Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Problem of Describing Trees

by Robert Hass
From his collection entitled Time and Materials, Poems 1997-2005

The aspen glitters in the wind
And that delights us.

The leaf flutters, turning,
Because that motion in the heat of August
Protects its cells from drying out. Likewise the leaf
Of the cottonwood.

The gene pool threw up a wobbly stem
And the tree danced. No.
The tree capitalized.
No. There are limits to saying,
In language, what the tree did.

It is good sometimes for poetry to disenchant us.

Dance with me, dancer. Oh, I will.

Mountains, sky,
The aspen doing something in the wind.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Evaporation 3

by Forrest Gander
From his collection entitled Core Samples from the World

How cold it looks on the yellow linoleum, she said.

Like watching a thumb war, he mumbled.

Spent the whole damn morning with the damn dishwasher man, she alerted him.

Standing in line watching the nape of the man in front of me, he remembered.

Perseid meteors from the radiant in the predawn, she read.

Is it really called Sutra of Angular Severity, he wondered.

Crossed out and then stetted, she noted.

High-speed dust fluorescing as it collides with solar wind, he read.

Now it's flu season, she wondered, should we give the boy an eye-wash?

They call it painting your throat, he explained, dipping the gauze in iodine.

In their component fatigue, the days ... she mumbled.

And then you were talking in a French patois and wanting to go out, he said.

To be defiled is to be recognizable to yourself, she thought.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Thursday, July 9, 2015


by Abigail Gramig
From her collection entitled Dusting the Piano

I am in Mexico City on a school trip,
I have saved up money for this all year.
This morning I was in a church.
There were beggars around, small children
with smaller children on their backs -- 
they try to sell me gum.
I have never seen children without shoes before.
They touch my blue jeans,
pull on my shirt with their small brown hands.
My teacher, Mrs. Atkins, says
we shouldn't give the children money,
that they'll never learn anything that way.
When she isn't looking I give them the money
I saved all year.

In the afternoon we see a museum,
more churches.
Mrs. Atkins is in a shopping mood.
She asks a blind man sitting in the street
"Donde esta el GAP?"
with her Pike county drawl.
Tomorrow afternoon we will lay by the pool in our hotel
and I will go home with sunburn.
My skin, peeling in large sections, off my shoulders and back
is not what makes me uncomfortable on the flight,
it is the small brown hands on my clothes,

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Accidentally on Purpose

by Robert Frost
From his collection entitled In the Clearing

The Universe is but the Thing of things,
The things but balls all going round in rings.
Some of them mighty huge, some mighty tiny,
All of them radiant and mighty shiny.

They mean to tell us all was rolling blind
Till accidentally it hit on mind
In an albino monkey in a jungle
And even then it had to grope and bungle,

Till Darwin came to earth upon a year
To show the evolution how to steer.
They mean to tell us, though, the Omnibus
Had no real purpose till it got to us.

Never believe it. At the very worst
It must have had the purpose from the first
To produce purpose as the fitter bred:
We were just purpose coming to a head.

Whose purpose was it? His or Hers or Its?
Let's leave that to the scientific wits.
Grant me intention, purpose, and design - 
That's near enough for me to the Divine.

And yet for all this help of head and brain
How happily instinctive we remain,
Our best guide upward further to the light,
Passionate preference such as love at sight.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Prioress's Tale

Sir Edward Burne-Jones, The Prioress's Tale, 1865-1898, gouache on paper on linen support
Courtesy of  the Delaware Art Museum