POETRY pt. 3

É uma continuação do tópico POETRY pt. 2.

DiscussãoClub Read 2023

Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.

POETRY pt. 3

Jun 22, 3:24 pm

Summer Night By Dennis Jarrett ISSUE 55, FALL 1972 (Paris Review)

Elmer Fudd
by the fire
bald head shining
feet up on a round cushion

orange, transparent
Pluto sniffs
the perfect hedge
outside the window

a couple of sketchy
suburban houses
with lights on
purple grey

Mickey calling
far off
here boy

Jun 22, 3:56 pm

>1 dianeham: This new thread is off to a nice start! I enjoyed that.

Jun 22, 4:39 pm

>2 FlorenceArt: :) glad to hear that. Starting off summer with a little whimsy.

Jun 24, 8:06 am

Thanks for keeping this going, Diane. I like the "Summer Night" poem.

Editado: Jun 24, 8:08 am

Vote Your Way to Hell

It’s a long and arduous journey.
Starving with numbness.
Tired of mixing kindness and sabotage.
You can’t trust instinct.
After the election, you can’t believe the weather is wrong again.
The sky cheats on your speech.
The process is complicated and precarious.
Disappointed, there’s no word of a sad sneer.
Nothing has changed.

What else do you expect?
This is already a hell, paved by your blood and passion.
You’d rather go back to the womb, it’s warmer.
May other reckless souls be consumed.

Even so, I want everyone to vote.
Vote your way to an alternative hell.
You’re part of the construction of our living inferno.

Here, keep cracking and burning bones as fuel.
The walls scream for mercy, sounding like your singing voice.
Many innocent young souls are recognized.
Vote! You deserve limbo, not war.
We need to keep walking in the dark, searching for hellfire and passing offspring an improbable spring and a maybe sunrise.

-Chia-Lun Chang

Here is a cheery one from Poem-A-Day!

Jun 24, 8:44 am

>1 dianeham: oh dear, should i be charmed or horrified? I’m both.

>5 msf59: I’m trying to stifle my political inclinations lately, but this rings nicely. 2016 was tough on any future outlook. November 2024 is uncomfortably close.

Jun 24, 10:21 am

So many poets I have never heard of. Lovely discovering them here

Jun 24, 10:40 am

>5 msf59: I've posted this before, on an earlier iteration of this thread, but this poem speaks to Vote Your Way to Hell so well that I can't resist posting it again here. I love when poems are in conversation with each other.

Voting as Fire Extinguishter
by Kyle Tran Myhre

When the haunted house catches fire:
a moment of indecision.
The house was, after all, built on bones,
and blood, and bad intentions.
Everyone who enters the house feels
that overwhelming dread, the evil
that perhaps only fire can purge.
It’s tempting to just let it burn.
And then I remember:
there are children inside.

Editado: Jun 24, 10:49 am

>5 msf59: & >8 Julie_in_the_Library: Thanks for putting these together.

Jun 24, 1:41 pm

>8 Julie_in_the_Library: Wow! What a perfect companion piece to the one I shared. Nice, angry bookends.

Jun 26, 6:50 pm

I first came to Mandelstam 40 years ago, and am making another revisit as I am just about to read the biography just translated into English. My copy of the poems is beginning to fall apart as I read it so much in my 20s and 30s.

Before the 1930s he wrote much about nature and love.


Take from my palms, to sooth your heart,
a little honey, a little sun,
in obedience to Persephone’s bees.

You can’t untie a boat that was never moored
nor hear a shadow in its furs,
nor move through thick life without fear.

For us, all that’s left is kisses
tattered as the little bees
that die when they leave the hive.

Deep in the transparent night they’re still humming,
at home in the dark wood on the mountain,
in the mint and lungwort and the past.

But lay to your heart my rough gift,
this lovely dry necklace of dead bees
that once made a sun out of honey.



From the 1930s on it got darker.


No, it's not for me to duck out of the mess

behind the cabdriver's back that's Moscow.

I am the cherry swinging from the streetcar strap
of an evil time. What am I doing alive?

We'll take Streetcar “A” and then streetcar “B,”

you and I to see who dies first. As for Moscow,
One minute she's a crouched sparrow,

the next she's puffed up like a pastry -

How does she find time to threaten from holes?

You do as you please, I won't chance it.

My glove's not warm enough for the drive

around the whole whore Moscow.


Eventually he was sent to a Siberian labour camp for a poem that insulted Stalin.

Jun 26, 7:29 pm

Enjoyed those. Wish it had gone better for him.

Jun 28, 7:56 am

>11 Caroline_McElwee: Interesting poems, Caroline. I was not familiar with him.

Jun 28, 7:57 am

Backlit by the glitter-chopped horizon

Backlit by the glitter-chopped horizon, each of these 17 Marbled Godwits poking at the tideline must have a heartbeat; every living, perfect Whimbrel, its eyes. The surf is stacked, tilted, as if it were higher than the beach. There is an urgency to turn home, get this assignment of pleasure done, strike it off the list where vanish will be the last task, and then there is the thought of those 17 hearts. Less rain means more salt, anchovies, more whales—a ferment to savor against a distant cloud of Shearwaters above the incessant upwelling.

Killarney Clary

From Poem-A-Day

-Marbled Godwit (I still NEED to see one of these!)

^Yes, I love birds. Maybe more than poetry. 😁🐦

Jun 28, 1:37 pm

>14 msf59: Love that one! I’d love to see a marbled godwit too, and a whimbrel?

Jul 1, 9:00 am

>11 Caroline_McElwee: A poet I've read about but not any of his poems. Need to correct that. Thanks for the nudge.

Jul 1, 9:41 am

The Chinese Insomniacs (1981)

It is good to know
the Chinese insomniacs.
How, in 495 A.D.,
in 500 B.C.,
the moon shining, and the pine-
trees shining back
at it, a poet had to walk
to the window.

It is companionable
to remember my fellow
who was unable to sleep
because of a sorrow, or not;
who had to watch
for the wind
to stir night flowers in the garden
instead of making the deep journey.

They live nine hun-
dred years apart,
and turn, and turn, restless.
She says her sleeve is wet
with tears; he says something difficult
to forget, like
music counts the heartbeat.

A date is only a mark
on paper—it has little to do
with what is long.
It is good to have their company
tonight: a lady, awake
until birdsong:
a gentleman who made
poems later out of frag-
ments of the dark.

Jul 1, 9:59 am

>17 dchaikin: Nice one

Jul 2, 10:37 am

Rainer Maria Rilke
(Translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1984)

The sky puts on the darkening blue coat
held for it by a row of ancient trees;
you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight,
one journeying to heaven, one that falls;

and leave you, not at home in either one,
not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses,
not calling to eternity with the passion
of what becomes a star each night, and rises;

and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel)
your life, with its immensity and fear,
so that, now bounded, now immeasurable,
it is alternately stone in you and star.

Jul 2, 3:11 pm

>19 dchaikin: love it!

Jul 3, 10:38 am

>19 dchaikin: I love Rilke Dan. Time for a reread soon.

Jul 8, 3:05 pm

In the Park
by Maxine Kumin (1989)

You have forty-nine days between
death and rebirth if you're a Buddhist.
Even the smallest soul could swim
the English Channel in that time
or climb, like a ten-month-old child,
every step of the Washington Monument
to travel across, up, down, over or through
—you won't know till you get there which to do.

He laid on me for a few seconds
said Roscoe Black, who lived to tell
about his skirmish with a grizzly bear
in Glacier Park. He laid on me
not doing anything, I could feel
his heart beating against my heart.

Never mind lie and lay, the whole world
confuses them. For Roscoe Black you might say
all forty-nine days flew by.

I was raised on the Old Testament.
In it God talks to Moses, Noah,
Samuel, and they answer.
People confer with angels. Certain
animals converse with humans.
It's a simple world, full of crossovers.
Heaven's an airy Somewhere, and God
has a nasty temper when provoked,
but if there's a Hell, little is made of it.
No longtailed Devil, no eternal fire,

and no choosing what to come back as.
When the grizzly bear appears, he lies/lays down
on atheist and zealot. In the pitch-dark
each of us waits for him in Glacier Park.

Jul 8, 3:09 pm

>20 dianeham: >21 Caroline_McElwee: all these are from Sixty Years of American Poetry: Celebrating the Anniversary of the Academy of American Poets. The Rilke was under the American translator’s name. What got me is I’m reading through these, most flickering by, good but just another, and something about the Rilke said: wait, read this again. There’s more. And i read it over several times, and it read a little differently to me each time.

Jul 8, 7:51 pm

>22 dchaikin: this one’s great too.

Editado: Jul 9, 8:49 am

>22 dchaikin: I haven't read Kumin for years, if I remember rightly a friend/mentor of Anne Sexton.

>23 dchaikin: I love when a poem draws you back and back. I'm finding that with the Mandelstam Dan. I have revisited him every decade and my joy deepens.

Jul 9, 6:27 pm

>25 Caroline_McElwee: i don’t know anything about Maxine Kumin. Thanks for that. I’ve read some essays by Mandelstam, and found them hard to process (in translation, of course). But I haven’t read his poetry.

Jul 12, 8:06 am

Desiderata - Words for Life

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans...

(I like how the poem ends too-)

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann 1927

Full poem: https://allpoetry.com/Desiderata---Words-for-Life

Editado: Jul 14, 8:06 am

>22 dchaikin: I love the "In the Park" poem, Dan. Thanks for sharing.

Was my Ehrmann entry too lightweight for everyone? 😁

Editado: Jul 14, 8:10 am

Stability Is a Feeling

I am doing nothing with my exile
of a life.

I go to the supermarket Saturday
on walks in the wilderness
of America on Sunday. I get thin.

I encourage the man I married
to work hard
at a career I don’t admire.

He is not sweet or funny.
He is as steady and strong as death.

I find myself horrified
of the future; the woman I want to be

is implausible. Voicing
my tender ideas is not possible.

The book of poems inside me
is desperate for morning.

-Nazifa Islam

From Poem-A-Day

Jul 16, 4:03 pm

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world and am free.

-Wendell Berry

Jul 18, 3:37 pm

Jul 19, 1:01 am

>31 dianeham: beautiful !

Jul 19, 3:08 am

>32 FlorenceArt: I wondered if you would like it.

Jul 19, 11:07 am

>33 dianeham: Because it mentions Paris? It’s certainly far from the usual stereotypical descriptions you might expect with a title like that. Possibly it contributed to my reaction. And I keep wondering if I actually know this rue Charlot. The name rings a bell.

Anyway I also liked the poem for itself. A lot.

Editado: Jul 19, 12:36 pm

>31 dianeham: makes me want to go to Paris

Jul 19, 12:56 pm

>35 dchaikin: Bonne idée!

Jul 19, 2:00 pm

We can have a meet-up 😉

Editado: Jul 20, 8:11 am


Adam's Daughter (1996)

Golden Transparent: by the light of an apple
I saw the earth, and it was green and good.
Under the dust it almost glowed. Gorged,
I lay in the back of the station wagon

between the boxes of apples my father had picked.
Golden Delicious: I had eaten of the fruit
of the knowledge of good and evil
but my eyes were not opened, I was no god.

No, I was a snake, well-fed,
crushed beneath the heel of the desert air
heavy with isotopes. I was none the wiser.
Brought forth in sorrow, I was the daughter

of a radiation monitor, entry level,
who would work his way up to "feasibility studies"
for reactors yet to be built. Once a month
he left two glass flasks of his urine in a leaden case

on the front porch. Oh, let him not be "hot."
By the unearthly glow of an apple
no, by the faint, sainted blue of atomic decay,
uranium father to daughter, longing to be lead,

the cottonwoods of the shelterbelt shivered.
Leaves whispered rumors of nothing, nothing amiss.
A rattlesnake's lazy hiss turned on itself,
a cyclotron asleep in the dirt.

A train wailed like a prophet weary of wilderness.
In a lead-lined car, steel flasks of plutonium,
squeezed drop by drop from rock,
tried not to be shaken by the world

outside the reactor gates. But what did I know?
As if out there at the checkpoint
a seraph had lifted a fiery sword.

Ago 3, 8:30 am

No, the human heart
Is unknowable.
But in my birthplace
The flowers still smell
The same always.

Ki No Tsurayuki (lived 842-946)
translation by Kenneth Rexroth

Ago 3, 7:37 pm

By Marvin Bell (today is his birthday)

Once I could ignore
birds everywhere,
though they were everywhere
I had to go.
Now I go wherever
birds are everywhere;
now I go anywhere
birds go,
having gone nowhere
they could not go.
That is the half of it.

Ago 4, 2:28 pm

>27 msf59: A reminder we need Mark.

>29 msf59: The book of poems inside me
is desperate for morning.


>30 msf59: Love WB Mark.

>31 dianeham: I have seen that Paris Diane.

>38 dchaikin: Thought provoking. >39 dchaikin: Speaking to us across so many years.

>40 dianeham: I think he speaks about Mark Diane

Ago 6, 10:02 pm

Note on Birds by Rainer Maria Rilke

I’ve figured it out, something that was never clear to me before – how all of creation transposes itself out of the world deeper and deeper into our inner world, and why birds cast such a spell on this path into us. The bird’s nest is, in effect, an outer womb given by nature; the bird only furnishes it and covers it rather than containing the whole thing inside itself. As a result, birds are the animals whose feelings have a very special, intimate familiarity with the outer world; they know that they share with nature their innermost mystery. That is why the bird sings its songs into the world as though it were singing into its inner self, that’s why we take a birdsong into our own inner selves so easily, it seems to us that we translate it fully, with no remainder, into our feelings; a birdsong can even, for a moment, make the whole world into a sky within us, because we feel that the bird does not distinguish between its heart and the world’s.

Editado: Ago 7, 6:01 pm

>40 dianeham: Since, I am seriously into birds, I think this one really speaks to me.

>42 dianeham: I love Note on Birds. Diane. Not all of Rilke's poetry works for me but this one is a gem.

Ago 7, 5:59 pm

I Go Back to May 1937

I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,
I see my father strolling out
under the ochre sandstone arch, the
red tiles glinting like bent
plates of blood behind his head, I
see my mother with a few light books at her hip
standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks,
the wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its
sword-tips aglow in the May air,
they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,
they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are
innocent, they would never hurt anybody.
I want to go up to them and say Stop,
don’t do it—she’s the wrong woman,
he’s the wrong man, you are going to do things
you cannot imagine you would ever do,
you are going to do bad things to children,
you are going to suffer in ways you have not heard of,
you are going to want to die. I want to go
up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it,
her hungry pretty face turning to me,
her pitiful beautiful untouched body,
his arrogant handsome face turning to me,
his pitiful beautiful untouched body,
but I don’t do it. I want to live. I
take them up like the male and female
paper dolls and bang them together
at the hips, like chips of flint, as if to
strike sparks from them, I say
Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.


Ago 9, 3:17 pm


They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

Ago 16, 6:41 pm

Leaving the Island

Packing up, we are out of sorts,
And speak as two who’ve never loved.
The chores come due like book reports;
Kids shrug and shirk. At last you’ve shoved

Into the trunk the broken bike
(Which has to be repaired in town)
You shouldered on a mountain hike
Because the gears jammed halfway down …

And you’re ill-slept – the blessed cat
That can’t tell time, except for dawn,
Pawed you awake. The thermostat
That starts your runny nose is on;

But only yesterday you stood
On a ladder in the orange tree
And picked – as many as you could –
Globes from our golden orrery.

You lift them, and just now, by chance
The bulging sack seems to explode,
And in a mad, atomic dance
They jump in bright arcs down the road.

Your anger stutters into curse;
But for the bike, you’d slam the trunk.
I know to laugh would make it worse.
(Whole marriages that way are sunk.)

Out of our hands, our labours spill,
Irretrievable and sweet,
Faster and farther down the hill.
The day’s catastrophe complete,

Yet aren’t we lightened by an ounce
As our misgivings veer amiss?
My heart leaps as the oranges bounce
Ungovernable as happiness.

-A. E. Stallings

Ago 21, 12:20 pm

The Humming-Bird

The sundial makes no sign
At the point of the August noon.
The sky is of ancient tin,
And the ring of the mountains diffused and unmade
(One always remembers them).
On the twisted dark of the hemlock hedge
Rain, like a line of shivering violin-bows
Hissing together, poised on the last turgescent swell,
Batters the flowers.
Under the trumpet-vine arbor,
Clear, precise as an Audubon print,
The air is of melted glass,
Solid, filling interstices
Of leaves that are spaced on the spines
Like a pattern ground into glass;
Dead, as though dull red glass were poured into the mouth,
Choking the breath, molding itself into the creases of soft red tissues.

And a humming-bird darts head first,
Splitting the air, keen as a spurt of fire shot from the blow-pipe,
Cracking a star of rays; dives like a flash of fire,
Forked tail lancing the air, into the immobile trumpet;
Stands on the air, wings like a triple shadow
Whizzing around him.

Shadows thrown on the midnight streets by a snow-flecked arc-light,
Shadows like sword-play,
Splinters and spines from a thousand dreams
Whizz from his wings!

-Beatrice Ravenel From Poem-A-Day (first published 1923)

-Violet Sabrewing

Ago 23, 7:51 am

>44 msf59: i love Sharon Olds. Terrific poem!

>45 dianeham: always entertaining to revisit.

>46 msf59: lovely

>47 msf59: this is fun. The “air of melted glass”…

Editado: Ago 23, 7:59 am

Just an opening stanza (Rilke, 1923, translated by Stephen Mitchell):

We say release, and radiance, and rose,
and echo upon everything that’s known;
and yet, behind the world our names enclose is
the nameless: our true archetypes and home.

(Original German begins: “Wir sagen Reinheit und wir sagen Rose”. So a lot of Mitchell…)

Set 22, 10:16 am

August 15

I await the end of August and the murder of September.

I am here, tardy Autumn, waiting for you. I’ve prepared you a wheat porridge and lit a fire. Come with your wind and sweep away the shameless sun. Lift its hand from my shoulders.

Summer lies heavily on my chest. But my white hand swears by Autumn, and readies the saddle for its wretched horses. Autumn considers my idea then implements it: rows of stones ringing the hillside, and scattered clouds climbing the slope of the sky. Nothing more than this, nothing more.

Of course, you could add a burst of lightning to shatter my bones and the bones of the world.

You were all mistaken. You thought that horses live on the hills of Spring.

Autumn’s hills are the horses’ residence. The scent of rain excites them, their nostrils flare, then they leap over stone walls toward the summit, to graze on the edges of clouds.

-Zakaria Mohammed

Translated from the Arabic

Set 22, 1:57 pm

>50 msf59: Oh I enjoyed that.

Set 23, 1:54 pm


Matilde, years or days
sleeping, feverish,
here or there,
gazing off,
twisting my spine,
bleeding true blood,
perhaps I awaken
or am lost, sleeping:
hospital beds, foreign windows,
white uniforms of the silent walkers,
the clumsiness of feet.

And then, these journeys
and my sea of renewal:
your head on the pillow,
your hands floating
in the light, in my light,
over my earth.

It was beautiful to live
when you lived!

The world is bluer and of the earth
at night, when I sleep
enormous, within your small hands.

A Note from the Editor
"Pablo Neruda died on this day in 1973. Known for both his poetic and political work, many have argued that his work was difficult to translate into English and that much is lost, including sonic components, when removing the poem from its original language, Spanish. This prompts us to wonder: to what extent is a poem mediated by the language it was written in?" - Guest Editor Alisha Isherwood

Set 25, 8:48 am

>52 dianeham: Good one, Diane. I am a fan of Neruda too.

Set 25, 8:48 am

Something Like We Did IV

Space is the place.
—Sun Ra

Wind in the leaves
of the live oak next door

and the June bugs

hard bodies
hitting the screen.

Couldn’t tell how much
time had passed.

Light from traffic
on the ceiling.

Late that sound
in the sky soft.

Thinking out loud
then inside my head:

they were still there—
the way they walked

that bright flicker
in their chests.

Sometimes I have believed

I don’t belong
here— I mean

it’s not just
the American insanities

but everywhere: the sense
of having been left

on Earth
with no explanation—

a mouse dropped in a maze

-by Tim Seibles

Set 25, 1:31 pm

>54 msf59: beautiful!

Set 26, 8:03 am

Memory of a Bird

What is left is a beak,
a wing,
a sense of feathers,

the rest lost
in a pointless blur of tiny

The bird has flown,
leaving behind
an absence.

This is the very
of flight--a bird

so swift
that only memory
can capture it

The Birds

are heading south, pulled
by a compass in the genes.
They are not fooled
by this odd November summer,
though we stand in our doorways
wearing cotton dresses.
We are watching them

as they swoop and gather—
the shadow of wings
falls over the heart.
When they rustle among
the empty branches, the trees
must think their lost leaves
have come back.

The birds are heading south,
instinct is the oldest story.
They fly over their doubles,
the mute weathervanes,
teaching all of us
with their tailfeathers
the true north.

-Linda Pastan

^ I am currently reading Patan's collection Almost an Elegy and enjoying it very much. Yes, I am a big bird lover.

Set 26, 8:20 am

Enjoying these recent posts

Set 28, 1:28 pm

Marina Tsvetaeva


I know, I know
That earth’s enchantment—
This carved
Charmed cup—
Is no more ours
Than air is ours
Than stars
Than nests
Suspended in the dawn.

I know, I know
It has a master.
Still, like a towering
Eagle rising
With your wing
Purloin this cup.
From the cold pink lips
Of God.

—Translated from the Russian by Rose Styron and Olga Carlisle

Set 28, 3:01 pm

Thank you Mark & Diane. Food for the soul.

Out 6, 9:42 am

From Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, a stanza of a sunset

The dayes honour, and the hevenes eye,
The nyghtes foo—al this clepe I the sonne—
Gan westren faste, and downward for to wrye,
As he that hadde his dayes cours yronne,
And white thynges wexen dymme and donne,
For lakke of light, and sterres for t’apere,
That she and al hire folk in wente yfeere.

Out 6, 9:43 am

>58 dianeham: gorgeous!

Out 7, 12:04 am

A poem is never by Diane Hamilton

A poem is never an open hand
Is never extended
A poem is a bird who
Flies into your closed window
In the middle of the night
A poem sits on your
Back porch stunned
Still barely blinking
A poem is a closed fist
Never knocking at the door
Knocking against your teeth
Bleeding knuckles
A poem is always hungry
Gnawing at your stomach
Stripping your bones of calcium
A poem is a kiss that bruises your lips
And bites your neck
A poem is a lie worse
Than any truth
A poem cannot reassure you
Or hold your hand
Or stroke your hair
And if it does
It’s dangerous
It will whisper in your ear
And soothe you
Lull you into a state of unknowing
It will tell you it is the only
Poem you’ll ever need
And it will become
All the poems you never write
It will become the last words
You ever hear
And still
It will not extend its hand
It will not reassure
But it will bury you
In mounds of blank
White paper.

Out 7, 6:41 am

Out 7, 9:13 am

Out 7, 9:15 am

>62 dianeham: I love that.

Out 7, 9:17 am

>65 lisapeet: thank you

Out 7, 11:39 am

That's a powerful poem Diane.

Out 10, 6:39 pm

>62 dianeham: I really like Hamilton poem, Diane.

Out 10, 6:39 pm


Neon zigzag…
migraine embedded in cloud…
I draw all the blinds,
hide in the darkened basement.
The rumble of thunder
like a feared uncle threatening
from the next room.
Even the dog trembles,
the fur on a cartoon cat stands on end,
its paw caught in a live socket.
Fluorescence blinding
every window.
There was a meeting
of people struck by lightning
who lived to proudly tell of it,
and Captain Marvel wears its emblem
bright on his chest. Think
of Ben Franklin’s crazy kite probing
for answers. Still,
the barometer tumbles,
a sizzle of fear splits the sky.
It’s Zeus, high on amphetamines, aiming
his bolts in my direction.

-Linda Pastan

Out 11, 9:46 am

Kuroda Saburo

Evening Glow

Like being where I shouldn’t
this guilty conscience—
oh, why
did it lodge within me?
Wordless I watch
the faded evening glow, cloudlike
in the window of this late city train,
the sunset sky
the twilight treetops
the ashen buildings wave upon wave—
beautiful shadows.
Beautiful shadows of ugly things.

—Translated from the Japanese by Bruno Peter Navasky

From The Paris Review issue no. 121 (Winter 1991)

Out 16, 8:06 am

>53 msf59: Me too.

>56 msf59: Lovely.

>58 dianeham: Haven't read her for years.

>62 dianeham: Wonderful, and one of yours Diane. I shall save it.

Out 16, 8:09 am

O wild angels of the open hills
Before all legends and before all tears:
O voyagers of where the evening falls
In the vast August of the years:
O half-seen passers of the lonely knolls,
Before all sorrow and before all truth
You were: and you were with me in my youth.

Angels of the shadowed ancient land
That lies yet unenvisioned, without myth,
Return, and silent-winged descend
On the winds that you have voyaged with,
And in the barren evening stand
On the hills of my childhood, in whose silences,
Savage, before all sorrow, your presence is.

Early Ursula Le Guin

I am currently, slowly reading her complete poems.

Out 17, 7:49 am

>72 Caroline_McElwee: Caro, if you post some of your poetry, I'll post some of mine....

Out 17, 8:20 am

>73 avaland: I'll take a look later Lois. It's a while since I've written any.

Out 19, 4:54 pm

by Caroline McElwee

Whether the roots of the
trees along the river
are secretly

Whether the spaniel,
with thick shiny
coat would let me
draw in it, as
I used to draw
shapes in a plush

Whether it would rain,
then it did
for five minutes.

Whether there would
be a rainbow.
No, not this time.
You looked, having
learned the sun needed
to be behind you
to see it

Whether the statue
of Clive of India
should be removed
–There were petitions
for and against –
a shaky compromise
will make a contextual
case initially,
in time

Whether the bust of
Percy Thrower, gardener,
ear-wigs in The Dingle
and whispers to his
successors about their

The whether of notions
The notion of whether…

*Percy Thrower was one of first UK tv gardeners.

Out 19, 6:55 pm

Nice to see Percy Thrower in there, whispers to his successors.

Out 19, 8:43 pm

>75 Caroline_McElwee: great poem thanks for sharing it.

Editado: Out 20, 12:06 pm

>76 baswood: >77 dianeham: Thanks Bas and Dianne.

Here's Percy.

Out 21, 8:01 am

>75 Caroline_McElwee: >78 Caroline_McElwee: I loved the poem, Caroline. Very impressive. I am glad you shared something of yours. 😁❤️

Out 21, 8:01 am

The Systemic

Strange fall. Trees drop ballots into the yard
without fear of our tampering,
papers flipping along the curb as cars pass by.
Commiserating with my neighbor about our lives’
missed opportunities, we recall that season
decades ago when the ripest apples hung like half-punched chads.
We were children, then. We didn’t even notice
how decorum ferried our parents across their many failures
when they ought to have drowned.
Yesterday, I buried another squirrel.
Every morning, he’d gnaw on my plastic lawn chairs,
shavings accumulating across his tiny organs.
Is his death political? Everything is.
Different, though, those two politics, dying for and dying of.

-J. Estanislao Lopez

From Poem-A-Day

Out 29, 8:43 am

Letter to the Person Who Carved His Initials into the Oldest Living Longleaf Pine in North America by Matthew Olzmann

Tell me what it’s like to live without
curiosity, without awe. To sail
on clear water, rolling your eyes
at the kelp reefs swaying
beneath you, ignoring the flicker
of mermaid scales in the mist,
looking at the world and feeling
only boredom. To stand
on the precipice of some wild valley,
the eagles circling, a herd of caribou
booming below, and to yawn
with indifference. To discover
something primordial and holy.
To have the smell of the earth
welcome you to everywhere.
To take it all in and then,
to reach for your knife.

Out 29, 8:46 am

To the Young Who Want to Die by Gwendolyn Brooks

Sit down. Inhale. Exhale.
The gun will wait. The lake will wait.
The tall gall in the small seductive vial
will wait will wait:
will wait a week: will wait through April.
You do not have to die this certain day.
Death will abide, will pamper your postponement.
I assure you death will wait. Death has
a lot of time. Death can
attend to you tomorrow. Or next week. Death is
just down the street; is most obliging neighbor;
can meet you any moment.
You need not die today.
Stay here–through pout or pain or peskyness.
Stay here. See what the news is going to be tomorrow.
Graves grow no green that you can use.
Remember, green’s your color. You are Spring.

Out 29, 8:47 am

Kupu rere kē by Alice Te Punga Somerville

My friend was advised to italicise all the foreign words in her poems.
This advice came from a well-meaning woman
with NZ poetry on her business card
and an English accent in her mouth.
I have been thinking about this advice.
The publishing convention of italicising words from other languages
clarifies that some words are imported:
it ensures readers can tell the difference between a foreign language
and the language of home.
I have been thinking about this advice.
Marking the foreign words is also a kindness:
Every potential reader is reassured
that although obviously you’re expected to understand the rest of the text,
it’s fine to consult a dictionary or native speaker for help with the italics.
I have been thinking about this advice.
Because I am a contrary person, at first I was outraged –
but after a while I could see she had a point:
When the foreign words are camouflaged in plain type
you can forget how they came to be there, out of place, in the first place.
I have been thinking about this advice and I have decided to follow it.
Now all of my readers will be able to remember which words truly belong in
Aotearoa and which do not.

Out 29, 8:51 am

Letter Beginning with Two Lines by Czesław Miłosz by Matthew Olzmann

You whom I could not save,
Listen to me.

Can we agree Kevlar
backpacks shouldn’t be needed

for children walking to school?
Those same children

also shouldn’t require a suit
of armor when standing

on their front lawns, or snipers
to watch their backs

as they eat at McDonalds.
They shouldn’t have to stop

to consider the speed
of a bullet or how it might

reshape their bodies. But
one winter, back in Detroit,

I had one student
who opened a door and died.

It was the front
door of his house, but

it could have been any door,
and the bullet could have written

any name. The shooter
was thirteen years old

and was aiming
at someone else. But

a bullet doesn’t care
about “aim,” it doesn’t

distinguish between
the innocent and the innocent,

and how was the bullet
supposed to know this

child would open the door
at the exact wrong moment

because his friend
was outside and screaming

for help. Did I say
I had “one” student who

opened a door and died?
That’s wrong.

There were many.
The classroom of grief

had far more seats
than the classroom for math

though every student
in the classroom for math

could count the names
of the dead.

A kid opens a door. The bullet
couldn’t possibly know,

nor could the gun, because
“guns don’t kill people,” they don’t

have minds to decide
such things, they don’t choose

or have a conscience,
and when a man doesn’t

have a conscience, we call him
a psychopath. This is how

we know what type of assault rifle
a man can be,

and how we discover
the hell that thrums inside

each of them. Today,
there’s another

shooting with dead
kids everywhere. It was a school,

a movie theater, a parking lot.
The world

is full of doors.
And you, whom I cannot save,

you may open a door
and enter

a meadow or a eulogy.
And if the latter, you will be

mourned, then buried
in rhetoric.

There will be
monuments of legislation,

little flowers made
from red tape.

What should we do? we’ll ask
again. The earth will close

like a door above you.
What should we do?

And that click you hear?
That’s just our voices,

the deadbolt of discourse
sliding into place.

Out 29, 9:08 am

Thanks for sharing the poems, Julie. I particularly like the Matthew Olzmann selections. I want to explore more of his work.

Out 29, 11:36 am

What a good selection, Julie. Thanks for that. I also want to take a look at more by Matthew Olzmann, who's new to me.

Out 29, 4:39 pm

Thanks Julie - they are all fantastic.

Out 30, 8:09 am

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

-William Butler Yeats

Out 30, 1:39 pm

>88 msf59: 'Things fall apart': the apocalyptic appeal of WB Yeats's The Second Coming


'The Second Coming': 12 Times Yeats Has Influenced Pop Culture

Out 31, 7:28 am

>89 dianeham: Thanks for the Guardian link, very interesting article. Turns out I knew even less than I thought about this poem.

Editado: Nov 3, 9:41 am

>89 dianeham: This is awesome, Diane. Thanks for sharing. It may be the most referenced poem ever written.

"Yeats was justified in taking the long view. Written in 1919 and published in 1920, “The Second Coming” has become perhaps the most plundered poem in the English language. At 164 words, it is short and memorable enough to be famous in toto but it has also been disassembled into its constituent parts by books, albums, movies, TV shows, comic books, computer games, political speeches and newspaper editorials...The only consolation the poem offers is the knowledge that, for one reason or another, every generation has felt the same apocalyptic shudder that Yeats did 100 years ago. That’s why it is a poem for 1919 and 1939 and 1968 and 1979 and 2001 and 2016 and today and tomorrow. Things fall apart, over and over again, yet the beast never quite reaches Bethlehem."

-The Guardian

Nov 3, 9:36 am

On Mindfulness

Home is a sound.
I can hear it
in the western meadowlark, the inlaid rocks in my driveway,
in the accent and slang
of my mom’s voice.
It’s engrained
in her stretched vowels,
in her smashed-together words, in her
hard Rs,
and in the word rez.

I grew up hearing this rez accent, but I didn’t know my mom had one
until I spent a year
in the south, where you can’t escape the heat
in the shade
because the humidity still clings to you.

I could smell
a Wyoming lake
and a budding Russian olive tree in her voice,
matted river moss melting in my hands.
The mental image I had of my mom had fallen
out of date.
And all my friends from the rez feel the same way. Sometimes we can still taste
a Maverick 99-cent refill from the location
that got shut down
because my late grandpa
kept robbing it, can still taste the water
from our old swimming spot in the drying river,
can still taste
milkweed sap.
Like burnt brass from a plug separated from a socket,
sometimes there’s a trace when things detach.

- Cooxooeii Black

Nov 3, 9:38 am

>92 msf59: I enjoyed that

Nov 4, 12:40 pm

Jeredith Merrin

The Shadow Plant

The plant etched on the wall sits in its pot
as calm as anything—
as any thing not

human. The cars sough by, less frequent than at day.
If I switched off the light
again, I’d see again how they

trace ghostlike, restless lights across the walls,
emblems of human hunger.
The old wood mantle-clock calls

someone, me, to task—more briskly than a heart.
The shadow clearly forms a parrot, perched
on the edge of the pot,

its head turned to the right—above it, on one side,
a stem with paired leaves stretching out like arms,
and on the other side

a single leaf shaped like a heart.
Perfectly composed and colorless,
it mocks what it is not.

The errorless bird is absolutely still,
having no need to stir or speak at all,
not being in need of a mate, or hungry, or real.

From issue no. 132 (Fall 1994)
Paris Review

Nov 10, 11:15 pm

Veterans of the Seventies

His army jacket bore the white rectangle
of one who has torn off his name. He sat mute
at the round table where the trip-wire veterans
ate breakfast. They were foxhole buddies
who went stateside without leaving the war.
They had the look of men who held their breath
and now their tongues. What is to say
beyond that said by the fathers who bent lower
and lower as the war went on, spines curving
toward the ground on which sons sat sandbagged
with ammo belts enough to make fine lace
of enemy flesh and blood. Now these who survived,
who got back in cargo planes emptied at the front,
lived hiddenly in the woods behind fence wires
strung through tin cans. Better an alarm
than the constant nightmare of something moving
on its belly to make your skin crawl
with the sensory memory of foxhole living.

Poem copyright © 2007 by Marvin Bell, and reprinted from Mars Being Red, Copper Canyon Press, 2007, by permission of the author and publisher. The poem first appeared in Gettysburg Review, Summer, 2007.

Nov 12, 9:27 pm

A late election day poem…

Elections and . . . : second part (1985)

"People go out to vote
but the guerrillas obstruct them."
That's what's said on Channel 4 in Manhattan.
On the 28th of March we're made to understand
that Democracy is being obstructed
by the left, "the guerrillas
fire against the Salvadoran people,"
but that chaos was invented in the White House
and it doesn't afflict the public in Chatatenango,
there aren't any guarantees
for the public to take hold of!
although some go out and vote pretending
that the machinery is not fraudulent,
that Duarte doesn't repress,
not withstanding that it's written in every man's bible,
that in El Salvador Christ has not yet
freed his folk.

Nov 17, 12:11 pm

This made me smile today:


Stop looking like a purse. How could a purse
squeeze under the rickety door and sit,
full of satisfaction, in a man's house?

You clamber towards me on your four corners -
right hand, left foot, left hand, right foot.

I love you for being a toad,
for crawling like a Japanese wrestler,
and for not being frightened.

I put you in my purse hand, not shutting it,
and set you down outside directly under
every star.

A jewel in your head? Toad,
you've put one in mine,
a tiny radiance in a dark place.

Norman MacCaig
Edinburgh, Scotland

Nov 19, 8:24 am

The Earthlings

The Earthlings arrived unannounced, entered
without knocking, removed their shoes
and began clipping their toenails.
They let the clippings fall wherever.
They sighed loudly as if inconvenienced.
We were patient. We knew our guests
were in an unfamiliar environment; they needed
time to adjust. For dinner, we prepared
turkey meatloaf with a side of cauliflower.
This is too dry, they said.
This is not like what our mothers made.
We wanted to offer a tour of our world,
demonstrate how we freed ourselves
from the prisons of linear time.
But the Earthlings were already spelunking
our closets, prying tools
from their containers and holding them
to the light. What’s this? they demanded.
What’s this? What’s this? And what’s this?
That’s a Quantum Annihilator; put that down.
That’s a Particle Grinder; please put that down.
We could show you how to heal the sick, we said.
We could help you feed every nation, commune
with the all-seeing sentient energy that palpitates
through all known forms of matter.
Nah! they said. Teach us to vaporize a mountain!
Teach us to turn the moon into revenue!
Then the Earthlings
left a faucet running and flooded our basement.

-Matthew Olzmann From Poem-A-Day

I am currently reading Constellation Route, a collection by Olzmaan. I like him a lot.

Nov 19, 8:27 am

>95 dianeham: >96 dianeham: I enjoyed both of these, Diane. Thanks for sharing.

Nov 19, 9:32 am

Enjoyed all these November entries. Glad, momentarily, I don’t have a basement.

Nov 19, 4:24 pm

>98 msf59: Good one

Editado: Nov 20, 8:17 am

The Day the Saucers Came by Neil Gaiman
Poem first published in 'Fragile Things' in 2006.

That Day, the saucers landed. Hundreds of them, golden,
Silent, coming down from the sky like great snowflakes,
And the people of Earth stood and
stared as they descended,
Waiting, dry-mouthed, to find out what waited inside for us
And none of us knowing if we would be here tomorrow
But you didn’t notice because
That day, the day the saucers came, by some coincidence,
Was the day that the graves gave up their dead
And the zombies pushed up through soft earth
or erupted, shambling and dull-eyed, unstoppable,
Came towards us, the living, and we screamed and ran,
But you did not notice this because
On the saucer day, which was zombie day, it was
Ragnarok also, and the television screens showed us
A ship built of dead-men’s nails, a serpent, a wolf,
All bigger than the mind could hold,
and the cameraman could
Not get far enough away, and then the Gods came out
But you did not see them coming because
On the saucer-zombie-battling-gods
day the floodgates broke
And each of us was engulfed by genies and sprites
Offering us wishes and wonders and eternities
And charm and cleverness and true
brave hearts and pots of gold
While giants feefofummed across
the land and killer bees,
But you had no idea of any of this because
That day, the saucer day, the zombie day
The Ragnarok and fairies day,
the day the great winds came
And snows and the cities turned to crystal, the day
All plants died, plastics dissolved, the day the
Computers turned, the screens telling
us we would obey, the day
Angels, drunk and muddled, stumbled from the bars,
And all the bells of London were sounded, the day
Animals spoke to us in Assyrian, the Yeti day,
The fluttering capes and arrival of
the Time Machine day,
You didn’t notice any of this because
you were sitting in your room, not doing anything
not even reading, not really, just
looking at your telephone,
wondering if I was going to call.

Editado: Nov 20, 8:18 am

The late year
By Marge Piercy

I like Rosh Hashonah late,
when the leaves are half burnt
umber and scarlet, when sunset
marks the horizon with slow fire
and the black silhouettes
of migrating birds perch
on the wires davening.

I like Rosh Hashonah late
when all living are counting
their days toward death
or sleep or the putting by
of what will sustain them—
when the cold whose tendrils
translucent as a jellyfish

and with a hidden sting
just brush our faces
at twilight. The threat
of frost, a premonition
a warning, a whisper
whose words we cannot
yet decipher but will.

I repent better in the waning
season when the blood
runs swiftly and all creatures
look keenly about them
for quickening danger.
Then I study the rockface
of my life, its granite pitted

and pocked and pickaxed
eroded, discolored by sun
and wind and rain—
my rock emerging
from the veil of greenery
to be mapped, to be
examined, to be judged.

Nov 20, 8:18 am

by Tracy K. Smith

Strange house we must keep and fill.
House that eats and pleads and kills.
House on legs. House on fire. House infested
With desire. Haunted house. Lonely house.
House of trick and suck and shrug.
Give-it-to-me house. I-need-you-baby house.
House whose rooms are pooled with blood.
House with hands. House of guilt. House
That other houses built. House of lies
And pride and bone. House afraid to be alone.
House like an engine that churns and stalls
House with skin and hair for walls.
House the seasons singe and douse.
House that believes it is not a house.

Nov 20, 8:20 am

The Sciences Sing a Lullabye
By Albert Goldbarth

Physics says: go to sleep. Of course
you're tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.
Quit tapping your feet. They'll dance
inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.
Geology says: it will be all right. Slow inch
by inch America is giving itself
to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
You aren't alone. All of the continents used to be
one body. You aren't alone. Go to sleep.
Astronomy says: the sun will rise tomorrow,
Zoology says: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle,
Psychology says: but first it has to be night, so
Biology says: the body-clocks are stopped all over town
History says: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.

Nov 20, 8:22 am

By Brendan Constantine
for Patricia Maisch

This day my students and I play the Opposites Game
with a line from Emily Dickinson. My life had stood
a loaded gun, it goes and I write it on the board,
pausing so they can call out the antonyms –

My Your
Life Death
Had stood ? Will sit
A Many
Loaded Empty
Gun ?

For a moment, very much like the one between
lightning and it’s sound, the children just stare at me,
and then it comes, a flurry, a hail storm of answers—

Flower, says one. No, Book, says another. That's stupid,
cries a third, the opposite of a gun is a pillow. Or maybe
a hug, but not a book, no way is it a book. With this,
the others gather their thoughts

and suddenly it’s a shouting match. No one can agree,
for every student there’s a final answer. It's a song,
a prayer, I mean a promise, like a wedding ring, and
later a baby. Or what’s that person who delivers babies?

A midwife? Yes, a midwife. No, that’s wrong. You're so
wrong you’ll never be right again. It's a whisper, a star,
it's saying I love you into your hand and then touching
someone's ear. Are you crazy? Are you the president

of Stupid-land? You should be, When's the election?
It’s a teddy bear, a sword, a perfect, perfect peach.
Go back to the first one, it's a flower, a white rose.
When the bell rings, I reach for an eraser but a girl

snatches it from my hand. Nothing's decided, she says,
We’re not done here. I leave all the answers
on the board. The next day some of them have
stopped talking to each other, they’ve taken sides.

There's a Flower club. And a Kitten club. And two boys
calling themselves The Snowballs. The rest have stuck
with the original game, which was to try to write
something like poetry.

It's a diamond, it's a dance,
the opposite of a gun is a museum in France.
It's the moon, it's a mirror,
it's the sound of a bell and the hearer.

The arguing starts again, more shouting, and finally
a new club. For the first time I dare to push them.
Maybe all of you are right, I say.

Well, maybe. Maybe it's everything we said. Maybe it’s
everything we didn't say. It's words and the spaces for words.
They're looking at each other now. It's everything in this room
and outside this room and down the street and in the sky.

It's everyone on campus and at the mall, and all the people
waiting at the hospital. And at the post office. And, yeah,
it's a flower, too. All the flowers. The whole garden.
The opposite of a gun is wherever you point it.

Don’t write that on the board, they say. Just say poem.
Your death will sit through many empty poems.

Nov 21, 12:01 am

Fantastic poems!

Nov 24, 8:30 am

I also enjoyed the poems, Julie. I particularly liked "The Late Year".

Nov 25, 5:33 pm

>103 Julie_in_the_Library: Years since I read anything by Marge Piercey. Thanks.