Poetry Explorer

Search Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Search Results

Back to search

Searching...
Author: DEFREES, MADELINE
Matches Found: 115


Defrees, Madeline    Poet's Biography
Alternate Author Name(s): Mary Gilbert, Sister; De Frees, Madeline
115 poems available by this author


A WOMAN POSSESSED    Poem Text    
First Line: She remembered the charge
Last Line: And the woman, old
Subject(s): Women; Bulls


ALADDIN LAMP    Poem Text    
First Line: With luck and the slow hand of the lover
Last Line: In the window blazes.
Subject(s): Antiques; Fire; Lamps


ALMANAC    Poem Text    
First Line: Into my ravaged garden as into the tattered
Last Line: I follow crossing over.
Subject(s): Decay; Gardens & Gardening; Rot; Decadence


AN ELEGY FOR DAN    Poem Text    
Subject(s): Death; Dead, The


ANDREW CARNEGIE COMPARED TO THE AIR WE BREATHE (1835-1919)       
First Line: Because his parents believed in pets, andrew kept
Last Line: But give back with interest. This poem for instance, %dead or alive, it's own reward


ANTIQUE CONVENT PARLOR    Poem Text    
First Line: Flowers would only die in the fluted bowl,
Last Line: Outwits the pilfering dust.
Subject(s): Antiques; Convents


ARTHUR STRANGEWAYS       
First Line: His name stands first on a chart of my father's
Last Line: The marvellous dusk, as we savored our %strange arthurian supper, perfectly happy


ATLAS OF OREGON       
First Line: After a day of horizontal rain
Subject(s): Nuclear War


BEETLE LIGHT; FOR DANIEL HILLEN    Poem Text    
First Line: Hornets collect on the side of the sun
Last Line: The exterminator. Very soon they will die.
Subject(s): Extermination & Exterminators; Insects; Light; Poetry & Poets; Bugs


BESIDE MILL RIVER    Poem Text    
First Line: When my key sticks in the neighbor's
Last Line: High-rise of sleep.
Subject(s): Houses; Identity; Neighbors


BISHOPS BRING TABLETS OF STONE       
First Line: Mother went to school in a cyclone cellar. She learned
Last Line: The bishop who rode a mule called her %strawberry blond. By the time I came on the scene %it had tur


BLUEPRINTS    Poem Text    
First Line: From a long way off I can see the cross-
Last Line: Be the planner's. This one touched my heart.
Subject(s): Amish; Farm Life; Memory; Mennonites; Agriculture; Farmers


BREACHING THE ROCK    Poem Text    
First Line: Pacific, the true misnomer: around the columbia
Last Line: Ready to settle for less.
Subject(s): Labor & Laborers; Pacific Ocean; Storms; Work; Workers


BROKEN SLEEP    Poem Text    
First Line: Three times a night, I climb from my percocet
Subject(s): Dreams; Nightmares


BURNING QUESTIONS       
First Line: Three times a week mother set fire to the orphanage
Last Line: On our floor her wishes were law. For a minute %I nearly forgot she was mother


CENSUS OF ANIMAL BODIES: DRIVING HOME       
First Line: My headlights raise them up: a dash
Last Line: Crude beside these warnings: you will %smell this death for miles.


CLARE OF ASSISI    Poem Text    
First Line: Far ahead, we could already make out the bishop
Last Line: Hear those bells under water.
Subject(s): Confirmation; Names; Nuns


CLEMATIS MONTANA    Poem Text    
First Line: Flocks of itinerant stars, flung from night's
Last Line: Pool of the soul's wide summer.
Subject(s): Butterflies; Insects; Stars; Summer; Bugs


COUNTING THE WINTER DEAD    Poem Text    
First Line: Off the oregon coast, thirty-three in storm and sudden
Last Line: Voracious and benign, spare us o lord!
Subject(s): Death; Fish & Fishing; Funerals - At Sea; Oregon; Dead, The; Anglers; Burials At Sea


CROSSARMS    Poem Text    
First Line: On a cold day, this six-foot stepladder's a hardship
Last Line: Will sleep as one, our names written on water.
Subject(s): Newspapers; Poetry & Poets; Journalism; Journalists


DENBY ROMANY: 1       
First Line: Footloose that year, I borrowed flatware
Last Line: Character, each bowl a free original, %the eye its only mold


DENBY ROMANY: 2       
First Line: Deep freeze! The kids on the playground
Last Line: The child who never was %when I was young


DENBY ROMANY: 3       
First Line: A continent from montant, far from the china
Last Line: Break my fast at home, %approach the table of the lord


DENBY ROMANY: 4       
First Line: Late in her seventh decade, a gypsy in the blood
Last Line: Five against the leash when darkness fell. No %wonder everything crashed around her


DENBY ROMANY: 5       
First Line: Heavy as lilac and honeysuckle at mullioned
Last Line: I tend them. They tell me more than %desctruction inhabits the volatile air


DENBY ROMANY: 6       
First Line: Today you are in jerusalem, a good man
Last Line: Weeping. Why do you seek out the holy if not %from some need for comfort?


DENBY ROMANY: 7       
First Line: And yet, and yet, always that gilt-edged missal
Last Line: So easily said to another. %I give you my clay feet, my crooked lines


DIALOGUE PARTLY PLATONIC    Poem Text    
First Line: When we met by chance at the letter
Last Line: In the upstairs dark.
Subject(s): Memory; Strangers


DOUBLE DUTCH    Poem Text    
First Line: Dutch on both sides of his family tree-now I can
Last Line: I'm dutch.
Subject(s): Identity; Nations; Netherlands; Holland; Dutch People


DRIVING HOME    Poem Text    
First Line: The wheels keep pulling
Last Line: It may not carry me much longer.
Subject(s): Driving & Drivers; Night; Roads; Bedtime; Paths; Trails


ELEGY FOR ARNOLD    Poem Text    
First Line: Alone in my living room, I let waves of the music
Last Line: Of a love come into its own.
Subject(s): Death; Liberty Bell; Loss; Dead, The


EMILY DICKINSON AND GERARD MANELY HOPKINS    Poem Text    
First Line: My notebook shows they took a formal cruise,
Last Line: Was warped for good. I am the living proof.
Variant Title(s): Emily Dickinson And Gerard Manley Hopkins
Subject(s): Ancestors & Ancestry; Dickinson, Emily (1830-1886); Hopkins, Gerard Manley (1844-1889); Heritage; Heredity


EMINENT VICTORIANS       
First Line: Those years I hated them meant simply: I did not
Last Line: I believed an ice box: father, watch your priestly %hand frostbite more dangerous than fire


ERNST BARLACH       
First Line: Frost and hunger. Your stolen title, the one thing left
Last Line: Not knowing themselves %numb on the great bronze clapper


EXISTING LIGHT; FOR LEE NYE    Poem Text    
First Line: A picture is worth a thousand words
Last Line: Where I stood, half woman, half nun, exposed.
Subject(s): Identity; Nuns; Secrets


FIGURES FOR A CAROUSEL: 4. THE RIDE       
First Line: Imagination rode the terror on the terrace
Last Line: Sleeping body, and oh! The terrible air!


FIGURES FOR A CAROUSEL: 5. THE CHILD       
First Line: He would not stay confined in that maternal arch
Last Line: One they'd given: child of the place of skulls


FIRST-CLASS RELICS: LETTER TO DENNIS FINNELL       
First Line: I wanted to wear your name religiously for the rest %of my life
Last Line: By the date book next to the calendar of martyrs
Variant Title(s): Epitaph Of La Graunde Amour


FROM THE CLERESTOREY       
First Line: The monk who fasted all morning dips his bread
Last Line: Far off, he hears %the brotherly chant of those choiring voices


FROM THE DARKROOM    Poem Text    
First Line: The image comes up slowly where light fell,
Last Line: Against the lesson all love spurns.
Subject(s): Photography & Photographers


GALILEO'S CASE REOPENED (1564-1642)    Poem Text    
First Line: Lie still, son galileo, while we crack
Last Line: Your brain flowers like a solar model.
Subject(s): Galileo (1564-1642); Galileo Galilei


GEOGRAPHY AS WARNING    Poem Text    
First Line: The wildcat drilling started in 1919, the year
Last Line: Wrecks containing treasure, the flowering skull.
Subject(s): Seashore; Beach; Coast; Shore


GEORGE ELIOT (MARY ANN EVANS CROSS)    Poem Text    
First Line: Lost in her stories' complex flow, I drowned
Last Line: Listening in.
Subject(s): Eliot, George (1819-1880); Idols; Evans, Mary Ann


GILBERT OF SEMPRINGHAM    Poem Text    
First Line: Plain gilbert to me, who wore with a heavy veil
Last Line: Not even my name new-borne?
Subject(s): Catholic Church - Liturgy; Nuns


GOLD RING TRIAD       
First Line: This ragged sunflower face glows from the brush
Last Line: Forgiven, ring of abandoned lives %knit into my own


GRANDMOTHER GRANT    Poem Text    
First Line: Not the rejected lies of the new york foundling
Last Line: Here is my claim. I need to come into my own.
Subject(s): Identity; Mothers & Daughters; Nuns


GRETA GARBO AND THE STAR MESSENGER    Poem Text    
First Line: Her face the preface to water, stirred
Last Line: Bends into the current and is gone.
Subject(s): Garbo, Greta (1905-1990); Secrets


HAGIOS PANAGHIOTES: THE CHURCH IN TOLON    Poem Text    
First Line: Feeling nervous, out of place and halfway through
Last Line: On the dead. Light the candle one more time.
Subject(s): Public Worship; Church Attendance


HANGING THE BLUE NUNS; FOR WARREN CARRIER    Poem Text    
First Line: Like saints in cathedral windows, they look
Last Line: Errors — over the shrine of the past.
Subject(s): Nostalgia; Nuns


HONESTY    Poem Text    
First Line: Money doesn't grow on trees, my mother said
Last Line: In water I waited for incoming tide.
Subject(s): Grandparents; Honesty; Money; Mothers; Grandmothers; Grandfathers; Great Grandfathers; Great Grandmothers


HONEY HUNTERS OF NEPAL       
First Line: These are big game bees. When I'm after something
Last Line: Her milk recovered my life from the foxglove of %formula. Here is her snapshot in the family album


HOPE DIAMONDS    Poem Text    
First Line: One hundred fifty miles down, these uncut
Last Line: Wage. The burning faces near as the constant desert.
Subject(s): Diamonds; Mines & Miners


HORATIO ALGER (1834-1899)       
First Line: Books were the air I breathed, curled in the morris
Subject(s): Alger, Horatio (1832-1899); Clergy; Writing & Writers; Priests; Rabbis; Ministers; Bishops


HORATIO ALGER (1834-1899)       
First Line: Books were the air I breathed, curled in the morris
Last Line: Like author unknown, %like anonymous, I had arrived, %was secretly famous
Subject(s): Alger, Horatio (1832-1899); Clergy; Writing And Writers


IMAGINARY ANCESTORS: MARIANNE MOORE        Recitation
First Line: Marianne moore, did you wear the tricorne
Subject(s): Moore, Marianne (1887-1972)


IMAGINARY ANCESTORS: MARIANNE MOORE       
First Line: Marianne moore, did you wear the tricorne
Last Line: Says, if only on the gallows
Subject(s): Moore, Marianne (1887-1972)


IMAGINARY ANCESTORS: THE GIRAFFE WOMAN OF BURMA    Poem Text    
First Line: Their voices reach us as if from the shaft
Last Line: Lies close to you as air. Help me to hold up my head.
Variant Title(s): The Giraffe Women Of Burma
Subject(s): Burma; Women - Abused; Wife Beating


IN THE HELLGATE WIND    Poem Text    
First Line: January ice drifts downriver
Last Line: As the river I cross over.
Subject(s): Change; West (u.s.); Winter; Women; Southwest; Pacific States


IN THE LOCKER ROOM    Poem Text    
First Line: I surprise the women
Last Line: And bring on the body in person.
Subject(s): Nudity; Privacy; Nakedness


IN THE MIDDLE OF PRIEST LAKE    Poem Text    
First Line: Sister margaret clare
Last Line: Mother superior holds fast.
Subject(s): Clothing & Dress; Nuns


KEEPING UP WITH THE SIGNS    Poem Text    
First Line: Meadowlarks nesting march to august yield
Last Line: Three clear notes do not. Walk in open field.
Variant Title(s): Keeping Up With Sings
Subject(s): Birds; Larks; Signs & Signboards; Skylarks


LECTURE UNDER THE MOOSE       
First Line: Ritual brought us together under that wide
Last Line: Tranced eyes and reckless heads %lifted off to interstellar spaces


MARIA CALLAS, THE WOMAN BEHIND THE LEGEND*    Poem Text    
First Line: Her biographer gives us the woman, the artist
Last Line: To the other side.
Variant Title(s): Maria Calla, The Woman Behind The Legend
Subject(s): Callas, Maria (1923-1977)


NAMING THE CATARACTS    Poem Text    
First Line: If my doctors had told me, you have stars in your eyes,
Subject(s): Old Age; Sight


NEST GATHERS OF TIGER CAVE, THAILAND       
First Line: Whatever the swiftlets fly, we follow. Two miles
Last Line: Battery. Next week, in hong kong, some man from %another world will order bird's nest soup


NEW ENGLAND INTERLUDE       
First Line: None of this seems real, seen from the east


ON MY FATHER'S SIDE    Poem Text    
First Line: Off the coast of council bluffs, great grandfather's
Last Line: Through my father's impossible speech.
Subject(s): Ancestors & Ancestry; Heritage; Heredity


PAULA EXECUTES THE ANGELS       
First Line: By rights this should have been an easy piece
Last Line: Each having worked out her uneasy peace


PENDANT WATCH       
First Line: In missoula, montana, where the townsfolk water
Last Line: And the captain knows. And I know. We have it timed to the second


PORTOFINO    Poem Text    
First Line: Why, on his wine -
Last Line: Turned gold in the fall?
Subject(s): Drinks & Drinking; Memory; Wine


POWER FAILURE    Poem Text    
First Line: Walking the shore, augustine hoped to comprehend
Last Line: The mist will rise.
Subject(s): Beachcombers; Seashore; Weather; Beach; Coast; Shore


PSALM FOR A NEW NUN    Poem Text    
First Line: My life was rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.
Last Line: Heaven and earth. Yes, earth.
Subject(s): Nuns


QUARREL       
First Line: Because you were small and loud and cruel
Last Line: And the night you were leaving
Subject(s): Grief; Quarrels


SAHARAN NOMADS       
First Line: Like the bedouin cooking his dinner
Last Line: In the wasteland. Something fatal %comes on I'm not certain what (past accident, plot) uncontrollabl


SANDING THE CHAIRS    Poem Text    
First Line: All the way down to clean wood where the grain
Last Line: The curve of wood stays firm in the muscles.
Subject(s): Furniture; Past; Repairing; Mending


SCARECROW GARDENS    Poem Text    
First Line: Late-summer squash put out to sea
Last Line: In many forms: the best is art.
Subject(s): Art & Artists; Gardens & Gardening; Gold


SCENES OUT OF SEQUENCE: WHAT THE COASTWISE KNOW       
First Line: The old coast guardsman walks along the seaside
Last Line: The swollen bulbs of kelp: shape of an amber %beet tossed up by the tide


SCISSOR-TAILED SWALLOW       
First Line: Dives from the cliff %and the pale air is altered if only
Last Line: Against the vault by the hand's trajectory %bold as a falcon


SEVEN QUESTIONS FOR CATHERINE-AT-THE-WHEEL       
First Line: Who could refuse the saint who gave her name
Last Line: The demon, whose black right hand I gripped %two decades past, driving my first chevrolet?


SHACKLETON       
First Line: Two faces of the same coin: poet and explorer. This
Last Line: Destined to go down, a bride of the sea.
Subject(s): Explorers; Funerals - At Sea; Sea Voyages; Shackleton, Sir Ernest (1874-1922); Exploring; Discovery; Discoverers; Burials At Sea


SISTER MARIA CELESTE, GALILEO'S DAUGHTER, WRITES TO FRIEND    Poem Text    
First Line: Again I am at sea. If this be faith , it is not
Last Line: The battered hulk to the ocean floor.
Variant Title(s): Sister Maria Celeste, Galileo's Daughter, Writes To A Friend
Subject(s): Discontent; Faith; Dissatisfaction; Belief; Creed


SKID ROW    Poem Text    
First Line: Out of the depths have I cried, o lord,
Last Line: The bruised reed breaks and the sparrow falls.
Subject(s): Grief; Solitude; Sorrow; Sadness; Loneliness


SLEEPWALKER'S DIALOGUE*       
First Line: Stage manager: out of the shadows, over the years, the miles,
Last Line: Grant: this war of quotation grows tiresome . Let us have %peace. -presidential candidate ulysses si


SMOKEHOUSE BLUES    Poem Text    
First Line: The bluebird of happiness, once in a blue moon
Subject(s): Blue (color)


SPIRITUAL EXERCISES    Poem Text    
First Line: Knees up! Sophie shouts. We're jogging in place
Last Line: Beach towel, heavenly clothes.
Subject(s): Activity; Exercise


STANDING BY ON THE THIRD DAY       
First Line: Coming late to your bed in sleet-ridden
Last Line: We have only %this night and the one behind it


STILL LIFE    Poem Text    
First Line: After your letter arrived I left the oven on
Last Line: All in shadow that I must bathe and dress.
Subject(s): Absence; Letters; Love - Loss Of; Separation; Isolation


SWIMMING IN CATEGORIES       
First Line: The trust these women float past in could break


TERESA OF AVILA       
First Line: Part of her soul ran deeper than still waters
Last Line: First moments after we dive to the bottom %discover the rapture of the deep


THE BOOK OF SEDIMENTS    Poem Text    
First Line: Eye is an ocean bounded on every side by desert,
Last Line: Through undreamed light and water.
Subject(s): Sea; Ocean


THE CHOW, A DOG OF ANCIENT ORIGIN, HAS A BLUE-BLACK TONGUE    Poem Text    
First Line: Yet we accept her kisses, affectionate as air
Last Line: Glances off the black- / lined mouth, the dogtooth violet
Subject(s): Dogs; Tongues


THE DAY YOU WERE LEAVING    Poem Text    
First Line: The lock stuck on the attic door
Last Line: And the night you were leaving.
Subject(s): Grief; Sorrow; Sadness


THE EYE    Poem Text    
First Line: Lodged in a bony orbit in the skull, the eye
Subject(s): Eyes


THE FAMILY GROUP    Poem Text    
First Line: That sunday at the zoo I understood the child
Last Line: The strange uncertain rumor of the sea.
Subject(s): Childlessness; Children; Parents; Childhood; Parenthood


THE ODD WOMAN    Poem Text    
First Line: At parties I want to get even,
Last Line: And leave for the long river drive to town.
Subject(s): Parties; Single People; Women - Middle Aged; Bachelors; Unmarried People


THE OUTSIDER    Poem Text    
First Line: Diagonals of mindless snow
Last Line: Ripples of light and waves of song.


THE POETRY OF EYES    Poem Text    
First Line: In a dark time, roethke writes
Subject(s): Eyes


THE VISIONARY UNDER THE KNIFE    Poem Text    
Subject(s): Surgery


THE WOMEN WITH FABLED HAIR    Poem Text    
First Line: In the life to come I unravel and let down
Last Line: Dense longing.
Variant Title(s): The Woman With Fabled Hair
Subject(s): Hair; Longing


TO MARILYN MONROE WHOSE FAVORITE COLOR WAS WHITE    Poem Text    
First Line: When you wriggled onto the silver screen, marilyn-
Last Line: White sleep history promised.
Subject(s): Chastity; Monroe, Marilyn (1926-1962); White (color)


TUAREG SMITH       
First Line: Working a silver padlock the size of a
Last Line: That is called beautiful, where such as %they have they give


TUMBLEWEED       
First Line: Detachable. The mobile american par excellence
Last Line: To dignify becoming sprung from dust
Subject(s): Weeds


ULYSSES S. GRANT (1822-1885)       
First Line: The treasury voted nine to one against your ordinary
Last Line: As she lies without a coat of arms.
Subject(s): Ancestors & Ancestry; Death; Grant, Ulysses Simpson (1822-1885); Heritage; Heredity; Dead, The


UNCLE MATT'S FARM IN CHERRY GROVE       
First Line: The uncle not really an uncle, mother's second-
Last Line: Coat, red were the frayed %light fell and the natural musk


VARIATIONS ON THE EDIBLE TUBER       
First Line: The thing I hate most is eating potatoes
Last Line: Condition however extreme %this new feeling
Subject(s): Food Habits; Potatoes


VERMEER'S A WOMAN HOLDING A BALANCE    Poem Text    
First Line: Picture-within-a-picture closed on themselves: a
Last Line: Try to cross it. The painting means: itself.
Subject(s): Paintings & Painters; Vermeer, Jan (1632-1675)


VISITING SUNDAY: CONVENT NOVITIATE    Poem Text    
First Line: The parlor doors shall be glazed, the custom book
Last Line: To write the lyric.
Subject(s): Convents; Cousins; Musical Instruments; Pianos


VOICES       
First Line: Socrates, you heard them too, these voices
Last Line: Of earth splitting under us: thunder and chaos %in brainpans of sky


WHAT I MISTOOK FOR HEATHER    Poem Text    
First Line: Was creeping thyme the gardener said,
Last Line: Far step across the moon.
Subject(s): Gardens & Gardening


WHAT MAKES OR BREAKS THEM       
First Line: Greatness was something in the bones: it meant
Last Line: The late affair with the scripture wouldn't wash %the woman couldn't write or read


WIDOW       
First Line: There was a self-made widow far back in the trees
Last Line: She falls at my feet breaking the cold surface, %ash floating on air the dusr settles


WINDOWS RIDING AMTRAK; FOR ABE OPINCAR       
First Line: Hurtle through night tunnels
Last Line: The last remaining link.
Subject(s): Railroads; Solitude; Widows & Widowers; Railways; Trains; Loneliness


WITH A BOTTLE OF BLUE NUN TO ALL MY FRIENDS       
First Line: Sisters, / the blue nun has eloped with one
Last Line: It's that simple.
Subject(s): Change; Drugs & Drug Abuse; Nuns; Narcotics; Opium; Cocaine; Crack; Heroin


WOMAN LOCKED IN A MEMORIAL MUSEUM    Poem Text    
First Line: Her lips remain sealed as the walled south face
Last Line: Comes finally to rest.
Subject(s): Women - Captives


WOMAN OF THE VEIL       
First Line: The veils that hide us are everywhere
Last Line: Too strict attention stones a woman's gift. %the mist looked through we know as a metephor