These nights are gifts
our hands unwrapping the darkness
to see what we have.
--Carol Ann Duffy, from "December," Rapture: Poems (Picador, 2005)
They know us by our lips. They know the proverb
about the space between us. Many slip.
They are older than their flashy friends, the glasses.
They held water first, are named in scripture.
Most are gregarious. You'll often see them
nestled in snowy flocks on trestle tables
or perched on trolleys. Quite a few stay married
for life in their own home to the same saucer,
and some are virgin brides of quietness
in a parlour cupboard, wearing gold and roses.
Handless, chipped, some live on in the flour bin,
some with the poisons in the potting shed.
Shattered, they lie in flowerpot, flowerbed, fowlyard.
Fine earth in earth, they wait for resurrection.
Restored, unbreakable, they'll meet our lips
on some bright morning filled with loving kindness.
--Gwen Harwood, "Cups"