Poems I Love

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No One Told Me                                              by David Whyte

No one told me
it would lead to this.
No one said
there would be secrets
I would not want to know.

No one told me about seeing,
seeing brought me
loss and a darkness I could not hold.

No one told me about writing
or speaking.
Speaking and writing poetry
I unsheathed the sharp edge
of experience that led me here.

No one told me
it could not be put away.
I was told once, only,
in a whisper,
“The blade is so sharp
It cuts things together
not apart.”

This is no comfort.
My future is full of blood,
from being blindfold,
hands outstretched,
feeling a way along its firm edge.

~David Whyte

* * * * * * *

Still Life                                                            by Katie Ford

Down by the pond, addicts sleep on rocky grass half in water, half out, / and there the moon lights them / out of tawny silhouettes into the rarest / of amphibious flowers I once heard called striders,  / between, but needing, two worlds. / Of what can you accuse them now, beauty?

~ Katie Ford

* * * * * * *

The Rowing Endeth                                 by Anne Sexton

I’m mooring my rowboat
at the dock of the island called God.
This dock is made in the shape of a fish
and there are many boats moored
at many different docks.
“It’s okay.” I say to myself,
with blisters that broke and healed
and broke and healed –
saving themselves over and over.
And salt sticking to my face and arms like
a glue-skin pocked with grains of tapioca.
I empty myself from my wooden boat
and onto the flesh of The Island.

“On with it!” He says and thus
we squat on the rocks by the sea
and play – can it be true –
a game of poker.
He calls me.
I win because I hold a royal straight flush.
He wins because He holds five aces,
A wild card had been announced
but I had not heard it
being in such a state of awe
when He took out the cards and dealt.
As he plunks down His five aces
and I am still grinning at my royal flush,
He starts to laugh,
and laughter rolling like a hoop out of His mouth
and into mine,
and such laughter that He doubles right over me
laughing a Rejoice-Chorus at our two triumphs.
Then I laugh, the fishy dock laughs
the sea laughs. The Island laughs.
The Absurd laughs.

Dearest dealer,
I with my royal straight flush,
love you so for your wild card,
that untamable, eternal, gut-driven ha-ha
and lucky love.

~Anne Sexton

       * * * * * * *

At Great Pond                                         by Mary Oliver

At Great pond
the sun, rising,
scrapes his orange breast
on the thick pines,
and down tumble
a few orange feathers into
the dark water.
On the far shore
a white bird is standing
like a white candle —
or a man, in the distance,
in the clasp of some meditation —
while all around me the lilies
are breaking open again
from the black cave
of the night.
Later, I will consider
what I have seen —
what it could signify —
what words of adoration I might
make of it, and to do this
I will go indoors to my desk —
I will sit in my chair —
I will look back
into the lost morning
in which I am moving, now,
like a swimmer,
so smoothly,
so peacefully,
I am almost the lily —
almost the bird vanishing over the water
on its sleeves of night.

~Mary Oliver

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