‘The Story Of The Ashes And The Flame’ by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Another little treasure…

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No matter why, nor whence, nor when she came,
There was her place. No matter what men said,
No matter what she was; living or dead,
Faithful or not, he loved her all the same.
The story was as old as human shame,
But ever since that lonely night she fled,
With books to blind him, he had only read
The story of the ashes and the flame.

There she was always coming pretty soon
To fool him back, with penitent scared eyes
That had in them the laughter of the moon
For baffled lovers, and to make him think —
Before she gave him time enough to wink —
Her kisses were the keys to Paradise.

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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.

Words, Wide Night by Carol Ann Duffy

I came across this gem of a poem…

Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.

This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.

La lala la. See? I close my eyes and imagine the dark hills
I would have to cross
to reach you. For I am in love with you

and this is what it is like or what it is like in words.

‘Come Slowly-Eden’ By Emily Dickinson

If only you knew how heartbreakingly beautiful you are,
How you are so many perfect things,
How your touch is honey,
How your absence stings.

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Come slowly—Eden
Lips unused to Thee—
Bashful—sip thy Jessamines
As the fainting Bee—

Reaching late his flower,
Round her chamber hums—
Counts his nectars—
Enters—and is lost in Balms.

Emily Dickinson

In Xanadu

‘That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!’

Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I was day dreaming of
Love again,
You know how it goes…
So I tried to keep my eyes clamped shut
My body from waking but there wasn’t much
I could do when the sun started to shine
And life started to stir
More than squeeze my eyes shut even tighter,
Anything rather than wake up.

I’ve become good at it too,
Lying there with the real world held at arms length
As I slumber and dream of
Ever after, being loved,
Loving.

I guess you might call me a fantasist
But I can create every fantasy you
Want me to,
You are my imagination to
Conjure with in those restless hours before sleep, before wake
Where you belong to me.

I wish this dream to last forever
To stay here with you in Xanadu where
I will let you taste the milk of paradise
In the slumber of my need
Amidst those half dreamt, dreams of you.

Mad Girl’s Love Song by Sylvia Plath

It’s been a Sylvia Plath kind of day and so I move from one female poetic genius to another, but I shan’t try to change this one.

 

“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)”

The Quiet World BY JEFFREY MCDANIEL

This is totally what I would do if I was only allowed 167 words a day…

 

In an effort to get people to look

into each other’s eyes more,

and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.
When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.
Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.
When she doesn’t respond,
I know she’s used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.

Near by Carol Ann Duffy

Sometimes other people’s words are just far better than your own at capturing a feeling or a thought…particularly if they happen to be the words of an award winning poet laureate…

Far, we are near, meet in the rain
which falls here; gathered by light, air;
falls there where you are, I am; lips
to those drops now on yours, nearer …

absence the space we yearn in, clouds
drift, cluster, east to west, north, south;
your breath in them; they pour, baptise;
same sun burning through to harvest
rainfall on skin, there, far; my mouth
opening to spell your near name.

INVISIBLE KISSES by Lemn Sissay

What a beautiful poem for when you want to let someone know you are sending them invisible kisses…

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If there was ever one
Whom when you were sleeping
Would wipe your tears
When in dreams you were weeping;
Who would offer you time
When others demand;
Whose love lay more infinite
Than grains of sand.

If there was ever one
To whom you could cry;
Who would gather each tear
And blow it dry;
Who would offer help
On the mountains of time;
Who would stop to let each sunset
Soothe the jaded mind.

If there was ever one
To whom when you run
Will push back the clouds
So you are bathed in sun;
Who would open arms
If you would fall;
Who would show you everything
If you lost it all.

If there was ever one
Who when you achieve
Was there before the dream
And even then believed;
Who would clear the air
When it’s full of loss;
Who would count love
Before the cost.

If there was ever one
Who when you are cold
Will summon warm air
For your hands to hold;
Who would make peace
In pouring pain,
Make laughter fall
In falling rain.

If there was ever one
Who can offer you this and more;
Who in keyless rooms
Can open doors;
Who in open doors
Can see open fields
And in open fields
See harvests yield.

Then see only my face
In reflection of these tides
Through the clear water
Beyond the river side.
All I can send is love
In all that this is
A poem and a necklace
Of invisible kisses.