Friday, October 30, 2015

"a necklace fashioned/ of attention to this day..."

Each Moment

Behind the mask of summer sun,
the green rush of spring,
the peace of winter’s silence,
and autumn’s fiery crown
there are only moments strung together.
Beads on a chain,
each as valued as the next;
a necklace fashioned
of attention to this day.
What is gone
and what will be
are links fingered lightly
while we chant
the only word we know:
now, the glue
of our daily round,
the shining center
from where we came,
to which we shall return.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"the sodium lights of expensive combines eerie as UFOs..."

Harvesting All Night

by Jane Hoogestraat

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Twenty years ago, my father stops
in the small farm town where he was a boy
to watch his nephews, already men, play softball.
The long arc of a ball hit toward the far corner

leaves the light behind for a long sigh.
He told us later he wanted to stay that night.
When the harvest is late, the ground too muddy,
the players will wait until the earth freezes, then harvest

all night, the sodium lights of expensive combines
eerie as UFOs on the horizon, ringed by frost stars.
A family cemetery dated 1949 holds now the second
generation after the immigrants, and a few small graves

from the third. It will all last another generation or two,
be tended, that cemetery, the games in the park.
Dvorak visiting in Iowa caught it once,
as it retreated from him, a country that could

not be his, although he called it a new world, and brave.
His largo captures all he would know
of native melody, the indigenous music of the plains
that will outlive everything we’re losing, everything we are.

"Harvesting All Night" by Jane Hoogestraat from Border States. © BKMK Press, 2014. (buy now)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I’d like to find/ The shrine of Chimayo

Five Wishes
Photo of Chimayo by Brent

by Anne Porter

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I’d like to have a wild bird
Perch on my hand
A sparrow or
A chickadee
Sudden with her sharp feet
And fragile daring

I’d like to see again
The etchings Rembrandt made
Of stories from the Bible

Though they’re as plain
As Bethlehem’s hay
A radiance fills them

And I would like to visit
The Laguna Indians
And their old church
Made of whitewashed clay
With logs for rafters

And in it their Madonna
To whom they’ve given
A white lace apron

And I would like to learn
To accept my death
To accept our dying
That strange dawn

So deeply scandalous
That God himself wept
At the death of his friend

I’d like to find
The shrine of Chimayo
Where the lame leave crutches

I’d like to go there
With my daughter Katie

It would be enough
Just to be there
Without any miracle.

"Five Wishes" by Anne Porter from Living Things. © Zooland Books, 2006.  (buy now)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"...with the disappearing sun. I wonder what I owe the fading day..."

On the Shortest Days
by Joyce Sutphen

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At almost four in the afternoon, the
wind picks up and sifts through the golden woods.

The tree trunks bronze and redden, branches
on fire in the heavy sky that flickers

with the disappearing sun. I wonder
what I owe the fading day, why I keep

my place at this dark desk by the window
measuring the force of the wind, gauging

how long a certain cloud will hold that pink
edge that even now has slipped into gray?

Quickly the lights are appearing, a lamp
in every window and nests of stars

on the rooftops. Ladders lean against the hills
and people climb, rung by rung, into the night.

"On the Shortest Days" by Joyce Sutphen from Modern Love & Other Myths. © Red Dragonfly Press, 2015. (buy now)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"the burning bushes have ignited, struck their book of matches..."


by Barbara Crooker

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What can l say, now that summer’s gone, with the weight of its heat,
its thick blanket of humidity, the cacophony of zinnias, marigolds, salvia?
Now the sky is clear blue and cloudless, that sure one-note
that can only mean October. You’re gone. The leaves turn gold
in the calendar’s rotisserie, giving up their green, and the burning bushes
have ignited, struck their book of matches. It’s enough to make the heart break,
isn’t it? We keep going down the one road, there’s no turning back.

"Now" by Barbara Crooker from Small Rain. © Purple Flag Press, 2014.  (buy now)

Monday, October 05, 2015

And Now it's October

And Now it's October
by Barbara Crooker

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the golden hour of the clock of the year. Everything that can run
to fruit has already done so: round apples, oval plums, bottom-heavy
pears, black walnuts and hickory nuts annealed in their shells,
the woodchuck with his overcoat of fat. Flowers that were once bright
as a box of crayons are now seed heads and thistle down. All the feathery
grasses shine in the slanted light. It’s time to bring in the lawn chairs
and wind chimes, time to draw the drapes against the wind, time to hunker
down. Summer’s fruits are preserved in syrup, but nothing can stopper time.
No way to seal it in wax or amber; it slides though our hands like a rope
of silk. At night, the moon’s restless searchlight sweeps across the sky.

"And Now it's October" by Barbara Crooker from Small Rain. © Purple Flag Press, 2014. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"hold our breaths at the sudden beauty..."


by Athena Kildegaard

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We drove across high prairie,
the Mississippi behind us,
nothing ahead for miles
but sky,

a loamy sky, thick enough
to put a trowel into,
but off to the south
clouds pulled

away from one another
as if to stand back
take a long look,
and in that

space what light was left
of the sun
already gone below
the horizon

flowed up and held there
and we did too 

"Untitled" by Athena Kildegaard from Cloves & Honey. © Nodin Press, 2012. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)