Archive for November, 2022

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Mercy by Travis Mossotti

~Wildlife Rescue Center, Castlewood, MO

You’d bring us each wounded opossum,
broken jaw, eye gone slack from socket,
prayed mercy for the dying, for the dead.

So often I held it hissing on a sterile gurney
while Regina considered the damage, eye
back in or clipped it, cleaned the socket.

More times than not just loaded the syringe
as I pinned and waited until the pulse ran out,
until I could feel the ghost of it through

the rubber gloves, buried her with the rest
in the morgue freezer. Death is common
as duckweed sloughing a pond in summer.

Life is coaxing a fake rubber nipple down
the throats of pink nothings found inside
a mother’s bloodied pouch, press a small bit

of formula into their stomachs. Opossums
are sluggish, hearty creatures that look up
at each zooming headlight as though salvation

or the afterlife had come to meet them halfway
in your Mercedes C-Class. It’s why they suffer
head injuries. Not because your car represents

the combustion engine, industrial revolution,
angel of global warming that wings dry hillsides
into raging fires. No, don’t apologize.

It makes you look weak, foolish and arrogant.


Date: 2012

By: Travis Mossotti (19??- )

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

All Bodies by Darius Atefat-Peckham

As in every language,
there are different words
for all bodies

of water. Somehow
it still surprises me
how many. Like the goldfish

who died one after
another in the days leading up
to Nowruz, the New Year

at their budding
lips. There are rules:

I don’t know them yet.
From what I can tell,
rood-khaneh is House

of River. The Ocean
The Seas. You will find

fountains and springs
in any suburban
yard, children’s hands

submerged within them.
And you can become
imprisoned in any

window you see
through. Once
kayaking, my small

boat flips over
in the rapids. I become
like a fish, betrayed

by my own opened
mouth. For fourteen days
I drown in my

great-grandma’s kitchen,
and the sabzeh grows
backwards into

itself. The rings
of my scales sound
outwards. My belly

splitting open
the surface. I pretend-
die like this, watching

the people twirl together
like water-bugs, some heaven
above me. A young boy

wades over to watch
me, from the other side
of the glass, eating

myself to death.


Date: 2022

By: Darius Atefat-Peckham (19??- )

Monday, 28 November 2022

Our Sad Little Man by Robert Nazarene

Just 4 years old he wandered from nightlight
to nightlight to nightlight back & forth &
back & forth & back & forth from his bed-
room to the bathroom to the kitchen for 3
days and nights (and counting) doing exactly
what Mommy told him to do: You just wait
‘til your father gets home! until she would slip
beneath the waves again into her sadbed
and if a little boy digs his fingernails into
his neck over & over & over until his blood
weeps & falls into that old snot-caked
onesy does it mean he gets to die soon does
it mean Christmas is coming early this year?


Date: 2016

By: Robert Nazarene (19??- )

Sunday, 27 November 2022

The Angel Gabriel Talks Annunciation to Mary by Margaret Benbow

Before he’s said a word,
even as he bends the knee and rears his
wings in golden branches that wow them every time
(the more the little peasant is impressed, the faster this will be)
his eye is mournfully absorbed in what he sees.
She’s still a child, he can smell
honey and dairy on her, and just now she secretly
put out a finger in wonder to touch a feather.

Gabriel lugs the huge gold nugget words Messiah baby
into the conversation early, dazzles those big eyes:
but he saves the awkward
Crucifixion, with its spiky thorns,
for later, or never. Also, wrong time to mention
five wounds, or drop those bricks
lash, wood, nail, storm, tomb.

Leave it to life to tell her. After all, he’s not lying:
she will bear the main earthman of all time.
She’ll lose him, but
time chars all our beloveds.
Gabriel sighs just once.
Then like the whip-length of snake who first sold Eve the apple
he fixes Mary with a gaze
bright and old as quartz in granite:

Have I got a sweet deal for you.


Date: 2018

By: Margaret Benbow (19??- )

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Cultivation by Mary Crow

He tilled the stars in the dull heaven
of the soil, stars of white pearl
with green at the tip. It made him dizzy
to glance up at that other garden.

As he walked beside the rows
searching for what had appeared overnight
he wanted to prophesy. There, right there,
a new nodule, a new comet’s tail, a root

of heaven. The sky itself so heavy
he felt it about to fall on his shoulders,
felt how it lowered over his life.
He needed a plow long enough, sharp enough

to cut it to tatters so he could seed
the low slivers of cloud, long rows
of watery blue. He could bring
these heavens together, raising one,

pulling the other down.


Date: 1991

By: Mary Crow (19??- )

Friday, 25 November 2022

Every Day Thanksgiving Day by Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford

Sweet it is to see the sun
Shining on Thanksgiving Day,
Sweet it is to see the snow
Fall as if it came to stay;
Sweet is everything that comes.
For all makes cheer, Thanksgiving Day.

Fine is the pantry’s goodly store.
And fine the heaping dish and tray;
Fine the church-bells ringing; fine
All the dinners’ great array.
Things we’d hardly dare to touch.
Were it not Thanksgiving Day.

Dear the people coming home,
Dear glad faces long away.
Dear the merry cries, and dear
All the glad and happy play.
Dear the thanks, too, that we give
For all of this Thanksgiving Day.

But sweeter, finer, dearer far
It well might be if on our way.
With love for all, with thanks to Heaven,
We did not wait for time’s delay.
But, with remembered blessings then
Made every day Thanksgiving Day.

From: Committee of the Carnegie Library School Association, Thanksgiving in Poetry, 1923, The H. Wilson Company: New York, p. 27.

Date: 1881

By: Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford (1835-1921)

Thursday, 24 November 2022

The Little Girl and the Turkey by Dorothy Keeley Aldis

The little girl said
As she asked for more:
“But what is the Turkey
Thankful for?”

From: Hopkins, Lee Bennett, Merrily Comes Our Harvest In: Poems for Thanksgiving, 1978, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: New York and London, p. 24.

Date: 1952

By: Dorothy Keeley Aldis (1896-1966)

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Freedom by James Russell Lowell

Are we, then, wholly fallen? Can it be
That thou, North wind, that from thy mountains bringest
Their spirit to our plains, and thou, blue sea,
Who on our rocks thy wreaths of freedom flingest,
As on an altar,—can it be that ye
Have wasted inspiration on dead ears,
Dulled with the too familiar clank of chains?
The people’s heart is like a harp for years
Hung where some petrifying torrent rains
Its slow-incrusting spray: the stiffened chords
Faint and more faint make answer to the tears
That drip upon them: idle are all words;
Only a silver plectrum wakes the tone
Deep buried ‘neath that ever-thickening stone.

We are not free: Freedom doth not consist
In musing with our faces toward the Past,
While petty cares, and crawling interests, twist
Their spider-threads about us, which at last
Grow strong as iron chains, to cramp and bind
In formal narrowness heart, soul, and mind.
Freedom is recreated year by year,
In hearts wide open on the Godward side,
In souls calm-cadenced as the whirling sphere,
In minds that sway the future like a tide.
No broadest creeds can hold her, and no codes;
She chooses men for her august abodes,
Building them fair and fronting to the dawn;
Yet, when we seek her, we but find a few
Light footprints, leading morn-ward through the dew;
Before the day had risen, she was gone.

And we must follow: swiftly runs she on,
And, if our steps should slacken in despair,
Half turns her face, half smiles through golden hair,
Forever yielding, never wholly won:
That is not love which pauses in the race
Two close-linked names on fleeting sand to trace;
Freedom gained yesterday is no more ours;
Men gather but dry seeds of last year’s flowers:
Still there’s a charm ungranted, still a grace,
Still rosy Hope, the free, the unattained,
Makes us Possession’s languid hand let fall;
‘Tis but a fragment of ourselves is gained,—
The Future brings us more, but never all.

And, as the finder of some unknown realm,
Mounting a summit whence he thinks to see
On either side of him the imprisoning sea,
Beholds, above the clouds that overwhelm
The valley-land, peak after snowy peak
Stretch out of sight, each like a silver helm
Beneath its plume of smoke, sublime and bleak,
And what he thought an island finds to be
A continent to him first oped,—so we
Can from our height of Freedom look along
A boundless future, ours if we be strong;
Or if we shrink, better remount our ships
And, fleeing God’s express design, trace back
The hero-freighted Mayflower’s prophet-track
To Europe, entering her blood-red eclipse.

From: Lowell, James Russell and Dole, Nathan Haskell, Poems of James Russell Lowell with Biographical Sketch by Nathan Haskell Dole, 1898, Thomas Y. Crowell & Co: New York, pp.259-260.

Date: 1848

By: James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Verses Occasioned by a Young Lady’s asking the Author, What was a Cure for Love? by Thomas Godfrey

From me, my Dear, O seek not to receive
What e’en deep-read Experience cannot give.
We may, indeed, from the Physician’s skill
Some Med’cine find to cure the body’s ill.
But who e’er found the physic for the soul,
Or made th’ affections bend to his controul?
When thro’ the blaze of passion objects show
How dark’s the shade! how bright the colours glow!
All the rous’d soul with transport’s overcome,
And the mind’s surly Monitor is dumb.

In vain the sages turn their volumes o’er,
And on the musty page incessant pore,
Still mighty LOVE triumphant rules the heart,
Baffles their labour, and eludes their art.

Say what is science, what is reason’s force
To stop the passions wild ungovern’d course?
Reason, ’tis true, may point the rocky shore,
And shew the danger, but can serve no more,
From wave to wave the wretched wreck is tost,
And reason ‘s in th’ impetuous torrent lost.

In vain we strive, when urg’d by cold neglect,
By various means our freedom to effect,
Tho’ like the bee from sweet to sweet we rove,
And search for ease in the vast round of Love,
Tho’ in each Nymph we meet a kind return,
Still in the firstfond hopeless flame we burn,
That dear idea still our thoughts employs,
And blest variety itself e’en cloys.
So exiles banish’d from their native home
Are met with pity wheresoe’er they come,
Yet still their native soil employs their care,
And death were ease to lay their ashes there.

From: Godfrey, Thomas, Juvenile Poems on Various Subjects. With The Prince of Parthia, a tragedy, 1765, Henry Miller: Philadelphia, pp. 13-14.

Date: 1758

By: Thomas Godfrey (1736-1763)

Monday, 21 November 2022

Content by George James Cornish

Of other regions cease to tell,
Cities and star-y-pointing hills;
My own loved valleys simple well,
My ardent love of nature fills.

I have enough in morning’s cloud,
Ten thousand glorious forms I spy;
Alps over alps aspiring proud,
And forests in the evening sky.

From: Cornish, G. J., Come to the Woods: and Other Poems, 1869, Simpkin, Marshall, and Co: London, p 136.

Date: 1869 (published)

By: George James Cornish (1794-1849)