Archive for Poetry


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on May 28, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Prepare (a poem by Danielle Grace Warren)

Nilsa cleans the fish
grates the scales with the blunt edge of her knife—
those slim disks of light
flicking the silver—the bloodmarsh—of the bowl

& plating her arms like mail.
With her blade-point she crosses
the throat and the gullet—
fish-back firm in her palm

And like the Harpy she
tears out the gills—
with the crack of tooth extraction—
scoops out the ventral dark

& rinses in a basin of less red water—
the scales, so many coins.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on May 28, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

What We Get (a poem by Katie Ford)

I waited for a silence with its boards stripped off,
its sills pried away, all glasswork, all September light
with no latch. And when it came,

sometimes it was easy to think of nothing at all, have no question
at all, to sit and stare at the cracked, orange house next door
where the rodents scurried in and out, storing

green bulbs dropped from our trees—olive nuts, our choked-back eyes—
for the mild southern winter in which nothing dies,
only goes a way a while.

I wanted the far away. I wanted not to feel
caught. Look at the myrtle tree pulling up the yard.
Look at the belief I can’t live by, how it didn’t follow
but was here before me like the fields of tall, planted cane

where anything can be hidden. I think this is
what we get when we ask to be saved:
a land where everything grows, and there are many killings.


Posted in Poetry, Quotes with tags , , , , on May 26, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Poetry (quotes by Robert Frost)

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. It finds the thought and the thought finds the words.

Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things.

The figure a poem makes. It begins in delight and ends in wisdom… in a clarification of life – not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects and cults are founded on, but in a momentary stay against confusion.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

The Old Fools (an excerpt from the poem by Philip Larkin)

Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms
Inside your head, and people in them, acting.
People you know, yet can’t quite name; each looms
Like a deep loss restored, from known doors turning,
Setting down a lamp, smiling from a stair, extracting
A known book from the shelves; or sometimes only
The rooms themselves, chairs and a fire burning,
The blown bush at the window, or the sun’s
Faint friendliness on the wall some lonely
Rain-ceased midsummer evening. That is where they live:
Not here and now, but where all happened once.
This is why they give

An air of baffled silence, trying to be there
Yet being here.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on May 24, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

The Remains (a poem by Mark Strand)

I empty myself of the names of others. I empty my pockets.
I empty my shoes and leave them beside the road.
At night I turn back the clocks;
I open the family album and look at myself as a boy.

What good does it do? The hours have done their job.
I say my own name. I say goodbye.
The words follow each other downwind.
I love my wife but send her away.

My parents rise out of their thrones
into the milky rooms of clouds. How can I sing?
Time tells me what I am. I change and I am the same.
I empty myself of my life and my life remains.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

For the Dead (a poem by Adrienne Rich)

I dreamed I called you on the telephone
to say: Be kinder to yourself
but you were sick and would not answer

The waste of my love goes on this way
trying to save you from yourself

I have always wondered about the left-over
energy, the way water goes rushing down a hill
long after the rains have stopped

or the fire you want to go to bed from
but cannot leave, burning-down but not burnt-down
the red coals more extreme, more curious
in their flashing and dying
than you wish they were
sitting long after midnight


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on May 21, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Untitled (a poem by Emily Dickinson)

To die–takes just a little while–
They say it doesn’t hurt–
It’s only fainter–by degrees–
And then–it’s out of sight–

A darker Ribbon–for a Day–
A Crape upon the Hat–
And then the pretty sunshine comes–
And helps us to forget–

The absent–mystic–creature–
That but for love of us–
Had gone to sleep–that soundest time–
Without the weariness–


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on May 21, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Get Drunk (a poem by Charles Baudelaire, translated from the original French)

Always be drunk.
That’s it!
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
Time’s horrid fardel
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
get drunk and stay that way.
On what?
On wine, poetry, virtue, whatever.
But get drunk.
And if you sometimes happen to wake up
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness
of your own room,
your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock,
ask everything that flees,
everything that groans
or rolls
or sings,
everything that speaks,
ask what time it is;
and the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock
will answer you:
“Time to get drunk!
Don’t be martyred slaves of Time,
Get drunk!
Stay drunk!
On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!”


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Big Love (a poem by Vince Bauters)

If you hate yourself you can do anything.

Maybe not talk to me for days. A real
accomplishment. Like mountain climbing or something like

locking your keys in the car.

It’s the right feeling. I know this.

Already we’re trying to soothe each other.
Swallow and dream. Like a baby dropped in water.

Or maybe a bag of garbage. Maybe just
an open window. The smell of July and lemons.

We’re real by contrast.

Green wine bottles
and crystal glasses. Your body

yellow like iced tea left out in the sun.

It’s like a long list of things that are supposed to go together.

Not just our wedding gifts. Not just the way you go
to sleep barefoot. It’s just necessary.

Our bodies ruined by someone else.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on May 15, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Some Questions You Might Ask (a poem by Mary Oliver)

Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of an owl?
Who has it, and who doesn’t?
I keep looking around me.
The face of the moose is as sad
as the face of Jesus.
The swan opens her white wings slowly.
In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.
One question leads to another.
Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?
Like the eye of a hummingbird?
Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?
Why should I have it, and not the anteater
who loves her children?
Why should I have it, and not the camel?
Come to think of it, what about maple trees?
What about the blue iris?
WHat about all the little stones, sitting aloe in the moonlight?
What about roses, lemons, and their shining leaves?
What about the grass?