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The Poem of the Week



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Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:06 am
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Iggy says...



Ozymandias

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

— Percy Bysshe Shelley
“I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then."
- Lewis Carroll
  





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Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:21 am
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fortis says...



Marge Piercy, “Attack of the Squash People"

"And thus the people every year
in the valley of humid July
did sacrifice themselves
to the long green phallic god
and eat and eat and eat.
They're coming, they're on us,
the long striped gourds, the silky
babies, the hairy adolescents,
the lumpy vast adults
like the trunks of green elephants.
Recite fifty zucchini recipes!

Zucchini tempura; creamed soup;
sauté with olive oil and cumin,
tomatoes, onion; frittata;
casserole of lamb; baked
topped with cheese; marinated;
stuffed; stewed; driven
through the heart like a stake.

Get rid of old friends: they too
have gardens and full trunks.
Look for newcomers: befriend
them in the post office, unload
on them and run. Stop tourists
in the street. Take truckloads
to Boston. Give to your Red Cross.
Beg on the highway: please
take my zucchini, I have a crippled
mother at home with heartburn.

Sneak out before dawn to drop
them in other people's gardens,
in baby buggies at churchdoors.
Shot, smuggling zucchini into
mailboxes, a federal offense.

With a suave reptilian glitter
you bask among your raspy
fronds sudden and huge as
alligators. You give and give
too much, like summer days
limp with heat, thunderstorms
bursting their bags on our heads,
as we salt and freeze and pickle
for the too little to come."
Instead, he said, Brother! I know your hunger.
To this, the Wolf answered, Lo!

-Elena Passarello, Animals Strike Curious Poses
  





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Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:00 pm
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Lavvie says...



Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798 by William Wordsworth

Five years have past; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur.—Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
The day is come when I again repose
Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,
Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
'Mid groves and copses. Once again I see
These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines
Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms,
Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke
Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!
With some uncertain notice, as might seem
Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire
The Hermit sits alone.

These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind
With tranquil restoration:—feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened:—that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,—
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.

If this
Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft—
In darkness and amid the many shapes
Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart—
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,
O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro' the woods,
How often has my spirit turned to thee!

And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again:
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years. And so I dare to hope,
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first
I came among these hills; when like a roe
I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led: more like a man
Flying from something that he dreads, than one
Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days
And their glad animal movements all gone by)
To me was all in all.—I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, not any interest
Unborrowed from the eye.—That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other gifts
Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompense. For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue.—And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear,—both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature and the language of the sense
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.

Nor perchance,
If I were not thus taught, should I the more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
For thou art with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once,
My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance—
If I should be where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
Of past existence—wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came
Unwearied in that service: rather say
With warmer love—oh! with far deeper zeal
Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!


What is to give light must endure burning. – Viktor Frankl
  





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Mon Mar 09, 2020 7:04 pm
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Lavvie says...



The Red Wheelbarrow - William Carlos Williams

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens


What is to give light must endure burning. – Viktor Frankl
  





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Sun Mar 15, 2020 7:37 pm
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fortis says...



From Blossoms
By Li-Young Lee

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
Instead, he said, Brother! I know your hunger.
To this, the Wolf answered, Lo!

-Elena Passarello, Animals Strike Curious Poses
  





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Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:57 am
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Liminality says...



Slam, Dunk, & Hook - Yusef Komunyakaa

Fast breaks. Lay ups. With Mercury's
Insignia on our sneakers,
We outmaneuvered the footwork
Of bad angels. Nothing but a hot
Swish of strings like silk
Ten feet out. In the roundhouse
Labyrinth our bodies
Created, we could almost
Last forever, poised in midair
Like storybook sea monsters.
A high note hung there
A long second. Off
The rim. We'd corkscrew
Up & dunk balls that exploded
The skullcap of hope & good
Intention. Lanky, all hands
& feet...sprung rhythm.
We were metaphysical when girls
Cheered on the sidelines.
Tangled up in a falling,
Muscles were a bright motor
Double-flashing to the metal hoop
Nailed to our oak.
When Sonny Boy's mama died
He played nonstop all day, so hard
Our backboard splintered.
Glistening with sweat,
We rolled the ball off
Our fingertips. Trouble
Was there slapping a blackjack
Against an open palm.
Dribble, drive to the inside,
& glide like a sparrow hawk.
Lay ups. Fast breaks.
We had moves we didn't know
We had. Our bodies spun
On swivels of bone & faith,
Through a lyric slipknot
Of joy, & we knew we were
Beautiful & dangerous.
  





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Tue Mar 24, 2020 7:08 am
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AvantCoffee says...



'Beekeeping' by Sara Eliza Johnson


It begins on the brightest
afternoon, my body

held in a corona

I can taste the sugar
and the heat of.

At the edge of the valley
wild hyacinths,

violet ones, scythe

through the shadows,
through my eye.

When I reach the hive
the bees cluster

on my veil, like molecules

magnified, a code
to the core of things.

When I lift a comb

one bee stings my wrist,
then another,

the venom a note,

a pulse of light
that rises into a song:

a tower of spikes

or a swaying stalk
of purpling

blossoms. This must be
what love is:

a pain so radiant
it cuts through all others.
If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.
— René Descartes
  





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Mon Mar 30, 2020 7:04 pm
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Lavvie says...



A monk sips morning tea,
it's quiet,
the chrysanthemum's flowering.

- Matsuo Bashō


What is to give light must endure burning. – Viktor Frankl
  





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Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:12 pm
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Lavvie says...



'Snow' by Frederick Seidel

Snow is what it does.
It falls and it stays and it goes.
It melts and it is here somewhere.
We all will get there.


What is to give light must endure burning. – Viktor Frankl
  





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Points: 106
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Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:53 pm
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fortis says...



The Skylight
by Seamus Heaney

You were the one for skylights. I opposed
Cutting into the seasoned tongue-and-groove
Of pitch pine. I liked it low and closed,
Its claustrophobic, nest-up-in-the-roof
Effect. I liked the snuff-dry feeling,
The perfect, trunk-lid fit of the old ceiling.
Under there, it was all hutch and hatch.
The blue slates kept the heat like midnight thatch.

But when the slates came off, extravagant
Sky entered and held surprise wide open.
For days I felt like an inhabitant
Of that house where the man sick of the palsy
Was lowered through the roof, had his sins forgiven,
Was healed, took up his bed and walked away.
Instead, he said, Brother! I know your hunger.
To this, the Wolf answered, Lo!

-Elena Passarello, Animals Strike Curious Poses
  





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Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:57 am
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fortis says...



(Is this way more than one poem in a week? Yes. Do I overmuch care? Not really: it's NaPo baby!)


After the Alphabets
by W.S. Merwin

I am trying to decipher the language of insects
they are the tongues of the future
their vocabularies describe buildings as food
they can depict dark water and the veins of trees
they can convey what they do not know
and what is known at a distance
and what nobody knows
they have terms for making music with the legs
they can recount changing in a sleep like death
they can sing with wings
the speakers are their own meaning in a grammar without horizons
they are wholly articulate
they are never important they are everything
Instead, he said, Brother! I know your hunger.
To this, the Wolf answered, Lo!

-Elena Passarello, Animals Strike Curious Poses
  





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Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:57 am
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fortis says...



Chord
by W. S. Merwin (again)

While Keats wrote they were cutting down the sandalwood forests
while he listened to the nightingale they heard their own axes
echoing through the forests
while he sat in the walled garden on the hill outside the city they
thought of their gardens dying far away on the mountain
while the sound of the words clawed at him they thought of their wives
while the tip of his pen travelled the iron they had coveted was
hateful to them
while he thought of the Grecian woods they bled under red flowers
while he dreamed of wine the trees were falling from the trees
while he felt his heart they were hungry and their faith was sick
while the song broke over him they were in a secret place and they
were cutting it forever
while he coughed they carried the trunks to the hole in the forest
the size of a foreign ship
while he groaned on the voyage to Italy they fell on the trails and
were broken
when he lay with the odes behind him the wood was sold for cannons
when he lay watching the window they came home and lay down
and an age arrived when everything was explained in another language
Instead, he said, Brother! I know your hunger.
To this, the Wolf answered, Lo!

-Elena Passarello, Animals Strike Curious Poses
  





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Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:24 am
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alliyah says...



credit to @IamI for posting this poem on their wall earlier, but I didn't notice until seeing it on my laptop rather than phone that the poem contains, Gwendolyn Brooks' poem "The Pool Players. Seven at the Golden Shovel" from 'We Real Cool' - > And after seeing it's a poem within a poem, I am super impressed with it and !!! !!!! It's harsh and uncomfortable to read, but this is some great poetry.

"An American Sunrise"
by Joy Harjo, U.S. Poet Laureate

We were running out of breath, as we ran out to meet ourselves. We
were surfacing the edge of our ancestors’ fights, and ready to strike.
It was difficult to lose days in the Indian bar if you were straight.
Easy if you played pool and drank to remember to forget. We
made plans to be professional — and did. And some of us could sing
so we drummed a fire-lit pathway up to those starry stars. Sin
was invented by the Christians, as was the Devil, we sang. We
were the heathens, but needed to be saved from them — thin
chance. We knew we were all related in this story, a little gin
will clarify the dark and make us all feel like dancing. We
had something to do with the origins of blues and jazz
I argued with a Pueblo as I filled the jukebox with dimes in June,
forty years later and we still want justice. We are still America. We
know the rumors of our demise. We spit them out. They die
soon.


poem link
maybe i make up colors for poetic cadence, but i don't think i can ever love someone who doesn't understand that teal is a different color than dark cyan
  





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Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:12 am
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fortis says...



The Traveling Onion
Naomi Shihab Nye

“It is believed that the onion originally came from India. In Egypt it was an
object of worship —why I haven’t been able to find out. From Egypt the onion
entered Greece and on to Italy, thence into all of Europe.” — Better Living Cookbook


When I think how far the onion has traveled
just to enter my stew today, I could kneel and praise
all small forgotten miracles,
crackly paper peeling on the drainboard,
pearly layers in smooth agreement,
the way the knife enters onion
and onion falls apart on the chopping block,
a history revealed.
And I would never scold the onion
for causing tears.
It is right that tears fall
for something small and forgotten.
How at meal, we sit to eat,
commenting on texture of meat or herbal aroma
but never on the translucence of onion,
now limp, now divided,
or its traditionally honorable career:
For the sake of others,
disappear.
Instead, he said, Brother! I know your hunger.
To this, the Wolf answered, Lo!

-Elena Passarello, Animals Strike Curious Poses
  





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Wed May 20, 2020 9:34 am
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AvantCoffee says...



We Astronomers
by Rebecca Elson

We astronomers are nomads,
Merchants, circus people,
All the earth our tent.

We are industrious.
We breed enthusiasm,
Honour our responsibility to awe.

But the universe has moved a long way off.
Sometimes, I confess,
Starlight seems too sharp,

And like the moon
I bend my face to the ground,
To the small patch where each foot falls,

Before it falls,
And I forget to ask questions,
And only count things.

Spoiler! :
A little context: this poem is from the poetry book A Responsibility to Awe
A Responsibility to Awe is a contemporary classic, a book of poems and reflections by a scientist for whom poetry was a necessary aspect of research, crucial to understanding the world and her place in it, even as, having contracted terminal cancer, she confronted her early death. Rebecca Elson was an astronomer; her work took her to the boundary of the visible and measurable. `Facts are only as interesting as the possibilities they open up to the imagination,' she wrote. Her poems, like her researches, build imaginative inferences and speculations, setting out from observation, undeterred by knowing how little we can know.
If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.
— René Descartes
  








Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
— Mark Twain