Third Poetry Portfolio | Harvard Divinity Bulletin

Third Poetry Portfolio | Harvard Divinity Bulletin

Third Poetry Portfolio | Harvard Divinity Bulletin

> by Li-Young Lee

God slips His likeness of me under His pillow.
Morning grows cloudy, the house darkens,
and I know what the rain at the sill is saying: br> Be finished with resemblances. Your lamp
hides the light. A voice, being a voice and not the wind, can not carry anything away. And yet,
it makes any land a place, a country of the air, and laughter its seventh day

Last night I dreamed of voices in a grove. br> Ladders reaching from the ground into the branches.
I was mending my children's shirts,
worrying if the light would last long enough for me to thread the needle.

Now I'm nodding with the trees in the wind,
counting seconds between the lightning and the thunder,
deaf to former things, unencumbered of things to come,
and leaving God to recoup
the human fate.

God snores, His sleep immense and musty with the season's litter.

God rolls over in His sleep and churns the sea-bed
to dislodge many buried keys.

Outside, a bird is telling time's green name.
It stops when I stop to listen, and starts again as soon as I give up holding my breath to hear it,
as though whole-hearted listening intrudes
where hearing ajar makes room for singing
so tend to my attention snuffs it, if it's just brimming
my ear's least turning spills it.

God takes out that portrait again and makes me each day, now adding, now erasing, and time is a black butterfly, pinned while someone searches for his name in a book.

by Olvido García Valdés

There was life while there were ants, little spiders without axis
walking the flower, leaves, stem of the thistles
came from the indigo and the sweet,
of the resting on the corolla, before juicy and green, the crown of thorns.

there was life while there were ants, tiny tops spinning without an axis
circling the flower, the leaves,
stems of thistle
they used to come
from indigo
from the sweet, from the calm above the corolla,
before succulent and green, the crown of thorns.

At night come to die the Butterflies of the red
ash, one after one, four, with the lunar cycle.
In the spider web, we debated,
we lose in replicas without spinning
Mothers hold subtle
the answer, deaf and in their end fixity.
They come at night, they flutter, they glide and vibrate. At last, they tremble with half-winged wings. Cesa
in the morning
the earthquake. In the night butterflies arrive,
ash-red, one after another, four
altogether, to die with the lunar cycle.
We debate
within the spider's web,
lose ourselves in retorts
without the thread of logic.
Mothers, artful, withhold the answer, deaf
in firm purpose.
Pulsing, they come > at night, flutter
their wings, glide.
At the end with semi-folded wings, they tremble.
The tremor ceases by morning.

Catherine Hammond 's translations have appeared as a center chapbook from Mid-American Review and Hayden's Ferry Review Drunken Boat , Cerise , Metamorphoses , and Words without Borders .

by Elizabeth Robinson

Mary Butts whispering into John Muir's ear from a long way away

Third Poetry Portfolio | Harvard Divinity Bulletin
Third Poetry Portfolio | Harvard Divinity Bulletin

I dreamed of you to climb and hold a tree in its tumult.


When I woke from the dream, you climbed calmly down.

The storm is a cavity in the the tune,
surround, a pelt-

The brown well from which the dreamer, reaching down, fishes out a ladder. cabinet
awaiting release from its holy

We call this the grail. We call this arms around the gale.

Dorothy Day muses over dinner with Anna May Wong

It's strange that we should find ourselves together except that we are both devotees of beauty
able to find it in places that many people disdain to look.
I found a painting once in a building destined for demolition, and it was so ugly that it actually emitted a smell. But survival, as you know, is against all odds a beautiful thing.

On gold mountain, many people shine with wealth. And when I hung my painting at its base, they recoiled and returned to its peak where they stayed. Far from me.
So be it. I like to think that a good cup of tea with one's own
private ugliness is comfort not just to me, but to misbegotten and beauty of all stripes.

Your loveliness, I realize, is such that no one could mistake it.
And yet some do. It almost makes me wish that my abrasiveness could have worked out the painting. That's how the beetle accidentally
crushed underfoot, I could give off a smell so pungent
that's pigment stained what was beneath us and we thought it gorgeous.

Anna May Wong tells Dorothy Day what she has been longing for

Destitute people, farm workers, suffragettes, hobos, actresses may all have an air of jolie-laide . But you have distilled it like cologne.

Elizabeth Robinson 's most recent poetry books are Three Novels (Omnidawn, 2011) and Also Known As (Apogee, 2009). In spring 2012, she will be the Hugo Fellow at the University of Montana.


by Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell

My prayers are buried in the bog-coins over eyelids
in testimony for sight of this earth.

4- You are not alone in your room

Death never leaves,
once it-you remains,
dies anew each day,
swells with each life taken,
eats all the space in your brain ,
sits heavily in the house with a belly full of your friends.

6 - Men and women spend their lives in a quarry. crafts a single stone.
What is left of the carver
after the task is done
remains hardly told-
stories barely heard in nights
birthing ghouls-
it is then that the sky intervenes.

The alert is sounded-
children scatter their games,
rush over-they gather at the edge of an abyss-
ants around a pool of sweet milk.

Lips of my house are iced-
Winter bars its broken teeth-
leafless trees drawn in a bleak light
lay down their cross
shadows on the stiff
snow-patched lawn, sharp-edged
like Marilene Phipps-Kettlewell ( is a poet, painter, and short story writer, whose metal swords of old and crusaders shivering on their deathbed.

poetry has won the Grolier Poetry Prize and the Crab Orchard Poetry Prize. Her collection The Company of Heaven: Stories from Haiti won the 2010 Iowa Short Fiction Award.

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