Tuesday, April 17, 2012


You and your dirty minds.  Other People's Poetry.  My last blog entry featured a poem by Robert Bly.  Although I have friends who regularly share O.P.P. on their blogs, I haven't really done that.  I prefer to use this as a space to share my own work.  For some weird reason, it's motivating, and I write when I otherwise might not.  It's actually led to a lot of writing that doesn't end up on the blog as well, which is great.

Anyway, here's a little O.P.P. to help you get through the day.  It is National Poetry Month, after all.

The Origin of Order   By Pattiann Rogers

Stellar dust has settled.
It is green underwater now in the leaves
Of the yellow crowfoot. Its vacancies are gathered together
Under pine litter as emerging flower of the pink arbutus.
It has gained the power to make itself again
In the bone-filled egg of osprey and teal.

One could say this toothpick grasshopper
Is a cloud of decayed nebula congealed and perching
On his female mating. The tortoise beetle,
Leaving the stripped veins of morning glory vines
Like licked bones, is a straw-colored swirl
Of clever gases.

At this moment there are dead stars seeing
Themselves as marsh and forest in the eyes
Of muskrat and shrew, disintegrated suns
Making songs all night long in the throats
Of crawfish frogs, in the rubbings and gratings
Of the red-legged locust. There are spirits of orbiting
Rock in the shells of pointed winkles

And apple snails, ghosts of extinct comets caught
In the leap of darting hare and bobcat, revolutions
Of rushing stone contained in the sound of these words.

The paths of the Pleiades and Coma clusters
Have been compelled to mathematics by the mind
Contemplating the nature of itself
In the motions of stars. The patterns
Of any starry summer night might be identical
To the summer heavens circling inside the skull.
I can feel time speeding now in all directions
Deeper and deeper into the black oblivion
Of the electrons directly behind my eyes.

Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.

Pattiann Rogers, “The Origin of Order” from Firekeeper: Selected Poems. Copyright © 2003 by Pattiann Rogers. Source: Poetry (December 1982).

End of April  by Phillis Levin

Under a cherry tree
I found a robin’s egg,
broken, but not shattered.

I had been thinking of you,
and was kneeling in the grass
among fallen blossoms

when I saw it: a blue scrap,
a delicate toy, as light
as confetti

It didn’t seem real,
but nature will do such things
from time to time.

I looked inside:
it was glistening, hollow,
a perfect shell

except for the missing crown,
which made it possible
to look inside.

What had been there
is gone now
and lives in my heart

where, periodically,
it opens up its wings,
tearing me apart.

from The Afterimage, 1996
Copper Beech Press, Providence, RI
Copyright 1996 by Phillis Levin. All rights reserved.

Did I Miss Anything?   byTom Wayman

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

   Everything. I gave an exam worth
   40 percent of the grade for this term
   and assigned some reading due today
   on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
   worth 50 percent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

   Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
   a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
   or other heavenly being appeared
   and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
   to attain divine wisdom in this life and
   the hereafter
   This is the last time the class will meet
   before we disperse to bring the good news to all people
   on earth.

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

   Everything. Contained in this classroom
   is a microcosm of human experience
   assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
   This is not the only place such an opportunity has been

but it was one place

And you weren’t here

From Did I Miss Anything? Selected Poems 1973-1993, 1993. Harbour Publishing   Copyright 1993 Tom Wayman.

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