Category Poetry

Call of the Wild (Within): Carl Sandburg’s “Wilderness”

Grrrrrrrowwwwwwwlllllllllroarrrrrrrrrrr!!!! The wildness echoes through prairies and canyons, carries over hillsides and frozen peaks, through churning waters that send chills down spines as it reverberates to the very ground of being and splays out an inherent threat to destroy all in its path.

Loosed from any chains of decorum and constraint, it is capable of cold remorseless cruelty, impervious to the call of conscience and mercy, subject only to its primitive need for survival, sustenance and the dominance its genetic coding compels it to maintain.

It is wolf, it is fox, it is hog and fish and baboon and eagle.

And as plain-spoken American poet Carl Sandburg suggests in his seminal, heavily anthologized poem, “Wilderness,” it is also us.

Nicely clothed, carefully coiffed, artificially scented and politely mannered humans, kin to creatures large and small, in something less than full possession of a la...

Read More

Is “Happiness” Yours? It Could Be “Otherwise” (Two Jane Kenyon Poems)

One of the reminders I use for self-consolation and perspective whenever some challenging condition or situation has me appealing to the heavens for relief is, “It could always be worse.” It’s an inarguable point, given the sheer awfulness of calamities that beset human beings everywhere, each in their own time, some of them occurring now to dear friends even as I type these words.

So, an abstraction it most definitely is not.

Knowing and acknowledging we’re a long way from the bottom of suffering’s barrel is also a convenient means of maintaining humility, which is among the most treasured (and necessary!) spiritual virtues. After all, given the enormous sum total of human misery, who are we to think we should be spared such relatively trifling indignities as an occasional slam from the flu or a perceived snubbing by a longtime friend?

There it went, your happiness out the door to distant lands, where it

Read More

Two Kenneth Koch Poems About Time

When you’re young and of a certain un-Eeyore sensibility, each day dawns pregnant with possibility, and once you’ve stretched out and shaken off whatever thickness might linger from the previous night’s indulgences, you can easily enough conjure the “Work hard, Play hard” mantra displayed on t-shirts and billboards, assuring you that all of life is there for the taking if you’re just bold and desirous enough to grab its lapels.

Then you get older, and while you may still feel some or most of that pulse-quickening sense of open-endedness regarding the course of your dawning day, what is even more quickening is the pace of the sun as it arcs across the sky without you having all that much to show for it.

…Koch assumes an intimate stance akin to a favorite wise uncle who has our very best interests at heart regarding something important that he knows so well at this point in his life that he can impart it wit...

Read More

A Poem of Thanks, Belated: Ada Limón’s “The Raincoat”

I had the great good fortune of returning to my old stomping grounds in California last month, where I welcomed a grandson into this world and beheld the exquisite pleasure of seeing my daughter assume the role of motherhood. I don’t think I had really anticipated the sublime joy of those moments, though they gave rise to what did become my anticipation of all the wonders—leavened by the pretty much requisite trade-off of occasional heartaches—that lie ahead for her.

Like most all grandparents I have ever heard from, I was about bursting with joy to hold, nuzzle and coo with the little guy before retreating for a spell, returning again, retreating again, all in the knowledge there had been little to no retreat for the parents in this equation.

Right about the time their child takes its first breath, parents can hardly take a breath of their own without concern for their child’s welfare.

For them, atte...

Read More

Watching My Granddaughter’s Gymnastics Class While Congress Debates AR-15s

                     WHILE CONGRESS DEBATES AR-15s

                                   By Andrew Hidas

Everything to live for,
the everything
stretched out
before them,
gamboling like lambs
let loose
to bound
and bound
in the
tall grasses of spring.

Parents on their phones
up above, a half-eye at
most diverted from Facebook,

the glowing faces
of their daughters
lost in the jumble of
limbs below.

“He shot my friend that was next to me and I thought
he was going to come back to the room, so I grabbed
the blood and put it all over me.”

That was Miah the other day,
testifying to a House committee
on the trickery she used to save
her life, though what nightmares still
await that life we can only, grimly,

“Sweet Miah,” Uvalde’s only pediatrician
called her, trailing off at the same hearing
after describing the scene at ...

Read More