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poetry
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People climbing books

A Hardware Store as Proof of the Existence of God - Nancy Willard (1989)
 
I praise the brightness of hammers pointing east
like the steel woodpeckers of the future,
and dozens of hinges opening brass wings,
and six new rakes shyly fanning their toes,
and bins of hooks glittering into bees,
 
and a rack of wrenches like the long bones of horses,
and mailboxes sowing rows of silver chapels,
and a company of plungers waiting for God
to claim their thin legs in their big shoes
and put them on and walk away laughing.
 
In a world not perfect but not bad either
let there be glue, glaze, gum, and grabs,
caulk also, and hooks, shackles, cables, and slips,
and signs so spare a child may read them,
Men, Women, In, Out, No Parking, Beware the Dog.
 
In the right hands, they can work wonders.

Daughter - Ellen Brian Voight (1983)
 
There is one grief worse than any other.
 
When your small feverish throat clogged, and quit,
I knelt beside the chair on the green rug
and shook you and shook you,
but the only sound was mine shouting you back,
the delicate curls at your temples,
the blue wool blanket,
your blue face,
your jaw clamped against remedy--
 
how could I put a knife to that white neck?
With you in my lap,
my hands fluttering like flags,
I bend instead over your dead weight
to administer a kiss so urgent, so ruthless,
pumping breath into your stilled body,
counting out the rhythm for how long until
the second birth, the second cry
oh Jesus that sudden noisy musical inhalation
that leaves me stunned
by your survival.

The Writer - Richard Wilbur (1976)
 
In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.
 
I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.
 
Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.
 
But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which
 
The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.
 
I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash
 
And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark
 
And irridescent creature
Batter against the brilliances, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top.
 
And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,
 
It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.
 
It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.

Decorative iron gate