We Have A Beautiful Mother

by Alice Walker We have a beautiful Mother Her hills Are buffaloes Her buffaloes Hills. We have a beautiful Mother Her oceans Are wombs Her wombs Oceans. We have a beautiful Mother Her teeth The white stones At the edge Of the water The summer Grasses Her plentiful Hair. We have a beautiful Mother Her green lap Immense Her brown embrace Eternal Her blue body Everything we know.

Harvest of Thorns

by Scott O'Brien Whom are they arresting? Today, for the bomb in Times Square, the one that did not go off, except in people’s hearts and exploded faith - after calling us back from the borders of daily care to stand and watch in horror. Whom did they arrest? Not the insatiable hatred, not this misplaced passion, obsessed with righting wrongs at the expense of all that is right. Not the shadow of revenge, which knows no solace, runs from loving caresses, spits out the cloying taste of reconciliation. No, they never arrest the right one: that shadow fleeing over there, just now disappearing down the subway, rounding that corner, the one who has never yet been caught in all these millennia of wars, murderous martyrs, and lunacy. Each springs boxes him in, every butterfly is a bomber, fixing him in her sights, every child’s smile a vicious attack; only a cemetery feels like home to him. Such a strange universe, calling for help, holding so c


by Wislawa Szymborska Look, how constantly capable and how well maintained in our century: hatred. How lightly she regards high impediments. How easily she leaps and overtakes. She's not like other feelings. She's both older and younger than they. She herself gives birth to causes which awaken her to life. If she ever dozes, it's not an eternal sleep. Insomnia does not sap her strength, but adds to it. Religion or no religion, as long as one kneels at the starting-block. Fatherland or no fatherland, as long as one tears off at the start. She begins as fairness and equity. Then she propels herself. Hatred. Hatred. She veils her face with a mien of romantic ecstasy. Oh, the other feelings -- decrepit and sluggish. Since when could that brotherhood count on crowds? Did ever empathy urge on toward the goal? How many clients did doubt abduct? Only she abducts who knows her own. Talented, intelligent, very industrious. Do we need to say how


by Robert Hass If I said—remembering in summer, The cardinal’s sudden smudge of red In the bare gray winter woods— If I said, red ribbon on the cocked straw hat Of the girl with pooched-out lips Dangling a wiry lapdog In the painting by Renoir— If I said fire, if I said blood welling from a cut— Or flecks of poppy in the tar-grass scented summer air On a wind-struck hillside outside Fano— If I said, her one earring tugging at her silky lobe, If she tells fortunes with a deck of fallen leaves Until it comes out right— Rouged nipple, mouth— (How could you not love a woman Who cheats at the Tarot?) Red, I said. Sudden, red.


by Robert Hass “Tender Little Buddha,” she said Of my least Buddha-like member. She was probably quoting Allen Ginsberg. Who was probably paraphrasing Walt Whitman. After the Civil War, after the death of Lincoln, That was a good time to own railroad stocks. But Whitman was in the Library of Congress, Researching alternative Americas, Reading up on the curiosities of Hindoo philosophy, Studying the etchings of stone carvings Of strange couplings in a book. She was taking off a blouse, Almost transparent, the color of a silky tangerine. From Capitol Hill Walt Whitman must have been able to see Willows gathering the river haze In the cooling and still-humid twilight. He was in love with a trolley conductor In the summer of—what was it?—1867? 1868? [from Time and Materials, Poems 1997-2005]

From: “Leaves of Grass,” Song of the Open Road

by Walt Whitman 5 From this hour, freedom!   From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,   Going where I list, my own master, total and absolute, Listening to others, and considering well what they say,   Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,   Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.      I inhale great draughts of space;   The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine. I am larger, better than I thought;   I did not know I held so much goodness.      All seems beautiful to me;   I can repeat over to men and women, You have done such good to me, I would do the same to you.      I will recruit for myself and you as I go; I will scatter myself among men and women as I go;   I will toss the new gladness and roughness among them;   Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me;   Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and

Ecclesiastes II:I

by Richard Wilbur We must cast our bread Upon the waters , as the Ancient preacher said, Trusting that it may Amply be restored to us After many a day. That old metaphor, Drawn from rice farming on the River's flooded shore, Helps us believe That it's no great sin to give, Hoping to receive. Therefore I shall throw Broken bread, this sullen day, Out across the snow, Betting crust and crumb That birds will gather, and that One more spring will come.