Poem of the Day

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A Primer of the Daily Round by Howard Nemerov


A peels an apple, while B kneels to God,

C telephones to D, who has a hand

On E's knee, F coughs, G turns up the sod

For H's grave, I do not understand

But J is bringing one clay pigeon down

While K brings down a nightstick on L's head,

And M takes mustard, N drives into town,

O goes to bed with P, and Q drops dead,

R lies to S, but happens to be heard

By T, who tells U not to fire V

For having to give W the word

That X is now deceiving Y with Z,

Who happens just now to remember A

Peeling an apple somewhere far away.

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Night by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Into the darkness and the hush of the night

Slowly the landscape sinks, and fades away,

And with it fade the phantoms of the day,

The ghosts of men and things, that haunt the


The crowd, the clamor, the pursuit, the flight,

The unprofitable splendor and display,

The agitations, and the cares that prey

Upon our hearts, all vanish out of sight.

The better life begins; the world no more

Molests us; all its records we erase

From the dull common-place book of our lives,

That like a palimpsest is written o'er

With trivial incidents of time and place,

And lo! the ideal, hidden beneath, revives.

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Not to Sleep by Robert Graves


Not to sleep all the night long, for pure joy,

Counting no sheep and careless of chimes

Welcoming the dawn confabulation

Of birds, her children, who discuss idly

Fanciful details of the promised coming —

Will she be wearing red, or russet, or blue,

Or pure white?—whatever she wears, glorious:

Not to sleep all the night long, for pure joy,

This is given to a few but at last to me,

So that when I laugh and stretch and leap from bed

I shall glide downstairs, my feet brushing the carpet

In courtesy to civilized progression,

Though, did I wish, I could soar through the open window

And perch on a branch above, acceptable ally

Of the birds still alert, grumbling gently together.

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Quiet After the Rain of Morning by Joseph Trumbull Stickney


Quiet after the rain of morning

Midday covers the dampened trees;

Sweet and fresh in the languid breeze

Still returning

Birds are twittering at ease.


And to me in the far and foreign

Land as further I go and come,

Sweetly over the wearisome

Endless barren

Flutter whisperings of home.


There between the two hillocks lightens

Straight and little a bluish bar:

I feel the strain of the mariner

Grows and tightens

After home and after her.

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The Same Air - Al Zolynas


The same air

that moves

through me and you

through the waving branches

of the bronchial tree

through veins

through the heart

the same air

that fills balloons

that carries voices

full of lies and truths

and half-truths

that holds up the wings of butterflies

humming birds eagles hang gliders 747s

the same air

that sits like a dull relative

on humid lakes

in Minnesota in summer

the same air

trapped in vintage champagne

in old bicycle tires lost tennis balls

the air inside a vial in a sarcophagus

in a tomb in a pyramid

buried beneath the sand

the same air

inside your freezer

wrapping its cold arms

around your t.v. dinners

the same air that supports you

that supports me

the same air that moves through us

that we move through

the same air frogs croak with

cattle bellow with

monks meditate with and on

the same air we moan with

in pleasure or in pain

the breath I'm taking now

will be in China in two weeks

my lungs have passed an atom

of oxygen that passed through the lungs

of Socrates or Plato

or Lao-tsu or Buddha

or Walt Disney or Ronald Reagan

or a starving child in Somalia

or certainly you

you right here right now

yes certainly you

the same air

the very same air

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Up against the Sea by David Wagoner


At the foot of the cliff, the sea is taking back

what it left there long ago, and the landowners

have made a barricade of three old cars

between low and high tide and loaded them

with so many river stones, they've been weighed down

below their springs, below their shock absorbers.


The waves are breaking over the side panels,

on blurred teenage graffiti, and barnacles

and tougher limpets have made themselves at home

on mats and cushions, on the salt versions

of vinyl and rust. The sea is welcoming

all of them, as ever, as passengers

at the end of a lover's leap, at the beginning

of a joy ride down an old lover's lane again.

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Melancholy by Baron Wormser


Weakness—the pale succumbing to loneliness,

Refusing to admit anyone else, indulging

The blue perquisites of adolescence

Long past their sensible deliquescence.


He knew it but went on drinking and regretting,

Not calling his friends and regretting,

Making scenes over nothing and regretting.

It helped to make him despise himself,


Which was, he sensed, what he wanted. He was

Then, in his oblique way, at ease to wander

The city's brazen or quiet streets, conjuring

Random lives and how the slim arc

Of emotion was pulverized. Back home, he put

On some Monk, lay down, half-cried.

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Thistles by Ted Hughes


Against the rubber tongues of cows and the hoeing hands of men

Thistles spike the summer air

And crackle open under a blue-black pressure.


Every one a revengeful burst

Of resurrection, a grasped fistful

Of splintered weapons and Icelandic frost thrust up


From the underground stain of a decayed Viking.

They are like pale hair and the gutterals of dialects.

Every one manages a plume of blood.


Then they grow grey like men.

Mown down, it is a feud. Their sons appear

Stiff with weapons, fighting back over the same ground.

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The Layers by Stanley Kunitz


I have walked through many lives,

some of them my own,

and I am not who I was,

though some principle of being

abides, from which I struggle

not to stray.

When I look behind,

as I am compelled to look

before I can gather strength

to proceed on my journey,

I see the milestones dwindling

toward the horizon

and the slow fires trailing

from the abandoned camp-sites,

over which scavenger angels

wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe

out of my true affections,

and my tribe is scattered!

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.

In my darkest night,

when the moon was covered

and I roamed through wreckage,

a nimbus-clouded voice

directed me:

"Live in the layers,

not on the litter."

Though I lack the art

to decipher it,

no doubt the next chapter

in my book of transformations

is already written.

I am not done with my changes.

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Love Poem with Toast by miller Williams


Some of what we do, we do

to make things happen,

the alarm to wake us up, the coffee to perc,

the car to start.


The rest of what we do, we do

trying to keep something from doing something

the skin from aging, the *** from rusting,

the truth from getting out.


With yes and no like the poles of a battery

powering our passage through the days,

we move, as we call it, forward,

wanting to be wanted,

wanting not to lose the rain forest,

wanting the water to boil,

wanting not to have cancer,

wanting to be home by dark,

wanting not to run out of gas,


as each of us wants the other

watching at the end,

as both want not to leave the other alone,

as wanting to love beyond this meat and bone,

we gaze across breakfast and pretend.

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Musée Des Beaux Arts by W. H. Auden


About suffering they were never wrong,

The Old Masters: how well they understood

Its human position; how it takes place

While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;

How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting

For the miraculous birth, there always must be

Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating

On a pond at the edge of the wood:

They never forgot

That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course

Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot

Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse

Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.


In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away

Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may

Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,

But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone

As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green

Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen

Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,

Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

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Naming for Love by Hayden Carruth


These are the proper names:

Limestone, tufa, coral rag,

Clint, beer stone, braystone,

Porphyry, gneiss, rhyolite,

Ironstone, cairngorm, circle stone,

Blue stone, chalk, box stone,

Sarsen, magnesia, brownstone,

Flint, aventurnine,

Soapstone, alabaster, basalt,

Slate, quartzite, ashlar,

Clunch, cob, gault, grit,

Buhrstone, dolomite,

Flagstone, freestone, sandstone,

Marble, shale, gabbro, clay,

Adamant, gravel, traprock,

And of course brimstone.


Some of the names are shapes:

Crag, scarp, moraine, esker,

Alp, hogback, ledge, tor,

Cliff, boulder, crater,

Gorge, and bedrock.


Some denote uses:

Keystone, capstone,

Hearthstone, whetstone,

And gravestone.


For women a painful stone called

Wombstone, which doctors say is

"A calculus formed in the uterus."

Gallstone and kidneystone hurt everyone.

Millstone is our blessing.


I will not say the names

Of the misnamed precious stones.


But a lovely name is gold,

A product of stone.


Underwards is magma;

May all who read this live long.

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My Sweetest Lesbia by Thomas Campion


My sweetest Lesbia, let us live and love,

And though the sager sort our deeds reprove,

Let us not weigh them. Heaven's great lamps do dive

Into their west, and straight again revive,

But soon as once set is our little light,

Then must we sleep one ever-during night.


If all would lead their lives in love like me,

Then bloody swords and armor should not be;

No drum nor trumpet peaceful sleeps should move,

Unless alarm came from the camp of love.

But fools do live, and waste their little light,

And seek with pain their ever-during night.


When timely death my life and fortune ends,

Let not my hearse be vexed with mourning friends,

But let all lovers, rich in triumph, come

And with sweet pastimes grace my happy tomb;

And Lesbia, close up thou my little light,

And crown with love my ever-during night.

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Andy Warhol for Familiar Quotations

by Peter Oresick


Andy Warhol said, Always leave them wanting less.

Being born, Warhol said, is like being kidnapped.

Everyone will be famous, Andy said, for 15 minutes.

I thought everyone was just kidding, said Andy.


Being born, Andy Warhol said, is like being kidnapped.

Think rich, said Warhol, look poor.

I thought everyone was just kidding, said Andy.

Dying, Andy said, is the most embarrassing thing.


Think rich, said Andy Warhol, look poor.

I am a deeply superficial man, said Warhol.

Dying, Andy said, is the most embarrassing thing.

Andy said, I'd like my tombstone to be blank.


I am a deeply superficial man, said Andy Warhol.

Fashions fade, Warhol said, but style is eternal.

Andy said, I'd like my tombstone to be blank.

Isn't life, said Andy, a series of images that repeat?


Fashions fade, Andy Warhol said, but style is eternal.

Everyone will be famous, Warhol said, for 15 minutes.

Isn't life, said Andy, a series of images that repeat?

Andy said, Always leave them wanting less.


Isn't life, said Andy, a series of images that repeat?

Isn't life, said Andy, a series of images that repeat?


Always leave them wanting less, Andy said.

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