A poem a week until the entire book is blogged. See also Collected Poems

Monday, June 26, 2017

Grace

They do not always sit with an easy grace,
the aging: in afternoon light, even in October,
cracks invade her clear skin,

showing in relief, and he knows dismay,
seeing her, his own once simple face
crowding itself, as when a life within

doors runs out of thought. Yet, sober
as this renders him, he will not turn away
from her to seek some easier play:

there is no win or lose, no hunt, no race,
no battle. His eyes would disrobe her,
for she is to him more than she has been,

and he would know all, even here,
as passers pass, not seeing what his eyes see;
but he will wait on her clear sign

that this is welcome, even from his gaze,
for she has known most men hold themselves dear;
known too long their avarice that she

should shape to their dreams, their ways,
their endless drawing round her of sharp lines,
their wrapping an arm carelessly round her days,

their failing, in this many years, to touch the key
moment of her heart, that movement lacking fear
when she might freely give, without design.

Placing her hand in his, she shifts and sighs;
a not unhappy sound, considering the hour
and how late, as well, this man has come to her:

five decades they have lived apart,
as though all meaning had to be deferred;
as though autumn alone might show love's power;

as though some god, having hated happy hearts,
had suddenly relented, offering them this prize.




Monday, June 19, 2017

Separation

Round the circle of her garden she walks, and stops
again, taking in, as one absent from her own
senses yet unwilling to forgo their gifts,

the half-dimmed light of a low, prepubescent
moon, its influence on lingering clouds,
some few stars brave enough to compete with

mercury vapor or halogen or tungsten,
and taking in also the pungent garlic border,
its enclosure of bean vines, celery, snap peas:

celebratory things, even in this half-light,
this dew of forgotten hours. Her feet,
though well shod, warn her of night, by noting

slow seep of dew round toes and heels.
Her hand, brushing wet night-blooming
jasmine, shrinks from chill. These, and trees

she has encouraged -- apple, plum, pear, cherry,
maple, ash -- seem to her reproachful,
watching, as it were, her heart begin to slip

to a life they cannot share. Beyond, in a stillness
of curtained rooms, lie children.
Innocent of this need, they dream of loss.




Monday, June 12, 2017

New Found Land

Whiteness enough off that coast to last a summer,
with chunks sized to drift among swells
like lost boats rising bottoms up to glimmer,

then dropping from a coastal watcher's view
halfway from here to wherever it is sky
comes down to touch water, blue on blue,

or even larger continents of white
shot through with green, shouldering breakers
with unhurried calm, things for night

to break on, or even day. You and I,
not having seen such before, go out
to frame each other with one in a camera's eye

and watch a schooner nosing among bays
scalloped along fringes of the beast.
The little ship goes near, but turns away

over and over to run, a cur who knows how strong
the behemoth it harries, how final its mere touch.
The white rock nothing notes, but wades along,

a mindless thing, and yet it knows command: we
think of the Titanic, sleeping in her mud --
having discharged frail cargo on the sea.




Monday, June 5, 2017

William Stafford

Here was a man who was known
as an Oregon poet.

He never wasted words.
He wrote a poem

Every day, rain or shine, and so
he had some

rain poems and some shine poems
and if people

came to him saying, sir, give us a book
he would turn

and rummage in desk drawers
or grope

along shelves in the kitchen.
Pretty soon

there was their book, bright as
Sunday morning

but sharp, too, like bottle glass.
He'd hand

it to them carefully, carefully.
And it was

their hint. After that they'd have to
look out for themselves,

and that, I guess, was his Oregon
message.




French Pink

There are two climbing roses by her gate, one to each side, with velvet blooms, small, but heavily scented, suitable for soaps, salves and ...