Poems of Gratitude From Oregon

thankful for the bend
without the break

the branch beneath the weight of the finch
lightboned they be

the shake of a fir to alight a sky
for the earth

still having not released us
from their embrace

their rivers that peak
those stars

on clear nights
swimming through both

for the crows
consistent in their caw

as if saying wake
the morning lies in the street

wanting of me to be bronzed with its kiss
that every day in my city

the people strengthen together
for something unseen and powerful

for somewhere in the distance
the ocean calling

like an answer

lifting towards a grace
spoken for someone else

coming back to that which had tossed it
from where it had been thrown

— Anis Mojgani, poet laureate of Oregon

In Fire Season, Rain

The soft smoke of hard rain

drilling down through tree bones.

The hiss and steam of quenched fire —

rain nipping flame’s root, gray mud of ash.

Rain tap slapping your hat. Rain gloves.

Rain making your coat heavy, your neck cold.

Rain washing what was seared, culled, fallen, lost.

Where fire fed, rain offering rest, restoration.

Rain turning eye-salt to rivulets, rivulets

to rivers wheresoever many weep as one.

Rain thrust deep in earth, seeking seeds.

Rain taking its own sweet time.

Earth’s thirst for first rain —

never to be cursed again.

— Kim Stafford, former poet laureate of Oregon

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