Sunday, May 17, 2015

Holly Hughes: "Mind Wanting More"

Only a beige slat of sun
above the horizon, like a shade pulled
not quite down. Otherwise,
clouds. Sea rippled here and
there. Birds reluctant to fly.
The mind wants a shaft of sun to
stir the grey porridge of clouds,
an osprey to stitch sea to sky
with its barred wings, some dramatic
music: a symphony, perhaps
a Chinese gong.

But the mind always
wants more than it has—
one more bright day of sun,
one more clear night in bed
with the moon; one more hour
to get the words right; one
more chance for the heart in hiding
to emerge from its thicket
in dried grasses—as if this quiet day
with its tentative light weren't enough,
as if joy weren't strewn all around.

"Mind Wanting More" by Holly Hughes. Text as published in American Zen: A Gathering of Poets, edited by Larry Smith and Ray McNiece (Bottom Dog Press, 2004).

Art credit: "Dried grass with green fringe," photograph by Jonathan Martin-DeMoor. Caption: "Dried grass seed heads glow in the warming evening light of early spring."


  1. Such exactitude and freshness in "the grey porridge of clouds"! Brava, Holly Hughes!

  2. One of my favorites! The human condition, to always want to know what comes next, to discover the thing no one else knows, to say that thing only known to one. My sister's son says we are always seeking to exceed our collective limitations. Isn't that amazing?

  3. This continues to be one of my favorite poems, and it is especially apt in this long pandemic season of 2020-2021. Thank you.

  4. I can feel myself in the place she describes. So few words and yet so evocative of that "quiet day with its tentative light" on the shore.


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