Posts Tagged ‘petrarchan sonnet’


for Wallace Hartley and the musicians of the Titanic



And as the splendid ship began to list

and as the people scrambled on the decks,

the band struck up a ragtime tune, and next

they played an autumn waltz. Yes there, amidst

the screaming and the shouts, the band persisted,

giving to the night what they gave best—

the peace that comes from melody. They blessed

the crowd with song till waves consumed the ship.


How is it that they all agreed to stay?

Some artist’s creed? Some sense this was their gift?

Survivors say they heard the soaring staves

of hymns escort them as they rowed away—

still heard them as the aft began to lift.

And sink. Then nothing but Atlantic waves.


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Open your hands, lift them.

            —William Stafford, “Today”



The parking space beside the store when you

were late. The man who showed up just in time

to hold the door when you were juggling five

big packages. The spider plant that grew—

though you forgot to water it. The new

nest in the tree outside your window. Chime

of distant church bells when you’re lonely. Rhyme

of friendship. Apples. Sky a trove of blue.


And who’s to say these miracles are less

significant than burning bushes, loaves

and fishes, steps on water. We are blessed

by marvels wearing ordinary clothes—

how easily we’re fooled by simple dress—

Oranges. Water. Leaves. Bread. Crows.



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You normally have to be bashed about a bit by life to see the point of daffodils, sunsets and uneventful nice days.
—Alain de Botton

Perhaps they are not beautiful, the choke
cherry bushes all a-blossoming
beside the road. I never used to think
much of their drooping blooms all flopping, moping,
sagging from the limbs like limp white notes
gone flaccid falling off their staffs. And when
out strolling, no one sniffs the air and thinks
oh! the chokecherries! how sweet the odor!

No. But maybe it’s because I’m aging,
maybe cause I’m sagging, too, or maybe
cause life’s walloped me this year, I ran
today from bush to bush and plunged my face
in clumps of bloom and breathed them in, inhaling
bliss, white petals cradled in my hands.

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