Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunday Night Poetry X



Mother to Son

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor-
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t be no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back,
Don’t you set down on steps.
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now-
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Langston Huges

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The Ache of Marriage

The ache of marriage:
thigh and tongue, beloved,
are heavy with it,
it throbs in the teeth

We look for communion
and are turned away, beloved,
each and each

It is leviathan and we
in its belly
looking for joy, some joy
not to be known outside it

two by two in the ark of
the ache of it.

Dennis Levertov

-----------------------------------------

Choosing to Think of It

Today, ten thousand people will die
and their small replacements will bring joy
and this will make sense to someone
removed from any sense of loss.

I, too, will die a little and carry on,
doing some paperwork, driving myself
home. The sky is simply overcast,
nothing is any less than it was
yesterday or the day before. In short,
there's no reason or every reason
why I'm choosing to think of this now.

The short-lived holiness
true lovers know, making them unaccountable
xcept to spirit and themselves--suddenly
I want to be that insufferable and selfish,
that sharpened and tuned.

I'm going to think of what it means
to be an animal crossing a highway,
to be a human without a useful prayer
setting off on one of those journeys
we humans take. I don't expect anything
to change. I just want to be filled up
a little more with what exists,
tipped toward the laughter which understands
I'm nothing and all there is.

By evening, the promised storm
will arrive. A few in small boats
will be taken by surprise.
There will be survivors, and even they will die.



Stephen Dunn


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