Poems in the Waiting Room Volume II ()

A wise man,
Watching the stars pass across the sky,
In the upper air the fireflies move more
Amy Lowell
(USA, 1874-1925)
First Bluejay
Rain beading on buds of dogwood,
glistening, too, on first thrust
of daffodils and crocus
like the shine of light on bayonets;
and here he comes now, the early
courtier of light and air, big boy
strutting his colors of blue and white,
daring the sky to cast off its gray cloak,
betting the trees will raise their hands
again in green and bright surrender.
George Garrett
(USA, 1929-2008)
First published in Days of Our Lives Lie in Fragments,
LSU Press. Reprinted with permission from his son,
George Gorham Garrett.
from Tankas to Float Down the River
If we were granted
some magic or enough grace
to bid the clouds, speak,
they’d whisper: loam and soil, rock
and the sway of earth, not sky.
Melanie Moro-Huber
(USA, b. 1971)
First published in Axe in Hand, NYQ Books.
Reprinted with permission.
The Waiting Girl
You best believe
I am fit as a dandelion,
facing the day
in a crown of gold,
my roots rough-hewn,
 knurled as a hand saw.
And yet I wait,
thrusting the frost,
suckling the minutes
 until you see me.
You placed your faith
 in a cloud of seedlings,
not expecting this –
this erect scattering
like a thorned prayer,
feckless, yours.
Erin Ganaway
(USA, b. 1976)
First published in The Waiting Girl,
Texas Review Press. Reprinted with permission.
Poems in the Waiting Room (PitWR) is
sponsored by Blue Ridge Cancer Care and
dedicated to the memory of oncologist
Gerald L. Schertz, M.D. Dr. Schertz lived and
practiced medicine in the Roanoke Valley for
over 35 years, touching the lives of countless
patients with his caring demeanor. PitWR is
an initiative of the Dr. Robert L.A. Keeley
Healing Arts Program at Carilion Clinic. Poem
Gerald L. Schertz, M.D. selections in this issue were made with the
assistance of the Jackson Center for Creative
1945 – 2013
Writing at Hollins University, Roanoke,
Virginia. To learn more about the Healing Arts Program and how to make
a gift in memory of Dr. Schertz, contact the Carilion Clinic Foundation at
540-224-5398 or [email protected]
Copyright title PitWR
Copyright of recent poems retained by authors
© 04/14 Carilion Clinic SD J2163 KL/FL
Yours to Keep
Volume 1, Issue 2
Stars around the full moon lose
their bright beauty when she, almost
full, floods the whole earth
with clear light.
(Greece, 7th / 6th century B.C.E.)
After a translation by Edwin Marion Cox.
from The Phoenix
Here’s what I’ve heard: how off in the east,
at world’s fringe lies a far, lovely land…
There, trees’ thick branches bend,
heavy with fresh color, fadeless
forever, a place unfailing as heaven.
No dark red unfurls earthward, leafmeal
onto that forest’s floor. What a wonder:
those limbs always laden with fruit,
adorned by the Maker, make their green
bringing more brightness to the grassbright plain.
(Anglo-Saxon England, 9th century)
Translation by Jeanne Larsen. Printed with permission.
I cannot say
which is which:
the glowing
plum blossom is
the spring night’s moon.
Izumi Shikibu
(Japan, 974-1034)
Translation by Jane Hirshfield . First published in
The Ink Dark Moon, Scribner. Reprinted with permission.
To the Tune: Sands of the Washing Stream
A Noiseless Patient Spider
Recovering from sickness
with tangled hair,
I lie and watch
through the window screen
a slim moon rising.
I simmer pods of cardamon
in place of tea.
A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it
stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast
It launch’d forth filament, filament,
filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly
speeding them.
Reclining on my pillow,
reading ancient poetry
restores me.
healing rain arrives;
elegant cassia flowers
bow towards me.
Li Qingzhao
(China, 1084-c. 1150)
Translation (c) 2013 by Michael Farman,
from Jade Mirror: Women Poets of China.
Reprinted with the permission of White Pine Press.
from On Imagination
And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless
oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,
seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till
the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch
somewhere, O my soul.
Walt Whitman
(USA, 1819-1892)
Thy various works, imperial queen, we see,
How bright their forms! how deck’d with
pomp by thee!
Thy wond’rous acts in beauteous order
And all attest how potent is thine hand…
Imagination! who can sing thy force?
Or who describe the swiftness of thy
from Close By
Phillis Wheatley
(USA, born in Senegal, 1753-1784)
So near at hand (our eyes o’erlooked its
In search of distant things)
A dear dream lay – perchance to grow in
Had we but felt its wings
Astir. The air our very breathing fanned
It was so near at hand.
E. Pauline Johnson, a.k.a. Tekahionwake
(Canada, 1861-1913)