The Letter (Linda Gregg)
I’m not feeling strong yet, but I am taking
good care of myself. The weather is perfect.
I read and walk all day and then walk to the sea.
I expect to swim soon. For now I am content.
I am not sure what I hope for. I feel I am
doing my best. It reminds me of when I was
sixteen dreaming of Lorca, the gentle trees outside
and the creek. Perhaps poetry replaces something
in me that others receive more naturally.
Perhaps my happiness proves a weakness in my life.
Even my failures in poetry please me.
Time is very different here. It is very good
to be away from public ambition.
I sweep and wash, cook and shop.
Sometimes I go into town in the evening
and have pastry with custard. Sometimes I sit
at a table by the harbor and drink half a beer.
All of Me (Mark Roper)
So all of me, why not take all of me –
the one with so many certificates,
the failure, the one who can’t cope,
the boy who never grew up,
the boy who grew up too early…
o all of me why not take all of me
The Mower (Philip Larkin) [excerpt]
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful
Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.
The Madness Vase (Andrea Gibson) [excerpt]
My bones said, “Write the poems.”
To Build A Swing (Hafiz)
All the ingredients
To turn your life into a nightmare-
Don’t mix them!
You have all the genius
To build a swing in your backyard
Like a hell of a lot more fun.
Let’s start laughing, drawing blueprints,
Gathering our talented friends.
You carry all the ingredients
To turn your existence into joy,
Mix them, mix
A Settlement (Mary Oliver)
Therefore, dark past,
I’m about to do it.
I’m about to forgive you
Clarification (Franz Wright)
Someone once told me about a Buddhist
monk who on awakening
each morning said “Master!”
Then he would answer
“Yes, master?” And then
in a loud voice demand
Listen to what I am saying,
but listen especially
to what I am not saying—
Of all the powers of love,
this: it is possible
to die; which means
it’s possible to live.
Now it is possible to die
without being mad or afraid.
The House of Belonging (David Whyte) [excerpt]
This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.
There is no house
like the house of belonging.
Welcome Morning (Anne Sexton)
There is joy
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning, […]
All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
The Joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,
Don’t Hesitate (Mary Oliver)
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.
To Myself (Franz Wright)