Dailies 7/22/17: 2 poems containing Albert Einstein, + coming home from vacation & the voice of things



Brendan McBreen – I feel like an egg

Albert Einstein

feeling its way toward light

a mole

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Jane Kenyon – Coming Home at Twilight in Late Summer

We turned into the drive,
and gravel flew up from the tires
like sparks from a fire. So much
to be done—the unpacking, the mail

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C. Wade Bentley – As Observed from a Stationary Picnic Table

Julia asked me why I didn’t come there anymore
to eat my lunch on the picnic table beside the statue
of Albert Einstein, each wild hair on his head
a masterpiece in marble, though clearly I was there

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Thomas Hardy – The Voice of Things

Forty years—aye, and several more—ago,
 ***When I paced the headlands loosed from dull employ,

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American Life in Poetry: Column 643



Here’s a lovely poem that imagines the afterlife by Emily Ransdell, who divides her time between Washington and the Oregon coast. This poem appeared first in The Cortland Review.

Bowling in Heaven

Like newlyweds,
my parents slip out of their clothes.
He puts aside the sweater I chose
for him, she undoes her pearls.

They rise up from their old ailments,
their fears of falling, broken hips
and other bad news.
Now they dance
barefoot in their living room,
go bowling on a whim.
They garden all day without pain,
calling out like songbirds,
come see the hollyhocks,
they have grown so tall!

Nights, they lie down
like dolls and their sleepless eyes
glide closed. They seem so eager
for morning, I pray they will find each other
again and again.

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2016 by Emily Ransdell, “Bowling in Heaven,” from The Cortland Review, (Issue 69, 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Emily Ransdell and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2017 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

Dailies 7/21/17: Pierre Bonnard’s dining room, an exciting horoscope, stories re: love, & a last love poem



Robert Cording – Outside the Door

—After Bonnard’s Dining Room in the Country

I am in Pierre Bonnard’s dining room
in Vernonnet, and I don’t want to leave.
It is commonplace and radiant.
The door fully open, both sides

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Jeannine Hall Gailey  – The Last Love Poem 

I am obsolete as my ancestors, the Appalachian glass blowers,

provoking fire over and over to produce their artifacts.

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Gerald Locklin – timing is everything

the horoscope this morning
really put me on my guard,
sent the adrenalin coursing
through my veins,

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Jason Schneiderman – Stories About Love / Wedding Poem for Ada & Lucas

In one story, the lovers are two halves
split by jealous gods, and in another story,

the lovers are victims of a wicked baby
with a bow and arrow. In one story,

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Dailies 7/20/17: wishing to love the world like a mother, watching movies in which someone throws a drink in someone else’s face, looking for personal conviction in ourselves, not wanting to see “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” on Spike TV



Ron Padgett – The Drink

I am always interested in the people in films who have just had a drink
thrown in their faces. Sometimes they react with uncontrollable rage,
but sometimes—my favorites—they do not change their expressions at
all. Instead they raise a handkerchief or napkin and calmly dab at the

Read rest of poem



Maggie Smith – Rain, New Year’s Eve


The rain is a broken piano,

playing the same note over and over.


My five year old said that.

Already she knows loving the world


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Tiana Clark – 800 Days: Libation

after not wanting to watch “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” on Spike TV

It rained inside me
it is raining inside my neck
the rain falls in sheets inside long sheets inside
all the rain is falling inside collapsing spit

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Thomas McCarthy – At Thoor Ballylee

If we could only find some personal conviction
In ourselves, not be as dispirited as a heavy soil
Or as inevitable as a tree; as unlearned as
An attitude of our fathers. If this heavy rain,
Which is really only vapours off the boil
And growing cold in Co. Galway, if this rain has
Any meaning other than itself, then a stain

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Is this poetry? “The Dems scream death as OCare dies!” 


Dr. Word Says: Trump Tries His Hand at Poetry – David Safier – The Range – 7/19/17

Safir comments on the 2nd sentence of Trump’s tweet:

“Did Trump intend the sentence to have a poetic ring, or was his phrasing borne of the necessity of keeping the message to 140 characters, which happens to be the exact length of the tweet? One might as well ask, is an especially evocative Haiku beautiful because the poet intended it to be so, or is the beauty of the poem an accident caused by the constraints of the seventeen syllable, five-seven-five form? Since I readily grant the author of a splendid haiku credit for the work, who am I to deny our president similar credit for the felicity of his phrasing?”

On the one hand, articles about Trump being a “poet” seem absurd. On the other hand, it may be worth while to study Trump’s patterns of speech and what poetic devices he does, consciously or not, use.  (Would Hillary Clinton have had a better chance at winning if she were a more poetic speaker? Barack Obama was a big poetry advocate, after all…. ) Perhaps college students majoring in political science might benefit from taking poetry courses….Just a thought.  Also see Robin Lakoff, Donald Trump, true American poet? Quartz, April 8, 2016 for an attempt to use poetry to explain Trump’s appeal.

“Political poetry can be the silliest and most pretentious of all.”


The Weekly Standard has an insightful piece on writing political poetry…something that’s difficult to do well.

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