Poem of the day

Progammed squares 11

by Peter Schmidt

21 February

Translations / Aistriúcháin

by Gearóid Mac Lochlainn

20 February

Chronophobia (5)

by Carrie Etter

We meet on streets to prolong the catwalk, to lengthen arrival so it aligns more

commensurately with its anticipation. A street of three blocks or more with enough

pedestrians to heighten awareness and to raise a few false hopes at a glimpse of a

similar coat or swing of hair. Now that you're here, turn at the next corner. Go back

to approach me again.

19 February

Turn off your phone

by Subhadassi

Turn off your phone.

                                   Place it, face down,

on cold sandstone: that oxblood-red back-step

she buffed for sixty years.

                                            Look out

past the well-kept lawn, its marrow stripes

while radio waves walk through walls,

bark, bone and steel:

                                  congregate to a signal.


Rest your eyes beyond the fence

on the trunks of birch that ebb into the wood.

Feel those white trees breathe.

                                                      The entropy

of branch and leaf may offer some relief.


Whether they do or don't,

after a time you must pick up your phone,

face its empty screen:

                                     turn it on again.


18 February

Strong Black Tea with Honey and Lemon

by Billy Collins

I think back to making the tea,

filling the kettle from the cold water tap

as I looked out the kitchen window

at the stone walls and patches of yesterday’s snow,


then turning a knob on the stove,

putting a flaming wooden match to the gas jet,

and heating the cup with hot water,

as I thought of my mother doing the same.


I pulled a teabag from the little box

and a cloud in the shape of England passed over me.

The boiling water spit from the kettle,

and every season seemed sadder than the last one.


I cut a lemon wedge

and thought about my wife on another continent,

and when I lowered a spoonful

of shining honey into the dark water,


the sick and the poor

crossed my mind as well as soldiers and the police.

A Rhine maiden swam along the bottom of a river

and a man on crutches swung by.


A steaming cup and a room full of sunlight,

a good hand to lift the cup to my lips

and another to wave pen

over a wide open notebook –


for a few minutes, that was enough –

to be alone with tea

on a Sunday morning in February –

then came the poem and not knowing when it was done.

17 February


by Henry Shukman

The tons of brick and stone, the yards of piping,

the sinks and china basins, three toilets, the tiles,

and the tons of wood in floors, chairs, tables,

the yards of flex and cable that wrap the house

like a net, the heavy glassed front door, the gate

onto the street, the rippled sheets of window,

the yew tree by the back, the pictures, books, piano:

what would it all weigh? One kiss, one breathed

declaration, and there it is: the mass of love.


16 February

Hurt no living thing

by Christina Rossetti

  Hurt no living thing: 

     Ladybird, nor butterfly, 

  Nor moth with dusty wing, 

     Nor cricket chirping cheerily, 

  Nor grasshopper so light of leap, 

     Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat, 

  Nor harmless worms that creep.