I have been thinking about what poem I would share with you all this month for a couple of weeks… going back and forth between several poems that seemed just so perfect for August. This morning I decided that Late Summer by Jennifer Grotz was the winner (but really there were no losers!)
by Jennifer Grotz
Before the moths have even appeared
to orbit around them, the streetlamps come on,
a long row of them glowing uselessly
along the ring of garden that circles the city center,
where your steps count down the dulling of daylight.
At your feet, a bee crawls in small circles like a toy unwinding.
Summer specializes in time, slows it down almost to dream.
And the noisy day goes so quiet you can hear
the bedraggled man who visits each trash receptacle
mutter in disbelief: Everything in the world is being thrown away!
Summer lingers, but it’s about ending. It’s about how things
redden and ripen and burst and come down. It’s when
city workers cut down trees, demolishing
one limb at a time, spilling the crumbs
of twigs and leaves all over the tablecloth of street.
Sunglasses! the man softly exclaims
while beside him blooms a large gray rose of pigeons
huddled around a dropped piece of bread.
Jennifer Grotz, “Late Summer” from The Needle. Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer Grotz.
And a tiny poetry bonus for you all: One of my favorite podcasts is Poetry for All which is taught by Joanne Diaz and Abram Van Engen. I say taught because the hosts are both English professors. Every episode I learn something and my love for poetry grows! This month’s episode was all about the Haiku… specifically Haiku from Kobayashi Issa. I have not stopped thinking about this Haiku they shared… I simply love it. (and you will have to listen to the short, but incredibly informative episode to learn about translating Japanese into English and that our 5-7-5 structure for a Haiku might not be quite right.) They read two additional Issa Haiku that are equally brilliant. If you need a little something for your ears today, I think you will love this episode… give it a try!
Now please go visit Bonny and see what poems she will gather today…poems to share… poems to read… poems to savor!
Have a great week and I will see you all back here next week!
One of the things I love best about poetry is how it can take me out of myself… and this week’s poem does just that!
Recently, Ada Limón shared this on Instagram and I knew nothing about NASA’s Europa Clipper but I did know that getting a signed copy of the poem was an impulse purchase that I would not regret. A few clicks later and the impulse was successful and it arrived last week! It is now framed and on my desk… it is the perfect reminder when I am too stuck in myself to look beyond.
I imagine that someday someone in that outer space will read this poem as well and think the same things… to look beyond themselves… and perhaps be in awe of a society that valued poetry… the best unifier I know!
In Praise of Mystery
A POEM FOR EUROPA
by Ada Limón
Arching under the night sky inky
with black expansiveness, we point
to the planets we know, we
pin quick wishes on stars. From earth,
we read the sky as if it is an unerring book
of the universe, expert and evident.
Still, there are mysteries below our sky:
the whale song, the songbird singing
its call in the bough of a wind-shaken tree.
We are creatures of constant awe,
curious at beauty, at leaf and blossom,
at grief and pleasure, sun and shadow.
and it is not darkness that unites us,
not the cold distance of space, but
the offering of water, each drop of rain,
each rivulet, each pulse, each vein.
O second moon, we, too, are made
of water, of vast and beckoning seas.
We, too, are made of wonders, of great
and ordinary loves, of small invisible worlds,
of a need to call out through the dark.
“In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa,” was released at the Library of Congress by the 24th U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón on June 1, 2023 in celebration of the poem’s engraving on NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft, scheduled to launch in October of 2024.
I would love it if you all had a poem to share! It is easy… just share one! And be sure you stop and see what Bonny has gathered with the link on her blog!
See you all next week!
I am gathering with Bonny and all the poetry lovers to share some poetry with you all today. (Make sure you stop by and see what we all have shared…and we’d love it even more if you joined us and shared a poem!)
Is it just me… or is June racing along? In my mind, it is still last week… and I have plenty of time to contemplate poetry for today.
Thankfully, Pádraig Ó Tuama came to my rescue with this introduction to the pantoum this week. That sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole on the internet and led me to the poem I am sharing today.
Pantoum’s are delightful and you can learn a bit more about them here and here. (And I highly recommend you listen to Pádraig read you the pantoum from this Monday’s Poetry Unbound podcast!)
The pantoum I am sharing this week is by A.E. Stallings for all us insomniacs out there!
Another Lullaby for Insomniacs
by A.E. Stallings
Sleep, she will not linger:
She turns her moon-cold shoulder.
With no rings on her finger,
You cannot hope to hold her.
She turns her moon-cold shoulder
And tosses off the cover.
You cannot hope to hold her:
She has another lover.
She tosses off the cover
And lays the darkness bare.
She has another lover.
Her heart is otherwhere.
She lays the darkness bare.
You slowly realize
Her heart is otherwhere.
There’s a distance in her eyes.
You slowly realize
That she will never linger,
With distance in her eyes
And no ring on her finger.
Another Lullaby for Insomniacs by A.E. Stallings appeared in the April 2004 issue of Poetry Magazine.
And that is all I have for this week… see you all back here on Monday!
I do not recall when I first stumbled across this Rilke poem… but it has become a frequent guest of my morning meditations as I read it, prayer like, to help me begin my day…
I hope this poem finds a spot in your day to lift you as you remind yourself “I am!”
Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.
Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower by Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29. Translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows.
Please stop and see what Kym and Bonny are sharing today!
See you all back here on Monday, have a great weekend everyone!
It is my favorite day… in my favorite month. The idea that you can carry poems with you… what a delightful thing! Today we are all sharing some poems for your pockets…
Today, I am sharing one for all of us for whom sleep is, at times, elusive. Apparently, dear Billy Collins is also similarly afflicted and he has some
wisdom wit for us. I have memorized this bit of wit and contemplate it all too frequently… but at least I know I am in good company!
by Billy Collins
Only my hand
but it’s a start.
3:00 AM from Musical Tables © Billy Collins, Random House New York, 2022.
If you want to know more about the delightful Billy Collins, you will find find information here, and here at his website.
Please make sure you stop and see what Kym, Bonny, and Sarah have for your pockets today!
Thank you so much for reading along with us this month!