Sharing Poetry is currently on an indefinite hiatus.

Please enjoy the many poems submitted to Sharing Poetry in the past, as this Tumblr will certainly stay active as an archive. 

Edgar A. Guest, “The Gentle Gardener”

I’d like to leave but daffodills to mark my little
To leave but tulips red and white behind me as
          I stray;
I’d like to pass away from earth and feel I’d
          left behind
But roses and forget-me-nots for all who come
          to find.
I’d like to sow the barren spots with all the
          flowers of earth,
To leave a path where those who come should
          find but gentle mirth;
And when at last I’m called upon to join the
          heavenly throng
I’d like to feel along my way I’d left no sign
          of wrong.

And yet the cares are many and the hours of
          toil are few;
There is not time enough on earth for all I’d
          like to do;
But, having lived and having toiled, I’d like the
          world to find
Some little touch of beauty that my soul had
          left behind.

(submitted by holmes-primary-apprentice)

Ruth Stone, “As Real As Life”

Say to the mild melancholy of regret
That seizes the Sunday afternoon,
I will not let your charm be sullied
By those tears that wet
The first ten years from June.
June was my birthday, likely from then
Until I can remember, Sunday was slow
Like a praying mantis climbing an oak
And tears, like tea, had formal cause to flow.
I will not regret the stereoptic world
Seen through Sunday windows
Baffled by depths that overlapped dismay.
But I will say, I have seen many a photograph,
As real as life, and I have saved
A clipping about mountaineers who froze.

(submitted by beckedina)

Margaret Atwood, “Variation on the Word Sleep”

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and as you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

(submitted by mythicality)
Charles Bukowski, “The Strongest Of The Strange”
you won’t see them often
for wherever the crowd is
are not.
those odd ones, not
but from them
the few
good paintings
the few
good symphonies
the few
good books
and other
and from the
best of the
strange ones
they are
their own
their own
their own
their own
sometimes I think
I see
them – say
a certain old
sitting on a
certain bench
in a certain
a quick face
going the other
in a passing
there’s a certain motion
of the hands
of a bag-boy or a bag-
while packing
it is even somebody
you have been
living with
for some
time -
you will notice
lightning quick
never seen
from them
you will only note
some months
some years
after they are
I remember
such a
one -
he was about
20 years old
drunk at
10 a.m.
staring into
a cracked
New Orleans
facing dreaming
against the
walls of
the world
did I

(submitted by weltenweiterwandrer)
William Watson, “A Trial of Orthodoxy”

The clinging children at their mother’s knee
Slain; and the sire and kindred one by one
Flayed or hewn piecemeal; and things nameless done,
Not to be told: while imperturbably
The nations gaze, where Rhine unto the sea,
Where Seine and Danube, Thames and Tiber run,
And where great armies glitter in the sun,
And great Kings rule, and man is boasted free!
What wonder if yon torn and naked throng
Should doubt a Heaven that seems to wink and nod,
And having mourned at noontide, “Lord, how long?”
Should cry, “Where hidest Thou?” at evenfall,
At midnight, “Is He deaf and blind, our God?”
And ere day dawn, “Is He indeed at all?”

(submitted by straymessages)

Etheridge Knight, “Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane”

Hard Rock was “known not to take no shit
From nobody,” and he had the scars to prove it:
Split purple lips, lumped ears, welts above
His yellow eyes, and one long scar that cut
Across his temple and plowed through a thick
Canopy of kinky hair.

The WORD was that Hard Rock wasn’t a mean nigger
Anymore, that the doctors had bored a hole in his head,
Cut out part of his brain, and shot electricity
Through the rest. When they brought Hard Rock back,
Handcuffed and chained, he was turned loose,
Like a freshly gelded stallion, like indians at a corral,
To see if the WORD was true.

As we waited we wrapped ourselves in the cloak
Of his exploits: “Man, the last time, it took eight
Screws to put him in the Hole.” “Yeah, remember when he
Smacked the captain with his dinner tray?” “He set
The record for time in the Hole—67 straight days!”
"Ol Hard Rock! man, that’s one crazy nigger."
And then the jewel of a myth that Hard Rock had once bit
A screw on the thumb and poisoned him with syphilitic spit.

The testing came, to see if Hard Rock was really tame.
A hillbilly called him a black son of a bitch
And didn’t lose his teeth, a screw who knew Hard Rock
From before shook him down and barked in his face.
And Hard Rock did nothing. Just grinned and looked silly,
His eyes empty like knot holes in a fence.

And even after we discovered that it took hard Rock
Exactly 3 minutes to tell you his first name,
We told ourselves that he had just wised up,
Was being cool; but we could not fool ourselves for long,
And we turned away, our eyes on the ground. Crushed.
He had been our Destroyer, the doer of things
We dreamed of doing but could not bring ourselves to do
The fears of years, like a biting whip,
Had cut grooves too deeply across our backs.

(submitted by en-ui)

Richard Siken, “Wishbone”

You saved my life he says   I owe you everything.

You don’t, I say, you don’t owe me squat, let’s just get going, let’s just get gone, but he’s


keeps saying  I owe you, says  Your shoes are filling with your own damn blood,

you must want something, just tell me, and it’s yours.

          But I can’t look at him, can hardly speak,

I took the bullet for all the wrong reasons, I’d just as soon kill you myself, I say.

You keep saying  I owe you, I owe… but you say the same thing every time.

          Let’s not talk about it, let’s just not talk.

Not because I don’t believe it, not because I want it any different, but I’m always saving

and you’re always owing and I’m tired of asking to settle the debt.

          Don’t bother.

You never mean it anyway, not really, and it only makes me that much more ashamed.

There’s only one thing I want, don’t make me say it, just get me bandages, I’m bleeding,

          I’m not just making conversation.

There’s smashed glass glittering everywhere like stars. It’s a Western, Henry,

it’s a downright shoot-em-up. We’ve made a graveyard out of the bone white afternoon.

          It’s another wrong-man-dies scenario

and we keep doing it, Henry, keep saying  until we get it right… 

but we always win and we never quit, see, we’ve won again, here we are at the place

          where I get to beg for it

where I get to say  Please, for just one night, will you lay down next to me, we can leave our

clothes on, we can stay all buttoned up?

          or will I say

Roll over and let me fuck you till you puke, Henry, you owe me this much, you can indulge me

this at least, can’t you?  but we both know how it goes. I say  I want you inside me

and you hold my head underwater, I say   I want you inside me

and you split me open with a knife. I’m battling monsters, half-monkey, half-tarantula,

I’m pulling you out of the burning buildings and you say  I’ll give you anything.

          But you never come through.

Give me bullet power. Give me power over angels. Even when you’re standing up

you look like you’re lying down, but will you let me kiss your neck, baby? Do I have to

          tie your arms down?

Do I have to stick my tongue in your mouth like the hand of a thief, like a burglary

like it’s just another petty theft? It makes me tired, Henry. Do you see what I mean?

          Do you see what I’m getting at?

You swallowing matches and suddenly I’m yelling  Strike me. Strike anywhere.

 I swear, I end up feeling empty, like you’ve taken something out of me, and I have to search

          my body for the scars, thinking

Did he find that one last tender place to sink his teeth in?   I know you want me to say it, Henry,

it’s in the script, you want me to say  Lie down on the bed, you’re all I ever wanted

          and worth dying for too

but I think I’d rather keep the bullet this time. It’s mine, you can’t have it, see,

I’m not giving it up. This way you still owe me, and that’s

          as good as anything.

You can’t get out of this one, Henry, you can’t get it out of me, and with this bullet

lodged in my chest, covered with your name, I will turn myself into a gun, because

           it’s all I have,

because I’m hungry and hollow and just want something to call my own. I’ll be your

slaughterhouse, your killing floor, your morgue and final resting, walking around with this

          bullet inside me

‘cause I couldn’t make you love me and I’m tired of pulling your teeth. Don’t you see, it’s like

I’ve swallowed your house keys, and it feels so natural, like the bullet was already there,

          like it’s been waiting inside me the whole time.

Do you want it? Do you want anything I have? Will you throw me to the ground

like you mean it, reach inside and wrestle it out with your bare hands?

          If you love me, Henry, you don’t love me in a way I understand.

Do you know how it ends? Do you feel lucky? Do you want to go home now?

There’s a bottle of whiskey in the trunk of the Chevy and a dead man at our feet

          staring up at us like we’re something interesting.

This is where the evening splits in half, Henry, love or death. Grab an end, pull hard,

and make a wish.

(submitted by leavingnobrokenhearts)

John Ashbery, “Late Echo”
Alone with our madness and favorite flower
We see that there really is nothing left to write about.
Or rather, it is necessary to write about the same old things
In the same way, repeating the same things over and over
For love to continue and be gradually different.

Beehives and ants have to be re-examined eternally
And the color of the day put in
Hundreds of times and varied from summer to winter
For it to get slowed down to the pace of an authentic
Saraband and huddle there, alive and resting.

Only then can the chronic inattention
Of our lives drape itself around us, conciliatory
And with one eye on those long tan plush shadows
That speak so deeply into our unprepared knowledge
Of ourselves, the talking engines of our day.

(source, submitted by adrock-thurston)
Frank O’Hara, “Poem”

Instant coffee with slightly sour cream

in it, and a phone call to the beyond

which doesn’t seem to be coming any nearer.

"Ah daddy, I wanna stay drunk many days"

on the poetry of a new friend

my life held precariously in the seeing

hands of others, their and my impossibilities.

Is this love, now that the first love

has finally died, where there were no impossibilities?

(submitted by the-anthologies)

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