Poem of the Day: Sparrow Trapped in the Airport
Mar 25th, 2017 by

Never the bark and abalone mask
cracked by storms of a mastering god,
never the gods’ favored glamour, never
the pelagic messenger bearing orchards
in its beak, never allegory, not wisdom
or valor or cunning, much less hunger
demanding vigilance, industry, invention,
or the instinct to claim some small rise
above the plain and from there to assert
the song of another day ending;
lentil brown, uncounted, overlooked
in the clamorous public of the flock
so unlikely to be noticed here by arrivals,
faces shining with oils of their many miles,
where it hops and scratches below
the baggage carousel and lights too high,
too bright for any real illumination,
looking more like a fumbled punch line
than a stowaway whose revelation
recalls how lightly we once traveled.

Source: Poetry November 2005

Averill Curdy

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Poem of the Day: Spring Snow
Mar 21st, 2017 by

A kind of counter-
blossoming, diversionary,
doomed, and like
the needle with its drop
of blood a little
too transparently in
love with doom, takes
issue with the season: Not
(the serviceberry bright
with explanation) not
(the redbud unspooling
its silks) I know I've read
the book but not (the lilac,
the larch) quite yet, I still
have one more card to
play. Behold
a six-hour wonder: six
new inches bedecking the
railing, the bench, the top
of the circular table like
a risen cake. The saplings
made (who little thought
what beauty weighs) to bow
before their elders.
The moment bears more
than the usual signs of its own
demise, but isn't that
the bravery? Built
on nothing but the self-
same knots of air
and ice. Already
the lip of it riddled
with flaws, a sort
of vascular lesion that
betokens—what? betokens
the gathering return
to elementals. (She
was frightened
for a minute, who had
planned to be so calm.)
A dripline scoring
the edge of the walk.
The cotton batting blown
against the screen begun
to pill and molt. (Who
clothed them out of
mercy in the skins
of beasts.) And even
as the last of the
lightness continues
to fall, the seepage
underneath has gained
momentum. (So that
there must have been a
death before
the death we call the
first or what became
of them, the ones
whose skins were taken.)
Now the more-
of-casting-backward-than-of-
forward part, which must
have happened while I wasn't
looking or was looking
at the skinning knives. I think
I'll call this mercy too.

Source: Poetry November 2006

Linda Gregerson

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Poem of the Day: Sea Grapes
Mar 18th, 2017 by

That sail which leans on light,
tired of islands,
a schooner beating up the Caribbean
for home, could be Odysseus,
home-bound on the Aegean;
that father and husband's
longing, under gnarled sour grapes, is
like the adulterer hearing Nausicaa's name
in every gull's outcry.
This brings nobody peace. The ancient war
between obsession and responsibility
will never finish and has been the same
for the sea-wanderer or the one on shore
now wriggling on his sandals to walk home,
since Troy sighed its last flame,
and the blind giant's boulder heaved the trough
from whose groundswell the great hexameters come
to the conclusions of exhausted surf.
The classics can console. But not enough.
Derek Walcott, "Sea Grapes" from Poems 1965-1980. Copyright © 1992 by Derek Walcott. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, www.fsgbooks.com. All rights reserved.

Caution: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.

Source: Collected Poems 1948-1984(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986)

Derek Walcott

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