The night is windless.
Empty, the roadway’s trail.
I wanted to speak,
But to whom, to whom?
—Arvid Mörne, from "The Night Is Windless" in Nordic Voices in Print (translated by David McDuff)
A solitary boat. At the tiller, a solitary man.
And all around, the empty bay.
Far out on the horizon some lonely islands stand,
Solemnly looming. In the world, autumn holds sway.
How pitiably small seem human griefs,
The sea and sky sublimely spacious.
A solitary boat. At the tiller, a solitary man
With nothing more to win or lose.
—Arvid Mörne, “A Boat in the Bay” in Nordic Voices in Print (translated by David McDuff)
charmed me like a prelude,
but so much music wounded me.
— Rainer Maria Rilke, from “Music”. The Complete French Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke. Graywolf Pr, 1986
into this poem the way
the fisherman’s wife knits
his death into the sweater.
— Gregory Orr, "The Sweater," from The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)
pebble put in the pocket or shell
fragments; any memento carries
us as much as we it. Time capsule
contains every evening’s interval.
The ocean observes its own puddle.
— Bill Knott, closing lines to “Fragments from the Beach,” from Maverick Magazine (No. 11, 2005)
In the sky with nothing else to do, a Saturday,
The slow knee-bend of an afternoon, out there.
I have seen them myself.
The birds caw down a rain, tease it
To a hard ground of grass and flat and edge …
To get way from the birds rain tries a mask:
It becomes snow, a show of wings, the flakes
Drunk moths in an aimless, cool wander.
Then it is ice, a trick again, rain …
And the rain is falling, it makes a sound
Until snow, which is itself, a sound,
Bigger and smaller than the moment before.
— Alberto Ríos, from “Common Crows in a Winter Tree,” in The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)
At her self. Sadness is like that,
Adding weight to a thing, to legs…
… This is a further exaggeration.
Sadness again is like that,
It learns you, she thinks,
Makes you heavy in those places exactly
You have dared think to be strong.
—Alberto Ríos, from “The Lime Orchard Woman” in The Lime Orchard Woman. Bronx: Sheep Meadow Press, 1988
low like the soul
of a world that failed.
— Steve Scafidi, closing lines to “Life Story of the Possible,” from For Love of Common Words: Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2006)
I once believed in heavenly clarity—
do you know how good it feels to sing
of certainty, the wild apricot
of the heart orange, large, full of reach
at day’s unlatch?
Inside the mouth, certainty
is a fruit breaking apart.
That is how good it feels:
We would have despised anyone
to keep our song.
—Katie Ford, “Choir” in VQR. Volume 90/1 Winter 2014