DiscussãoClub Read 2024

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Dez 16, 2023, 9:03 pm

This is a topic to: post poems, discuss poetry books you are reading, read poetry together, whatever we want poetry-wise.

Dez 23, 2023, 2:20 pm

One of my favorite poems. I saw the isle when I was there. It was very small in a lake.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

A Note from the Editor
W.B. Yeats won the Nobel Prize in December of 1923. The prize citation read, “for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation.”

Dez 25, 2023, 12:40 pm

lovely opener Diane.

Dez 25, 2023, 2:44 pm

>2 dianeham: It seems to me I've sung a musical arrangement of at least part of that poem...

Editado: Dez 25, 2023, 6:55 pm

>5 dianeham: That's lovely, but it was this one... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRWYOndLZdM

Dez 25, 2023, 8:30 pm

Dez 26, 2023, 6:46 pm

I'm reading a collection by Jane Kenyon right now. So many wonderful poems, but this one caught my eye yesterday.


I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day.
But one day, I know
it will be otherwise.

Dez 26, 2023, 6:49 pm

>8 BLBera: gave me goosebumps.

Jan 1, 12:39 am

Sounds of Yes by W. S. Merwin Paris Review ISSUE 157, WINTER 2000

With the birds I suppose there is
small comparison no holding
up of what may be remembered
of another year through the one
that is here
so to the cuckoo
calling now through rain in cold May
and to the oriole coming near
as the young leaves of the hawthorn
darken and to the robin on
the slender branch this must all be
what they recognize as though it
had always been just as it is

and they call it by their own names

Jan 1, 1:12 pm

Little Songs by Rowan Ricardo Phillips

I write my little song. And you call it
Guitar noodle. You write without you here.
And I call it the poem with you here in it.
We have entered each other’s atmosphere
In isolation, the way a bee knows
The deep shadows in the folds of a flower
But doesn’t know what a bouquet is, those
Rows of spectrumed tulips in Holland are
Work to it, bees in empty thought noodling
Over lavender and ocher and quince,
A thing, not something, but a true thing,
Like the difference between crisis and Chris,
The difference between time and a Timex,
The difference between a bed and a desk.

From Paris Review issue no. 218 (Fall 2016)

Jan 1, 2:40 pm

>1 dianeham: Love the quote.

>2 dianeham: One of my favourites as well.

>8 BLBera: A good one Beth. I should get her volume off the shelf again, its been a while.

>10 dianeham: >11 dianeham: both beautiful in different ways.

Happy New Year everyone.

Jan 1, 2:44 pm

A wonderful debut volume which I will be reading again over the next few days. It includes poems about neurodiversity.

From Octopus Mind (Rachel Carney) (24/12/23) ****1/2
(Seren books)

Jan 1, 4:53 pm

>13 Caroline_McElwee: thanks for stopping by and dropping that lovely poem.

Jan 5, 2:25 pm

You guys might think I’m crazy but I’m very excited. I’m getting an individual subscription to Granger’s Poetry Index for only $50. I tried to find a way to do this 2 years ago but gave up. I don’t think they had the individual option then or I couldn’t find it. I tried to get it through any of the colleges I went to but had no success. Went looking for it earlier this week and there it was. I used it years ago and it had lots of full text so hope it still does.

So if anyone here remembers an opening line of a poem - or any line - and wants to find the poem - then we’ll have the solution. I should be able to post many more poems and follow a theme, a school of poetry or a specific poet. Our access to poems will be almost endless - I hope.

Jan 5, 3:43 pm

What is the Granger’s Poetry Index?

Jan 5, 4:03 pm

About The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry®

The Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry contains 300,000 poems in full text and 450,000 citations, numbers that will continually expand with each update. The poems in full text are the most widely-read in the English language, as well as in Spanish, French, German, and Italian. Included also is poetry in Portuguese, Polish, Yiddish, Welsh, Gaelic, and other Celtic languages, as well as poems in the ancient languages: Anglo-Saxon, Provencal and Latin. Scholars in each of these languages have reviewed and guided the selection of poems, so that the poetry on Granger’s is also the poetry encountered in the classroom.

The Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry offers complete coverage of the works of several individual great poets, including the complete poems of Shelley, Blake, Burns, Keats, Marvell, Poe, Unamuno, Heine, Baudelaire, and other major poets.

In addition users will find a wealth of current poetry from some of the best poetry periodicals, such as Poetry Magazine, The Southern Review, and Poetry Northwest.

Jan 5, 4:20 pm

What a fantastic resource. Thanks for bringing it up. And share your thoughts on your subscription!

Jan 5, 6:10 pm

>18 dchaikin: I’m more than willing to look things up for people. I am a librarian after all.

Jan 6, 6:47 am

>13 Caroline_McElwee: gosh!! Such a lovely poem it is! Well I would say debut books can be on more publishing platforms for variety of readers!!

Jan 6, 1:32 pm

>17 dianeham: Cool resource! Have you been playing around with it?

Jan 6, 2:21 pm

>21 lisapeet: years ago we had it at my library and I played around with it then. But It didn’t get used much - except for me - and the library discontinued it.

Jan 6, 3:55 pm

Jane Flanders

Ma Goose: The Interrogation

Who killed Cock Robin?
Where is the boy who looks after the sheep?
What’s in the cupboard?
Have you any wool?

Where is the boy who looks after the sheep?
Where have you been?
Have you any wool?
How many hairs to make a wig?

Where have you been?
How many miles to Babylon?
How many hairs to make a wig?
Wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the king?

How many miles to Babylon?
How many were going to St. Ives?
Wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the king?
Whose dog art thou?

How many were going to St. Ives?
How does your garden grow?
Whose dog art thou?
Are the children in their beds?

How does your garden grow?
What’s in the cupboard?
Are the children in their beds?
Who killed Cock Robin?

From Paris Review issue no. 134 (Spring 1995)

Jan 6, 4:55 pm

>23 dianeham: sometimes parenthood felt that way.

Jan 6, 4:57 pm

>24 dchaikin: i’m not familiar with the "how many hairs to make a wig" one.

Jan 6, 5:01 pm

https://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=1669 🙂 Whose dog art thou? Doesn’t ring a bell either.

Jan 6, 5:34 pm

>26 dchaikin: thank you Dan. I’ve been dieting to lose weight since March and it seems to have thinned out my hair. But can’t imagine myself in a wig- certainly need more than 4 and twenty hairs.

Jan 14, 2:30 pm

Ballad of Birmingham BY DUDLEY RANDALL
(On the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963)

“Mother dear, may I go downtown
Instead of out to play,
And march the streets of Birmingham
In a Freedom March today?”

“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For the dogs are fierce and wild,
And clubs and hoses, guns and jails
Aren’t good for a little child.”

“But, mother, I won’t be alone.
Other children will go with me,
And march the streets of Birmingham
To make our country free.”

“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For I fear those guns will fire.
But you may go to church instead
And sing in the children’s choir.”

She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair,
And bathed rose petal sweet,
And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands,
And white shoes on her feet.

The mother smiled to know her child
Was in the sacred place,
But that smile was the last smile
To come upon her face.

For when she heard the explosion,
Her eyes grew wet and wild.
She raced through the streets of Birmingham
Calling for her child.

She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
“O, here’s the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?”

A Note from the Editor
Dudley Randall was born on this day 110 years ago.

Jan 14, 5:22 pm

So sad

Editado: Jan 21, 8:33 am

When I Was a Little Cuban Boy

O Jose can you see... that's how I sang it, when I was
a cubanito in Miami, and America was some country
in the glossy pages of my history book, someplace
way north, everyone white, cold, perfect. This Land
is my Land, so why didn't I live there, in a brick house
with a fireplace, a chimney with curlicues of smoke.
I wanted to wear breeches and stockings to my chins,
those black pilgrim shoes with shiny gold buckles.
I wanted to eat yams with the Indians, shake hands
with los negros, and dash through snow I'd never seen
in a one-horse hope-n-say? I wanted to speak in British,
say really smart stuff like fours core and seven years ago
or one country under God, in the visible. I wanted to see
that land with no palm trees, only the strange sounds
of flowers like petunias, peonies, impatience, waiting
to walk through a door someday, somewhere in God
Bless America and say, Lucy, I'm home, honey, I'm home.

-by Richard Blanco

from my current poetry collection Homeland of My Body.

Jan 15, 9:58 am

>10 dianeham: >28 dianeham: I loved both, Diane. Thanks for sharing.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Jan 15, 10:15 am

>30 msf59: Love it.

Jan 15, 10:17 am

>30 msf59: i love that!

Editado: Jan 21, 12:23 pm

Seventeen Funerals

Seventeen suns rising in seventeen bedroom windows. Thirty-four eyes blooming open with the light of one more morning. Seventeen reflections in the bathroom mirror. Seventeen backpacks or briefcases stuffed with textbooks or lesson plans. Seventeen good mornings at kitchen breakfasts and seventeen goodbyes at front doors. Seventeen drives through palm-lined streets and miles of crammed highways to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at 5901 Pine Island Road. The first bell ringing-in one last school day on February fourteenth, 2018. Seventeen echoes of footsteps down hallways for five class periods: algebra, poetry, biology, art, history. Seventeen hands writing on whiteboards or taking notes at their desks until the first gunshot at 2:21pm. One AR-15 rifle in the hands of a nineteen year old mind turning hate for himself into hate for others, into one-hundred fifty bullets fired in six minutes through building number twelve. Seventeen dead carried down hallways they walked, past cases of trophies they won, flyers for clubs they belonged to, lockers they won’t open again. Seventeen Valentine’s Day dates broken and cards unopened. Seventeen bodies to identify, dozens of photo albums to page through and remember their lives. Seventeen caskets and burial garments to choose for them. Seventeen funerals to attend in twelve days. Seventeen graves dug and headstones placed—all marked with the same date of death. Seventeen names: Alyssa. Helena. Scott. Martin—seventeen absentees forever—Nicholas. Aaron. Jamie. Luke—seventeen closets to clear out—Christopher. Cara. Gina. Joaquin—seventeen empty beds—Alaina. Meadow. Alex. Carmen. Peter—seventeen reasons to rebel with the hope these will be the last seventeen to be taken by one of three-hundred-ninety-three-million guns in America.

-Richard Blanco

from the poetry collection Homeland of My Body.

Jan 21, 12:28 pm

>34 msf59: that was tough. My own high school classmates had their kids in the school, which isn’t that far from where i went to high school. I was in Jerusalem that day, alone after a conference, and put a prayer in the wall.

Jan 23, 8:31 am

The Lost Breath of Trees


in the days before urban sprawl this town
remained no more than cow pastures
logs skidding down to the harbor
gulls riding them like surfboards
a green belt embraced the one road north
a hundred years they say until the lease expired
in those days trees lining each side threw shade over
hippies and geese bound to the same direction
this was the rainforest and we took
for granted the trees that sheltered the sun
in shimmering light the music of wind
and leaves that left air breathable
we thought the developers would never come
that Eden would last forever


if I remember well the first to go
was the old growth Ponderosa near the school
what a racket all that sawing and sawing
no sapling that one stubborn tough
from thick outer ring to the core
on overhead wires larks crows and common wrens
lined up like jurors surveying a crime scene
chortling and cackling a chorus of what’s
this what’s this come see come see
every so often one broke rank
and swooped toward the cantilevered trunk
as if they could bring back to life those limbs
where each night they had fought to gain purchase
circling as if remembering the canopy
before the thieving ravens evicted them
swirling in all directions birds
leaves one and the same into a vortex until
the tree shivered one last time and fell
still I listen for the rustle of leaves
sweeping clean the air


among the shadows of WWII bombers crashed
on test flights old growth forests thrive
in the deep waters of Lake Washington
know that the ghosts of forests reside in every city

now and again a crack in the pavement
yields to a sprig with one leaf unfurling
to what might have been the lush undergrowth
of rainforest or village green

stumps of roots fingering toward the sky
remnants knuckled in a path
stubborn as the gnarled toes of an old man
struggling across the road

bark tough as leather peeled and frayed
the banyan the elm the oak and spruce
the cypress the pine the redwood and willow
a sigh a whisper a breath of fresh air


one morning on the sun-drenched asphalt
a blue feather lay as if fallen by magic
from some child’s dream of angels
was there ever a bird so blue so
cobalt perfect from downy barbs to vanes
to fall undamaged by progress
among the squalor of high-rises and noise
of backhoes awakening each morning
was this an omen an augury a straw in the wind
to land here where few trees thrive
you look up at the birdless sky think:
this is a city this a mountain
this a remnant of the rainforest.

-Colleen J. McElroy From Poem-A-Day

Jan 23, 8:32 am

>35 dchaikin: Sorry, that touched so close to home, Daniel. What an awful tragedy.

Jan 23, 9:02 am

>36 msf59: guess that’s true about everywhere, including my part of the world these past 25 yrs. Massive development

Jan 24, 12:32 pm


My doggy ate my essay.
He picked up all my mail.
He cleaned my dirty closet
and dusted with his tail.

He straightened out my posters
and swept my wooden floor.
My parents almost fainted
when he fixed my bedroom door.

I did not try to stop him.
He made my windows shine.
My room looked like a palace,
and my dresser smelled like pine.

He fluffed up every pillow.
He folded all my clothes.
He even cleaned my fish tank
with a toothbrush and a hose.

I thought it was amazing
to see him use a broom.
I’m glad he ate my essay
on “How to Clean My Room.”

Jan 24, 12:53 pm

>39 dianeham: That sounds like the perfect doggy. I WANT one!! 😁

Jan 24, 3:48 pm

>40 msf59: Me too!

Jan 24, 4:41 pm

>39 dianeham: LOVE the doggy poem!

Jan 25, 7:56 am

>39 dianeham: Excellent! What a great poem to start the day!

Jan 25, 5:10 pm

>34 msf59: >39 dianeham: Wonderful poems in very different ways, tragedy and comedy.

Jan 25, 10:25 pm

1/25 is Burns’ birthday

To a Louse, On Seeing one on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church
Robert Burns

Ha! whare ye gaun, ye crowlan ferlie!
Your impudence protects you sairly:
I canna say but ye strunt rarely,
Owre gawze and lace;
Tho’ faith, I fear ye dine but sparely,
On sic a place.

Ye ugly, creepan, blastet wonner,
Detested, shunn’d, by saunt an’ sinner,
How daur ye set your fit upon her,
Sae fine a Lady!
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner,
On some poor body.

Swith, in some beggar’s haffet squattle;
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle,
Wi’ ither kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Whare horn nor bane ne’er daur unsettle,
Your thick plantations.

Now haud you there, ye’re out o’ sight,
Below the fatt’rels, snug and tight,
Na faith ye yet! ye’ll no be right,
Till ye’ve got on it,
The vera topmost, towrin height
O’ Miss’s bonnet.

My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an’ gray as onie grozet:
O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum,
I’d gie you sic a hearty dose o’t,
Wad dress your droddum!

I wad na been surpriz’d to spy
You on an auld wife’s flainen toy;
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
On ’s wylecoat;
But Miss’s fine Lunardi, fye!
How daur ye do ’t?

O Jenny dinna toss your head,
An’ set your beauties a’ abread!
Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie’s makin!
Thae winks and finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin!

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An’ foolish notion:
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
And ev’n Devotion!

Jan 26, 9:40 am

Timely. I didn’t understand much but still enjoyed that. Goes well with my Chaucer reading.

Jan 26, 12:44 pm

>46 dchaikin: That’s funny. I thought of you when I posted it. When I was looking it up last night I saw "an English translation" listed. It was late and I ignored it. Think I’ll look at it now. The last stanza is my favorite.

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!

Jan 26, 12:55 pm


To a Louse, On Seeing one on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church
Robert Burns

Ha! Where are you going, you crawling wonder?
Your impudence protects you sorely,
I can not say but you swagger rarely
Over gauze and lace,
Though faith! I fear you dine but sparingly
On such a place

You ugly, creeping, blasted wonder,
Detested, shunned by saint and sinner,
How dare you set your foot upon her -
Such fine a lady!
Go somewhere else and seek your dinner
On some poor body

Off! in some beggar's temples squat:
There you may creep, and sprawl, and scramble,
With other kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Where horn nor bone never dare unsettle
Your thick plantations

Now hold you there! you are out of sight,
Below the falderals, snug and tight;
No, faith you yet! you will not be right,
Until you have got on it ---
The very topmost, towering height
Of misses bonnet.

My sooth! right bold you set your nose out,
As plump and gray as any gooseberry:
O for some rank, mercurial resin,
Or deadly, red powder,
I would give you such a hearty dose of it,
Would dress your breech!

I would not have been surprised to spy
You on an old wife's flannel cap:
Or maybe some small ragged boy,
On his undervest;
But Miss's fine balloon bonnet! fye!
How dare you do it.

O Jenny do not toss your head,
And set your beauties all abroad!
You little know what cursed speed
The blastie's making!
Those winks and finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takiing!

O would some Power the gift to give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
And even devotion!

Jan 26, 2:10 pm

That helps! Thanks! (Even if I feel i need a translation of the translation. falderals? dress your breech?)

Editado: Jan 28, 1:31 pm

Today is Yeats death day.

When You Are Old by W. B. Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

Jan 28, 1:46 am

>50 dianeham: Lovely. One of my favourites by Yeats.

Jan 28, 2:49 am

>51 rv1988: mine too! :)

Jan 28, 8:50 am

>48 dianeham: But what is it? A flea? A cockroach? (Do they have cockroaches in Scotland?) A bee?
Inquiring minds want to know.

Jan 28, 11:41 am

>50 dianeham: I enjoyed that (even if my brain failed to process “the glowing bars”)

Jan 28, 12:37 pm

>53 arubabookwoman: it’s a louse - plural lice.

"either of two small wingless parasitic insects that live on the skin of mammals and birds."

Jan 28, 12:41 pm

>54 dchaikin: I found this online

Question: What does "glowing bars"mean in the poem "When You Are Old"?

Answer: The reference is to the bars of an old fashioned electric fire, which glow red when they become hot.

Jan 28, 1:54 pm

>56 dianeham: thanks! 🙂

Jan 29, 10:59 am

>50 dianeham: I love it.

Jan 30, 1:07 am

Taking a leaf from Diane's book, today is the birth anniversary of Augusta Webster, an extraordinary 19th writer, translator, poet, and dramatist (her wiki page ). Sometime back The Guardian featured a bit of her poem, Medea in Athens. The poem is part of a series of monologues she wrote, titled Portraits, and Carol Rumens has a nice essay on how complex, and adept, her psychological portrait of Medea is. Here's a bit that I liked very much, of Medea slowly coming to terms with the news of Jason's death. For those unfamiliar; Medea married Jason, who was unfaithful; in rage, she slays his new bride, as well as the two sons she had with Jason. In this account, she is remarried to Aegeas, and has another son.

He should still pine and wine,
hungry for his old lost strong food of life
vanished with me, hungry for children's love,
hungry for me. Ever to think of me —
with love, with hate, what care I? hate is love —
Ever to think and long. Oh it was well!
Yea, my new marriage hope has been achieved :
for he did count me happy, picture me
happy with Aegeus; he did dream of me
as all to Aegeus that I was to him,
and to him nothing; and did yearn for me
and know me lost — we two so far apart
as dead and living, I an envied wife
and he alone and childless. Jason, Jason,
come back to earth; live, live for my revenge.
But lo the man is dead: I am forgotten.
Forgotten; something goes from life in that —
as if oneself had died, when the half self
of one's true living time has slipped away
from reach of memories, has ceased to know
that such a woman is.

A wondrous thing
to be so separate having been so near —
near by hate last and once by so strong love.
Would love have kept us near if he had died
in the good days? Tush, I should have died too:
we should have gone together, hand in hand,
and made dusk Hades glorious each to each.

Jan 30, 11:15 am

Good stuff. I had fun reading the Classic Greek plays, and Euripides’ Medea was one that hangs around.

Jan 30, 11:36 am

2 vastly different and yet somehow complementary poems... thank you both!

Jan 30, 1:42 pm


There is a lot that has been said,

Too much that has been done

Have I turned the lights out,

Have you ever seen me in the light

Could you even

It is a table that gets turned

Not the person

So, do not lie because I will be able to tell

It hurts to look your direction

Because I know it will only kill me slowly

I know you enough to see that

I do not want to kill the killer

But it must be done

Or it will kill me

It will kill the host

The soul of the prey

Is his not yours


Savannah Huff

Jan 31, 1:51 pm

This made me smile!

Sunsets by Blaise Cendrars

Everybody talks about sunsets
All travelers agree about talking about sunsets in these latitudes
There are books filled with nothing but descriptions of sunsets
The tropical sunsets
Yes it’s true they’re splendid
But I really prefer the sunrises
I never miss one
I’m always on the bridge
Jumping up and down
And I’m always alone admiring them
But I’m not going to describe them the dawns
I’m going to keep them for me alone

—Translated from the French by Ron Padgett

From Paris Review issue no. 37 (Spring 1966)

Jan 31, 10:17 pm

Fev 2, 10:35 am

From The Slowdown:

The Lifeline
By Pádraig Ó Tuama

Here is what I know: when
that bell tolls again, I
need to go and make something,
anything: a poem, a pie, a terrible
scarf with my terrible knitting, I
need to write a letter, remind myself
of any little lifeline around me.

When death sounds, I forget most
of what I learnt before. I go below.
I compare my echoes with other people’s
happiness. I carve that hole in my own
chest again, pull out all my organs once
again, wonder if they’ll ever work again
stuff them back again. Begin. Again.

Fev 2, 10:38 am

Also from The Slowdown (I'm looking for a poem to copy into a Valentine's card for a dear mutual support friend, and these two are both contenders... yeah, I'm not a Hallmark holiday person really, but these resonate):

To The Woman Crying Uncontrollably in the Next Stall
By Kim Addonizio

If you ever woke in your dress at 4am ever
closed your legs to someone you loved opened
them for someone you didn’t moved against
a pillow in the dark stood miserably on a beach
seaweed clinging to your ankles paid
good money for a bad haircut backed away
from a mirror that wanted to kill you bled
into the back seat for lack of a tampon
if you swam across a river under rain sang
using a dildo for a microphone stayed up
to watch the moon eat the sun entire
ripped out the stitches in your heart
because why not if you think nothing &
no one can / listen I love you joy is coming

Fev 2, 2:38 pm

Thanks for both of those Lisa.

Editado: Fev 2, 3:28 pm

They are great, Lisa. I still think the past tense of learn is learnt (as in the first poem) but I was told it sounds uneducated. I think it was all the Irish nuns I had in school or from reading English poetry. I also say dreamt.

ETA: what’s the Slowdown?

Fev 3, 8:19 am

Ode to a Dolly Parton Drag Queen

She lip-syncs “Hello God,” then “9 to 5.”
She struts. Or does she fly? Like the soul,
a rhinestone, she tells us, will never die.
She’s a blush-pink Bible. Patched together,
she’s a cosmic doll. Mirror of a mirror,
she winks, her face the only face. Anchors
of abundance, her breasts are the news—
more is more is more. A baptismal font,
a witch-walk down the last dirt road,
she’s hillbilly blood on a silk bandana. Marilyn
or Medusa? Caked lipstick on a flatbed truck.
She’s Styrofoam in a cowgirl case. Starlight
on a stage. She’s all eyeliner. She will not scare.
She’s the endless tease of her acrylic hair.

by Bruce Snider

Fev 3, 8:23 am

>62 savisnothere_1234: I like the "Lost" poem.

>63 dianeham: This made me smile too. 😁

>66 lisapeet: I really like this one. Thanks for sharing.

Fev 3, 10:42 am

>68 dianeham: The Slowdown is a poetry podcast, plus you can sign up to get a poem a day in your inbox (which is how I mostly use it).

I sent my friend the Kim Addonizio poem. She'll like it.

Fev 3, 1:56 pm

>65 lisapeet: my first thought was, that’s one way to handle entropy. Maybe I should feel a little cold for thinking that.

Enjoyed all these poems, all.

Fev 3, 2:39 pm

>69 msf59: "she’s hillbilly blood on a silk bandana" interesting turn of phrase. Love it.

>68 dianeham: I subscribed to Slowdown but must have stopped. Just resubscribed. Thanks.

Fev 6, 7:40 am


For him
Must be
The shivering of
A great drum
Beaten with swift sticks
Then at the closing hour
The lights go out
And there is no music at all
And death becomes
An empty cabaret
And eternity an unblown saxophone
And yesterday
A glass of gin
Drunk long

-Langston Hughes From Poem-A-Day

Fev 6, 8:08 am

This member has been suspended from the site.

Fev 6, 1:07 pm

the earth is a living thing

is a black shambling bear
ruffling its wild back and tossing
mountains into the sea

is a black hawk circling
the burying ground circling the bones
picked clean and discarded

is a fish black blind in the belly of water
is a diamond blind in the black belly of coal

is a black and living thing
is a favorite child of the universe
feel her rolling her hand
in its kinky hair
feel her brushing it clean

Lucille Clifton from The book of light & as an epigraph in Wild girls by Tiya Miles which I just started reading.

Fev 6, 4:33 pm

Thank you all, some lovely poems.

Fev 7, 8:04 am

The Cremation of Sam McGee
By Robert W. Service

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that "he'd sooner live in hell."

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the cursèd cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead—it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."

A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains."

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May."
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked"; ... then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm—
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Fev 7, 9:13 am

>13 Caroline_McElwee: the link you have associated with "Octopus Mind" is incorrect, in case you wish to modify it.

Fev 7, 12:33 pm

2023 will go down in my memory as the year I finally began to truly appreciate poetry. I am so happy to have tumbled on this discussion group.

Fev 7, 12:43 pm

I always smile when I see "The Cremation of Sam McGee." It's my father's favorite poem.

I am reading Richard Blanco's new collection and it is wonderful, but his poems are really long, so I haven't copied any.

Fev 7, 3:55 pm

>81 Treebeard_404: Welcome. Feel free to post your favorite poems.

Fev 7, 3:56 pm

New York Poem by Terrance Hayes

In New York from a rooftop in Chinatown
one can see the sci-fi bridges and aisles
of buildings where there are more miles
of shortcuts and alternative takes than
there are Miles Davis alternative takes.
There is a white girl who looks hi-
jacked with feeling in her glittering jacket
and her boots that look made of dinosaur
skin and R is saying to her I love you
again and again. On a Chinatown rooftop
in New York anything can happen.
Someone says “abattoir” is such a pretty word
for “slaughterhouse.” Some one says
mermaids are just fish ladies. I am so
fucking vain I cannot believe anyone
is threatened by me. In New York
not everyone is forgiven. Dear New York,
dear girl with a barcode tattooed
on the side of your face, and everyone
writing poems about and inside and outside
the subways, dear people underground
in New York, on the sci-fi bridges and aisles
of New York, on the rooftops of Chinatown
where Miles Davis is pumping in,
and someone is telling me about contranymns,
how “cleave” and “cleave” are the same word
looking in opposite directions, I now know
“bolt” is to lock and “bolt” is to run away.
That’s how I think of New York. Someone
jonesing for Grace Jones at the party,
and someone jonesing for grace.

Fev 7, 8:45 pm

>79 Julie_in_the_Library: new to me. Fun stuff.

>81 Treebeard_404: welcome

>85 dchaikin: loved this one. Abattoir is an oddly pretty word.

Fev 7, 9:04 pm

Paul Binding. The university of oblivion: Sweden’s leading postwar poet. Review of: THE BLUE HOUSE: Collected works of Tomas Tranströmer / translated by Patty Crane; introduction by Yusef Komunyakaa.

Editado: Fev 8, 7:54 am

My Country by Dorothea Mackellar

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold -
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Image is from AllPoetry.com, which also features a recording of the poet reading her poem.

Fev 8, 7:54 am

Base Details by Siegfried Sassoon

If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,
I’d live with scarlet Majors at the Base,
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
You’d see me with my puffy petulant face,
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
Reading the Roll of Honour. “Poor young chap,”
I’d say—‘I used to know his father well;
Yes, we’ve lost heavily in this last scrap.’
And when the war is done and youth stone dead,
I’d toddle safely home and die—in bed.

Fev 8, 8:35 am

>77 markon: I love the Clifton poem. 👍

>79 Julie_in_the_Library: The Sam McGee poem is a classic!

>84 dianeham: I really like the Hayes poem. 👍

Fev 8, 8:35 am

Asked for a Happy Memory of Her Father, She Recalls Wrigley Field

His drinking was different in sunshine,
as if it couldn’t be bad. Sudden, manic,
he swung into a laugh, bought me
two ice creams, said One for each hand.

Half the hot inning I licked Good Humor
running down wrists. My bird-mother
earlier, packing my pockets with sun block,
had hopped her warning: Be careful.

So, pinned between his knees, I held
his Old Style in both hands
while he streaked the sun block on my cheeks
and slurred My little Indian princess.

Home run: the hairy necks of the men in front
jumped up, thighs torn from gummy green bleachers
to join the violent scramble. Father
held me close and said Be careful,

be careful. But why should I be full of care
with his thick arm circling my shoulders,
with a high smiling sun, like a home run,
in the upper right-hand corner of the sky?

-Beth Ann Fennelly

Fev 8, 8:55 pm

Enjoyed all these. I miss baseball…

Fev 9, 1:45 pm

Heartwood, by Robert Macfarlane, from The Lost Spells

Would you hew me to the heartwood, cutter?
Would you leave me open-hearted?

Put an ear to my bark, hear my sap's mutter,
Mark my heartwood's beat, my leaves' flutter.

Would you turn me to timber, cutter?
Leave me nothing but a heap of logs, a pile of brash?

I am a world, cutter, I am a maker of life -
Drinker of rain, breaker of rocks, caster of shade, eater of sun,

I am a timekeeper, breath-giver, deep-thinker;
I am a city of butterflies, a country of creatures.

But my world takes years to grow and seconds to crash;
Your saw can fell me, your axe can bring me low.

Do you hear these words I utter? I ask this -
Have you heartwood, cutter? Have those who sent you?

Fev 9, 1:56 pm

>92 Treebeard_404: I love this. I am a big fan of Macfarlane. I didn't realize he wrote poetry.

Editado: Fev 9, 3:53 pm

>92 Treebeard_404: great poem. Thanks. Glad you joined us here.

Editado: Fev 9, 2:56 pm

>93 msf59: Even better, there's a collection of musicians who have taken the Lost Spells poems and interpreted them as songs. MacFarlane was involved in the process. Search your favorite streamer for "The Lost Spells". The song version of "Heartwood" gives me chills every single time.

Fev 10, 9:09 am

Sestina: Like
by A.E. Stallings

With a nod to Jonah Winter

Now we’re all “friends,” there is no love but Like,
A semi-demi goddess, something like
A reality-TV star look-alike,
Named Simile or Me Two. So we like
In order to be liked. It isn’t like
There’s Love or Hate now. Even plain “dislike”

Is frowned on: there’s no button for it. Like
Is something you can quantify: each “like”
You gather’s almost something money-like,
Token of virtual support. “Please like
This page to stamp out hunger.” And you’d like
To end hunger and climate change alike,

But it’s unlikely Like does diddly. Like
Just twiddles its unopposing thumbs-ups, like-
Wise props up scarecrow silences. “I’m like,
So OVER him,”
I overhear. “But, like,
He doesn’t get it. Like, you know? He’s like
It’s all OK. Like I don’t even LIKE

Him anymore. Whatever. I’m all like ... ”
Take “like” out of our chat, we’d all alike
Flounder, agape, gesticulating like
A foreign film sans subtitles, fall like
Dumb phones to mooted desuetude. Unlike
With other crutches, um, when we use “like,”

We’re not just buying time on credit: Like
Displaces other words; crowds, cuckoo-like,
Endangered hatchlings from the nest. (Click “like”
If you’re against extinction!) Like is like
Invasive zebra mussels, or it’s like
Those nutria-things, or kudzu, or belike

Redundant fast food franchises, each like
(More like) the next. Those poets who dislike
Inversions, archaisms, who just like
Plain English as she’s spoke — why isn’t “like”
Their (literally) every other word? I’d like
Us just to admit that’s what real speech is like.

But as you like, my friend. Yes, we’re alike,
How we pronounce, say, lichen, and dislike
Cancer and war. So like this page. Click Like.

Fev 11, 8:43 am

>23 dianeham:

I am His Majesty's dog at Kew --
Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?

Alexander Pope, on a royal dog-collar

Fev 11, 8:48 am

A Blessing

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

James Wright

Fev 11, 9:11 am

>100 Crypto-Willobie: I really like the Wright poem. Thanks for sharing.

Editado: Fev 12, 7:24 am

The Dead

The dead are always looking down on us, they say,
while we are putting on our shoes or making a sandwich,
they are looking down through the glass-bottom boats of heaven
as they row themselves slowly through eternity.

They watch the tops of our heads moving below on earth,
and when we lie down in a field or on a couch,
drugged perhaps by the hum of a warm afternoon,
they think we are looking back at them,

which makes them lift their oars and fall silent
and wait, like parents, for us to close our eyes.

-Billy Collins

From my current collection The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing

Fev 11, 10:17 am

And here is a lovely morning poem from Richard Blanco's new collection Homeland of My Body.

No More than This, Provincetown

Today, home is a cottage with morning
in the yawn of an open window. I watch
the crescent moon, like a wind-blown sail,
vanish. Blue slowly fills the sky and light
regains the trust of wildflowers blooming
with fresh spiderwebs spun stem to stem.
The room rises with the toasting of bread,
a stick of butter puddling in a dish, a knife
at rest, burgundy apples ready to be halved,
a pint of blueberries bleeding on the counter,
and little more than this. A nail in the wall
with a pair of disembodied jeans, a red jersey,
and shoes embossed by the bones of my feet
and years of walking. I sit down to breakfast
over the nicks of a pinewood table and I am,
for a moment, not afraid of being no more
than what I hear and see, no more than this;
the echo of bird songs filling an empty vase,
the shadow of a sparrow moving through
the shadow of a tree, disturbing nothing.

I love "the yawn of an open window."

Fev 11, 12:19 pm

>100 Crypto-Willobie: _A Blessing_ is aptly named. That was breathtaking.

Fev 11, 4:18 pm

>100 Crypto-Willobie: welcome Bill and great poem. I also appreciate the Pope lines. Thanks for joining us.

Fev 11, 4:23 pm

>102 msf59: - good one!
>103 BLBera: stunning poem - I have to read more of him!

I love how active this thread is getting.

Fev 11, 8:50 pm

>105 dianeham:
Thanks for having me...

Fev 12, 7:23 am

>103 BLBera: I really like the Blanco poem, Beth and I loved this collection.

Fev 12, 2:39 pm

Maundy Thursday

Between the brown hands of a server-lad
The silver cross was offered to be kissed.
The men came up, lugubrious, but not sad,
And knelt reluctantly, half-prejudiced.
(And kissing, kissed the emblem of a creed.)
Then mourning women knelt; meek mouths they had,
(And kissed the Body of the Christ indeed.)
Young children came, with eager lips and glad.
(These kissed a silver doll, immensely bright.)
Then I, too, knelt before that acolyte.
Above the crucifix I bent my head:
The Christ was thin, and cold, and very dead:
And yet I bowed, yea, kissed - my lips did cling.
(I kissed the warm live hand that held the thing.)

Wilfred Owen

Fev 12, 5:01 pm

Poem for Shrove Tuesday by Christina Rossetti:
Mix a pancake,
Stir a pancake,
Pop it in the pan;
Fry the pancake,
Toss the pancake—
Catch it if you can.

Editado: Fev 12, 6:25 pm

Thanks all. Good finds/contributions.

I attempted to reproduce the spacing on the page of the poem below, but LT doesn't like to allow for extra spaces in lines . . .


all night the wind blows   & my mind
  my mind is like the hawthorn that loses
limbs   they litter the ground   crush
 black-eyed susan   scatter buds
over rows of lettuce   bean sprouts
  whose greens are clusters of worry
in raised beds   blown leaves & cracked limbs
  threaten our foundation   water backs up
in gutters   seeps into the house's walls

  but my mind   my mind is not in the house

in the yard's far corner the eye of my mind rests
  on a hawthorn branch   shaken   snapping
hectic   then still the day dawns
  without anger   the blue jay I've looked for
pushes sky off his crest   how splendid
  his wings & tail   it's not so much
that before this he'd hidden himself
  it's only he favored a roost
I could not see until the storm thinned the tree

Camille T. Dungy in Soil: the story of a black mother's garden

edited to modify spacing

Fev 12, 9:48 pm

Catching my own breath. Terrific from >100 Crypto-Willobie: down. Those ponies are lovely. Billy Collins is Billy Collins. The open window. Wildred Owen… and so on…

Fev 12, 10:06 pm

>96 Julie_in_the_Library: Wonderful. Stallings is probably one of my most favourite contemporary poets.

Fev 12, 10:15 pm

"At nights birds hammered my unborn"
by Ishion Hutchinson

At nights birds hammered my unborn
child’s heart to strength, each strike bringing

bones and spine to glow, her lungs pestled
loud as the sea I was raised a sea anemone

among women who cursed their hearts
out, soured themselves, never-brides,

into veranda shades, talcum and tea moistened
their quivering jaws, prophetic without prophecy.

Anvil-black, gleaming garlic nubs, the pageant arrived with sails unfurled
from Colchis and I rejoiced like a broken

asylum to see burning sand grains, skittering ice;
shekels clapped in my chest, I smashed my head against a lightbulb

and light sprinkled my hair; I rejoiced, a poui
tree hit by the sun in the room, a man, a man.


Ishion Hutchinson is a Jamaican poet. If you've never seen a poui tree in bloom, in the sun. here's a picture by Stephen Cadiz for Newsday. They grow up to 37 meters in height, and bloom madly. In Malaysia, we have a cousin of the poui which blooms in pink, much like a cherry tree.

Fev 12, 10:36 pm

>114 rv1988: I’m lost reading this one.

Fev 13, 2:05 pm

>114 rv1988: has me curious. Colchis may imply Jason

Fev 14, 8:14 am

Black Oaks
by Mary Oliver

Okay, not one can write a symphony, or a dictionary,
or even a letter to an old friend, full of remembrance
and comfort.
Not one can manage a single sound though the blue jays
carp and whistle all day in the branches, without
the push of the wind.
But to tell the truth after a while I'm pale with longing
for their thick bodies ruckled with lichen
and you can't keep me from the woods, from the tonnage
of their shoulders, and their shining green hair.
Today is a day like any other: twenty-four hours, a
little sunshine, a little rain.
Listen, says ambition, nervously shifting her weight from
one boot to another -- why don't you get going?
For there I am, in the mossy shadows, under the trees.
And to tell the truth I don't want to let go of the wrists
of idleness, I don't want to sell my life for money,
I don't even want to come in out of the rain.

Fev 14, 9:32 am

>117 Julie_in_the_Library: I love Mary Oliver's work. That poem was an excellent example of why. Thank you so much for sharing it.

Fev 14, 12:56 pm

Second Story by Elizabeth Spires

How strange to be sitting in this room,
to be noticing the windows—clearer than air—
how they let in everything, the leaves,
the bright-colored leaves, hanging like bits
of paper from the trees, and the thin woman
across the street sweeping her porch—
though she swept it yesterday and the day before
and will, most likely, sweep it tomorrow—
and how strange to be thinking of you, always
of you, as the room changes imperceptibly, easily
moving from moment to moment, like a lover
whose infidelities are purely imaginary,
imagined by you, just as you’re sure
the house might betray you, accommodating shadows
in your absence, sure that the room only
pretends to be your room, light climbing the stairs—
like an intruder or friend who left a long time ago—
pausing, changing its mind, going back down again,
as if the door were open and it could
come back anytime. Strange after so much time
to feel the same feelings, only stronger,
as the dust settles thickly on the tables,
and the afternoon shadows, unsure of themselves,
shrink into corners or lie on the floor,
and no letters arrive and the phone doesn’t ring,
and the woman sweeping her porch casts
a cold eye up at you—the face in the second story
window, the whorled face staring at the view—
goes into her house and shuts the door.

From Paris Review issue no. 89 (Fall 1983)

Fev 14, 8:12 pm

>117 Julie_in_the_Library: Love me some Oliver!!

Editado: Fev 14, 8:17 pm

The Last Lophodytes

My love loves hooded mergansers, absurd
dives into wry arcana. He sees farther than I can
fake and fakes nothing within my gaze.

Vagrants in the wetland, we forest for
the modern. We ebb and flow the winter, forbid
the easy estuaries. So what if a day

in the life of the mind evolves in brackish waters?
A joke about an overrated film, a scoop
of lime moqueca, the sloppy second

before God opts to starve the shore of starlight?
Take it. Take me. This empty beach, endangered
sun, the hungry gulls, all ours.

-Eillen G' Sell

P.S. A lophodyte is a hooded merganser

Fev 14, 8:20 pm


He sits, silent,
no longer mistaking the cable
news for company—

and when he talks, he talks of childhood,
remembering some slight or conundrum
as if it is a score to be retailed

and settled after seventy-five years.

Rare, the sudden lucidity
that acknowledges this thing
that has happened
to me…

More often, he recounts
his father’s cruelty
or a chance deprived
to him, a Negro
under Jim Crow.

Five minutes ago escapes him
as he chases 1934, unaware

of the present beauty out the window,
the banks of windswept snow—

or his wife, humming in the kitchen,
or the twilit battles in Korea, or me

when he remembers that I am his son.

This condition—with a name that implies
the proprietary,
and otherwise—

as if it owns him,
which it does.

-Anthony Walton

From Poem-A-Day

Fev 14, 10:31 pm

The Book of Lies

I’d like to have a word
with you. Could we be alone
for a minute? I have been lying
until now. Do you believe

I believe myself? Do you believe
yourself when you believe me? Lying
is natural. Forgive me. Could we be alone
forever? Forgive us all. The word is

my enemy. I have never been alone;
bribes, betrayals. I am lying
even now. Can you believe
that? I give you my word.

The Late Great James Tate, still miss him

Fev 15, 8:58 am

>124 Crypto-Willobie: humor or reality? Or both? 🙂

Fev 16, 8:58 am

>126 dianeham: Suddenly, there's a lot of extra pollen in this room. That's why my eyes are watery. No other reason. Move along.

Fev 16, 12:21 pm

>128 dianeham: Any poem that mentions Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane's A love Supreme is worth a read.

Fev 18, 4:14 am

Love Song
by Rainer Maria Rilke

3 translations:

Translated by Jessie Lemont:

When my soul touches yours a great chord sings!
How shall I tune it then to other things?
O! That some spot in darkness could be found
That does not vibrate whene'er your depth sound.
But everything that touches you and me
Welds us as played strings sound one melody.
Where is the instrument whence the sounds flow?
And whose the master-hand that holds the bow?
O! Sweet song—

Translated by David Shapiro:

How could I stop myself
from meeting you? Should I rise
up over you to some other things?
I could happily make a roof
with someone abandoned in the dark
in some dumb distant spot
that never shakes, as you are trembling now.
Yet everything that grazes you and me
ties us together like a violin bow
stroking two strings into one sound.
But on what instrument have we been bound?
And what musician has us in his hand?
Oh sweet song.

Translated by SA Kline:

How shall I hold my soul so it does not
touch on yours. How shall I lift it
over you to other things?
Ah, willingly I’d store it away
with some lost thing in the dark,
in some strange still place, that
does not tremble when your depths tremble.
But all that touches us, you and me,
takes us, together, like the stroke of a bow,
that draws one chord out of the two strings.
On what instrument are we strung?
And what artist has us in their hand?
O sweet song.

Fev 18, 8:25 am

The Lesson Of The Moth
by Don Marquis

i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
thing for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense

plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with the routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while
so we wad all our life up
into one little roll
and then we shoot the roll
that is what life is for
it is better to be a part of beauty
for one instant and then cease to
exist than to exist forever
and never be a part of beauty
our attitude toward life
is come easy go easy
we are like human beings
used to be before they became
too civilized to enjoy themselves

and before i could argue him
out of his philosophy
he went and immolated himself
on a patent cigar lighter
i do not agree with him
myself i would rather have
half the happiness and twice
the longevity

but at the same time i wish
there was something i wanted
as badly as he wanted to fry himself

Fev 18, 12:01 pm

>132 Julie_in_the_Library: i was watching the Alpinist last night and this moth has me thinking of that climber.

Fev 18, 12:03 pm

>131 rv1988: my post didn’t post 🙁

Anyway, it’s very strange that a German poem can generate three such wildly different translations. I like the first, but I’m guessing it’s the least literal of translations.

Fev 18, 2:16 pm

>134 dchaikin: the third is my favorite.

Fev 18, 9:49 pm

> I agree with you, on both counts: I like the first one, but I suspect some poetic license was employed. It is a curious thing about the way poetry is translated. There is a very interesting project here which collects English translations of Fernando Pessoa's poem, "Autopsicografia" which was written in Portuguese. This page has 16 (!) translations, two of which are different versions by one translator. Each one is completely distinct. https://www.disquiet.com/thirteen.html

Fev 19, 1:45 pm

>138 dianeham: OMG, that is brilliant!

Editado: Fev 19, 8:41 pm

"...the natural world has always been the great warehouse of symbolic imagery. Poetry is one of the ancient arts, and it began, as did all the fine arts, within the original wilderness of the earth. Also, it began through the process of seeing, and feeling, and hearing, and smelling, and touching, and then remembering - I mean remembering in words - what these perceptual experiences were like, while trying to describe the endless invisible fears and desires of our inner lives."

--Mary Oliver
from A Poetry Handbook

Fev 20, 1:40 pm

>141 Treebeard_404: good stuff. i guess Oliver couldn’t say “maybe”. I was looking for “memory” from where she states “poetry…began”. She put a lot of stuff before that. 🙂

Fev 20, 2:27 pm

Hello, all. I'm new to this topic. I'm not someone who reads a lot of poetry, though I usually check out the annual "Best American Poetry" volume from the library, and I subscribe to the "Poem-a-Day" newsletter. But I do occasionally stumble across poems that I like, and over the years have built a sort of personal anthology of favorites saved in a big Word document. It's up to about 150 entries now, and a few new ones find their way in every year.

A couple of favorites:


Most were married teenagers
Working knockout shifts daybreak
To sunset six days a week –
Already old men playing ball
In a field between a row of shotgun houses
& the Magazine Lumber Company.
They were all Jackie Robinson
& Willie Mays, a touch of
Josh Gibson & Satchel Paige
In each stance & swing, a promise
Like a hesitation pitch always
At the edge of their lives,
Arms sharp as rifles.
The Sunday afternoon heat
Flared like thin flowered skirts
As children & wives cheered.
The men were like cats
Running backwards to snag
Pop-ups & high-flies off
Fences, stealing each other's glory.
The old deacons & raconteurs
Who umpired made an Out or Safe
Into a song & dance routine.
Runners hit the dirt
& slid into homeplate,
Cleats catching light,
As they conjured escapes, outfoxing
Double plays. In the few seconds
It took a man to eye a woman
Upon the makeshift bleachers,
A stolen base or homerun
Would help another man
Survive the new week.

--Yusef Komunyakaa

(This one always makes me think of my father, a hard-working farmer who played for many years on the town softball team.)



It is not what she did
at 10 o'clock
last evening

accounts for the smile

It is
that she plans
to do it again


Only the mouth
all those years

letting on.

It's not the mouth

it's not the eyes
exactly either

it's not even
exactly a smile

But, whatever,
I second the motion.

-- John Stone

Fev 21, 12:12 am

Fuck the Astronauts


Eventually we must combine nightmares
an angel smoking a cigarette on the steps
of the last national bank, said to me.
I put her out with my thumb. I don’t need that
cheap talk I’ve got my own problems.
It was sad, exciting, and horrible.
It was exciting, horrible, and sad.
It was horrible, sad, and exciting.
It was inviting, mad, and deplorable.
It was adorable, glad, and enticing.
Eventually we must smoke a thumb
cheap talk I’ve got my own angel
on the steps of the problems the bank
said to me I don’t need that.
I will take this one window
with its sooty maps and scratches
so that my dreams will remember
one another and so that my eyes will not
become blinded by the new world.


The flames don’t dance or slither.
They have painted the room green.
Beautiful and naked, the wives
are sleeping before the fire.
Now it is out. The men have
returned to the shacks,
slaved creatures from the forest
floor across their white
stationwagons. That just about
does it, says the other,
dumping her bucket
over her head. Well, I guess
we got everything, says one,
feeling around in the mud,
as if for a child.
Now they remember they want
that mud, who can’t remember
what they got up for.
They parcel it out: when
they are drunk enough
they go into town with
a bucket of mud, saying
we can slice it up into
windmills like a bloated cow.
Later, they paint the insides
of the shack black,
and sit sucking eggs all night,
they want something real, useful,
but there isn’t anything.


I will engineer the sunrise
they have disassembled our shadows
our echoes are erased from the walls
your nipples are the skeletons of olives
your nipples are an oriental delight
your nipples blow away like cigarette papers
your nipples are the mouths of mutes
so I am not here any longer
skein of lightning
memory’s dark ink in your last smile
where the stars have swallowed their train schedule
where the stars have drowned in their dark petticoats
like a sock of hamburger
receiving the lightning
into his clitoris
red on red the prisoner
confesses his waltz
through the corkscrew lightning
nevermind the lightning
in your teeth let’s waltz
I am the hashish pinball machine
that rapes a piano.

James Tate
(I particularly like his "dada"side)

Fev 21, 12:42 am

Editado: Ontem, 9:38 am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Editado: Fev 21, 8:00 am

>143 KeithChaffee: Hello, all. I'm new to this topic. I'm not someone who reads a lot of poetry, though I usually check out the annual "Best American Poetry" volume from the library, and I subscribe to the "Poem-a-Day" newsletter. But I do occasionally stumble across poems that I like, and over the years have built a sort of personal anthology of favorites saved in a big Word document. It's up to about 150 entries now, and a few new ones find their way in every year.

Welcome! Good to have you! That's where I was when this topic was first started last year. I still don't read much poetry compared to a lot of the people who post in this topic. I definitely read more than I ever used to. I keep my favorites in a OneNote notebook, and, more recently, I've been printing them out and gluing them into a fancy journal that I got at B&N for the purpose.

Editado: Fev 24, 12:55 am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Ontem, 9:36 am

And Yet The Books

And yet the books will be there on the shelves, separate beings,
That appeared once, still wet
As shining chestnuts under a tree in autumn,
And, touched, coddled, began to live
In spite of fires on the horizon, castles blown up,
Tribes on the march, planets in motion.
“We are, ” they said, even as their pages
Were being torn out, or a buzzing flame
Licked away their letters. So much more durable
Than we are, whose frail warmth
Cools down with memory, disperses, perishes.
I imagine the earth when I am no more:
Nothing happens, no loss, it’s still a strange pageant,
Women’s dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.
Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born,
Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.

-Czeslaw Milosz

Ontem, 9:45 am

>128 dianeham: The Miller poem is fantastic!

>139 dianeham: I really like Boxing Lessons.

>143 KeithChaffee: Good one!

Ontem, 9:47 am

The Trees

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

-Philip Larkin