Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Bigness of Small Poems – # 10 in a Series – Jim Harrison (again)

from After Ikkyu – 3 – I’ve wasted too much moonlight. Breast beating. I’ll waste no more moonlight, the moon bullied by clouds drifts west in her imponderable arc, snared for a half hour among the wet leaves in the birdbath. Jim Harrison from After Ikkyo and Other Poems, Shambhala, 1996 I have a soft […]

The Bigness of Small Poems – #9 in a Series – Jim Harrison

Zona My work piles up, I falter with disease. Time rushes toward me – it has no brakes. Still, the radishes are good this year. Run them through butter, add a little salt. Jim Harrison from Dead Man’s Float, Copper Canyon Press, 2016 When American poet, novelist and outdoorsman, Jim Harrison died earlier this year, […]

The Bigness of Small Poems – # 8 in a Series – Gregory Orr

Note to self: remember What Emerson said of Thoreau— That he loved the low In nature: Muskrats And crickets, suckers And frogs. Not stars. Songs of the carnal, Songs of what we are. Gregory Orr (1947 – ) from River Inside the River, W.W. Norton & Company, 2013 Greg Orr’s recent small poems fit so […]

The Bigness of Small Poems – # 7 in a Series – Robert Bly

Walking on the Shore in Late August I look out over the muddy lake. All at once I see a fin rise, what alertness! All my brain power pours toward that spot on the water. How we long for a bit of consciousness to appear above the water! Now I notice what I have never […]

The Bigness of Small Poems – # 6 in a Series – Sean O’Brien

The Lost War The saved were all ingratitude, The lost would not lie down: Reborn, their sacred rage renewed, They razed the fallen town. And in the graveyard made their stand Just east of heaven’s gate. We are the same. It is all one Whom we exterminate. Sean O’Brien (1952 -) from The Drowned Book, […]

The Bigness of Small Poems – # 5 in a Series – Patrick Lane

The White Box In the white box you keep hidden away a white salamander waits with a flame in his small hands. How bright the fire! How long his breath has kept it alive. But the box is closed. Why do you keep it closed? Patrick Lane (1939 – ) from The Collected Poems of […]

The Bigness of Small Poems – # 4 in a Series – Tom Crawford

ZAZEN There is nothing out there to help you. The bird is inside. Pick up your brush, and maybe you should close your eyes. Tom Crawford from Caging the Robin, Cedar House Books, 2014 I first profiled American poet Tom Crawford back in April 2012. (To read that post click here.) And so it was […]

The Bigness of Small Poems – #3 in a Series – Kevin Young

Grief In the night I brush my teeth with a razor Kevin Young from Book of Hours, Alfred A. Knopf, 2014 Grief The borrowed handkerchief where she wept returned to me months later starched, pressed. Kevin Young, ibid It seems ironic to be featuring two small poems of American poet Kevin Young when his poetic […]

The Bigness of Small Poems – # 2 in a Series – Heidi Garnett

Crane Red-winged blackbirds sway on willow branches. Air bends to accommodate the slight weight. Day dies in the west. The crane, rune for soul, spears a minnow with its dark eye. The soul’s hunger is small, but precise. Heidi Garnett, 2016, With Permission of the Author I am a sucker for poems with soul mentioned […]

Celebrating the Bigness of Small Poems – # 1 in a Series – Jelaluddin Rumi

Listen to presences inside poems. Let them take you where they will. Follow these private hints and never leave the premises. Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273), from Unseen Rain, trans. Coleman Barks and John Moyne,  Shambhala, 1986 Another National Poetry Month. And a tsunami of poems everywhere I look! So I want to be careful how I […]