National Poetry Month: Talking of Michelangelo

Selected by Dr. Joan Digby

Talking of Michelangelo

“in the room the women come and go

talking of Michelangelo”

T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


Not only women but men also

talking and listening to audiotapes

as they strolled through the rooms

of the Metropolitan Museum’s

Michelangelo extravaganza

five viewer’s  deep to get within

range of a red chalk drawing.


For me it was a positive absurdity

between the brown walls

low light macular degeneration

and my paltry height of barely five feet

making me wonder whether

Michelangelo himself was tall enough

to see these drawing hung

at the eye level of a camel.


I imagined him there

in a crushed velvet hat and cape

cruising the rooms

wondering what it cost to gather

in one place all the work

of his masters and students

dead these six hundred years.


I followed close behind him

too short so see anything

but the bottoms of frames

and the collections

from which they had been borrowed:

the Louvre, Ufizzi, British Museum,

and the Queen’s cabinet at Windsor Palace

places from which he earned not one lire.


Unable to see the drawings

I read the endless wall copy

A babel of curatorial jargon

instructing me about

the cost of paper and how

the great artist worked from wax

models and wrote perhaps a poem

perhaps a shopping list—I thought—

on top of the drawings

he intended to throw away

once the real work was accomplished.


“Notice the cross-hatching,”

a gentleman clearly an art historian

or wily dealer said to the woman

at his side who turned to admire

the musculature of a floating arm.

It was all, quite literally, above me.


Michelangelo stared in disbelief

that all these sketches had survived

his clear intent to toss them out

once his sculptures were complete

and how they had miraculously

attracted people who had

nothing better to do

on a rainy afternoon in New York

a city that did not exist for him.


We walked together toward

the quarter scale replica

of his Sistine Chapel ceiling

cheap and stunted as if

it had been designed as a prefab

to adorn Vatican Pizza

Venieros or some other joint.


The idea of pizza seemed

to interest him and so I offered

to get him the hell out of

this show right past his mini

Last Judgment and hop a

subway down to 14th Street

to Basile Artichoke where I

could introduce him to

a venerable slice he was

most welcome to draw

in daylight when I might

closely observe and admire

his delicate cross-hatching

and architectural detail.







National Poetry Month: Souls Intertwined

Written and submitted by Randall Taylor

Souls Intertwined

I want you to be with me because you want to be with me.
I want you to look at me and say “He loves me in a way no other man can”
When you tell me you love me don’t look at my mask…not the mask that shrouds a lifetime of
wounds, scars and bruises.
When you tell me you love me, close your eyes and relax while your soul searches for mine
within my insecurities and fears.
Hug me tight allowing your spirit to embrace mine, healing it with your soothingly tender
warmth as it is revived by the serene and ethereal beauty that is your essence.
Your soft relieving touch will harmonize my dreams and nightmares leading my heart to the
sacred bliss of Heaven.

National Poetry Month: Road to Dawn

Written and submitted by Randall Taylor

Road to Dawn

You know I’ve been thinking about you lately.
I’m crazy about you.
There aren’t any words to describe how much I miss you.
We’ve been down this road before huh?
Don’t worry we’ll be okay
I’ll show you the way, a different way.
A different me.

It’s my fault really.
I didn’t know how to read before.
Not about the girl who would return to me as the waves that kiss the seashore.
Not about the boy who could not see the light from behind his own shadow.
I was in a dark place afraid of tomorrow

I found a new path neither good nor bad.
A path shrouded in midnight where we can move the stars and sleep with the wind.
A path shined in the afternoon where we can rest with the clouds and talk with the waves.
This is a new beginning.
We write each other’s stories and caress each other’s souls.

This is the road to dawn,
in between the sun and moon,
smiles and tears,
past and future.
I will learn to read you as you will I,
making history one laugh and cry at a time.
We will travel through love and hate,
joy and pain.
But hey?

What’s sunshine without a little rain

National Poetry Month: I loved you first: but afterwards your love

This poem is one of my favorites, and I love it because it expresses beautifully how two people are united together through the love they have for each other. They start off as two separate individuals, but over time, the bond between them grows strongly, and these two individuals share the same experience of loving and caring for each other. I love how this poem describes how love unites two individuals and how they are able to share a unique and distinct connection with each other, and I also love how it discusses how love does not focus on a person’s flaws or what a person does not have. This poem includes the message that loving somebody means that you love him/her for who he/she truly is, and this feeling of loving somebody for who he/she genuinely is should be the basis for true love. Rossetti writes about loving somebody not for the material possessions he has or the societal status he has, but for who that person truly is on the inside. She describes how powerful this intimate relationship can be between two individuals, and I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I do. – Kaitlyn Boland

I loved you first: but afterwards your love


         Poca favilla gran fiamma seconda. – Dante
        Ogni altra cosa, ogni pensier va fore,
        E sol ivi con voi rimansi amore. – Petrarca
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.
~Christina Rossetti

“Dispatch from the Home Front: Halloween 2001” by Tony Brown

Halloween is a time filled with ghosts, goblins, scary stories, tricks and treats. While reading such tales and poems may be entertaining, Tony Brown’s poem, “Dispatch from the Home Front: Halloween 2001,” is especially poignant as the speaker journeys through many different scenes within each stanza.  Brown’s poem puts a twist on what would otherwise become a  traditional Halloween tale. Take a look at his poem below. Are you surprised by the ending?

Dispatch from the Home Front: Halloween 2001

like every other year I sit outside with a guitar
while kids roam in small packs
from lit door to lit door

the costumes tonight are not that frightening

angels and fairies and superheroes abound
a few bloodsuckers and ghouls
a sprinkling of skeletons
no terrorists

the adults pretend to be scared

jessie (the giraffe from across the street)
solemnly hands me M & Ms from her stash
when I put the Snickers in her pumpkin
“honey,” I tell her
“it’s not a trade – it‘s a gift”
and she solemnly takes them back

the young girl in the bathrobe and curlers
wearing the sign that says
says to me
“I want to hear you play your prettyful music”

I hand her candy
and I pick up my guitar
to play a song appropriate to the season
(a song by the Grateful Dead)
for this world’s recent ghosts

this world
where unimaginable ashes
sift down on children’s beds

in one part of this world
the very rocks and baseballs
smell of abrasives, jet fuel, burning rubber, corpses

in another part of this world
they are making the mail glow white
long enough to kill what lives on the words

in another part of this world
this guitar would be

in that country a shrouded woman
has been carefully picking food from a minefield
(food that was airdropped in my name)

she runs and lifts her child from the ground
raising his head high up onto her shoulder
vainly trying to keep the frightening blood from spilling too much

it will take her years to fall asleep again

when she does fall asleep
she will dream of picking up a yellow bomblet
wrapping it in swaddling clothes
suckling it until it blooms hot and bright

but she will not cry
as she holds him in that dream

we all dream that dream these days
we all hold our children closer
while holding back tears

a dream like that
is not a gift
it is a trade
we have all already given
more than enough in return for this one
and you do not let go of your tears
when tears are all you have left

Halloween night
I am pushing aside the veil between the worlds
a mourning person waiting for dawn
pretending to be scared to cover real fear
while I give sweets and prettyful music
to my neighbors’children

we are all a long way from home

if I knew the way
I would take you home

“The Writer” by Richard Wilbur

Writing can be a challenge. Richard Wilbur’s poem shows someone who understands the struggles that may occur throughout the writing process. Give it a read, and then set up an appointment at the Writing Center. Once you do, we can help you with a variety of difficulties you may be facing. Such includes, but is not limited to brainstorming, making citations, outlining, and research. We hope to see you soon!

“The Writer”

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 iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, 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.