Friday, August 22, 2014

Poem for the Weekend


Recently I expressed a desire to read more poetry, which is true. Well, here’s me doing something about it. Do you want to read more poetry but don’t know where to start, can’t find the time? Let’s do this together! Every Friday, I’ll share a Poem for the Weekend. Something I read during the week and enjoyed. My only requirement—that it not be too long. I’m trying to ease into this, after all; I may change this requirement eventually. I’d love it if you shared a poem back, or pointed me in the direction of a poet or collection that you love.

Here’s the first, by James Schuyler who said “much of poetry is as concerned with looking at things and trying to transcribe them as painting is.” Seems a good start for this late-summer day and for my blog, which is all about shimmers of inspiration.


by James Schuyler

The pear tree that last year
was heavy-laden this year
bears little fruit. Was
it that wet spring we had?
All the pear tree leaves
go shimmer, all at once. The
August sun blasts down
into the coolness from the
ocean. The New York Times
is on strike. My daily
fare! I'll starve! Not
quite. On my sill, balls
of twine wrapped up in
cellophane glitter. The
brown, the white and one
I think you'd call ecru.
The sunlight falls partly
in a cup: it has a blue
transfer of two boys, a
dog and a duck and says,
"Come Away Pompey." I
like that cup, half
full of sunlight. Today
you could take up the
tattered shadows off
the grass. Roll them
and stow them. And collect
the shimmerings in a
cup, like the coffee
here at my right hand.

James Schuyler was born in Chicago, worked as a secretary for W.H. Auden, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. More about his life here, and you can hear him read other poems here.


  1. A cup half full of sunlight ... yes :) Here another poem for the weekend:

    He wished for the cloths of Heaven

    Had I heavens’ embroidered cloths,
    Enwrought with golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
    Of night and light and half-lights,
    I would spread the cloths under your feet:
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

    W B Yeats


"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka