Tuesday, April 24, 2012

National Poetry Month, Part 3

House of Belonging - David Whyte

sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.


A Message from the Wanderer - William E. Stafford

Today outside your prison I stand
and rattle my walking stick: Prisoners, listen;
you have relatives outside. And there are
thousands of ways to escape.

Years ago I bent my skill to keep my
cell locked, had chains smuggled to me in pies,
and shouted my plans to jailers;
but always new plans occurred to me,
or the new heavy locks bent hinges off,
or some stupid jailer would forget
and leave the keys.

Inside, I dreamed of constellations—
those feeding creatures outlined by stars,
their skeletons a darkness between jewels,
heroes that exist only where they are not.

Thus freedom always came nibbling my thought,
just as—often, in light, on the open hills—
you can pass an antelope and not know
and look back, and then—even before you see—
there is something wrong about the grass.
And then you see.

That’s the way everything in the world is waiting.

Now—these few more words, and then I’m
gone: Tell everyone just to remember
their names, and remind others, later, when we
find each other. Tell the little ones
to cry and then go to sleep, curled up
where they can. And if any of us get lost,
if any of us cannot come all the way—
remember: there will come a time when
all we have said and all we have hoped
will be all right.

There will be that form in the grass.


A Settlement -  Mary Oliver

look, it’s spring. and last year’s loose dust has turned
into this soft willingness. the wind-flowers have come
up trembling, slowly the brackens are up-lifting their
curvaceous and pale bodies. the thrushes have come
home, none less than filled with mystery, sorrow,
happiness, music, ambition. 
and i am walking out into all of this with nowhere to
go and no task undertaken but to turn the pages of
this beautiful world over and over, in the world of my mind. 
therefore, dark past,
i’m about to do it.
i’m about to forgive you
for everything.


Keys - Nancy Henry

when things got hard 
i used to drive and keep on driving 
once to north carolina 
once to arizona 
i’m through with all that now, i hope. 
the last time was years ago. 
but oh, how i would drive 
and keep on driving! 
the universe around me 
all well in my control; 
anything i wanted on the radio, 
the air blasting hot or cold; 
sobbing as loudly as i cared to sob, 
screaming as loudly as i needed to scream. 
i would live on apples and black coffee, 
shower at truck stops, 
sleep curled up 
in the cozy back seat i loved.
the last time, i left at 3 a.m. 
by new york state, 
i stopped screaming; 
by tulsa 
i stopped sobbing; 
by the time i pulled into flagstaff 
i was thinking 
about the canyon, 
i was so empty. 
thinking about the canyon 
i was. 
i sat on the rim at dawn, 
let all the colors fill me. 
it was cold. i saw my breath 
like steam from a soup pot. 
i saw small fossils in the gravel. 
i saw how much world there was 
how much darkness 
could be swept out 
by the sun.


Flames - Billy Collins

smokey the bear heads
into the autumn woods
with a red can of gasoline
and a box of wooden matches.

his ranger’s hat is cocked
at a disturbing angle.

his brown fur gleams
under the high sun
as his paws, the size
of catcher’s mitts,
crackle into the distance.

he is sick of dispensing
warnings to the careless,
the half-wit camper,
the dumbbell hiker.

he is going to show them
how a professional does it.


Two Tigers said...

Home run, kiddo! These are each and every one of them awesome. Many thanks for gathering and sharing them here!

rosaria williams said...

Thank you for this treat!

Anthony Duce said...

They are all great, especially “A Message from the Wanderer”. Took me in…

Marion said...

Awesome, amazing poems, Phoenix. You rock, sweet girl. xoxo

drollgirl said...

good for the bears! we humans need messages that are sent loud and clear!

drollgirl said...

i meant bear!

kj said...

Tracy, you did it. You did exactly what you wanted to do. It is perfect. I won't even try to put words to the feeling and message you've left me with.

Well...I will say this: yes, thank you! It's mine to screw up and the world around me prefers I don't

You rock, Tracy


Anonymous said...

I got completely hooked on from the very first one poem in this post. It's funny (but more, like, amazing) how just a little bit of poetry can put things into the right perspective..I guess I needed this today :)

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