Poem of the Day: Waiting for a Ride
May 18th, 2017 by

Standing at the baggage passing time:
Austin Texas airport—my ride hasn’t come yet.
My former wife is making websites from her home,
one son’s seldom seen,
the other one and his wife have a boy and girl of their own.
My wife and stepdaughter are spending weekdays in town
so she can get to high school.
My mother ninety-six still lives alone and she’s in town too,
always gets her sanity back just barely in time.
My former former wife has become a unique poet;
most of my work,
such as it is             is done.
Full moon was October second this year,
I ate a mooncake, slept out on the deck
white light beaming through the black boughs of the pine
owl hoots and rattling antlers,
Castor and Pollux rising strong
—it’s good to know that the Pole Star drifts!
that even our present night sky slips away,
not that I’ll see it.
Or maybe I will, much later,
some far time walking the spirit path in the sky,
that long walk of spirits—where you fall right back into the
“narrow painful passageway of the Bardo”
squeeze your little skull
and there you are again
waiting for your ride
(October 5, 2001)

Gary Snyder, “Waiting for a Ride” from Danger on Peaks. Copyright © 2004 by Gary Snyder. Reprinted with the permission of Counterpoint Press.

Source: Danger on Peaks(Shoemaker Hoard, 2004)

Gary Snyder

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Poem of the Day: Tula [“Books are door-shaped”]
May 11th, 2017 by

Books are door-shaped
portals
carrying me
across oceans
and centuries,
helping me feel
less alone.
But my mother believes
that girls who read too much
are unladylike
and ugly,
so my father's books are locked
in a clear glass cabinet. I gaze
at enticing covers
and mysterious titles,
but I am rarely permitted
to touch
the enchantment
of words.
Poems.
Stories.
Plays.
All are forbidden.
Girls are not supposed to think,
but as soon as my eager mind
begins to race, free thoughts
rush in
to replace
the trapped ones.
I imagine distant times
and faraway places.
Ghosts.
Vampires.
Ancient warriors.
Fantasy moves into
the tangled maze
of lonely confusion.
Secretly, I open
an invisible book in my mind,
and I step
through its magical door-shape
into a universe
of dangerous villains
and breathtaking heroes.
Many of the heroes are men
and boys, but some are girls
so tall
strong
and clever
that they rescue other children
from monsters.
Margarita Engle, "Tula [”Books are door-shaped”]" from The Lightning Dreamer.  Copyright © 2013 by Margarita Engle.  Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Source: The Lightning Dreamer(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013)

Margarita Engle

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Poem of the Day: Of Modern Books
May 8th, 2017 by

Of making many books there is no end,
   Though myriads have to deep oblivion gone;
Each day new manuscripts are being penned,
   And still the ceaseless tide of ink flows on.
Though myriads have to deep oblivion gone,
   New volumes daily issue from the press;
And still the ceaseless tide of ink flows on—
   The prospect is disheartening, I confess.
New volumes daily issue from the press;
   My pile of unread books I view aghast.
The prospect is disheartening, I confess;
   Why will these modern authors write so fast?
My pile of unread books I view aghast—
   Of course I must keep fairly up to date—
Why will these modern authors write so fast?
   They seem to get ahead of me of late.
Of course I must keep fairly up to date;
   The books of special merit I must read;
They seem to get ahead of me of late,
   Although I skim them very fast indeed.
The books of special merit I must read;
   And then the magazines come round again;
Although I skim them very fast indeed,
   I can’t get through with more than eight or ten.
And then the magazines come round again!
   How can we stem this tide of printer’s ink?
I can’t get through with more than eight or ten—
   It is appalling when I stop to think.
How can we stem this tide of printer’s ink?
   Of making many books there is no end.
It is appalling when I stop to think
   Each day new manuscripts are being penned!

Source: She Wields a Pen: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century(University of Iowa Press, 1997)

Carolyn Wells

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