National Poetry Month

April 7th 2014
By Lawrence Raab The last few gray sheets of snow are gone, winter’s scraps and leavings lowered to a common level. A sudden jolt of weather pushed us outside, and now this larger world once again belongs to us. I stand at the edge of it, beside the house, listening to the stream we haven’t heard since fall, and I imagine one day thinking back to this hour and blaming myself for my worries, my foolishness, today’s choices having become the accomplished facts of change, accepted or forgotten.... Read Post
April 1st 2014
The Light Comes Brighter by Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)
The light comes brighter from the east; the caw Of restive crows is sharper on the ear A walker at the river's edge may hear A cannon crack announce an early thaw. The sun cuts deep into the heavy drift, Though still guarded snow is winter-sealed, At bridgeheads buckled ice begins to shift, The river overflows the level field. Once more the trees assume familiar shapes, As branches loose last vestiges of snow. The water stored in... Read Post
April 25th 2011
The Immigrant

He'll work for no one.
"Such a man," the uncles
grumble. "Such a man."
"Six years!" he says,
unbuttoning a cuff
and rolling up his sleeve.
Six years bending over a machine,
pressing knee pants and jackets,
until his eyes go bad
and he can't raise his head
without lifting up this arm.
"Six years!" he'll say
and show the arm
as if it told the story.
Son of horse dealers
in... Read Post
April 13th 2011
by Robert Penn Warren So hangs the hour like fruit fullblown and sweet, Our strict and desperate avatar, Despite that antique westward gulls lament Over enormous waters which retreat Weary unto the white and sensual star. Accept these images for what they are-- Out of the past a fragile element Of substance into accident. I would speak honestly and of a full heart; I would speak surely for the tale is short, And the soul's remorseless catalogue Assumes its quick and piteous sum. Think you,... Read Post
April 11th 2011
Prologue for the Silverdale Village Players: Easter 1924 NEIGHBOURS, to-night we come once more In this our home beside the shore To turn ourselves to other men And other women once again, And for a passing hour or so Make ourselves not the folk you know But strangers come from other places Or other times or other races To please you with old tales and new Of things that men and women do In every place and every time. And, as we make believe and mime, Beneath the fun and passion and glow Of... Read Post
April 3rd 2011
Dead Men Tell No Tales They say that dead men tell no tales! Except of barges with red sails And sailors mad for nightingales; Except of jongleurs stretched at ease Beside old highways through the trees; Except of dying moons that break The hearts of lads who lie awake; Except of fortresses in shade And heroes crumbled and betrayed. But dead men tell no tales, they say! Except old tales that burn away The stifling tapestries of day; Old tales of life, of love and hate, Of time and space... Read Post
April 24th 2010
The Passionate Freudian to His Love Only name the day, and we'll fly away In the face of old traditions, To a sheltered spot, by the world forgot, Where we'll park our inhibitions. Come and gaze in eyes where the lovelight lies As it psychoanalyzes, And when once you glean what your fantasies mean Life will hold no more surprises. When you've told your love what you're thinking of Things will be much more informal; Through a sunlit land we'll go hand-in-hand, Drifting gently back to normal.... Read Post
April 22nd 2010
Coda There's little in taking or giving, There's little in water or wine; This living, this living, this living Was never a project of mine. Oh, hard is the struggle, and sparse is The gain of the one at the top, For art is a form of catharsis, And love is a permanent flop, And work is the province of cattle, And rest's for a clam in a shell, So I'm thinking of throwing the battle - Would you kindly direct me to hell? Ultimatum I'm wearied of wearying love, my friend, Of worry and strain and... Read Post
April 11th 2010

What better way to celebrate National Poetry Month than with an exciting story told in verse?  M. T. Anderson's The Serpent Came to Gloucester is just such a story.  It's based on a true series of events that took place in Gloucester, Massachusetts - not 40 miles from Somerville - during the summers of 1817 and 1818. Hundreds of people reported seeing a sea serpent playing in the harbor and around the shores of Cape Ann, and the author references some of the many eyewitness accounts in a... Read Post

April 20th 2009

We shouldn't let National Poetry month go by without considering the limerick. You can find the Library's limerick books by clicking here. There are also lots of very funny ones to be found online at the Limerick Database. Not all of them are good, and not all of them are clean - you have been warned! - but here's an example of one that's both. (Bonus: it's not just a limerick, it's a template for would-be poets who are metrically challenged!)

There once... Read Post

April 15th 2009
John Tenniel illustration of Father William and his son

The Old Man’s Complaints and How He Gained Them by Robert Southey (1774 - 1843)

"You are old, father William," the young man cried,

"The few locks which are left you are grey;

You are hale, father William, a hearty old man;

now tell me the reason, I pray."


"In the days of my youth," father William replied,

"I remember'd that youth would fly past,

And abus'd not my health and my vigour at first,

That I never might need... Read Post