Thursday, June 15, 2023

A Gathering of Poetry: June 2023

It's the third Thursday of the month so I'd like to welcome you to A Gathering of Poetry. I perused many of my favorite poets (Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, Wislawa Szymborska ...) and while they have all written poems about birthdays, none of them was quite what I was looking for. 

But I found a new-to-me poem by a new-to-me poet that was just right. The Academy of American Poets website allows you to search more than 10,000 poems by occasion, theme, and form, so this is an excellent resource if you're ever looking for a poem (rather than waiting for one to come to you).

by Joyce Sutphen

The second half of my life will be black 
to the white rind of the old and fading moon. 
The second half of my life will be water 
over the cracked floor of these desert years. 
I will land on my feet this time, 
knowing at least two languages and who 
my friends are. I will dress for the 
occasion, and my hair shall be 
whatever color I please.
Everyone will go on celebrating the old 
birthday, counting the years as usual, 
but I will count myself new from this 
inception, this imprint of my own desire.

The second half of my life will be swift, 
past leaning fenceposts, a gravel shoulder, 
asphalt tickets, the beckon of open road. 
The second half of my life will be wide-eyed, 
fingers shifting through fine sands, 
arms loose at my sides, wandering feet. 
There will be new dreams every night, 
and the drapes will never be closed. 
I will toss my string of keys into a deep 
well and old letters into the grate.

The second half of my life will be ice
breaking up on the river, rain
soaking the fields, a hand
held out, a fire,
and smoke going
upward, always up.


Sutphen, Joyce. "Crossroads". Straight Out of View, Holy Cow! Press: Duluth, 1995. 

You can read more about the poet here

(And Happy 66th Birthday to me!)


Thanks for reading and joining us for our monthly Gathering of Poetry. Be sure to visit Kym and Kat so you can gather more poetry and you can add your link below if you would like to share one of your favorite poems. The more the merrier!

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  1. Happy birthday, Bonny! Hope your fresh new year is full of happy surprises and joyful days.

  2. This is just the most perfect poem celebrating birthdays I've ever read! What a great find, Bonny. And I wish you the very happiest of birthdays. Enjoy your special day! XOXO

  3. This is a fantastic poem, especially for those of us somewhere in the middle of life. Happiest of birthdays to you!

  4. This is a wonder poem, Bonny (and happy birthday to you!) I hope your day is full of every good thing... and so much more!

  5. Happy, happy birthday Bonny. What a fun and appropriate poem. I especially like the line "I will toss my string of keys into a dark well"

  6. Happy Birthday Bonny. I hope your year is full of delight and peace and love. I do enjoy Sutphen's poetry. I'm glad you found her and this poem.

  7. Belated Happy Birthday, Bonny! I hope you had a wonderful day and that you have a wonderful year!

    1. Thank you, Debbie! It was a lovely day and I'm starting off on a wonderful year.

  8. Best wishes (coming a bit late!) for another love and joy-filled trip around the sun! Happy Birthday!!


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