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