Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Tuesday Poem: "River to River" by Hai-Dang Phan

River spidering across the wall, sailing
through the air. River flashing with silver
sequins fastened to sunbeams. River always
in pieces, a torn ribbon streaming everywhere.
River carving out a canyon through the years,
seen from a sudden grassy overlook,
an old bridge, a new shoreline, endlessly
crossing and recrossing our lives. River
this winter with sixteen eagles alert
and searching. River unfrozen and pooling
around the ankles of trees in springtime,
daring us closer. River asleep inside
the black night like a spent lover,
dreaming of being a chandelier of rain,
first velvet wet drops on bare skin. Go,
go on. Conveyor belt of clouds, destroyer
and preserver of towns, longest breath
of the earth, tell us what floating means
to you. Some trees are weeping, river.
Speak of all you carry and carry off
in river song and river silence. Be horse,
be ferry, carry us from now to next to.
River, I’m done with fading shadows.
Give me daylight broken and scattered
across your fluid transparent face,
come meet me with the moon and the stars
running and tumbling along your sides.
River swinging open like a gate to the sea,
time’s no calendar of months, you say,
but water in the aftermath of light. 
Your drifting cargo tells us everything
arrives from far away and long ago
and ends in the body, boat of heartache
and ecstasy we pilot, in quest of passage also.
River we call Mississippi or Mekong,
sing us forth to nowhere but here,
with your perfect memory be our flood.

by Hai-Dang Phan

For more information about the poet, Hai-Dang Phan, see:

Monday, 30 March 2020

Special Cover-19 Lockdown Inspirational Poem: "Dreams" by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

by Langston Hughes

For more information about poet, Langston Hughes, see:

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Special Cover-19 Lockdown Inspirational Poem: "If I can stop one heart from breaking" by Emily Dickinson

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

by Emily Dickinson

For more information on poet, Emily Dickinson, see:


Saturday, 28 March 2020

Special Cover-19 Lockdown Inspirational Poem: "Be the Best of Whatever You are" by Douglas Malloch

If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill,
  Be a scrub in the valley — but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
  Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,
  And some highway happier make;
If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass —
  But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
  There's something for all of us here,
There's big work to do, and there's lesser to do,
  And the task you must do is the near.

If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
  If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail —
  Be the best of whatever you are!

by Douglas Malloch

For more information on poet, Douglas Malloch, see:

Friday, 27 March 2020

Special Covid-19 Lockdown Inspirational Poem: "Ring Out, Wild Bells" by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

by Lord Alfred Tennyson

For more information about the poet, Lord Alfred Tennyson, see:

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Special Covid-19 Lockdown Inspirational Poem: "In Spite Of War" by Angela Morgan

In spite of war, in spite of death, 
In spite of all man's sufferings, 
Something within me laughs and sings 
And I must praise with all my breath. 
In spite of war, in spite of hate 
Lilacs are blooming at my gate, 
Tulips are tripping down the path 
In spite of war, in spite of wrath. 
"Courage!" the morning-glory saith; 
"Rejoice!" the daisy murmureth, 
And just to live is so divine 
When pansies lift their eyes to mine. 

The clouds are romping with the sea, 
And flashing waves call back to me 
That naught is real but what is fair, 
That everywhere and everywhere 
A glory liveth through despair. 
Though guns may roar and cannon boom, 
Roses are born and gardens bloom; 
My spirit still may light its flame 
At that same torch whence poppies came. 
Where morning's altar whitely burns 
Lilies may lift their silver urns 
In spite of war, in spite of shame. 

And in my ear a whispering breath, 
"Wake from the nightmare! Look and see 
That life is naught but ecstasy 
In spite of war, in spite of death!"

by Angela Morgan

For more information about poet, Angela Morgan, see:

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Special Covid-19 Lockdown Inspirational Poem: "It Couldn't Be Done" by Edgar Guest

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
      But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
      Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
      On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you’ll never do that;
      At least no one ever has done it;"
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
      And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
      Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn't be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
      There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
      The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
      Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
      That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.

by Edgar Guest

For more information on poet, Edgar Guest, see:

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Tuesday Poem: "The mother finds her own wild, lost beginnings deep within the body of her daughter" by Mary Jean Chan

  after Jacqueline Rose / after Chen Chen

she fed me
clothed me
kept me
safe albeit
in excess
five layers
in spite of
winter heat
so much to
eat I needed
digestive pills
to ward off
the stomach’s
sharp protest
how not to
utter the un-
grateful thing:
that I am
her object

that the
poet who
wrote this
saved my life:
parents &
the most
common of
a street
where they
can meet

How I
that street
would appear
I kept trying
to make her
proud of my
acumen for
these words
have not
been for
I wrote
to find
the street
where we
might meet
again & now
there is relief
guilt or blame
but they are
nearly always
you are born
into the slip-
stream of
your mother’s

if someone
had told her
that the last
thing a young
mother needs
is false decency
courage & cheer

she might not
have hurt us
both but what
to do with
remorse &
love that comes
unbidden like a
generous rain
how to accept
her care after
the storm is there
a point at which
the mother is
redeemed the
child forgiven
can the origin
story be re-told
transfigured into
the version where
the garden is always
paradise & no one
need ever fall
out of grace

by Mary Jean Chan

For more information about the poet, Mary Jean Chan, see:

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Tuesday Poem: "Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" by W.B. Yeats

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue, the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet.
But I, being poor, have only my dreams; 
I have spread by dreams under your feet; 
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

by W.B Yeats (1865-1939)

Sorry to interrupt Ralph Waldo Emerson and his studied gorgeousness, but it is St. Patrick's Day and the Irish know what suffering is. (Give Ireland back to the Irish, says Sir Paul McCartney descended from Irish immigrants escaped to Liverpool as did many Irish escaping tough times) so here is a beautiful poem from, arguably, Ireland's premier poet, William Butler Yeats.

For more information on poet, William Butler Yeats, see:

Tuesday Poem: "The Past" by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The debt is paid,
The verdict said,
The Furies laid,
The plague is stayed.
All fortunes made;
Turn the key and bolt the door,
Sweet is death forevermore.
Nor haughty hope, nor swart chagrin,
Nor murdering hate, can enter in.
All is now secure and fast;
Not the gods can shake the Past;
Flies-to the adamantine door
Bolted down forevermore.
None can re-enter there,—
No thief so politic,
No Satan with a royal trick
Steal in by window, chink, or hole,
To bind or unbind, add what lacked,
Insert a leaf, or forge a name,
New-face or finish what is packed,
Alter or mend eternal Fact.

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

For more information about poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, see:


Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Tuesday Poem: "Vesuvius" by Noah Eli Gordon

It was at first fire
Then volcanoes
Now the latest fear keeping
My daughter’s door open
Through the night
Is that of being afraid
Is there a narrator in this show
She asks as the authority 
Of the voiceover in the cartoon
Loses what I imagine as credibility
In her six-year-old mind
It’s a creation myth
The one she’s watching
Because it was intentional
For months before her conception
I was afraid of having sex
As though there’s an answer
That would eclipse this
New-found complication
How can I not be scared
Of being scared she asks
Never trust the authority
Of the narrator I want
To tell her but I’d be lying

by Noah Eli Gordon

For more information about the poet, Noah Eli Gordon, see:

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Tuesday Poem: "A Fourteen-Line Poem on Heteronymic" by Julie Carr

Our world goes nowhere except its own elsewhere
What kind of sentence is that?
No one is responding, but everyone is vibrating with address
All of us stationed before the same absence
Like glass sheets; we see right through us to the air
Real life is Elsewhere
It is right Here
The bald child
Is a failed clairvoyant
But he can peer through walls to teeth and other things: soap
Mathias kisses Lucy’s Head
Someone shoots my book, shoots it straight through
I allow a relation
Between addiction and adore

by Julie Carr

For more information about the poet, Julie Carr, see: