Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Tuesday Poem: "Alone" by Jack Gilbert

I never thought Michiko would come back
after she died. But if she did, I knew

it would be as a lady in a long white dress.

It is strange that she has returned

as somebody's dalmation. I meet

the man walking her on a leash

almost every week. He says good morning

and I stoop down to calm her. He said

once that she was never like that with

other people. Sometimes she is tethered

on thier lawn when I go by. If nobody

is around, I sit on the grass. When she

finally quiets, she puts her head in my lap

and we watch each other's eyes as I whisper

in her soft ears. She cares nothing about

the mystery. She likes it best when

I touch her head and tell her small

things about my days and our friends.

That makes her happy the way it always did.

by Jack Gilbert

I certainly hope all my readers (both of them) were not alone on Christmas and I hope you had a lovely time with your extended families and that your credit card is still in the black and your waistline is on the right side of respectable.

For more about the poet, Jack Gilbert, see:

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Tuesday Poem: "Alcohol" by Franz Wright

You do look a little ill.

But we can do something about that, now.  

Can’t we.

The fact is you’re a shocking wreck.  

Do you hear me.

You aren’t all alone.

And you could use some help today, packing in the  
dark, boarding buses north, putting the seat back and  
grinning with terror flowing over your legs through  
your fingers and hair . . .

I was always waiting, always here.  

Know anyone else who can say that.

My advice to you is think of her for what she is:  
one more name cut in the scar of your tongue.

What was it you said, “To rather be harmed than  
harm, is not abject.”


Can we be leaving now.

We like bus trips, remember. Together

we could watch these winter fields slip past, and  
never care again,

think of it.

I don’t have to be anywhere.

by Franz Wright

I'm no wowser (isn't that a terribly punitive label?), but as the "Silly Season" approaches, this might be a timely reminder of the dangers of excessive consumption.

A fascinating piece of trivia for you - Franz Wright and his father, James Wright, are the only people to have both won a Pulitzer in the same category.

For more on the poet, Franz Wright, see:


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Tuesday Poem: "Meditation XVII -- (Excerpt)" by John Donne

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

by John Donne

For more on poet, John Donne, see:


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Tuesday Poem: "Untitled" by Li Shangyin

The east wind sighs, the fine rains come:
Beyond the pool of water-lilies, the noise of faint thunder.
A gold toad gnaws the lock. Open it, burn the incense.
A tiger of jade pulls the rope. Draw from the well and escape.
Chia's daughter peeped through the screen when Han the clerk was young,
The goddess of the River left her pillow for the great Prince of Wei.
Never let your heart open with the spring flowers:
One inch of love is an inch of ashes.

by Li Shangyin

Li Shangyin.jpg
Sorry, no photographs are available as Li Shangyin shunned the limelight and also he was born before the invention of the camera.

For more about the poet, Li Shangyin, see:

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Tuesday Poem: "Ceremony For Any Beginning" by Robert Pinsky

Against weather, and the random
Harpies—mood, circumstance, the laws
Of biography, chance, physics—
The unseasonable soul holds forth,
Eager for form as a renowned
Pedant, the emperor's man of worth,
Hereditary arbiter of manners.

Soul, one's life is one's enemy.
As the small children learn, what happens
Takes over, and what you were goes away.
They learn it in sardonic soft
Comments of the weather, when it sharpens
The hard surfaces of daylight: light
Winds, vague in direction, like blades

Lavishing their brilliant strokes
All over a wrecked house,
The nude wallpaper and the brute
Intelligence of the torn pipes.
Therefore when you marry or build
Pray to be untrue to the plain
Dominance of your own weather, how it keeps

Going even in the woods when not
A soul is there, and how it implies
Always that separate, cold
Splendidness, uncouth and unkind—
On chilly, unclouded mornings,
Torrential sunlight and moist air,
Leafage and solid bark breathing the mist.

by Robert Pinsky

For more information about poet, Robert Pinsky, see: