Category Archives: Poem of the Week

Poem of the Week: To My Daughter on Her Twenty-First Birthday, by Ellen Bass

When they laid you in the crook
of my arms like a bouquet and I looked
into your eyes, dark bits of evening sky,
I thought, of course this is you,
like a person who has never seen the sea
can recognize it instantly.
They pulled you from me like a cork
and all the love flowed out. I adored you
with the squandering passion of spring
that shoots green from every pore.
You dug me out like a well. You lit
the deadwood of my heart. You pinned me
to the earth with the points of stars.
I was sure that kind of love would be
enough. I thought I was your mother.
How could I have known that over and over
you would crack the sky like lightning,
illuminating all my fears, my weaknesses, my sins.
Massive the burden this flesh
must learn to bear, like mules of love.

For more information about Ellen Bass, please click here.
A big thanks to Alison for curating these gems and sharing them with the world.
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Poem of the Week: I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life, by Mary Oliver

Love, love, love, says Percy.
And hurry as fast as you can
along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.

Then, go to sleep.
Give up your body heat, your beating heart.
Then, trust.

 

For more information on Mary Oliver, please click here.​

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Poem of the Week: Poem to My Child, If Ever You Shall Be, by Ross Gay via Alison McGhee

The way the universe sat waiting to become,
quietly, in the nether of space and time,

you too remain some cellular snuggle
dangling between my legs, curled in the warm

swim of my mostly quietest self. If you come to be—
And who knows?—I wonder, little bubble

of unbudded capillaries, little one ever aswirl
in my vascular galaxies, what would you think

of this world which turns itself steadily
into an oblivion that hurts, and hurts bad?

Would you curse me my careless caressing you
into this world or would you rise up

and, mustering all your strength into that tiny throat
which one day, no doubt, would grow big and strong,

scream and scream and scream until you break the back of one injustice,
or at least get to your knees to kiss back to life

some roadkill? I have so many questions for you,
for you are closer to me than anyone

has ever been, tumbling, as you are, this second,
through my heart’s every chamber, your teeny mouth

singing along with the half-broke workhorse’s steady boom and gasp.
And since we’re talking today I should tell you,

though I know you sneak a peek sometimes
through your father’s eyes, it’s a glorious day,

and there are millions of leaves collecting against the curbs,
and they’re the most delicate shade of gold

we’ve ever seen and must favor the transparent
wings of the angels you’re swimming with, little angel.

And as to your mother—well, I don’t know—
but my guess is that lilac bursts from her throat

and she is both honeybee and wasp and some kind of moan to boot
and probably she dances in the morning—

but who knows? You’ll swim beneath that bridge if it comes.
For now let me tell you about the bush called honeysuckle

that the sad call a weed, and how you could push your little
sun-licked face into the throngs and breathe and breathe.

Sweetness would be your name, and you would wonder why
four of your teeth are so sharp, and the tiny mountain range

of your knuckles so hard. And you would throw back your head
and open your mouth at the cows lowing their human songs

in the field, and the pigs swimming in shit and clover,
and everything on this earth, little dreamer, little dreamer

of the new world, holy, every rain drop and sand grain and blade
of grass worthy of gasp and joy and love, tiny shaman,

tiny blood thrust, tiny trillion cells trilling and trilling,
little dreamer, little hard hat, little heartbeat,

little best of me.

 

For more information on Ross Gay, please click here.

Thanks Alison for sharing this poem.

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Tree Stump o’ Deep Thought You’re Not Usually Capable Of, by Stephan Pastis via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Tree Stump o’ Deep Thought You’re Not Usually Capable Of, by Stephan Pastis

No one knows what we’re doing here.
Some have faith that they do, but no one knows.

So we are scared.
We are alone.
We end.
And we don’t know where we go.

So we cling to money for comfort.
And we chase awards for immortality.
And we hide in the routine of our days.

But then the night.
Always the night.

Which, when it has you alone, whispers that
maybe none of this has any significance.

So love everyone you’re with.
Because comforting each other
on this journey we neither asked for
nor understand
is the best we can do.

And laugh as much as you can.

 

Thank you Alison for these beautiful poems.
​For more information on Stephan Pastis, please click here.​

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Poem of the Week: homage to my hips, by Lucille Clifton via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

homage to my hips, by Lucille Clifton
these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top
For more information about Lucille Clifton, please click here.
 Thanks to Alison McGhee for curating these beautiful poems.

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Poem of the Week: Injustice by Piyassili via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Injustice, by Piyassili, Assyria, 1218 BC

The people who are made to feel ashamed every day
are not the people who should feel ashamed.
The people who should feel ashamed
are the people unable to feel ashamed
yet heap shame by the bundle every day
on the troubled, the poor and despised.

For more information on Piyassili, please click here.

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Poem of the Week: Goldenrod, by Maggie Smith via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Goldenrod, by Maggie Smith
I’m no botanist. If you’re the color of sulfur
and growing at the roadside, you’re goldenrod.

You don’t care what I call you, whatever
you were born as. You don’t know your own name.

But driving near Peoria, the sky pink-orange,
the sun bobbing at the horizon, I see everything

is what it is, exactly, in spite of the words I use:
black cows, barns falling in on themselves, you.

Dear flowers born with a highway view,
forgive me if I’ve mistaken you. Goldenrod,

whatever your name is, you are with your own kind.
Look—the meadow is a mirror, full of you,

your reflection repeating. Whatever you are,
I see you, wild yellow, and I would let you name me.

 

Thanks to Alison for finding and sharing these beautiful poems.

​For more information on Maggie Smith, please click here​.

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