Poem for the day

To the Light of September

When you are already here

you appear to be only

a name that tells of you

whether you are present or not

and for now it seems as though

you are still summer

still the high familiar

endless summer

yet with a glint

of bronze in the chill mornings

and the late yellow petals

of the mullein fluttering

on the stalks that lean

over their broken

shadows across the cracked ground

but they all know

that you have come

the seed heads of the sage

the whispering birds

with nowhere to hide you

to keep you for later

you

who fly with them

you who are neither

before nor after

you who arrive

with blue plums

that have fallen through the night

perfect in the dew

  • W.S. Merwin

Something There is. . . with a nod to Robert Frost

                   i

from space it must appear
a curious laceration
or arbitrary line of demarcation

from where we stand the earth’s
excoriated an eight-lane thoroughfare
over-riding tribal burial lands

cactus forests newly hacked–
endangered organ pipes reduced to trash
are bound for burning

observe up close the rank intruder
a man-made structure a false geography
at odds with mother nature

a monstrous centipede industrial
composed of angled steel
and half the height of the pentagon

upright appendages proliferate
breaking the daylight into bars
contrived to thwart the so-called aliens

armored gates at intervals appear
with fool-proof codes case-hardened locks
emblems of invincibility and dominion

stony eyes on soaring stalks explode the night as
desert dwellers-- deer coyote ocelot
search in vain for their abrupted watering holes

Stand back my friend surveilling sensors
shriek and shred the silence
since you dared to lay a hand

dusty pick-up trucks descend
men in hard hats bearing down
to question our intentions

                         ii

what glory is there in this artless art to
warrant the ostentatious autograph
of a presidential pen

what is the cost to humankind
to carry out what is begun
Can we surmount these barricades

or will this political theater be
reckoned as a national shame
a failure of empathy and reason in our time

 Let history declare once and for all --

          Something there is 
              that doesn’t love
                    a wall
                                              
                                                       
-  b. armstrong

The Avowal

As swimmers dare

to lie face to the sky

and water bears them,

as hawks rest upon air

and air sustains them,

so would I learn to attain

freefall, and float

into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,

knowing no effort earns

that all-surrounding grace.

  • Denise Levertov

I Am Offering This Poem

I am offering this poem to you,
since I have nothing else to give.
Keep it like a warm coat
when winter comes to cover you,
or like a pair of thick socks
the cold cannot bite through,

                     I love you,

I have nothing else to give you,
so it is a pot full of yellow corn
to warm your belly in winter,
it is a scarf for your head, to wear
over your hair, to tie up around your face,

                     I love you,

Keep it, treasure this as you would
if you were lost, needing direction,
in the wilderness life becomes when mature;
and in the corner of your drawer,
tucked away like a cabin or hogan
in dense trees, come knocking,
and I will answer, give you directions,
and let you warm yourself by this fire,
rest by this fire, and make you feel safe

                     I love you,

It’s all I have to give,
and all anyone needs to live,
and to go on living inside,
when the world outside
no longer cares if you live or die;
remember,

                     I love you.

- Jimmy Santiago Baca

Poem for the day:

Un Mango Grows In Kansas

You have found me

hidden in a wheat field

within a husk of corn

growing for you

I am ready

pick me

Hold me in your hands

remove my skin

peel away my color

find that I am tender

soft and sweet

Eat of me

until there is nothing

and your mouths are empty

and your bellies filled

What is left

will live

as seed

to grow

again

brighter

hardened

and less bitter

  • Huascar Medina

There Is No Going Back

No, no, there is no going back.

Less and less you are

that possibility you were.

More and more you have become

those lives and deaths

that have belonged to you.

You have become a sort of grave

containing much that was

and is no more in time, beloved

then, now, and always.

And so you have become a sort of tree

standing over a grave.

Now more than ever you can be

generous toward each day

that comes, young, to disappear

forever, and yet remain

unaging in the mind.

Every day you have less reason

not to give yourself away.

  • Wendell Berry

News

The true shimmering news
This morning
Is how the pines
Kiss the blue of the sky,

How they stand still as a
Dance partner
While fresh clouds
Swirl into position,

And a single woodpecker
Taps a beat for the next
Section and flies off,
Making room for the quail’s call

To sing hallelujah,
Let the dance begin at last,
For this season’s first
Rain.

 - Scott O’Brien

“Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.”
- Wendell Berry

Learning

A piccolo played, then a drum.
Feet began to come - a part of the music. Here
comes a horse,
clippety clop, away.
My mother said, “Don’t run -
the army is after someone
other than us. If you stay
you’ll learn our enemy.”
Then he came, the speaker. He stood
in the square. He told us who
to hate. I watched my mother’s face,
its quiet. “That’s him,” she said.

   - William Stafford

Dark Matter And Dark Energy

My husband says dark matter is a reality
not just some theory invented by adolescent computers
he can prove it exists and is everywhere

forming invisible haloes around everything
and somehow because of gravity
holding everything loosely together

the way a child wants to escape its parents
and doesn’t want to—what’s that—
we don’t know what it is but we know it is real

the way our mothers and fathers fondly
angrily followed fixed orbits around
each other like mice on a track

the way every human and every atom
rushes through space wrapped in its invisible
halo, this big shadow—that’s dark dark matter

sweetheart, while the galaxies
in the wealth of their ferocious protective bubbles
stare at each other

unable to cease
proudly
receding

  - Alicia Ostriker

You are cordially invited to join us for a virtual poetry reading featuring Ed Coletti

Saturday, October 1 from 10:00 to 10:30 AM PDT

There is no charge for this event and no need to pre-register.

Just click this link:Launch Meeting - Zoom

and enter this passcode:465317

Ed Coletti is a poet and fiction writer widely published internationally. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds Masters Degrees in Creative Writing and Business Management from San Francisco State University (with Robert Creeley) and Sonoma State Universities respectively. Ed also is a painter and middling chess player. Previously, he served for three years as an Army Officer, college English instructor, then as a Counselor and later as a Small Business Consultant.

More recent poetry collections were Germs, Viruses & Catechisms (2013 Civil Defense Press, SF), The Problem With Breathing (Edwin Smith Publishing –Little Rock- 2015) as well as Apollo Blue’s Harp (McCaa Books-2019) A few sample journals include ZYSSYVA, Volt, Spillway, North American Review and So It Goes: Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Museum in Indianapolis.

Ed also curates the popular sixteen-year-old blog “No Money In Poetry.” https://edwardcolettispoetryblog.blogspot.com/

Our Aether

Beneficent formless force,

how great the joy in finding you—

if “you” be fitting address.—

Purposeless thought

pervading possible space,

leave us to be what we can be.

Know if you will, what we are,

just as we accept, even embrace,

all of our neighbors seen and unseen.

Show us the light to keep communion

with how this touch like a fragrance enables

invisibly conscious enveloping forces.

  • Ed Coletti

Proverbs and Songs

Everything passes and everything stays,
but our thing is to pass,
pass by making paths,
paths over the sea.

I never chased after the glory
nor leave in memory
of men my song;
I love the subtle worlds
weightless and gentle,
like soap bubbles.

I like to see them paint themselves
of sun and scarlet,
Fly under the blue sky,
Shake suddenly and break …

I never chased after the glory.
Walker, your footprints
are the road and nothing else;
walker, there is no path,
the path is made by walking.

When you walk, you make a path
And when you look back
you see the path that will never
be stepped on again.

Walker there is no path
but wakes in the sea…

Some time ago in that place
where today the forests are dressed in thorns
a poet’s voice was heard shouting
“Walker there is no path,
the path is made by walking … “
Blow by blow, verse by verse …

  • Antonio Machado

(Translation by Juan Manuel Serrat)

Proverbios y Cantares

Todo pasa y todo queda,
pero lo nuestro es pasar,
pasar haciendo caminos,
caminos sobre el mar.

Nunca perseguí la gloria,
ni dejar en la memoria
de los hombres mi canción;
Amo los mundos sutiles,
ingrávidos y gentiles,
como pompas de jabón.

Me gusta verlos pintarse
de sol y grana, volar
bajo el cielo azul, temblar
súbitamente y quebrarse…

Nunca perseguí la gloria.
Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.

Al andar se hace camino
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.

Caminante no hay camino
sino estelas en la mar…

Hace algún tiempo en ese lugar
donde hoy los bosques se visten de espinos
se oyó la voz de un poeta gritar
“Caminante no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar…”
Golpe a golpe, verso a verso…

  • Antonio Machado

The Lesson

In that second grade classroom, Mrs. Circle said

each of us carries an ocean inside

bigger than we are, like happiness, and full of

fish that live nowhere else in the world

and tides that are pulled by our heartbeats, and low tide

sand bars to wade far out in the bright sun.

She taught us we can learn to swim there by jumping

out into the water where the water is still

and shallow, holding our breath and moving

our arms and legs gently, gently—try

for yourself she suggested, and we all closed our eyes

sitting there at our desks, while the snow fell outside

and the radiator whispered. I could hear the clock tick

as we held our breath and swam without really

moving our bodies, like jellyfish, across

the beds of coral that were filled with many-colored fish

whose names didn’t matter, Mrs. Circle said,

as long as you let them come to you—

they are like angels—and nibble the tiny

air bubbles that cling to the hairs along your legs and arms.

Feel how they tickle, she said, Take a deep breath,

dive down underwater as far as you can.

Do you see your shadow down there on the sand,

following your body? That’s another form of you,

a kind of memory, swimming down below

your only solid body. Don’t forget it. Then she clapped her hands

and we all looked up, happy to be sitting there

with our young teacher in that drafty classroom

in the age of extinctions and nuclear bombs

we hadn’t been taught about yet.

- Michael Hettich

A Bardo Prayer

for Judith Tannenbaum

What is Bardo

for the heart/mind

of a Bodhisattva?

Nothing but presence

in the face of suffering?

Nothing but presence

in the face of pleasure?

Vestiges of desire, witnessed

evaporate

into never was?

Let it come

you say,

let it come

This last lifetime

you opened to Darkness

– came Grief

stooped under her blue shawl.

You bowed

then opened

her door

– came the Abandoned;

a chorus slowly shuffling

in a counterclockwise circle

and facing each one

you watched Grief weave in and out

keening.

You bid them come.

You did not turn aside.

Bearing witness

you taught them

poems of witness.

You did not step in

edit, revise or manage.

Single voices

stepped out of the shadows

into the light

and in their own voice

in their own words

read their poems out loud:

refugees, prisoners, students;

those systematically tossed aside;

mothers and children

and fathers, homeless,

lost.

All was seen.

All was heard.

As the music you once loved

for solace and guidance

streamed from your favorite

New Orleans station

so too may this prayer

permeate the dream.

Walk on now

through the hearts’ conundrums,

the horrors, the honors,

with that long-distance view

you cultivated

and so treasured.

Be now

ultimate height and depth.

Be presence.

Always alert to seductions’

hooks and lures:

Fanfare, bread and circus,

the easy word, lulling

happy endings offering

to buffer it all -

may you pass each one

once more.

World of beauty yes,

alive fully

fully ravaged

open to all contradiction.

Let Grief, Fear, Hope come.

Let them come.

Let them go.

Is your last choice

total surrender

or will you desire

return

to face us again?

Brave Heart know this,

your work, your love,

your passion, your delight

continues on this earth

as a beacon in the darkest dark,

as the dark in the blinding light.

  • Kate Dougherty

Invisible - Indivisible

All the wells went dry

When Miriam died.

Sustainer of her people

She disappeared into death

With no commentary, no praise, no thanks.

When asked to write a poem

about the invisibility of women:

how her strength has been ignored,

the power to give life

made into a commodity,

I kept hearing the word “indivisible”

as in the pledge of allegiance:

One nation, indivisible.

As in the nature of all things:

Earth fire water air

Indivisible.

Earth spews fire into the air

oceans collapse into the shoreline

and mountains are formed.

All blood and flesh return to earth

and earth gives life to all -

And yet -

Invisible as air

Unnoticed as the force of gravity

Keeping us safely spinning round the sun,

The force of women is unsung

The role of women unrecognized

The rights of women trampled once again

by minds that seek to divide us.

We are not invisible.

We are indivisible.

In separation we lose

The thread of life that keeps us tied

Together.

Let no one be invisible.

We breathe life into each other

Mouth to mouth. Skin to skin.

Links in a chain through time and space

The matrix of cells

That holds the body together

The magnetic pull

That keeps the planets in place

We are of that

We are that.

Not invisible

but indivisible

from

the power of life

itself.

  • Basha

A Letter to Ruth Stone

Now that you have caught sight
of the other side of darkness
the invisible side
so that you can tell
it is rising
first thing in the morning
and know it is there
all through the day

another sky
clear and unseen
has begun to loom
in your words
and another light is growing
out of their shadows
you can hear it

now you will be able
to envisage beyond
any words of mine
the color of these leaves
that you never saw
awake above the still valley
in the small hours
under the moon
three nights past the full

you know there was never
a name for that color

- W.S. Merwin

Beans

They’re not like peaches or squash.

Plumpness isn’t for them. They like

being lean, as if for the narrow

path. The beans themselves sit qui-

etly inside their green pods. In-

stinctively one picks with care,

never tearing down the fine vine,

never noticing their crisp bod-

ies, or feeling their willingness for

the pot, for the fire.

I have thought sometimes that

something—I can’t name it—

watches as I walk the rows, accept-

ing the gift of their lives to assist

mine.

I know what you think: this is fool-

ishness. They’re only vegetables.

Even the blossoms with which they

begin are small and pale, hardly sig-

nificant Our hands, or minds, our

feet hold more intelligence. With

this I have no quarrel.

But, what about virtue?

  • Mary Oliver