Archives for category: Months of Year

MARCH (Excerpt from “The Months”)
by Linda Pastan 

When the Earl King came
to steal away the child
in Goethe’s poem, the father said
don’t be afraid,

it’s just the wind. . .
As if it weren’t the wind
that blows away the tender
fragments of this world—

leftover leaves in the corners
of the garden, a Lenten Rose
that thought it safe
to bloom so early.

 SOURCE: “The Months” by Linda Pastan appears in its entirety at Originally published in Poetry (October 1999).

IMAGE: “Lenten Rose” by Lorna Hooper. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda Pastan has published at least 12 books of poetry and a number of essays. Her awards include the Dylan Thomas Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award (Poetry Society of America), the Bess Hokin Prize (Poetry Magazine), the 1986 Maurice English Poetry Award (for A Fraction of Darkness), the Charity Randall Citation of the International Poetry Forum, and the 2003 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Two of her collections of poems were nominated for the National Book Award and one for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. From 1991–1995 she was Poet Laureate of Maryland. (Read more at

by Richard Kenney

Sky a shook poncho.
Roof   wrung. Mind a luna moth
Caught in a banjo.

This weather’s witty
Peek-a-boo. A study in

Blues! Blooms! The yodel
Of   the chimney in night wind.
That flat daffodil.

With absurd hauteur
New tulips dab their shadows
In water-mutter.

Boys are such oxen.
Girls! — sepal-shudder, shadow-
Waver. Equinox.

Plums on the Quad did
Blossom all at once, taking
Down the power grid.

NOTE: Richard Kenney discusses “March” at

IMAGE: “Luna Moon I” by Betsy Gray. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Kenney’s first collection of poetry, The Evolution of the Flightless Bird (1984), received the Yale Younger Poets Prize.

Kenney’s second book, Orrery (1985), took its name from an eighteenth-century device used to display the movements of the solar system. During the 1980s and ‘90s Kenney received a number of prestigious awards, including the Lannan Award, the Rome Prize in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and a fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In 2008 he published One-Strand River: Poems 1994-2007. Kenney is professor of English at the University of Washington, where he teaches in the MFA program. He lives with his family in Port Townsend, Washington.

Today marks the 130th anniversary of the birth of Franz Kafka, born on July 3, 1883 in Prague (Bohemia, Austria-Hungary). In a piece of unplanned symmetry, the Charles Bukowski poem we posted yesterday (“I Like Your Books”) ends with the line, “let ’em go back to Kafka.” So, yes, today we are going back to Kafka and will post a variety of quotes from the great author — and he had much to say about books and writing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Franz Kafka (July 3, 1883 –  June 3, 1924) was a German-language writer of novels and short stories, regarded by critics as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. His major works include The Metamorphosis, The Trial, and The Castle. A lawyer by training, Kafka worked in an insurance company and wrote short stories in his spare time — but only a few of his works were published during his lifetime. Kafka’s unfinished manuscripts were published posthumously, mostly by his friend Max Brod, who ignored Kafka’s wish to destroy the material. Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre are among the writers influenced by Kafka’s work; the term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe surreal situations such as those in his writing. (Read more at

Artwork: Franz Kafka by Andy Warhol (1980)

by Robert Louis Stevenson

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

PHOTO: A “supermoon“– closer to the Earth than normal and appearing 14% larger — rises behind roadside plants growing in Prattville, Ala., Saturday, June 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

by John Milton (1608-1674)

Now the bright morning star, day’s harbinger,

Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her

The flowery May, who from her green lap throws

The yellow cowslip, and the pale primrose.

Hail, bounteous May, that doth inspire

Mirth, and youth, and warm desire;

Woods and groves are of thy dressing,

Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing,

Thus we salute thee with our early song,

And welcome thee, and wish thee long.


Painting: “Flowers” by Andy Warhol (1970)


by Robert Bly

In the month of May when all leaves open,

I see when I walk how well all things

lean on each other, how the bees work,

the fish make their living the first day.

Monarchs fly high; then I understand

I love you with what in me is unfinished.
I love you with what in me is still

changing, what has no head or arms

or legs, what has not found its body.

And why shouldn’t the miraculous,

caught on this earth, visit

the old man alone in his hut?
And why shouldn’t Gabriel, who loves honey,

be fed with our own radishes and walnuts?

And lovers, tough ones, how many there are

whose holy bodies are not yet born.

Along the roads, I see so many places

I would like us to spend the night.


Painting: “Apple Blossoms I” by Georgia O’Keeffe (1930)

by Jonathan Galassi

The backyard apple tree gets sad so soon,   
takes on a used-up, feather-duster look   
within a week.
The ivy’s spring reconnaissance campaign   
sends red feelers out and up and down   
to find the sun.
Ivy from last summer clogs the pool,   
brewing a loamy, wormy, tea-leaf mulch   
soft to the touch
and rank with interface of rut and rot.
The month after the month they say is cruel   
is and is not.

…From NORTH STREET, a collection of poems by Jonathan Galassi, available at

Painting: “Apple tree blooming in late spring” by Steve Kuzma, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

by Maurice Sendak

In May I think it truly best
to be a robin lightly dressed
concocting soup inside my nest
Mix it once, mix it twice,
mix that chicken soup with rice.

…From CHICKEN SOUP WITH RICE: A Book of Months by Maurice Sendak, available at


“Fiction is about everything human and we are made out of dust, and if you scorn getting yourself dusty, then you shouldn’t try to write fiction. It’s not a grand enough job for you.”


Illustration: Flannery O’Connor street art, photo by Billy Craven

March is Women’s History Month. Here at Silver Birch Press, when we think of history, our mind first travels to literary history. So during the month of March, we will celebrate some of the women authors who have inspired us, starting with writer par excellence Flannery O’Connor (whose birthday also happens to fall in March). With her short story collections and novels, O’Connor proved one of the best writers — woman or man — of the 20th Century. In her short life — O’Connor died from complications of lupus at age 39 — she left a legacy that will live forever.

For great (and intense) reads, check out: 

A Good Man Is Hard to Find (short stories, 1955)

Wise Blood (novel, 1952)



by Denise Levertov

As the stores close, a winter light

    opens air to iris blue,

    glint of frost through the smoke

    grains of mica, salt of the sidewalk.

As the buildings close, released autonomous   

    feet pattern the streets

    in hurry and stroll; balloon heads

    drift and dive above them; the bodies   

    aren’t really there.

As the lights brighten, as the sky darkens,

    a woman with crooked heels says to another woman   

    while they step along at a fair pace,

    “You know, I’m telling you, what I love best   

    is life. I love life! Even if I ever get

    to be old and wheezy—or limp! You know?   

    Limping along?—I’d still … ” Out of hearing.   

To the multiple disordered tones

    of gears changing, a dance

    to the compass points, out, four-way river.   

    Prospect of sky

    wedged into avenues, left at the ends of streets,   

    west sky, east sky: more life tonight! A range   

    of open time at winter’s outskirts.

“February Evening in New York” from Collected Earlier Poems 1940-1960. Copyright © 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1979 by Denise Levertov, available at

Photo: “Chelsea, New York City” by Ludovic Betron, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED