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Think in the Morning is returning to our poems and art series, specifically poems and Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art. This is our 13th page of poems paired with napkin art. Let us know if you enjoy these. They take time to prepare and post. You can find the other Poem pages by clicking on the magnifying glass (search) icon on the top right of our page and searching for Poems.
Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Somewhere in her heart she remembers
the sound of lake water hitting the boat.
The low back-and-forth of buoyed weight
working to hold up the bodies inside.
Her father removing a worm from the loose
earth, threading the wet pink flesh with
a hook. Dirt on his fingers. The long, bleeding
body in agony, curling to feel its way
up the nylon line. Even as the bed nurse
changes the bag, squeezes her arm for
a vein, she remembers the sun-dried cork
in her hands. Clear reverberations through
the bamboo pole as the worm swung over
the psychedelic water and the lure weight
started to fall. In the distance, a loon’s call.
Or was it a boy calling out to his friend
on the dock? The way he said, Carl. Hey,
Carl, come here. She remembers the sadness
of that name: Carl. Brothers, of course,
and in love in a way she would never be able
to guess. Ladybugs dead in the silk of a cobweb,
eagle wings rasping the air. She watches
the window to take in the autumn trees,
cherry leaves dotting the lawn. She can feel
the long gold trail behind them, dance of
the motor. Her father saying, Tease it now.
Bring it to life. She remembers this, yes,
she is sure she remembers. Moon rising over
invisible water. The pole bent double, and, yes,
she is sure: the force pulling harder below.
Blessed are those who died for carnal earth
Provided it was in a just war. Blessed are those who died for a plot of ground. Blessed are those who died a solemn death.
Blessed are those who died in great battles.
Stretched out on the ground in the face of God.
Blessed are those who died on a final high place,
Amid all the pomp of grandiose funerals.
Blessed are those who died for carnal cities.
For they are the body of the city of God.
Blessed are those who died for their hearth and their fire,
And the lowly honors of their father’s house.
For such is the image and such the beginning
The body and shadow of the house of God.
Blessed are those who died in that embrace,
In honor’s clasp and earth’s avowal.
For honor’s clasp is the beginning
And the first draught of eternal avowal.
Blessed are those who died in this crushing down,
In the accomplishment of this earthly vow.
Blessed are those who died, for they have returned
Into primeval clay and primeval earth.
Blessed are those who died in a just war.
Blessed is the wheat that is ripe and the wheat that is gathered in sheaves.
A Poison Tree
was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,
And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
Chinese Poet in Barcelona
A Chinese poet thinks around
a word without ever touching it,
without ever seeing it, without
ever representing it.
Behind the poet are mountains
yellow and dry swept by
white clouds dispersing.
Cutting the Sun
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
After Francesco Clemente’s Indian Miniature #16
The sun-face looms over me, gigantic-hot, smelling
of iron. Its rays striated,
rasp-red and muscled as the tongues
of iguanas. They are trying to lick away
my name. But I
am not afraid. I hold in my hands
(where did I get them)
enormous blue scissors that are
just the color of sky. I bring
the blades together, like
a song. The rays fall around me
curling a bit, like dried carrot peel. A far sound
in the air—fire
or rain? And when I’ve cut
all the way to the center of the sun
flowers, flowers, flowers.
An Old Story
Tracy K. Smith
We were made to understand it would be
Terrible. Every small want, every niggling urge,
Every hate swollen to a kind of epic wind.
Livid, the land, and ravaged, like a rageful
Dream. The worst of us having taken over
And broken the rest utterly down.
A long age
Passed. When at last we knew how little
Would survive us—how little we had mended
Or built that was not now lost—something
Large and old awoke. And then our singing
Brought on a different manner of weather.
Then animals long believed gone crept down
From trees. We took new stock of one another.
We wept to be reminded of such color.
To stab my youth with desperate knives, to wear
This paltry age’s gaudy livery’s,
To let each base hand filch my treasury,
To mesh my soul within a woman’s hair,
And be mere Fortune’s lackeyed groom,–I swear
I love it not! these things are less to me
Than the thin foam that frets upon the sea,
Less than the thistle-down of summer air
Which hath no seed: better to stand aloof
Far from these slanderous fools who mock my life
Knowing me not, better the lowliest roof
Fit for the meanest hind to sojourn in,
Than to go back to that hoarse cave of strife
Where my white soul first kissed the mouth of sin.
Jorge Luis Borges
If sleep is a truce, as is sometimes said,
A pure time for the mind to rest and heal,
Why, when they suddenly wake you, do you feel
That they have stolen everything you had?
Why is it so sad to be awake at dawn?
It strips us of a gift so strange, so deep,
It can be remembered only in half-sleep,
Moments of drowsiness that gild and adorn
The waking mind with dreams, which may well be
But broken images of the night’s treasure,
A timeless world that has no name or measure
And breaks up in the mirrors of the day.
Who will you be tonight, in the dark thrall
Of sleep, when you have slipped across its wall?
In the arid sun, over the field
where the corn has rotted and then
dried up, you flock and squabble.
Not much here for you, my people,
but there would be
In my austere black uniform
I raised the banner
which decreed Hope
and which did not succeed
and which is not allowed.
Now I must confront the angel
who says Win,
who tells me to wave any banner
that you will follow
for you ignore me, my
baffled people, you have been through
too many theories
too many stray bullets
your eyes are gravel, skeptical,
in this hard field
you pay attention only
to the rhetoric of seed
fruit stomach elbow.
You have too many leaders
you have too may wars,
all of them pompous and small,
you resist only when you feel
like dressing up,
you forget the sane corpses …