In spare moments I’ve been reading Good Poems for Hard Times, a book of poems collected by Garrison Keillor. I’m posting three that stood out for me the other night. I won’t analyze them. You may not like them or you may disagree with what’s implied, but that’s not the point. Here they are:
Toast – Leonard Nathan
There was a woman in Ithaca
who cried softly all night
in the next room and helpless
I fell in love with her under the blanket
of snow that settled on all the roots
of the town, filling up
every dark depression.
in the motel coffee shop
I studied all the made-up faces
of women. Was it the middle-aged blonde
who kidded the waitress
or the young brunette lifting
her cup like a toast?
Love, whoever you are,
your courage was my companion
for many cold towns
after the betrayal of Ithaca,
and when I order coffee
in a strange place, still
I say, lifting, this is for you.
September Twelfth, 2001 – X.J. Kennedy
Two caught on film who hurtle
from the eighty-second floor,
choosing between a fireball
and to jump holding hands,
Aren’t us. I wake beside you,
stretch, scratch, taste the air,
the incredible joy of coffee
and the morning light.
Alive, we open eyelids
on our pitiful share of time,
we bubbles rising and bursting
in a boiling pot.
Sonnet No. 6: Dearest, I never knew such loving – Hayden Carruth
Dearest, I never knew such loving. There
in that glass tower in the alien city, alone,
we found what somewhere I had always known
exists and must exist, this fervent care,
this lust of tenderness. Two were aware
how in hot seizure, bone pressed to bone
and liquid flesh to flesh, each separate moan
was pleasure, yes, but most in each other’s share.
Companions and discoverers, equal and free,
so deep in love we adventured and so far
that we became perhaps more than we are,
and now being home is hardship. Therefore are we
diminished? No. We are of the world again
but still augmented, more than we’ve ever been.
*I mention Borders only so that I can mention how remarkably like an independent bookstore it seemed, even though it’s a national chain. Cozy, personable: excellent.