Sunday, March 01, 2009


Some Poems Fewer Than 10 Lines Long

"Poem About Crystal"

Look at it, stare
into the crystal because
it will tell you, not
the future, no, but
the quality of crystal,
clarity's nature,
teach you the stricture
of uncut, utterly
uncluttered light.

-- Robert Bringhurst

* * *

"The grain of the wood"

The grain of the wood
tidemarks on the beach

The spark inside my ribcage
leaping at your voice
under my skin  and away in the knuckley powder . . .

-- Jean Valentine

* * *

"History Lesson"

I think that Geoffrey Chaucer did not move
the way a modern person moves.
He moved only an inch at a time, in what
we call stop action.  Everyone in his day moved
like that, so they could be shot into a tapestry,
but also because time moved in short lurches
and was slightly jagged and had fewer colors
for them to be in.  But that was good.  Humanity
has to take it one step at a time.

-- Ron Padgett

* * *

"In The Sun"

It's nice to sunbathe naked
I never cared much for the flesh

Those rags never fooled me either
I go crazy about you naked

Don't let the sun caress you
Let's just love each other

Only please not here in the sun
Everything can be seen here dear bone

-- Vasko Popa
translated from the Serbian by Charles Simic

* * *

"Nude Studies"

They are separate as to arms and legs
Though occasionally joined in one place
As to what identity gives
You may question the opacity of the face.

Either man is made in the image of God
Or there is no such creature, only a cluster of cells
Which of these improbabilities is the less
You cannot, by the study of nudity, tell.

-- C. H. Sisson

* * *

"Message in the Fog"

Aim high
like the sequoias --
aspire to
our most wild diphthong,

one solitary
sooty grouse

-- Tom Clark

* * *

"On The Road"

Like an animal, frightened, on alien ground
a grasshopper or chameleon
on its way across the asphalt
between the blossoming verges

is how night after night
I can't avoid seeing you
when you stop, uncertain, trapped
by the beams of light from my dream.

-- Henrik Nordbrandt
translated from the Danish by Robin Fulton

* * *


All the washing on the line adds up to me alone.
When the cows go home and the golden plover calls
I bring it in, but leave pegged out at intervals
Dooaghtry Lake and David's Lake and Corragaun,
Gaps in the dunes, a sky-space for the lapwings
And the invisible whiteness of your underthings.

-- Michael Longley

* * *

"The Gods Watch Us Through The Window"

We sit at the table with the fourth side open,
the perfect family show.  Claire belts "Twinkle, Twinkle,"
How I wa wa (mumble) are!
We beam like stars.  Isn't she gifted?  Isn't life great?

What a large target we make.
The great dramas all begin like this:
a surfeit of happiness, a glass-smooth pond
just begging for a stone.

-- Beth Ann Fennelly

* * *

"The Secrets of Poetry"

Very long ago when the exquisite celadon bowl
that was the mikado's favorite cup got broken,
no one in Japan had the skill and courage
to mend it.  So the pieces were taken back
to China with a plea to the emperor
that it be repaired.  When the bowl returned,
it was held together with heavy iron staples.
The letter with it said they could not make it
more perfect.  Which turned out to be true.

-- Linda Gregg

* * *

"American Haiku"

Squirrels in my back
yard are never there
when I hold the hose.

-- Lorna Lee Cervantes

* * *


First memory
of swimming underwater:
eggs of frogs hanging in diaphanous clumps
from green lily pad stems;
at night in the tent I heard
the father of it all booming
and croaking in the reeds.

-- Jim Harrison

* * *

"Us Together"

I do not like anything the way I
like you in your underwear I like you
and in your party clothes o my in your
party clothes and with nothing on at all
you do not need to wear a thing at all
for me to like you and you may talk or
not talk I like you either way nothing
makes me feel so nearly at home on Earth
as just to be with you and say nothing.

-- George Johnston

* * *

"Hadrian's Villa"

The amphora is wrapped by a silent space
Like that autumn
Afternoon under the pines of Hadrian's villa

Time of fine sand closely measured
he centuries have toppled statues and walls
I'll be destroyed by fleeting years

But suddenly I recover the ancient
divinity of the air between the columns

-- Sophia de Mello Breyner
translated from the Portuguese by Richard Zenith

* * *

"In the Library of Poets' Recordings"

the dead speakers
we can hear
but the dead listeners
can not be retrieved

-- Anselm Hollo

* * *


It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddeon.  It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.

It could, you know.  That's why we wake
and look out -- no guarantees
in this life.

But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
like evening.

-- William Stafford

* * *

"The flower that repeats"

The flower that repeats
forget me not
from the rim of the ravine
has no colors happier or purer
than the space thrust between you and me.

A creaking lets loose, pulling us apart,
the overweaning blue won't reappear.
In haze you almost see, the cable car
takes me across, where it's already dark.

--Eugenio Montale
translated from the Italian by Jonathan Galassi

* * *

"The Kiss"

There's no such thing as an innocent kiss.
An act to be considered and acknowledged,
a kiss endures, has consequences --
so if you must kiss me, kiss me on my eyes,
so close I can't see anything wrong.

-- Ken Belford

* * *


above the grayblack wastes.
A tree-
high thought
grasps the light-tone:  there are
still songs to sing beyond

-- Paul Celan
translated from the German by Pierre Joris

* * *

"Best of any song"

Best of any song
is bird song
in the quiet, but first
you must have the quiet.

-- Wendell Berry

* * *


Weaned from moon
By whitening sky

The still cove
Swells as the tide fills

There is no quenching water's
Thirst for light

-- Daniel Hoffman

* * *
* * *

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?