Poetry

Ostia Antica
July 28, 2011

Down the Decumanus Maximus             till the rutted cobbles give way, just as so many lives have gone before this,             past the stubs of the insulae, while each Airbus at Fiumicino            heaves itself aloft over the beach umbrellas in row on row           where the Tyrrhenian Sea laps, soft; and I, too, have felt Rome drop astern           of that imperative bound west, have settled back and been home by afternoon.           But this time I smell the dust and heat as I walk an open field           to Room 16, Trench 3, Layer 3 where he works, my tousle-headed man-child,        

Remains
July 28, 2011

Near his death Chuang Tzu’s disciples asked why he chose tree burial in the ancient style instead of a dignified grave.

Eclogues
July 14, 2011

i. That summer of rain I was a seminarian and visited the Osborn State Correctional Facility. Metal gates opened, closed, like legs crossed and uncrossed. On the mental health ward, behind a small meshed window, a naked man, wrapped in a bed sheet, posed like Constantine crossing the Milvian Bridge. Men hummed in their cells, sticky, strong from barbells. The men had black, brown and white skin, many covered with intricate tattoos like road maps. One seminarian collapsed and was taken to the nurse’s office.

Memorial Day
June 09, 2011

Behind the banyan trees, the mansions. Behind the mansions, the             lagoon—. In the lagoon, a mooring of sailboats. Wind in the rigging. Hull-slap and groan.                                                                  Where is everybody? The sound of people playing in their pools—well ..., there Isn’t any; the streets  Are empty—, the moon, like a moon Jelly, beating its slow float in the not-  Quite-dark. In the gardens of the Moorings Country Club, The lights have come on, rice paper lanterns on which are  Printed cherry blossoms. O—this un- Starred sky.

Animality
May 11, 2011

The animals in Paul Muldoon’s poems do not tell us how we should act, but they do allow us to “glimpse the possibility of what we might become.” His n

Bushwhacking
April 26, 2011

Les Murray's latest book, the decidedly minor Taller When Prone, testifies to Murray’s full poetic recovery, and also to a kind of liberation from the

Vesper Sparrow
April 07, 2011

for Deborah Digges Said and done I’m choosing the redwing. The unwritten rule is the rule of familiars (familiar having a homely quality), those birds close by, the ones you take for granted, though seasonal: the mocker in the arbor picking at the grapes, the house wren flowering in the dogwood, the catbird mewling in and out of the hedge, the infinite warbler warbling all summer... But not the bird you feed all winter, the one who stays, like the sometime cardinal (too present, too colorful), who warms the snow at the window, who on the coldest day will sing, since singing, by itself, like be

Swiche Glaringe Eyen
April 07, 2011

Sheila Fisher is an academic, a professor of English literature, and her sparkling introduction to the Canterbury Tales and Chaucer is by far the best

Pieces Falling into Place
March 07, 2011

Robert Lowell once surmised that the publication of his friend Elizabeth Bishop’s letters would lead to her being recognized “as not only one of the b

For Clare
March 03, 2011

I saw a brown shape in the unmown grass, half-hidden in a tuft, and crouching down to get a closer look, I found a young rabbit, no bigger than my hand, trembling there in its makeshift nest.

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