Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016

Photograph of Mary Oliver sitting at a table in her home, Pembroke Lodge, Richmond [1930s] Eileen Agar 1899-1991 Presented to Tate Archive by Eileen Agar in 1989 and transferred from the photograph collection in 2012.

Yesterday Small Voices

in Obituaries by

whispered to me through the day
slick-nosed, nudging
demanding my elusive attention

I looked up from my
busy ephemera, startled,
as if caught in mid-slaughter

all through the night the spirits
rattled around in me, after months
of silence

now they were calling me
and how beautifully
I failed words rattling

at my window, I dithered
in sleep-muddled conversation
with myself, finally sat up

blind in the dark,
felt for paper at bedside
scribbled words, fell back

into slumber this morning,
the paper was blank
I rubbed it with pencil

like a child detective,
tried to read the indents
I couldn’t make them out

a great poet passed
over us all last night
I heard her leaving



Mary Oliver, 83, Prize-Winning Poet of the Natural World, Is Dead [New York Times]

Donna Spruijt-Metz is a poet, translator, and Professor of Psychology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Her first career was as a professional flutist. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in venues such as the American Journal of Poetry, Naugatuck River Review, Juked and Poetry Northwest. Her chapbook, Slippery Surfaces, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2019. She gets restless.

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