Saturday, December 15, 2007


Some More Short Poems


After the passing of irresistible
music you must learn to make
do with a dripping faucet,
rain or sleet on the roof,
eventually snow,
a cat's sigh,
the spherical notes that float
down from Aldebaran,
your cells as they part,
craving oxygen.

-- Jim Harrison

* * *

"The Bomb"

Murder in the lithosphere.
Clay burst from the rock,
fire flowed from the clay.

At the base of the crater
a naked, tender, loving
frog's heart
still beats.

-- Mitroslav Holub
(Translated from the Czech by David Young and Dana Habova)

* * *


Early morning corn
shock quick river
edge ice crack duck

Grasses' dry membranous
breaks tick-tack tiny
wind strips

-- Lorine Niedecker

* * *


Nothing has a name it can't
slip out of. The waterfall is solid ice
by late November; the white pines
vanish under snow that's
blue in the morning, pink in the dusk.

Here's a little bouquet -- ice
and evergreen and sun, three moments
arranged for human looking,
though it's only the husks of their names
that I've gathered and paralyzed.

-- Chase Twitchell

* * *


Who said to the trout,
You shall die on Good Friday
To be food for a man
And his pretty lady?

It was I, said God,
Who formed the roses
In the delicate flesh
And the tooth that bruises.

-- R. S. Thomas

* * *

"Old Age"

As my future
grows shorter
the past
when summoned
converted into now
traps me in its nets.

-- Claribel Alegria
(Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden)

* * *


it's night and Tom
comes in and says,
"It's pouring buckets
out," his blond hair
diamond-dusted with
raindrop fragments.

-- James Schuyler

* * *

"sunrise like a radish"

sunrise like a radish
pulled up beneath us

this is the god Ra
the orisons of Osiris

lustrations of iris
living white samite

-- shine upon shine
sheen through sheen

-- Ronald Johnson

* * *

"The Attic"

Her brain is an attic where things
were stored over the years.

From time to time her face appears
in the little windows near the top of the house.

The sad face of someone who has been locked up
and forgotten about.

-- Raymond Carver

* * *

"A Mayan Astronomer in Hell's Kitchen"
9th Avenue and West 48th street, New York,
October 1998

Above the deli in Hell's Kitchen where the fire erupted,
above the firefighters charging with hoses like great serpents,
above the fingerprints of smoke smearing the night,
above the crowd calling his name with tilted faces,
avove the fire truck and its ladder reaching for him,

a man leaned elbows on the third-floor fire escape,
bronze skin, black hair in a braid, leather jacket,
with a grin for the firefighters
bellowing at the crowds to stand back,
a Mayan astronomer in Hell's Kitchen
watching galaxies spiral in the fingerprints of smoke,
smoking a cigarette.

-- Martin Espada

* * *


Gold stillness of September:
upstairs, in a small room,
the world fades away.
Slant light, bedclothes
in a tangled heap.

Night trails past,
its velvet hem
rustling in the dewy grass.
At your window,
a white face vanishes.

-- Jan Zwicky

* * *

"Not Writing"

A wasp rises to its papery
nest under the eaves
where it daubs

at the gray shape,
but seems unable
to enter its own house.

-- Jane Kenyon

* * *

"The Edge of the World"

I light the lamp and look at my watch.
Four-thirty. Tap out my shoes
because of the scorpions, and go out
into the field. Such a sweet night.
No moon, but urgent stars. Go back inside
and make hot chocolate on my butane burner.
I search around with the radio through
the skirl of the Levant. "Tea for Two"
in German. Finally, Cleveland playing
the Rams in the rain. It makes me feel
acutely here and everybody somewhere else.

-- Jack Gilbert

* * *


Light hosanna'd in the mirrors.
We were double, multiple; but our quadrille
ended when you bowed and faded.

This evening in you walked -- foot-sore, apologetic.
A ministrel, out of tune.
The sun had gone, the room was brown

through the rattan blinds,
and I'm no coy languisher, no Penelope.
I'd done my scribbling in the book of you.

-- Anne Rouse

* * *

"Thundering Beat of Hummingbird Wings"

All around us: migration,
the great pull of catharsis,
the rising of the daffodil
and out, to the sea of disaster,

the crisp purple leaf, the
final dust, a crimping
curl of drought. No doubt,
a rummaging hush to menacing

cold, the sudden season, the thundering
beat of hummingbird wings.

-- Lorna Dee Cervantes

* * *


It is December and no birds sing.
Empty nests hang like ornaments in the trees.
My dog moves along the winding path,
stopping occasionally to test his nose
on a naked branch, and when I call to him,
fearing he has strayed too far,
I watch the name I gave him years ago
sing through his bones and for a moment
he hesitates, the animal in him
wanting to go further into these woods
where names, words, won't reach.

--Chris Banks

* * *

"Ghetto Funeral"

Followed by his lodge, shabby men stumbling over the cobblestones,
and his children, faces red and ugly with tears, eyes and eyelids red,
in the black coffin in the black hearse the old man.

No longer secretly grieving
that his children are not strong enough to go the way he wanted to go
and was not strong enough.

-- Charles Reznikoff

* * *

"In March"

The snow melts,
exposing what was
buried there all winter:
tricycles and
fire engines and
all sizes of children
waiting in boots and
yellow mackintoshes
for the mud.

-- Anne Stevenson

* * *

"In the House"

Sometimes it is quiet throughout the night
And you learn in the morning that
The man in the next room
Died in his sleep.

But there is no shortage of applicants
For the room.

-- Ted Berrigan

* * *

"The Dead Do Not Want Us Dead"

The dead do not want us dead;
such petty errors are left for the living.
Nor do they want our mourning.
No gift to them -- not rage, not weeping.
Return one of them, any one of them, to the earth,
and look: such foolish skipping,
such telling of bad jokes, such feasting!
Even a cucumber, even a single anise seed; feasting.

September 15, 2001

--Jane Hirshfield

Great selection, Hedgie!
Hi Hedgie,

As a lover and writer of short poems, I second what C.E. Chaffin said.

Would you be interested in a free copy of my new chapbook, "Lank, Beak & Bumpy?" If you shoot me a snail mail address there's an author's copy with you name on it.
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