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Enjoy a poem a day, all April long -- delivered directly to your inbox by the Florida Center for the Literary Arts at Miami Dade College. Be surprised each day; take a few minutes to ponder a poem—you might rediscover a classic or discover new works—from lyrical to avant-garde. Sign up to receive e-mails from the Center.



From Bishop to Sandburg and Danticat to Lorca, classic and contemporary works by poets from around the globe have been thoughtfully selected by staff of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts in celebration of National Poetry Month. Be inspired. Read more poetry.



Saturday, April 30, 2011:


On the Old Way

(W.S. Merwin)


After twelve years and a death
returning in August to see the end of summer
French skies and stacked roofs the same grays
silent train sliding south through the veiled morning
once more the stuccoed walls sore
pavilions of the suburbs glimpses
of rivers known from other summers leaves
still green with chestnuts forming for their
only fall out of old dark branches and again
the nude hills come back and the sleepless
night travels along through the day as it
once did over and over for this was the way
almost home almost certain that it was
there almost believing that it could be
everything in spite of everything

W.S. Merwin’s “On the Old Way” was the One Poem Miami selection for 2011.

One Poem Miami is another initiative of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts at Miami Dade College that seeks to engage South Floridians with poetry. This year, the Center partnered with O, Miami poetry festival to select a poem to be printed in English and Spanish on 35,000 cards to be distributed throughout the month.

Friday, April 29, 2011:



(Octavio Paz)


Si tú eres la yegua de ámbar
yo soy el camino de sangre
Si tú eres la primera nevada
yo soy el que enciende el brasero del alba
Si tú eres la torre de la noche
yo soy el clavo ardiendo en tu frente
Si tú eres la marea matutina
yo soy el grito del primer pájaro
Si tú eres la cesta de naranjas
yo soy el cuchillo de sol
Si tú eres el altar de piedra
yo soy la mano sacrílega
Si tú eres la tierra acostada
yo soy la caña verde
Si tú eres el salto del viento
yo soy el fuego enterrado
Si tú eres la boca del agua
yo soy la boca del musgo
Si tú eres el bosque de las nubes
yo soy el hacha que las parte
Si tú eres la ciudad profanada
yo soy la lluvia de consagración
Si tú eres la montaña amarilla
yo soy los brazos rojos del liquen
Si tú eres el sol que se levanta
yo soy el camino de la sangre



Motion (translated by Eliot Weinberger)


If you are the amber mare
I am the road of blood
If you are the first snow
I am he who lights the hearth of dawn
If you are the tower of night
I am the spike burning in your mind
If you are the morning tide
I am the first bird's cry
If you are the basket of oranges
I am the knife of the sun
If you are the stone altar
I am the sacrilegious hand
If you are the sleeping land
I am the green cane
If you are the wind's leap
I am the buried fire
If you are the water's mouth
I am the mouth of moss
If you are the forest of the clouds
I am the axe that parts it
If you are the profaned city
I am the rain of consecration
If you are the yellow mountain
I am the red arms of lichen
If you are the rising sun
I am the road of blood

Thursday, April 28, 2011:


[the snow is melting]

(Kobayashi Issa, Japan - translated by Robert Hass)


The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
with children.



"On a branch ..."

(Kobayashi Issa, Japan - translated by Jane Hirshfield)


On a branch
floating downriver
a cricket, singing.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011:


I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark, Not Day

(Gerard Manley Hopkins)


I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.
What hours, O what black hours we have spent
This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light's delay.

With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away.

I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.

Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves, but worse.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011:


The Bight

(Elizabeth Bishop)


At low tide like this how sheer the water is.
White, crumbling ribs of marl protrude and glare
and the boats are dry, the pilings dry as matches.
Absorbing, rather than being absorbed,
the water in the bight doesn't wet anything,
the color of the gas flame turned as low as possible.
One can smell it turning to gas; if one were Baudelaire
one could probably hear it turning to marimba music.
The little ocher dredge at work off the end of the dock
already plays the dry perfectly off-beat claves.
The birds are outsize. Pelicans crash
into this peculiar gas unnecessarily hard,
it seems to me, like pickaxes,
rarely coming up with anything to show for it,
and going off with humorous elbowings.
Black-and-white man-of-war birds soar
on impalpable drafts
and open their tails like scissors on the curves
or tense them like wishbones, till they tremble.
The frowsy sponge boats keep coming in
with the obliging air of retrievers,
bristling with jackstraw gaffs and hooks
and decorated with bobbles of sponges.
There is a fence of chicken wire along the dock
where, glinting like little plowshares,
the blue-gray shark tails are hung up to dry
for the Chinese-restaurant trade.
Some of the little white boats are still piled up
against each other, or lie on their sides, stove in,
and not yet salvaged, if they ever will be, from the last bad storm,
like torn-open, unanswered letters.
The bight is littered with old correspondences.
Click. Click. Goes the dredge,
and brings up a dripping jawful of marl.
All the untidy activity continues,
awful but cheerful.

Monday, April 25, 2011:


Es verdad

(Federico García Lorca)


¡Ay, qué trabajo me cuesta
quererte como te quiero!

Por tu amor me duele el aire,
el corazón
y el sombrero.

¿Quién me compraría a mí
este cintillo que tengo
y esta tristeza de hilo
blanco, para hacer pañuelos?

¡Ay, qué trabajo me cuesta
quererte como te quiero!


It's True (translated by A.S. Kline)

Ay, the pain it costs me
to love you as I love you!

For love of you, the air, it hurts,
and my heart,
and my hat, they hurt me.

Who would buy it from me,
this ribbon I am holding,
and this sadness of cotton,
white, for making handkerchiefs with?

Ay, the pain it costs me
to love you as I love you!

Sunday, April 24, 2011:


Poppies in October

(Sylvia Plath)


Even the sun-clouds this morning cannot manage such skirts.
Nor the woman in the ambulance
Whose red heart blooms through her coat so astoundingly——

A gift, a love gift
Utterly unasked for
By a sky

Palely and flamily
Igniting its carbon monoxides, by eyes
Dulled to a halt under bowlers.

O my God, what am I
That these late mouths should cry open
In a forest of frost, in a dawn of cornflowers.

Saturday, April 23, 2011: Tornado Child (Kwame Dawes, Jamaica)

Friday, April 22, 2011: Sharks' Teeth (Kay Ryan)


Thursday, April 21, 2011: Languages (Carl Sandburg)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011: Eating Alone (Li-Young Lee)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011: The Spring and the Fall (Edna St. Vincent Millay)

Monday, April 18, 2011: Chant (Chris Abani, Nigeria)

Sunday, April 17, 2011: Floating Sweet Dumpling (Ho Xuan Huong, Vietnam - translated by Marilyn Chin)


Saturday, April 16, 2011: When I Heard at the Close of the Day (Walt Whitman)


Friday, April 15, 2011: Tourist (Edwidge Danticat)


Thursday, April 14, 2011: Common Dust (Georgia Douglas Johnson)


Wednesday, April 13, 2011: Mouvement (Arthur Rimbaud)


Tuesday, April 12, 2011: the sheep lady from algiers (Patti Smith)


Monday, April 11, 2011: The Bean Eaters (Gwendolyn Brooks)


Sunday, April 10, 2011: Moon Festival (Bei Dao, China)


Saturday, April 9, 2011: Freeway 280 (Lorna Dee Cervantes)


Friday, April 8, 2011: Love in a Life (Robert Browning)


Thursday, April 7, 2011: The Wild Iris (Louise Gluck)


Wednesday, April 6, 2011: Desnuda (Pablo Neruda)


Tuesday, April 5, 2011: [Although they are] (Sappho)


Monday, April 4, 2011: Skin Canoes (Carolyn Forché)


Sunday, April 3, 2011: Ode to Chicken (Kevin Young)


Saturday, April 2, 2011: Apollo (Elizabeth Alexander)


Friday, April 1, 2011: Today (Billy Collins)