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A Trilogy of Poetry: Three Favorites That Sing

By: Pascal Maramis

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


what for

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

going down


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.


Poetry Foundation

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.


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