Tag Archives: poem

Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

Click the title of the poem to listen.

Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

Aunt Jennifer’s tigers prance across a screen,
Bright topaz denizens of a world of green.
They do not fear the men beneath the tree;
They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.

Aunt Jennifer’s fingers fluttering through her wool
find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s hand.

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie
Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.
The tigers in the panel that she made
Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.

Adrienne Rich

To a Frustrated Poet

I think this may be the only poem R.J. Ellmann has ever written, but when you’ve done this well first shot out of the box, why mess with it? Delight.

Click the title of the poem to listen.

To a Frustrated Poet

This is to say
I know
You wish you were in the woods,
Living the poet life,
Not here at a formica topped table
In a meeting about perceived inequalities in the benefits and
     allowances offered to employees of this college,
And I too wish you were in the woods,
Because it’s no fun having a frustrated poet
In the Dept. of Human Resources, believe me.
In the poems of yours that I’ve read, you seem ever intelligent
     and decent and patient in a way 
Not evident to us in this office,
And so, knowing how poets can make a feast out of trouble,
Raising flowers in a bed of drunkenness, divorce, despair,
I give you this check representing two weeks’ wages
And ask you to clean out your desk today
And go home
And write a poem
With a real frog in it
And plums from the refrigerator,
So sweet and so cold.

R.J. Ellmann

Dawn Revisited

Click the title of the poem to listen.

Dawn Revisited

Imagine you wake up
with a second chance: The blue jay
hawks his pretty wares
and the oak still stands, spreading
glorious shade. If you don’t look back,

the future never happens.
How good to rise in sunlight,
in the prodigal smell of biscuits —
eggs and sausage on the grill.
The whole sky is yours

to write on, blown open
to a blank page. Come on, 
shake a leg! You’ll never know
who’s down there, frying those eggs,
if you don’t get up and see.

Rita Dove

In Defense of Our Overgrown Garden

A lucky find for me on the Poetry Foundation app, this. It was love at first confusion. I like a good thicket of words, and a love letter to thickets, to home, to love letters? With internal rhymes? Yes, please.

Click the title of the poem to listen.

In Defense of Our Overgrown Garden

Last night the apple trees shook and gave each lettuce a heart
Six hard red apples broke through the greenhouse glass and
Landed in the middle of those ever-so-slightly green leaves
That seem no mix of seeds and soil but of pastels and light and
Chalk x’s mark our oaks that are supposed to be cut down   
I’ve seen the neighbors frown when they look over the fence
And see our espalier pear trees bowing out of shape I did like that
They looked like candelabras against the wall but what’s the sense
In swooning over pruning I said as much to Mrs. Jones and I swear
She threw her cane at me and walked off down the street without
It has always puzzled me that people coo over bonsai trees when
You can squint your eyes and shrink anything without much of   
A struggle ensued with some starlings and the strawberry nets
So after untangling the two I took the nets off and watched birds
With red beaks fly by all morning at the window I reread your letter
About how the castles you flew over made crenellated shadows on   
The water in the rainbarrel has overflowed and made a small swamp
I think the potatoes might turn out slightly damp don’t worry
If there is no fog on the day you come home I will build a bonfire
So the smoke will make the cedars look the way you like them
To close I’m sorry there won’t be any salad and I love you


by Matthea Harvey, from Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form

Why I Have a Crush On You, UPS Man

For all the people I know, including me, whose lives revolve around the mail. But especially for Abby.

Click the title of the poem to listen.

Why I Have a Crush On You, UPS Man

you bring me all the things I order
are never in a bad mood
always have a jaunty wave as you drive away
look good in your brown shorts
we have an ideal uncomplicated relationship
you’re like a cute boyfriend with great legs
who always brings the perfect present
(why, it’s just what I’ve always wanted!)
and then is considerate enough to go away
oh, UPS Man, let’s hop in your clean brown truck and elope!
ditch your job, I’ll ditch mine
let’s hit the road for Brownsville
and tempt each other
with all the luscious brown foods —
roast beef, dark chocolate,
brownies, Guinness, homemade pumpernickel, molasses cookies
I’ll make you my mama’s bourbon pecan pie
we’ll give all the packages to kind looking strangers
live in a cozy wood cabin
with with a brown dog or two
and a black and brown tabby
I’m serious, UPS Man. Let’s do it.
Where do I sign?

by Alice N. Persons, taken from Good Poems, American Places