response in reverse to Auden’s “A Walk After Dark”

we find our minds turned
to minor categorizing, as of birds
or stars, planets, plants—
though we still would count ourselves young
we discover how set in our ways
and full enough of age

overfull of death and decay
(the broken always with us)
as another crisis enwraps the world—
we want to feel and do more
with no guilt about it
or being called hypocrite by the young

or worse, a Victorian, having passed
beyond the ability to impress them
with our decent, ordered lives—
so I find at dinner nothing
but exhausted, plummeting defeat
more clouds in the forecast

Playing with today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo.net. I used only the first three stanzas of Auden’s poem.

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on wanting to share “To Earthward”

a day of sudden hard light:
we’ve grown so tired
watercolor gray, so
with each visible sunbeam
we anticipate snow melting
on the verge, imagine the bee-
house warming and all green
pushing from the other side,
touch to touch, still seeking
wisdom’s communion
but tree-tough, immune
to frost, to blossom

You can read Frost’s “To Earthward” here.

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bookshop therapy

today: dazzle and overwhelm yourself
with riches of color, type, genre, taste,
the bargain-stickered tomes, deckle edges!
poetry of filigree border, fine paintings
that grace the scholarly set. smile
at brash color, mysteryromancesciencefiction,
the table’s strange mix, mash of dour classics
and modern beach read (bright tote on lower shelf).
close your ears to blaring country music, discounts!
endorsements, star wars toys and eager blurbs.
caress a spine, let fall the pages—or flip—inhale
vision, scene, mere arrangement of words an invitation
to your rain-bruised mind (heart, soul, whatever)
then come back to this desk and pretend
it was pure inspiration because you always knew
you couldn’t come out empty-handed

 

Guesswork

twenty-five years since I wrote what I know
about your ear, and the scar by your eyebrow—
what has changed now? not predicting what you’ll say
or the plaid and check shirts in shades of blue; not
my assuming the promise of your arms but

I hardly know myself in a photo ten years old
nor remember the clothes, shoes, hair—
what I might have said there to tide another day
and another, these eroding surfaces
we call trust, comfort, habit, love

what endures? and if the core remains
unknowable? yet as worth writing about
as when we were new to ourselves, to each other

How Poetry Saved My Life (in London)

in cars, airports, airplanes, trains

this tote carried me and my goods

in iambic pentameter, Wallace Stevens,

I wish that I might be a thinking stone

 

(to admire far-below surroundings

of fair-furrowed hay-gold,

corn-green fields: why

you prospered, why

Saxons wanted you)

 

holiday humanity at the wax-works

shouting and camera-flash but here

in his corner, Dickens, and yea verily

Shakespeare, standing

 

then after the kerfuffle over Baker Street

while hungry, footsore we rattled

in the packed train all subterranean

children on our way to who knows

where or why: a song of apple boughs

pasted on the wall, Dylan Thomas,

and I was green and carefree

under the new made clouds

and happy as the heart was long