Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tuesday Poem: "The Second Going" by Philip Levine



Again the
day begins, only

no one wants its sanity

or its blinding clarity. Daylight is

not what we came all this way for. A

pinch of salt, a drop of schnapps in our cup

of tears, the ticket to the life to come, a short life of

long nights & absent dawns & a little mercy in the tea.



by Philip Levine
Image result for philip levine poet


For more information about poet, Philip Levine, see:


https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/philip-Levine

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesday Poem: "America" by Claude McKay

 
Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate.
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.

by Claude McKay

mckay
 
For more information on the poet, Claude McKay, see:
 
 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tuesday Poem: "Down the back of the chair" by Margaret Mahy


Our car is slow to start and go. We can’t afford a new one.
Now if you please, Dad’s lost the keys. We’re facing rack and ruin.
No car, no work! No work no pay!
We’re getting poorer day by day.
No wonder Dad is turning grey.
The morning is a blue one.

Nothing but dockets in his pockets.
Raging with despair
Dad acts appalled! Though nearly bald
He tries to tear his hair.
But Mary who is barely two
Said Dad should do what I would do
I lose a lot, but I find a few
Down the back of the chair.

He’s patted himself, and searched the shelf. He’s hunted here and there,
So now he’ll kneel and try to feel right down the back of the chair.
Oh it seemed to grin as his hand went in.
He felt a tingling in his skin.
What will a troubled father win
From down the back of the chair?

Some hairy string and a diamond ring
Were down the back of the chair,
Pineapple peel and a conger eel
Were down the back of the chair
A sip, a sup, a sop, a song. A spider seven inches long,
No wonder that it smells so strong
Down the back of the chair.

A packet of pins and one of the twins
Down the back of the chair.
A pan, a fan that belonged to Gran
Down the back of the chair …
A crumb, a comb, a clown, a cap
A pirate with a treasure map,
A dragon trying to take a nap
Down the back of the chair.

A cake, a drake, a smiling snake,
Down the back of the chair
A string of pearls, a lion with curls
Down the back of the chair
A skink, a skunk, a skate, a ski,
A couple of elephants drinking tea
The bandersnatch and the bumblebee
Down the back of the chair.

But what is this? Oh bliss! Oh bliss!
(Down the back of the chair).
The long lost will of Uncle Bill
(Down the back of the chair).
His money box all crammed with cash
Tangled up in a scarlet sash
There’s pleasure, treasure, toys and trash
Down the back of the chair.

I've found my dreams, our father beams.
(Down the back of the chair).
At last I see how life can be.
(Down the back of the chair).
Forget the keys! We're poor no more
Just call a taxi to the door.
A taxi shot out with a roar
From down the back of the chair.

The chair, the chair, the challenging chair,
The champion chair, the cheerful chair,
The charming chair, the children’s chair,
The chopped and chipped but chosen chair
To think our fortune waited there
Down the back of the chair.

by Margaret Mahy


For more information on poet and author, Margaret Mahy, see:

http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/writer/mahy-margaret/

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tuesday Poem: "Identity" by Håkan Sandell


His identity was always wandering, and though it
was as a lackadaisical dandy that we knew him first,
the old bottles filled with new wine:
then he was an actor, then half a poet,
later on a mechanic, in a motorcycle gang,
though only a minor cog in its design,
then a businessman, then with a (thinning) ponytail again,
appearing in constantly changing shapes.
But when drunk he very precisely with his knife
would carve into his arm his beloved’s name,
so that repeatedly, over two decades, it came
dripping onto the table, always the same,
the living letters a blood-red flame
welling from themselves, from the scar of her name.

     -- Håkan Sandell (translated from the Swedish by Bill Coyle)


For more information about the poet, Hokan Sandell, see:


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tuesday Poem: "An Arrangement for Seeing Children" by Edwin Brock


You were born in the front room
of a house behind the police station
and because I was a policeman
the midwife let me stay to watch.

You were not much trouble or so it seemed to me.
She groaned only intermittently
and the lady let me hold her hand.
At the moment of delivery

you managed to get your navel cord caught
like a silk strand around your throat
and this was a symbol I could understand
having done the same thing all my life.

I was not much interested in you then,
you looked as if you had been crudely carved in marble,
but I helped give you your names,
hoping you would fit them as you grew.

When you grew we pointed cameras at you
we stopped you playing, badgered you to stand still,
clicked the little button at the side
and then went on with what we had been doing.

That was all that parenthood required –
you fixed inside a cardboard box.
Thus you would not be forgotten
no matter how faulty our two memories.

And we two? We had reasons and excuses of our own.
We had our lives to lead, each other to enjoy
and a theory about not pampering our children.
We fed you, clothed you and used you by the names that we had chosen.

Now as you know we have broken - I live in one house
and you in another where I call on Saturdays.
I will never be able to explain why this is so
never having understood it for myself.

I know only that your red and freckled head
which waves out of our window points at me –
half way to the bus stop I hear your shutter click
as the road's curve covers me.

And I pray the picture you have taken
will be fogged and faulty
and that you will go on happily
with the things you had been doing.


by Edwin Brock


Photo Credit: Enitharmon Press

For more information on the poet, Edwin Brock, see:



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tuesday Poem: "My Blue Piano" by Else Lasker-Schüler


At home I have a blue piano.
But I can't play a note.

It's been in the shadow of the cellar door
Ever since the world went rotten.

Four starry hands play harmonies.
The Woman in the Moon sang in her boat.

Now only rats dance to the clanks.
The keyboard is in bits.

I weep for what is blue. Is dead.
Sweet angels, I have eaten

Such bitter bread. Push open
The door of heaven. For me, for now --

Although I am still alive --
Although it is not allowed.


by Else Lasker-Schüler (translated from the German by Eavan Boland)

For more information about the poet, Else Lasker-Schuler, see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Else_Lasker-Sch%C3%BCler
 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Tuesday Poem: "Poetry" by Marianne Moore


I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a
high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they are
useful. When they become so derivative as to become unintelligible,
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf under
a tree, the immovable critic twinkling his skin like a horse that feels a flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician –
nor is it valid
to discriminate against ‘business documents and school-books’;
all these phenomena are important. One must make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
‘literalists of the imagination-‘ above

insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, ‘imaginary gardens with real toads in them,’ shall we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness, and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, then you are interested in poetry.


by Marianne Moore

 
For more information about poet, Marianne Moore, see:
 
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/marianne-moore