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On Think in the Morning Facebook page we post a poem every day with a selection of Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art or a photo.  To receive these daily poems and napkin art on Facebook, “Like” our Facebook page.

Periodically we collect the Think in the Morning poems and art to post on this website.  This is the 5th such posting.  Links to the other four poem pages are outlined in blue below.

Poems – 1

Poems – 2

Poems – 3

Poems – 4





Monterrey Sun

Alfonso Reyes

Translated by Samuel Beckett


No doubt: the sun

dogged me when a child.

It followed at my heels

like a Pekinese;

dishevely and soft,

luminous and gold:

the sun that sleepy dogs

the footsteps of the child.

It frisked from court to court,

in my bedroom weltered.

I even think they sometimes

shooed it with a broom.

And next morning there

it was with me again,

dishevely and soft,

luminous and gold,

the sun that sleepy dogs

the footsteps of the child.

(I was dubbed a knight

by the fire of May:

I was the Child-Errant

and the sun my squire.)

Indigo all the sky,

all the house of gold.

How it poured into me,

the sun, through my eyes!

A sea inside my skull,

go where I may,

and though the clouds be drawn,

oh what weight of sun

upon me, oh what hurt

within me of that cistern

of sun that journeys with me!

No shadow in my childhood

but was red with sun.

Every window as sun,

windows every room.

The corridors bent bows

of sun through the house.

On the trees the coals

and the oranges burned redhot,

and in the burning light

the orchard turned to gold.

The royal peacocks were

kinsmen of the sun.

The heron at every step

it took went aflame.

And me the sun stripped bare

the fiercer to cleave to me,

dishevely and soft,

luminous and gold,

the sun that sleepy dogs

the footsteps of the child.

When I with my stick

and bundle went from home,

to my heart I said:

Now bear the sun awhile!

It is a hoard–unending,

unending–that I squander.

I bear with me so

much sun that so much sun

already wearies me.

No shadow in my childhood

but was red with sun.


From “Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry, a Bilingual Anthology,” edited by Stephen Tapscott.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown


Eskimo songs

From Shaking the Pumpkin: Traditional Poetry of the Indian North Americas

Edited with commentaries by Jerome Rothenberg


the old man’s song, about his wife

husband and wife we love each other then

we do now

there was a time

each found the other



but a few days ago maybe yesterday

she saw in the black lake water

a sickening face

a wracked old woman face

wrinkled full of spots


I saw it she says

that shape in the water

the spirit of the water

wrinkled and spotted


and who’d see that face before

wrinkled full of spots?

wasn’t it me

and isn’t it me now

when I look at you?


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown


Last Curtain

Rabindranath Tagore


I know that the day will come

when my sight of this earth shall be lost,

and life will take its leave in silence,

drawing the last curtain over my eyes.


Yet stars will watch at night,

and morning rise as before,

and hours heave like sea waves casting up pleasures and pains.


When I think of this end of my moments,

the barrier of the moments breaks

and I see by the light of death

thy world with its careless treasures.

Rare is its lowliest seat,

rare is its meanest of lives.


Things that I longed for in vain

and things that I got

—let them pass.

Let me but truly possess

the things that I ever spurned

and overlooked.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Goslyn artist

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Goslyn artist


1914 iv The Dead

Rupert Brooke


These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,

Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.

The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,

And sunset, and the colours of the earth.

These had seen movement, and heard music; known

Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;

Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;

Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.


There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter

And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,

Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance

And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white

Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,

A width, a shining peace, under the night.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown



Galway Kinnell


On the tidal mud, just before sunset,

dozens of starfishes

were creeping. It was

as though the mud were a sky

and enormous, imperfect stars

moved across it as slowly

as the actual stars cross heaven.

All at once they stopped,

and, as if they had simply

increased their receptivity

to gravity, they sank down

into the mud, faded down

into it and lay still, and by the time

pink of sunset broke across them

they were as invisible

as the true stars at daybreak.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Goslyn artist

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Goslyn artist


On the Pulse of Morning

Maya Angelou


A Rock, A River, A Tree

Hosts to species long since departed,

Marked the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens

Of their sojourn here

On our planet floor,

Any broad alarm of their hastening doom

Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,

Come, you may stand upon my

Back and face your distant destiny,

But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than

The angels, have crouched too long in

The bruising darkness,

Have lain too long

Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words

Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,

But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,

A River sings a beautiful song,

Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,

Delicate and strangely made proud,

Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit

Have left collars of waste upon

My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,

If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs

The Creator gave to me when I and the

Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your

Brow and when you yet knew you still

Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to

The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew

The African and Native American, the Sioux,

The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek

The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,

The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,

The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.

They hear. They all hear

The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree

Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed

On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you

Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you

Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then

Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of

Other seekers–desperate for gain,

Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot …

You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought

Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare

Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,

Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree

I am yours–your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need

For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,

Cannot be unlived, and if faced

With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon

The day breaking for you.

Give birth again

To the dream.

Women, children, men,

Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most

Private need. Sculpt it into

The image of your most public self.

Lift up your hearts

Each new hour holds new chances

For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever

To fear, yoked eternally

To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,

Offering you space to place new steps of change.

Here, on the pulse of this fine day

You may have the courage

To look up and out upon me, the

Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day

You may have the grace to look up and out

And into your sister’s eyes, into

Your brother’s face, your country

And say simply

Very simply

With hope

Good morning.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown


Seascape With Sun And Eagle

Lawrence Ferlinghetti



than most birds

an eagle flies up

over San Francisco

freer than most places

soars high up

floats and glides high up

in the still

open spaces


flown from the mountains

floated down

far over ocean

where the sunset has begun

a mirror of itself


He sails high over

turning and turning

where seaplanes might turn

where warplanes might burn


He wheels about burning

in the red sun

climbs and glides

and doubles back upon himself

now over ocean

now over land

high over pinwheels suck in sand

where a rollercoaster used to stand


soaring eagle setting sun

All that is left of our wilderness


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Bob Avery artist

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Bob Avery artist


Stoned Immaculate

Jim Morrison


I’ll tell you this…

No eternal reward will forgive us now.

For wasting the dawn.


Back in those days everything was simpler and more confused.

One summer night, going to the pier.

I ran into two young girls.

The blonde one was called Freedom.

The dark one, Enterprise.

We talked and they told me this story.

Now listen to this..

I’ll tell you about Texas radio and the big beat.

Soft driven, slow and mad.

Like some new language.

Reaching your head with the cold, sudden fury of a divine messenger.

Let me tell you about heartache and the loss of god.

Wandering, wandering in hopless night.


Out here in the perimeter there are no stars.

Out here we is stoned.



Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Marina artist

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Marina artist



Anna Akhmatova


I pray to the sunbeam from the window –

It is pale, thin, straight.

Since morning I have been silent,

And my heart – is split.

The copper on my washstand

Has turned green,

But the sunbeam plays on it

So charmingly.

How innocent it is, and simple,

In the evening calm,

But to me in this deserted temple

It’s like a golden celebration,

And a consolation.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown



David Hare


Three score and ten is it, says Jahweh

Three score and ten is all you’re allowed

After three score and ten you’re finished

Whoever you are, humble or proud

Don’t waste your breath asking for longer

Man was allotted seventy from when he began

Complain all you like, forget it, it’s official

Take it from Jahweh – seventy’s man’s natural span

Though he listens both to saints and to sinners

On this particular point, see, Jahweh is firm

“I created the world with strict regulations

And this is one I’m enforcing long-term”

Men may succumb to malfunctioning prostates

For a woman the killer inside is the breast

But for both genders obsolescence is programmed

No wonder mankind is depressed

You’re not there when the planet’s created

And you’re not there when the planet expires

You’re live like the average mosquito

Because that’s all that Jahweh requires

Jahweh picks you up and he look at you

Having looked, he soon puts you down

Don’t imagine you’re of any significance

For him, you’re a shrug, a fancy, a frown

His joke is to make everyone different

So each one feels they have some special aim

But it’s only Jahweh making his special mischief

Because each of us ends up the same

He’s no interest in your particular pleadings

For your feeling he gives not a whit

If you suggest you deserve something better

He wipes you out and that’s it

You can choose to be burnt or be buried

Or pulled through the streets in elaborate display

Don’t fool yourself: it’s simply a means of postponing

An unending future of rot and decay

It’s hard to accept of my Nicole

Whom I loved more than any woman I knew

The idea that she too is mortal

Seems too absurd to be possibly true

Look in her eyes and see her laughter

Look in her face and see her delight

Then contemplate the indefensible system

That condemns her to go out like a light

There’s no way of accepting the arrangements

They seem devised for maximum pain

We give our whole lives to another

Then we never see them again

Face it: we’re victims of a cruel sense of humour

The only thing God truly loves is a joke

The rest of the stuff is kerfuffle

Whether you’ve lived as a bird or a bloke

Come, Nicole, come close and embrace me

Let me swim in the pool of your gaze

Forget Jahweh. Fuck him! Tell him from both of us

Seventy’s nothing these days

[courtesy of The Guardian]




Osip Mandelstam

translated from the Russian by Mark L Mosher


I have learned the science of parting

In bare-headed laments of night.

The oxen graze, the waiting goes on –

The final hour of vigils in town,

And I honor the rituals of cockerel night,

When, bearing the weight of a journey endured,

Tear-stained eyes gazed into the void

And a woman’s cry mixed with singing of the muse.


Who can know, with the word ‘farewell’,

What kind of separation awaits?

What promise for us in the cockerel’s cry,

When fire in the acropolis burns,

And at the dawn of some new life,

When the ox chews lazily in its stall,

Why does the cockerel, herald of new life,

Beat its wings upon the city wall?


And I love the habits of weaving:

The shuttle twists, the spindle hums.

Look, like swan’s down,

Barefooted Delia already runs forth!

O, meagre foundation of our life,

How pitiful the language of joy!

All happened long ago, all will happen again,

Only recognition of the moment is sweet.


Thus will it be: a transparent shape

On a clean porcelain plate,

And, like a squirrel’s spread-out pelt,

A girl leans over the wax and gazes in.

The Greek Erebus is not for us to divine,

Wax is to woman what bronze is to man.

Our lot falls only in battle,

While for them divination is the death.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, D. M. C. artist

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, D. M. C. artist



ruth weiss


oh great measure

steer this fellowship

to treasure grace


this planet earth


vessel in space


the dream is real

as rock of ages

never concrete


the dream is real

as ever the sun

the burning bush


the dream is real

as moon-tide of womb

that brought us here


the dream is real

creative heaven

bone-man evolves


perhaps earth is

the only planet

to evolve leaves


perhaps earth is

the only planet

burning candles


perhaps earth is

the only planet

deciph’ring leaves


perhaps earth is

the only planet

to read candles


a candle-wick

becomes periscope

to lead to hope


cleanse well the glass

mirror or prism

to clear the view


listen poets

dedicate your lines

to the circle!


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, James Maxwell artist

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, James Maxwell artist


Cutting the Sun

After Francesco Clemente’s Indian Miniature #16

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


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


in the air—fire

or rain? And when I’ve cut

all the way to the center of the sun

I see

flowers, flowers, flowers.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, R. T. S. artist

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, R. T. S. artist


Early Morning

Billy Collins


I don’t know which cat is responsible

for destroying my Voter Registration Card

so I decide to lecture the two of them

on the sanctity of private property,

the rules of nighttime comportment in general,

and while I’m at it, the importance

of voting to an enlightened citizenship.


This is the way it was in school.

No one would admit to winging a piece of chalk

past the ear of Sister Mary Alice,

so the whole class would have to stay after.

And likewise in the army, or at least

in movies involving the army.  All weekend

privileges were revoked until the man

who snuck the women and the keg of beer

into the barracks last night stepped forward.


Of course, it’s hard to get them to stay

in one place let alone hold their attention

for more than two seconds.  The black one

turns tail and pads into the other room,

and the kitten is kneading a soft throw

like crazy, pathetically searching for a nipple.


Meanwhile, it’s overcast, not pewter

or anything like that, just overcast period,

and I haven’t had a sip of coffee yet.

You know, when I told that interviewer

early morning was my favorite time to write,

I was not thinking of this particular morning.


I must have had another kind of morning in mind,

one featuring a peignoir, some oranges, and sunlight.

But now there’s nothing else to do

but open the back door a crack for the black one,

who enjoys hunting and killing lizards,

while blocking the kitten with one foot,

the little cottontail fucker who’s still too young to go out.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Karen Kesler and Bob Avery artists

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Karen Kesler and Bob Avery artists


We Real Cool

Gwendolyn Brooks




We real cool.  We

Left school.  We


Lurk late.  We

Strike straight.  We


Sing sin.  We

Thin gin.  We


Jazz June.  We

Die soon.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown


A Bee

Think in the Morning


Bent limbs

Almost broken with fruit

Mind growing

Like a tuber

He sinks and sways

Drunk on the honey

Fouled by the last flower’s nectar.


Buzzing, sun-baked

Squint eyed and smiling

This eunuch beast

Messengers love

Between petals and matriarch queens.


Through reticulate chambers

Lusty with wax

He scurries, laughing

Under his ample load.

He survives the burden of this life

Wind blown and battered

Yet muscling on past the colors

Placed by Flora to guide his flight.


He does not see

The denizen drones who depend on his cargo.

He does not understand the meaning of his journey.

He knows no rest.

He battles wind and sun

Until that day when the instinctive barb

Blasts burns and bludgeons through

Leaving his hollow body

Flat and silent.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown


Waiting for the Barbarians

C. P. Cavafy

translated by Edmund Keeley


What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?


The barbarians are due here today.


Why isn’t anything going on in the senate?

Why are the senators sitting there without legislating?


Because the barbarians are coming today.

What’s the point of senators making laws now?

Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.


Why did our emperor get up so early,

and why is he sitting enthroned at the city’s main gate,

in state, wearing the crown?


Because the barbarians are coming today

and the emperor’s waiting to receive their leader.

He’s even got a scroll to give him,

loaded with titles, with imposing names.


Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today

wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?

Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,

rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?

Why are they carrying elegant canes

beautifully worked in silver and gold?


Because the barbarians are coming today

and things like that dazzle the barbarians.


Why don’t our distinguished orators turn up as usual

to make their speeches, say what they have to say?


Because the barbarians are coming today

and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.


Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion?

(How serious people’s faces have become.)

Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,

everyone going home lost in thought?


Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven’t come.

And some of our men just in from the border say

there are no barbarians any longer.


Now what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?

Those people were a kind of solution.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown


Early Sunday Morning

Edward Hirsch


I used to mock my father and his chums

for getting up early on Sunday morning

and drinking coffee at a local spot

but now I’m one of those chumps.


No one cares about my old humiliations

but they go on dragging through my sleep

like a string of empty tin cans rattling

behind an abandoned car.


It’s like this: just when you think

you have forgotten that red-haired girl

who left you stranded in a parking lot

forty years ago, you wake up


early enough to see her disappearing

around the corner of your dream

on someone else’s motorcycle

roaring onto the highway at sunrise.


And so now I’m sitting in a dimly lit

cafe full of early morning risers

where the windows are covered with soot

and the coffee is warm and bitter.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, artist unknown


One Morning in My Yard

Bobby Markels


I now on the brink of sudden life

Affirm the world and the people herein

These bellowing clouds

Floating through heavens bursting their dome

This one single flower and this blade of grass

All clichés and all things known

I affirm.

This silent house

This time

This single second

This moment on earth

This particular wind

That shakes the pine cones in my yard.

I love all things that are the way they are

With neither speeding up nor toning down

dimming nor sharpening;

Everything that is the way it is

Without change, always changing, and breathes of God.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Lori artist

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Lori artist



Kathleen Jamie


If I chose children they’d know
  stories of the old country, the place 
  we never left. I swear


I remember no ship
  slipping from the dock, 
  no cluster of hurt, proud family


waving till they were wee
  as china milkmaids 
  on a mantlepiece,


but we have surely gone,
  and must knock
  with brass kilted pipers


the doors to the old land;
  we emigrants of no farewell
  who keep our bit language


in jokes and quotes;
  our working knowledge
  of coal-pits, fevers, lost


like the silver bangle I lost
  at the shows one Saturday
  tried to conceal, denied


but they’re not daft.
  And my bright, monoglot bairns
  will discover, misplaced


among the bookshelves,
  proof, rolled in a  red tube:
  my degrees, a furled sail, my visa


Copyright © Kathleen Jamie


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Edweena artist

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Edweena artist


The Round

Stanley Kunitz


Light splashed this morning

on the shell-pink anemones

swaying on their tall stems;

down blue-spiked veronica

light flowed in rivulets

over the humps of the honeybees;

this morning I saw light kiss

the silk of the roses

in their second flowering,

my late bloomers

flushed with their brandy.

A curious gladness shook me.

So I have shut the doors of my house,

so I have trudged downstairs to my cell,

so I am sitting in semi-dark

hunched over my desk

with nothing for a view

to tempt me

but a bloated compost heap,

steamy old stinkpile,

under my window;

and I pick my notebook up

and I start to read aloud

the still-wet words I scribbled

on the blotted page:

“Light splashed . . .”

I can scarcely wait till tomorrow

when a new life begins for me,

as it does each day,

as it does each day.


Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Q. artist

Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art, Q. artist