A Miracle For Breakfast, Villanelle Draft

At six o’clock we are waiting for coffee, 1
waiting for coffee and cinnamon rolls 2
served from the kitchen 3
— like kings of old, or a miracle. 4
It is still dark. The first bus of the day 5
has just passed in the street. It is so cold 6

we had hoped for coffee. And that the sweet rolls 2
will be one loaf each. At seven o’clock I step outside
for the first time all day. I stand for a minute alone
then walk away. My day now consists of two cups of coffee 1
and the rolls in my pack. That’s what I think about,
and whether the sun is going to shine,

and whether there are clouds. I don’t think about what minute
I’m going to do this or that all day. I ride the bus, or walk,
or type in a poem when I can. I am given food
at certain places in the city. Each person I know
receives certain things when they go eat food
or when they sleep in the shelter, and each person

is deprived of certain things too. I have something
in abundance they don’t have, and they have things
I want that never arrive. All of us seem to want coffee 1
in the morning when we wake up. Some of us stand around
waiting for a miracle. I can tell what they say to each other,
but no one else seems to be able to do that.

From the doors come the smell of coffee, 1
it is six a.m., and the galleries of marble are open.
Each day in the sun, I sit for awhile on a park bench.
I look forward to it, as you look forward
to sitting on a couch and watching television,
or listening to the radio. There is always a dog around.

A window opens across the street, as if all this were working,
and we were going to find jobs, and you were waiting for me.
You sit in the morning in some invisible place, and drink coffee. 1

Posted in My poetry, Poem Form, Poem of the day

Walking At Night

Your face appears again,
it seems strange to see you so young again.
Now, they don’t want it anymore.

When I’m by myself like this,
these are the things I talk about,
the old face they used in the movie,

and the hero that is still on the set.
I realize now you were never meant to happen.
You’re wandering around on the deck somewhere now,

the sky’s completely blue, the grass completely dry,
you talk as you sit at dinner.
They’ve always done it that way, they take the grass away.

Posted in My poetry, Poem of the day

One Art Final Stanza

–Even losing you, (a joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master,
Thought it might look like (Write it!) like disaster.

One may own a thing such as a mother’s watch (as a substitute for the person’s absence), but one does not own “the hourly badly spent” (or for that matter well spent) or even control one’s intentions (“what you meant to do”).

Posted in Essay, My poetry, Poem Form, Poem of the day

Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s, “How Do I Love Thee”

My favorite line in the poem is, “I love thee to the level of everyday’s most quiet needs.” How many quiet needs do we have? Those needs are not spoken in words between two people who are married, they are understood.

About passion she says, “I love thee with the passion put to use in my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.” I hadn’t realized grief and faith have passion. A person of faith has passion, and grief indicates deep loss.

Next we have the statement, “I love thee purely, as men turn from praise.” To concentrate on someone, we need to practice breathing in and out. It helps us remain in the moment with a person, no matter what is happening.

My favorite word in the poem is smiles. It remains almost Hallmark card-ish. We don’t expect it in such a serious sonnet. It reminds us there is something light about love, playful even.

And where is feeling in all this? Out of sight. Love is about being and grace. It is a kind of grace from outside us, that helps us survive.

Posted in Essay, Poem Form, Poem of the day

Poem draft, August 6, 2017

Close, close all night
the lovers keep.
They turn together
in their sleep,

Close as two pages
in a book
they read each other
in the dark.

Each knows all
the other knows,
learned by heart
from head to toes.

Posted in My poetry, Poem Form

Material World

Elizabeth Bishop’s writing traditions — devotional, romantic and modern — often make the images in her poems unify experience for her readers over time. Visual schemes in a poetic meter concentrate experience.

Her visual experiences are spatial and communicate history in a creative subject.

She sets her eye on a transcendental fade-out or on modest fixed objects. It is material eaten into acid on a lithographic plate. Sometimes her themes indicate a spiritual goal, but her poems concentrate on a material world.


Posted in Essay

4 O’clock Rain

September rain falls on the house.

Elizabeth Bishop concerned herself throughout her career with questions of mastery — artistic, personal and cultural. Her poems portray both her desire for mastery and the dangers and illusions to which such desire is prone.

Throughout her poems, we find a strong desire for order when confronting a world that can be chaotic. She expresses dismay over an untidy spot in a room. She wants her reader to see these places in the room too. How imaginative must someone be to concentrate a reader’s attention on a cognitive place, a thought pattern.

What are the pleasures about writing about such a place in a room? What forms of literary mastery become visible and viable? Bishop is a visual poet with an eye for what is necessary and particular. These are the eyes of mastery that promote her way of seeing in a poem.

Posted in Essay, My poetry