Monday, November 25, 2013

Sugar Maples, January

What years of weather did to branch and bough
No canopy of shadow covers now,

And these great trunks, when the wind's rough and bleak,
Though little shaken, can be heard to creak.

It is not time, as yet, for rising sap
And hammered spiles.  There's nothing there to tap.

For now, the long blue shadows of these trees
Stretch out upon the snow, and are at ease.

Richard Wilbur 
(originally printed in the New Yorker, collected in The Best American Poetry 2013)
"So much of what I love about poetry lies in the vast possibilities of voice, the spectacular range of idiosyncratic flavors that can be embedded in a particular human voice reporting from the field. One beautiful axis of voice is the one that runs between vulnerability and detachment, between 'It hurts to be alive' and 'I can see a million miles from here.' A good poetic voice can do both at once."

--Tony Hoagland in Poem-a-Day from the Academy of American Poets, November 25, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Asked by an interviewer about his “study” of several poets, [Philip] Larkin responded, “ doesn’t study poets! You read them, and think, That’s marvelous, how is it done, could I do it? and that’s how you learn.” 

(quoted in On Poetry: Points of Entry, Nov. 24, 2013, Sunday Book Review, New York Times, by David Orr)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


What if a sleek, grey-feathered nuthatch
flew from a tree and offered to perch
on your left shoulder, accompany you

on all your journeys? Nowhere fancy,
just the brief everyday walks, from garage
to house, from house to mailbox, from
the store to your car in the parking lot.

The slight pressure of small claws
clasping your skin, a flutter of wings
every so often at the edge of vision.

And what if he never asked you to be
anything? Wouldn't that be so much
nicer than being alone? So much easier
than trying to think of something to say? 

"Nuthatch" by Kirsten Dierking, from Tether
© Spout Press, 2013