Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Tuesday Poem: "Bells for William Wordsworth" by Dom Moraes

Today they brought me a message: Wordsworth was dead.
“My God,” I said. “My God. I can hardly believe it.”
“Just as you like” they answered. “Take it or leave it.
He has sunk into April as into the depth of a lake,
Leaving his eyes ajar in the house of his head.”
“Are you sure,” I said, “that you haven’t made a mistake?”

“Oh no,” they said, “not a hope. We knew him too well,
A gloomy considering bloke with the nose of a preacher:
A poet in fact, with a charming affection for Nature:
Milkmaids (you know) and the shadows of clouds on the land.
His work is carefully studied in college still.
We shall not forget nor forgo it, while colleges stand.”

And I said, “I grant you that Wordsworth lies chilly in Grasmere
And his bones are absolved and dissolved in the tears of the rain.
I grant he is one with the plant and the fossil again,
His flesh has gone back into soil and his eyes into stones
And the roots and shoots of a new life push each year
Through the sad rotten fragment of his bones.

“But although each Spring brings a newer death to the bones,
I have seen him risen again with the crocus in Spring.
I have turned my ear to the wind, I have heard him speaking.
I shrank from the bony sorrow in his face.
Yet still I hear those pedagogic tones
Droning away the snow, our old disgrace”

by Dom Moraes

For more information about the poet, Dom Moraes, see:

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Tuesday Poem (Song): "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" by Gil Scott-Heron

You will not be able to stay home, brotherYou will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop outYou will not be able to lose yourself on skagAnd skip out for beer during commercials, becauseThe revolution will not be televised
The revolution will not be televisedThe revolution will not be brought to youBy Xerox in four parts without commercial interruptionsThe revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon blowing a bugleAnd leading a charge by John Mitchell, General Abrams, and Spiro AgnewTo eat hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuaryThe revolution will not be televised
The revolution will not be brought to you by the Schaefer Award TheatreAnd will not star Natalie Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and JuliaThe revolution will not give your mouth sex appealThe revolution will not get rid of the nubsThe revolution will not make you look five pounds thinner, becauseThe revolution will not be televised, brother
There will be no pictures of you and Willie MaePushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead runOr trying to slide that color TV into a stolen ambulanceNBC will not be able predict the winnerAt 8:32 on report from twenty-nine districtsThe revolution will not be televised
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down brothers on the instant replayThere will be no pictures of pigs shooting down brothers on the instant replayThere will be no pictures of Whitney YoungBeing run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new processThere will be no slow motion or still lifes of Roy WilkinsStrolling through Watts in a red, black, and green liberation jumpsuitThat he has been saving for just the proper occasion
Green Acres, Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville JunctionWill no longer be so damn relevantAnd women will not care if Dick finally got down with JaneOn Search for TomorrowBecause black people will be in the street looking for a brighter dayThe revolution will not be televised
There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock newsAnd no pictures of hairy armed women liberationistsAnd Jackie Onassis blowing her noseThe theme song will not be written by Jim Webb or Francis Scott KeysNor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom Jones, Johnny CashEngelbert Humperdinck, or The Rare EarthThe revolution will not be televised
The revolution will not be right backAfter a message about a white tornadoWhite lightning, or white peopleYou will not have to worry about a dove in your bedroomThe tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowlThe revolution will not go better with CokeThe revolution will not fight germs that may cause bad breathThe revolution will put you in the driver's seat
The revolution will not be televisedWill not be televisedWill not be televisedWill not be televisedThe revolution will be no re-run, brothersThe revolution will be live

by Gil Scott-Heron

For more information about the songwriter, Gil Scott-Heron, see:

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Tuesday Poem: "Bars are Down" by Roger McGough

When I was a lad
most people round our way
were barzydown.

It was a world full of piecans.
Men who were barmy, married to women
who wanted their heads examined.

When not painting the railings,
our neighbours were doolally,
away for slates.

Or so my dad reckoned.
Needed locking away
the lot of them.

Leaving certain McGoughs
and a few close friends
free to walk the empty streets

in peace. Knowing exactly
whether we were coming or going.
Self-righteous in polished shoes.

Picking our way
between loose screws.

by Roger McGough

For more information about the poet, Roger McGough, see:

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

Tuesday Poem: "Kubla Khan" by Chen Li

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
a giant, mobile pleasure
-dome decree.
“I don’t want fixed things. I am tired of

those regular rooms, of concubines who use the same perfume,

give the same moaning after standard procedures

though there are thousands of
Picking and calculating carefully, his Italian counselor, good at business administration,

arranged and combined those concubines into teams
 of six, three, or five,
three times per night, in different directions, in different formations,

to serve their emperor by turns.

Fine wine, opium, honey, leather whips,
globes, vibrators, the Bible, sex
-appealing underwear.
“I’ll ceaselessly move, ceaselessly feel excited, ceaselessly conquer,

ceaselessly reach the orgasm...”
But this is not a question of math,
not a question of military affairs, not even a question of medicine.

“This is a question of philosophy.”
Outside the palace, the ignored Persian traveler said,

“Time is the best aphrodisiac

that fosters change."

by Chen Li

For more information about the poet, Chen Li, see:

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

Tuesday Poem: " [Excerpt from] -- Four recent poems" by Serhiy Zhadan

21 December 2021

Let it be the sign of the approach
this smoke over buildings
the smoke of winter homes.
Let it be a warning to us
with our light packs,
our corridors and our torchlight
to fill our journey.

I knew a thousand scholars
in this place
who carried in their pockets
the last lead type,
inscribed with the scattered wisdom of the city.
A draughty city, as starved of heat as a man is short of sight
its empty yards wheezing like lungs.

So she sees out winter, motherland
for all those gathering the family china
of their murdered
clots of porcelain groaning in the winter streets.

I knew
a thousand translators
who translated into this language
even when it didn’t have a word
for defeat.

And I witnessed how they brought
school primers to the city
in place of winter coal
looking for sense in the wild combinations
of letters, brought into line
like straggling soldiers after another rout

how will they survive this shining
that put out the eye of the Sunday sky
or welcome the birth of the new moon
the coming of feast days?

Let brightness be a gift to them
sprouting light as it breaches
catching on the short frequencies of dawn,
let it be a reminder of this:
the road is already travelled,
fear lies behind us, like a scorched field
and time is permeated by memory
as water is touched with the sun’s warmth,

the word for hope is tinged with the taste of lead,
the taste of winter grapes.

by Serhiy Zhadan (translated from Ukrainian by Oksana Maksymchuk and Sasha Dugdale)

Photo Credit: Hanna Hrabarska

For more information about the poet, Serhiy Zadan, see:

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Tuesday Poem: "Ballade at Thirty-five" by Dorothy Parker

This, no song of an ingénue,
     This, no ballad of innocence;
This, the rhyme of a lady who
     Followed ever her natural bents.
This, a solo of sapience,
     This, a chantey of sophistry,
This, the sum of experiments,—
     I loved them until they loved me.

Decked in garments of sable hue,
     Daubed with ashes of myriad Lents,
Wearing shower bouquets of rue,
     Walk I ever in penitence.
Oft I roam, as my heart repents,
     Through God’s acre of memory,
Marking stones, in my reverence,
     “I loved them until they loved me.”

Pictures pass me in long review,—
     Marching columns of dead events.
I was tender, and, often, true;
     Ever a prey to coincidence.
Always knew I the consequence;
     Always saw what the end would be.
We’re as Nature has made us—hence
     I loved them until they loved me.

Princes, never I’d give offense,
     Won’t you think of me tenderly?
Here’s my strength and my weakness, gents,—
     I loved them until they loved me.

by Dorothy Parker

Photo Credit: New York Times Co. / Getty Images

For more information about poet, Dorothy Parker, see:

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Tuesday Poem: "I Did Not Tell Death Where I Live" by Brian Bilston

I did not tell Death where I lived -
But He has found me all the same.
I hear Him knocking on my door
And calling out my name.

My Snapchat settings kept Him out.
On Twitter I did block Him.
Facebook friend requests were spurned -
Yet still He keeps on knocking.

Court injunctions were sought and filed
But still I sit in fear.
Oh, my mistake. It is not Death -
I think my pizza's here.

by Brian Bilston

For more information about the poet, Brian Bilston, see: