Poem for the Day: November 22nd, 2021

Wight by Stanley Plumly

In the dark we disappear, pure being.
Our mirror images, impure being.

Being and becoming (Heidegger), being and
nothingness (Sartre)—which is purer being?

Being alone is no way to be: thus
loneliness is the test of pure being.

Nights in love I fell too far or not quite
far enough—one pure, one impure being.

Clouds, snow, mist, the dragon's breath on water,
smoke from fire—a metaphor's pure being.

Stillness and more stillness and the light locked
deep inside—both pure and impure being.

Is is the verb of being, I the noun—
or pronoun for the purists of being.

I was, I am, I looked within and saw
nothing very clearly: purest being.

© 1999 Stanley Plumly. “Wight” first appeared in the May 1999 issue of Poetry Magazine.

Stanley Plumly (1939-2019) was greatly influenced by his working-class background, a fact which is evident in his work. He earned his B.A. at Wilmington College in Ohio and his Ph.D. at Ohio University. During his long career, he taught at the University of Iowa, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the University of Maryland. He also served as the poet laureate of Maryland for several years. You can read more about his life and work here.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: November 17th, 2021

A Coney Island of the Mind: Poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

In Golden Gate Park That Day… by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

In Golden Gate Park that day
a man and his wife were coming along
thru the enormous meadow
which was the meadow of the world
He was wearing green suspenders
and carrying an old beat-up flute
in one hand
while his wife had a bunch of grapes
which she kept handing out
individually
to various squirrels
as if each
were a little joke

And then the two of them came on
thru the enormous meadow
which was the meadow of the world
and then
at a very still spot where the trees dreamed
and seemed to have been waiting thru all time
for them
they sat down together on the grass
without looking at each other
and ate oranges
without looking at each other
and put the peels
in a basket which they seemed
to have brought for that purpose
without looking at each other

And then
he took his shirt and undershirt off
but kept his hat on
sideways
and without saying anything
fell asleep under it
And his wife just sat there looking
at the birds which flew about
calling to each other
in the stilly air
as if they were questioning existence
or trying to recall something forgotten

But then finally
she too lay down flat
and just lay there looking up
at nothing
yet fingering the old flute
which nobody played
and finally looking over
at him
without any particular expression
except a certain awful look
of terrible depression

© 1958 Lawrence Ferlinghetti. “In Golden Gate Park That Day…” first appeared in Ferlinghetti’s collection A Coney Island of the Mind: Poems, which was published in 1958 by New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.