Why this?

The occasional poem of my own and a generous helping of work by others that I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The End of the Pier

I walked to the end of the pier
and threw your name into the sea,
and when you flew back to me—
a silver fish—I devoured you,
cleaned you to the bone. I was through.
But then you came back again:
as sun on water. I reached for you,
skimmed my hands over the light of you.
And when the sky darkened,
again, I thought it was over, but then,
you became water. I closed my eyes
and lay on top of you, swallowed you,
let you swallow me too. And when
you carried my body back to shore—
as I trusted that you would do—
well, then, you became shore too,
and I knew, finally, I would never be through.

--Nicole Callihan

A Fixed Idea

What torture lurks within a single thought
When grown too constant; and however kind,
However welcome still, the weary mind
Aches with its presence. Dull remembrance taught
Remembers on unceasingly; unsought
The old delight is with us but to find
That all recurring joy is pain refined,
Become a habit, and we struggle, caught.
You lie upon my heart as on a nest,
Folded in peace, for you can never know
How crushed I am with having you at rest
Heavy upon my life. I love you so
You bind my freedom from its rightful quest.
In mercy lift your drooping wings and go.

--Amy Lowell

Father's Song

Yesterday, against admonishment,
my daughter balanced on the couch back,
fell and cut her mouth.

Because I saw it happen I knew
she was not hurt, and yet
a child’s blood so red
it stops a father’s heart.

My daughter cried her tears;
I held some ice
against her lip.
That was the end of it.

Round and round: bow and kiss.
I try to teach her caution;
she tries to teach me risk. 

--Gregory Orr

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Playhouse

Under a collapse of honeysuckle
and its fury of bees, under a mulberry

canopy, its wavering thatch of green—
that’s where you’d find us when the voices rose,

playing out civility: leaf-napkins, twig-utensils,
acorn-goblets, tea of wild scallion

and mud. Beside the garden’s tangled
wire. Thimbleberry, chokecherry. Lulled

by the overripe reek of mulch, our own
quiet in failing light. All summerlong

we colluded on a patchwork of dried leaves
stitched together by stems—crimson, bruise,

amber, brick, cinnamon—to blanket us
when those voices called us home.

--Melissa Stein