Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Circuit Judge

Edgar Lee Masters

Take note, passers-by, of the sharp erosions
Eaten in my head-stone by the wind and rain —
Almost as if an intangible Nemesis or hatred
Were marking scores against me,
But to destroy, and not preserve, my memory.
I in life was the Circuit Judge, a maker of notches,
Deciding cases on the points the lawyers scored,
Not on the right of the matter.
O wind and rain, leave my head-stone alone!
For worse than the anger of the wronged,
The curses of the poor,
Was to lie speechless, yet with vision clear,
Seeing that even Hod Putt, the murderer,
Hanged by my sentence,
Was innocent in soul compared with me.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Rae Armantrout (2010)


We like to think
that the mind
controls the body.

We send the body on a mission.

We don't feel the body,
but we receive conflicting reports.

The body is catching flak
or flies.

The body is sprouting grapefruit.

The body is under-
performing in heavy


Reception is spotty.

Someone "just like me"
is born
in the future
and I don't feel a thing?

Like only goes so far.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In My Grandfather's Library

Jon Montague (2010)

In my grandfather’s library
there were many volumes,

Bibles massive as flagstones;
heavy print my eye could trawl along:

the thunder of the Old Testament.

I climbed the Mount with Moses,
stood in the presence of the Lord,
or listened as he spake from a cloud.

For, lo, I had suffered the long exodus
from Brooklyn, and New York, where
they worshipped the Golden Calf

which now staggers, newly born,
rasped clean by its mother’s tongue,
on the cobblestones of our farmyard.

Read more:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Following a Stream

David Wagoner (2010)

Don’t do it, the guidebook says,
if you’re lost. Then it goes on
to talk about something else,
taking the easy way out,
which of course is what water does
as a matter of course always
taking whatever turn
the earth has told it to
while and since it was born,
including flowing over
the edge of a waterfall
or simply disappearing
underground for a long dark time
before it reappears
as a spring so far away
from where you thought you were
and where you think you are
it might never occur
to you to imagine where
that could be as you go downhill.