The Gospel According to Sky
No matter how many times I hear them
I cannot remember the names of clouds—
not the white brush strokes whipping upward
like a wishing breath, not the staccato
of cotton batting torn apart and pasted
on morning’s sculpting light, nor the low-hung
burnished steel that insulates, compresses
like mood. The encyclopaedia sings cirrus,
stratus, cumulus, cirrocumulus, altostratus,
altocumulus, cumulonimbus, stratocumulus,
but all I recall is how the ceaseless, immutable
blue holds those changing shapes, like a lover
who’s finally learned how to love her right.
Cheryl Dumesnil, from Redheaded Stepchild (Spring/Summer 2014)
Pablo Neruda, from “Still Another Day: XVII/Men”
e. e. cummings, from XLVIII
Pat Lowther, from “Random Interview,” Time Capsule
Ezra Pound, In a Station of the Metro
Your scent is in the room
Swiftly, it overwhelms and conquers me!
Jasmines, night jasmines, perfect of perfumes,
Heavy with dew before the dawn of day!
Your face was in the mirror. I could see
You smile and vanish suddenly away,
leaving behind the vestige of a tear. (…)
CLAUDE McKAY, Jasmines
There’s a soft spot in everything
Our fingers touch,
the one place where everything breaks
When we press it just right.
The past is like that with its arduous edges and blind sides,
The whorls of our fingerprints
embedded along its walls
Like fossils the sea has left behind.
—Charles Wright, from “Two Stories,” The Other Side of the River (Random House, 1984)
So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbour of your longing,
and put your lips to the world.
Mary Oliver, Red Bird