Poem of the Week, by William Butler Yeats

The Song of Wandering Aengus
– William Butler Yeats

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

​For more information on Yeats, please click here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/william-butler-yeats

My blog: alisonmcghee.com/blog

My Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Alison-McGhee/119862491361265?ref=ts

99 Words: Basso Profundo

When I get a cold, my voice often drops octaves from its usual soft-and-needs-a-mic-in-front-of-audiences self to a James Earl Jones-ish bass.


In my high school teacher days I caught many colds and I liked that deep, changed voice. It was unexpected and powerful.

But here’s the thing: If that giant voice comes rumbling out of my chest like the thumping bass in a passing car when I’m sick, doesn’t it mean that it’s always there, just hidden?

I keep thinking about this. I’m at a pivotal point in life. The thought of unseen and untapped power is entrancing.

Poem of the Week, by Jeffrey Harrison

– Jeffrey Harrison

At the Department of Motor Vehicles
to renew my driver’s license, I had to wait
two hours on one of those wooden benches
like pews in the church of Latter Day
Meaninglessness, where there is no
stained glass (no windows at all, in fact),
no incense other than stale cigarette smoke
emanating from the clothes of those around me,
and no sermon, just an automated female voice
calling numbers over a loudspeaker.
And one by one the members of our sorry
congregation shuffled meekly up to the pitted
altar to have our vision tested or to seek
redemption for whatever wrong turn we’d taken,
or pay indulgences, or else be turned away
as unworthy of piloting our own journey.
But when I paused to look around, using my numbered
ticket as a bookmark, it was as if the dim
fluorescent light had been transformed
to incandescence. The face of the Latino guy
in a ripped black sweatshirt glowed with health,
and I could tell that the sulking white girl
accompanied by her mother was brimming
with secret excitement to be getting her first license,
already speeding down the highway, alone,
with all the windows open, singing.

Pencil Sketch, 750 words: Clyde

I liked Clyde the minute I saw him. This was summer, more than twenty years ago.

I had just moved to Minneapolis and Clyde was standing at the open back of his mail truck, plucking envelopes and flyers out of white bins and organizing them into complicated sheaves.

He rarely said anything back then. But there was something about the methodical way he sorted that mail and the solid way he moved from building to building that brought me calm and relief when I saw him, as if the world was more reliable than it seems.

That first year, I wrote him a note when the holidays rolled around. We began to talk, a tiny bit, now and then: hi’s and how you doin’s. In summer he wore blue mail shorts, in winter a red, black and green winter knit cap that I think of as his snow beanie.

After a few years I had a baby and then another one and then another still. I moved to a different house. It was only a few blocks away but it wasn’t on Clyde’s route. We still waved and smiled whenever we saw each other, Clyde with his big bag of mail, me with a baby in a backpack or toddlers in strollers or in a child seat on the back of my bike.

The years went by and the kids got bigger. Clyde shaved his head. I got my long hair chopped off. He stayed big, I stayed scrawny. I published a book.

“I see you,” Clyde called across the street one day. He was laughing and shaking his finger at me. “Don’t think you can hide. I woke up this morning and saw your photo in the paper.”

I crossed the street to talk to him.

“I got a question for you,” he said. “All these years when I watch you walking around, walking walking walking all those long walks, are you writing books in your head?”

I shook my head. Nope.

“I don’t know, girl,” he said. “You might be writing them but you don’t even know it.”

Time went by and other things changed, big things, and I moved again in haste and stress. I didn’t see Clyde for a long time.

And then, about a year after that hasty move, I turned the corner when walking my dog and there he was. Beaming. He was as big as ever but there was something lighter about him. He gave off a feeling of joy.

“Girl!” he said. “Where you been!”

My heart swelled at the sight of him, at the sound of his familiar voice, and to my horror I started to cry. Clyde bent his head and closed his eyes and then he wrapped his arms around me. He didn’t say anything else. Neither did I.

I kept moving. Twice. And once more. All within a few blocks of my original apartment, but still not on Clyde’s route. Every few months I would be out with my dog or out running, and there he would be.

“You grew your hair out,” I said to him last summer. “It looks great.”

“You’re blonde now,” he said. “Are you having more fun?”

It’s been a long time now that I have lived within Clyde’s orbit. A long time now that I have watched him sifting through letters and packages in those white bins in the back of his mail truck. He has been the bearer of so much news over the course of those years, news that he is unaware of –marriage and birth and death and bankruptcy and scholarships and party invitations.

Yet maybe he is aware of what he carries in that mail pouch. Maybe that’s why he moves with such gravitas from block to block.

At the beginning of this endless winter I saw Clyde on the other side of the street. It was a bitter day.

“How are those kids?” Clyde shouted, his breath pluming out. I filled him in as he stood opposite, shaking his head in wonder at the fact that they were in college now.

An hour and a half later, I turned the corner on my way back home with the dog and there he was again. He bent his head in what looked like sorrow at the sight of me.

“Girl,” he murmured. “You been walking a long, long time.”

“So have you, Clyde,” I said. “All day, every day.”

“We’re both strong,” he said. “You know we are.”

Poem of the Week, by Ash Bowen

Collect Call
– Ash Bowen

Somewhere out there, an operator plugged in
the wire of your voice to the switchboard

of Arkansas where I am
happy to accept the charges—an act so antique
I think of Sputnik beeping

overhead, lovers petting in Buicks
and glowing with the green of radium dials.

But what you’ve called to say is lost
in the line’s wreckage of crackle and static.

The night you went away
the interstate glowed red beneath the flaring
fins of your father’s Cadillac.

Now this collect call
from outer space & what you’ve called to say
is clear at last: Among stars

lovers come and go easy as you please. It’s the gravity
of Earth that makes letting go so hard.

For more information on Ash Bowen, please click here: http://www.arkansasliteraryfestival.org/authors/ash-bowen.html

My blog: alisonmcghee.com/blog

My Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Alison-McGhee/119862491361265?ref=ts