Not Yet by Susan Coolidge

Not yet,” she cried, “not yet!
It is the dawning, and life looks so fair;
Give me my little hour of sun and dew.
Is it a sin that I should crave my share,
The common sunshine and the common air,
Before I go away, dark shade, with you?
Not yet!

“Not yet,” she cried, “not yet!
The day is hot, and noon is pulsing strong,
And every hour is measured by a task;
There is no time for sighing or for song.
Leave me a little longer, just so long
As till my work is done,—’tis all I ask.
Not yet!

“Not yet,” she cried, “not yet!
Nightfall is near, and I am tired and frail;
Day was too full, now resting-time has come.
Let me sit still and hear the nightingale,
And see the sunset colors shift and pale,
Before I take the long, hard journey home.
Not yet!”

And to all these in turn,
Comes Death, the unbidden, universal guest,
With deep and urgent meanings in his eyes,
And poppied flowers upon his brow, his breast,
Whispering, “Life is good, but I am best;”
And never a parted soul looks back and cries,
“Not yet!”

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Caged Bird by Maya Angelou

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

May Perpetual Light Shine by Patricia Spears Jones

We have encountered storms
Perfect in their drench and wreck

Each of us bears an ornament of grief
A ring, a notebook, a ticket torn, scar
It is how humans know their kind—

What is known as love, what can become
the heart’s food stored away for some future
Famine

Love remains a jewel in the hand, guarded
Shared fragments of earth & air drift & despair.

We ponder what patterns matter other than moons and tides:
musical beats—rumba or waltz or cha cha cha
cosmic waves like batons furiously twirling
colors proclaiming sparkle of darkness
as those we love begin to delight
in the stars embracing

The World We Want Is Us by Alice Walker

It moves my heart to see your awakened faces;
the look of “aha!”
shining, finally, in
so many
wide open eyes.
Yes, we are the 99%
all of us
refusing to forget
each other
no matter, in our hunger, what crumbs
are dropped by
the 1%.
The world we want is on the way; Arundhati
and now we
are
hearing her breathing.
That world we want is Us; united; already moving
into it.

Mindful by Mary Oliver

Every day
I see or hear
something
that more or less
kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for –
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself
over and over
in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant –
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these –
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

Sweet Sixteen by Eunice de Souza

Well, you can’t say
they didn’t try.
Mamas never mentioned menses.
A nun screamed: You vulgar girl
don’t say brassieres
say bracelets.
She pinned paper sleeves
onto our sleeveless dresses.
The preacher thundered:
Never go with a man alone
Never alone
and even if you’re engaged
only passionless kisses.

At sixteen, Phoebe asked me:
Can’t it happen when you’re in a dance hall
I mean, you know what,
getting preggers and all that, when
you’re dancing?
I, sixteen, assured her
you could.

The Tree by Sara Teasdale

Oh to be free of myself,
With nothing left to remember,
To have my heart as bare
As a tree in December;

Resting, as a tree rests
After its leaves are gone,
Waiting no more for a rain at night
Nor for the red at dawn;

But still, oh so still
While the winds come and go,
With no more fear of the hard frost
Or the bright burden of snow;

And heedless, heedless
If anyone pass and see
On the white page of the sky
Its thin black tracery.

Colors by Margaret E. Sangster

I love color.
I love flaming reds,
And vivid greens,
And royal flaunting purples.
I love the startled rose of the sun at dawning,
And the blazing orange of it at twilight.

I love color.
I love the drowsy blue of the fringed gentian,
And the yellow of the goldenrod,
And the rich russet of the leaves
That turn at autumn-time….
I love rainbows,
And prisms,
And the tinsel glitter
Of every shop-window.

I love color.
And yet today,
I saw a brown little bird
Perched on the dull-gray fence
Of a weed-filled city yard.
And as I watched him
The little bird
Threw back his head
Defiantly, almost,
And sang a song
That was full of gay ripples,
And poignant sweetness,
And half-hidden melody.

1 love color….
I love crimson, and azure,
And the glowing purity of white.
And yet today,
I saw a living bit of brown,
A vague oasis on a streak of gray,
That brought heaven
Very near to me.

Loneliness by Willow-Anne

I’m surrounded by a sea of people
As far as the eye can see
All flowing in the same direction
And just floating along, is me

I’ve been wading in this water
Letting it carry me any way
Not caring about which direction
And never having any say

After wading all this time though
My legs started growing tired
So finally it was time to choose
Which direction I desired

But the problem with floating along
Was that I never became aware
I wasn’t really a part of the waves
I was just sort of…there

What I wanted didn’t matter
The waves still moved as one
Whether I moved with or against them
Didn’t matter in the long run

Then I thought I better get out
And give myself some time to think
But I couldn’t see the shore anymore
And with that, I started to sink

Now I’m surrounded by a sea of people
As far as the eye can see
All still flowing in the same direction
But drowning in it, is me

~

Find more poetry by Willow-Anne here: https://hellopoetry.com/willow-anne/

How to Read a Poem: Beginner’s Manual by Pamela Spiro Wagner

First, forget everything you have learned,
that poetry is difficult,
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you,
with your high school equivalency diploma
and steel-tipped boots,
or your white collar misunderstandings.

Do not assume meanings hidden from you:
the best poems mean what they say and say it.

To read poetry requires only courage
enough to leap from the edge
and trust. 

Treat a poem like dirt,
humus rich and heavy from the garden.
Later on it will become the fat tomatoes
and golden squash piled high upon your kitchen table.

Poetry demands surrender,
language saying what is true
doing holy things to the ordinary.

Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun.

When you can name five poets
without including Bob Dylan,
when you exceed your quota
and don’t even notice,
close this manual.

Congratulations.
You can now read poetry.