This Week in Poetry

There will soon be a lot of toasting going on, with a new year less than a week away. Wendy Videlock's poem,  A Toast,  reminds me of Garp's dying request that his wife remember "everything." Videlock's poem is an act of inclusive respect, and in just a few lines she offers us a world. And then, please read on to find Virginia Hamilton Adair's wonderful poem, Red Camellias. This poem captures so well how our dead loved ones stay with us and, perhaps, add a dimension to our lives. The photo is a poor thing but my own. Wishing you all the best of new years!


Here’s to the mountain,
here’s to the sky,
here’s to the who
and the what, and the why,
here’s to the leisure,
here’s to the chore,
here’s to the pit,
and the skin, and the core,
here’s to the ancient,

here’s to the now,
here’s to the thumb
and the seed and the plow,
here’s to the fire,
here’s to the shore,

here’s to the star
and the freak, and the bore,
here’s to the addict,
here’s to the saint,

here’s to the song
and the hum of complaint,
here’s to the miner,
here’s to the crone,
here’s to the ruined,
the staid, and the flown,
here’s to the wrist,

here’s to the tongue,
here’s to the rib
and the cage and the bone.

Wendy Videlock

Rattle Poets Respond
Posted: 27 Dec 2015 12:00 AM PST


You going ahead of me
down unlighted stairs …
but waking in our window
the lawn green through red & white
camellias, I know neverness.
It was a dream. Nine years
since you saw the sun rise, gold spill
through leaves, over lawns. My face
has grown old, knees stiffen
making ridiculous my love
of racing barefoot.
In the kitchen I drink coffee
eat peanuts, read a clipping:
“Robert Mezey likes it here.”
Run upstairs to reopen
pages of an earlier world
pure forms, forgotten games.
To survive we must unlearn much.
Lovemaker, wandering Jew,
did you see them plain
my friends, foes, mentors
Gordon & Roberta of “Kenyon Canyon”?
To be acclaimed young is heady
later on a drag.
The camellias are dropping,
structures & colors come apart.
I salute you, not-quite-stranger.
Poets still coast into day on dreams
drink coffee with the dead
write letters they never send.

Virginia Hamilton Adair

from Rattle #7, Summer 1997

Posted: 22 Dec 2015 12:00 AM PST