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.
Tag Archives: Alison Mcghee
When they laid you in the crook
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.
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
is the best we can do.
And laugh as much as you can.
– Mary Oliver
All day I have been pining for the past.
That’s when the big dog, Luke, breathed at my side.
Then she dashed away then she returned
in and out of the swales, in and out of the creeks,
her dark eyes snapping.
Then she broke, slowly,
in the rising arc of a fever.
And now she’s nothing
except for mornings when I take a handful of words
and throw them into the air
so that she dashes up again out of the darkness,
this is the world.
Poem of the Week: In the Middle of This Century, by Yehuda Amichai via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee
This poem hurts, its so beautiful.
In the Middle of This Century, by Yehuda Amichai (translated by Assia Gutmann)
In the middle of this century we turned to each other
with half faces and full eyes
like an ancient Egyptian picture
and for a short while.
I stroked your hair
in the opposite direction to your journey,
we called to each other,
like calling out the names of towns
where nobody stops
along the route.
Lovely is the world rising early to evil,
lovely is the world falling asleep to sin and pity,
in the mingling of ourselves, you and I,
lovely is the world.
The earth drinks men and their loves
And like the contours of the Judean hills,
we shall never find peace.
In the middle of this century we turned to each other,
I saw your body, throwing shade, waiting for me,
the leather straps for a long journey
already tightening across my chest.
I spoke in praise of your mortal hips,
you spoke in praise of my passing face,
I stroked your hair in the direction of your journey,
I touched your flesh, prophet of your end,
I touched your hand which has never slept,
I touched your mouth which may yet sing.
Dust from the desert covered the table
at which we did not eat
but with my finger I wrote on it
the letters of your name
Thanks to Alison McGhee for sharing these beautiful poems.
*Transliterated Mandarin is not pronounced the way it looks in English. Phonetically, Liu’s name is pronounced more like this: Lee-yu Shee-yow Baw. His wife’s name is pronounced more like Lee-yu Shee-yah.
– Alison McGhee
The newspaper reports that at twilight tonight
Venus and Jupiter will conjoin
in the southwestern sky,
a fist and a half above the horizon.
They won’t come together again for seventeen years.
What the article does not say is that Mercury, the
dark planet, will also be on hand.
He’ll hover low, nearly invisible in a darkened sky.
I stare out the kitchen window toward the sunset.
Seventeen years from now, where
will I be?
Mercury, Roman god of commerce and luck,
let me propose a trade:
Auburn hair, muscles that don’t ache, and a seven-minute mile.
Here’s what I’ll give you in return:
My recipe for Brazilian seafood stew, a talent for
French-braiding, an excellent sense of smell and
the memory of having once kissed Sam W.
Then I see my girl across the room.
She stands on a stool at the sink,
washing her toy dishes and
swaying to a whispered song,
her dark curls a nimbus in the lamplight.
The planets are coming together now.
Minute by minute the time draws nigh for me to watch.
Minute by minute my child wipes dry her red
plastic knife, her miniature blue bowls.
Mercury, here’s another offer, a real one this time:
Let her be.
You can have it all in return,
the salty stew, the braids, the excellent sense of smell
and the softness of Sam’s mouth on mine.
And my life. That too.
All of it I give for this child, that seventeen years hence
she will stand in a distant kitchen, washing dishes
I cannot see, humming a tune I cannot hear.
Pulled Over in Short Hills, NJ, 8:00 AM, by Ross Gay
It’s the shivering. When rage grows
hot as an army of red ants and forces
the mind to quiet the body, the quakes
emerge, sometimes just the knees,
but, at worst, through the hips, chest, neck
until, like a virus, slipping inside the lungs
and pulse, every ounce of strength tapped
to squeeze words from my taut lips,
his eyes scanning my car’s insides, my eyes,
my license, and as I answer the questions
3, 4, 5 times, my jaw tight as a vice,
his hand massaging the gun butt, I
imagine things I don’t want to
and inside beg this to end
before the shiver catches my
hands, and he sees,
and something happens.
Thank you Alison McGhee for posting these amazing poems.
For more information on Ross Gay, please click here.
The Blue Light, by Tim Nolan
I asked her to come to me
in whatever way she chose
As the wind, as the ruffling
water, as the red maple leaf
So today I closed my eyes
halfway toward sleep
And she came in a blue light
blue as a tropical ocean
Turning toward a darker blue
as the Sun passed
Coming in blue waves coming
in from the side of my eyes
Somehow bathing me in blue—
a blue that seemed to be
Her gaze –turned to blue—
just as she was a few weeks ago
Her blue eyes and mine meeting
in that long long look
For more information on Tim Nolan, please click here.
Thank you as always Alison for selecting and sharing these beautiful poems.