The river stones are listening
because we have something to say.
The trees lean closer today.
The singing in the electrical woods
has gone dumb. It looks like rain
because it is too warm to snow.
Guardian angels, wherever you're hiding,
we know you can't be everywhere at once.
Have you corralled all the pretty wild
horses? The memory of ants asleep
in daylilies, roses, holly, & larkspur.
The magpies gaze at us, still
waiting. River stones are listening.
But all we can say now is,
Mercy, please, rock me.

  • Yusef Komunyakaa, "Rock Me, Mercy" from The Emperor of Water Clocks. Copyright © 2015 by Yusef Komunyakaa.  Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

  • Source: The Emperor of Water (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2015)

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"I learned to enjoy older poems. At first, I hated the requirement that I had to choose a poem that was pre-20th century. However, as time went by, I began to enjoy the poems more and more. My favorite pre-20th century poet is now Emily Bronte. "
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