Monday, April 6, 2015

The Days Have Done With You

At that time, a bottle of dark wine,
summer’s drowse, its sulfurous
day of metal, the wind clanging
at the crossroads, hens scratched circles

It was not a star unloosened from its hold,
not the dark weeds, the drenched,
all that’s astray, a sky of dark furrows. Listen:
the sea rolled back leaving once again the moon –
like a wound, it stitched itself. Stone wanted
a martyr. This they did not speak of
on the dark day I had dressed for maturity.

The torturers, daughter, this is the cruel gift:
something’s been plucked out – I did not drown.

More than the meadow shaping itself under rain,
than the trees, in this field are beginnings, green hearts,
there is that hour before dawn when the birds
call one by one, every street is a river,
blue and white jugs sit, little red flowers push.
It is natural, the kettle hums on its blue ring – steam,
the owl, the horses move together, cows softly tread the shadows:
it is morning, already that clarity – a small girl in a sailor dress.

All spring it has been happening, this encounter –
deep inside there is something luminous.

Today the sky is a mud-yellow,
ice clamps down over Paris,
thoughts turn on their axle
as long shadows, late green day,
the shorn fields, the fields flatten themselves.
This is the city evening, quietly exhaling.

This found poem contains all first lines in Nina Bogin's collection In the North. Instructions: Copy the first line of each poem in a published collection by a single poet and craft a poem — you must keep the wording of the original lines intact, but may alter elements like line breaks, punctuation and capitalization, creating a piece from YOUR voice.


  1. Do poets mind us doing that? Taking their first lines? KL

  2. Some do, and some don't. I wrote to this poet through her agents but had no response. A different writer/poet, whose work I used in another found project, did respond and asked me to take it down, which I was happy to do.

  3. It's important to seek permission from contemporary poets. For earlier poets one has to attend to copyright. "The length of a copyright on work created during or after 1978 is the life of the author plus seventy years." More at

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