By Rita Dove
I acknowledge my status as a stranger:
Inappropriate clothes, odd habits
Out of sync with wasp and wren.
I admit I don’t know how
To sit still or move without purpose.
I prefer books to moonlight, statuary to trees.
But this lawn has been leveled for looking,
So I kick off my sandals and walk its cool green.
Who claims we’re mere muscle and fluids?
My feet are the primitives here.
As for the rest—ah, the air now
Is a tonic of absence, bearing nothing
But news of a breeze.
Please enjoy my reading of Jean Janzen’s poem, published in the collection Snake in the Parsonage, In November. I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I do. And if not, hey there’s other poems.
The above recording was recorded to celebrate Halloween this year. It is the anniversary of John Keats birth. A man that only lived to 25. Think of all the other poems he could have written. Anyway, as to not make you more sad, I will not comment any further on that detail. The poem’s words are below. Also, there are plenty of other poems I could have read for Halloween. Click here to check out a collection of “Halloween Poems” put together by the poetry foundation. There are also other John Keats poems that could put you in a spooky mood such as this one, Tis the Witching Time of Night.
BY JOHN KEATS
This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm’d–see here it is–
I hold it towards you.
The version I read was as published in Tony’s collection Application for Release From the Dream published by Graywolf Press. You can buy an ebook via Amazon and Google Play Books. Or check for it at a local or independent book store.
Please take a moment to relax, close your eyes, and listen to a reading of a fine poem. Okay, you don’t have to close your eyes.
By Richard Wilbur
The warping night air having brought the boom
Of an owl’s voice into her darkened room,
We tell the wakened child that all she heard
Was an odd question from a forest bird,
Asking of us, if rightly listened to,
“Who cooks for you?” and then “Who cooks for you?”
Words, which can make our terrors bravely clear,
Can also thus domesticate a fear,
And send a small child back to sleep at night
Not listening for the sound of stealthy flight
Or dreaming of some small thing in a claw
Borne up to some dark branch and eaten raw.
Read this poem by clicking here.
There are several good readings like the one below. A few of them are from the Poetry Out Loud competition which introduced me to this poem.