; separations;
the feelings of my loved ones, the feelings of
those long dead which I so little valued.
Half past twelve. How the time has passed.
Half past twelve. How the years have passed.
– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20583#sthash.oEHYs6Gg.dpuf
April 8 Poem
Eighth Air Force
by Randall Jarrell
If, in an odd angle of the hutment,
A puppy laps the water from a can
Of flowers, and the drunk sergeant shaving
Whistles O Paradiso!–shall I say that man
Is not as men have said: a wolf to man?
The other murderers troop in yawning;
Three of them play Pitch, one sleeps, and one
Lies counting missions, lies there sweating
Till even his heart beats: One; One; One.
O murderers! . . . Still, this is how it’s done:
This is a war . . . But since these play, before they die,
Like puppies with their puppy; since, a man,
I did as these have done, but did not die–
I will content the people as I can
And give up these to them: Behold the man!
I have suffered, in a dream, because of him,
Many things; for this last saviour, man,
I have lied as I lie now. But what is lying?
Men wash their hands, in blood, as best they can:
I find no fault in this just man.
– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15275#sthash.qPpEzZQM.dpuf
April 7 Poem
by Daisy Fried
These cold days when the insane sky’s clear, heat poofs away be-
yond its net of edible blue. My cat folds, flops across the laundry
steps. Flags the size of jeans pockets flip-flap affixed to rowhouse
fronts. The nicest, cleanest hands reach to switch out lights in
stores: futons, ring trays, eyeglasses, dresses, go dark. “The bed is
not very big.” Cold or no there are fathers calling mothers and child-
dren walking home or out; also those of us who are neither father
nor mother and have forgotten the complicated unchosen knits and
methods of being somebody’s child. Hires Root Beer signboard
creaking, then not creaking. This year Thanksgiving dinner begins
in the afternoon: a moist bird, venison stuffing. Window glass goes
blue-indigo. “Is this the right crockery?” Cold little birds, like knots
of twine, jam the Japanese Zelkova just outside, gabble in the light-loss
hysteria. The Dow Jones dropping. Friends’ kids leer from photos I
stuck on the refrigerator. Last night I slammed a door so hard the
mirror hung on it shattered over my back. I was not hurt; moreover
he stopped shouting back, ran in his socks onto the crackling glass,
put his arms around me?
– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19095#sthash.67BIdxPC.dpuf
April 6 Poem
by Shin Yu Pai
after ruining another season’s harvest—
over-baked in the kitchen oven then
rehydrated in her home sauna
Aunt Yuki calls upon her sister,
paper sacks stuffed full of orange
fruit, twig and stalk still intact
knows that my mother sprouts seedlings
from cast off avocado stones, revives
dead succulents, coaxes blooms out of orchids
a woman who has never spent a second
of her being on the world wide web,
passes her days painting the diversity of
marshland, woodland, & shoreline;
building her own dehydrator fashioned from
my father’s work ladders, joined together
by discarded swimming pool pole perched
high to discourage the neighbor’s cats
that invade the yard scavenging for koi
“Vitamin D” she says, as she harnesses
the sun, in the backyard the drying device
mutates into painting, slow dripped
sugar spilling out of one kaki fruit
empty space where my father untethers
another persimmon, he swallows whole
– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/22049#sthash.s3GUURK8.dpuf
April 5 Poem
Five Easy Prayers for Pagans
by Philip Appleman
O Karma, Dharma, pudding & pie,
gimme a break before I die:
grant me wisdom, will, & wit,
purity, probity, pluck, & grit.
Trustworthy, helpful, friendly, kind,
gimme great abs and a steel-trap mind.
And forgive, Ye Gods, some humble advice -
these little blessings would suffice
to beget an earthly paradise:
make the bad people good
and the good people nice,
and before our world goes over the brink,
teach the believers how to think.
O Venus, Cupid, Aphrodite,
teach us Thy horsepower lingam, Thy firecracker yoni.
Show us Thy hundreds of sacred & tingling positions,
each orifice panting for every groping tumescence.
O lead us into the back rooms of silky temptation
and deliver us over to midnights of trembling desire.
But before all the nectar & honey leak out of this planet,
give us our passion in marble, commitment in granite.
O Shiva, relentless Spirit of Outrage:
in this vale of tearful True Believers,
teach us to repeat again and again:
No, your Reverences, we will not serve
your Gross National Voodoo, your Church
Militant – we will not flatter the double faces
of those who pray in the Temple of
Gentle Preserver, preserve the pure irreverence
of our stubborn minds.
Target the priests, Implacable Destroyer –
and hire a lawyer.
O Mammon, Thou who art daily dissed
by everyone, yet boast more true disciples
than all other gods together,
Thou whose eerie sheen
gleameth from Corporate Headquarters
and Vatican Treasury alike, Thou
whose glittering eye impales us
in the X-ray vision of plastic surgeons,
the golden leer of televangelists,
the star-spangled gloat of politicos –
O Mammon, come down to us in the form
of Treasuries, Annuities, & High-Grade Bonds,
yield unto us those Benedict Arnold Funds,
those Quicksand Convertible Securities, even the wet
Judas Kiss of Futures Contracts – for
unto the least of these Thy supplicants
art Thou welcome in all Thy many forms. But
when Thou comest to say we’re finally in the gentry –
use the service entry.
O flaky Goddess of Fortune, we beseech Thee:
in the random thrust of Thy fluky favor, vector
the luminous lasers of Thy shifty eyes
down upon these, Thy needy & oh-so-deserving
petitioners. Bend down to us the sexy
curve of Thine indifferent ear, and hear
our passionate invocation: let Thy lovely,
lying lips murmur to us the news
of all our true-false guesses A-OK,
our firm & final offers come up rainbows,
our hangnails & hang-ups & hangovers suddenly zapped,
and then, O Goddess, give us your slippery word
that the faithless Lady Luck will hang around
in our faithful love, friendships less fickle than youth,
and a steady view of our world in its barefoot truth.
April 4 Poem
Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind
by Carl Sandburg
The past is a bucket of ashes.
The woman named Tomorrow
sits with a hairpin in her teeth
and takes her time
and does her hair the way she wants it
and fastens at last the last braid and coil
and puts the hairpin where it belongs
and turns and drawls: Well, what of it?
My grandmother, Yesterday, is gone.
What of it? Let the dead be dead.
The doors were cedar
and the panels strips of gold
and the girls were golden girls
and the panels read and the girls chanted:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation:
nothing like us ever was.
The doors are twisted on broken hinges.
Sheets of rain swish through on the wind
where the golden girls ran and the panels read:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation,
nothing like us ever was.
It has happened before.
Strong men put up a city and got
a nation together,
And paid singers to sing and women
to warble: We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation,
nothing like us ever was.
And while the singers sang
and the strong men listened
and paid the singers well
and felt good about it all,
there were rats and lizards who listened
… and the only listeners left now
… are … the rats … and the lizards.
And there are black crows
crying, “Caw, caw,”
bringing mud and sticks
building a nest
over the words carved
on the doors where the panels were cedar
and the strips on the panels were gold
and the golden girls came singing:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation:
nothing like us ever was.
The only singers now are crows crying, “Caw, caw,”
And the sheets of rain whine in the wind and doorways.
And the only listeners now are … the rats … and the lizards.
The feet of the rats
scribble on the door sills;
the hieroglyphs of the rat footprints
chatter the pedigrees of the rats
and babble of the blood
and gabble of the breed
of the grandfathers and the great-grandfathers
of the rats.
And the wind shifts
and the dust on a door sill shifts
and even the writing of the rat footprints
tells us nothing, nothing at all
about the greatest city, the greatest nation
where the strong men listened
and the women warbled: Nothing like us ever was.
– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20748#sthash.LsiPTzSR.dpuf
April 3 Poem
Home After Three Months Away
by Robert Lowell
Gone now the baby’s nurse,
a lioness who ruled the roost
and made the Mother cry.
She used to tie
gobbets of porkrind in bowknots of gauze–
three months they hung like soggy toast
on our eight foot magnolia tree,
and helped the English sparrows
weather a Boston winter.
Three months, three months!
Is Richard now himself again?
Dimpled with exaltation,
my daughter holds her levee in the tub.
Our noses rub,
each of us pats a stringy lock of hair–
they tell me nothing’s gone.
Though I am forty-one,
not forty now, the time I put away
was child’s play. After thirteen weeks
my child still dabs her cheeks
to start me shaving. When
we dress her in her sky-blue corduroy,
she changes to a boy,
and floats my shaving brush
and washcloth in the flush. . . .
Dearest I cannot loiter here
in lather like a polar bear.
Recuperating, I neither spin nor toil.
Three stories down below,
a choreman tends our coffin’s length of soil,
and seven horizontal tulips blow.
Just twelve months ago,
these flowers were pedigreed
imported Dutchmen; no no one need
distinguish them from weed.
Bushed by the late spring snow,
they cannot meet
another year’s snowballing enervation.
I keep no rank nor station.
Cured, I am frizzled, stale and small.
– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15285#sthash.snA2sGH9.dpuf
April 2 Poem
Fork with Two Tines Pushed Together
by Nick Lantz
It’s fast and cool as running water, the way we forget
the names of friends with whom we talked and talked
the long drives up and down the coast.
I say I love and I love and I love. However, the window
will not close. However, the hawk searches
for its nest after a storm. However, the discarded
nail longs to hide its nakedness inside the tire.
Somewhere in Cleveland or Tempe, a pillow
still smells like M_____’s hair.
In a bus station, a child is staring
at L____’s rabbit tattoo. I’ve bartered everything
to keep from doing my soul’s paperwork.
Here is a partial list of artifacts:
mirror, belt, half-finished 1040 form (married, filing jointly), mateless walkie-talkie, two blonde eyelashes, set of acrylic paints with all the red and yellow used up, buck knife, dog collar, camping tent (sleeps two), slivers of cut-up credit cards, ashtray in the shape of a naked woman, pen with teeth marks, bottom half of two-piece bathing suit, pill bottles containing unfinished courses of antibiotics, bank statements with the account number blacked out, maps of London, maps of Dubuque, sweatshirts with the mascots of colleges I didn’t attend, flash cards for Spanish verbs (querer, perder, olvidar), Canadian pocket change, fork with two tines pushed together.
Forgetfulness means to be full
of forgetting, like a glass
overflowing with cool water, though I’d always
thought of it as the empty pocket
where the hand finds
nothing: no keys, no ticket, no change.
One night, riding the train home from the city,
will I see a familiar face across from me? How many times
will I ask Is it you? before I realize
it’s my own reflection in the window?