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Tag: Poem of the Day

Poem of the Day: Nikki Giovanni

SKY DIVING

I hang on the edge
of this universe
singing off-key
talking too loud
embracing myself
to cushion the fall

I shall tumble
into deep space
never in this form
or with this feeling
to return to earth

It is not tragic

I will spiral
through that Black hole
losing skin limbs
internal organs
searing my naked soul

Landing
in the next galaxy
with only my essence
embracing myself
as

I dream of you

from Harper Collins and featured in O Magazine

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Let’s Finish February Strong: Poem by Toni Morrison

EVE REMEMBERING

1

I tore from a limb fruit that had lost its green.
My hands were warmed by the heat of an apple
Fire red and humming.
I bit sweet power to the core.
How can I say what it was like?
The taste! The taste undid my eyes
And led me far from the gardens planted for a child
To wildernesses deeper than any master’s call.

2

Now these cool hands guide what they once caressed;
Lips forget what they have kissed.
My eyes now pool their light
Better the summit to see.

3

I would do it all over again:
Be the harbor and set the sail,
Loose the breeze and harness the gale,
Cherish the harvest of what I have been.
Better the summit to scale.
Better the summit to be.

—from Five Poems (Rainmaker Editions, 2002)

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Poem of the Day: Frank Stanford

THE LIGHT THE DEAD SEE

There are many people who come back
After the doctor has smoothed the sheet
Around their body
And left the room to make his call.

They die but they live.

They are called the dead who lived through their deaths,
And among my people
They are considered wise and honest.

They float out of their bodies
And light on the ceiling like a moth,
Watching the efforts of everyone around them.

The voices and the images of the living
Fade away.

A roar sucks them under
The wheels of a darkness without pain.
Off in the distance
There is someone
Like a signalman swinging a lantern.

The light grows, a white flower.
It becomes very intense, like music.

They see the faces of those they loved,
The truly dead who speak kindly.

They see their father sitting in a field.
The harvest is over and his cane chair is mended.
There is a towel around his neck,
The odor of bay rum.
Then they see their mother
Standing behind him with a pair of shears.
The wind is blowing.
She is cutting his hair.

The dead have told these stories
To the living.

—from Frank Stanford’s The Light the Dead See (University of Arkansas Press, 1991)

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Poem of the Day: Sylvia Plath

WINTER LANDSCAPE, WITH ROOKS

Water in the millrace, through a sluice of stone,
plunges headlong into that black pond
where, absurd and out-of-season, a single swan
floats chaste as snow, taunting the clouded mind
which hungers to haul the white reflection down.

The austere sun descends above the fen,
an orange cyclops-eye, scorning to look
longer on this landscape of chagrin;
feathered dark in thought, I stalk like a rook,
brooding as the winter night comes on.

Last summer’s reeds are all engraved in ice
as is your image in my eye; dry frost
glazes the window of my hurt; what solace
can be stuck from rock to make heart’s waste
grow green again? Who’d walk in this bleak place?

—from Sylvia Plath’s Collected Poems (HarperCollins, 1981)

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Happy National Poetry Month! Poem of the Day: Angela Voras-Hills

Happy Wednesday, friends! I hope you’re all enjoying your week. For those of you who may not be aware, and for those who are too overwhelmed with other things right now to be focused on this (know that I feel you and am here for you), April is National Poetry Month.

For the entire month of April, I’m going to do my best to post a poem every single day by an amazing poet—weekends included. I think, especially right now, we need as much art in our lives as we can get, and I like knowing I’m contributing in some very small way to the resourcing of that.

In my own work, I’m also aiming to write a poem each day, and to write a minimum of one new article per week. I’ll either share them here, or provide links to where you can find them. I’m not so worried about actually pitching and submitting right now; I only have so much energy, and I’d rather put it into creation, rather than pushing for publication, for just a little while.

Though, I want to mention, for those of you who are using this time to focus on larger goals, I have a writing group that is focused on getting your writing done, seeking publication, marketing and growing your readership. Whether you’re a poet, a playwright, a freelancer, a novelist, or anywhere in-between, I’m confident there is useful information in that group for you. If you’d like to check it out (it’s totally free), make sure to keep scrolling after the poem, and join the free Facebook group. I’d love to see you there.

Okay, enough of the logistics for tonight! Here is our Poem of the Day:

ON MY WAY HOME

A great horned owl sits in the window
of a silo along the highway. The foundation

of the barn is now rubble, its boards salvaged.
My mother has scraped and painted the wood

into plant stands. On the other side
of the highway, flames chew clean

to the steel skeleton of a sedan, its body
barely identifiable. Firemen stand close

with the hose, but no water comes through.
There’s no ambulance. The lake

has recently frozen over. Yesterday,
firemen gathered on it, jumped hard

to collapse the shell and fell through.
Each body tall in a black dry-suit, then,

only a watery hole where they’d stood.
The mother of one of the men watched

in the snow beside me. Just then,
my son was in biology class.

But what he was learning about the body,
I don’t know.

—from Angela Voras-Hills’ Louder Birds (Pleiades Press, 2020)

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Poem of the Day: Sylvia Plath

BLACKBERRYING

Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries,   
Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly,
A blackberry alley, going down in hooks, and a sea
Somewhere at the end of it, heaving. Blackberries
Big as the ball of my thumb, and dumb as eyes
Ebon in the hedges, fat
With blue-red juices. These they squander on my fingers.
I had not asked for such a blood sisterhood; they must love me.
They accommodate themselves to my milkbottle, flattening their sides.

Overhead go the choughs in black, cacophonous flocks—
Bits of burnt paper wheeling in a blown sky.
Theirs is the only voice, protesting, protesting.
I do not think the sea will appear at all.
The high, green meadows are glowing, as if lit from within.
I come to one bush of berries so ripe it is a bush of flies,
Hanging their bluegreen bellies and their wing panes in a Chinese screen.
The honey-feast of the berries has stunned them; they believe in heaven.   
One more hook, and the berries and bushes end.

The only thing to come now is the sea.
From between two hills a sudden wind funnels at me,   
Slapping its phantom laundry in my face.
These hills are too green and sweet to have tasted salt.
I follow the sheep path between them. A last hook brings me   
To the hills’ northern face, and the face is orange rock   
That looks out on nothing, nothing but a great space   
Of white and pewter lights, and a din like silversmiths   
Beating and beating at an intractable metal.

—from Sylvia Plath’s Collected Poems (HarperCollins, 1981)

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Poem of the Day: Meg Day

HYMN TO A LANDLOCKED GOD

Perhaps as a child
you, too, saw
these stallion clouds
& knew a sky
with no blue
was a sky too
reverent to be
overlooked
or understood.
Perhaps heaven
is the moon flag,
not the moon,
& you came
to know praise
as vertical only
because the earth
refused your reach.
Look up.
There’s a tear
in the sky tonight
like the shriek
of a frightened mare
or the long wail
a saxophone makes
on a corner at dawn
& this is how I know
you are a woman:
we are both broken
in two by our own
creations. I have
looked to the west
in search of water
& the sheer faces
of so many boulders
stare back, their bodies
bent in genuflection
at the altar of the sky.
Why have you made me
know the sea?
Make me a bird, Lord;
make me a man.
Make me a barn
with a spine so swayed
it pulls back my neck
to crane toward the sky.

*

—poem from Meg Day’s Last Psalm at Sea Level, here

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Happy National Poetry Month! How Am I Celebrating?

Happy Monday, reading and writing friends! Happy April 1st! And Happy National Poetry Month!

National Poetry Month was first thought up by the Academy of American Poets (or, as many readers think of them, Poets.org, or Poem-A-Day). The idea caught fire, and now it seems every writer worth their salt celebrates in some small way in April each year. Me, I go a little crazy and try to do something poetry-special every single day of April, including writing a new poem, and in the last few years, I’ve taken to sharing that adventure with my blogging community, in case what I’m doing is of use to anyone else on their writing journey.

So, what am I doing for April 2019?

Well, here’s my mini-announcement on Twitter earlier today:

#NationalPoetryMonth is my favorite season! This year, you’ll find my Poem of the Day series on my blog—plus poetry book recs, a new poem daily by me & the prompt behind it. And for #PoemInYourPocketDay (April 18), I’m going to leave poems around #Chicago for y’all to find.👀❤️— McKenzie Lynn Tozan (@mcklynntozan) April 1, 2019

But there’s going to be A LOT MORE going on than I can fold neatly into a tweet; the tweet was a preview of sorts.

I’ll continue the Poem of the Day Series.

Yes, each day you’ll be able to come here and see a poem by a poet I admire! I’ll post these each day in the morning, with the National Poetry Month post going up in the afternoon.

I’ll have a cool, poetry-focused preview image each day.

This may sound silly, but many of these images relate back to important poetry-focused writers, organizations, and schools that are worth knowing about. Each day, I’ll be sure to source the image, and then tell you what I can about the image / organization / etc.

I’ll write a new poem every day, and share the prompt that inspired it.

I love writing from prompts and restrictions. I don’t do it as much as I did as a younger writer, but I love returning to prompts, erasures, found work, etc. So each day this month, I’ll dig up an original prompt that I love and create a poem from it. I’ll also share the prompt with you, below the poem, in case you want to try it out!

Finally, I’ll recommend something new to read.

There are more poets and poetry collections than any of us could ever hope to read or know about, which is exactly why I enjoy recommending books to other people. Each day this month, I’ll share a collection, new or old, that I don’t think any poet should live without.

Also: Be on the lookout for me: I’ll be wandering Chicago on April 18th.

You may be wondering, Why? Part of National Poetry Month is “Poem in Your Pocket Day” on April 18th, so I’ll be wandering Chicago and leaving folded, pocket-sized poems for others to find!

Also-also: Want to be included this month?

Much of what I write for my blog is off-the-cuff, so I haven’t planned out what all I will share this month yet! If you’d like to have a poem featured for my Poem of the Day Series, would like to chat over a Saturday Spotlight, or have your book recommended in one of my National Poetry Month posts, you’re more than welcome to contact me via email to see if we’re a match.

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Poem of the Day: James Wright

A BLESSING

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness   
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.   
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.   
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me   
And nuzzled my left hand.   
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

*

—poem featured previously on Poetry Foundation, here

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Poem of the Day: Jennifer Jackson Berry

LOST & FOUND LOVE POEM WITH ORANGES & TRASH

Seven clementines line the counter.
I put the only three still firm
in my lunch bag. The segments
of the four remaining had pulled back
from the browning rind like
the brain is set back from the skull,
where blood collects post-trauma.
I cup the softened orbs.
The carpels move under that delicate, rugged covering.
& later when I look up
all kinds of oranges,
I find rind originates by a thickening
of a single ovary wall.
The fruit of any citrus tree: hesperidium, modified berries,
with seeds & flesh soft, self-fertile.
& at noon I press my thumbnail near the stem, 3x piercing
then stripping to the pith.
I will find that heady scent still
with me hours later when I touch my face.
& when I get home
the sweet fruit are buried in the trash.  

*

—poem from Jennifer Jackson Berry’s poetry collection, The Feeder, here

*

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Poem of the Day: Linda Gregg

HARD SEASON

Already the spring lilacs are failing,

in pieces and chunks, the way rust

ruins metal everywhere.

It doesn’t take much of that before

she begins not to care. Which makes her

want to rip the flawed flowers

maliciously from the bushes, seeing how

wind and butterflies and blossoming

can be confused with feeling.

Love lies on the mountain with calm

and counterweight. In the center,

with the presence, in the sunlight.

*

—poem from American Poetry Review 28.5, here

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Poem of the Day: Mary Oliver

HOW I GO TO THE WOODS

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore 
unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds 
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of 
praying, as you no doubt have yours. 

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, 
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.

*

—poem from Swan: Poems and Prose Poems, here

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