Marie Ponsot

M
Marie Ponsot
About My Birthday
I’d like to assume
from my April birthday,
I quickened the womb
on the 4th of July.

If you suffered as I
a sternly fought tendency
to endless dependency
you’d know why.
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Among Women
What women wander?
Not many. All. A few.
Most would, now & then,
& no wonder.
Some, and I’m one,
Wander sitting still.
My small grandmother
Bought from every peddler
Less for the ribbons and lace
Than for their scent
Of sleep where you will,
Walk out when you want, choose
Your bread and your company.

She warned me, “Have nothing to lose.”
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From "The First, at the Last"
All he undertook
goes under, under
the undergrowth he rose from
fly-boy, lovely
in his day.
All his clothes
— spruce suit & tie —
are underclothes
against ungrounded gray.
All his studies understudy
an unstudied play.

Under the under
of what I remember
we are both twenty
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Northampton Style
Evening falls. Someone’s playing a dulcimer
Northampton-style, on the porch out back.
Its voice touches and parts the air of summer,

as if  it swam to time us down a river
where we dive and leave a single track
as evening falls. Someone’s playing a dulcimer

that lets us wash our mix of dreams together.
Delicate, tacit, we engage in our act;
its voice touches and parts the air of summer.

When we disentangle you are not with her
I am not with him. Redress calls for tact.
Evening falls. Someone’s playing a dulcimer
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Old Mama Saturday
“Saturday’s child must work for a living.” “I’m moving from Grief  Street.
Taxes are high here
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Out of Water
A new embroidery of flowers, canary color,
dots the grass already dotty
with aster-white and clover.

I warn, “They won’t last, out of water.”
The children pick some anyway.

In or out of  water
children don’t last either.

I watch them as they pick.
Still free of  what’s next
and what was yesterday
they pick today.
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Pathetic Fallacies Are Bad Science But
On reading Susanne K. Langer’s Mind If  leaf-trash chokes the stream-bed,
reach for rock-bottom as you rake
the muck out. Let it slump dank,
and dry fading, flat above the bank.
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Pourriture Noble
A moral tale, for Sauternes, the fungus cenaria, and the wild old Never prophesy.
You can’t. So don’t try.
Lust, pride, and lethargy
may cause us misery
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A Tale Told by Atheneus (Venus Callipygus)
Two sisters of ancient Greece both laid claim
To the finest, fairest rear of their time.
Which tail forged ahead? Which bottom’s true fame
Topped? Which back was in front, which terce most prime?
A judge chose the elder girl’s back matter;
Her finish was more fine and far matter.
She got the prize, and his heart; soon they wed.
“But the younger’s sitter’s not a smatter
Less meet; I’ll marry her,” his brother said.
It went so well, their joys were so perfected,
That after them a temple was erected
In honor of  Venus Callipygus.
No other church — though I don’t know its rite —
Could so, from head to epididymis,
Move me with deep devotion to its site.
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A Visit
“Fine bitches all, and Molly Dance...”
—Djuna Barnes Come for duty’s sake (as girls do) we watch
The sly very old woman wile away from her pious
And stagger-blind friend, their daily split of gin.
She pours big drinks. We think of what
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Between
(for my daughter) Composed in a shine of laughing, Monique brings in sacks
of groceries, unloads them, straightens, and stretches her back.

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Hangzhou, Lake of the Poets
MORNING

Reading the bones, wetting a fingertip
to trace archaic characters, I feel
a breeze of silence flow up past my wrist,
icy. Can I speak here? The bones say I must.
As the first light strikes across the lake, magpies
scream, and the cast bones say the work must come true,
it’s been true all along, we are what we do
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Pre-Text
(for Douglas, at one) Archaic, his gestures
hieratic, just like Caesar or Sappho
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Winter
I don’t know what to say to you, neighbor,
as you shovel snow from your part of our street
neat in your Greek black. I’ve waited for
chance to find words; now, by chance, we meet.

We took our boys to the same kindergarten,
thirteen years ago when our husbands went.
Both boys hated school, dropped out feral, dropped in
to separate troubles. You shift snow fast, back bent,
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