“Tomorrow” by Dennis O’Driscoll (repost)

                     I

 

Tomorrow I will start to be happy.
The morning will light up like a celebratory cigar.
Sunbeams sprawling on the lawn will set
dew sparkling like a cut-glass tumbler of champagne.
Today will end the worst phase of my life.

 

I will put my shapeless days behind me,
fencing off the past, as a golden rind
of sand parts slipshod sea from solid land.
It is tomorrow I want to look back on, not today.
Tomorrow I start to be happy; today is almost yesterday.

 

                             II

 

Australia, how wise you are to get the day
over and done with first, out of the way.
You have eaten the fruit of knowledge, while
we are dithering about which main course to choose.
How liberated you must feel, how free from doubt:

 

the rise and fall of stocks, today’s closing prices
are revealed to you before our bidding has begun.
Australia, you can gather in your accident statistics
like a harvest while our roads still have hours to kill.
When we are in the dark, you have sagely seen the light.

 

                             III

 

Cagily, presumptuously, I dare to write 2018.
A date without character or tone. 2018.
A year without interest rates or mean daily temperature.
Its hit songs have yet to be written, its new-year
babies yet to be induced, its truces to be signed.

 

Much too far off for prophecy, though one hazards
a tentative guess—a so-so year most likely,
vague in retrospect, fizzling out with the usual
end-of-season sales; everything slashed:
your last chance to salvage something of its style.

Dennis O’Driscoll, “Tomorrow” from New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2004 by Dennis O’Driscoll. As published in Poetry magazine, July 1999.


Dennis O’Driscoll did not get to see 2018; he died (suddenly) December 24, 2012.

From his obituary at The Guardian:  “In the civil service you are assigned a grade. You know your status,” he told the Irish Times. “Whereas with poetry, you never retire and you never really know your grade – it will be assigned posthumously.”. 

Wishing you all a happy St. Patrick’s Day.
May you not postpone until tomorrow, that which you can choose to do today.
May the road rise to meet you, today, and the rest of your ‘morrows.
And may good hope walk with you through everything.
-Christy


“The Auld Triangle” by Glen Hansard and friends

“Gift” by Rabindranath Tagore (repost)

O my love, what gift of mine
Shall I give you this dawn?
A morning song?
But morning does not last long—
The heat of the sun
Wilts like a flower
And songs that tire
Are done.

O friend, when you come to my gate.
At dusk
What is it you ask?
What shall I bring you?
A light?

A lamp from a secret corner of my silent house?
But will you want to take it with you
Down the crowded street?
Alas,
The wind will blow it out.

Whatever gifts are in my power to give you,
Be they flowers,
Be they gems for your neck
How can they please you
If in time they must surely wither,
Crack,
Lose lustre?
All that my hands can place in yours
Will slip through your fingers
And fall forgotten to the dust
To turn into dust.

Rather,
When you have leisure,
Wander idly through my garden in spring
And let an unknown, hidden flower’s scent startle you
Into sudden wondering—
Let that displaced moment
Be my gift.
Or if, as you peer your way down a shady avenue,
Suddenly, spilled
From the thick gathered tresses of evening
A single shivering fleck of sunset-light stops you,
Turns your daydreams to gold,
Let that light be an innocent
Gift.

Truest treasure is fleeting;
It sparkles for a moment, then goes.
It does not tell its name; its tune
Stops us in our tracks, its dance disappears
At the toss of an anklet
I know no way to it—
No hand, nor word can reach it.
Friend, whatever you take of it,
On your own,
Without asking, without knowing, let that
Be yours.
Anything I can give you is trifling—
Be it a flower, or a song.

Rabindranath Tagore

*Originally shared 5/29/15.

(I found this poem via the internet, but there is a Complete Works currently available at Amazon for Kindle for only $1.99.)

“February 14” by Kim Addonizio (repost)

This is a valentine for the surgeons
ligating the portal veins and hepatic artery,
placing vascular clamps on the vena cava
as my brother receives a new liver.

And a valentine for each nurse;
though I don’t know how many there are
leaning over him in their gauze masks,
I’m sure I have enough—as many hearts

as it takes, as much embarrassing sentiment
as anyone needs. One heart
for the sutures, one for the instruments
I don’t know the names of,

and the monitors and lights,
and the gloves slippery with his blood
as the long hours pass,
as a T-tube is placed to drain the bile.

And one heart for the donor,
who never met my brother
but who understood the body as gift
and did not want to bury or burn that gift.

For that man, I can’t imagine how
one heart could suffice. But I offer it.
While my brother lies sedated,
opened from sternum to groin,

I think of a dead man, being remembered
by others in their sorrow, and I offer him
these words of praise and gratitude,
oh beloved whom we did not know.

Kim Addonizio, from What Is This Thing Called Love. © W.W. Norton, 2004.

 

*Originally shared 2/14/18.

“What Do Women Want?” by Kim Addonizio

I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what’s underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I’m the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
it’ll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

“What Do Women Want?” by Kim Addonizio from Tell Me (BOA Editions Ltd.)

originally posted: 6/14/14


“If Love is a Red Dress (Hang Me in Rags) by Maria McKee

“Freedom” by William Stafford (repost)

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

***

Originally posted May 26, 2016; Brian Dean Powers included this piece during “Words With Brian” (his week of “hosting” Words for the Year). See his other selections here.