All I have is this day
And no bowl to put it in.
Not even a camera or
And I am definitely not good enough
At origami. Not even close.
Sculpting is out too.
The earth has just the right amount
But only because the thing
I want to sculpt is the world
And I’m fairly certain sculpting everything the way it already is
Face paint would help,
You could ever interpret my dance
As I go hopscotching down the sidewalk
Like someone with nothing to lose. But
Will have to do.
The turtle in this science lab
Clunks uselessly in his plastic
Sometimes I am that turtle
Gawping uselessly at those
Legs are hopeless here,
But the turtle is not.
I wish him luck, because
Sometimes things happen.
Sometimes students re-pond
Furtively stolen turtles.
Sometimes grace falls on your stubby head
And beaked face and your stupid, stubborn shell.
I’m just saying,
There’s nothing impossible
There were no signs inviting me to Paradise Creek.
Maybe that was my problem.
It was true that the cold smoothness of the stream,
And the secret stillness of the shade under the sunstirred trees,
Were pretty exclusive,
Not even the man-made concrete trail
Five feet away
Could boast the same refinement
As the shag-carpet weed of the creek-stones.
The cattail brown-paper mat
Whispered under the retreat of a garter snake,
A stream of scaled fugitive silence.
The frogs submarined in embarrasment.
Even the leeches politely backed away, yellow
And quietly insisting on their mudbound privacy.
Furtive is the best word: as if I did not belong there,
As if this very experience was a theft.
Imagine a burglar in a museum wondering where everyone’s at,
That’s how I felt.
Or maybe I was just a visitor in a room some curator forgot to lock.
Either way, I expected to
Be kicked out
Soon, but scenelessly.
Maybe I’m the oblivious celebrity
Trying to hug the Queen of England.
“What a nice lady,”
I tell myself,
While the Queen continues to smile patiently
From behind my enthusiastic,
This poem was composed as an exercise in shaping your poem around a random set of words, and a cliche phrase. We were given 8 words (road, cloud, whir, blackberry, lick, voice, mother, and one other I forget), and told to use 5 of them somehow in a poem, which we had ten minutes to write. The poem had to include at least one proverb, saying, or cliche.
I was head over heels
Walking down the road, upright and normal.
How else would you walk?
The clouds were nailed securely to the sky
Instead of cottoning along under my feet.
I could not lick the feeling, though,
That something was whirring along gloriously out of whack
Because my heart was full like a blackberry
Ripe with the sweet richness
Of your lovely voice.
This is a short free verse poem in which I recycled another poet’s line, as an exercise. See if you can guess which one is the borrowed one!
On one of those rainy days, when the sun seemed so far away
Under the spatter and
of the then,
You told me you did not want my umbrella.
You were perfectly content to let the
Fall on your head,
And somehow the world seemed suddenly
To make sense that way.
So I put away the sound of the gibberish that the rain
Was typewriting on my umbrella,
And talked to you like a normal human being.
We were wet, us two walking in the afternoon grey,
While the umbrella’s steel tip clicked patiently along,
Metronoming with its tick
Our quiet concerto of talk, and laughter,
The grey and agreeable silence.
I still think you’re strange.
I will not row my boat as though asleep,
Or gently drift with man’s unconscious tide.
My life is no dream, nor held so cheap:
I never had a dream in which I died.
Say rather: life is but a game, one played
Against the world, and pain, and dark, and death.
A victory is only a loss delayed:
A drowner’s lungs still hold a single breath.
I know I’ll lose one day. But laughter hides
Behind my teeth, prepared against defeat.
I do not cling. Death will not break my stride,
For home comes after game, and rest is sweet.
I will not grudge the match when death has won:
The race is ended soon, and then it’s run.