Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Tuesday Poem: "Failing and Flying" by Jack Gilbert

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It's the same when love comes to an end,

or the marriage fails and people say

they knew it was a mistake, that everybody

said it would never work. That she was

old enough to know better. But anything

worth doing is worth doing badly.

Like being there by that summer ocean

on the other side of the island while

love was fading out of her, the stars

burning so extravagantly those nights that

anyone could tell you they would never last.

Every morning she was asleep in my bed

like a visitation, the gentleness in her

like antelope standing in the dawn mist.

Each afternoon I watched her coming back

through the hot stony field after swimming,

the sea light behind her and the huge sky

on the other side of that. Listened to her

while we ate lunch. How can they say

the marriage failed? Like the people who

came back from Provence (when it was Provence)

and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.

I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,

but just coming to the end of his triumph.

by Jack Gilbert

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Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Tuesday Poem: "Anxiety and Doubt (Angst und Zweifel)" by Erich Fried

Don't doubt
who says

they're anxious.

Be anxious about


who says

they're without doubt

by Erich Fried
(translated by Paul McConnell)

Zweifle nicht
an dem

der dir sagt

er hat Angst

aber hab Angst

vor dem

der dir sagt

er kennt keinen Zweifel

For more information about the poet, Erich Fried, see:


Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Tuesday Poem: "White Apples" by Donald Hall

when my father had been dead a week
I woke
with his voice in my ear

I sat up in bed

and held my breath

and stared at the pale closed door

white apples and the taste of stone

if he called again

I would put on my coat and galoshes

by Donald Hall

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Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Tuesday Poem: "American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin [“I lock you in an American sonnet that is part prison”]" by Terrance Hayes

I lock you in an American sonnet that is part prison,
Part panic closet, a little room in a house set aflame.

I lock you in a form that is part music box, part meat

Grinder to separate the song of the bird from the bone.

I lock your persona in a dream-inducing sleeper hold

While your better selves watch from the bleachers.

I make you both gym & crow here. As the crow

You undergo a beautiful catharsis trapped one night

In the shadows of the gym. As the gym, the feel of crow-

Shit dropping to your floors is not unlike the stars

Falling from the pep rally posters on your walls.

I make you a box of darkness with a bird in its heart.

Voltas of acoustics, instinct & metaphor. It is not enough

To love you. It is not enough to want you destroyed.

by Terrance Hayes

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Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Tuesday Poem: "Turtle Came to See Me" by Margarita Engle

The first story I ever write
is a bright crayon picture
of a dancing tree, the branches
tossed by island wind.

I draw myself standing beside the tree,
with a colorful parrot soaring above me,
and a magical turtle clasped in my hand,
and two yellow wings fluttering
on the proud shoulders of my ruffled
Cuban rumba dancer's
fancy dress.

In my California kindergarten class,
the teacher scolds me: REAL TREES

It's the moment
when I first
begin to learn
that teachers
can be wrong.

They have never seen
the dancing plants
of Cuba.

by Margarita Engle

For more information about poet, Margarita Engle, see: