For Martin Luther King Day 2012:
To Know All Is To Forgive All
by Nixon Waterman
If I knew you and you knew me-
If both of us could clearly see,
And with an inner sight devine,
The meaning of your heart and mine-
I’m sure that we would differ less
And clasp our hands in friendliness;
Our thoughts would pleasantly agree
If I knew you, and you knew me.
If I knew you and you knew me,
As each one knows his own self, we
Could look each other in the face
And see therein a truer grace.
Life has so many hidden woes,
So many thorns for every rose;
The “why” of things our hearts would see,
If I knew you and you knew me.
For the Innsbrook Geese:
I’m picking beans when the geese fly over, Blue Lake pole
beans I figure to blanch and freeze. Maybe pickle some dilly beans.
And there will be more beans to give to the neighbors, forcibly if
The geese come over so low I can hear their wings creak, can see
their tail feathers making fine adjustments. They slip-stream along
so gracefully, riding on each other’s wind, surfing the sky. Maybe
after the harvest I’ll head south. Somebody told me Puerto Vallarta
is nice. I’d be happy with a cheap room. Rice and beans at every
meal. Swim a little, lay on the beach.
Who are you kidding, Charles? You don’t like to leave home in
the winter. Spring, fall, or summer either. True. But I do love to
watch those wild geese fly over, feel these impertinent desires glide
through me. Then get back to work.
Notes from the Delivery Room
by Linda Pastan
victim in an old comic book,
I have been here before,
this place where pain winces
off the walls
like too bright light.
Bear down a doctor says,
foreman to sweating laborer,
but this work, this forcing
of one life from another
is something that I signed for
at a moment when I would have signed anything.
Babies should grow in fields;
common as beets or turnips
they should be picked and held
root end up, soil spilling
from between their toes-
and how much easier it would be later,
returning them to earth.
Bear up . . . bear down . . . the audience
grows restive, and I’m a new magician
who can’t produce the rabbit
from my swollen hat.
She’s crowning, someone says,
but there is no one royal here,
just me, quite barefoot,
greeting my barefoot child.
From Good Poems American Places [Poems selected by Garrison Keillor and read on The Writer's Almanac] Purchased at Prince Books in Norfolk, Virginia