Sunday, February 28, 2010

Poem of the Week #113

Fall and Spring
to an aging man (after Gerard Manley Hopkins)

Yes, Gerard, I am grieving
for the leaves and every leaving,
words that fail, songs unsung.
I feel them slip, though I am young.
Then, as our hearts grow older,
and I feel them burning bolder,
time rushes to deflate me.
But your hungry verse will sate me
and by and by elate me,
as I fall toward you. I flail
and see my ghost set sail.
Your words come close, then flicker far.
Like fireflies, they fill my jar.
I keep them save and never mourn:
we are, Gerard, in spring reborn.

To read the poem that inspired this one, go to:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Poem of the Week #112

To You Who Have Examined Tile Floors

This poem is written for you, who,
as a child, enjoyed looking at the hexagonal tile floor
in the bathroom of your grandmother's brick bungalow
in Berwyn, Illinois, or any house of a certain vintage
in any city or town anywhere in the world.
There you are, perched on the rim, little bare legs
dangling down, tottering on the potty.
You steady yourself by meditating on the tiles
and the flower patterns that the hexagonals make:
each black center ringed by six whites.
Flower next to flower next to flower,
excruciatingly and deliciously impossible
to see one flower without seeing
its connection to all the others. The flowers
interlocking across the whole expanse of floor
from toilet to tub and over to the door
each flower becoming its mother or brother,
more, then more. No flower in that field
left to fend alone.

Lisa Vihos

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Poem of the Week #111

This poem was written several months ago, but today, being Valentine's Day, seemed like a good day to send it. No matter whether you have an "external" Valentine or not, have a sweet day and may I suggest being your own valentine today and every day. And if you are feeling really jaded, turn a valentine upside down, and you will have butt, as a dear friend of mine would say, "Happy Butt Cheeks Day!"

What Would Happen?

What would happen if you met
a kindred soul?

Would you grab on like someone
drowning and not let go?

Would you try to board the boat
and row merrily down the stream?

(Life is but a dream.)

Or would you just enjoy the lift;
the breeze beneath your feet

that holds you for a while,
and reminds that life is sweet?

Would you cling to familiarity?
Would you say, I love you, stay?

Or could you salute similarity
and then be on your way

brimming from your brush
with kindredness? It means so much.

How do you say no?
It can’t be done.

It comes, it goes, and yes,
when the bell is rung,

you must receive the post:
no bills to pay, just a call

to your own soirée, and you,
the honored guest, the gracious host.

Lisa Vihos

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Poem of the Week #110

This week, I'm beginning a series of poems in the voices of dead poets, telling us about what comes next. This will be a new, intermittent feature of Poem of the Week.


as death be dead
and living live
let always all
be good and give

let up be earth
and down be sky
and let between
the two we fly

let go by grave
and run by spring
let birdies bloom
and flowers sing

let i be i
and how be who
let woman man
and yours be too

we came and went
each other held
we lived and loved
we gathered old

we sang a leak
we sprang refrain
you went in sun
i went in rain

one last shiver
my hand to shake
my body left
i took my take

i even in death
had comings come
and goings go
our self be one.

Lisa Vihos