Rock Me, Mercy
The river stones are listening
because we have something to say.
The trees lean closer today.
The singing in the electrical woods
has gone dumb. It looks like rain
because it is too warm to snow.
Guardian angels, wherever you’re hiding,
we know you can’t be everywhere at once.
Have you corralled all the pretty wild
horses? The memory of ants asleep
in daylilies, roses, holly, & larkspur.
The magpies gaze at us, still
waiting. River stones are listening.
But all we can say now is,
Mercy, please, rock me.
I’ve whispered my feelings to trees. Picked up stones and told them my secrets while they were still warm in my hand. I used to walk the long stretch of path behind the English department at the university during afternoons when I worried about my life. Have they always been leaning towards me, branches touching my forehead sometimes? A blessing perhaps?
What to do with all the anguish that we can’t put away?
I’ve had days when I wish I could abandon my grief the way the world leaves us to carry on despite loss after loss after loss.
This poem appeared in The Emperor of Water Clocks by Yusef Komunyakaa, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015. Shared here with profound gratitude.
Another brilliant collection from Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, who David Wojahn has called one of our “most significant and individual voices,” The Emperor of Water Clocks delights, challenges, and satisfies…Through these mutations and migrations and permutations and peregrinations there are constants: Komunyakaa’s jazz-inflected rhythms; his effortlessly surreal images; his celebration of natural beauty and of love. There is also his insistent inquiry into the structures and struggles of power: not only of, say, king against jester but of man against his own desire and of the present against the pernicious influence of the past.”
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ON THIS DAY
Read A Little Poetry is a passion project of poet T. De Los Reyes. It has been around since 2005. A thriving collection of great poems, this place holds poets to the light alongside experiences of being human.
Thank you for being here—for thinking about words, what they mean, and the weight they hold. This little corner of the world has always been a safe space for all to lean towards vulnerability, to hold on to poems as if anchors, as if wings.
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From my notebook
Dive into our exploration of famous poems about rain, from Joy Harjo's celebration of life to Louise Glück's meditation on love.