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Poetry Friday: Vow by Diana Khoi Nguyen

It will be windy for a while until it isn't. The waves will shoal. A red-legged
cormorant will trace her double along glassy water, forgetting they are hungry.
The sea will play this motif over and over, but there will be no preparing for it
otherwise. Water will quiver in driftwood. Sound preceding absence,
a white dog trailing a smaller one: ghost and noon shadow, two motes
disappearing into surf. And when the low tide comes lapping and clear, the curled
fronds of seaweed will furl and splay, their algal sisters brushing strands
against sands where littleneck clams feed underwater. Light rain will fall
and one cannot help but lean into the uncertainty of the sea. Bow: a knot
of two loops, two loose ends, our bodies on either side of this shore where we
will dip our hands to feel what can’t be seen. Horseshoe crabs whose blue
blood rich in copper will reach for cover, hinged between clouds and
sea. It will never be enough, the bull kelp like a whip coiling in tender hands,
hands who know to take or be taken, but take nothing with them: I will marry you.
I will marry you. So we can owe what we own to every beautiful thing.

- Vow by Diana Khoi Nguyen

Hear the poem read out loud.

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Poetry Friday: Forgiving the Darkness by Alice B. Fogel

Darkness is not a death, does not obliterate,
will not bury you or take your breath away.
Darkness will not erase you the way it erases day with night
because darkness is not the clock but merely the time
falling away from the clock's circular face.
Darkness is not the loss but the thing misplaced,
not the hammer but the nail in its curved emergence
from wood's grasp, not the storm's insurgence
but the limbs broken off from their miraculous
suspension in a storm out far, beyond us.
Darkness is not about hearts, imperfect as they are,
but what leaks through their incorrigible doors, not the stars
but the glissade or glide of their dust.
Darkness no longer shields the hunters' musk
in search of you, or turns you to animal prey,
it is only a measure of weight or days.
Not something without a beginning or an end,
it is not even—especially not—an end.
Nor is it vertigo, nor the whole, but merely a piece.
No, darkness is but a ghost of an idea, the least
remembered, most estranged prayer, and your fear
but a lingering, limbic fear torn from shreds of forgotten years.
Only that much is clear.

- Forgiving the Darkness by Alice B. Fogel

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wish, daisy

Poetry Friday: Invitation by Mary Oliver

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
melodiously
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.

- Invitation by Mary Oliver

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Poetry Friday: September 9 By Elizabeth Willis

It's turneresque in twilight. The word comes at me
with its headlights on, so it's revelation and not death.
I figure I'm halfway home though I've only started.
Nothing is moving but me: I'm a blackbird. The neigh-
bor's in labor, but so am I, pushing against the road.
Physics tells us nothing is lost, but I've been copping
time from death and can't relent for every job the stars
drop on my back.

- September 9 by Elizabeth Willis

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Poetry Friday: Good Luck, Kid by Joseph

You're used to looking around to see
How everybody else is doing it
Now it seems like we're all losing it
You read the paper, it's all bad news in it
The train's off the tracks, boat's capsized
Don't know the left from right
And you think, "How am I gonna do this?"

You thought you'd know the way, but now you don't
You thought you'd have the answers when you'd grown

They handed you the keys
The driver's seat is yours now
There's nothing left to lean on
You're the queen from here on out
No time for doubt
Good luck, kid.

- selected lyrics from Good Luck, Kid by the band Joseph

Listen to the song.

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Poetry Friday: Rain by Ian Pople

A lexicon of words that were not
said in childhood, and all of those
that were, were said beside
an upturned boat, lapped
planking of the creosoted shed,
were said into the wind on
tussocky ground, by farm-rust vehicles.

The buildings I could not complete
without my father’s help, the wind
in which I was at sea. Rain blooming
in August that moved the land
and over land toward the autumn,
sliding through the gates of summer,
feeling for the bone inside the wrist.

- Rain by Ian Pople

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