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Rita Dove poem for the west entrance

The words of a poem by Rita Dove are inscribed in a continuous border of marble that wraps around the west garden walkway, allowing the poem to unwind as visitors walk down to the new entrance. The Folger commissioned this new poem from the former US Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner as a way of welcoming visitors to the new Adams Pavilion.

Clear your calendars. Pocket your notes.

Look up into the blue amplitudes,

sun lolling on his throne, watching clouds

scrawl past, content with going nowhere.

No chart can calibrate the hush that settles

just before the first cricket song rises;

no list will recall a garden’s embroidery,

its fringed pinks and reds, its humble hedges.

Every day is Too Much or Never Enough,

so stop fretting your worth and berating

the cosmos – step into a house where

the jumbled perfumes of our human potpourri

waft up from a single page.

You can feel the world stop, lean in, and listen

as your heart starts up again.

Rita Dove

Rita Dove