Monday, December 19, 2011

Topography, by Sharon Olds

Hello Poets,
Sharon Olds on the unification of a divided nation. This is my kind of politics.


After we flew across the country we
got in bed, laid our bodies
delicately together, like maps laid
face to face, East to West, my
San Francisco against your New York, your
Fire Island against my Sonoma, my
New Orleans deep in your Texas, your Idaho
bright on my Great Lakes, my Kansas
burning against your Kansas your Kansas
burning against my Kansas, your Eastern
Standard Time pressing into my
Pacific Time, my Mountain Time
beating against your Central Time, your
sun rising swiftly from the right my
sun rising swiftly from the left your
moon rising slowly from the left my
moon rising slowly from the right until
all four bodies of the sky
burn above us, sealing us together,
all our cities twin cities,
all our states united, one
nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

by Sharon Olds, from The Gold Cell, 1987

Monday, December 5, 2011

Prayer, by James Armstrong

Hello Poets,
James Armstrong lived for a year in the middle of Lake Superior ("the blue that looks through us") at Isle Royale National Park.
I imagine him waking up on a winter morning to the emptiness and a wild beating heart. 


If we don’t believe in heaven, who reads the letters we mail there
      every evening?
Children send most of them, kneeling by the bedpost
imagining the universe under the care of a father
who rumbles behind the newspaper
smelling of cigarettes and Old Spice.
To grow up is to lose one’s God at sea –
better to lose one than be one.
If you believe the world is perfect,
think of Keats dying young.
I never would have seen it if I hadn’t believed it,
the saying goes. Somebody has to awaken us
to the time of day it is when the earth is empty
of any intention, or any human presence.

And yet it is noon, and here you are – your blue headlands
and swords, your wave-moistened silences.
As if at the heart of things
there were a heart.

by James Armstrong, from Blue Lash, 2006