Moonlit Apples by John Drinkwater

Not just a treasury but a very precious little treasure too. Published in 1947, the poems may no longer be quite so modern but they are still certainly beautiful. Here is one I particularly liked …. ‘deep is the silence.’

 

                     Moonlit Apples

At the top of the house the apples are laid in rows,
And the skylight lets the moonlight in, and those
Apples are deep-sea apples of green. There goes
A cloud on the moon in the autumn night.

A mouse in the wainscot scratches, and scratches, and then
There is no sound at the top of the house of men
Or mice; and the cloud is blown, and the moon again
Dapples the apples with deep-sea light.

They are lying in rows there, under the gloomy beams;
On the sagging floor; they gather the silver streams
Out of the moon, those moonlit apples of dreams,
And quiet is the steep stair under.

In the corridors under there is nothing but sleep.
And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep
Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep
On moon-washed apples of wonder.

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Nothing Girl

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Her feet had vanished, gone,
Taken from beneath her, 
Right under her very own nose
And now she couldn’t put one foot in front of the other.
Her eyes had disappeared too, 
Washed away by tears
That might well have washed the rest of her away,
Had the rest not all been missing too.
Her ears must have been lost along the way
Because she no longer heard 
What she loved
And her mouth hid itself from view,
Stopped speaking, 
If it couldn’t speak to you.

But at least she knew where her hands had gone,
Though she no longer saw them,
They were somewhere, out there, holding yours.
So too, did she know where her heart had gone,
That was given away for you to keep
Forever
Even though it hurt where it was missing.

Now there was nothing of her left.
No outline
No shadow
No body
She was nobody
She was nothing.

Francesca Says More by Olena Kalytiak Davis

When you have time to kill, like when you are doing a Francesca and just casually hanging out in the second circle of hell, it’s amazing what great poems you can happen upon, take this fragmented sonnet by Olena Kalytiak Davis for example. According to Dan Chiasson in his article for thNew Yorker, “her poems feel like quickies, rough liaisons where ‘sex meets books.’” I kind of agree with this poem, and I like it. 

that maiden thump was book on floor, but
does it really matter who kissed who
first or then who decided to go further?
lower? faster? naturally, we took
turns on top. now here, now there, and up
and down…once it started no one even thought to think to stop.
so, we have holes inside our souls,
but mustn’t we begin by filling others’?
god gave us lips and hands and parts
that cannot possibly be saved for prayer. nor by.
i will not name name, claim fame by how well
or who i fucked or why, it happens all the time.
and it’s you, white pilgrim, whom next galehot seeks.
fuck. we didn’t read again for weeks.

It

Does it ever catch you off guard,
Suck the breath out of you?
Can you feel it living, breathing,
Hear it beating, a drum roar in your ears,
Or feel it, a finger tracing invisible shapes
On damp skin?
Does it steal words from you
Then inject you with thousands,
Or keep you awake at night
Clawing at your insides until you don’t think you can stand it any more
Before it lies you down,
Kisses you
Slowly,
Longingly,
Then curls up next to you
In a dream for a night
And lets you sleep,
Lets you believe
In nothing for a moment?
Does it?
Does it?

If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda

What a poem.
It makes you want to embrace its tenderness and cry at its pain.
It might have got to me a little bit…

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

The 7.29

The time was 7.29
I missed you
Again,
So I waited
Forlornly,
Like a fool waiting for a lover
On the wrong platform.
And still I wait
For you to come
Like I often wait,
Wondering what went wrong
Along the line,
Where you are,
What I did,
Do you care?
I’m anxious, terrified
Of falling under the wheels,
As the seconds pass like minutes
That pass like hours
That stretch on like beige days
And before I know it, it’s 18.49
Another day spent waiting has come and gone
And before I know it it’s 18.49
You’ve passed on by,
I’ve missed you
Again.