Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 20

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

Reunion
By Charles Wright

Already one day has detached itself from all the rest up ahead.
It has my photograph in its soft pocket.
It wants to carry my breath into the past in its bag of wind.

I write poems to untie myself, to do penance and disappear
Through the upper right-hand corner of things, to say grace.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

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Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 19

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

Bay Poem from Berkeley
By Sandra Cisneros

Morning I still
reach for you before
opening my eyes

An antique habit from
last summer when we pulled
each other into the heat of groin
and belly, slept with an arm
around the other.

The Texas sun was like that.
Like a body asleep beside you.

But when I open my eyes
to the flannel and down,
mist at the window and blue
light from the bay, I remember
where I am.

This weight
on the other side of the bed
is only books, not you. What
I said I loved more than you.
True.

Though these mornings
I wish books loved back.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 18

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

Juke Box Love Song
By Langston Hughes

I could take the Harlem night
and wrap around you,
Take the neon lights and make a crown,
Take the Lenox Avenue busses,
Taxis, subways,
And for your love song tone their rumble down.
Take Harlem’s heartbeat,
Make a drumbeat,
Put it on a record, let it whirl,
And while we listen to it play,
Dance with you till day–
Dance with you, my sweet brown Harlem girl.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 17

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

This Is Just To Say
By William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 16

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

Tulips
By Sylvia Plath

The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.
Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in.
I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly
As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands.
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses
And my history to the anesthetist and my body to surgeons.

They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff
Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.
Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in.
The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble,
They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps,
Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another,
So it is impossible to tell how many there are.

My body is a pebble to them, they tend it as water
Tends to the pebbles it must run over, smoothing them gently.
They bring me numbness in their bright needles, they bring me sleep.
Now I have lost myself I am sick of baggage——
My patent leather overnight case like a black pillbox,
My husband and child smiling out of the family photo;
Their smiles catch onto my skin, little smiling hooks.

I have let things slip, a thirty-year-old cargo boat
stubbornly hanging on to my name and address.
They have swabbed me clear of my loving associations.
Scared and bare on the green plastic-pillowed trolley
I watched my teaset, my bureaus of linen, my books
Sink out of sight, and the water went over my head.
I am a nun now, I have never been so pure.

I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free——
The peacefulness is so big it dazes you,
And it asks nothing, a name tag, a few trinkets.
It is what the dead close on, finally; I imagine them
Shutting their mouths on it, like a Communion tablet.

The tulips are too red in the first place, they hurt me.
Even through the gift paper I could hear them breathe
Lightly, through their white swaddlings, like an awful baby.
Their redness talks to my wound, it corresponds.
They are subtle : they seem to float, though they weigh me down,
Upsetting me with their sudden tongues and their color,
A dozen red lead sinkers round my neck.

Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.
The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me
Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,
And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow
Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,
And I have no face, I have wanted to efface myself.
The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.

Before they came the air was calm enough,
Coming and going, breath by breath, without any fuss.
Then the tulips filled it up like a loud noise.
Now the air snags and eddies round them the way a river
Snags and eddies round a sunken rust-red engine.
They concentrate my attention, that was happy
Playing and resting without committing itself.

The walls, also, seem to be warming themselves.
The tulips should be behind bars like dangerous animals;
They are opening like the mouth of some great African cat,
And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes
Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me.
The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea,
And comes from a country far away as health.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 15

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

Solitude
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
    Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
    But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
    Sigh, it is lost on the air;
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
    But shrink from voicing care.
 
Rejoice, and men will seek you;
    Grieve, and they turn and go;
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
    But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
    Be sad, and you lose them all,—
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
    But alone you must drink life’s gall.
 
Feast, and your halls are crowded;
    Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
    But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
    For a large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
    Through the narrow aisles of pain.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 14

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
By Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.


I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.


When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.


Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 13

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

Poem to Be Read at 3 A.M.
By Donald Justice

Excepting the diner
On the outskirts
The town of Ladora
At 3 A.M.
Was dark but
For my headlights
And up in
One second-story room
A single light
Where someone
Was sick or
Perhaps reading
As I drove past
At seventy
Not thinking
This poem
Is for whoever
Had the light on

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 12

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and Why
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 11

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets