Even this late the bones of the body shine

Here’s a beautiful winter solstice poem by Mark Strand (1934-2014). Wishing you a 2019 full of love and light, dear readers.

“The Coming of Light”

Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow’s dust flares into breath.

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We were only yesterday tender hearted

On this last day of the month, a poem from ElegyMary Jo Bang‘s staggering reflection on loss following the death of her son.

maryjobang

“February Elegy”

This bald year, frozen now in February.
This cold day winging over the ugly
Imperfect horizon line,
So often a teeth line of ten buildings.
A red flag flapping
In the wind. An orange curtain is noon.
It all hurts her eyes. This curtain is so bright.
Here is what is noticeably true: sight.
The face that looks back from the side
Of the butter knife.
A torn-bread awkwardness.
The mind makes its daily pilgrimage
Through riff-raff moments. Then,
Back into the caprice case to dream
In a circle, a pony goes round.
The circle’s association: There’s a center
To almost everything but never
Any certainty. Nothing is
More malleable than a moment. We were
Only yesterday breathing in a sea.
Some summer sun
Asked us over and over we went. The sand was hot.
We were only yesterday tender hearted
Waiting. To be something.
A spring. And then someone says, Sit down,
We have a heart for you to forget. A mind to suffer
With. So, experience. So, the circus tent.
You, over there, you be the girl
In red sequins on the front of a card selling love.
You, over there, you, in black satin.
You be the Maiden’s Mister Death.

 

The winter is not too sad

From Maggie Nelson‘s Something Bright, Then Holes:

“Winter Song”

Solitude is a gift
Say it to yourself
under a canopy
of phony stars

Think of Lily in
her old season, living
with three pale cats
Her mind a lavender wash

Think of the man floating spray mums
at the feet of the colossus
before a day spent staring
at the wall

On the great ceiling of plates
and grates, a single leaf scrapes by
as the clear poison singes its path
from nostril to deep brain

The winter is not too sad, say it
then sing it
from your new pod, your new fig
made of glass