Archived Poems of the Month 2009 - 2010

Archived Poems for 2001-2002
Archived Poems for 2003-2004
Archived Poems for 2005-2006
Archived Poems for 2007-2008
Archived Poems for 2009-2010
January '09Once there was a temple here February '09The First Full-moon Night
March '09The First Spring Day April '09The Bridge from the Path
May '09spring is like a perhaps hand June '09Summer has two Beginnings
July '09Atavism August '09In August
September '09September Poem October '09Red Bird
November '09November Snow December '09To Juan at the Winter Solstice
January '10Orchard Trees, January February '10when the winter chrysanthemums go
March '10  April '10 
May '10  June '10 
July '10  August '10 
September '10  October '10 
November '10  December '10 


 
January 2009
 Once there was a temple here
ruins Once there was a temple here
With marble columns gleaming white
Once the gods themselves looked down
Upon these altars with delight.
Olympus climbs into the clouds
And mortals look up from below—
The hidden summit must have gods,
We do not just believe—we know.
columns But gods, it seems, are mortal too
And gods must die, as must we all
And temples, without gods, decay;
Abandoned columns soon will fall.
The people leave; the waters rise;
What was a marble floor, now grass;
The sunken statuary gaze,
And dumbly watch millennia pass.
column with frog Once the gods were worshipped here
Today the rulers here, the frogs
Control the fate of damsel-flies;
Athena’s columns for their logs.
The gods, it seems, cannot stop time
And Zeus himself must lose his crown
The land gives way to fish and frogs…
And turtles all the way down.
turtle
    —the Digital Cuttlefish
February 2009
 The First Full-moon Night
moon and lanterns Last year, in the First Full-moon Night,
At the Flower Market, lanterns were
As bright as day; when the moon
Came up on the top of the willows,
My love and I met after dusk.

This year, in the First Full-moon Night,
The moon and lanterns are the same as before.
But I do not see the one who
Was with me last year, and tears wet the
Sleeves of my spring gown.
    —Ou-yang Hsiu
March 2009
 The First Spring Day
sparrow in snow I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,
If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,
If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun
And crocus fires are kindling one by one:
     Sing, robin, sing;
I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring.
dogwoods I wonder if the Springtide of this year
Will bring another Spring both lost and dear;
If heart and spirit will find out their Spring,
Or if the world alone will bud and sing:
     Sing, hope, to me;
Sweet notes, my hope, soft notes for memory.
spring woods The sap will surely quicken soon or late,
The tardiest bird will twitter to a mate;
The Spring must dawn again with warmth and bloom,
Or in this world, or in the world to come:
     Sing, voice of Spring,
Till I too blossom and rejoice and sing.
    —Christina Georgina Rossetti

April 2009
 The Bridge from the Path
rail bridge over the Clinch river When the sun dips close to the western horizon,
The rays fall fully and brightly on the bridge.
The granite pilasters and the steel girders glow
As they reflect the glory!

The function of the bridge, to get the train
From one side of the river to the other,
Fades in the glory of the glow,
Silver, orange, and gray pearl!

Our heron soars against this glow,
Startling and sharp in the light,
Duplicating itself in the waters below,
And we gaze at the beauty!
    —Charles Davis

May 2009
 spring is like a perhaps hand
robin in a dogwood tree Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and from moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.
    —e.e.cummings



June 2009
 Summer has two Beginnings
pearly crescent butterfly Oct 16 "Summer has two Beginnings --
Beginning once in June --
Beginning in October
Affectingly again --

Without, perhaps, the Riot
But graphicker for Grace --
As finer is a going
Than a remaining Face --

Departing then -- forever --
Forever -- until May --
Forever is deciduous
Except to those who die --"
    —Emily Dickinson

July 2009
  Atavism
green heron in pond I always was afraid of Somes's Pond:
Not the little pond, by which the willow stands,
Where laughing boys catch alewives in their hands
In brown, bright shallows; but the one beyond.
There, when the frost makes all the birches burn
Yellow as cow-lilies, and the pale sky shines
Like a polished shell between black spruce and pines,
Some strange thing tracks us, turning where we turn.

You'll say I dream it, being the true daughter
Of those who in old times endured this dread.
Look! Where the lily-stems are showing red
A silent paddle moves below the water,
A sliding shape has stirred them like a breath;
Tall plumes surmount a painted mask of death.
    —Elinor Wylie

August 2009
 In August
HEAT urges secret odors from the grass.
Blunting the edge of silence, crickets shrill.
Wings veer: inane needles of light, and pass.
Laced pools: the warm wood-shadows ebb and fill.
The wind is casual, loitering to crush
The sun upon his palate, and to draw
Pungence from pine, frank fragrances from brush,
Sucked up through thin grey boughs as through a straw.
Moss-green, fern-green and leaf and meadow-green
Are broken by the bare, bone-colored roads,
Less moved by stirring air than by unseen
Soft-footed ants and meditative toads.
Summer is passing, taking what she brings:
Green scents and sounds, and quick ephemeral wings.
    —Babette Deutsch

September 2009
 September Poem

The goldenrod is yellow,
The corn is turning brown,
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down;

The gentian’s bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun;

The sedges flaunt their harvest
In every meadow nook,
And asters by the brookside
Make asters in the brook;
From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes’ sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies–

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.
    —Helen Hunt Jackson

October 2009
 Red Bird
Red bird came all winter
firing up the landscape
as nothing else could.

Of course I love the sparrows,
those dun-colored darlings
so hungry and so many.

I am a God-fearing feeder of birds.
I know He has many children,
not all of them bold in spirit.

Still, for whatever reason —
perhaps because the winter is so long
and the sky so black-blue,

or perhaps because the heart narrows
as often as it opens —
I am glad

that red bird comes all winter,
firing up the landscape
as nothing else can do.
    —Mary Oliver

November 2009
 November Snow
The first to fall is the first to go.
Earth wears its mantle damp and chill —
Patina of November snow.

Leaves raged with fire just days ago —
Now grays, ash browns, pale yellows tell
The first to fall are the first to go.

Remains of harvest in desolate row
Brace for the final winter kill
Beneath their shroud of November snow.

The rakes now dry, the plow and hoe
Await Spring’s promise to fulfill —
The first to fall are the first to go.

Lit by the sky’s anemic glow
The pines are standing stiff and still,
Defiant of November snow.

In barns of silence wait those who know
What lies beneath the fields they till —
The first to fall are the first to go,
Together with November snow.
    —Joseph Pacheco

December 2009
To Juan at the Winter Solstice
There is one story and one story only
That will prove worth your telling,
Whether as learned bard or gifted child;
To it all lines or lesser gauds belong
That startle with their shining
Such common stories as they stray into.

Is it of trees you tell, their months and virtues,
Or strange beasts that beset you,
Of birds that croak at you the Triple will?
Or of the Zodiac and how slow it turns
Below the Boreal Crown,
Prison to all true kings that ever reigned?

Water to water, ark again to ark,
From woman back to woman:
So each new victim treads unfalteringly
The never altered circuit of his fate,
Bringing twelve peers as witness
Both to his starry rise and starry fall.

Or is it of the Virgin's silver beauty,
All fish below the thighs?
She in her left hand bears a leafy quince;
When, with her right hand she crooks a finger, smiling,
How many the King hold back?
Royally then he barters life for love.

Or of the undying snake from chaos hatched,
Whose coils contain the ocean,
Into whose chops with naked sword he springs,
Then in black water, tangled by the reeds,
Battles three days and nights,
To be spewed up beside her scalloped shore?

Much snow if falling, winds roar hollowly,
The owl hoots from the elder,
Fear in your heart cries to the loving-cup:
Sorrow to sorrow as the sparks fly upward.
The log groans and confesses:
There is one story and one story only.

Dwell on her graciousness, dwell on her smiling,
Do not forget what flowers
The great boar trampled down in ivy time.
Her brow was creamy as the crested wave,
Her sea-blue eyes were wild
But nothing promised that is not performed.
    —Robert Graves

January 2010
 Orchard Trees, January
It's not the case, though some might wish it so
Who from a window watch the blizzard blow

White riot through their branches vague and stark,
That they keep snug beneath their pelted bark.

They take affliction in until it jells
To crystal ice between their frozen cells,

And each of them is inwardly a vault
Of jewels rigorous and free of fault,

Unglimpsed until in May it gently bears
A sudden crop of green-pronged solitaires.
    —Richard Wilbur

February 2010
 when the winter chrysanthemums go
When the winter chrysanthemums go,
there's nothing to write about
but radishes.
    —Bashou


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