Dailies 8/13/17: an abusive husband, an unknown neighbor, a lazy day, hedge-trimming, & hate


QUOTE OF THE DAY from Charles Simic, when talking about using his poetry “to convey how it feels living here and now in a country that has lost its way and may yet end up on the trash heap of history as so many empires have” — 

“‘We are fucked, Charlie,’ a neighbor told me and he didn’t have to explain to me what he meant. In the meantime, the lilacs have blossomed, the children are chasing each other and laughing in the school playground and I’m going for a nice long walk in the woods.”

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Simon Armitage – Privet

Because I’d done wrong I was sent to hell,
down black steps to the airless tombs
of mothballed contraptions and broken tools.
Piled on a shelf every daffodil bulb

Read rest of poem 


Maurice Harmon – In Good Times or In Bad 

In good times or in bad,
Hail, rain or shine,
Made use of what she had.

Read rest of poem 


Kate Light – Unknown Neighbor

Hi, she says, leaning on the railing.
What are you doing, homework?
Well, sort of, I say. I’m waiting for my friend.
I’m waiting for my heart, she says.

Read rest of poem 



Paul Laurence Dunbar – A Lazy Day

The trees bend down along the stream,
Where anchored swings my tiny boat.
The day is one to drowse and dream
And list the thrush’s throttling note.

Read rest of poem 

Poetry Diary:  

Brenda Hillman – Autumn Ritual with Hate Turned Sideways

  —i pull the hate
on a rope ladder to the resting zone…
***pull the A on down.

Read rest of poem 


(the following letter is from a 7th grader) –

dear brenda hillman from elle

Dear Brenda Hillman,

Today, it seems as though hate is lurking around every corner. I read your poem “Autumn Ritual with Hate Turned Sideways,” and I immediately thought it was so appropriate for the world we live in today.

Read rest of poem, plus Hillman’s response

Posted in response to yesterday’s events.


White supremacy: Are US right-wing groups on the rise?

Rattle poets respond to articles re: Kim Jong – Un & the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death


“Not a year goes by since August 1997 that there is not some sort of news coverage about Princess Diana’s death.”


When I say my mother cried once
as she watched the evening
news, the corn stood stalk-high.
The drought plaguing our following summer
had not yet hit. My father, sitting
“In the news this week were several stories about North Korea’s missiles and nuclear aspirations.”

Sonia Greenfield – DEAR KIM JONG-UN,

Do you work out? Because I’ve seen a lot of flexing
going on in state houses while the rest of us
are just trying to figure out what to feed our kids
when they want nothing but pizza, so we come up


(just trying to process today’s news.)

Lawson Fusao Inada – Everything

When the river rose that year, we were beside it
and ourselves with fear; not that it would do anything
to us, mind you—our hopes were much too high for that—
but there was always that remote, unacknowledged possibility
that we had thrown one stone too many, by the handful,
and that by some force of nature, as they called it,
it might rain and rain for days, as it had been,
with nothing to hold it and the structure back,
and with everything to blame, including children
on into late summer and all the years ahead,
when it would be ours to bear, to do much more with

Dailies 8/12/17: bears, love, a mechanical crane, restless sleep, & the Perseids Meteor Shower


Daily Poetry Quote: “I’d like to meet Emily Dickinson. I might say, ‘How do you do it, Emily?’ and she might say, ‘I don’t really know.’ It’s difficult often to intellectualize what one does. She obviously had a very quirky mindset, as most interesting poets do. They take a slightly skewed view of the world. They’re just wired differently.” – Paul Muldoon, “What I think: Paul Muldoon” – Jamie Saxon – Princeton University – July 14, 2017



Louis Jenkins – Black Bears

I like black bears. They are relatively common around
here, and they are usually not aggressive. Actually,
they are generally affable, loners mostly, but not
opposed to hanging out with humans now and then.

Read rest of poem 



David Hathwell –  During Restless Sleep a Scene of Remarkable Stillness

On the far side of a river,
holly lines the riverbank.
The leaves are lacquered tiles.

Read rest of poem 


Jen Hyde – The Construction of a Mechanical Crane


In a hangar in Baoshan Steel City
twenty miles northwest of Shanghai

a worker sleeps in a truck bed
beside machines. To come here is

Read rest of poem 


Alfred Lord Tennyson – Vivien’s Song

    ‘In Love, if Love be Love, if Love be ours,
Faith and unfaith can ne’er be equal powers:
Unfaith in aught is want of faith in all.

Read rest of poem 


How to See the 2017 Perseid Meteor Shower – Andrew Fazekas – National Geographic – August 11, 2017

Twyla Hansen – August 12 in the Nebraska Sand Hills Watching the Perseids Meteor Shower

In the middle of rolling grasslands, away from lights,
a moonless night untethers its wild polka-dots,
the formations we can name competing for attention
in a twinkling and crowded sky-bowl.

Read rest of poem 




American Life in Poetry: Column 646



Here’s a poem celebrating milkweed by Bradford Tice, whose most recent book of poetry is What the Night Numbered, from Trio House Press. Our Monarch butterfly population depends upon milkweed, and perhaps a few people who read this won’t chop down or pull up or poison one of these generous plants.


I tell myself softly, this is how love begins—
the air alive with something inconceivable,
seeds of every imaginable possibility
floating across the wet grasses, under
the thin arms of ferns. It drifts like snow
or old ash, settling on the dust of the roadways
as you and I descend into thickets, flanked
by the fragrance of honeysuckle and white

I recall how my grandmother imagined
these wanderers were living beings,
some tiny phylum yet to be classified as life.
She would say they reminded her of maidens
decked in white dresses, waltzing through air.
Even after I showed her the pods from which
they sprang, blossoming like tiny spiders,
she refused to believe.

Now, standing beside you in the crowded
autumn haze, I watch them flock, emerge from
brittle stalks, bursting upon the world as
young lovers do—trysting in the tall grasses,
resting fingers lightly in tousled hair.
Listen, and you can hear them whisper
in the rushes, gazing out at us, wondering—
what lives are these?

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 ©2013 by Bradford Tice, “Milkweed,” from Rare Earth, (New Rivers Press, 2013). Poem reprinted by permission of Bradford Tice 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 8/11/17: Falling, FaceTime, Labor Day,  Illocutionary Reels? No Worry!


Daily quote“I think the most important resource for poets are other poets. I think that all poets, more or less, belong to this tribe. When you find a fellow poet and you talk to them, you recognize them even if you’ve never met them. ” – Matthew Zapruder – Matthew Zapruder on how to write and read poemsThe Creative Independent – August 8 2017


Jane Attanucci – Falling

I’ve fallen many times:
the usual stumbles
over secret schoolgirl crushes,
head-over-heels for teen heartthrobs.
I loved them all.

Read rest of poem 



Jessica de Koninck – Labor Day

These hydrangea have turned all the colors of autumn.
Each an eye focused on the sofa, front door,
coffee table, and the window on the lake where the sky
drips melted beads into the water. The flowers

Read rest of poem 



Clint Smith – FaceTime

On another night
in a hotel
in a room
in a city
flanked by all

Read rest of poem 


Andrew Joron – Illocutionary Reels

• Die rolls, rules die.
• Reaper, repairer, here appear.

• Wear sorrow, noiseware.
• Ring, bring news from nowhere.

Read rest of poem 

Poetry Diary

I’ve got several friends in tough situations right now, and I’m trying not to over-worry about them.  And I’m trying not to worry about the threat of nuclear war.  And I’m trying not to worry about many other things.  So I liked this: 

Cole Swensen – No Worry

No, worry about nothing
but the chiseling
of hills into distance
in the slight haze



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