Philippe Jaccottet
Swifts turn in the heights of the air;
higher still turn the invisible stars.
When day withdraws to the ends of the earth
their fires shine on a dark expanse of sand.

We live in a world of motion and distance.
The heart flies from tree to bird,
from bird to distant star,
from star to love; and love grows
in the quiet house, turning and working,
servant of thought, a lamp held in one hand.



Langston Hughes
That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we black are wise:
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.

Photo by Joel & Jasmin Førestbird on Unsplash

something utterly heartbroken


I Am Trying to Get at Something Utterly Heartbroken
Annie Dillard

At the end of the road is a small cottage,
And over all the blue sky.
I am trying to get at something utterly heart-broken.

The flying birds, the smoking chimneys,
And that figure loitering below in the yard–
If we do not learn from this, then from what shall we learn?

The miners go home in the white snow at twilight
These people are quite black. Their houses are small.
The time for making dark studies is short.

A patch of brown heath through which a white
Path leads, and sky just delicately tinged,
Yet somewhat passionately brushed.
We who try our best to live, why do we not live more?


The branches of poplars and willows rigid like wire.
It may be true that there is no God here,
But there must be one not far off.

A studio with a cradle, a baby’s high chair.
Those colors which have no name
Are the real foundation of everything.

What I want is more beautiful huts far away on the heath.
If we are tired, isn’t it then because
We have already walked a long way?

The cart with the white horse brings
a wounded man home from the mines.
Bistre and bitumen, well applied,
Make the colouring ripe and mellow and generous.


A ploughed field with clods of violet earth;
Over all a yellow sky with a yellow sun.
So there is every moment something that moves one intensely.

A bluish-grey line of trees with a few roofs.
I simply could not restrain myself or keep
My hands off it or allow myself to rest.

A mother with her child, in the shadow
Of a large tree against the dune.
To say how many green-greys there are is impossible.

I love so much, so very much, the effect
Of yellow leaves against green trunks.
This is not a thing that I have sought,
But has come across my path and I have seized it.

Photo by Michal Ico on Unsplash

without touching


How my true love and I lay without touching
Leland Bardwell

How my true love and I lay without touching
How my hand journeyed to the drumlin of his hip
my pelvis aching
Just like two saints or priests or nuns
my true love and I lay without touching.

How I would long for the brush of a kiss
to travel my cheek or the cheek of my groin
my heart aching
But just like two saints or priests or nuns
My true love and I lay without touching.

Last night in my dreams I spoke with his wife
his true love who had left him surely as they lay without touching
my heart for her was aching
For like two saints or priests or nuns
the two loves once lay without touching

But the dream of her faded before concentrating
each to each in our innocent mutual hating
her hand aching
to blind me with bullets to prevent herself from pining
for a once love she longed for and lay without touching.

Now my true love lies in the mutton of madness
‘I was always troubled by sex,’ he says, with great sadness
his wife and I aching
in our cold single beds with many seas dividing
as we think of the years that we spent without touching.

worse things


Fleur Adcock
There are worse things than having behaved foolishly in public.
There are worse things than these miniature betrayals,
committed or endured or suspected; there are worse things
than not being able to sleep for thinking about them.
It is 5 a.m. All the worse things come stalking in
and stand icily about the bed looking worse and worse and worse.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

the other side


This Morning the Small Bird Brought a Message from the Other Side
Aracelis Girmay

I would not call it fear
or the absence of fear
that I woke with, but worry,
this morning when I rose
up from the bed, & saw,
with clear seeing, for the first time,
that my chest was a small, red cup,
or bird in my hand, somehow
thirsty, its injury
made me panic for it
& I carried it with me
not knowing what to do
with its small speech, the way
it said your name.

I want to know what to do
with the dead things we carry.

If I were to wake
another morning,
maybe tomorrow,
with the red thing in my chest
or hand, what would
I do? Will I?

& the bird, would it attempt,
to cross over, would it come again
from the body’s realm
of animals & claws?
Would it risk its life
again to give me the message
of your name?
Would I trust my mouth
to resuscitate the messenger, small bird,
knowing I could kill it
with my teeth?

silence everywhere


Jaan Kaplinski
Silence is always here and everywhere;
sometimes we hear it more clearly:
on the meadows there is mist, the door of the granary is open,
far away a redwing sings and one
white butterfly wings incessantly
around the branch of an elm that
sways slightly against the background of the setting sun.
Twilight leaves everything without faces or script,
only the difference between light and dark remains —
it is just the midsummer night itself
and an old pocketwatch on the desk
suddenly starts very loudly
to tick.

Photo by Igor Flek on Unsplash