I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

po_Arnold-Craig1Craig Arnold (November 16, 1967 – April 27, 2009) was an American poet and professor. His first book of poems, Shells (1999), was selected by W. S. Merwin for the Yale Series of Younger Poets.

His honors include the Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Scholarship, the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the US-Japan Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship, the Alfred Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a Dobie Paisano Residency, and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. He has also won the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, and he has been a Fulbright Scholar at Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia. An avid musician, Arnold has also performed as a member of the band Iris.

BIRD-UNDERSTANDER
Craig Arnold

Of many reasons I love you here is one

the way you write me from the gate at the airport
so I can tell you everything will be alright

so you can tell me there is a bird
trapped in the terminal all the people
ignoring it because they do not know
what to do with it except to leave it alone
until it scares itself to death

it makes you terribly terribly sad

You wish you could take the bird outside
and set it free or (failing that)
call a bird-understander
to come help the bird

All you can do is notice the bird
and feel for the bird and write
to tell me how language feels
impossibly useless

but you are wrong

You are a bird-understander
better than I could ever be
who make so many noises
and call them song

These are your own words
your way of noticing
and saying plainly
of not turning away
from hurt

you have offered them
to me I am only
giving them back

if only I could show you
how very useless
they are not

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MEDITATION ON A GRAPEFRUIT
Craig Arnold

To wake when all is possible
before the agitations of the day
have gripped you
To come to the kitchen
and peel a little basketball
for breakfast
To tear the husk
like cotton padding        a cloud of oil
misting out of its pinprick pores
clean and sharp as pepper
To ease
each pale pink section out of its case
so carefully        without breaking
a single pearly cell
To slide each piece
into a cold blue china bowl
the juice pooling        until the whole
fruit is divided from its skin
and only then to eat
so sweet
a discipline
precisely pointless    a devout
involvement of the hands and senses
a pause        a little emptiness

each year harder to live within
each year harder to live without