Tag Archives: poetry

Ploughed Fields

Ploughed Fields (‘The Furrows’)
27 April
In the Vincent Van Gogh museum

No print can ever again convey
close enough to touch,
feel the farmer and his horses
leaning so far out of the canvas
I think they might fall
and out of the corner of my eye
I think I saw a petal fall
from the sunflower.

Is it a poem?

In honor of National Poetry Month, I offer:


When I was young, I learned that poems rhyme.
And so, when I discovered that my Best Beloved wrote poems
as lyrical as de la Mare, and more meaningful than Causley
but which did not rhyme
I was somewhat taken aback.

Was it poetry?

Not being one to care what the dictionary had to say on the topic,
I searched, instead, my soul,
to see if this was poetry.

While there, I found that, not only was it poetry
but that there were several poems of my own
cowering there, afraid to come out into the light
because they knew not what Iambic Pentameter might be,
and were afraid of the scorn of the Madding Crowd.

So, is this a poem?
I’m relieved to discover that I no longer care.



It grew in the Kericho sun
watered by the rains that swept up from Lake Victoria
every afternoon at 4
like a heavy felt curtain.
Top two leaves and a bud
picked in the pouring rain.
Flapping black raincoats and hats,
bright faces and bright singing.
The emerald of the freshly washed leaves
almost hurts the eye.
Miles of smooth green hills
stretching to the horizon of my mind.

Dried on acres of wire racks,
the smell of them a liquor in the nostrils,
drowning in the thick black scent of it,
bathing in the aroma,
the smell of home and happiness
and warm rain running down my back
and black earth and blue skies.

Memories, packaged in a green box
and sent to me by kind strangers.

The margin is insufficient

The margin is insufficient

I’ve long assumed that
Fermat had nothing –
no “truly marvelous demonstration”
for which the margin was too narrow.

But suppose he did.

When all you have is the margin,
there’s never sufficient space.
The margin is insufficient to express
ideas that the universe cannot contain.

We spend so much time
living in the margin
frantically jotting notes to each other,
unable or
unwilling to take the time
to fully express the
truly marvelous demonstration
on the page.

The margin is insufficient
for what I want to tell you.
I need the whole page, the whole book,
a library.
And years in which to sit undisturbed
and read to you.

He wishes for the cloths of heaven

He wishes for the cloths of heaven

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.

— William Butler Yeats


I encountered this delightful poem last night, by G. K. Chesterton. It nicely sums up my wonder at the huge gift that it is to simply be alive:


Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?