Silent Poetry

Two in One Day: Post #1 - A Poem in Your Pocket

Today . . . I am doing something unheard of.  

Today . . . I am posting TWICE.  (Please be sure to check my other post today by clicking here.)

==========

It's Poem In Your Pocket Day.  Share the power of poetry today with the people in your life today!

IMG_5726

the laughing heart

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

--- by Charles Bukowski

 

(The sculpture accompanying the poem in my post today is Hopeful by Linda Lewis, available at Button Gallery in Douglas, Michigan.  The photograph is my own.)

 


Words on Wednesday: Poetry

Poetry . . . and Science.

Science . . . and Poetry.

It sort of seems like they don't go together at all, doesn't it?

Poetry.  Words and images and emotions.

Science.  Data and hypotheses and facts.

But, y'know. . . both poetry and science share a common raw material.

Nature.

IMG_5421

Last weekend at the March for Science, Jane Hirshfield, poet and environmental spokesperson, clearly saw the link between poetry and science -- and launched Poets for Science.  Jane and some of her colleagues from the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State were on hand at the march in Washington DC, supporting science with the power of poetry -- with banners, workshops, and even new poetry.

Poetry and Science.  (Of course!)

On the Fifth Day

On the fifth day
the scientists who studied the rivers
were forbidden to speak
or to study the rivers.

The scientists who studied the air
were told not to speak of the air,
and the ones who worked for the farmers
were silenced,
and the ones who worked for the bees.

Someone, from deep in the Badlands,
began posting facts.

The facts were told not to speak
and were taken away.
The facts, surprised to be taken, were silent.

Now it was only the rivers
that spoke of the rivers,
and only the wind that spoke of its bees,

while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees
continued to move toward their fruit.

The silence spoke loudly of silence,
and the rivers kept speaking,
of rivers, of boulders and air.

In gravity, earless and tongueless,
the untested rivers kept speaking.

Bus drivers, shelf stockers,
code writers, machinists, accountants,
lab techs, cellists kept speaking.

They spoke, the fifth day,
of silence.

--- Jane Hirshfield (for the March for Science)

==========

April is National Poetry Month.  On Wednesdays throughout the month, I'll be sharing some of the poems I love.  Thursday, April 27 - that's tomorrow - is Poem in My Pocket day.  Maybe you'll join me -- and share YOUR favorite poem that day.


Words on Wednesday: Poetry

I've had a rather . . . thoughtful . . . year.  I think it's just the natural rhythms of life.  Changes.  Settling.  Getting older.  I'm finally understanding that life really is fleeting, and that every day is a gift that shouldn't be squandered.

Melancholy?  Nah.  

It's just . . . getting to a point where I think about things from a new perspective.  Acceptance, maybe?  Wisdom?  Certainly a commitment to make the most out of every single day.

I think poets capture this . . . sense of things . . . in remarkable and beautiful ways.  They can distill that almost-melancholy-but-not-really feeling in just a few, perfectly chosen words.  And get it so very right!  (That's one of the reasons I like poetry so much.)

The poem I'm sharing today is by W. S. Merwin, who served as the U.S. Poet Laureate in 2010-11.  It's from his collection Garden Time, written in his late 80s as he was losing his eyesight.

IMG_4999 copy

The Wings of Daylight

Brightness appears showing us everything
it reveals the splendors it calls everything
but shows it to each of us alone
and only once and only to look at
not to touch or hold in our shadows
what we see is never what we touch
what we take turns out to be something else
what we see that one time departs untouched
while other shadows gather around us
the world's shadows mingle with our own
we had forgotten them but they know us
they remember us as we always were
they were at home here before the first came
everything will leave us except the shadows
but the shadows carry the whole story
at first daybreak they open their long wings

                -- W.S. Merwin 

==========

April is National Poetry Month.  On Wednesdays throughout the month, I'll be sharing some of the poems I love.  Thursday, April 27 is Poem in My Pocket day.  Maybe you'll join me -- and share YOUR favorite poem that day.


Words on Wednesday: Poetry

April is National Poetry Month.  

As a reader and lover of poetry, I always celebrate this month -- and I take it as a personal challenge:  To share poetry I love; to remind people that poetry is wonderful; and to encourage others to just . . . give it a try!  Because if you hated it in school . . . well . . . I'm betting it was the way it was taught. 

In third grade, my teacher's name was Mrs. Clinton.  Besides being an excellent teacher, she was also an artist -- and a lover of poetry.  When she taught poetry, it was from the heart!  And, best of all, she taught us that poetry could be fun.  She shared silly poems with us every day -- and we loved them!  By beginning with the silly, she took the dust-and-fuss off the rest of "Poetry," so when she threw the more serious stuff at us later, we were receptive and unintimidated.  I'm going to bet that many of my classmates also grew up with, at the very least, a fondness for poetry.

Anyway, I think of Mrs. Clinton whenever I pull this book off my shelf.

IMG_4931 2

Here's a poem from the book.  (I think Mrs. Clinton would have approved.)  (But not for third graders.)

"What do women want?"

I want a red dress.
I want it fliimsy and cheap.
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what's underneath.  I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I'm the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears abut me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want.  When I find it, I'll pull that garment
from its hanger like I'm choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I'll wear it like bones, like skin,
it'll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

Kim Addonizio

==========

On Wednesday throughout April, I'll be sharing some of the poems I love.  Thursday, April 27 is Poem in My Pocket day.  Maybe you'll join me -- and share YOUR favorite poem that day.

 

 

 


Hello, February: A Mash-Up

Today is Thursday.  Which means . . . Think Write Thursday.  

But today is also February 2.  Which means . . . Silent Poetry Day.  (Actually, I don't know that Silent Poetry Day is actually A Thing in blog-land anymore; but it is for me.)   

(It also means Groundhog Day.  But I don't care about that so much.  Because winter is winter until it is spring -- whether a groundhog sees its shadow or not.)

So . . . let's see if I can manage a Think Write Thursday/Silent Poetry Day Mash-Up.

IMG_4088

Hello, February.

Welcome!  I'm a big fan.

Why? 

Well, for starters, you're Not January.  January is just so . . . long.  And bleak.  So dark.  

I celebrate your shortness.  
I celebrate the broken resolutions of the January People. (I know this isn't nice.  But it's true.)  
I celebrate the daylight, creeping in, ever-so-slowly, on your watch.  
I celebrate your color - red.  (One of my favorites.)
I celebrate your hearts.  And chocolate.  And a special day of love, right in your middle.

Speaking of love . . . 

Let's have a poem.  Because you, February (a month so focused on all things LOVE), appreciate poetry more than any other month.  N'est-ce pas, Février?

I Take Master Card
(Charge Your Love to Me)

by Nikki Giovanni

I've heard all the stories
'bout how you don't deserve me
'cause I'm so strong and beautiful and wonderful and you could
never live up to what I know I should have but I just want to let you know:

I take Master Card

You can love me as much as your heart can stand
then put the rest on
account and pay the interest
each month until we get this settled

You see we modern women do comprehend
that we deserve a whole lot more
than what is normally being offered but we are trying
to get aligned with the modern world

So baby you can love me all
you like 'cause you're pre-approved
and you don't have to sign on
the bottom line

Charge it up
'til we just can't take no more
it's the modern way

I take Master Card
to see your Visa
and I deal with a Discovery but I don't want any American Express
'cause like the Pointer Sisters say:  I need a slow hand

 

So.  Hello, February!  Let's have a good time.

==========

Today's post is part of Think Write Thursday.  To see what other bloggers have to say about February, click here.  And to receive the weekly Think Write Thursday prompts, sign up here.

 


Sundays are for Poetry

27/30

IMG_EFB5CE34D705-1

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

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


Sundays are for Poetry

20/30

IMG_3004

Center
by Billy Collins

At the first chink of sunrise,
the windows on one side of the house
are frosted with stark orange light,

and in every pale blue window
on the other side
a full moon hangs, a round, white blaze.

I look out one side, then the other,
moving from room to room
as if between countries or parts of my life.

Then I stop and stand in the middle,
extend both arms
like Leonardo's man, naked in a perfect circle.

And when I begin to turn slowly
I can feel the whole house turning with me,
rotating free of the earth.

The sun and moon in all the windows
move, too, with the tips of my fingers,
the solar system turning by degrees

with me, morning's egomaniac,
turning on the hallway carpet in my slippers,
taking the cold orange, blue, and white

for a quiet, unhurried spin,
all wheel and compass, axis and reel,
as wide awake as I will ever be.


Sundays are for Poetry

13/30

IMG_6169

Still I Rise
by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.


Sundays are for Poetry

IMG_8259

Fall Song
by Mary Oliver

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island 
of this summer, this Now, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries - roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water.  This

I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay - how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.

 


More Poetry . . . and Letting Go

Dear friends . . . 

My mom died last Saturday evening.

Peacefully.  With my dad and Tom and I at her side, and the rest of our family with her in spirit.

IMG_1757 copy

It's been a rough summer.  And I thank you all for your kind words of love and support.

I'm working through it.

Poetry helps.

 

In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

–Mary Oliver (American Primitive, 1983)