“Vespers (End of August)” by Louise Glück

End of August. Heat
like a tent over
John’s garden. And some things
have the nerve to be getting started,
clusters of tomatoes, stands
of late lilies—optimism
of the great stalks—imperial
gold and silver: but why
start anything
so close to the end?
Tomatoes that will never ripen, lilies
winter will kill, that won’t
come back in spring. Or
are you thinking
I spend too much time
looking ahead, like
an old woman wearing
sweaters in summer;
are you saying I can
flourish, having
no hope
of enduring? Blaze of the red cheek, glory
of the open throat, white,
spotted with crimson.

 

from The Wild Iris
Copyright 1992 by Ecco Press

 

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This week of Words is being hosted by poet Brian Dean Powers. We hope you enjoy his selections. Brian shares his poetry at The Body’s Heated Speech. I hope you will stop by to say hello. Thank you, Brian, for your support and for the beautiful Words. ~ Christy

 

“When they come back” by Emily Dickinson

When they come back — if Blossoms do —
I always feel a doubt
If Blossoms can be born again
When once the Art is out —

When they begin, if Robins may,
I always had a fear
I did not tell, it was their last Experiment
Last Year,

When it is May, if May return,
Had nobody a pang
Lest in a Face so beautiful
He might not look again?

If I am there — One does not know
What Party — One may be
Tomorrow, but if I am there
I take back all I say —

from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Copyright 1976 by Little, Brown and Company

Video: Song setting by Aaron Copland, sung by Sanford Sylvan with David Kreitman on piano.

Copland wrote this song before the publication of the Thomas H. Johnson edition, the first to offer Emily Dickinson’s poems with correct texts. Copland’s version therefore is somewhat different from what Dickinson actually wrote.

 

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This week of Words is being hosted by poet Brian Dean Powers. We hope you enjoy his selections. Brian shares his poetry at The Body’s Heated Speech. I hope you will stop by to say hello. Thank you, Brian, for your support and for the beautiful Words. ~ Christy

“Fabric” by Bruce Snider

What the lawyers didn’t say
was that neither of you
had a choice once you saw how small
he was, once you heard his narrow
shoulders speak to you about the frail
architecture of his rib cage,
about the delicate, finely scooped bowl
of his skull, about how in this life
there are so few chances
to dominate another man,
even a young man like this
who’d probably known a hundred bullies
like you, sporting their father’s
army jackets and crooked teeth.
And you knew that,
which is why you were there
that night drinking in a bar
in a place like any other place
where clouds move like shadows
and weakness is a badge
no man wears when he walks
out into the street. And so you never
had a choice. It was either
beat him and leave him by the field
or forget the fabric
of his shirt was as thin
as what separates you
from becoming him. It was either
beat him and leave him by the field
or take him in your arms
and lift him off that fence, take him
and ease him to the frozen earth, take him
and feel his skin against
your skin, your cheek
against his cheek, this young man
you’ve come to murder
in a field, take him, please
just take him in your arms.

from The Year We Studied Women
Copyright 2003 by University of Wisconsin Press

Author’s Note: “Fabric is addressed to Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, who murdered Matthew Shepard in Wyoming in 1998.”

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This week of Words is being hosted by poet Brian Dean Powers. We hope you enjoy his selections. Brian shares his poetry at The Body’s Heated Speech. I hope you will stop by to say hello. Thank you, Brian, for your support and for the beautiful Words. ~ Christy

“Freedom” by William Stafford

Freedom is not following a river.
Freedom is following a river
     though, if you want to.

It is deciding now by what happens now.
It is knowing that luck makes a difference.

No leader is free; no follower is free–
     the rest of us can often be free.
Most of the world are living by
creeds too odd, chancy, and habit-forming
     to be worth arguing about by reason.

If you are oppressed, wake up about
four in the morning; most places
you can usually be free some of the time
     if you wake up before other people.

from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems
Copyright 1998 by Graywolf Press

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This week of Words is being hosted by poet Brian Dean Powers. We hope you enjoy his selections. Brian shares his poetry at The Body’s Heated Speech. I hope you will stop by to say hello. Thank you, Brian, for your support and for the beautiful Words. ~ Christy

“No More Than This, Provincetown” by Richard Blanco

Today, home is a cottage with morning
in the yawn of an open window. I watch
the crescent moon, like a wind-blown sail,
vanish. Blue slowly fills the sky and light
regains the trust of wildflowers blooming
with fresh spider webs spun stem to stem.
The room rises with the toasting of bread,
a stick of butter puddling in a dish, a knife
at rest, burgundy apples ready to be halved,
a pint of blueberries bleeding on the counter,
and little more than this. A nail in the wall
with a pair of disembodied jeans, a red jersey,
and shoes embossed by the bones of my feet
and years of walking. I sit down to breakfast
over the nicks of a pinewood table and I am,
for a moment, not afraid of being no more
than what I hear and see, no more than this:
the echo of bird songs filling an empty vase,
the shadow of a sparrow moving through
the shadow of a tree, disturbing nothing.

 

from Directions to the Beach of the Dead
Copyright 2005 by University of Arizona Press

 

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This week of Words is being hosted by poet Brian Dean Powers. We hope you enjoy his selections. Brian shares his poetry at The Body’s Heated Speech. I hope you will stop by to say hello. Thank you, Brian, for your support and for the beautiful Words. ~ Christy