Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October 2009 poems

by Mary Oliver

You can
die for it --
an idea,
or the world. People

have done so,
their small bodies be bound
to the stake,creating
an unforgettable
fury of light. But

this morning,
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought

of China ,
and India
and Europe , and I thought
how the sun

for everyone just
so joyfully
as it rises

under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?

What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call i

whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter

Waiting in Line
by Nick Penna, fifth grade

When you listen you reach
into dark corners and
pull out your wonders.
When you listen your
ideas come in and out
like they were waiting in line.
Your ears don’t always listen.
It can be your brain, your
fingers, your toes.
You can listen anywhere.
Your mind might not want to go.
If you can listen you can find
answers to questions you didn’t know.
If you have listened, truly
listened, you don’t find your
self alone.

Endless Streams and Mountains
Ch'i Shan Wu Chin

By Gary Snyder

Clearing the mind and sliding in
to that created space,
a web of waters streaming overrocks,
air misty but not raining,

seeing this land from a boat on a lake
or a broad slow river,

coasting by.

The path comes down along a lowland stream
slips behind boulders and leafy hardwoods,reappears in a pine grove,

no farms around, just tidy cottages and shelters,

gateways, rest stops, roofed but unwalled work space,
—a warm damp climate;

a trail of climbing stairsteps forks upstream.

Big ranges lurk behind these rugged little outcrops—

these spits of low ground rocky uplifts
layered pinnacles aslant,

flurries of brushy cliffs receding,
far back and high above, vague peaks.
A man hunched over, sitting on a log
another stands above him, lifts a staff,
a third, with a roll of mats or a lute, looks on;
a bit offshore two people in a boat.

The trail goes far inland,
somewhere back around a bay,
lost in distant foothill slopes

& back again
at a village on the beach, and someone's fishing.

Rider and walker cross a bridgeabove a frothy braided torrent
that descends from a flurry of roofs like flowers
temples tucked between cliffs,
a side trail goes there;

a jumble of cliffs above,
ridge tops edged with bushes,
valley fog below a hazy canyon.

A man with a shoulder load leans into the grade.

Another horse and a hiker,

the trail goes up along cascading streambed

no bridge in sight—comes back through chinquapin or
;another group of travelers.
Trail's end at the edge of an inlet
below a heavy set of dark rock hills.
Two moored boats with basket roofing,
a boatman in the bow looks
lost in thought.

Hills beyond rivers, willows in a swamp,
a gentle valley reaching far inland.

The watching boat has floated off the page.

Walking The Marshland
by Stephen Dunn

It was no place for the faithless,
so I felt a little odd
walking the marshland with my daughters,

Canada geese all around and the blue
herons just standing there;
safe, and the abundance of swans.

The girls liked saying the words,
gosling, egret, whooping crane, and they liked
when I agreed. The casinos were a few miles
to the east.

I liked saying craps and croupier
and sometimes I wanted to be lost
in those bright
windowless ruins. It was April,
the gnats and black flies
weren't out yet.
The mosquitoes hadn't risen
from their stagnant pools to trouble
paradise and to give us
the great right to complain.

I loved these girls. The world
beyond Brigantine
awaited their beauty and beauty
is what others want to own.
I'd keep that
to myself. The obvious
was so sufficient just then.

Sandpiper. Red-wing
Blackbird. "Yes," I said.
But already we were near the end.
Praise refuge,
I thought. Praise whatever you can.
Water Table

by Billy Collins
It is on dry sunny days like this one that I find myself
thinking about the enormous body of water
that lies under this house,
cool, unseen reservoir,
silent except for the sounds of dripping
and the incalculable shifting
of all the heavy darkness that it holds.

This is the water that our well was dug to sip
and lift to where we live,
water drawn up and falling on our bare shoulders,
water filling the inlets of our mouths,
water in a pot on the stove.

The house is nothing now but a blueprint of pipes,
a network of faucets, nozzles, and spigots,
and even outdoors where light pierces the air
and clouds fly over the canopies of trees,
my thoughts flow underground
trying to imagine the cavernous scene.

Surely it is no pool with a colored ball
floating on the blue surface.
No grotto where a king would have
his guests rowed around in swan-shaped boats.
Between the dark lakes where the dark rivers flow
there is no ferry waiting on the shore of rock
and no man holding a long oar,
ready to take your last coin.
This is the real earth and the real water it contains.

But some nights, I must tell you,
I go down there after everyone has fallen asleep.
I swim back and forth in the echoing blackness.
I sing a love song as well as I can,
lost for a while in the home of the rain.

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