Sample Poetry

THE PRESENCE OF TREES

Slowly, I am remembering
the language of awe, ‪

how to take in, say, ‪
the living complexity of a tree

its gnarled trunk,
its ragged bark, ‪

the way its leafy canopy
filters sunlight

down to the brown
carpeted ground,

the way the wind bends my heart
to the exquisite presence of trees ‪

the forest that calls to me as deeply
as I breathe,

as though the woods were
marrow of my bone as though

I myself were tree, a breathing, reaching
arc of the larger canopy

beside a brook bubbling to foam
like the one

deep in these woods,
that calls

that whispers home.

. . . Michael S. Glaser

From: Fire Before the Hands
. Also in: Between Earth and Sky, by Nalini M. Nakarni (University of California Press), 2008. Also in: Tree Magic, [CD anthology], (SunShine Press), 2005
Copyrighted, please do not use without permission of the author.

 

ANGLES OF SUNLIGHT

As I read Zen in the morning,
my young daughter leaves her bed
and lies next to me on the sofa
where sunlight angles through the window.

In half-sleep, her brown eyes
stare off at the large oak
unleaving in front of the house.

I cup her head in the palm of my hand,
feel the chambers of my heart fill and empty,
fill and empty like the words on the page fill

my spirit like the air in her purple balloon
like the breath of her lungs as her chest
rises and falls like the leaves on that tree
dancing in the wind and knowing

 as they know,
something important
about attachment, ‪
about letting go.


 . . . .Michael S. Glaser

From Being a Father
Copyrighted, please do not use without permission of the author.

 

THE ECONOMY OF DAYS

To want, to have, to do–
the verbs I live‪
in perpetual unrest.

How difficult to be–
to embrace the homely
details of my days

to open my heart
to the flow
of this amphibious life,

to trust in the motion toward
as a fish trusts
the river at its gills,

to trust in this journey,
to swim,
to be still.

. . . .Michael S. Glaser

 from: Fire Before the Hands
. Previously Appeared in Turning Wheel
Copyrighted, please do not use without permission of the author.

 

A BLESSING FOR THE WOODS

Before I leave, almost without noticing,
before I cross the road and head toward
what I have intentionally postponed-

‪Let me stop to say a blessing for these woods:
for crows barking and squirrels scampering
for trees and fungus and multi-colored leaves

for the way sunlight laces shadows
through each branch and leaf of tree
for these paths that take me in,
for these paths that lead me out.

….Michael S. Glaser

Published in
Christian Science Monitor; Between Earth and Sky, By Nalini M. Nadkarni (University of California Press), 2008; Tree Magic [CD anthology], (SunShine Press), 2005
Copyrighted, please do not use without permission of the author.

 

LETTER TO MY FIFTH GRADE TEACHER

Dear Miss Lorenz:

I ‘m writing because I was remembering you today,
how soft and kind your voice was and how your eyes
sparkled with laughter and light

which is why I wanted to impress you
and why I was so afraid of spelling
where I knew you would discover
I was just another stupid kid.

And so, on the day of the Big Spelling Test,
I made that tiny piece of paper
and when we put our books away,
I cupped it in my hand for use

only when absolutely necessary.
And you moved up and down
the rows of our desks
pronouncing words until
you stopped next to me,
called out a word and,
when everyone was writing,
reached into my clenched fist,
took the paper and then
walked on.

You never made an example of me,
never spoke to my parents about it,
or even mentioned it to me.
And you never treated me differently either,
just went on as though nothing had happened.

But, of course, something did:

I never cheated again, Miss Lorenz.

I never stole another candy bar
or money from the box
in the top of my father’s dresser –
or from my mother’s purse.‪

And I am writing to thank you
for treating me with dignity
even as you caught me,
red-handed in sin.

It was as close to Grace as I have ever been.
Perhaps some day I’ll know it once again.

. . . . Michael S. Glaser

From Disrupting Consensus.
 Also appeared in Igniting Creativity in Gifted Learners, K-6 (Corwin Press), 2009
Copyrighted, please do not use without permission of the author.

 
Studies of Dawn

Ruskin urged his students to think of their drawing exercises
as both a scientific record and as an act of worship
which had nothing to do with picture making.
                                                    (sign on an exhibit)
I

And Ruskin too, every day, painted the sacred shape –
the grace of a gladiola or the subtle Rose of Demeter,
its pulse mingling emerald and ruby as it played in the light.
II

Amazing, this language of the heart,
these brushstrokes in which the edge
of a boar’s hair bristle

bends the stem of a paper narcissus
into the head of a heron
or a flat, broad sweep leaves behind

a dogwood petal
looking like nothing so much
as the ancient beard of God.
III

I hold these images faithfully,
try to understand the delicate caress
of such worship,

how hand and brush and color discover
the florescent flash, celebrate the ineffable
on blue-gray paper,

the awe of this sunrise or that storm,
the blessing of a long stemmed iris,
the delicate jointing of an olive branch.
How brilliantly the colors body forth,
as though they spoke in the multi-lingual
tongue of the Holy Ghost,

breathing black to blue to orange to white:
a paradise itself, bathed and borne
anew in this subtle and shining light.
Published in The Threshhold of Light Bright Hills Press, 2019
Copyrighted, please do not use without permission of the author.

 

 

 

2 comments on “Sample Poetry

  1. Thank you. Every morning I make Arabic coffee, take the first hot cup in hand, walk to my living room window, alternating right and left window each day, and gaze out at trees, recite the poem “The Presence of Trees” and begin my day, grateful. Once in a while I forget a word or hesitate, is it “wood” or “woods” and Google to correct myself.
    This morning I wavered on this uncertainty of singular or plural, googled the poem, and found a few more by the same poet. What a lovely way to begin a day!

  2. Mr. Glaser, I thought you’d enjoy knowing that your poem, “A Blessing for the Woods” was read today at the conclusion of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society Induction ceremony at Denison. It was such a fitting poem as our senior prepare to leave the woods on this beautiful hill moving into their adult lives.

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