I could see the points on the flower’s stately crown soften and curl inward

The poetry and prose of Ross Gay (1974-) so often reminds me of all the beauty and joy in this intense world we navigate every day.

Art by Kristina Closs

“Wedding Poem”

for Keith and Jen

Friends I am here to modestly report
seeing in an orchard
in my town
a goldfinch kissing
a sunflower
again and again
dangling upside down
by its tiny claws
steadying itself by snapping open
like an old-timey fan
its wings
again and again,
until, swooning, it tumbled off
and swooped back to the very same perch,
where the sunflower curled its giant
swirling of seeds
around the bird and leaned back
to admire the soft wind
nudging the bird’s plumage,
and friends I could see
the points on the flower’s stately crown
soften and curl inward
as it almost indiscernibly lifted
the food of its body
to the bird’s nuzzling mouth
whose fervor
I could hear from
oh 20 or 30 feet away
and see from the tiny hulls
that sailed from their
good racket,
which good racket, I have to say
was making me blush,
and rock up on my tippy-toes,
and just barely purse my lips
with what I realize now
was being, simply, glad,
which such love,
if we let it,
makes us feel.

from Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude


stay together/learn the flowers/go light

Dear readers,

Welcome to another year of National Poetry Month postings. The hiatus is over. Today felt like the right moment to renew my commitment to sharing verse with all of you. During this incredibly surreal time that’s unfolded around all of us, poetry has been the only literary form I can focus on after tearing my eyes away from the news. Although I can’t visit the library to sleuth for gems as I’ve done in the past decade of posts, I hope you’ll find something that resonates, regardless of whether it’s new or one I’ve shared before. If you’d like to receive the poem in your inbox this month, feel free to subscribe on the right.

I also hope that wherever and whenever you read this, you and your loved ones are doing as well as possible. In an effort to practice distant socializing while we’re all so far apart, perhaps you can share a poem or two with someone this month, starting with this one by the wonderful Gary Snyder (1930-).

neighborhood wildflowers
neighborhood flowers–March 31, 2020.

“For the Children”

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
The steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valley, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

[From Turtle Island by Gary Snyder]