Poetry anthology senior English Elective / Instructor: Mrs. Garcia

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Senior English Elective / Instructor: Mrs. Garcia



Poetry as Inspiration, Nourishment, and “Teacher”

Welcome, Poets!
Poet Dean Young says, “The song is always instruction in how to sing,” and in the same way, poems can be effective teachers. I gathered the poems in this packet after studying hundreds of poetry books, poetry magazines, and online journals. Reading poetry is an adventure, a bit like a treasure hunt. You may not always find gems that resonate with you, but you keep the ones that really sparkle and shine! I fell in love with some of them and have included the most vivid, memorable, imaginative, creative, touching, or humorous poems—as well as poems that illustrate particular forms and poetic devices. Haiku will be forthcoming in a separate packet. Even though I may have included only one poem by a particular author, I often read an entire book by that author—or nine—to arrive at those selections. In order to help us begin to see a poet’s style emerging, some poets are represented by more than one poem.  Anywhere you see the smiley icon, it indicates that you can listen to the poem on YouTube, Poets.org, or a similar site. These poems were chosen with great care, with you in mind, and I hope that you enjoy them as much as I have.
-Mrs. Garcia
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In A Poet’s Craft, Annie Finch says,
“…the advice I give most often is so simple that a beginning poet might be tempted to ignore it—and so crucial that it is worth all the rest of the advice put together. Read poetry. And then read more poetry. Not only read poetry you like, but also read poetry you hate, poetry that bores you, poetry so difficult it drives you crazy, poetry so easy it irritates you, poetry that makes you furious, poetry in languages you don’t know, poetry written by a kindergartener down the block, self-published poetry, Pulitzer-Prize winning poetry, rapper poetry, ‘Immortal Poetry’ in classroom anthologies, and long-forgotten poetry in cracked leather bindings on lower shelves in back rooms of junk shops.” (27)
“Some beginning poets are afraid to read poetry by others for fear of losing their ‘own voice.’ Have you ever had such a fear? Where does one’s ‘own voice’ come from in the first place?” (40)
In his book, The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction, Dean Young says,
“I always tell my students not to worry about originality; just try to copy the manners and musics of the various, the more various the better, poetries you love: your originality will come from your inability to copy well: YOUR GENIUS IS YOUR ERROR)” (48).
Originality is not the denial of origins, it is both the acknowledgement of them, the acquiescence and exploration of that trace in history, the common imperative, while being in cantankerous, maybe competitive objection and declaration otherwise. People use language for two reasons: to be understood and not to be understood” (38).
“If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write.” – Stephen King
“A writer is a reader moved to emulation.” – Saul Bellow (1915-2005)


CARL ADAMSHICK (1969- ) He was born in Toledo, OH.

I always thought death would be like traveling

in a car, moving through the desert,

the earth a little darker than sky at the horizon,

that your life would settle like the end of a day

and you would think of everyone you ever met,

that you would be the invisible passenger,

quiet in the car, moving through the night,

forever, with the beautiful thought of home.

The Way of the World

KIM ADDONIZIO (1954- ) She was born in Bethesda, MD and now lives in California.

We know the ugly hate the beautiful,

and the bitter losers are all seething

over bad coffee, washed in the sleazy fluorescence

of fast-food restaurants. We know
the wheelchairs hate the shoes,

and the medicines envy the vitamins,

which is why sometimes a whole bottle

of sleeping pills will gather like a wave

and rush down someone’s throat to drown

in the sour ocean of the stomach.

And let’s not even mention the poor,

since hardly anyone does.

It’s the way of the world—

the sorrowful versus the happy,

and the stupid against everyone,

especially themselves. So don’t pretend

you’re glad when your old friends

get lucky in work, or love,

while you’re still drifting through life

like a lobster in a restaurant tank. Go on

admit it: you’d claw them to death

if you could. But you’re helpless,

knocking futilely against clear glass you can’t

break through. They’re opening champagne,

oblivious of you, just as you don’t notice

how many backs you’ve scrambled over

to get this far, you black eyes glittering,

your slow limbs grimly and steadily working.

From pp. 73-74 of What Is This Thing Called Love, 2004

Big Man

DICK ALLEN (1939-- ) He just so happens to be a Trumbull resident!

When my father swam, he was a bull

butting the waters,
or an old-fashioned washing machine
churning harder and harder.
With all that effort, you would have thought
he'd beat the high-rollers.

When my father ate, he was an octopus,

thick tendrils writhing,
or a steam shovel chewing a hill,
grunting and chomping.
Not for him the gas pump's dire warning:
Avoid Overtopping.

When my father prayed, he prayed up a storm,

a hurricane, a tornado,
or he was that gunslinger sent
down the streets of Laredo.
Whatever my father did, he did it
like a deathblow.

When my father left, it wasn't the happily ever after

of the Brothers Grimm.
He dropped from the earth like a canyon
drops from its rim.
and not one metaphor I mixed was big enough, not nearly,
to salvage him.

from The Raintown Review

Funeral Blues (also known as “Stop All the Clocks”)

W. H. AUDEN (1907-1973)

 You can hear this read on YouTube in a scene from the 1994 film, Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead

Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

(published 1936)

A Poison Tree

WILLIAM BLAKE (1757-1827)

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears

Night and morning with my tears,
And I sunned it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,

Till it bore an apple bright,
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine -

And into my garden stole

When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning, glad, I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.


KIM BRIDGFORD (1959- ) She grew up in Coal Valley, IL and now lives in Philadelphia.
Is a feeling, swinging on the hour,
Its thick intention hanging like a tire.
Smash, wreck, hurt, undulate, destroy.
For evil holds within itself a joy

Of taking goodness by the hand, so pure

You wouldn’t know the difference from a flower.
Like love, it is a hot and sudden arrow.
Like shame, it layers time with fig-leaf sorrow,

And pulls the curtain wing-spread off a fly,

With iridescent viciousness, to splay
The intersection between do and don’t.
It’s clear the bitter message that’s been sent.

Don’t underestimate it: that hot note

That whispers in your ear and cuts your throat.

Speech to the Young: Speech to the Progress-Toward


Say to them,

say to the down-keepers,
the sun-slappers,
the self-soilers,
the harmony-hushers,
"even if you are not ready for day
it cannot always be night."
You will be right.
For that is the hard home-run.

Live not for battles won.

Live not for the-end-of-the-song.
Live in the along.


CHARLES BUKOWSKI (1920-1994) He was a German-born American poet, and he lived in California.

 You can hear this poem on YouTube. I’m not sure if the reader is Bukowski himself, but he does a good job.

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
in there.

there's a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
weep, do

Melissa Quits School

LUCILE BURT has taught high school in Arlington, MA since 1970.
I’m not going down into that cave anymore,

that room under everything

where they stick us freaks

surrounded by storage rooms

and one hundred years of dust

caking little windows near the ceiling.

We’re buried under the weight

of all those rooms above us,

regular rooms with regular kids,

buried where we won’t be a bad influence.

Mrs. Miller says I’ll be sorry,

but I don’t care. I can’t think

down there. It’s hard to breathe


If school’s so great for my future,

what’s Mrs. Miller doing buried here

like some sad dead bird

teaching freaks

and smelling like booze every morning?
I may be stupid, but I know this:

outside there’ll be light and air

and I won’t feel like I’m dying.

Outside, someone will pay when I work,

give me a coffee break when I can smoke.

No one will say “where’s your pass?”

Sandy and Tina won’t dance away from me,

sidestepping like I’m poison ivy,

and boys won’t try to pry me open.

Steve won’t be hanging on me,

wanting me

to take a couple of hits before class,

wanting me

to cut class to make love,

even though it’s really screwing

and he calls it “making love”

so I’ll do it and he can brag later.
I may be stupid, but I know this:

even just a little light and air

can save your life.

That shark Steve thinks he owns me,

but I know this:

when we cruise in his car

so he can show off his Chevy and me

him looking out the window all the time,

going nowhere, just cruising,

I’m there ‘cause we’re moving,

I’m there alone with Tori Amos,

singing her sad true songs,

leaning my head back,

watching the streetlights come and go,

each flash lighting my face

for a minute in the dark.

Tuesday 9:00 AM


A man standing at the bus stop
reading the newspaper is on fire
Flames are peeking out
from beneath his collar and cuffs
His shoes have begun to melt
The woman next to him
wants to mention it to him
that he is burning
but she is drowning
Water is everywhere
in her mouth and ears
in her eyes
A stream of water runs
steadily from her blouse
Another woman stands at the bus stop
freezing to death
She tries to stand near the man
who is on fire
to try to melt the icicles
that have formed on her eyelashes
and on her nostrils
to stop her teeth long enough
from chattering to say something
to the woman who is drowning
but the woman who is freezing to death
has trouble moving
with blocks of ice on her feet
It takes the three some time
to board the bus
what with the flames
and water and ice
But when they finally climb the stairs
and take their seats
the driver doesn't even notice
that none of them has paid
because he is tortured
by visions and is wondering
if the man who got off at the last stop
was really being mauled to death
by wild dogs.

from Triptych, 1999


LEWIS CARROLL (1832–1898)

 YouTube has Johnny Depp reading this, as well as The Muppets!

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;

Long time the manxome foe he sought—

So rested he by the Tumtum tree

And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,

The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,

And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through

The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

The Best Use for My Poems


for Holden

At the poetry reading, no one got my Sierra Leone

reference. No one sympathetic to the crush

of crows on my shoulders. Not a smirk in the direction

of my sonnet about Monster. No ooh or uuhhmp

for the simile about her, and berries. Not a soul appreciated

the syntax involved with the turquoise of a turtle's

belly. Then, a polite clap like a reluctant breeze, and I was back

on the sideline, with my three-year-old nephew, and a stack

of poems curled tight. He picked up those papers, the long white

cylinder of my unmoving words, and held it to his mouth

like a mic, and lip-synced some tongue I was too old to

remember. He took it next, a billy club, and whacked a woman

awake. Then it became a baton he wagged back and forth till

it blurred. Soon the roll of paper was a telescope. As it opened

more on one end, a bullhorn, a little more, a pylon, and the best use—

a dunce cap.

From p. 49 of Lobster with Ol’ Dirty Bastard, 2008

Dead Ass

In the bodega, a young girl wearing
jeans so tight she has to use turpentine
to get them off, says to her friends,
Damn, it’s dead ass raining out!

I was enamored. Instead of cats and dogs,

I pictured donkey corpses falling from
the sky, clogging gutters.
That’s some “serious” rain.

The song on the radio said that the po-po was:

“tryna catch me ridin’dirty.” I imagined
Chamillionaire wearing a 20-lb. gold chain
with mud dripping off Jesus’s shiny toes,
Krazie Bone in four-hundred-dollar jeans,
with grass stains on the knees.

In Oakland, the sound there is “hyphy.” To me,

that alien word means gooney-goo-goo.
To me, that word is my dead father’s kiss.
But to thousands of youngsters whose trousers sink
below the Plimsoll line of their asses, hyphy
music makes their bodies dip up and down
like oil drills.

These words make me feel old, and alabaster.

When I hear something new, it’s like I discovered it
for the first time, like I excavated it from the mouth
of a teenager. So I dust it off with my fossil brush
and try to jam it into the keyhole of academia.

I’m not afraid of dope lyrics, not dope meaning weed

but dope meaning good. My kind uses scrilla to board
up the windows of shook.

Fo’shizzle, crunk, hella: I place in glass jars like rare moths.

I want to hang them on the doors of sonnets
like a welcome sign to an apartment
I don’t live in.

From pp. 33-34 of Lobster with Ol’ Dirty Bastard, 2008

Brown Skin Lady


 YouTube has “Michael Cirelli Poetry Reading at the 2012 WCU Poetry Conference” from the 6:08 to 7:49 mark.

He has four poems with this same title, but it’s this one you’ll see in the above video.

If it’s not love then it’s the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb,

the bomb, the bomb, the bomb that will bring us together.

—The Smiths, “Ask”

If you cut someone off

from their culture they

will die. My lady

can trace her long finger

like a terra cotta branch

through history’s rich

cemeteries and arrive at

The Prophet. There is no

separation of church

and state when your homeland

is called: The Islamic

Republic of Pakistan.

Where I’m from, we pretend

that god stays out

of our taxes, and that culture

is the alchemy that turns

blood white.

I am multiple selves

but I am white. I contain

multitudes bur am still white.

American culture is distinguished

by whether you are born of

old money, new money, or

no money. I can trace

my lineage back to my first loan.

My family tree grows from a safe.

It seems “the most

dangerous nation in the world”

has it right. All the ammo

we drop over there, and the Muslims

are not dead, as I polish off

another eggplant parm. At the airport,

they study my lady’s passport

and wonder where she had hidden

the bomb, and I want to tell

them, she doesn’t hide the bomb,

she is the bomb.

From pp. 27-28 of Vacations on the Black Star Line, 2010

I Am Hip Hop.


 You can watch him reading this on YouTube.

You can blame Santa Claus,

who in 1986 in order to save sleigh

space, left Run DMC’s Raising Hell

in the stockings of all the naughty kids

in the suburbs. Little did he know

his prank on white America would leave

parents up in arms forever.

In the same vein, their little angels

would also be throwing their hands in the air

and waving them carefree at role models

with cornrows from the Dirty South

on BET while sturdy women in thongs

“back that thang up” at Jones Beach.

Seventeen years later, I still haven’t grown

into my parachutes or found the laces to my shell toes.

Mom’s worried this “phase” may never end—
You can find me in the club, mimicking

camouflage, with a Larry Bird throwback jersey, mouthing

the words to “Player’s Anthem” like I had game,

like I could relate to the hustle.

Nonetheless, I am still the dash in Jay-Z, the graph,

the clientele, the connoisseur who knows everywhere

I’ll never be. I am the slovenly tongue popularized

by God’s son, the white boy M1 wants to slap,

the Rock & Roll that’s black, the breakbeat, the heart,

the movement, the art—

I claim nothing but hip-hop.

I’m the white Eminem.

When the Puerto Rican chef at the restaurant I work in

told me I look “all NASCAR,”

I said, “No, I’m hip-hop.”

“Fur ril?” he said. “Yes, Pharrell,” I said.

I actually lived in my grandma’s basement for two years

while she roasted root vegetables upstairs. I’m underground.

I rocked Air Force Ones when they only came in the colors

of privilege or minority—when Sergio Valente pinstripes

were like a fresh sheet of paper. I’m old school.

My pops is incarcerated for pushing dope, the noun.

That makes me part gangsta. You know what time is it—
When I win the Pulitzer Prize, for Realness, the Nobel

for my translation of Hip-Hop, I will step to the stage

and represent Rhode Island to the fullest, shout out God

“first and foremost, without whom none of this would be possible,”

the rotund wrapper with an alabaster beard

who gave me my first Run DMC tape.

This is dedicated to you.

pp. 70-71 of Vacations on the Black Star Line, 2010



You know, when you talk,
but if you're from where I'm from
you may be "tawking,"
and depending on who you're
tawking to, and where they're from:
which bend of road
or angle of sun or moon-
light hits the dark room
of throat, informs
the way they say what they say,
which side of lip
the words plummet from or how tongue
strings 'em together chops
'em screws 'em,
how Mona is from a below
place where the speakers
speak like they're pulling up
word anchors from the deepest
depths of Mouf, or in some parts
more salt, and others more peppa:
whether cayenne or corn—
I'm in love with a boy
from East Oakland whose word is
stretched longer than
twelve hearses,
and his Dickies are starched.
In Texas, it is the vibration of
the dinner bell, in Kansas
something different.
In New Yawk, Nueva Yol,
where the tongues pulse like
marquees, talk keeps the lights on!
When T-Pain dissected
the tone of Flux
Capacitor, of E.T.'s grand
piano, and named his album
Rappa Ternt Sanga, he wasn't being
ignorant, or ignant at that, wasn't bad
at spelling (maybe bad
at rapping which is why
he turned singer), but he was
accounting for the texture of the dirt
in his teef. He was showing it off
in his smile. This makes sense to me.
Because I want everyone
to see the Rhode Island in my elbow.
I want everyone to know
I was born in a kawfee mug
floating down Narragansett Bay
and raised by a Lion.
And by kawfee mug I mean:
I was born in an alphabet that left its R
on the dressa—and by Narragansett Bay
I mean: an estuary flowing with wrenches
and ratchets and uniforms—and by Lion:
I mean my mother, who's been serving
breakfast to regulars since 1975
(when I showed up),
and to this day they still come to see
her, my ma
who tawks to each and every one
of them cuz she's gotta hotta-gold.
From pp. 72 of Vacations on the Black Star Line, 2010

Introduction to Poetry

BILLY COLLINS (1941- ) He was born in New York City.
 You can hear him read this on YouTube. He is a very popular poet, and he is on YouTube reading many of his poems—even at The White House—so if you like his work, there is much more to listen to online.

I ask them to take a poem

and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.


From p. 58 of The Apple That Astonished Paris. 1988.

Man in Space

BILLY COLLINS (1941- ) He was born in New York City.

 You can listen to him read it at Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/176054

It is also on YouTube, set to a video of movie clips. He is a very popular poet, and he is on YouTube reading many of his poems—even at The White House—so if you like his work, there is much more to listen to online.

All you have to do is listen to the way a man

sometimes talks to his wife at a table of people

and notice how intent he is on making his point

even though her lower lip is beginning to quiver,
and you will know why the women in science

fiction movies who inhabit a planet of their own

are not pictured making a salad or reading a magazine

when the men from earth arrive in their rocket,

why they are always standing in a semicircle

with their arms folded, their bare legs set apart,

their breasts protected by hard metal disks.

From p. 68 of The Art of Drowning, 1995.

Snow Day

BILLY COLLINS (1941- ) He was born in New York City.

Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,   

its white flag waving over everything,

the landscape vanished,

not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,   

and beyond these windows
the government buildings smothered,

schools and libraries buried, the post office lost   

under the noiseless drift,

the paths of trains softly blocked,

the world fallen under this falling.
In a while, I will put on some boots

and step out like someone walking in water,   

and the dog will porpoise through the drifts,   

and I will shake a laden branch

sending a cold shower down on us both.
But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,   

a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.   

I will make a pot of tea

and listen to the plastic radio on the counter,   

as glad as anyone to hear the news
that the Kiddie Corner School is closed,   

the Ding-Dong School, closed.

the All Aboard Children’s School, closed,   

the Hi-Ho Nursery School, closed,

along with—some will be delighted to hear—
the Toadstool School, the Little School,

Little Sparrows Nursery School,

Little Stars Pre-School, Peas-and-Carrots Day School   

the Tom Thumb Child Center, all closed,

and—clap your hands—the Peanuts Play School.
So this is where the children hide all day,

These are the nests where they letter and draw,   

where they put on their bright miniature jackets,   

all darting and climbing and sliding,

all but the few girls whispering by the fence.
And now I am listening hard

in the grandiose silence of the snow,

trying to hear what those three girls are plotting,   

what riot is afoot,

which small queen is about to be brought down.
Billy Collins, “Snow Day” from Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (New York: Random House, 2001).

The Trouble with Poetry

BILLY COLLINS (1941- ) He was born in New York City.
The trouble with poetry, I realized
as I walked along a beach one night—
cold Florida sand under my bare feet,
a show of stars in the sky—
the trouble with poetry is
that it encourages the writing of more poetry,
more guppies crowding the fish tank,
more baby rabbits
hopping out of their mothers into the dewy grass.
And how will it ever end?
unless the day finally arrives
when we have compared everything in the world
to everything else in the world,
and there is nothing left to do
but quietly close our notebooks
and sit with our hands folded on our desks.
Poetry fills me with joy
and I rise like a feather in the wind.
Poetry fills me with sorrow
and I sink like a chain flung from a bridge.
But mostly poetry fills me
with the urge to write poetry,
to sit in the dark and wait for a little flame
to appear at the tip of my pencil.
And along with that, the longing to steal,
to break into the poems of others
with a flashlight and a ski mask.
And what an unmerry band of thieves we are,
cut-purses, common shoplifters,
I thought to myself
as a cold wave swirled around my feet
and the lighthouse moved its megaphone over the sea,
which is an image I stole directly
from Lawrence Ferlinghetti—
to be perfectly honest for a moment—
the bicycling poet of San Francisco
whose little amusement park of a book
I carried in a side pocket of my uniform
up and down the treacherous halls of high school.

From pp. 83-84 of The Trouble with Poetry, 2005

A Child Explains Dying


First you close your eyes.

Then you hold your breath.

Then, when it gets too heavy to hold,

you let it go. And it drops to the floor

like a stone. But without a sound.
And then your mother comes to the door

and calls you, saying,

“Come out here this instant!

Your breakfast is getting cold.”

And then your father comes to the door

and calls you, saying,

“No son of mine is going to lie

in bed all day. No son of mine

Is going to be late for school”
And then they shake you,

and when you don’t move

they see the mistake they made

and they cry and cry and cry.

And then they comb your hair

and brush your teeth

and dress you in a suit and tie

just like for Sunday School

And then they bury you in the dirt.
And your teacher gives your desk to someone else.

And your brothers wear your clothes

that you’ll never need again

because you’re a little lamb at the feet

of Jesus in Heaven—you’re a little wooly thing

up in the clouds, going baaa, baaa.

1984. From The Ploughshares Poetry Anthology (1987)

The Lord Is My Shepherd (Psalm 23, A Psalm of David)


1 The LORD is my shepherd;
         I shall not want.
 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
         He leads me beside the still waters.
 3 He restores my soul;
         He leads me in the paths of righteousness
         For His name’s sake.
 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
         I will fear no evil;
         For You are with me;
         Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
         You anoint my head with oil;
         My cup runs over.
 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
         All the days of my life;
         And I will dwell in the house of the LORD

(New King James Version)

“Hope” is the thing with feathers (314)

EMILY DICKINSON (1830-1886) She was born in Amherst, MA.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –

And sore must be the storm –

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land–

And on the strangest Sea –

Yet – never – in Extremity,

It asked a crumb – of me.

I taste a liquor never brewed (214)


I taste a liquor never brewed –

From Tankards scooped in Pearl –

Not all the Frankfort Berries

Yield such an Alcohol!

Inebriate of air – am I –

And Debauchee of Dew –

Reeling – thro' endless summer days –

From inns of molten Blue –

When "Landlords" turn the drunken Bee

Out of the Foxglove's door –

When Butterflies – renounce their "drams" –

I shall but drink the more!

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats –

And Saints – to windows run –

To see the little Tippler

Leaning against the – Sun!

Poetry Should Ride the Bus


poetry should hopscotch in a polka dot dress
wheel cartwheels
n hold your hand
when you walk past the yellow crackhouse

poetry should dress in fine plum linen suits

n not be so educated that it don’t stop in
every now n then to sit on the porch
and talk about the comins and goins of the world

poetry should ride the bus

in a fat woman’s Safeway bag
between the greens n chicken wings
to be served with Tuesday’s dinner

poetry should drop by a sweet potato pie

ask about the grandchildren
n sit through a whole photo album
on a orange plastic covered La-Z-Boy with no place to go

poetry should sing red revolution love songs

that massage your scalp
and bring hope to your blood
when you think you’re too old to fight

poetry should whisper electric blue magic

all the years or your life
never forgettin to look you in the soul
ever once in a while
n smile.

from We Are The Young Magicians (1993)

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