Archive for Poetry

05.23.2008

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.

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05.22.2008

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

05.20.2008

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–

05.19.2008

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!”

05.18.2008

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.

05.15.2008

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?

05.14.2008

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

Naked Vision (a poem by Gwen Harwood)

I was sent to fetch an eye
promised for a fresh corneal graft.
At the doctor’s rooms nurse gave me
a common paper bag;
in that, a sterile jar;
in that, the disembodied eye.

I sat in Davey Street
on a low brick garden wall
and looked. The eye looked back.
It gazed, lucid and whole,
from its colourless solution.
The window of whose soul?

Trees in St. David’s Park
refreshed the lunchtime lovers:
riesling gold, claret dark;
late flowers flaunted all colours.
But my friend and I had eyes
only for one another.