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The One Page Poetry Circle met on May 7th to discuss Poetry and Longing.

We were delighted that so many attended this final spring session, and laughed at the number of poems from the nineteenth century, an era known for the attitude of melancholy indicative of longing.

Abigail opened the circle with verses from William Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” with its seeking after a remembered connection, “Whither is fled the visionary gleam?/Where is it now, the glory and the dream?”

Roger read “The Day Is Done” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wherein the narrator recommends poetry to recover from the day, which is the goal of the One Page Poetry Circle itself. “Then read from the treasured volume/The poem of thy choice,/And lend to the rhyme of the poet/The beauty of thy voice.”

Hazel read Lord Byron’s “When We Two Parted” concerning a secret and mysterious liaison, “They know not I knew thee,/Who knew thee too well:—/Long, long shall I rue thee,/Too deeply to tell.”

Cate read Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “The Indian Serenade” another beautiful love poem from the Romantic era, “My cheek is cold and white, alas!/My heart beats loud and fast;—/Oh! press it to thine own again,/Where it will break at last.”

Gail read “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats with its desire for forgetfulness, “Darkling I listen; and, for many a time/I have been half in love with easeful Death,/Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,/To take into the air my quiet breath.”

Terry read W. W. Story’s “Longing,” in which the poet craves the ability to express deep feelings through art and words, “What is the worth of human art,/If the weak tongue can never speak/That which lives heavy on the heart,/Even though the heavy heart should break.”

Susan read Emily Dickinson’s “Success is counted sweetest” that reveals the poet’s compassion and empathy, “Success is counted sweetest/By those who ne’er succeed./To comprehend a nectar/Requires sorest need.”

David read “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats, which ends with the famous ambiguous words, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Lenny read from Dan Fogelberg’s song, “Same Old Lang Syne,” which tells the story of old lovers meeting in a grocery store, with the chorus: “We drank a toast to innocence/We drank a toast to now/We tried to reach beyond the emptiness,/but neither one knew how.”

Jennifer read John Berryman’s “The Ball Poem,” describing a boy who has lost his ball, “In a world of possessions. People will take balls,/Balls will be lost always, little boy,/And no one buys a ball back. Money is external.”

Daria read Emily Dickinson poem which begins, “Longing is like the Seed/That wrestles in the Ground,/Believing if it intercede/It shall at length be found.”

Carol read Kahlil Gibran’s prose poem, “The Great Longing,” “Here I sit between my brother the mountain and my sister the sea. We three are one in loneliness, and the love that binds us together is deep and strong and strange.”

Mei translated two short poems by Li Bai (701-762 AD) from the Chinese. Here is “Misery of the Passion,”

The beauty behind the rolled pearl blinds
Sat alone with eyelids locked tight
But saw her wet tears dripping
Not sure whom to hate the most

AnnaLee read Marie Howe’s “What the Living Do,” an elegy to her brother who died of Aids, “We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want/whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss—we want more and more and then more of it.”

Kai sent us Robert Hass’s “Meditation at Lagunitas,” which comments on the constancy of longing—“All the new thinking is about loss./In this it resembles all the old thinking,” and blackberries—a staple of fall.

Have a wonderful summer and we will see you in the fall. In the meantime, blog with us at Don’t be shy.

Fall 2019 Schedule (all Tuesdays)
Sept. 10, Poetry and Epistles or Letters
Oct. 1, Poetry and Odd Titles
Nov. 12, Poetry and Optimism or Pessimism
Dec, 10, Poetry and Confession

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.


The One Page Poetry Circle met on March 5th to feast on poetry and food.

Abigail opened the circle with “The Feed” by the Native American poet M. L. Smoker who describes the preparation for a feast, “Aunties carry the full pots and pans to the/picnic table, an uncle prays over our food in Assiniboine. We all want to/forget that we don’t understand this language, we spend lots of time/trying to forget in different ways.”

AnnaLee read Toi Derricotte’s “My dad & sardines” wherein the discovery of a tin of sardines brings back an ambiguous memory of a father who topped a saltine with mustard, a sardine, and an onion, “then he’d look up from his soiled/fingers with one eyebrow/raised, a rakish/grin that said–all/for me!–as if he was/getting away/with murder.”

Mae read a poem she had written about the short month of February that included the delights of Valentine’s Day and the Chinese New Year.

Carol read Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to Tomatoes” which shows the tomato as the “star of earth” that “displays/its convolutions,/its canals,/its remarkable amplitude/and abundance,/no pit,/no husk,/no leaves or thorns,/the tomato offers/its gift/of fiery color/and cool completeness.”

Daria read “This Is Just to Say” William Carlos Williams’s apology to his wife for eating the plums she was saving for breakfast, “Forgive me/they were delicious/so sweet/and so cold.”

Cate read “Eating Together,” a poem with an unexpected turn, by Li-Young Lee, given here in its entirety:

In the steamer is the trout
seasoned with slivers of ginger,
two springs of green onion, and sesame oil
shall eat it with rice for lunch,
brothers, sister, my mother who will
taste the sweetest meat of the head,
holding it between her fingers
deftly, the way my father did
weeks ago. Then he lay down
to sleep like a snow-covered road
winding through pines older than him,
without any travelers, and lonely for no one.

Susan read another William Carlos Williams poem about plums, “To a Poor Old Woman,” “Comforted/a solace of ripe plums/seeming to fill the air/They taste good to her.”

Christiana read Galway Kinnell’s serious and humorous account of eating “Oatmeal” with John Keats, “Keats said I was absolutely right to invite him:/due to its glutinous texture, gluey lumpishness, hint of slime,/and unusual willingness to disintegrate, oatmeal should not be eaten alone./He said that in his opinion, however, it is perfectly OK to eat/it with an imaginary companion, and that he himself had/enjoyed memorable porridges with Edmund Spenser and John Milton.”

Gail read a selection from “The Eve of St. Agnes” by John Keats where the hero is given a feast “Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd;/With jellies soother than the creamy curd,/And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon;/Manna and dates, in argosy transferr’d /From Fez.”

Michelle read a poem about gluttony, a sin we all have been guilty of, that starts, “Where it all began was to eat too much.”

Hazel read “The Owl,” another poem with a change of mood, by Edward Thomas in which the narrator while feeling comfortable and sated, hears an owl’s cry, “Speaking for all who lay under the stars,/Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice.”

Roger read Emily Dickinson’s Poem 53, which begins, “GOD gave a loaf to every bird,/But just a crumb to me” and ends, “I deem that I with but a crumb/Am sovereign of them all.

Kai couldn’t be with us, but thought of “Ode to an Artichoke” by Pablo Neruda, a whimsical tale of the vegetable from earth to plate where “we undress/this delight/we munch/the peaceful paste/of its green heart.”

We’re looking forward to seeing you at the April 2nd One Page Poetry Circle. Whether a poem concerns a mystery, solves a mystery, or is a mystery, choose a poem that has meaning to you. And if you can, come with copies for others to share. Can’t locate a poem you want to bring? Browse the poetry section at the library or check out Poetry Foundation or

In the meantime, please blog with us here at

Spring 2019 Season
Tuesday, April 2, Poetry and Mystery
Tuesday, May 7, Poetry and Longing

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

Welcome back for the eleventh spring season of the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library where people gather to examine the works of established poets. You is the theme for February’s circle. The poet is always reaching out from himself to his audience, “you.” Abigail is reminded by this topic of a poem by John Keats, whose last word in the poem is “you.” Throughout his short career Keats faced his own mortality and reached his hand out to his love, Fanny Brawne. The poem shows both the need for connection to another person and almost a grizzly sense of self. Found among his papers after his death, and titled “This Living Hand” for its first three words, this is the poem in its entirety:

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm’d—see here it is—
I hold it towards you.

The idea of addressing a poem to one’s love, brought AnnaLee to the poet Donald Justice and his poem, “Poem.” In these seven stanzas the word “you” seems to address multiple faces: the creator, the receiver, the iterative process, the mystery, and ultimately the poem itself, which is trapped in the prison of its words.

This poem is not addressed to you.
You may come into it briefly,
But no one will find you here, no one.
You will have changed before the poem will.

Even while you sit there, unmovable,
You have begun to vanish. And it does not matter.
The poem will go on without you.
It has the spurious glamor of certain voids.

It is not sad, really, only empty.
Once perhaps it was sad, no one knows why.
It prefers to remember nothing.
Nostalgias were peeled from it long ago.

Your type of beauty has no place here.
Night is the sky over this poem.
It is too black for stars.
And do not look for any illumination.

You neither can nor should understand what it means.
Listen, it comes without guitar,
Neither in rags nor any purple fashion.
And there is nothing in it to comfort you.

Close your eyes, yawn. It will be over soon.
You will forget the poem, but not before
It has forgotten you. And it does not matter.
It has been most beautiful in its erasures.

O bleached mirrors! Oceans of the drowned!
Nor is one silence equal to another.
And it does not matter what you think.
This poem is not addressed to you. 

Who else might the Donald Justice be addressing in “Poem?” We invite you to blog with us here at Comment on the topic of Poetry and You, the poems you read here, or on poetry in general.

Spring 2019 Season:
Tuesday, February 12, Poetry and You, February 12, 2019, 5:30 – 6:30 pm, St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave., NY, NY
Tuesday, March 5, Poetry and Food
Tuesday, April 2, Poetry and Mystery
Tuesday, May 7, Poetry and Longing

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

We concluded our fall season on December 11, with a full house, and an exploration of Poetry and Wine.

Abigail opened the circle with “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats in which the speaker chooses to soar, as we did, “not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,/But on the viewless wings of Poesy.”

Roger read “Easter Week” by Joyce Kilmer, a remembrance of the 1916 Easter Uprising, “Romantic Ireland is not old./For years untold her youth shall shine./Her heart is fed on Heavenly bread,/The blood of martyrs is her wine.”

Hazel read “A Consecration” by John Masefield in which the narrator vows to write about the poor, “Others may sing of the wine and the wealth and the mirth,/the portly presence of potentates goodly in girth;–/Mine be the dirt and the dross, the dust and scum of the earth!”

Gail read “The Wine” by Michael Metivier which tells a modern tale of an ancient figure, “When the townspeople/gave the teenaged Buddha/a glass of wine/so delicious he grew/to an unthinkable size.”

Ann read Tony Hoagland’s “When Dean Young Talks about Wine,” which addresses the new generation of poets, “But where is the Cabernet of rent checks and asthma medication?/Where is the Burgundy of orthopedic shoes?”

Madge read Zbigniew Herbert’s “Mr. Cogito Reflects on Suffering,” in which the wise and wry narrator cautions us to “drink an extract of bitter herbs/but not to the dregs/be careful to leave/a few gulps for the future.”

Phil read “The Wine-Drinkers” by Tennessee Williams with its sad depiction of men who dream but do not act, “The wine-drinkers sit on the porte cochère in the sun./Their lack of success in love has made them torpid.”

Kat read “A Drinking Song” by William Butler Yeats about love and yearning, “Wine comes in at the mouth/And love comes in at the eye;/That’s all we shall know for truth/Before we grow old and die.”

Cate brought “Picking Grapes in an Abandoned Vineyard” by Larry Levis in which the narrator reflects on harvesting grapes with migrant workers, “And close my eyes to hear them laugh at me again,/And then, hearing nothing, no one,/Carry the grapes up to the solemn house,/Where I was born.”

Terry read the traditional and wonderful “Song: to Celia” by Ben Johnson, which got us singing, “Drink to me only with thine eyes,/And I will pledge with mine.”

Carol read Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to Wine,” with its opposing hues of “Day-colored wine,/night-colored wine,/wine with purple feet/or wine with topaz blood,/wine/starry child/of earth.”

Christiana read “Drinking Wine” by Wislawa Szymborska, in which the speaker is “imaginary” in contrast to wine, “A table is a table,/wine is wine in a glass/that is just a glass and stands/standing on a table.”

AnnaLee read “Wine Tasting” by Kim Addonizio, with its nod to the poet Li Po, “like the moon slung away from the earth./When Li Po drank wine, the moon dove/in the river, and he staggered after.” The reference to an 8th century Chinese poet led her to read his “Drinking Alone with the Moon.”

Daria contributed “Harlem Wine,” which honors the richness of Harlem’s culture, “This is a wine that must flow on/Not caring how or where/So it has ways to flow upon/Where song is in the air.” Its author, Countee Cullen, has a branch of the New York Public Library named after him.

Enjoy the holidays! We look forward to seeing you in 2019.

Please blog with us here at

Spring 2019 Schedule
Tuesday, February 12, Poetry and You
Tuesday, March 5, Poetry and Food
Tuesday, April 2, Poetry and Mystery
Tuesday, May 7, Poetry and Longing

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

The One Page Poetry Circle (at St. Agnes Branch Library) met on March 6th to talk about Poetry and Enjambment. The word comes from the French meaning “legs straddling,” as the thought in a poem can flow beyond a line.

Abigail opened the circle with Núala Ni Dhomhnaill’s “The Language Issue,” her answer to why she writes in Irish (the poem was translated into English by Paul Muldoon) and begins, “I place my hope on the water/in this little boat/of the language, the way a body might put/an infant/in a basket of intertwined/iris leaves.” The poem reflects the flowing water with enjambment.

Roger read “The Poet of Bray” by John Heath-Stubbs, a humorous history of a poet’s changing political views. His excitement is captured with enjambment, “Back in the dear old thirties’ days/When politics was passion/A harmless left-wing bard was I/And so I grew in fashion.”

Hazel read Hamlet’s “To Be or Not To Be” speech from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. We were delighted to revisit this poem and examine how the thoughts move forward, “To be, or not to be—that is the question:/Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer/the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune/Or to take arms against a sea of troubles.”

Gail read “The Good Life” by the current American Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith, a poem that captures shifting images in a single sentence and is given in its entirety here:

When some people talk about money
They speak as if it were a mysterious lover
Who went out to buy milk and never
Came back, and it makes me nostalgic
For the years I lived on coffee and bread,
Hungry all the time, walking to work on payday
Like a woman journeying for water
From a village without a well, then living
One or two nights like everyone else
On roast chicken and red wine.

Ken read the start of “Endymion” by John Keats, with its many beautiful images created through enjambment, “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:/Its loveliness increases; it will never/Pass into nothingness; but still will keep/A bower quiet for us, and a sleep/Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.”

Christiana read Marianne Moore’s “The Fish,” which proceeds in ocean-like waves, “wade/through black jade/Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps/adjusting the ash heaps;/opening and shutting itself like/an/injured fan.”

Linda read Sylvia Plath’s “Edge,” written just six days before she died, in which the sentences run on into the next verse, “The woman is perfected./Her dead/Body wears the smile of accomplishment,/The illusion of a Greek necessity/Flows in the scrolls of her toga.”

Cate read Ted Kooser’s “Gyroscope,” which creates a beautiful image in one sentence, “I place this within the first order/of wonders: a ten-year-old girl/one on a sunny, glassed-in porch/in February, the world beyond/the windows slowly tipping forward into spring.” We noted that when you first read the line ending “the world beyond” there seems to be a natural stop, but the thought continues into the next line and the thought changes.

Susan read “This Is Just To Say” by William Carlos Williams in which a husband apologizes for eating the plums in the icebox that his wife was saving for breakfast, “Forgive me/they were delicious/so sweet/and so cold.”

AnnaLee read Archibald MacLeish’s “The End of the World” in which a mad circus disappears when the top blows off, “There with vast wings across the cancelled skies,/There in the sudden blackness the black pall/Of nothing, nothing, nothing—nothing at all.”

Please blog with us at And join us for our next program at the St. Agnes Branch of the New York Public Library, 81st and Amsterdam Avenue, Manhattan. Dates and times follow:  

Spring 2018 Schedule
April 17: Poetry and Timing (5:30 – 6:30 pm)
May 8: Poetry and Choices (5:30 – 6:30 pm)

Abigail Burnham Bloom and
AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

The One Page Poetry Circle met on April 18 to discuss Poetry and Silence. We loved the poems everyone brought and the happy noise made over poetry!

Abigail began by reading Maria Jane Jewsbury’s “A Farewell to the Muse” which involves self-imposed renunciation and silence, “Farewell Song! —thy last notes quiver, —/Muse,—Lute, —Music, —farewell now!”

Roger read “Silence” by Edgar Lee Masters about the great difficulty of communication, “Of what use is language?/A beast of the field moans a few times/When death takes its young./And we are voiceless in the presence of realities.”

It was a relief when Phil read Carl Sandburg’s humorous “Aprons of Silence”: So many times I was asked/To come and say the same things/Everybody was saying, no end/To the yes-yes, yes-yes,/me-too, me-too.”

Hazel read “Ode on a Grecian Urn” a celebration of unheard melodies by John Keats and remarked that T. S. Eliot thought the famous last two lines spoil a good poem, “‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ —that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Gail read from Adrienne Rich’s “Cartographies of Silence,” a work Gail first read as a meditation in a prayer book, “Silence can be a plan/rigorously executed/the blueprint to a life.”

Linda read Michael Shepherd’s “! The Sound of Silence” which celebrates the life in everything: “And I hear in the sound of the chisel on the stone,/as sure as I know my own name,/that the sculptor is listening to all this too.” Note the strange use of punctuation in the title.

Eileen remembered a poem she had read “maybe 50 years ago” and brought Muriel Rukeyser’s “Effort at Speech Between Two People” to share with us: “: Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now?/I will tell you all. I will conceal nothing.” Here the poet’s creative use of punctuation starts each segment and follows throughout.

Karen read “Patch of Light in Deep Woods” by Maurice Manning describing a magical moment, “I listen silently to the silence,/and then six or seven, a spiral stream of hummingbirds pours through the hole/as silver-green swirled down a funnel.” We couldn’t find this online, but did fine Manning’s “Provincial Thought”: “it struck me as a symbol inside/another symbol, a silence inside/a silence, and another silence fell on me.”

Carol read “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel, a song that resonates in many of our minds when we think of silence, “And the vision that was planted in my brain/Still remains/Within the sound of silence.”

Jaye read “To Those Who Are Alone” by Deafening Silence, “To those who are alone/and live their lives just drifting by,” to which Jaye added… “at my dinner party!” which she plans to have for vulnerable people.

AnnaLee closed the circle with Timothy Yu’s “Chinese Silence No. 22” which uses a series of stereotypes to eventually bring out individuality, “The Italians are making their pasta,/the French are making things French,/and the Chinese cultivate their silence.”

She also pointed out how the great Leonard Cohen’s two beats of silence towards the end of “Hallelujah” are as important as sound.

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Poetry and Theft and to discussing them with you at our next meeting on May 9 at the St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. . Bring a poem of a known poet. Bring a friend. Show up! And widen the circle! Without your support the library may find other uses for the spacious room they’ve given us.

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

We met on October 4 to discuss Poems for Your Pocket.

Abigail began the circle by reading from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Renascence” which she had first read at the site it describes in Camden, Maine. The poem begins, “All I could see from where I stood/Was three long mountains and a wood” and then goes on to envision the narrator developing a new relation with nature and with poetry.

Roger read William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus” which he kept in his pocket at a difficult time in his life. Concluding with the well-known words, “I am the master of my fate,/I am the captain of my soul,” this poem was also the pocket poem of Nelson Mandela and Timothy McVeigh.

Hazel read a poem we all know, love, and relate to: “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. The final stanza, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,/And miles to go before I sleep,” reminds us to look around at what is beautiful but that we also must move on to fulfill our obligations and our lives.

Gail read John Keats’s beautiful “Ode on Melancholy,” cautioning us that all is fleeting, “She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;/And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips/Bidding adieu.”

Karen read “The Blue Between” by Christine George calling on us to look beyond the obvious, “Everyone watches clouds,/Naming creatures they’ve seen/I see sky differently/I see the sky between.”

Terry read “Life’s Scars” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, another life lesson and reminder, “This rule all lives will prove;/The rankling wound which aches and thrills/Is dealt by hands we love.”

AnnaLee closed the circle by reading Sheniz Janmohamed’s, “The Road Ghazal” describing a life journey: “Pack light, walk tall/You’ll need courage to take this road./The maple bows to you, scattering her leaves upon this road.” A ghazal is a traditional eastern lyric poem normally set to music, and this poem spoke to all of us.

Elisabeth couldn’t make the circle, but had planned to read “Next Time Ask More Questions” by Naomi Shihab Nye, which suggests we slow down and consider, “Before jumping, remember/the span of time is long and gracious.”

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Prose Poems and to discussing them with you on November 1. Bring a poem of a known poet. Bring a friend. Show up and widen the circle!

We hope you will blog with us at

Fall Schedule:
November 1, Prose Poems
December 13, Poetry and Endings

Abigail Burnham Bloom and
AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.



The One Page Poetry Circle met on Tuesday, May 12th to discuss Poetry and Health. 

Abigail began by reading William Ernest Henley’s “Waiting,” describing a late-Victorian hospital waiting room that sounds exactly like one today, “A square, squat room (a cellar on promotion),/Drab to the soul, drab to the very daylight.”

Roger read Henry David Thoreau’s “To a Marsh Hawk in Spring,” “There is health in thy gray wing,/Health of nature’s furnishing,” celebrating spring, magnificent birds, and good health.

Hazel read John Keats’s “Sonnet” which she called the saddest poem she has ever read because it shows how much Keats wanted to write and to love and indicates how much we lost by that death, “When I have fears that I may cease to be/Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain.”

Gail read Michael Earl Craig’s “Night Nurse” which describes a conversation between two people or two voices of the narrator, “I imagine she is working on a sonnet,/And that her ankle looks like polished walnut./You imagine she is working on a crossword,/and that her feet are killing her.”

Karen read “Aubade” by Major Jackson, wherein a couple consider which is “healthier” in these “blissful seasons”: ”dropping off your dry cleaning” or letting “drop your sarong.”

Terry read Emily Dickinson’s “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,” which led us to discuss the possible reasons for Dickinson’s description of a funeral in her brain, including mental illness, epilepsy, migraine, and keeping secrets. Several members of the circle recommended Lyndall Gordon’s biography of the Dickinson family, Lives Like Loaded Guns.

Maddy read Jane Kenyon’s “Otherwise” written after the poet’s diagnosis of cancer, “At noon I lay down/with my mate. It might/have been otherwise,” ending with her haunting words, “But one day, I know,/it will be otherwise.”

Ralda read from Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric” in which the body is the soul is the poem, “The love of the Body of man or woman balks account—the body itself balks account;/That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is perfect.”

AnnaLee closed the circle with Richard Eberhart’s “The Cancer Cells” in which the poet looks at the cells and recognizes both art and death: “Nothing could be more vivid than their language,/Lethal, sparkling and irregular stars,/The murderous design of the universe.”

Ryan was sick and couldn’t make the meeting, but he intended to bring “Whitman’s Pantry” by T. R. Hummer, a poem that imagines the contents of the great poet’s kitchen closet: “A box of sugar cubes to meliorate bitter tea—with these you could construct a model of the odd granite tomb/He insisted on for his own final habitation.”

Have a wonderful summer and we will see you in the fall. And remember to blog with us at Don’t be shy.

Fall Schedule (all Tuesdays):
September 8: A Favorite Poem
October 13: Poetry and Ghosts and Zombies
November 10: Poetry and Clothes
December 8: Poetry and Marriage

Abigail Burnham Bloom and
AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

On October 15 the One Page Poetry Circle met to discuss Poetry and the Ode.

Abigail began the evening with a poem by Mark Twain, who is known more for his fiction than his poetry. The work of a thirteen-year-old character in the novel Huckleberry Finn, “Ode to Stephen Dowling Bots, Dec’d” records a death: “O no. Then list with tearful eye,/Whilst I his fate do tell./His soul did from this cold world fly,/By falling down a well.” Twain’s parody of obituary poetry is also a parody of the ode. The poet expresses no personal emotions, she simply delights in writing about strange deaths.

Roger read John Keats’ famous “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” a poem that has raised a lot of controversy over its final lines, “‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’” While the poem was familiar to all of us, we admired its phrases without reaching a consensus on its meaning. As we continued around the room and other poems were read we found many that referenced Keats’ poem in one way or another.

Gail read C. Dale Young’s, “Ode to a Yellow Onion” which begins, “And what if I had simply passed you by,/your false skins gathering light in a basket,/those skins of unpolished copper,/would you have lived more greatly?” By the end of the poem Young has infused the common onion with myth and greatness.

Karen read “Ode to Apples” by Pablo Neruda, which concludes, “I want to see/The whole/population/of the World/united, reunited,/in the simplest act of the land:/biting an apple.” We loved how Neruda combines the fall from Paradise through eating an apple and the possibility of reuniting the world through the same act.

Neruda was definitely the poet of the evening. AnnaLee read his “Ode to my Socks,” which concludes with the moral, “beauty is twice beauty/and what is good is doubly good/when it is a matter of wool in winter.” The ordinary becomes the beautiful and the sublime with a final nod to Keats’ Grecian Urn. AnnaLee gave us a link to Sharon Olds’ “Ode to a Composting Toilet,” a poem that takes Neruda’s odes on ordinary objects to an extreme.

Merrie closed the Circle with “Curiosity” by Alastair Reid, an ode to his own life, “Only the curious/have, if they live, a tale/worth telling at all.” Certainly all the poets we discussed had a tale worth the telling and we enjoyed hearing the tales together.

Mady couldn’t join us but emailed to say that if she had attended she would have brought Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to the Table” which begins with the process of creation:: “I work out my odes/on a four-legged table/laying before me bread and wine/and roast meat” and ends with “The world/is a table,” and “let’s eat!” Using the everyday Neruda sets his ode in motion to show us we can come together at the common table, if we choose to partake.

Larry entered two odes on our blog, both about birds. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Paraphrase on Anacreon: Ode to the Swallow” compares the swallow building his nest with the love that “builds his nest in my heart.” In W. H. Auden’s “Short Ode to a Cuckoo” the narrator mentions his diary, “where I normally enter nothing but social/engagements and, lately, the death of friends, I/scribble year after year when I first hear you,/of a holy moment.”

Mark November 4th in your diary and remember to join us then. We look forward to reading and discussing your selections for our next program, Poetry and Politics.

Here’s the remaining fall lineup:
November 4: Poetry and Politics
December 9: Poetry and Drink

Try our blog. Click the little speech balloon next to the title of this notice and post your thoughts about the poems we discussed on October 15.

Abigail Burnham Bloom and 
AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

The One Page Poetry Circle gathered on October 8 with poems related to friendship.

Abigail began the evening by reading William Makepeace Thackeray’s “The Ballad of Bouillabaisse” which tells of an older man returning to a restaurant that he frequented in his youth. He realizes how his friends and everything else have changed, “Good Lord! the world has wagged apace/Since here we sat the Claret flowing,/And drank, and ate the Bouillabaisse” and finds an answer to his sadness in a glass of wine and a meal of Bouillabaisse.

Roger read a poem his father used to recite, “Oh Lucky Jim,” about a man who envies his friend Jim. When Jim dies, he marries Jim’s widow, “Now we’re married oft I think of Jim boys/Sleeping in the churchyard peacefully./Oh Lucky Jim. How I envy him!”

Hazel read a sonnet by John Keats, “To a Friend who sent me some Roses” which describes a love for the wild rose above all others, until he receives a gift of garden roses: “Soft voice had they, that with tender plea/Whisper’d of peace, and truth, and friendliness unquell’d.”

Phil read Richard Brautigan’s “Your Catfish Friend” in which a man looks in a pond and wishes somebody loved him while the catfish thinks, “I’d love you and be your catfish/friend and drive such lonely/thoughts from your mind.” You never know where you can find love!

Karen read “The Way We Live” by the Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie who wants to “Pass the tambourine” and “bash out praises” to a world “Of chicken tandoori and reggae, loud from tenements,/commitment, driving fast and unswerving/friendship.”

Sarnia read some poetic prose from the will of Sydney Cockerell: “I have been blessed throughout my long life with a number of the dearest and kindest friends, both men and women, that ever man had. Gratefully conscious of all they have meant to me, I declare Friendship to be precious beyond all words. But it is like a plant that withers if it be not carefully tended. It must be fostered by means of visits, of letters, of little services and attentions and by constant thought, sympathy and kindness.”

AnnaLee completed the circle with Charles Simic’s “The Friends of Heraclitus” which speaks of losing a good friend with whom the narrator once enjoyed philosophical discussions. In his friend’s death he discovers, “The world we see in our heads/And the world we see daily,/So difficult to tell apart/When grief and sorrow bow us over.”

We had a delightful evening discussing poetry and friendship with old friends and new.

Mark your calendars for the remainder of Fall 2013:

November 12 Poetry and Youth
December 10 Antiquity and Modernity

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all.
St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.