the ground


Yehuda Amichai
The rain is no more, but never
Did I stand at the border,
Where one leg is still
Dry and the other gets wet in the rain

Or in a country where people
Bend no more
If something falls to the ground.

Photo by 兆航 樊 on Unsplash

calling a spade a spade


Novica Tadić
To live without any news
in the boonies
like any wretched, luckless person.

Go to town and buy a spade
as if intending to turn over a garden.

Instead, find your humble place
in the village graveyard,
swing high and dig yourself a grave.

Set it up, decorate it, write on it.

Find your humble place
in a world gone mad.

Photo (c) 2008 greg used under Creative Commons license.



Billy Collins
One bright morning in a restaurant in Chicago
as I waited for my eggs and toast,
I opened the Tribune only to discover
that I was the same age as Cheerios.

Indeed, I was a few months older than Cheerios
for today, the newspaper announced,
was the seventieth birthday of Cheerios
whereas mine had occurred earlier in the year.

Already I could hear them whispering
behind my stooped and threadbare back,
Why that dude’s older than Cheerios
the way they used to say

Why that’s as old as the hills,
only the hills are much older than Cheerios
or any American breakfast cereal,
and more noble and enduring are the hills,

I surmised as a bar of sunlight illuminated my orange juice.

this and every room


Sex or Sleep or Silk
Tarfia Faizullah
You are the night
that is sometimes
a highway, fields
blurred by speed
in which wild lives
don’t stop glowering.
What is meant by
the word recovery?
Aftermath is red dirt,
red dirt, red dirt and you
are creases of crickets
thicketing corners
of this and every room
I decide that I am
safe. You are still
below ground,
an infinite autumn.
I am the flaunting
of this flesh that eats,
fucks, bathes, waits—
I’m done cataloguing
loss. I’ll sand glossy
the corners of rib-
cages that I empty,
that empty me. I will
spur my skin into sex
or sleep or silk.
Your dresses still
hang in a closet
unworn and untouched.
So what if I am
phantom-bruise, torn
tether, feral orphan?
I’m telling you now, I
am never going to die.



Marge Piercy
I stayed under the moon too long.
I am silvered with lust.

Dreams flick like minnows through my eyes.
My voice is trees tossing in the wind.

I loose myself like a flock of blackbirds
storming into your face.

My lightest touch leaves blue prints,
bruises on your mind.

Desire sandpapers your skin
so thin I read the veins and arteries

maps of routes I will travel
till I lodge in your spine.

The night is our fur.
We curl inside it licking.


human reason


Czesław Miłosz
Human reason is beautiful and invincible.
No bars, no barbed wire, no pulping of books,
No sentence of banishment can prevail against it.
It establishes the universal ideas in language,
And guides our hand so we write Truth and Justice
With capital letters, lie and oppression with small.
It puts what should be above things as they are,
Is an enemy of despair and a friend of hope.
It does not know Jew from Greek or slave from master,
Giving us the estate of the world to manage.
It saves austere and transparent phrases
From the filthy discord of tortured words.
It says that everything is new under the sun,
Opens the congealed fist of the past.
Beautiful and very young are Philo-Sophia
And poetry, her ally in the service of the good.
As late as yesterday Nature celebrated their birth,
The news was brought to the mountains by a unicorn and an echo.
Their friendship will be glorious, their time has no limit.
Their enemies have delivered themselves to destruction.


Piękny jest ludzki rozum i niezwyciężony.
Ani krata, ni drut, ni oddanie książek na przemiał,
Ani wyrok banicji nie mogą nic przeciw niemu.
On ustanawia w języku powszechne idee
I prowadzi nam rękę, więc piszemy z wielkiej litery
Prawda i Sprawiedliwość, a z małej kłamstwo i krzywda.
On ponad to, co jest, wynosi, co być powinno,
Nieprzyjaciel rozpaczy, przyjaciel nadziei.
On nie zna Żyda ni Greka, niewolnika ni pana,
W zarząd oddając nam wspólne gospodarstwo świata.
On z plugawego zgiełku dręczonych wyrazów
Ocala zdania surowe i jasne.
On mówi nam, że wszystko jest ciągle nowe pod słońcem,
Otwiera dłoń zakrzepłą tego, co już było
Piękna i bardzo młoda jest Filo-Sofija

I sprzymierzona z nią poezja w służbie Dobrego.
Natura ledwo wczoraj święciła ich narodziny,
Wieść o tym górom przyniosły jednorożec i echo.
Sławna będzie ich przyjaźń, ich czas nie ma granic.
Ich wrogowie wydali siebie na zniszczenie.