Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Tuesday Poem: "Eagle Plain" by Robert Francis

The American eagle is not aware he is
the American eagle. He is never tempted
to look modest.

When orators advertise the American eagle’s
virtues, the American eagle is not listening.
This is his virtue.

He is somewhere else, he is mountains away
but even if he were near he would never
make an audience.

The American eagle never says he will serve
if drafted, will dutifully serve etc. He is
not at our service.

If we have honored him we have honored one
who unequivocally honors himself by
overlooking us.

He does not know the meaning of magnificent.
Perhaps we do not altogether either
who cannot touch him.

by Robert Francis

For more information about the poet, Robert Francis, see:

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Tuesday Poem: "No Enemies" by Charles Mackay

You have no enemies, you say?
  Alas! my friend, the boast is poor;
He who has mingled in the fray
  Of duty, that the brave endure,
Must have made foes! If you have none,        
Small is the work that you have done.
You’ve hit no traitor on the hip,
You’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip,
You’ve never turned the wrong to right,
You’ve been a coward in the fight.

by Charles Mackay

For more information about the poet, Charles Mackay, see:

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Tuesday Poem: "Drunk" by Christopher Bakken

When William Blake came fashionably late
to parties he’d blame it on archangels,
prophecies broadcast between the leaves
of ordinary trees in the orchard:
those who restrain desire do so because
theirs is weak enough to be restrained…

As in Martinsville, Wisconsin, when we
allowed Mike Meinholz to get in the car,
surely a mistake, since the wheels would start
churning up the twelve-packs of Budweiser
he never restrained himself from drinking.
We all have our excuses for wanting
to avoid conversation with mortals,
to restrain ourselves from the fools we are
in the neon light that only darkens
with beer, fears we can never quite drown.
One hundred people trapped in one small town
with just one bar, one church, and one butcher.
Expect poison from standing water,
bewildering Blake would probably say,
if he’d been around to help drag the drunk
from my Impala, down our steep driveway,
to the back lawn where he would sleep, where we
stood that night without the assistance
of good sense, grass, or Romantic verse,
and heard, I swear, a voice come from below
where the woods dropped into the gulley:
a woman in pain, we thought at first,
which nearly made us run the other way,
but then it shrieked like a snared rabbit,
or was it some keening itch branches scratched,
or nothing but a dull thud in the chest,
nothing but what we wanted it to be, then,
some housecat that couldn’t find its way down,
some worried awe that barely held us up,
some trembling thing in a tree we couldn’t see.

by Christopher Bakken

For more information on poet, Christopher Bakken, see:

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Tuesday Poem: "Rookie" by Caroline Bird


You thought you could ride a bicycle
but, turns out, those weren’t bikes
they were extremely bony horses. And that wasn’t
a meal you cooked, that was a microwaved
hockey puck. And that wasn’t a book that was
a taco stuffed with daisies. What if
you thought you could tie your laces?
But all this time you were just wrapping
a whole roll of sellotape round your shoe and
hoping for the best? And that piece of paper
you thought was your tax return?
A crayon drawing of a cat. And your best friend
is actually a scarecrow you stole from a field
and carted away in a wheelbarrow.
Your mobile phone is a strip of bark
with numbers scratched into it.
Thousands of people have had to replace
their doors, at much expense, after you
battered theirs to bits with a hammer
believing that was the correct way
to enter a room. You’ve been pouring pints
over your head. Playing card games with a pack
of stones. Everyone’s been so confused
by you: opening a bottle of wine with a cutlass,
lying on the floor of buses, talking to
babies in a terrifyingly loud voice.
All the while nodding to yourself like
‘Yeah, this is how it’s done.’
Planting daffodils in a bucket of milk.

by Caroline Bird

For more information about poet, Caroline Bird, see:


Monday, 23 August 2021

Tuesday Poem: "Long Distance Love" by Little Feat


In my humble opinion, one of the great songs in the Canon of Unrequited Love Rock'n'Roll songs.

I hope that you are weathering Aotearoa's National Lockdown - the Sequel well.

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Tuesday Poem: "Honesty" by Kate Buckley

There’s an honesty to planting,
in saying to seeds,
here’s what I want from you:


Grow until your heads touch
the tallest slat on the tumbledown wall
and then bud. Break open your heads
and flower, and when that’s done,

In return, I will give you
meal, minerals, the dung of cloven
animals. I will take measure
of your soil and add what you need,
take what I

In January, I will hang you
with leftover fir,
grind trees
to place at your

I’ll pluck snails from your leaves,
sluggish brown bodies loathe
to part from your

I will water you in a slow warm
stream, the garden hose wrapped
at my feet, a gently coiled cobra
who will not

I will break back
your dead wood.
I will feed you in spring.
I will take only what I need,
and then I will say to you:


by Kate Buckley

For more information about poet, Kate Buckley, see:

Monday, 16 August 2021

Tuesday Poem: "Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed


Holly came from Miami, F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she


She says, "Hey, babe
Take a walk on the wild side"
Said, "Hey, honey
Take a walk on the wild side"


Candy came from out on the Island
In the back room she was everybody's darling
But she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head


She says, "Hey, babe
Take a walk on the wild side"
Said, "Hey, babe
Take a walk on the wild side"


And the colored girls go
"Doo do doo do doo do do doo..."


Little Joe never once gave it away
Everybody had to pay and pay
A hustle here and a hustle there
New York City's the place


Where they said, "Hey, babe
Take a walk on the wild side"
I said, "Hey, Joe
Take a walk on the wild side"


Sugar Plum Fairy came and hit the streets
Looking for soul food and a place to eat
Went to the Apollo
You should've seen them go, go, go


They said, "Hey, sugar
Take a walk on the wild side"
I said, "Hey, babe
Take a walk on the wild side", alright


Jackie is just speeding away
Thought she was James Dean for a day
Then I guess she had to crash
Valium would have helped that bash


She said, "Hey, babe
Take a walk on the wild side"
I said, "Hey, honey
Take a walk on the wild side"


And the colored girls say
"Doo do doo do doo do do doo..."


by Lou Reed