Tag Archives: The Yale Review

Poetry: ‘Suicides”

I’ve known a few. Found one, in fact.
Surprising there aren’t more,

When you stop to think of it.
I mean, it’s not hard to do,

really, if one is intent,
and we are an impulsive species—

what more natural than at some moment of great pain
to just say “Screw it” and duck out?

And yet it would seem that most of the time
there’s something holding us to life,

a kind of gravity that stills or thwarts
all but the most determined.

The one I found, he talked of it.
I didn’t try to dissuade him—

he had his reasons.
But that gravity stayed him somehow,

kept him in place through wave after wave of temptation,
until, quite suddenly, it didn’t.

-Ben Downing, The Yale Review

Poetry: ‘All the Right Tools’ and ‘Late Aubade’ by James Richardson

These poems by James Richardson left me weak with wonder and the intense love that only words weaved in the way that perfectly resonates with my particular soul can cause. LOVE.

All the Right Tools

It is aggravating to have to stop writing to fix things. We hope these tools
will get you back to the important work faster.
—Inscription in a toolbox, a gift from my parents, 1973

That good slow tool the sun,
with a trumpeter’s strict breath,
swells hemispheres of fruits
to scarlet or dusk or amber
imperceptibly,
not breaking one.

That good slow tool the moon
pulls the quiet
wide-eyed face of the ocean
to its face,
not a drop through its long fingers
slipping down.

That good slow tool that turns
trees and lives to wreckage
brilliant and strange,
that train so smooth and slow
we hardly know we’re on
is Time, but is there one

slower still
that would reverse
these words and call
your breaths and all
your strayed thoughts home
to be you, standing again?
Late Aubade

after Hardy

So what do you think, Life, it seemed pretty good to me,
though quiet, I guess, and unspectacular.
It’s been so long, I don’t know any more how these things go.
I don’t know what it means that we’ve had this time together.

I get that the coffee, the sunlight on glassware, the Sunday paper
and our studious lightness, not hearing the phone, are iconic
of living regretless in the Now. A Cool that’s beyond me:
I’m having some trouble acting suitably poised and ironic.

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