Amber

Some wounds weep precious through the generations.

They glaze and harden, heal themselves into history.

 

What was mere sap matures like blood into air to darken

and burnish.  Sometimes the grim Baltic rolls the scars

 

to shape those jewels women love to wear; especially

treasured where they hold a thing that was living once,

 

something with quick, venated wings which happened

by and thought the wound looked beautiful and sweet

 

and that, like other wounds, it should be acknowledged

somehow and,  if only for a moment, touched.

 

John Glenday

Advertisements

Of Bees

Bees have a Commonwealth and regiment.

They go about in Spring, as Beanes bloume.

 

How cleane their hives, no trumperie or gubbins.

All filth is foot-balled smartlie out.

 

They take joye in the clapping of hands,

the brute call of brasen bassoons.

 

Their young, a knit-work of severall flowres,

their sinews petals, handsomely composed.

 

Concerning honie, and its origin: a skie-sweat,

a glutinous gellie, proceeding from starres.

 

This substance, the aires liquor, Bees gather.

With rainbows comes a drisling dew of honie,

 

as lovers prove, their kisses glewie-sweet.

 

A.B. Jackson

Lemon

In the lemon

we find a fire

that cools, coos.

Mathematically succinct

it is a flame

which unlike most

can be cut in half

or thirds if you prefer.

In the skin

of its lantern

light implodes,

slowing to the speed

of mere human endevour

before giving itself

into a last sudden burst

like eyesight

to the blindness

of the mouth.

 

Elaine Equi

Say Something Back

Still looking for lost people – look unrelentingly.
‘They died’ is not an utterance in the syntax of life
where they belonged, no belong – reanimate them
not minding if the still living turn away, casually.
Winds ruck up its skin so the sea tilts from red-blue
to blue-red: into the puckering water go his ashes
who was steadier than these elements. Thickness
of some surviving thing that sits there, bland. It’s
owner’s gone nor does the idiot howl – while I’m
unquiet as a talkative ear. Spring heat, a cherry
tree’s fresh bronze leave fan out and gleam – to
converse with shades, yourself become a shadow.
The souls of the dead are the spirit of language:
you hear them alight inside that spoken thought.

Denise Riley
(From Say Something Back, PICADOR)

Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon
shine though the chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Jane Kenyon

Bridge End, October

As some attract lightning, and others midges,

I draw behind me a delicate rain –

hooves drumming lightly the steep, dry lane –

a confabulation of wall-eyed gimmers.

Thought of my thought, herd of my heart,

we jink in a flock, in a shoal, we turn.

The school bus – eventual, awful – passes

The obstacle of a rolling tin can halts us.

 

Jen Hadfield

Lady of Miracles

Since you walked out on me
I’m getting lovelier by the hour.
I glow like a corpse in the dark.
No one sees how round and sharp
My eyes have grown
How my carcass looks like a glass urn,
How I hold up things in the rags of my hands,
The way I can stand though crippled by lust.
No, there’s just your cruelty circling
My head like a bright rotting halo.

Nina Cassian
(Trans. Laura Schiff)

The Reason

It’s because you never left
These endless fields

Where an oak tree sails the horizon
Like a lost galleon

Where rabbits crouch in mad-dog heat
Under a sky full of eyes

Where a gunshot scatters acres of birds
Leaving wires like empty staves

Where a road runs straight for hours
Towards a shimmering spire

Where a man can live all his life
Beyond calling distance.

Esther Morgan

June 30, 1974


for Jane and Joe Hazan

Let me tell you
that this weekend Sunday
morning in the country
fills my soul
with tranquil joy:
the dunes beyond
the pond beyond
the humps of bayberry –
my favorite shrub (today,
at least) – are
silent as a mountain
range: such a
subtle profile
against a sky that
goes from dawn
to blue. The roses
stir, the grapevine
at one end of the deck
shakes and turns
its youngest leaves
so they show pale
and flower-like.
A redwing blackbird
pecks at the grass;
another perches on a bush.
Another way, a millionaire’s
white chateau turns
its flank to catch
the risen sun. No
other houses, except
this charming one,
alive with paintings,
plants and quiet.
I haven’t said
a word. I like
to be alone
with friends. To get up
to this morning view
and eat poached eggs
and extra toast with
Tiptree Goosberry Preserve
(green) -and coffee,
milk, no sugar. Jane
said she heard
the freeze-dried kind
is healthier when
we went shopping
yesterday and she
and John bought
crude blue Persian plates.
How can coffee be
healthful? I mused
as sunny wind
streamed in the car
window driving home.
Home! How lucky to
have one, how arduous
to make this scene
of beauty for
your family and
friends. Friends!
How we must have
sounded, gossiping at
the dinner table
last night. Why, that
dinner table is
this breakfast table:
“The boy in trousers
is not the same boy
in no trousers,” who
said? Discontinuity
in all we see and are:
the same, yet change,
change, change. “Inez,
it’s good to see you.”
Here comes the cat, sedate,
that killed and brought
a goldfinch yesterday.
I’d like to go out
for a swim but
it’s a little cool
for that. Enough to
sit here drinking coffee,
writing, watching the clear
day ripen (such
a rainy June we had)
while Jane and Joe
sleep in their room
and John in his. I
think I’ll make more toast

James Schuyler

Teatros

(Some rockpools for R.)

 

Jellyfish

Medusae – babes

in the wood, with milky domes

and faint fontanelles;

 

constellations that

someone shook into the sea,

orphan circlet of

 

fangs, spasming, a

mussed map of heavens, thimbles

on the tide, all thumbs.

 

Denouement

Across the rockpool’s frilled theatre,

a limpet budges

a devastating millimetre

 

Nature Study

Salted tapwater – she knits it

with puzzled antennae;

and from her shell

 

unpacks a banana bunch of claws,

her googly haversack of roe,

and last – fascination and woe –

 

a trailing corkscrew quiff of tail,

a soft nought –

her kernel.

 

Jen Hadfield