“Fall”–A Beautiful Poem by Didi Jackson

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Do you know what I was, how I lived?
—Louise Glück

It is a goldfinch
one of the two

small girls,
both daughters

of a friend,
sees hit the window

and fall into the fern.
No one hears

the small thump but she,
the youngest, sees

the flash of gold
against the mica sky

as the limp feathered envelope
crumples into the green.

How many times
in a life will we witness

the very moment of death?
She wants a box

and a small towel
some kind of comfort

for this soft body
that barely fits

in her palm. Its head
rolling side to side,

neck broke, eyes still wet
and black as seed.

Her sister, now at her side,
wears a dress too thin

for the season,
white as the winter

only weeks away.
She wants me to help,

wants a miracle.
Whatever I say now

I know weighs more
than the late fall’s

layered sky,
the jeweled leaves

of the maple and elm.
I know, too,

it is the darkest days
I’ve learned to praise —

the calendar packages up time,
the days shrink and fold away

until the new season.
We clothe, burn,

then bury our dead.
I know this;

they do not.
So we cover the bird,

story its flight,
imagine his beak

singing.
They pick the song

and sing it
over and over again.

About the Poet

XX

French Ghosts

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Montparnasse Cemetery (French: Cimetière du Montparnasse) is a famous cemetery in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris, part of the city’s 14th arrondissement.

Created from three farms in 1824, the cemetery at Montparnasse was originally known as Le Cimetière du Sud. Cemeteries had been banned from Paris since the closure, owing to health concerns, of the Cimetière des Innocents in 1786. Several new cemeteries outside the precincts of the capital replaced all the internal Parisian ones in the early 19th century: Montmartre Cemetery in the north, Père Lachaise Cemetery in the east, and Montparnasse Cemetery in the south. At the heart of the city, and today sitting in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, is Passy Cemetery.

Montparnasse Cemetery is the eternal home of many of France’s intellectual and artistic elite as well as publishers and others who promoted the works of authors and artists. There are also monuments to police and firefighters killed in the line of duty in the city of Paris.

(Wiki)

“Elegy, Surrounded by Seven Trees”–A Poem by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

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Elegy, Surrounded by Seven Trees

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

for Michele Antoinette Pray-Griffiths

Ordinary days deliver joy easily
again & I can’t take it. If I could tell you
how her eyes laughed or describe
the rage of her suffering, I must
admit that lately my memories
are sometimes like a color
warping in my blue mind.
Metal abandoned in rain.

My mother will not move.

Which is to say that
sometimes the true color of
her casket jumps from my head
like something burnt down
in the genesis of a struck flame.
Which is to say that I miss
the mind I had when I had
my mother. I own what is yet.
Which means I am already
holding my own absence
in faith. I still carry a faded slip of paper
where she once wrote a word
with a pencil & crossed it out.

From tree to tree, around her grave
I have walked, & turned back
if only to remind myself
that there are some kinds of
peace, which will not be
moved. How awful to have such
wonder. The final way wonder itself
opened beneath my mother’s face
at the last moment. As if she was
a small girl kneeling in a puddle
& looking at her face for the first time,
her fingers gripping the loud,
wet rim of the universe.

***

Read this poem at its original location, here:

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/elegy-surrounded-seven-trees?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Poem-a-Day%20%20April%2011%202019&utm_content=Poem-a-Day%20%20April%2011%202019+CID_3943698c46807f6235e8b334cd41b361&utm_source=Email%20from%20Campaign%20Monitor&utm_term=Elegy%20Surrounded%20by%20Seven%20Trees

My Favorite Poet, Mark Doty’s Poem: “A Display of Mackerel”

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A Display of Mackerel

Mark Doty

They lie in parallel rows,
on ice, head to tail,
each a foot of luminosity

barred with black bands,
which divide the scales’
radiant sections

like seams of lead
in a Tiffany window.
Iridescent, watery

prismatics: think abalone,
the wildly rainbowed
mirror of a soapbubble sphere,

think sun on gasoline.
Splendor, and splendor,
and not a one in any way

distinguished from the other
—nothing about them
of individuality. Instead

they’re all exact expressions
of the one soul,
each a perfect fulfillment

of heaven’s template,
mackerel essence. As if,
after a lifetime arriving

at this enameling, the jeweler’s
made uncountable examples,
each as intricate

in its oily fabulation
as the one before.
Suppose we could iridesce,

like these, and lose ourselves
entirely in the universe
of shimmer—would you want

to be yourself only,
unduplicatable, doomed
to be lost? They’d prefer,

plainly, to be flashing participants,
multitudinous. Even now
they seem to be bolting

forward, heedless of stasis.
They don’t care they’re dead
and nearly frozen,

just as, presumably,
they didn’t care that they were living:
all, all for all,

the rainbowed school
and its acres of brilliant classrooms,
in which no verb is singular,

or every one is. How happy they seem,
even on ice, to be together, selfless,
which is the price of gleaming.

(From Atlantis, HarperCollins, 1995.)

“I lived in the first century of world wars…” –A Poem by Muriel Rukeyser

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POEM
by Muriel Rukeyser

I lived in the first century of world wars.
Most mornings I would be more or less insane,
The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories,
The news would pour out of various devices
Interrupted by attempts to sell products to the unseen.
I would call my friends on other devices;
They would be more or less mad for similar reasons.
Slowly I would get to pen and paper,
Make my poems for others unseen and unborn.
In the day I would be reminded of those men and women,
Brave, setting up signals across vast distances,
Considering a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values.
As the lights darkened, as the lights of night brightened,
We would try to imagine them, try to find each other,
To construct peace, to make love, to reconcile
Waking with sleeping, ourselves with each other,
Ourselves with ourselves. We would try by any means
To reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves,
To let go the means, to wake.

I lived in the first century of these wars.

(From The Speed of Darkness, 1968.)
(Photo: worldoftanks.com)