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  1. TopTop #31
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Ruby’s Gift (As told by Sheila...)


    Ruby O’Burke

    was about 90.

    Small, lively.

    White, short, flat-cut

    sides and bangs.

    Interested, pert.


    A flat upstairs, in

    Noe Valley, San Francisco,

    with books and shelves,

    not overly neat,

    much like a student’s,

    and a pottery studio below.


    She said, “Oh! Let me

    show you

    a gift I just got

    when I was in Japan.”

    Her frail hands, trembling

    in anticipation, opened

    an elegant, plain wooden

    box to reveal a

    small tea cup.


    “Look,” she said, “how beautifully the

    glaze crawled.” Indeed it had, inside and out,

    lumpy, mottled, and webbed.

    Clearly flawed, I knew,

    being a potter as well.

    Yet she beheld her gift

    with such childlike

    amazement. In Japan, this was

    a treasure.


    Years later, I had made a large mug

    for my now departed, somewhat

    flawed father. Its glaze had crawled

    completely. Yet I have not tossed it.


    For each time I hold my father’s mug,

    I can see in both

    a treasure.



    - Scott O'Brien
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  2. TopTop #32
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Fire On The Hills

    The deer were bounding like blown leaves
    Under the smoke in front of the roaring wave of the brushfire;
    I thought of the smaller lives that were caught.
    Beauty is not always lovely; the fire was beautiful, the terror
    Of the deer was beautiful; and when I returned
    Down the black slopes after the fire had gone by, an eagle
    Was perched on the jag of a burnt pine,
    Insolent and gorged, cloaked in the folded storms of his shoulders.
    He had come from far off for good hunting
    With fire for his beater to drive the game; the sky was merciless
    Blue and the hills merciless black,
    The somber-feathered great bird sleepily merciless between them.
    I thought, painfully, but the whole mind,
    The destruction that brings an eagle from heaven is better than mercy.

    - Robinson Jeffers
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  3. TopTop #33
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Friday morning
    sky a hot pale grey
    I’m sitting in the back of a green Subaru Forester
    in a parking lot
    with a dying dog
    Mucha

    It’s an ordinary day
    in moments the vet will come out with needles
    the hole has been dug

    months ago I painted a stone
    at a garden party
    a celebrate life party at a poet’s home
    just before she went to cancer
    Diane

    please understand
    I do not feel heavy or morose
    in fact I felt the same
    driving with a scarcely breathing dog
    as I did with a scarcely not breathing dog
    these things must be done
    part of the big plan

    but the smoking sky
    the infernos to the north, the east and the south of us
    are they necessary
    are they part of the plan as well
    will I feel different when the blue returns

    the stone now a marker has a beagle face
    loyal stoic
    stones have long life spans
    and this small fact is comforting


    - Sharon Bard
    6/27/08
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  4. TopTop #34
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Forgetfulness

    The name of the author is the first to go
    followed obediently by the title, the plot,
    the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
    which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never
    even heard of,
    as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
    decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
    to a little fishing village where there are no phones.
    Long ago you kissed the nine Muses goodbye
    and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
    and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,
    something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
    the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.
    Whatever it is you are struggling to remember
    it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
    not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.
    It has floated away down a dark mythological river
    whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
    well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
    who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a
    bicycle.
    No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
    to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
    No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
    out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

    - Billy Collins
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  5. TopTop #35
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Underside

    I imagine the underside of the English language,
    a garbaged, mottled dream-tangle
    like the reverse side of a tapestry
    where each carefully tied thread
    runs wild in a course of its own,
    where every color is let loose
    in a scribbled, shaggy riot of un-being--
    the dictionary lists clear words, sounds marked
    and numbered, described and dated, but one summer
    I stood in the winter-cold of a cave’s dark
    and shone my flashlight up
    to see a straggle of root dangling
    from the roof, knowing then
    how the whole forest above me
    was anchored in darkness, its grammar rooted
    in what falls away, my understanding
    leaping into every word to find it bottomless.

    - Jay Leeming
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  6. TopTop #36
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    A Morning Offering

    I bless the night that nourished my heart
    To set the ghosts of longing free
    Into the flow and figure of dream
    That went to harvest from the dark
    Bread for the hunger no one sees.

    All that is eternal in me
    Welcome the wonder of this day,
    The field of brightness it creates
    Offering time for each thing
    To arise and illuminate.

    I place on the altar of dawn:
    The quiet loyalty of breath,
    The tent of thought where I shelter,
    Wave of desire I am shore to
    And all beauty drawn to the eye.

    May my mind come alive today
    To the invisible geography
    That invites me to new frontiers,
    To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
    To risk being disturbed and changed.

    May I have the courage today
    To live the life that I would love,
    To postpone my dream no longer
    But do at last what I came here for
    And waste my heart on fear no more.

    - John O'Donohue
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  7. TopTop #37
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    The Summer Day


    Who made the world?
    Who made the swan, and the black bear?
    Who made the grasshopper?
    This grasshopper, I mean--
    the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
    the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
    who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
    who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
    Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
    Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
    I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
    I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
    into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,’how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
    which is what I have been doing all day.
    Tell me, what else should I have done?
    Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
    Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?

    - Mary Oliver
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  8. TopTop #38
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Retirement

    After that knifeblade, we breathed
    a film on it like a mirror and looked up -
    our children were gone, and in their place
    a vacant road continued into a storm.
    That's when I think we began to know
    how the rest would be, the soft
    careful sound of little worlds falling.

    Those flakes, every one, hit
    the windshield with a glad sacrifice
    and then never existed. You could
    look back and imagine a lifetime
    of snowflake incidents again, but
    this time - you could hope - with religion,
    or some kind of thicker coat on.

    For certain young readers:
    You don't have to understand this.
    Pretend that you don't understand.
    Go back to your inhale-exhale
    existence. Don't look up now.
    There will be time.

    - William Stafford
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  9. TopTop #39
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    On a Cape May Warbler Who
    Flew Against My Window


    She's stopped in her southern tracks
    Brought haply to this hard knock
    When she shoots from the tall spruce
    And snaps her neck on the glass.

    From the fall grass I gather her
    And give her to my silent children
    Who give her a decent burial
    Under the dogwood in the garden.

    They lay their gifs in the grave:
    Matches, a clothes-peg, a coin;
    Fire paper for her, sprinkle her
    With water, fold earth over her.

    She is out of her element forever
    Who was air's high-spirited daughter;
    What guardian wings can I conjure
    Over my own young, their migrations?

    The children retreat indoors.
    Shadows flicker in the tall spruce.
    Small birds flicker like shadows —
    Ghosts come nest in my branches.

    - Eamon Grennan
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  10. TopTop #40
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Sense of Something Coming


    I am like a flag in the center of open space.
    I sense ahead the wind which is coming, and must live
    it through.
    while the things of the world still do not move:
    the doors still close softly, and the chimneys are full
    of silence,
    the windows do not rattle yet, and the dust still lies down.

    I already know the storm, and I am troubled as the sea.
    I leap out, and fall back,
    and throw myself out, and am absolutely alone
    in the great storm.

    - Rainer Maria Rilke
    (Translated by Robert Bly )
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  11. TopTop #41
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    The Journey
    Anghiari is medieval, a sleeve sloping down
    A steep hill, suddenly sweeping out
    To the edge of a cliff, and dwindling.
    But far up the mountain, behind the town,
    We too were swept out, out by the wind,
    Alone with the Tuscan grass.

    Wind had been blowing across the hills
    For days, and everything now was graying gold
    With dust, everything we saw, even
    Some small children scampering along a road,
    Twittering Italian to a small caged bird.

    We sat beside them to rest in some brushwood,
    And I leaned down to rinse the dust from my face.

    I found the spider web there, whose hinges
    Reeled heavily and crazily with the dust,
    Whole mounds and cemeteries of it, sagging
    And scattering shadows among shells and wings.
    And then she stepped into the center of air
    Slender and fastidious, the golden hair
    Of daylight along her shoulders, she poised there,
    While ruins crumbled on every side of her.
    Free of the dust, as though a moment before
    She had stepped inside the earth, to bathe herself.

    I gazed, close to her, till at last she stepped
    Away in her own good time.

    Many men
    Have searched all over Tuscany and never found
    What I found there, the heart of the light
    Itself shelled and leaved, balancing
    On filaments themselves falling. The secret
    Of this journey is to let the wind
    Blow its dust all over your body,
    To let it go on blowing, to step lightly, lightly
    All the way through your ruins, and not to lose
    Any sleep over the dead, who surely
    Will bury their own, don't worry.

    - James Wright
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  12. TopTop #42
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    TOBAR PHADRAIC

    Turn sideways into the light as they say
    the old ones did and disappear into the originality
    of it all. Be impatient with explanations
    and discipline the mind not to begin
    questions it cannot answer. Walk the green road
    above the bay and the low glinting fields
    toward the evening sun. Let that Atlantic
    gleam be ahead of you and the gray light
    of the bay below you,
    until you catch, down on your left,
    the break in the wall,
    for just above in the shadow
    you’ll find it hidden, a curved arm
    of rock holding the water close to the mountain,
    a just-lit surface smoothing a scattering of coins,
    and in the niche above, notes to the dead
    and supplications for those who still live.
    Now you are alone with the transfiguration
    and ask no healing for your own
    but look down as if looking through time,
    as if through a rent veil from the other
    side of the question you’ve refused to ask,

    and remember how as a child
    your arms could rise and your palms
    turn out to bless the world.

    - David Whyte
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  13. TopTop #43
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Life At War

    The disasters numb within us
    caught in the chest, rolling
    in the brain like pebbles. The feeling
    resembles lumps of raw dough

    weighing down a child’s stomach on baking day.
    Or Rilke said it, ‘My heart. . .
    Could I say of it, it overflows
    with bitterness . . . but no, as though

    its contents were simply balled into
    formless lumps, thus
    do I carry it about.’
    The same war

    continues.
    We have breathed the grits of it in, all our lives,
    our lungs are pocked with it,
    the mucous membrane of our dreams
    coated with it, the imagination
    filmed over with the gray filth of it:

    the knowledge that humankind,

    delicate Man, whose flesh
    responds to a caress, whose eyes
    are flowers that perceive the stars,

    whose music excels the music of birds,
    whose laughter matches the laughter of dogs,
    whose understanding manifests designs
    fairer than the spider’s most intricate web,

    still turns without surprise, with mere regret
    to the scheduled breaking open of breasts whose milk
    runs out over the entrails of still-alive babies,
    transformation of witnessing eyes to pulp-fragments,
    implosion of skinned penises into carcass-gulleys.

    We are the humans, men who can make;
    whose language imagines mercy,
    lovingkindness we have believed one another
    mirrored forms of a God we felt as good—

    who do these acts, who convince ourselves
    it is necessary; these acts are done
    to our own flesh; burned human flesh
    is smelling in Vietnam as I write.

    Yes, this is the knowledge that jostles for space
    in our bodies along with all we
    go on knowing of joy, of love;

    our nerve filaments twitch with its presence
    day and night,
    nothing we say has not the husky phlegm of it in the saying,
    nothing we do has the quickness, the sureness,
    the deep intelligence living at peace would have.

    - Denise Levertov
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  14. TopTop #44
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Faith

    The word faith means that when someone sees

    A dew-drop or a floating leaf, and knows
    That they are, because they have to be.
    And even if you dreamed, or closed your eyes
    And wished, the world would still be what it was,
    And the leaf would still be carried down the river.

    It means that when someone’s foot is hurt
    By sharp rock, he also knows that rocks
    Are here so they can hurt our feet.
    Look, see the long shadow cast by the tree;
    And flowers and people
    throw shadows on the earth:
    What has no shadow has no strength to live.

    - Czeslaw Milosz
    (trans. Robert Hass)
    Last edited by Larry Robinson; 07-14-2008 at 07:59 AM.
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  15. TopTop #45
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    My Child Wafts Peace

    My child wafts peace.
    When I lean over him,
    It is not just the smell of soap.

    All the people were children wafting peace.
    (And in the whole land, not even one
    Millstone remained that still turned).

    Oh, the land torn like clothes
    That can't be mended.
    Hard, lonely fathers even in the cave of the Makhpela*
    Childless silence.

    My child wafts peace.
    His mother's womb promised him
    What God cannot
    Promise us.

    - Yehuda Amichai




    * The traditional burial place in Hebron of Abraham
    and the other Patriarchs and Matriarchs of Israel.
    Last edited by Larry Robinson; 07-15-2008 at 08:52 AM.
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  16. TopTop #46
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Growing Old

    What is it to grow old?
    Is it to lose the glory of the form,
    The lustre of the eye?
    Is it for beauty to forego her wreath?
    Yes, but not for this alone.

    Is it to feel our strength—
    Not our bloom only, but our strength—decay?
    Is it to feel each limb
    Grow stiffer, every function less exact,
    Each nerve more weakly strung?

    Yes, this, and more! but not,
    Ah, 'tis not what in youth we dreamed 'twould be!
    'Tis not to have our life
    Mellowed and softened as with sunset-glow,
    A golden day's decline!

    'Tis not to see the world
    As from a height, with rapt prophetic eyes,
    And heart profoundly stirred;
    And weep, and feel the fulness of the past,
    The years that are no more!

    It is to spend long days
    And not once feel that we were ever young.
    It is to add, immured
    In the hot prison of the present, month
    To month with weary pain.

    It is to suffer this,
    And feel but half, and feebly, what we feel:
    Deep in our hidden heart
    Festers the dull remembrance of a change,
    But no emotion—none.

    It is—last stage of all—
    When we are frozen up within, and quite
    The phantom of ourselves,
    To hear the world applaud the hollow ghost
    Which blamed the living man.

    - Matthew Arnold
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  17. TopTop #47
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    In Silence

    Be still.
    Listen to the stones of the wall.
    Be silent, they try
    to speak your

    name.
    Listen
    to the living walls.

    Who are you?
    Who
    are you? Whose
    silence are you?

    Who (be quiet)
    are you (as these stones
    are quiet). Do not
    think of what you are
    still less of
    what you may one day be.

    Rather
    be what you are (but who?)
    be the unthinkable one
    you do not know.

    O be still, while
    you are still alive,
    and all things live around you

    speaking (I do not hear)
    to your own being,
    speaking by the unknown
    that is in you and in themselves.

    “I will try, like them
    to be my own silence:
    and this is difficult. The whole
    world is secretly on fire. The stones
    burn, even the stones they burn me.
    How can a man be still or
    listen to all things burning?
    How can he dare to sit with them
    when all their silence is on fire?”

    - Thomas Merton
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  18. TopTop #48
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Patience

    Patience is
    wider than one
    once envisioned,
    with ribbons
    of rivers
    and distant
    ranges and
    tasks undertaken
    and finished
    with modest
    relish by
    natives in their
    native dress.
    Who would
    have guessed
    it possible
    that waiting
    is sustainable—
    a place with
    its own harvests.
    Or that in
    time's fullness
    the diamonds
    of patience
    couldn't be
    distinguished
    from the genuine
    in brilliance
    or hardness.

    - Kay Ryan


    From Say Uncle by Kay Ryan, published by Grove Press. Copyright © 2000 by Kay Ryan.

    NYTimes.com

    Kay Ryan, Outsider With Sly Style, Named Poet Laureate
    By PATRICIA COHEN
    Published: July 17, 2008

    When Kay Ryan was a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, the poetry club rejected her application; she was perhaps too much of a loner, she recalls. Now Ms. Ryan is being inducted into one of the most elite poetry clubs around. She is to be named the country’s poet laureate on Thursday.

    Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

    Kay Ryan, 62, will become the country’s 16th poet laureate.
    Web Extra: Selected Poems by Kay Ryan (July 17, 2008)

    Known for her sly, compact poems that revel in wordplay and internal rhymes, Ms. Ryan has won a carriage full of poetry prizes for her funny and philosophical work, including awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2004, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, worth $100,000.

    Still, she has remained something of an outsider.

    “I so didn’t want to be a poet,” Ms. Ryan, 62, said in a phone interview from her home in Fairfax, Calif. “I came from sort of a self-contained people who didn’t believe in public exposure, and public investigation of the heart was rather repugnant to me.”

    But in the end “I couldn’t resist,” she said. “It was in a strange way taking over my mind. My mind was on its own finding things and rhyming things. I was getting diseased.”

    Dana Gioia, a poet and the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, was an early supporter of Ms. Ryan’s work, describing her as the “thoughtful, bemused, affectionate, deeply skeptical outsider.”

    “She would certainly be part of the world if she could manage it,” he said. “She has certain reservations. That is what makes her like Dickinson in some ways.”

    Poets, editors, critics and academics around the country offered advice to James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress, about whom to choose to succeed Charles Simic as the nation’s 16th poet laureate, who was appointed 2007. Ms. Ryan’s work has “this quality of simplicity; it’s highly accessible poetry,” Dr. Billington said. “She takes you through little images to see a very ordinary thing or ordinary sentiment in a more subtle and deeper way.”

    Ms. Ryan likes to take familiar images and clichés and reincarnate them in a wholly original form. “The Other Shoe” reads:

    Oh if it were
    only the other
    shoe hanging
    in space before
    joining its mate.

    Her poems are spare. “An almost empty suitcase, that’s what I want my poems to be, few things,” Ms. Ryan said. “The reader starts taking them out, but they keep multiplying.”

    Ms. Ryan grew up in small towns throughout the San Joaquin Valley and Mojave Desert. Her mother taught elementary school. A nervous person, her mother craved quiet, so there was virtually no television or radio playing in the home, Ms. Ryan said. In “Shark’s Teeth” she writes, “Everything contains some silence.” The poem continues:

    An hour
    of city holds maybe
    a minute of these
    remnants of a time
    when silence reigned,
    compact and dangerous
    as a shark.

    Her father was a dreamer. She once said he could “fail at anything,” having tried selling Christmas trees, drilling oil wells and working in a chromium mine.

    It was after his death, when she was 19, that she started writing poems. But Ms. Ryan said she always had mixed feelings about it. “I wanted to do it, but I didn’t want to expose myself,” she said.

    After briefly attending Antelope Valley College, she transferred to U.C.L.A., where she earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English.

    She moved to Marin County in 1971 and lives there now, with her partner, Carol Adair.

    In 1976 she finally realized that she could not escape the poet inside her. She had decided to ride a bicycle from California to Virginia in 80 days. Riding along the Hoosier Pass in the Colorado Rockies, she said, she felt an incredible opening up, “an absence of boundaries, an absence of edges, as if my brain could do anything.”

    “Finally I can ask the question: Can I be a writer?” The answer came back as a question, she said. “Do you like it?”

    “So it was quite simple for me. I went home and began to work.”

    Public recognition came slowly. It took 20 years for her to receive acclaim for her work. “All of us want instant success,” she said. “I’m glad I was on a sort of slow drip.”

    Ms. Ryan has carved out a life conducive to poetry writing. She has taught the same remedial English course at the College of Marin in Kentfield, Calif., for more than 30 years. When asked if she thought her new position would make it harder to write, she replied, “No, uh-uh. I think it will make it impossible.”

    She has published six books of poetry and her work regularly appears in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Review of Books.

    One of her first duties as poet laureate is an appearance at the National Book Festival on Sept. 27 on the National Mall in Washington. More formally she will kick off the Library of Congress’s annual literary series on Oct. 16 by reading her own work. The library doesn’t require much of its laureates, although in recent years many have undertaken projects to broaden poetry’s reach to children and adults. Ms. Ryan has no definite plans, but said she might like to “celebrate the Library of Congress,” adding “maybe I’ll issue library cards to everyone.”

    For a woman who once shrank from exposing herself, this new position will put her in the public eye more than ever. But at this point Ms. Ryan is philosophical: “I realized that whatever we do or don’t do, we’re utterly exposed.”
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  19. TopTop #49
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Keeping Quiet

    Now we will count to twelve
    and we will all keep still.
    For once on the face of the earth
    let’s not speak in any language.
    Let’s stop for a second
    and not move our arms so much.
    It would be an exotic moment, without rush, without engines;
    we would all be together in a sudden strangeness.
    Fishermen in the cold sea would not harm whales,
    and the man gathering salt would look at his hurt hands.
    Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, with fire,
    victories with no survivors,
    would put on clean clothes
    and walk about with their brothers and sisters in the shade,
    doing nothing.
    What I want should not be confused with total inactivity:
    Life is what it is about.
    If we were not so singleminded about keeping our lives moving,
    and for once could do nothing,
    perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness
    of never understanding ourselves
    and of threatening ourselves with death.
    Perhaps the earth can teach us
    as when everything seems dead in winter,
    and later proves to be alive.
    Now I’ll count up to twelve
    and you keep quiet
    and I’ll go.

    - Pablo Neruda

    A Callarse

    Ahora contaremos doce
    y nos quedamos todos quietos.

    Por una vez sobre la tierra
    no hablemos en ningún idioma,
    pour un segundo detengámonos,
    no movamos tanto los brazos.

    Sería un minuto gragante,
    sin prisa, sin locomotoras,
    todos estaríamos juntos
    en una inquietud instantánea.

    Los pescadores del mar frío
    no harían daño a las ballenas
    y el trabajador de la sal
    miraría sus manos rotas.

    Los que preparan guerras verdes,
    guerras de gas, guerras de fuego,
    victorias sin sibrevivientes,
    se pondrían un traje puro
    y andarían con sus hermanos
    por la sombra, sin hacer nada.

    No se confunda lo que quiero
    con la inacción definitiva:
    la vida es sólo lo que se hace,
    no quiero nada con la muerte.

    Si no pudimos ser unánimes
    moviendo tanto nuestras vidas,
    tal vez no hacer nada una vez,
    tal vez un gran silencio pueda
    interrumpir esta tristeza,
    este no entendernos jamás
    y amenazarnos con la muerte,
    tal vez la tierra nos enseñe
    cuando todo parece muerto
    y luego todo estaba vivo.

    Ahora contaré hasta doce
    y tú te callas y me voy.

    - Pablo Neruda
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  20. TopTop #50
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Wise Men Keep Talking About


    Time is the shop
    Where everyone works hard

    To build enough love
    To break the
    Shackle.

    Wise men keep talking about
    Wanting to meet Her.

    Women sometimes pronounce the word God
    A little differently:
    They can use more feeling and skill
    With the heart-lute.

    All the world's movements,
    Apparent chaos, and suffering I now know happen
    In the Splendid Unison:

    Our tambourines are striking
    The same thigh.

    Hafiz stands
    At a juncture in this poem.
    There are a thousand new wheels I could craft
    On a wagon
    And place you in -
    Lead you to a glimpse of the culture
    And seasons in another dimension.

    Yet again God
    Will have to drop you back at the shop
    Where you still have work
    With

    Love.

    - Hafiz

    (The Gift -- versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)
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  21. Gratitude expressed by:

  22. TopTop #51
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Home to Roost

    The chickens
    are circling and
    blotting out the
    day. The sun is
    bright, but the
    chickens are in
    the way. Yes,
    the sky is dark
    with chickens,
    dense with them.
    They turn and
    then they turn
    again. These
    are the chickens
    you let loose
    one at a time
    and small -
    various breeds.
    Now they have
    come home
    to roost - all
    the same kind
    at the same speed.

    - Kay Ryan
    Copyright © 2005 from the collection "The Niagara River" (Grove Press)
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  23. TopTop #52
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    A Contribution to Statistics

    Out of a hundred people

    those who always know better
    - fifty-two

    doubting every step
    - nearly all the rest,

    glad to lend a hand
    if it doesn't take too long
    - as high as forty-nine,

    always good
    because they can't be otherwise
    - four, well maybe five,

    able to admire without envy
    - eighteen,

    suffering illusions
    induced by fleeting youth
    - sixty, give or take a few,

    not to be taken lightly
    - forty and four,

    living in constant fear
    of someone or something
    - seventy-seven,

    capable of happiness
    - twenty-something tops,

    harmless singly, savage in crowds
    - half at least,

    cruel
    when forced by circumstances
    - better not to know
    even ballpark figures,

    wise after the fact
    - just a couple more
    than wise before it,

    taking only things from life
    - thirty
    (I wish I were wrong),

    hunched in pain,
    no flashlight in the dark
    - eighty-three
    sooner or later,

    righteous
    - thirty-five, which is a lot,

    righteous
    and understanding
    - three,

    worthy of compassion
    - ninety-nine,

    mortal
    - a hundred out of a hundred.
    Thus far this figure still remains unchanged.

    - Wislawa Szymborska
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  24. TopTop #53
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    The Gift

    Time wants to show you a different country. It's the one
    that your life conceals, the one waiting outside
    when curtains are drawn, the one Grandmother hinted at
    in her crochet design, the one almost found
    over at the edge of the music, after the sermon.
    It's the way life is, and you have it, a few years given.
    You get killed now and then, violated
    in various ways. (And sometimes it's turn about.)
    You get tired of that. Long-suffering, you wait
    and pray, and maybe good things come - maybe
    the hurt slackens and you hardly feel it any more.
    You have a breath without pain. It is called happiness.
    It's a balance, the taking and passing along,
    the composting of where you've been and how people
    and weather treated you. It's a country where
    you already are, bringing where you have been.
    Time offers this gift in its millions of ways,
    turning the world, moving the air, calling,
    every morning, "Here, take it, it's yours."

    - William Stafford
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  25. TopTop #54
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Breeze in the Apple Orchard

    This breeze, the hussy, has traveled around the world,
    gathering smoke from cook-fires in Afghanistan, stealing the sweat of lovers in London,
    the stink of traffic in Marrakech,

    blowing her hot breath through your threadbare heart,
    huffing up your skirt,
    roughening your genius hair,
    hot with the stench of battlefields,
    cool and sweet with the cries of gulls.

    Breeze! Tell me it's me
    and me alone that you love.

    How can I tell you that
    when I have just caressed the seashell ears of a baby
    and caught, with equal care,
    the parched last breath of the woman
    whose strangled, abandoned body
    won't be found for months to come?

    When this morning I whipped veils against the foreheads
    of that long line of refugees
    carrying their lives on their backs
    through an endless gray-and-white newspaper desert?

    And this afternoon recorded the wheeze
    of the bull elephant as he chased through the underbrush
    trumpeting after his mate,
    and listened just as intently
    to the cricket, fiddling her delicate desire?

    Well, then, what do you want with me?

    I want one stray hair from your scalp,
    one drop of sweat from under your armpit.
    Give me that short breath you just took without thinking,
    the blood-blister on your toe, inside your gritty sandal,
    the fleeting impulse too swift to write down.

    - Alison Luterman
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  26. TopTop #55
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Standing Deer

    As the house of a person
    in age sometimes grows cluttered
    with what is
    too loved or too heavy to part with,
    the heart may grow cluttered.
    And still the house will be emptied,
    and still the heart.

    As the thoughts of a person
    in age sometimes grow sparer,
    like a great cleanness come into a room,
    the soul may grow sparer;
    one sparrow song carves it completely.
    And still the room is full,
    and still the heart.

    Empty and filled,
    like the curling half-light of morning,
    in which everything is still possible and so why not.

    Filled and empty,
    like the curling half-light of evening,
    in which everything now is finished and so why not.

    Beloved, what can be, what was,
    will be taken from us.
    I have disappointed.
    I am sorry. I knew no better.

    A root seeks water.
    Tenderness only breaks open the earth.
    This morning, out the window,
    the deer stood like a blessing, then vanished.

    - Jane Hirschfield
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  27. TopTop #56
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Something I've Not Done



    Something I’ve not done

    is following me

    I haven’t done it again and again

    so it has many footsteps

    like a drumstick that’s grown old and never been used


    In late afternoon I hear it come closer

    at times it climbs out of a sea

    onto my shoulders

    and I shrug it off

    losing one more chance


    Every morning

    it’s drunk up part of my breath for the day

    and knows which way

    I’m going

    and already it’s not done there


    But once more I say I’ll lay hands on it

    tomorrow

    and add its footsteps to my heart

    and its story to my regrets

    and its silence to my compass.


    - W.S. Merwin
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  28. TopTop #57
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Paradise

    I used to live there. Every morning
    The downtown streets were cobbled with gold, honey
    Flowed—all that stuff. I'm not kidding. Summers
    Lasted a lifetime, broken by Christmas
    And New Year's.
    Mornings were like waking to someone's scent
    You hadn't yet met and married for life,
    Though I didn't know that then—the night-cooled
    Muskmelons rolling belly up to the stars,
    And by late afternoon the dusk-colored
    Dust of apricots on everything.
    From that earth, my body
    Assembled itself, and when the veil dropped,
    I tried to say what I saw. The light winds
    Around me died, the sheers of summer wavered
    As though all of it were mirage. Cantaloupes,
    Grapes, clusters of ruby flames like champagne,
    Though I didn't know that then—
    Nectarines like morphine—didn't know that either.
    Oranges, almonds, rainbows,
    Tangs—rolling in all year long, that bounty.
    You tell people that, over and over,
    And it's really crazy, they won't believe you.
    All that sugar coaxed out of clay, and you
    Can't even give it away—and each dawn
    More is just piled on. I took in as much
    As I could, like larder, and walked away.

    - Arthur Smith
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  29. TopTop #58
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Just Walking Around
    What name do I have for you?
    Certainly there is not name for you
    In the sense that the stars have names
    That somehow fit them. Just walking around,

    An object of curiosity to some,
    But you are too preoccupied
    By the secret smudge in the back of your soul
    To say much and wander around,

    Smiling to yourself and others.
    It gets to be kind of lonely
    But at the same time off-putting.
    Counterproductive, as you realize once again

    That the longest way is the most efficient way,
    The one that looped among islands, and
    You always seemed to be traveling in a circle.
    And now that the end is near

    The segments of the trip swing open like an orange.
    There is light in there and mystery and food.
    Come see it.
    Come not for me but it.
    But if I am still there, grant that we may see each other.

    - John Ashbery
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  30. TopTop #59
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Odysseus' Decision
    The great man turns his back on the island.
    Now he will not die in paradise
    nor hear again
    the lutes of paradise among the olive trees,
    by the clear pools under the cypresses. Time

    begins now, in which he hears again
    that pulse which is the narrative
    sea, ar dawn when its pull is stongest.
    What has brought us here
    will lead us away; our ship
    sways in the tined harbor water.

    Now the spell is ended.
    Give him back his life,
    sea that can only move forward.

    - Louise Gluck
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  31. TopTop #60
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Mulching

    Me in my bugproof netted headpiece kneeling
    to spread sodden newspapers between broccolis,
    corn sprouts, cabbages and four kinds of beans,

    prostrate before old suicide bombings, starvation,
    AIDS, earthquakes, the unforeseen tsunami,
    front-page photographs of lines of people

    with everything they own heaped on their heads,
    the rich assortment of birds trilling on all
    sides of my forest garden, the exhortations

    of commencement speakers at local colleges,
    the first torture revelations under my palms
    and I a helpless citizen of a country

    I used to love, who as a child wept when
    the brisk police band bugled Hats off? The flag
    is passing by, now that every wanton deed

    in this stack of newsprint is heartbreak,
    my blackened fingers can only root in dirt,
    turning up industrious earthworms, bits

    of unreclaimed eggshell, wanting to ask
    the earth to take my unquiet spirit,
    bury it deep, make compost of it.

    - Maxine Kumin
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