Many people post their own poetry to their blogs and websites. I am still unsure what I think about the practice, being hard-wired-wedded to the idea of peer review and publication hierarchies. However, today I will make an exception and post a poem, directly, without the safe “it’s still a draft” cover story I use in my poem-a-day project. Here is a poem I wrote for my daughter’s 21st birthday, which is today. (The title and first image are “found” from my friend Simon, who lives in North Carolina, not Georgia, but I altered the state for the meter.)

A poem written for a birthday doesn’t have a special name, but many poets do write for birthdays, their own and those of loved ones.


You are born
and the forsythia is confused again in Georgia
pushing out its yellow lips
against December-short days.

You are born
and the calla lilies rise in California
on green limbs
among the frost-stunted ferns,
white cups for sky.

You are born
and twenty-one years fly with their crows,
the hail storm of that night melting again
every morning
against your warm head.

Once, I held your spine in my hand,
straight beyond my making,
the spheres that had been buoyant in me

Now you are white and yellow
and waving with your own light,
daughter, at the lip
of an ocean
you will taste
in your own right.

for Stella
December 30, 2013

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