Humanist Voices in Verse



Literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm.

April is National Poetry Month, established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 to keep the love of poetry alive. In celebration we’re highlighting humanist voices in verse each Tuesday in April.


Reading on the Porch on the Last Day of Summer

                for David McCullough

Once again, there is the door

which is this book, held like a

small bird against my open palms,

a prayer of wandered meditation.


Once again, embraced by a spell,

into time with no timepieces.

I am hearing the musings of

a wind through a cornfield,


I sense that swirling anxiety

of compelling passion, tracing

a finger along the bared creases

of another man’s map,


Humming along with the trilling birds,

Glasses touching glasses at

a fine party, a raised arm waving

farewell from the window of a train.


The story being told is about

a man who tells stories.


At once something stirs me back,

back from far and contented travels,

Whistle-stops on the well-worn,

outlying edges of the possible,


To find that these trees have

been awaiting me in silence.

The concentric gossamer threads of

an orb weaver, swaying weightless

in angled light and a feeble breeze.


What I had not heard, I hear now.

The limpid voices of home, all

that is faithful and familiar.

The river swaying, still singing.

—by Daniel Thomas Moran


Hiking the Ridges

From a distance the late snow gleams

in defiance of the warming clime.

But when you approach, walking

slowly on slippery rocks underfoot,

you notice that the snow is an edifice

sculpted by wind into pinnacles

of iced strength standing in curious form.


Where are you standing? Is this not the mind

and you explore a world within of rock,

an internal planet of self? Your boots

are now on air and you still walk.

For here, alone, you part nets of neurons

sealed to a scene of questing drama.

Is your mind here or are you the mind?


Your arms move, your legs — you turn your head.

You are a material spirit of many earths.

Your mind inhabits all — every atom of desire.

For you create yourself in every act,

every thought: choices hammer a contour.

Your will inhabits decisions spelled in flesh.

Your curious tabernacle is the unmelting self.

—by Virginia Walker