Monday, October 31, 2011

Warm Spell, by Bill Holms

Warm Spell

A long November warm spell;
all the blizzards still asleep.
Bees hum unbelieving
around still blooming flowers.
Leaves, piled in compost heaps,
move around uneasily.
The dried branch bends down
in warm wind,
inviting them home again.

People who haven’t spoken in years
smile and greet each other in the street.
Relatives forget old quarrels
over family heirlooms.
The town atheist admits that God exists;
and the town drunk drinks coffee on his front porch.
The Lutheran minister forgets
St. Paul and the furrows
vanish from around his mouth.
Children are conceived in the open air
under willow trees by the river.

Like the life in the body,
this cannot last, so everyone
wastes time joyfully,
not even remembering
the old wounds they gave their spirit.
The old man on the stoop
in front of the beer joint
remembers his first lover,
and his toes begin dancing
around inside his shoes.

by Bill Holms, from The Dead Get By with Everything, 1990

Monday, October 17, 2011

Whispered Into The Ground, by William Stafford

Whispered Into The Ground

Where the wind ended and we came down
it was all grass. Some of us found
a way to the dirt – easy and rich.
When it rained, we grew, except
those of us caught up in leaves, not touching
earth, which always starts things.
Often we sent off our own
just as we’d done, floating that
wonderful wind that promised new land.

Here now spread low, flat on this
precious part of the world, we miss
those dreams and the strange old places
we left behind. We quietly wait.
The wind keeps telling us something
we want to pass on to the world:
Even far things are real.

by William Stafford, from Stories That Could Be True, 1977

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sky, by William Stafford


I like you with nothing. Are you
what I was? What I will be?
I look out there by the hour,
so clear, so sure. I could
smile, or frown – still nothing.

Be my father, be my mother,
great sleep of blue; reach
far within me; open doors,
find whatever is hiding; invite it
for many clear days in the sun.

When I turn away I know
you are there. We won’t forget
each other: every look is a promise.
Others can’t tell what you say
when it’s the blue voice, when
you come to the window and look for me.

Your word arches over
the roof all day. I know it
within my bowed head, where
the other sky listens.
You will bring me
everything when the time comes.

by William Stafford, from Sometimes I Breathe, 1992

Monday, October 3, 2011

After Love, by Maxine Kumin

After Love

Afterward, the compromise
Bodies resume their boundaries.

These legs, for instance, mine.
Your arms take you back in.

Spoons of our fingers, lips
admit their ownership.

The bedding yawns, a door
blows aimlessly ajar

and overhead, a plane
singsongs coming down.

Nothing is changed, except
there was a moment when

the wolf, the mongering wolf
who stands outside the self

lay lightly down, and slept.

by Maxine Kumin, from Selected Poems 1960-1990, 1965