Billy Collins

I want to carry you
and for you to carry me
the way voices are said to carry over water.

Just this morning on the shore,
I could hear two people talking quietly in a row
boat on the far side of the lake.

They were talking about fishing,
then one changed the subject,
and, I swear, they began talking about you.

the railway children


The Railway Children
Seamus Heaney

When we climbed the slopes of the cutting
We were eye-level with the white cups
Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires.

Like lovely freehand they curved for miles
East and miles west beyond us, sagging
Under their burden of swallows.

We were small and thought we knew nothing
Worth knowing. We thought words travelled the wires
In the shiny pouches of raindrops,

Each one seeded full with the light
Of the sky, the gleam of the lines, and ourselves
So infinitesimally scaled

We could stream through the eye of a needle.


stranger by night


Stranger By Night
Edward Hirsch

After I lost
my peripheral vision
I started getting sideswiped
by pedestrians cutting
in front of me
almost randomly
like memories
I couldn’t see coming
as I left the building
at twilight
or stepped gingerly
off the curb
or even just crossed
the wet pavement
to the stairs descending
into the subway station
and I apologized
to every one
of those strangers
jostling me
in a world that had grown
stranger by night.

Photo by Rikki Chan on Unsplash


depth of distance


“ready for the exile we call a home”….

Leaving the Island
David Whyte

It must have been
the slant of the light,
the sheer cross-grain of rain
against a summer sun,
the way the island appeared
gifted, out of the gleam
and depth of distance,
so that when you turned
to look again,
the scend of the sea
has carried you on,
under the headland
and into the waiting harbour.

And after the pilgrim lanes,
and the ruined chapel,
the lads singing beneath the window,
and the Corn-Crake calling from
a corner of a field,
after the gull cries and the sea-hush
at the back of the island,
it was the way, standing still
or looking out,
walking or even talking
with others in the evening bar,
holding your drink
and laughing with the rest,
that you realized-part of you
had already dropped to its knees,
to pray, to sing, to look-
to fall in love with everything
and everyone again, that someone
from deep inside you had come out
into the sea-light to raise its hands
and forgive everyone in your short life
you thought you hadn’t, and that all along
you had been singing your quiet way
through the rosary of silence
that held their names.

Above all, the way afterwards,
you thought you had left the island
but hadn’t, the way you knew
you had gone somewhere
into the shimmering light
and come out again on the tide
as you knew you had to,
as someone who would return
and live in the world again,
a man granted just a glimpse,
a woman granted just a glimpse,
someone half a shade braver,
a standing silhouette in the stern,
holding the rail,
riding the long waves back,
ready for the exile we call a home.

things to say to you


Some Things I Wanted to Say to You
Stephen Dunn
If the horse that you ride
is blind it’s good
that it also be slow,
and please stroke it
a hundred more times than you would
the powerful dazzling one.

To be generous is one thing,
but there’s a clerk in some of us,
quick to say yes.
Worry about the command
in the suggestion.
Worry about smiles, and those men
whose business is business.

There are joys and enigmas
of an evening alone
to appreciate.
There are always the simple events
of your life
that you might try to convert
into legend.

Did you know
a good dog in your house
can make you more thoughtful,
even more moral?
And sex without conversation,
sex that’s erotic or sleepy…
oh don’t let anybody tell you
there’s a wrong way to have it.

Tell your lovers the world
robs us in so many ways
that a caress is your way
of taking something back.
Tell the dogs and the horses
you love them more than cars.
speak to everything

would be my advice.

way in


The Way In
Linda Hogan

Sometimes the way to milk and honey is through the body.
Sometimes the way in is a song.
But there are three ways in the world: dangerous, wounding,
and beauty.
To enter stone, be water.
To rise through hard earth, be plant
desiring sunlight, believing in water.
To enter fire, be dry.
To enter life, be food.