Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tuesday Poem: "Happily Planting the Beans Too Early" by Jack Gilbert



I waited until the sun was going down
to plant the bean seedlings. I was

beginning on the peas when the phone rang.

It was a long conversation about what

living this way in the woods might

be doing to me. It was dark by the time

I finished. Made tuna fish sandwiches

and read the second half of a novel.

Found myself out in the April moonlight

putting the rest of the pea shoots into

the soft earth. It was after midnight.

There was a bird calling intermittently

and I could hear the stream down below.

She was probably right about me getting

strange. After all, Bashō and Tolstoy

at the end were at least going somewhere. 



by Jack Gilbert




For more information about poet, Jack Gilbert, see:


https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/jack-gilbert

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: