Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Tuesday Poem: "Naima" by Edward Kamau Braithwaite

 

for John Coltrane

Propped against the crowded bar
he pours into the curved and silver horn

his old unhappy longing for a home


the dancers twist and turn

he leans and wishes he could burn

his memories to ashes like some old notorious emperor


of rome. but no stars blazed across the sky when he was born

no wise men found his hovel. this crowded bar

where dancers twist and turn


holds all the fame and recognition he will ever earn

on earth or heaven. he leans against the bar

and pours his old unhappy longing in the saxophone.

by Edward Kamau Braithwaite


For more information on poet, Edward Kamau Braithwaite, see:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/kamau-brathwaite

Tuesday, 12 January 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, 5 January 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, 29 December 2020

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)



For more information about the poet, Jan Kaplinski, see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaan_Kaplinski


Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Tuesday Poem: "Me" by Chairil Anwar

 

When my time comes

No one's going to cry for me,
And you won't, either

The hell with all those tears!


I'm a wild beast

Driven out of the herd


Bullets may pierce my skin

But I'll keep coming,


Carrying forward my wounds and my pain

Attacking

Attacking

Until suffering disappears


And I won't give a damn


I want to live another thousand years

by Chairil Anwar (translated from the Indonesian by Burton Raffel)


For more information about poet,  Chairil Anwar, see:


Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Tuesday Poem: "Green Apples" by Ruth Stone

 

In August we carried the old horsehair mattress
To the back porch

And slept with our children in a row.

The wind came up the mountain into the orchard

Telling me something;

Saying something urgent.

I was happy.

The green apples fell on the sloping roof

And rattled down.

The wind was shaking me all night long;

Shaking me in my sleep

Like a definition of love,

Saying, this is the moment,

Here, now.

by Ruth Stone

Photo Credit: Jan Freeman


For more information about poet, Ruth Stone, see:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/ruth-stone

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Tuesday Poem: "Cut Grass" by Philip Larkin

 

Cut grass lies frail:
Brief is the breath

Mown stalks exhale.

Long, long the death


It dies in the white hours

Of young-leafed June

With chestnut flowers,

With hedges snowlike strewn,


White lilac bowed,

Lost lanes of Queen Anne's lace,

And that high-builded cloud

Moving at summer's pace.

by Philip Larkin


For more information about the poet, Philip Larkin, see:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/philip-larkin