Once upon a time, I selected three poems that struck me with their musicality. I typed the poems on the same page—each one being fairly short—and hung the page in plain sight. My intention: memorize each one. It’s been a long time since I did that, and I can’t say my recall is perfect, so this post is a way to share them with you and remind myself they are memory-worthy. I shall try again. Do you hear the music?
Place by W. S. Merwin
On the last day of the world
I would want to plant a tree
not for the fruit
the tree that bears the fruit
is not the one that was planted
I want the tree that stands
in the earth for the first time
with the sun already
and the water
touching its roots
in the earth full of the dead
and the clouds passing
one by one
over its leaves.
Delta by Adrienne Rich
If you have taken this rubble for my past
raking through it for fragments you could sell
know that I long ago moved on
deeper into the heart of the matter.
If you think you can grasp me, think again:
my story flows in more than one direction
a delta springing from the riverbed
with its five fingers spread.
Hirokoji Plaza, a print by Hiroshige by David Campbell
Late afternoon, a muggy day,
the park, a fall of puppet-wire rain,
the ginger smell of gravel getting wet,
a nearby sky, a sign that says
No infinite longings, please.
Don’t wander past the lantern houses, sudsy trees.
You’re tired; stay right here
and watch the gravel darken chip by chip.
To enjoy more poetry, which feeds the soul (whatever soul means to you), visit the Poetry Foundation.
Your writer on the wing,
- Tomorrow, watch for another post in my Fundamentalist Friday series.