Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Tuesday Poem: "Truth" by Gwendolyn Brooks

And if sun comes 
How shall we greet him?

Shall we not dread him,

Shall we not fear him

After so lengthy a

Session with shade?

Though we have wept for him,

Though we have prayed

All through the night-years—

What if we wake one shimmering morning to

Hear the fierce hammering

Of his firm knuckles

Hard on the door?

Shall we not shudder?—

Shall we not flee

Into the shelter, the dear thick shelter

Of the familiar

Propitious haze?

Sweet is it, sweet is it

To sleep in the coolness

Of snug unawareness.

The dark hangs heavily

Over the eyes.

by Gwendolyn Brooks

For more information about the poet, Gwendolyn Brooks, see:

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Tuesday Poem: "The Mixed Marriage" by Paul Muldoon

My father was a servant-boy.
When he left school at eight or nine

He took up billhook and loy

To win the ground he would never own.

My mother was the school-mistress,

The world of Castor and Pollux.

There were twins in her own class.

She could never tell which was which.

She had read one volume of Proust,

He knew the cure for farcy.

I flitted between a hole in the hedge

And a room in the Latin Quarter.

When she had cleared the supper-table

She opened 
The Acts of the Apostles,
Aesop’s Fables, Gulliver’s Travels
Then my mother went on upstairs

And my father further dimmed the light

To get back to hunting with ferrets

Or the factions of the faction-fights,

The Ribbon Boys, the Caravats.

by Paul Muldoon

For more information about the poet, Paul Muldoon, see:

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Tuesday Poem: "A Series of Haiku" by Etheridge Knight

Eastern guard tower 

glints in sunset; convicts rest 

like lizards on rocks. 

The piano man 

is stingy, at 3 A.M. 

his songs drop like plum. 

Morning sun slants cell. 

Drunks stagger like cripple flies 

On jailhouse floor. 

To write a blues song 

is to regiment riots 

and pluck gems from graves. 

A bare pecan tree 

slips a pencil shadow down 

a moonlit snow slope. 

The falling snow flakes 

Cannot blunt the hard aches nor 

Match the steel stillness. 

Under moon shadows 

A tall boy flashes knife and 

Slices star bright ice. 

In the August grass 

Struck by the last rays of sun 

The cracked teacup screams. 

Making jazz swing in 

Seventeen syllables AIN’T 

No square poet’s job. 

by Etheridge Knight

 For more information about the poet, Etheridge Knight, see:

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Tuesday Poem: "Easter, 1916" by W.B. Yeats

I have met them at close of day   
Coming with vivid faces

From counter or desk among grey   

Eighteenth-century houses.

I have passed with a nod of the head   

Or polite meaningless words,   

Or have lingered awhile and said   

Polite meaningless words,

And thought before I had done   

Of a mocking tale or a gibe   

To please a companion

Around the fire at the club,   

Being certain that they and I   

But lived where motley is worn:   

All changed, changed utterly:   

A terrible beauty is born.

That woman's days were spent   

In ignorant good-will,

Her nights in argument

Until her voice grew shrill.

What voice more sweet than hers   

When, young and beautiful,   

She rode to harriers?

This man had kept a school   

And rode our wing├Ęd horse;   

This other his helper and friend   

Was coming into his force;

He might have won fame in the end,   

So sensitive his nature seemed,   

So daring and sweet his thought.

This other man I had dreamed

A drunken, vainglorious lout.

He had done most bitter wrong

To some who are near my heart,   

Yet I number him in the song;

He, too, has resigned his part

In the casual comedy;

He, too, has been changed in his turn,   

Transformed utterly:

A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone   

Through summer and winter seem   

Enchanted to a stone

To trouble the living stream.

The horse that comes from the road,   

The rider, the birds that range   

From cloud to tumbling cloud,   

Minute by minute they change;   

A shadow of cloud on the stream   

Changes minute by minute;   

A horse-hoof slides on the brim,   

And a horse plashes within it;   

The long-legged moor-hens dive,   

And hens to moor-cocks call;   

Minute by minute they live:   

The stone's in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice

Can make a stone of the heart.   

O when may it suffice?

That is Heaven's part, our part   

To murmur name upon name,   

As a mother names her child   

When sleep at last has come   

On limbs that had run wild.   

What is it but nightfall?

No, no, not night but death;   

Was it needless death after all?

For England may keep faith   

For all that is done and said.   

We know their dream; enough

To know they dreamed and are dead;   

And what if excess of love   

Bewildered them till they died?   

I write it out in a verse—

MacDonagh and MacBride   

And Connolly and Pearse

Now and in time to be,

Wherever green is worn,

Are changed, changed utterly:   

A terrible beauty is born.

by W.B. Yeats

For more information about the poet, William Butler yeats, see: