Poem for the Day: November 21st, 2021

Winter Journal: Threshed Blue, Cardings, Dim Tonsils by Emily Wilson

stripped batting of cloud
glimpsed ligaments
dusk coming up under
lithographic, nib-hatchings
instruments click
the fine-sprung locust
replicate dinge along hill-lines
tailings of umber, the rust smudge
There is still that hemmed ocean of oaks
the various reds, the somehow
silver cast over the brown-gold
the under-brushed shadows
How can there be more of their dispensing
into air?
The night-openings of the trees
The thousand clefts into
Their corridors shiver and merge and piece apart
There is no one beside what was once river
Only the carbons incoming
accreting in leaves
Love of old oaks unencumbering
Root-beauties brought through
crude sieves of bare trees
the few fastened leaves
Those pods are like tongues or like sickles
The blades have been pulled from their sheaths
The backs of the clouds now upturned
They herd from pink seas
They make their untouchable stream
through regions of steep emptiness
against which the trees have their gestures
Drop down, drop down toward me
your little sleek scars
Make your bed in rough cedars
clangor of darks numbering in
clusters of trunks and spoked lungs
the thistles that work at the gums

© 2001 Emily Wilson and Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. “Winter Journal: Threshed Blue, Cardings, Dim Tonsils” originally appeared in Wilson’s collection The Keep, which was published in 2001 by University of Iowa Press.

Emily Wilson studied at Harvard University and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She has taught at the latter, as well as at Colby College, Grinnell College, and the University of Montana. Wilson is the author of four poetry collections: The Keep (University of Iowa Press, 2001); Morpho Terrestre (2006), a limited edition book featuring artwork by Sara Langworthy; Micrographia (University of Iowa Press, 2010); and The Great Medieval Yellows (Canarium Books, 2015).

Writing for Boston Review, James Galvin said of Wilson: “Generous in her spareness, clear in her complexity, matching wildness of diction with precision of sense, nervousness with nerve, her poems are not written for analysis, perhaps not even for approval. As we watch poetical heresies turn into orthodoxies, it becomes clear, especially in a poet like Wilson, that only originality, a signature style, remains steadfastly heretical.”

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: October 28th, 2021

Appalachian Cityscape by J. David

sidewalks here brag windchimes and landmines
we sent to someone else’s children
sometime halfway between home & working to death
& the news never showed us any casualties
without white faces

our hearts couldn’t make less
of a difference—
kept coming up zeroes on the scale
when nobody bought into the system
stacked atop a thousand years of bread while the crows
laughed from behind their picket lines & an apocalypse hit—

left us so far backward our sins fell out
& we were nothing to god

someday the freight-train grows up & everybody cheers
for breakfast like they’re finally getting fed a hung jury
or a vomit stain on a factory-stack
we were supposed to clean
as if it wasn’t already too late
to save our planet from ourselves

city lights come out dancing
when calamity turns up
at the family party & we knew then
we’d written enough
persona poems for other people’s grief
to place the blame on someone else
for all the murders

god-machine said none of us
were allowed to hear prayer any longer
& the saddest part is
we got caught with our hands red in a forest of sunflowers

considering the circumstances
skyscrapers look too much like dead bodies
to be comfortable with stepping out the front door

heroin built a church on our street
& everyone showed up to mass
wearing shirts that said
keep out the liquor stores

just goes to show—being liberal never saved anybody
when the factories left

we stuck our heads in closets
after we mailed our principles
to four years from now & the government
called it a write-off when they taxed the poor
out of town but we knew better
than to ask poor folks to beat us kind

the whole block lit up like a bug-jar in june
stapled to the back of a climate crisis
when the kids came home drunk again

better late than dead

better dead than prison

everyone’s uncle got parole & we came home
when we heard our mothers calling
to say the hospital burned
a hole in the budget

spent our twenties buying flowers
for graveyards

spent our twenties in closets
retrieving our heads
& nobody clapped
when the war ended

you must have heard by now—
god came knocking
& nobody answered the door

© 2021 J. David. Today’s poem was taken from Harvard Review Online, which is published by Houghton Library at Harvard University under the auspices of the college’s President and Fellows. J. David (they/them) is the chief poetry critic for the Cleveland Review of Books as well as the editor-in-chief of Flypaper. Their work has also appeared or is forthcoming in Salt Hill, The Colorado Review, Redivider, and Passages North, among other presses and publications.

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: October 7th, 2021

Wild nights – Wild nights! (269) by Emily Dickinson

Wild nights - Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile - the winds -
To a Heart in port -
Done with the Compass -
Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden -
Ah - the Sea!
Might I but moor - tonight -
In thee!

© 1988 President and Fellows of Harvard College. © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 President and Fellows of Harvard College. Today’s poem is taken from The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R. W. Franklin, which was released in 1999 by Harvard University Press.

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.