Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Tuesday Poem: "Her Kind" by Anne Sexton


I have gone out, a possessed witch,  
haunting the black air, braver at night;  

dreaming evil, I have done my hitch  

over the plain houses, light by light:  

lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.  

A woman like that is not a woman, quite.  

I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,  

filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,  

closets, silks, innumerable goods;

fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:  

whining, rearranging the disaligned.

A woman like that is misunderstood.

I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,

waved my nude arms at villages going by,  

learning the last bright routes, survivor  

where your flames still bite my thigh

and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.  

A woman like that is not ashamed to die.  

I have been her kind.

by Anne Sexton

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Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Tuesday Poem: "Over the Dead Flatness of the Fens' by William Logan


Like columns of mist
in some temple to a vanished god,

the late cloud-stacks mass over a June

reduced to the sickly greens of the Norfolk broads;

and, above the steam-soiled mess

where earthworms grovel, where lumpish toads

set up the resistances of grace,

where badgers undermine the tarred road,

I watch the canvas of that underpainted sky

through a jellied glass of vermouth

while the gravestone crops up

and an oily wind steels itself to the south.

There certain winged creatures

from a century misplaced on shelves

take the day down with a moaning chant

known to themselves.

by William Logan

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Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Tuesday Poem: 'Adjectives of Order" by Alexandra Teague


That summer, she had a student who was obsessed
with the order of adjectives. A soldier in the South

Vietnamese army, he had been taken prisoner when

Saigon fell. He wanted to know why the order

could not be altered. The sweltering city streets shook

with rockets and helicopters. The city sweltering

streets. On the dusty brown field of the chalkboard,

she wrote: 
The mother took warm homemade bread
from the oven
City is essential to streets as homemade

is essential to 
bread. He copied this down, but
he wanted to know if his brothers were 
lost before
, if he worked security at a twenty-story modern

downtown bank or downtown twenty-story modern.

When he first arrived, he did not know enough English

to order a sandwich. He asked her to explain each part

Lovely big rectangular old red English Catholic
leather Bible
. Evaluation before size. Age before color.
Nationality before religion. Time before length. Adding

and, one could determine if two adjectives were equal.
After Saigon fell, he had survived nine long years

of torture. Nine 
and long. He knew no other way to say this.

by Alexandra Teague

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Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Tuesday Poem: "Today" by Mary Oliver

Today I’m flying low and I’m

not saying a word

I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.


The world goes on as it must,

the bees in the garden rumbling a little,

the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.

And so forth.


But I’m taking the day off.

Quiet as a feather.

I hardly move though really I’m traveling

a terrific distance.


Stillness. One of the doors

into the temple.

by Mary Oliver

Photograph Credit: Rachel Giese Brown

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Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Tuesday Poem: " Excerpt from Summers and Springs" by Jaan Kaplinski


God has left us - I felt it clearly
digging the earth around a rhubarb plant.

It was black and moist. I don't know where he is,

only a shelf full of sacred books remains of him,

a couple of wax candles, a prayer wheel and a little bell.

Coming back to the house I thought

there might still be something - the smell of lilac and honeysuckle.

Then suddenly I imagined a child's face

there, on the other side, in eternity

looking here into time, regarding wide-eyed

our comings, goings and doings in this time-aquarium

under the light of the sun going down

and falling asleep under a water-lily leaf

somewhere far away in the west.

Jaan Kaplinski (translated from the Estonian by Jaan Kaplinski with Fiona Sampson)

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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Tuesday Poem: "W 177th & Broadway" by Taylor Johnson


All night you eyed the man I wanted to be;
my jaw flexed tight. Anger slipped into

desire. Easily he would rise. Easily you would

disperse, pleasure made into light:

what you want under him,

I put on to amuse—I, your worked

supplicant. Yes, love is looking away.

My desire greened in your dismissal. Was

technicolor and twilight-made and never

turning off. The city air hung humid

above our charade. What need I could fill:

to transubstantiate, to unravel?

by Taylor Johnson

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Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Tuesday Poem: "English Sonnet" by Chelsea Rathburn

London returns in damp, fragmented flurries
when I should be doing something else. A scrap

of song, a pink scarf, and I’m back to curries

and pub food, long, wet walks without a map,

bouts of bronchitis, a case of the flu,

my halfhearted studies, and brooding thoughts

and scanning faces in every bar for you.

Those months come down to moments or small plots,

like the bum on the Tube, enraged that no one spoke,

who raved and spat, the whole car thick with dread,

only to ask, won’t someone tell a joke?

and this mouse of a woman offered, 
What’s big and red
and sits in the corner?  

                            A naughty bus.

Not funny, I know. But neither’s the story of us.

by Chelsea Rathburn

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