Tag Archives: poetry friday

“Hard to Understand, But Easy to Love”

And if you’re lost enough to find yourself
By now, pull in your ladder road behind you
And put a sign up CLOSED to all but me.
-from “Directive” by Robert Frost

Kodak moved my family to Rochester when I was in second grade so that my father could work on their disc film project. Kodak was the biggest employer in our city then, for a long time. The company has shaped so much of the character of Rochester. It’s a city that loves photography and film, and it’s even in the small things, like the way so … Read the rest

“Things Were Simpler Then… You Ask Exactly When”

standing in the winter night
emptying the garbage and looking at the stars
you realize that although the odds are fantastically against you
when that single January shooting star
flung its wad in the maw of night
it was yours
-Chuck Miller in “In Celebration of Surviving

Tanita shared this poem earlier in the week, and it hit me the way anything about surviving does. I am not consistently great at living, but I am excellent at surviving. Anyone who knows me well will tell you I can handle anything, and I am pretty sure I can. Most … Read the rest

“I Might as Well Begin by Saying How Much I Like the Title”

Maybe it’s just me,
but the next stanza is where I start to have a problem.
I mean how can the evening bump into the stars?
And what’s an obbligato of snow?
Also, I roam the decaffeinated streets.
At that point I’m lost. I need help.

-from “Workshop” by Billy Collins

If you have ever been in a writing workshop, please click through to read the whole poem. You’ll smile; you’ll laugh; you’ll nod knowingly.

My English major had a focus in creative writing, which means I was in a workshop every semester I was an undergraduate, which … Read the rest

“I’m Going to Have a Couple of Beers and a Banana Nut Muffin”

How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
-from “The Layers” by Stanley Kunitz

“The Layers” is a poem about survival. One way to survive is to just power through everything, but that’s not what this narrator’s up to. Here, he takes a moment to stop and consider … Read the rest

“one human voice”

who would believe them winged
who would believe they could be

beautiful         who would believe
they could fall so in love with mortals

that they would attach themselves
as scars attach and ride the skin
-from “sorrows” by Lucille Clifton

Our local orchestra got a new musical director this year, and this past Saturday, I saw him conduct for the first time. I really liked our old musical director, so I was ready to not love the new guy. He was completely charming in the pre-concert chat, though, and then after the orchestra played the first piece (Fanny … Read the rest

“When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”

 When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
-Walt Whitman

Last night I spent some time playing around Star Walk on my iPhone making sure I … Read the rest

Poe Becomes a Lot More Disturbing After You’ve Lost a Spouse

   For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
         Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
   And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
         Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
   And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
   Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
         In the sepulchre there by the sea,
         In her tomb by the sounding sea.
-from “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe

The other day, Lucas told me that they’d be studying a poem by Edgar Allan Poe in English class at school. He seemed excited about it … Read the rest