Poetry: Against Entropy

By John M. Ford

The worm dri­ves heli­cal­ly through the wood
And does not know the dust left in the bore
Once made the table inte­gral and good;
And sud­den­ly the crys­tal hits the floor.
Elec­trons find their paths in sub­tle ways,
A mass­less eddy in a trail of smoke;
The names of lovers, light of oth­er days;
Per­haps you will not miss them. That ís the joke.
The uni­verse winds down. That ís how it ís made.
But mem­o­ry is every­thing to lose;
Although some of the col­ors have to fade,
Do not believe you’ll get the chance to choose.
Regret, by def­i­n­i­tion, comes too late;
Say what you mean. Bear wit­ness. Iterate.

Poetry: Jane Kenyon

The Blue Bowl
by Jane Keny­on

Like prim­i­tives we buried the cat
with his bowl. Bare-handed
we scraped sand and gravel
back into the hole.
                               They fell with a hiss
and thud on his side,
on his long red fur, the white feathers
between his toes, and his
long, not to say aquiline, nose.

We stood and brushed each oth­er off.
There are sor­rows keen­er than these.

Silent the rest of the day, we worked,
ate, stared, and slept. It stormed
all night; now it clears, and a robin
bur­bles from a drip­ping bush
like the neigh­bor who means well
but always says the wrong thing.

Oth­er­wise: New & Select­ed Poems

Poetry Question

In hon­or of Nation­al Poet­ry Month, the Acad­e­my of Amer­i­can Poets has been send­ing out a poem a day via email to sub­scribers. I’m enjoy­ing them, but one of them just…

Have you ever found the form of a poem to be so weird that it gets into the way of the mean­ing? I’m find­ing that to be the case with “Fer­rum” by M. NourbeSe Philip. I did get the words, but the for­mat was so dis­tract­ing as to make read­ing a chore, rather than a pleasure.

Poetry: Edna St. Vincent Millay

I want­ed to do some­thing dif­fer­ent for today’s Thing-a-Day, and I signed up to be part of Live Read­ings a while back but had­n’t record­ed any­thing yet, so I’m post­ing this is both (all three?) places.

“What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and Why (Son­net XLIII)”
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 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.

From Col­lect­ed Poems by Edna St. Vin­cent Millay

Music is “Cel­e­bra­tion” by Mark Hei­mo­nen from the Pod­safe Music Network

Poetry: Michael Blumenthal

For my Sam

A Mar­riage
You are hold­ing up a ceiling
with both arms. It is very heavy,
but you must hold it up, or else
it will fall down on you. Your arms
are tired, ter­ri­bly tired,
and, as the day goes on, it feels
as if either your arms or the ceiling
will soon collapse.

But then,
unexpectedly,
some­thing won­der­ful happens:
Someone,
a man or a woman,
walks into the room
and holds their arm up
to the ceil­ing beside you.

So you final­ly get
to take down your arms.
You feel the relief of respite,
the blood flow­ing back
to your fin­gers and arms.
And when your part­ner’s arms tire,
you hold up your own
to relieve him again.

And it can go on like this
for many years
with­out the house falling.

From Against Romance: Poems by Michael Blu­men­thal, Pen­guin Books, 1988

Poetry: Robert Frost

The Arm­ful
For every par­cel I stoop down to seize
I lose some oth­er off my arms and knees,
And the whole pile is slip­ping, bot­tles, buns,
Extremes too hard to com­pre­hend at once.
Yet noth­ing I should care to leave behind.
With all I have to hold with hand and mind
And heart, if need be, I will do my best.
To keep their build­ing bal­anced at my breast.
I crouch down to pre­vent them as they fall;
Then sit down in the mid­dle of them all.
I had to drop the arm­ful in the road
And try to stack them in a bet­ter load.

By Robert Frost