Poetry: Flight – The New York Times


Sometimes poetry sings when you sing it, then sings more when you sing it again. Take these lines: “Forget the years that get harder as the soul recedes with what the years bring.” I hear it and say, “Yes, I was there”. And you get a little upset about how you’ve changed. You wonder why poetry drags you into such sadness. But she keeps singing and you’re like Lenny Williams now, crying “Oh, I love you baby” one night. And he said: “Touch me. As I was. To the best of my ability./My heart is a bird’s heart beyond the palm of your hand.” Chosen by Reginald Dwayne Betts


by Christian Wiman

In the end, we love the line that love can’t cross.
We fall for what we failed in the end.

Forget friendship. Ardor
Forget the years that just got harder

as the soul recedes in what the years bring,
grew unfamiliar with anything tangible.

Touch me. As I was. As much as you can.
My heart is a bird heart beyond your hand.

After Anna Akhmatova

Reginald Dwayne Bets He is a poet and lawyer. He created Freedom Reads, an initiative to curate microlibraries and place them in jails across the country. His latest poetry collection “Felon” explores the post-incarceration experience. 2018 article He won a National Magazine Award in The New York Times Magazine for his journey from teenage car theft to working lawyer. Christian Wiman He is the author of the most recent book “Survival Is a Style” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2020).


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