Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Tuesday Poem : "To Autumn" by John Keats


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; 
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, 
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, 
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease, 
      For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells. 

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find 
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; 
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep, 
   Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook 
      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers: 
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep 
   Steady thy laden head across a brook; 
   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look, 
      Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours. 

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they? 
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,— 
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; 
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn 
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft 
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; 
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft 
   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies. 

by John Keats

Portrait of John Keats by William Hilton.


For more information about the poet, John Keats, see:


Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Tuesday Poem: "Case Against April" by Adrian Blevins

 

For a long time I was absolutely idiotic,
by which I mean I lashed and pulsed

like the cosmos of tissue at present on fire

inside the bodies of my students—

it being springtime, it being the season

of being naked under the cherry trees.

I'm not saying dig a hole and fall in it;


I'm not saying buy a cabin and a nanny goat

and walk around re-naming the forget-me-nots

after the lovers who said they'd slay you

and, well, 
did—for who ever heard
of a plant named Greg? Nevertheless,

sex is laughable; it's ultimately ridiculous;

it's what God invented since he couldn't have


Comedy Central. And still the young people

who aren't pushing their tongues

against the tongues of others

are weeping like babies

being prodded with thermometers

for the lack of good tongues

to lean their own tongues against.


I hear them complaining

about their would-be boyfriends and girlfriends,

and it's like they are all about to die,

like their hearts have spontaneously combusted

and little cell splinters are poking their lungs

and they're losing their balance,

falling like hail


or like meteors with pretty faces,

which is why when I say 
up, they look down.
And though I'm all for biology,

for the divine plan of multiplication

that calls for the pink of bodies

being bodies with other bodies

in beds and in bushes,


I'm sorry for all the time I wasted

being dramatic over the boys and their mustaches.

Maybe the heart, it gets colder.

But maybe the heart,

it learns a little self-preservation

and pulls the shades down

one window at a time. And it's not dark


in here. Really, there's a kind of light

between the marrow and the bone,

and sweet patches of grass to lie down on,

and muskrats and pied pipers

if that's the way you like to see the world,

if to get your kicks you choose to be delirious.

I mean, if you happen to be romantic


and don't mind splitting apart with longing

like a child in a toy store

with everywhere these primary colors

seeming to want to open what could be mouths

and seeming to want to sing what could be songs

if only you could catch your breath—

if only your heart would just stop seizing.

by Adrian Blevins


For more information about the poet, Adrian Blevins, see:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/adrian-blevins

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Tuesday Poem: "On the Civil War on the East Coast of the United States of North America 1860-64" by Alan Dugan


Because of the unaccountable spirit of the troops
oh we were marched as we were never marched before

and flanked them off from home. Stupid Meade

was after them, head on to tail, but we convinced

him, finally, to flank, flank, cut off their head.

He finally understood, the idiot, and got a fort

named after him, for wisdom. He probably thought

Lee would conquer Washington from Appomattox

if he, Meade, should march his infantry behind

him, Lee. Ah well, the unaccountable spirit of the troops

triumphed, Meade got his fort, Grant got his presidency,

Sherman got his motto, what was it? War is heck?, Lee got a military school

for the education of young Southern gentlemen, and the Union

Army was taken over by Southern noncommissioned officers

in the wars against the Indians to the west. I know all

about this, I know who won, I served under them

for three hundred and fifty years in World War II,

just long enough not to be called a rookie but a veteran,

and realized the rank and order of my enemies:

first, the West Point officers; second, the red-neck sergeants;

third, the Nazis and perhaps the Japanese. I won

all of these wars as a private soldier, for a while,

and am happy to have done so: without me

Hitler and Hirohito would be ruling the world

instead of America and Russia, but I still will not
drive through Georgia with New York license plates.


by Alan Dugan 


For more information about poet, Alan Dugan, see:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/alan-dugan


Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Tuesday Poem: "Anger" by César Vallejo

 

Anger which breaks a man into children,
Which breaks the child into two equal birds,

And after that the bird into a pair of little eggs:

The poor man's anger

Has one oil against two vinegars.


Anger which breaks a tree into leaves

And the leaf into unequal buds

And the bud into telescopic grooves;

The poor man's anger

Has two rivers against many seas.


Anger which breaks good into doubts

And doubt into three similar arcs

And then the arc into unexpected tombs;

The poor man's anger

Has one steel against two daggers.


Anger which breaks the soul into bodies

And the body into dissimilar organs

And the organ into octave thoughts;

The poor man's anger

Has one central fire against two craters.

by César Vallejo  (translated from the Spanish by Thomas Merton)


For more information about poet, César Vallejo, see:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/cesar-vallejo


Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Tuesday Poem: "Ode to Teachers" by Pat Mora


I remember
the first day,

how I looked down,

hoping you wouldn't see

me,

and when I glanced up,

I saw your smile

shining like a soft light

from deep inside you.


“I'm listening,” you encourage us.

“Come on!

Join our conversation,

let us hear your neon certainties,

thorny doubts, tangled angers,”

but for weeks I hid inside.


I read and reread your notes

praising

my writing,

and you whispered,

“We need you

and your stories

and questions

that like a fresh path

will take us to new vistas.”


Slowly, your faith grew

into my courage

and for you—

instead of handing you

a note or apple or flowers—

I raised my hand.


I carry your smile

and faith inside like I carry

my dog's face,

my sister's laugh,

creamy melodies,

the softness of sunrise,

steady blessings of stars,

autumn smell of gingerbread,

the security of a sweater on a chilly day.

by Pat Mora


For more information about poet, Pat Mora, see:


Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Tuesday Poem: "Who Makes These Changes?" by Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi


Who makes these changes?
I shoot an arrow right.

It lands left.

I ride after a deer and find myself

Chased by a hog.

I plot to get what I want

And end up in prison.

I dig pits to trap others

And fall in.


I should be suspicious

Of what I want. 

by Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi (translated from the Persian by Coleman Barks with John Moyne)


For more information on the ancient Persian poet, Rumi, see:


Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Tuesday Poem: "The Untrustworthy Speaker" by Louise Glück


Don’t listen to me; my heart’s been broken.
I don’t see anything objectively.


I know myself; I’ve learned to hear like a psychiatrist.

When I speak passionately,

that’s when I’m least to be trusted.


It’s very sad, really: all my life, I’ve been praised

for my intelligence, my powers of language, of insight.

In the end, they’re wasted—


I never see myself,

standing on the front steps, holding my sister’s hand.

That’s why I can’t account

for the bruises on her arm, where the sleeve ends.


In my own mind, I’m invisible: that’s why I’m dangerous.

People like me, who seem selfless,

we’re the cripples, the liars;

we’re the ones who should be factored out

in the interest of truth.


When I’m quiet, that’s when the truth emerges.

A clear sky, the clouds like white fibers.

Underneath, a little gray house, the azaleas

red and bright pink.


If you want the truth, you have to close yourself

to the older daughter, block her out:

when a living thing is hurt like that,

in its deepest workings,

all function is altered.


That’s why I’m not to be trusted.

Because a wound to the heart

is also a wound to the mind. 

by Louise Glück

For more information about poet,  Louise Glück, see:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/louise-gluck