Ten
Great
Poems
In its fifteen years on-line
The Review of Arts, Literature,
Poetry and the Humanities
has published more than five hundred poems.
The editors recently culled through
this treasure trove and offer here
ten of those we believe
to be the very best.


A Bird Is Singing
Guillaume Apollinaire
Somewhere out there a bird is singing
I believe he is your own soul waiting
Somewhere among the rag-tag infantry
And his singing delights me

*

Everywhere he delights me
All the time the whole week long
Listen he is singing right now and tenderly
On the barest branch of an invisible tree

*

How can I make words show
A strange change of soul
Into notes and branches
A change of heart into sky and roses

*

Somewhere out there the war is a bluebird
Who loves me and I love a girl
More perfect than all roses
The poor war is alone

*

Bluebird blue as the sky-blue heron
Of my girl whose heart is the sky

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poem


Personals Ad
Allen Ginsberg
Poet professor in autumn years
seeks helpmate companion protector friend
young lover w/empty compassionate soul
exuberant spirit, straightforward handsome
athletic physique & boundless mind, courageous
warrior who may also like women & girls, no problem,
to share bed meditation apartment Lower East Side,
help inspire mankind conquer world anger & guilt.

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poem


Harmonies for the
Alienation of
My Daughter

Sandra McPherson
I wish I could put her in the birdhouse.
Evicted from her rented room,
she pushes a wheelchair through rain
when only prowl cars can watch her.
I am tossing, it is no dream
she pushes her belongings through night rain
to someplace wet and cold she will belong.
How have I let this happen?
I wish I could put her in the birdhouse.

Some days she bikes to work,
washes the unmovable man in bed,
cleans the quadriplegic quarterback's
cave and then his parrot's cage,
fastens baby's breath in the paralyzed
woman's hair for the opera.
Some days she comes home tired, lies
down in earphones on the floor,
and cannot cry.

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poem


The Angel
Nichita Danilov
       At age 13 his wings started to grow, and his face took on the quiet of an angel. He moved from childhood into adolescence with modesty.
With blue eyes
       and quiet, with a gaze
       unspeakably sad.

       At age 18 he was as tall and beautiful as an archangel.

       He scoured the city at night, from end to end, his eyes shining with black hope.
       Women tempted him, and he fell
       into temptation, more than once.

   At age 25 nothing interested him any more,
       at 30 he felt he was about done.
       On the first of March, 1991
he tied his halo around his neck and threw himself into the void.

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poem


Death Fugue
Paul Celan
Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink in the morning at noon we drink you at sundown
we drink and we drink you
A man lives in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when dusk falls to Germany your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Shulamith we dig a grave in the breezes there one lies unconfined.

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poem


What I Did Not
Tell Anyone

Kate Gale
That I loved nursing.
That I nursed each baby
Whether they were hungry or not.
That they were always hungry.
That milk flowed like tears.
That my blouses were always damp.
That one night, I lay on my side,
baby nursing from midnight
until 2 in the morning.

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poem


How Poor a Thing Is Man
Homero Aridjis
I was born on the corner
of Poverty and Injustice

my parents were Dignity
and Maybe-Tomorrow

always at the palace gates
of Madame Rectitude

ever since I was very young
I learned to eat air

and to appreciate the Unseen
in the School of Privation.

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poem


Waxworms
Ronald Wallace
Ten below, the sun on the bright horizon
lighting the ice with a blue, uncertain glow.
The old man, in snowmobile suit and earflaps,
says the reason I'm not catching fish is that
my bait is sluggish and cold. He places his thumb
in his cheek and extracts, like a watery chaw of tobacco,
a passel of waxworms, and, with his forefinger, taps
them apart and hands me what looks pretty much like a maggot.

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poem


English Con Salsa
Gina Valdés
Welcome to ESL 100, English Surely Latinized,
inglés con chile y cilantro, English as American
as Benito Juárez. Welcome, muchachos from Xochicalco,
learn the language of dólares and dolores, of kings and queens, of Donald Duck and Batman. Holy Toluca!
In four months you'll be speaking like George Washington,
in four weeks you can ask. More coffee? in two months
you can say. May I take your order? In one year you
can ask for a raise, cool as the Tuxpan river.

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poem


His Father Rebukes Him Again
And Also Pleads a Little

Amos Oz
The Same Sea, Amos Oz's novel, is written in a series of vignettes and monologues. Rico David is off in Tibet, has just found another lady by the name of Maria. The monologue below is his father, Albert Danon, calling him from Bat Yam, outside of Yaffa, Israel. Dita is his girlfriend, now living with Albert. His wife, Rico's mother, has just died of cancer. As with much of the book, this chapter is written in verse.

Listen carefully. This is your father speaking. A simple man,
a rather grey man, and so on and so forth, but still your father. The only one
you have, and that's something your irony can't change.
That cheap woman you're with may let off
fireworks in bed, I'm not an expert in such matters
and I'm sorry to mention it, but fireworks
go out and time is drying up and the summer is over and you are
not back. The summer is over the autumn is gone and what about you,
where are you? Shrouded in fog in limbo in the arms
of a whore. It's lucky your mother --- well, never mind. Don't hang up.
Just a minute. Listen to me...

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poem


Why I Am
A Whore

Donna Brook
there are many who contend that there's much
in the profession that needs to be changed but
if the intelligent observer will examine the contrasts
between junkies and diet pills, will look at those
who take bribes from I. Miller, will admit
that the average Cadillac owner is self-employed,
will face what is happening to private enterprise
or what private property does to itself
in the privacy of its own home...

meanwhile
I take some shit but I don't
do laundry
either.
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reading


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