November 29, 2018

Some poetry to share

One of my goals for 2019 is to read a lot more poetry.

I’ve read some good pieces recently that I’d love to share here.

Keeping Things Whole

Mark Strand (1979)

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

I have to tell you

Dorothea Grossman (2010)

I have to tell you,
there are times when
the sun strikes me
like a gong,
and I remember everything,
even your ears.

Tell Me

Maggie Nelson (2003)

You are gone now, truly
and to look you up in the dictionary
is no longer possible or

enough. The new season’s arrow
cleaves the maudlin
right out of the air, stays

the wavering knife. Better off
without you, say the crickets, say
the Christmas tree lights

which each night make a party
out of the darkness, tell me
which green porch is home.

With Your Steps You Measure

Lorna Crozier (1985, excerpt)

With your steps you measure
the ground our house will fill
knowing both of us have done this
with other people, in other places.
But this is different, we aren’t young,
love isn’t easy anymore.

This Was Once a Love Poem

Jane Hirshfield (2001, excerpt)

This was once a love poem,
before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short,
before it found itself sitting,
perplexed and a little embarrassed,
on the fender of a parked car,
while many people passed by without turning their heads.

It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement.
It remembers choosing these shoes,
this scarf or tie.

Once, it drank beer for breakfast,
drifted its feet
in a river side by side with the feet of another.


Nizar Qabbani
trans. Lena Jayyusi and Jack Collom

When a man is in love
how can he use old words?
Should a woman
desiring her lover
lie down with
grammarians and linguists?

I said nothing
to the woman I loved
but gathered. love’s adjectives into a suitcase
and fled from all languages.


Franz Wright (2001)

I close my eyes and see
a seagull in the desert,
high, against unbearably blue sky.

There is hope in the past.

I am writing to you
all the time, I am writing

with both hands,
day and night.