A Poem Thread

when you break thru
you’ll find
a poet here
not quite what one would choose.

I won’t promise
you’ll never go hungry
or that you won’t be sad
on this gutted

but I can show you
enough to love
to break your heart

--Diane di Prima
"I hope to define my life, whatever is left,
by migrations, south and north with the birds
and far from the metallic fever of clocks,
the self staring at the clock saying, "I must do this."
I can't tell the time on the tongue of the river
in the cool morning air, the smell of the ferment
of greenery, the dust off the canyon's rock walls,
the swallows swooping above the scent of raw water."

-- Jim Harrison
The Secret
by Denise Levertov, 1964

Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of

I who don’t know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can’t find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other

in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.


"A star wrapped in skin,
Clouded with fear.
Embrace who you are,
Feel the clouds clear.
I am of you
As you are of me;
In closed eyes of faith,
This truth can be seen.
Blind your mind to the
Facade of smiles,
Face every lesson,
Attend each trial,
Then feel that love
Spark up your soul.
You're a star, holding night
Just to feel your own glow."

Heather Lea
Odi et Amo
by Joy Davidman, 1937

I would have given you this flower or that,
Tears for your pleasure, roses for your grief,
Would bind my precious hair into a mat

Before your feet, or bring a silken leaf
To kiss your thirsty mouth away from dearth;
Would bind my thoughts into a summer sheaf

Of corn arisen from a barren earth
To nourish you forever; and would bend
This fire to sing contentment on your hearth.

This little pleading image of your friend,
This fabric knit and riveted for life,
I would have brought you, careless of the end;

A flare of laughter, and a fancy rife
With spirits to inform the silver breath;
All this for love; for this ungentle strife

I shall find present ways to give you death.

"No matter how much of a shitshow
the modern world turns into,
there’s still an unbroken stillness
out there by the waters at dawn.
And the trees still whisp in the wind
and the birds still flutter in the sky
and the lilacs still rise from the soil
of springtime meadows. Regardless of it all,
there are still sacred places to escape
to when the blood begins to falter.
Go there. Often. Don’t become
the majority."
-- Poetic Outlaws
Forgive yourself
For what you had to do to survive
Forgive yourself, for who you were,
before you knew better.

Forgive yourself
for being fallible, broken,
and being less than perfect.

Touch the earth
in your small humanness
Feel the dirt, beneath your feet, between your fingers
and how your tears water the parched and
cracked, soil.

Forgive yourself
For not being more, knowing more
For having to learn through experience, or the hard way.

For what you did to survive life's winters,
over life's thin ice.

For your mistakes.

You survived.

You are here.

And in the forgiveness
Let your hands reach down
to soothe your broken heart
and from there, the broken hearts of others.

For we grow humble in our falls
Compassionate through our imperfection,
not our perfection.

Forgive yourself
Let the weight of these lessons hold you firmly
in their dark wisdom
to the earth.
And from there, like a sky of shining lanterns~
set your soul free.
~Rachel Alana (R.A Falconer)
Midwives of the Soul
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You don’t have to be spectacular.
Be a shack.
Fall apart.
Learn the immense grace
inside of humility.
Be honest.
Let parts of yourself go
in the name of truthfulness
and love.
This life is a shell.
We don’t need to decorate it
with other people’s impressions.
Grow inside it
through the ongoing and simple
commitment to kindness.

Author unknown
"Our educational system tells us
that we can all be
big-ass winners
it hasn't told us
about the gutters
or the suicides
or the terror of one person
aching in one place
unspoken to
watering a plant." ~Charles Bukowski
In A Dark Time
Theodore Roethke

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood--
A lord of nature weeping to a tree,
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.

What's madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day's on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall,
That place among the rocks--is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.

A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is--
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.

Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.
Poem by Harryette Mullen

You are a ukulele beyond my microphone
You are a Yukon beyond my Micronesia
You are a union beyond my meiosis
You are a unicycle beyond my migration
You are a universe beyond my mitochondria
You are a Eucharist beyond my Miles Davis
You are a euphony beyond my myocardiogram
You are a unicorn beyond my Minotaur
You are a eureka beyond my maitai
You are a Yuletide beyond my minesweeper
You are a euphemism beyond my myna bird

I've just discovered this poet, and plan to check out her book of poetry, Sleeping with the Dictionary.
"I know that I have died before—
once in November, once in June.
How strange to choose June again,
so concrete with its green breasts and bellies . . .
New York City will not mind.
At night the bats will beat on the trees,
knowing it all,
seeing what they sensed all day."
--Anne Sexton

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.”
― Naomi Shihab Nye, Words Under the Words: Selected Poems
"Social Security" by Terrence Winch

"No one is safe. The streets are unsafe.
Even in the safety zones, it’s not safe.
Even safe sex is not safe.
Even things you lock in a safe
are not safe. Never deposit anything
in a safe-deposit box, because it
won’t be safe there. Nobody is safe
at home during baseball games anymore.

At night I go around in the dark
locking everything, returning
a few minutes later
to make sure I locked
everything. It’s not safe here.
It’s not safe and they know it.
People get hurt using safety pins.

It was not always this way.
Long ago, everyone felt safe. Aristotle
never felt danger. Herodotus felt danger
only when Xerxes was around. Young women
were afraid of winged dragons, but felt
relaxed otherwise. Timotheus, however,
was terrified of storms until he played
one on the flute. After that, everyone
was more afraid of him than of the violent
west wind, which was fine with Timotheus.
Euclid, full of music himself, believed only
that there was safety in numbers."
“The adults forgot to tell the kids there isn't much to do,
That all this free time is quite hard to get through.
You can read a nice novel and paint something new,
But those activities are actually pretty isolating too.
That's why we glance over at red lights, curious if others feel it too.”
― Karl Kristian Flores, Can I Tell You Something?
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Using the ChatGPT site, my request was to ''create a poem about science.'' I didn't make any edits. It's a little clunky, but not bad.

In the realm where wonders unfold,
Where knowledge seeks, and truths are told,
There lies a beacon burning bright,
Guiding us through the depths of night.

Science, the grand explorer's art,
Unveils the secrets of every part,
From atoms dancing in cosmic flight,
To galaxies adrift in eternal light.

Through lenses fine, we peer afar,
To catch a glimpse of a distant star,
With telescopes that pierce the veil,
We unravel stories that stars regale.

In laboratories, sparks ignite,
A symphony of curiosity takes flight,
Microscopes revealing worlds unseen,
Unlocking mysteries, one by one, serene.

Chemical reactions, they ignite,
Like alchemists' dreams in dazzling light,
Elements entwined, compounds enthrall,
From humble matter, miracles do sprawl.

Nature's patterns, so mesmerizing,
Mathematics, their language harmonizing,
Equations dance upon the page,
Revealing truths from age to age.

Through biology's intricate weave,
Life's tapestry, a sight to perceive,
From cells that pulse with vibrant breath,
To ecosystems teeming, birthing death.

Physics, the fundamental force,
Unraveling laws with rigorous discourse,
From gravity's pull to light's ballet,
Unveiling nature's choreography, they say.

And in the realm of human minds,
Imagination intertwined,
Science sparks the flame of invention,
Giving life to progress and comprehension.

Yet, with each discovery unfurled,
Humility, a lesson for the world,
For science thrives in humble awe,
Acknowledging limits, seeking truth raw.

So let us journey, hand in hand,
Through the realm where science expands,
For in its embrace, we truly find,
The boundless wonders of humankind.