Monthly Archives: April 2018

Another one for nature and National Poetry Month

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A Buffalo Skull

No fine white bone-sheen now;
a hundred hard years
have worn it away, this stump
washed up on a bar
in the river, its horns
like broken roots,
its muzzle filled with sand
and the thin gray breath
of spider webs.  Once,
they covered the grasslands
like the shadows of clouds,
and now the river gives up
just one skull, a hive of bone
like a fallen wasp’s nest,
heavy, empty, and
full of the whine of the wind
and old thunder.

–Ted Kooser (American Poet — born in Ames, Iowa, 1939)  This poem is from One World at a Time, published 1985

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Poems – Earth Day 2018 (April 22)

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History

All night the wind
Yelled at the house,
The trees squeaked and hushed
But the wind would not.
All night the trees complained
And the rain rushed and rained.

Now in the cool
Morning the trees stand, tall,
Still and all composed—
Sun on their sunny pages.
Of the storm only the riled
Creek remembers; and rages.

–Thomas McGrath (American poet, 1916 – 1990)
This poem is from Selected Poems 1938 – 1988, pub. 1988

 

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Praising Spring

The day is taken by each thing and grows complete.
I go out and come in and go out again,
confused by a beauty that knows nothing of delay,
rushing like fire.  All things move faster
than time and make a stillness thereby.  My mind
leans back and smiles, having nothing to say.
Even at night I go out with a light and look
at the growing.  I kneel and look at one thing
at a time.  A white spider on a peony bud.
I have nothing to give, and make a poor servant,
but I can praise the spring.  Praise this wildness
that does not heed the hour.  The doe that does not
stop at dark but continues to grow all night long.
The beauty in every degree of flourishing.  Violets
lift to the rain and the brook gets louder than ever.
The old German farmer is asleep and the flowers go on
opening.  There are stars.  Mint grows high.  Leaves
bend in the sunlight as the rain begins to fall.

–Linda Gregg (American poet, born 1942)
This poem is from Alma: Poems, pub. 1985.

April is National Poetry Month!

It is the end of the first week of April 2018, and it is National Poetry Month in the U.S.  A contemporary American poet named Laurel Blossom (born 1943) is someone whose poetry I recently stumbled upon.  Among Ms. Blossom’s accomplishments is that she served fairly recently, from April 2015 – April 2017, as the Poet Laureate of the town of Edgefield, South Carolina (a Poet Laureate being a poet officially appointed by a government or conferring institution, typically expected to compose poems for special events and occasions).

Ms. Blossom’s books of poetry include Longevity (2015) and Degrees of Latitudes (2007).  Her collected books of poems are Wednesday: New and Collected Poems (2004), The Papers Said (1993), What’s Wrong (1987) and Any Minute (1979).  Additionally, her poems have appeared in a number of literary journals and in the anthologies 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day (2005), Lights, Camera, Poetry (1996) and Southern Poetry Review, Volume I: South Carolina (2007).

Glee Club
For Stan (1941 – 1976)

You are the tenor singing inside me,

making a silence beside the song,

calling it harmony, making a charm

to hang on my jingling bracelet of longing.

(originally published in Jasper: The World of Columbia (SC) Arts,March/April 2012).

The Papers Said

In Kenya they have two paved highways.
Commuters throw garbage out the windows to baboons
so used to being fed this way
they wait at intervals like pets or trashcans.
One day a man threw out an orange
he’d filled with chili powder just for the hell of it

to see what would happen (it
rolled in the red dust at the highway’s
edge) because the man hated those fucking baboons
or whatever the word is in Swahili, the way
they jerk off at the side of the road, or show their
disgusting red cans
to each other, and this one not especially orange

orange
got picked up by one of those fuckers, who pushed it
into his mouth and bit down.  The white man in the green car
on the liquid red highway
under the burning blue sky (or whatever the baboon
word is for hellfire) – the man in the green car went
his way.
Baboons scream as only baboons can.

The man felt merciful: no more living trashcans.
He forgave his wife.  As the sky turned the brilliant orange
of an African sunset, he drove home. It
gratified him to see the sides of the highway
deserted, the entire baboon
population he’d driven away.

For a while, he went out of his way
to be nice to his wife and children.  He let them
watch American
T.V., on the weekend he bought a six-pack of
orange pop, packed it
in the car and took them all for a drive along the highway.
Of course the baboons

were back; he expected that.  Baboon
Attacks, however, he did not expect, especially the way
it seemed to recognize the green car (uncanny,
the papers called it), hurled itself at the open window
when an orange
shape glistened briefly there, and ripped the man’s throat out.  Call it
whatever you like, poetic justice, but people aren’t safe
on the nation’s highways,

the papers said.

(originally published in the New York Quarterly #43, Fall 1990)

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