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About this Poem 

"Ideally, this little poem would be printed as a circle and wouldn’t start or end but rather would round upon itself like the seamless repose of the dragon. But, on second thought, since it’s describing the disruption of the dragon’s perfect circuit, I guess it makes sense that it’s all chopped up."


—Kay Ryan

Token Loss

Kay Ryan, 1945
To the dragon
any loss is
total. His rest 
is disrupted
if a single 
jewel encrusted
goblet has
been stolen.
The circle
of himself
in the nest
of his gold
has been
broken.  No
loss is token.

Copyright © 2014 by Kay Ryan. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on January 10, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2014 by Kay Ryan. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on January 10, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan

The author of several collections of poetry, Kay Ryan has served as both a Poet Laureate for the Library of Congress and a Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets.

by this poet

poem
The chickens
are circling and
blotting out the 
day. The sun is 
bright, but the 
chickens are in 
the way. Yes,
the sky is dark
with chickens, 
dense with them.
They turn and 
then they turn 
again. These 
are the chickens
you let loose
one at a time
and small—
various breeds.
Now they have 
come home
to roost—
poem
Everything contains some
silence. Noise gets
its zest from the
small shark's-tooth-
shaped fragments
of rest angled
in it. An hour
of city holds maybe
a minute of these
remnants of a time
when silence reigned,
compact and dangerous
as a shark. Sometimes
a bit of a tail
or fin can still
be sensed in parks.
poem
Nothing exists as a block
and cannot be parceled up.
So if nothing's ventured
it's not just talk;
it's the big wager.
Don't you wonder
how people think
the banks of space 
and time don't matter?
How they'll drain
the big tanks down to 
slime and salamanders
and want thanks?