Robert Knox’s “What the Earth is Like” and Roselyn Kubek’s “Necessity”

What the Earth Is Like

By Robert Knox

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart” – Rilke, The Songs of Orpheus, No. 21

The earth is like a younger brother,
who follows his sun around,
    copying his ways, rising from the ground each day
who returns from his eternal defeat
    to eternal recurrence
Like the child
who refuses to take a nap
when his cankered eyelids are weighted down
with the heavy visors of fatigue
It’s spring again
The earth tu-lips his favorite rhymes
The earth demands to stay up late
to be feted with sweetmeats
and Sugar Pops

The earth is a child who stays home from school
who endlessly sings his favorite ads
who speaks truth to raindrops
who steals cigarettes from sleeping uncles
who plays silly songs from twenty years ago
    on devices of his own devising
that only indulgent babysitters know

who hides brother Winter’s favorite toys
and refuses to give them back until Christmas

A child who demands a pet
to stay up late
to eat dandelions and green berries for supper
who demands to know a secret
and hear a brand new story every night

The earth is a child who must be paid attention
In spring the earth demands to be President
that his team always win
that the wind blow only at his back

In spring, the earth is born yesterday
and will live forever
knowing that green berries turn blue, or red,
    as required
and that old songs will be sat upon his knee

to sing old men back from tired labors
to scrounge among barbs and brambles
and smell only of Lilac in May

Previously published in Scissortail Quarterly (Issue 2, March 2021)

Writing Prompt: Choose something so vast and/or complex as to be overwhelming to contemplate, and write to or about it as if it were a child. See what you can teach it, and it you.


Roselyn Kubek

January fills us so darkly
with news that mornings lurk 

about in gray coats whether or not 
we choose to snap open the shade— 

As if we need reminding that no true 
horizon rests between sky and bay,

this year’s finch won’t be the same 
as next year’s, or the greenest grass

still dries to straw. Maybe we need
remember rather how marsh reeds 

sway their feathers in winter, summer 
smells like new parsley, or any bird, 

any bird at all that arrives in spring 
is still a bird that arrives singing.

Writing Prompt: “Necessity” is a modern sonnet about the things that are easy to forget in winter, but necessary to remember for the sake of the soul. write about something or time that makes you forget momentarily about what is essential for you to remember.

Robert Knox is a poet, fiction writer, and journalist. A contributing editor for, he is the author of the recently published House Stories, a collection of linked short stories set in a communal household circa 1970, and the poetry chapbook Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty, which was nominated for a Massachusetts Best Book Award. He has been writing poetry since his teens.

Roselyn Kubek has written poetry most of her life. Her work has appeared in a variety of sites and journals, most recently with the winning photograph in Plymouth Center for the Arts’ “Beyond the Window” competition, The Common Ground Review, Lily Poetry Review, and The Stonecoast Review. She was twice-chosen as a finalist for NEATE’s (New England Association of Teachers of English) Poet of the Year. In addition to writing, Roz tutors and teaches literature and writing to teenagers and adults. Roz and her husband divide their time between Massachusetts and Maine where they try to enjoy every minute.