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Our Top Poems of 2016


We had many occasions for celebration in 2016. From the release of our brand new Animal Spirit Deck + Guidebook in May to the triumphant return of The Wild Unknown Tarot in November, 2016 was one of the most creative and expansive years in The Wild Unknown's history.

But we also had a lot of pain: the loss of zeitgeist-defining musicians and artists like David Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen cut deep, with each of their sudden departures seeming to coincide with various new darknesses to engage.

As always, we turn toward art for sustenance. And this time, we're letting the poets lead the way back to hope. Here are the poems that got us through 2016 — and here's to finding more hope, more creativity, and more transformation in the year ahead.


The TWU Staff





And therefore when you sleep, you are alone in your dreaming,

and running freely through the corridors

of one dream only, which belongs to you.

Oh never let them come to steal our dreams,

never let them entwine us in our bed.

Let us hold on to the shadows

to see if, from our own obscurity,

we emerge and grope along the walls,

lie in wait for the light, to capture it,

till, once and for all time,

it becomes our own, the sun of every day.

— Pablo Neruda



Good Bones

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.

Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine

in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,

a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways

I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least

fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative

estimate, though I keep this from my children.

For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.

For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,

sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world

is at least half terrible, and for every kind

stranger, there is one who would break you,

though I keep this from my children. I am trying

to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,

walking you through a real shithole, chirps on

about good bones: This place could be beautiful,

right? You could make this place beautiful.

—Maggie Smith



The Gift

Now is the time. Now is the time to know

That all that you do is sacred.

Now, why not consider

A lasting truce with yourself and God? Now is the time to understand

That all your ideas of right and wrong

Were just a child’s training wheels

To be laid aside

When you can finally live

with veracity and love. Now is the time for the world to know

That every thought and action is sacred.

That this is the time

For you to compute the impossibility

That there is anything

But Grace. Now is the season to know

That everything you do

Is Sacred.

— Hafiz



so you can be free

to feel

something else.

—nayyirah waheed



The Wind, One Brilliant Day

The wind, one brilliant day, called

to my soul with an odor of jasmine.

'In return for the odor of my jasmine,

I'd like all the odor of your roses.'

'I have no roses; all the flowers

in my garden are dead.'

'Well then, I'll take the withered petals

and the yellow leaves and the waters of the fountain.'

the wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:

'What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?'

— Antonio Machado 


Now That I'm Older

It's different now I think

I wasn't older yet

I wasn't wise, I guess

Somewhere I lost whatever else I had

I wasn't over you

I see it run inside itself

And then I called you out

I'm not such older than I was

I'm feeling so much righter now

And then I woke myself, confused

Your dress comes down

To you, don't get it wrong, don't get excited

I wanted so much to be at rest

Now that I'm older

So be it so of love

— Sufjan Stevens