Poem that makes me think – Here, Kim Addonizio


After it ended badly it got so much better
which took a while of course but still
he grew so tender & I so grateful
which maybe tells you something about how it was
I’m trying to tell you I know you
have staggered wept spiraled through a long room
banging your head against it holding crushed
bird skulls in your hands your many hearts unstrung
unable to play a note their wood still beautiful
& carved so elaborately maybe a collector would want them
stupid collectors always preserving & never breaking open
the jars so everyone starves while admiring the view
you don’t own anyone everything will be taken from you
go ahead & eat this poem please it will help


This poem is kind of stunning. It is the kind of poem that reaches out and could probably apply to multiple situations; reading the first few lines you can’t help but wonder what, specifically, the poet is writing about, and yet it resonates, fits to a thousand different circumstances. I can imagine this would be performed beautifully as a hushed, fast whispered spoken word poem. I can see the poet looking out to an audience and telling them that they too know pain, share their suffering, and that somehow, that’s okay. We grow through experiences, it does get better, there is an after.


Poem that makes me think – We have no choice in the bodies that hold us, Holly Amos


Thing of dirt and water and oxygen marked by thinking
and reacting and a couch
one may or may not be permitted
to sleep on. He may not permit me
to touch him or to take the bone
from his mouth, but he does, and that’s a choice
based on many factors, not the least of which
is his own desire to let me
do these things. How I could ever
think or feel myself more
deserving of a single thing than
this being, whom I call by a name the same way
my parents chose a name for me. The same way my genes
went expressing themselves to make my face exactly
my face. This isn’t special. Or this is special. But it’s one
answer, the same, for us both.

We have no choice in the bodies that hold us

It’s true; we don’t, as far as we know, anyway, have any choice about what bodies we are born into. No soul, so far as our understanding teaches us, seeks out life as a panda in a zoo in China or a cricket chirruping away in a backyard in Iowa. This poem is a little, nudging reminder of that; the speaker talks about the dog she has clearly just adopted or bought, and how he impacts her life as she impacts is. For anyone who has never had the pleasure of coming home to a dog that’s never sick of seeing you, there really is something very special about pet ownership/cohabitation 🙂



Poem that makes me think – Spell to locate the unreachable, Sarah Messer


As no assistance could be expected
of the ocean, I turned to the trumpeting
tunnel of sky and rummaged
the tops of plum birch turning
their leaves like coins, then
to the tumbler sweating
on the porch rail. The sky,
the color of whale oil. The wind,
a box of uncolored letters. And so
I was gris-gris with my lichen hair
and moonstone wound
around my neck, a raccoon
stuck under an electric
fence, or a photo showing
only one wick at a séance.
How to unpin this particular
corner of sky? I sing
an antler song to find
you, but there’s no trace
of the sky in the sky. I’ll have to
collapse the air to find you.

Spell to locate the unreachable

I really love this poem, the earthiness of it, that feeling of searching for something that feels impossible but not giving up on searching anyway, it’s one that definitely gives me goosebumps. Is this about return to nature, turning our backs on our nature – on god? Are we seeking answers and feeling very much alone because no one’s listening, the sky is angry and raging, and we’re all about to get drenched? Beautiful 🙂


Poem that makes me think – Poem to first love, Matthew Yeager


To have been told “I love you” by you could well be, for me,
the highlight of my life, the best feeling, the best peak
on my feeling graph, in the way that the Chrysler building
might not be the tallest building in the NY sky but is
the best, the most exquisitely spired, or the way that
Hank Aaron’s career home-run total is not the highest
but the best, the one that signifies the purest greatness.
So improbable!  To have met you at all and then
to have been told in your soft young voice so soon
after meeting you: “I love you.”  And I felt the mystery
of being that you, of being a you and being
loved, and what I was, instantly, was someone
who could be told “I love you” by someone like you.
I was, in that moment, new; you were 19; I was 22;
you were impulsive; I was there in front of you, with a future
that hadn’t yet been burned for fuel; I had energy;
you had beauty; and your eyes were a pale blue,
and they backed what you said with all they hadn’t seen,
and they were the least ambitious eyes I’d known,
the least calculating, and when you spoke and when
they shone, perhaps you saw the feeling you caused.
Perhaps you saw too that the feeling would stay.

Poem to first love

For the cynical thing that I am, I guess I do, secretly, very very deep down still believe in love, and this poem is like a reminder that it can happen. I read this through three times straight, smiling like an idiot all the way through. There’s an innocence, a sense of I can’t believe my own luck, and it’s just so very, very cute. Love this 🙂

Poem that makes me think – Miracles, Walt Whitman


Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so
quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the
ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?


This poem makes me grin like an idiot, it is like looking up a good news story about a random act of kindness when the rest of the news is shouting at you about war and death and destruction. It’s like a little ray of hope when everything else around you is pretty grey, and a reminder to look for the good despite everything and everyone around you reminding you of all that is bad 🙂

Poem that makes me think – Somewhere I have never travelled, gladly beyond – E E Cummings


somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

Somewhere I have never travelled

You probably know Ron Perlman for Sons Of Anarchy, or one of what seems to be about a thousand other incredible performances on TV and in film. But when I hear this poem, all I can picture him as is Vincent from the Beauty & and Beast series of the 80s. If you’ve never heard him read it, listen here, and here‘s the song associated with the segment in the show that the poem is from. Excuse me whilst I go and sob to myself in the corner for one of my earliest ships…

Poem that makes me think -The Calm, John Donne


Our storm is past, and that storm’s tyrannous rage,
A stupid calm, but nothing it, doth ’suage.
The fable is inverted, and far more
A block afflicts, now, than a stork before.
Storms chafe, and soon wear out themselves, or us;
In calms, Heaven laughs to see us languish thus.
As steady’as I can wish that my thoughts were,
Smooth as thy mistress’ glass, or what shines there,
The sea is now; and, as the isles which we
Seek, when we can move, our ships rooted be.
As water did in storms, now pitch runs out;
As lead, when a fir’d church becomes one spout.
And all our beauty, and our trim, decays,
Like courts removing, or like ended plays.
The fighting-place now seamen’s rags supply;
And all the tackling is a frippery.
No use of lanthorns; and in one place lay
Feathers and dust, to-day and yesterday.
Earth’s hollownesses, which the world’s lungs are,
Have no more wind than the upper vault of air.
We can nor lost friends nor sought foes recover,
But meteor-like, save that we move not, hover.
Only the calenture together draws
Dear friends, which meet dead in great fishes’ jaws;
And on the hatches, as on altars, lies
Each one, his own priest, and own sacrifice.
Who live, that miracle do multiply,
Where walkers in hot ovens do not die.
If in despite of these we swim, that hath
No more refreshing than our brimstone bath;
But from the sea into the ship we turn,
Like parboil’d wretches, on the coals to burn.
Like Bajazet encag’d, the shepherds’ scoff,
Or like slack-sinew’d Samson, his hair off,
Languish our ships. Now as a myriad
Of ants durst th’ emperor’s lov’d snake invade,
The crawling gallies, sea-gaols, finny chips,
Might brave our pinnaces, now bed-rid ships.
Whether a rotten state, and hope of gain,
Or to disuse me from the queasy pain
Of being belov’d and loving, or the thirst
Of honour, or fair death, out-push’d me first,
I lose my end; for here, as well as I,
A desperate may live, and a coward die.
Stag, dog, and all which from or towards flies,
Is paid with life or prey, or doing dies.
Fate grudges us all, and doth subtly lay
A scourge, ’gainst which we all forget to pray.
He that at sea prays for more wind, as well
Under the poles may beg cold, heat in hell.
What are we then? How little more, alas,
Is man now, than before he was? He was
Nothing; for us, we are for nothing fit;
Chance, or ourselves, still disproportion it.
We have no power, no will, no sense; I lie,
I should not then thus feel this misery.

The Calm

I will admit that before reading The Calm, my favourite John Donne was the holy sonnet Batter my heart, three-person’d God.

For some reason I often find myself drawn to poetry that involves some element of the sea; it is like the lull of the words creates a sense of being at the beach and hearing the waves crashing off to my side. Dramatic, yes, but that is the image these kinds of poems conjure for me.

I’m not entirely sure what this poem makes me think about, but it does make me think. It makes me feel calm, although perhaps that is more to do with the imagery I just mentioned. It makes me want to curl up in a corner and read all of my favourite poetry, because this is an example of how poetry should be done; it’s beautiful.

This poem may technically be about political and social criticism but there’s something very comforting about it to me, which is odd, since I often find poetry that uses a lot of religious themes difficult to understand, or just get. Perhaps it’s John Donne’s particular style of writing that is resonating with me more than anything else; I’m going to spend the next hour or so seeking his other stuff out, to see if that theory is correct 🙂