- 1.Poetry Thursday!
- 2.Poetry Thursday!
- 3.Poetry almost Thursday, Thanksgiving Edition
- 4.The first day of December, Poetry Thursday
- 5.Boy At the Window — Poetry Thursday
- 6.A Poem About Evolution — Poetry Thursday
- 7.Like Snow – Poetry Thursday
- 8.The Peace of Wild Things – Poetry Thursday
- 9.Rain – Poetry Thursday
- 10.The Real Work – Poetry Thursday
- 11.To The River – Poetry Thursday
- 12.A Beautiful Poem About Internal Darkness
- 13.Poetry Thursday – School Prayer
- 14.Poetry Thursday – Genius
- 15.Poetry Thursday – Soon This Space Will Be Too Small
- 16.A Poem from Stephen Harrod Buhner
- 17.To Bless the Space Between Us – Poetry Thursday!
- 18.Poetry Thursday – A Quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- 19.Poetry Thursday – Sarah Cleghorn
- 20.On a Tree Fallen Across the Road by Robert Frost
- 21.A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman
- 22.My Will by Lorna Goodison
- 23.Going Away – A Poem from the Quechua
- 24.Blessing by John O’Donohue
- 25.The Trouble with Poetry by Billy Collins
- 26.Wild Geese by Wendell Berry
- 27.Silence of the Fall by Louisa Paulin
- 28.Poetry Thursday – Karl Ove Knausgaard
- 29.Snow Day by Billy Collins – Poetry Thursday
- 30.Winter Solstice by Jodi Aliesan – Poetry Thursday
- 31.A Brief For The Defense by Jack Gilbert
- 32.Lost by David Wagoner
- 33.Fiddling with the Idiot by Hafiz
- 34.The Sixth of January by David Budbill
- 35.Two Tramps in Mud Time by Robert Frost
- 36.What We Need is Here by Wendell Berry
- 37.Keep Moving Forward by Mitchell Greenwood
- 38.When I am Among the Trees by Mary Oliver
- 39.Praying by Mary Oliver
- 40.Thirst by Mary Oliver
- 41.Blueberries by Mary Oliver
- 42.The Sycamore by Wendell Berry
- 43.Jealous Hearing Someone Laugh by Hafiz
- 44.Advice to Myself by Louise Erdrich
- 45.Egg by C.G. Hanzlicek
- 46.The Broken Gourd by Wendell Berry
- 47.Another Spring by Kenneth Rexroth
- 48.Poetry Thursday – the Visionary Paintings of Paul Laffoley
- 49.Two Poems by Mary Oliver
- 50.What If? A poem by Ganga White
- 51.See No Evil by Billy Collins
- 52.We Who Prayed and Wept by Wendell Berry
- 53.Holy Thursday by William Blake
- 54.Woman by Nikki Giovanni
- 55.Choices by Nikki Giovanni
- 56.A Quote from Hafiz
- 57.The First by Wendell Berry
- 58.Excerpt for an Improvised Speech by Robert F. Kennedy
- 59.Riding Lesson by Henry Taylor
- 60.Messenger by Mary Oliver
- 61.In Rain by Wendell Berry
- 62.A Poetry Thursday with Rumi
- 63.Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye
- 64.Sometimes by David Whyte
- 65.Having it Out with Melancholy by Jane Kenyon
- 66.After an Illness, Walking the Dog by Jane Kenyon
- 67.Admit Something by Hafiz
- 68.Turtle Mountain Reservation by Louise Erdrich
- 69.The Layers by Stanley Kunitz
- 70.Martian Rose by Stuart Atkinson
- 71.To The Unseeable Animal by Wendell Berry
- 72.Open the Door or Die by Hafiz
- 73.Paradox of Noise by Gunilla Norris
- 74.Out of the Mouth of a Thousand Birds by Hafiz
A haunting poem from a onetime New Hampshire poet laureate…
Having it Out with Melancholy
by Jane Kenyon
“If many remedies are prescribed
for an illness, you may be certain
that the illness has no cure.”
-A. P. CHEKHOV
The Cherry Orchard
1 FROM THE NURSERY
When I was born, you waited
behind a pile of linen in the nursery,
and when we were alone, you lay down
on top of me, pressing
the bile of desolation into every pore.
And from that day on
everything under the sun and moon
made me sad—even the yellow
wooden beads that slid and spun
along a spindle on my crib.
You taught me to exist without gratitude.
You ruined my manners toward God:
“We’re here simply to wait for death;
the pleasures of earth are overrated.”
I only appeared to belong to my mother,
to live among blocks and cotton undershirts
with snaps; among red tin lunch boxes
and report cards in ugly brown slipcases.
I was already yours—the anti-urge,
the mutilator of souls.
Elavil, Ludiomil, Doxepin,
Norpramin, Prozac, Lithium, Xanax,
Wellbutrin, Parnate, Nardil, Zoloft.
The coated ones smell sweet or have
no smell; the powdery ones smell
like the chemistry lab at school
that made me hold my breath.
3 SUGGESTION FROM A FRIEND
You wouldn’t be so depressed
if you really believed in God.
Often I go to bed as soon after dinner
as seems adult
(I mean I try to wait for dark)
in order to push away
from the massive pain in sleep’s
frail wicker coracle.
5 ONCE THERE WAS LIGHT
Once, in my early thirties, I saw
that I was a speck of light in the great
river of light that undulates through time.
I was floating with the whole
human family. We were all colors—those
who are living now, those who have died,
those who are not yet born. For a few
moments I floated, completely calm,
and I no longer hated having to exist.
Like a crow who smells hot blood
you came flying to pull me out
of the glowing stream.
“I’ll hold you up. I never let my dear
ones drown!” After that, I wept for days.
6 IN AND OUT
The dog searches until he finds me
upstairs, lies down with a clatter
of elbows, puts his head on my foot.
Sometimes the sound of his breathing
saves my life—in and out, in
and out; a pause, a long sigh. . . .
A piece of burned meat
wears my clothes, speaks
in my voice, dispatches obligations
haltingly, or not at all.
It is tired of trying
to be stouthearted, tired
We move on to the monoamine
oxidase inhibitors. Day and night
I feel as if I had drunk six cups
of coffee, but the pain stops
abruptly. With the wonder
and bitterness of someone pardoned
for a crime she did not commit
I come back to marriage and friends,
to pink fringed hollyhocks; come back
to my desk, books, and chair.
Pharmaceutical wonders are at work
but I believe only in this moment
of well-being. Unholy ghost,
you are certain to come again.
Coarse, mean, you’ll put your feet
on the coffee table, lean back,
and turn me into someone who can’t
take the trouble to speak; someone
who can’t sleep, or who does nothing
but sleep; can’t read, or call
for an appointment for help.
There is nothing I can do
against your coming.
When I awake, I am still with thee.
9 WOOD THRUSH
High on Nardil and June light
I wake at four,
waiting greedily for the first
note of the wood thrush. Easeful air
presses through the screen
with the wild, complex song
of the bird, and I am overcome
by ordinary contentment.
What hurt me so terribly
all my life until this moment?
How I love the small, swiftly
beating heart of the bird
singing in the great maples;
its bright, unequivocal eye.