Tuesday, January 01, 2008

January 2008

This month features favorite poems by Mary Oliver and Marge Piercy

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

© Mary Oliver.

The Air Like Stained Glass Cuts Me

Lavender light through fretwork
of small panes, boughs,
burnt orange horizon
impaled on Protestant steeples.
Bach suite for unaccompanied
cello: passion and wisdom
wrestling, supple pythons.
I am unaccompanied.
The scaffolding of the maple
is stripped bare. The last
leaves perch in the plane
tree huddling like robins
that should have fled south.

Pinot chardonnay in the glass
we bought together, wine
whose roots grow from the soil
that bore you like a
sunflower. Pamela,
Pamela, there are no
good reasons for loss.
The miles between us are doors
you have slammed, thousands
of no’s cried
from deep in your spine.

I wanted my love to rest
on you light
as falling mapleleaves, I
wanted my love to warm
you softly as goosedown
as your body could breathe,
I wanted my love
to show you your face
in a mirror of gold
shining from inside
like the sun.

But you could not give
credence to love that did
not seize you by your nape shaking
you like the assault of a tomcat.
You were suspicious of love
that did not come dangling labels
like a janitor’s keys. You doubted
a love open to the sky
as any planted field.

The burning horizon
slowly tamps out and the snake’s
head of the needle strikes
blindly at record’s end.
But where you walk it is afternoon
still and time to remember,
to turn and speak to the woman
no longer at your side.

© Marge Piercy

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