Sunday, April 20, 2014

Habit is the hand that shapes the heart by Dmitri Shostakovich

Habit is the hand that shapes the heart.A soul becomes the soldier of its faith.Peace prevails through courage and by art.Pride is vanity, the preacher saith.Yet love is sky to mountains and to seas.Evil and good lie blissful in its arms.All may find that joy with equal ease,Sunlight radiant above life's storms.The character is written on the faceEven as the soul receives its grace,Restored to innocence and on its knees.

Turn off the TV! by Bruce Lansky

Turn Off the TV!

My father gets quite mad at me;
my mother gets upset—
when they catch me watching
our new television set.

My father yells, “Turn that thing off!”
Mom says, “It’s time to study.”
I’d rather watch my favorite TV show
with my best buddy.

I sneak down after homework
and turn the set on low.
But when she sees me watching it,
my mother yells out, “No!”

Dad says, “If you don’t turn it off,
I’ll hang it from a tree!”
I rather doubt he’ll do it,
’cause he watches more than me.

He watches sports all weekend,
and weekday evenings too,
while munching chips and pretzels—
the room looks like a zoo.

So if he ever got the nerve
to hang it from a tree,
he’d spend a lot of time up there—
watching it with me.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Zucchini Shofar by Sarah Lindsay

Zucchini Shofar

No animals were harmed in the making of this joyful noise:
A thick, twisted stem from the garden
is the wedding couple's ceremonial ram's horn.
Its substance will not survive one thousand years,
nor will the garden, which is today their temple,
nor will their names, nor their union now announced
with ritual blasts upon the zucchini shofar.
Shall we measure blessings by their duration?
Through the narrow organic channel fuzzily come
the prescribed sustained notes, short notes, rests.
All that rhythm requires. Among their talents,
the newlyweds excel at making
and serving mustard-green soup and molasses cookies,
and taking nieces and nephews for walks in the woods.
The gardener dyes eggs with onion skins,
wraps presents, tells stories, finds the best seashells;
his friends adore his paper-cuttings—
"Nothing I do will last," he says.
What is this future approval we think we need;
who made passing time our judge?
Do we want butter that endures for ages,
or butter that melts into homemade cornbread now?
—the note that rings in my deaf ear without ceasing,
or two voices abashed by the vows they undertake?
This moment's chord of earthly commotion
will never be struck exactly so again—
though love does love to repeat its favorite lines.
So let the shofar splutter its slow notes and quick notes,
let the nieces and nephews practice their flutes and trombones,
let living room pianos invite unwashed hands,
let glasses of different fullness be tapped for their different notes,
let everyone learn how to whistle,
let the girl dawdling home from her trumpet lesson
pause at the half-built house on the corner,
where the newly installed maze of plumbing comes down
to one little pipe whose open end she can reach,
so she takes a deep breath
and makes the whole house sound.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning

My father inspired my appreciation for Robert Browning (and a variety of other poets!) Here's a classic that many know the story of, but few remember it started as a poem, or that Robert Browning wrote it!

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Hamelin Town's in Brunswick,
   By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied;
   But, when begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
   From vermin, was a pity.

They fought the dogs, and killed the cats,
   And bit the babies in the cradles,
And eat the cheeses out of the vats,
   And licked the soup from the cooks' own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women's chats
      By drowning their speaking
      With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

At last the people in a body
   To the Town Hall came flocking:
'Tis clear, cried they, our Mayor's a noddy;
   And as for our Corporation — shocking
To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
For dolts that can't or won't determine
What's like to rid us of our vermin!
Rouse up, Sirs! Give your brains a racking
To find the remedy we're lacking,
Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing!
   At this the Mayor and Corporation
   Quaked with a mighty consternation.

An hour they sate in council,
   At length the Mayor broke silence:
For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell;
   I wish I were a mile hence!
It's easy to bid one rack one's brain —
I'm sure my poor head aches again
I've scratched it so, and all in vain.
Oh for a trap, a trap, a trap!
Just as he said this, what should hap
At the chamber door but a gentle tap?
Bless us, cried the Mayor, what's that?
(With the Corporation as he sate,
Looking little though wondrous fat);
Only a scraping of shoes on the mat?
Anything like the sound of a rat
Makes my heart go pit-a-pat!

Come in! — the Mayor cried, looking bigger:
And in did come the strangest figure!
His queer long coat from heel to head
Was half of yellow and half of red;
And he himself was tall and thin,
With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin,
And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin,
No tuft on cheek nor beard on chin,
But lips where smiles went out and in —
There was no guessing his kith and kin!
And nobody could enough admire
The tall man and his quaint attire:
Quoth one: It's as my great-grandsire,
Starting up at the Trump of Doom's tone,
Had walked this way from his painted tombstone!

He advanced to the council-table:
And, Please your honours, said he, I'm able,
By means of a secret charm, to draw
All creatures living beneath the sun,
That creep, or swim, or fly, or run,
After me so as you never saw!
And I chiefly use my charm
On creatures that do people harm,
The mole, and toad, and newt, and viper;
And people call me the Pied Piper.
(And here they noticed round his neck
A scarf of red and yellow stripe,
To match with his coat of the self-same cheque;
And at the scarf's end hung a pipe;
And his fingers, they noticed, were ever straying
As if impatient to be playing
Upon this pipe, as low it dangled
Over his vesture so old-fangled.)
Yet, said he, poor piper as I am,
In Tartary I freed the Cham,
Last June, from his huge swarms of gnats;
I eased in Asia the Nizam
Of a monstrous brood of vampyre-bats:
And, as for what your brain bewilders,
If I can rid your town of rats
Will you give me a thousand guilders?
One? fifty thousand! — was the exclamation
Of the astonished Mayor and Corporation.

Into the street the Piper stept,
   Smiling first a little smile,
As if he knew what magic slept
   In his quiet pipe the while;
Then, like a musical adept,
To blow the pipe his lips he wrinkled,
And green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled,
Like a candle-flame where salt is sprinkled;
And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered,
You heard as if an army muttered;
And the muttering grew to a grumbling;
And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling;
And out of the houses the rats came tumbling.
Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
Brown rats, black rats, grey rats, tawny rats,
Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,
   Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,
   Families by tens and dozens,
Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives —
Followed the Piper for their lives.
From street to street he piped advancing,
And step for step they followed dancing,
Until they came to the river Weser
Wherein all plunged and perished
— Save one who, stout as Julius Caesar,
Swam across and lived to carry
(As he the manuscript he cherished)
To Rat-land home his commentary,
Which was, At the first shrill notes of the pipe,
I heard a sound as of scraping tripe,
And putting apples, wondrous ripe,
Into a cider-press's gripe:
And a moving away of pickle-tub-boards,
And a leaving ajar of conserve-cupboards,
And a drawing the corks of train-oil-flasks,
And a breaking the hoops of butter-casks;
And it seemed as if a voice
(Sweeter than by harp or by psaltery
Is breathed) called out, Oh rats, rejoice!
The world is grown to one vast drysaltery!
'So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon,
'Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon!
And just as one bulky sugar-puncheon,
Ready staved, like a great sun shone
Glorious scarce an inch before me,
Just as methought it said, Come, bore me!
— I found the Weser rolling o'er me.

You should have heard the Hamelin people
Ringing the bells till they rocked the steeple;
Go, cried the Mayor, and get long poles!
Poke out the nests and block up the holes!
Consult with carpenters and builders,
And leave in our town not even a trace
Of the rats! — when suddenly up the face
Of the Piper perked in the market-place,
With a, First, if you please, my thousand guilders!

A thousand guilders! The Mayor looked blue;
So did the Corporation too.
For council dinners made rare havock
With Claret, Moselle, Vin-de-Grave, Hock;
And half the money would replenish
Their cellar's biggest butt with Rhenish.
To pay this sum to a wandering fellow
With a gipsy coat of red and yellow!
Beside, quoth the Mayor with a knowing wink,
Our business was done at the river's brink;
We saw with our eyes the vermin sink,
And what's dead can't come to life, I think.
So, friend, we're not the folks to shrink
From the duty of giving you something for drink,
And a matter of money to put in your poke;
But, as for the guilders, what we spoke
Of them, as you very well know, was in joke.
Beside, our losses have made us thrifty;
A thousand guilders! Come, take fifty!

The Piper's face fell, and he cried,
No trifling! I can't wait, beside!
I've promised to visit by dinner time
Bagdat, and accept the prime
Of the Head Cook's pottage, all he's rich in,
For having left, in the Caliph's kitchen,
Of a nest of scorpions no survivor —
With him I proved no bargain-driver,
With you, don't think I'll bate a stiver!
And folks who put me in a passion
May find me pipe after another fashion.

How? cried the Mayor, d'ye think I'll brook
Being worse treated than a Cook?
Insulted by a lazy ribald
With idle pipe and vesture piebald?
You threaten us, fellow? Do your worst,
Blow your pipe there till you burst!

Once more he stept into the street;
   And to his lips again
Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane;
   And ere he blew three notes (such sweet
Soft notes as yet musician's cunning
   Never gave th'enraptured air)
There was a rustling, that seem'd like a bustling
Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping, and little tongues chattering,
And, like fowls in a farm-yard when barley is scattering,
Out came the children running.
All the little boys and girls,
With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,
Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after
The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.

The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood
As if they were changed into blocks of wood,
Unable to move a step, or cry
To the children merrily skipping by —
Could only follow with the eye
That joyous crowd at the Piper's back.
But how the Mayor was on the rack,
And the wretched Council's bosoms beat,
As the Piper turned from the High Street
To where the Weser rolled its waters
Right in the way of their sons and daughters!
However he turned from South to West,
And to Coppelburg Hill his steps addressed,
And after him the children pressed;
Great was the joy in every breast.
He never can cross that mighty top!
He's forced to let the piping drop,
And we shall see our children stop!
When, lo, as they reached the mountain's side,
A wondrous portal opened wide,
As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
And the Piper advanced and the children follow'd,
And when all were in to the very last,
The door in the mountain side shut fast.
Did I say, all? No! One was lame,
And could not dance the whole of the way;
And in after years, if you would blame
His sadness, he was used to say, —
It's dull in our town since my playmates left!
I can't forget that I'm bereft
Of all the pleasant sights they see,
Which the Piper also promised me;
For he led us, he said, to a joyous land,
Joining the town and just at hand,
Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew,
And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
And every thing was strange and new;
The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here,
And their dogs outran our fallow deer,
And honey-bees had lost their stings,
And horses were born with eagles' wings:
And just as I felt assured
My lame foot would be speedily cured,
The music stopped and I stood still,
And found myself outside the Hill,
Left alone against my will,
To go now limping as before,
And never hear of that country more!

Alas, alas for Hamelin!
   There came into many a burgher's pate
   A text which says, that Heaven's Gate
   Opes to the Rich at as easy a rate
As the needle's eye takes a camel in!
The Mayor sent East, West, North, and South,
To offer the Piper, by word of mouth,
   Wherever it was men's lot to find him,
Silver and gold to his heart's content,
If he'd only return the way he went,
   And bring the children behind him.
But when they saw 'twas a lost endeavour,
And Piper and dancers were gone for ever,
They made a decree that lawyers never
   Should think their records dated duly
If, after the day of the month and year,
These words did not as well appear,
"And so long after what happened here
   "On the Twenty-second of July,
"Thirteen hundred and Seventy-six:"
And the better in memory to fix
The place of the Children's last retreat,
They called it, The Pied Piper's Street —
Where any one playing on pipe or tabor
Was sure for the future to lose his labour.
Nor suffered they Hostelry or Tavern
   To shock with mirth a street so solemn;
But opposite the place of the cavern
   They wrote the story on a column,
And on the Great Church Window painted
The same, to make the world acquainted
How their children were stolen away;
And there it stands to this very day.
And I must not omit to say
That in Transylvania there's a tribe
Of alien people who ascribe
The outlandish ways and dress
On which their neighbours lay such stress
To their fathers and mothers having risen
Out of some subterraneous prison
Into which they were trepanned
Long time ago in a mighty band
Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land,
But how or why, they don't understand.

So, Willy, let you and me be wipers
Of scores out with all men — especially pipers:
And, whether they pipe us from rats or from mice,
If we've promised them aught, let us keep our promise.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wind on the Hill by A. A. Milne

Wind on the Hill

No one can tell me,
   Nobody knows,
Where the wind comes from,
   Where the wind goes.
It’s flying from somewhere
   As fast as it can,
I couldn’t keep up with it,
   Not if I ran.
But if I stopped holding
   The string of my kite,
It would blow with the wind
   For a day and a night.
And then when I found it,
   Wherever it blew,
I should know that the wind
   Had been going there too.
So then I could tell them
   Where the wind goes . . .
But where the wind comes from
   Nobody knows.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

If Only We Had Taller Been by Ray Bradbury

Another spoken poem -- this time one by Ray Bradbury!

Are you reading more poems this month?  I'm posting a poem a day for National Poetry Month!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Quiet World by Jeffrey McDaniel

Another poem for National Poetry Month.

The Quiet World

In an effort to get people to look
into each other’s eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred   
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear   
without saying hello. In the restaurant   
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,   
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.   
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn’t respond,
I know she’s used up all her words,   
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line   
and listen to each other breathe.

Monday, April 14, 2014

To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet

Continuing a poem a day for the month of April! 

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever,
That when we live no more we may live ever.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ae Fond Kiss by Robert Burns

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, and then forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears   I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.
Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerfu' twinkle lights me;
Dark despair around benights me.

I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy,
Naething could resist my Nancy;
But to see her was to love her;
Love but her, and love forever.
Had we never lov'd sae kindly,
Had we never lov'd sae blindly,
Never met—or never parted—
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.

Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace. enjoyment, love, and pleasure!
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, alas, forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears   I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Beachcomber by Robert Service

When I have come with happy heart to sixty years and ten,
I'll buy a boat and sail away upon a summer sea;
And in a little lonely isle that's far and far from men,
In peace and praise I'll spend the days the Gods allow to me.
For I am weary of a strife so pitiless and vain;
And in a far and fairy isle, bewilderingly bright,
I'll learn to know the leap and glow of rapture once again,
And welcome every living dawn with wonder and delight.

And there I'll build a swan-white house above the singing foam,
With brooding eaves, where joyously rich roses climb and cling;
With crotons in a double row, like wine and honeycomb,
And flame trees dripping golden rain, and palms pavilioning.
And there I'll let the wind and wave do what they will with me;
And I will dwell unto the end with loveliness and joy;
And drink from out the crystal spring, and eat from off the tree,
As simple as a savage is, as careless as a boy.

For I have come to think that Life's a lamentable tale,
And all we break our hearts to win is little worth our while;
For fame and fortune in the end are comfortless and stale,
And it is best to dream and rest upon a radiant isle.
So I'll blot out the bitter years of sufferance and scorn,
And I'll forget the fear and fret, the poverty and pain;
And in a shy and secret isle I'll be a man newborn,
And fashion life to heart's desire, and seek my soul again.

For when I come with happy heart to sixty years and ten,
I fondly hope the best of life will yet remain to me;
And so I'll burn my foolish books and break my futile pen,
And seek a tranced and tranquil isle, that dreams eternally.
I'll turn my back on all the world, I'll bid my friends adieu;
Unto the blink I'll leave behind what gold I have to give;
And in a jewelled solitude I'll mould my life anew,
And nestling close to Nature's heart, I'll learn at last . . . to live.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Say Yes by Andrea Gibson

I'll go back to written poems tomorrow, but one last powerful spoken poem this week!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

OCD by Neil Hilborn

This spoken poem made me cry.  Very intense, very personal, very well done. Another amazing poem for my poem a day during Poetry Month.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Shrinking Women by Lily Myers

Another spoken poem for my poem a day during Poetry Month. Lily Myers has an important message to share.  I feel fortunate that my life was full of strong women, but that doesn't mean that there aren't insecurities, or choices to make myself smaller at times.  Listen to her powerful words.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Body Love by Mary Lambert

I love listening to poetry, especially when spoken by the author. This poem has some curse words, and is of adult content, but I think it is so very important.  I am grateful that most days I accept my body for what it is, but I am constantly assaulted by others who throw their own insecurities about their own bodies at me. I am happy with who I am -- that my body carries me through my days, that it carried and nurtures my three beautiful children, that it delights my husband. I have body love most of the time -- and I wish I could convince more women of the same!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Slave of Habit by Pablo Neruda

“He who becomes the slave of habit,
who follows the same routes every day,
who never changes pace,
who does not risk and change the color of his clothes,
who does not speak and does not experience,
dies slowly.

He or she who shuns passion,
who prefers black on white,
dotting ones "it’s" rather than a bundle of emotions, the kind that make your eyes glimmer,
that turn a yawn into a smile,
that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings,
dies slowly.

He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy,
who is unhappy at work,
who does not risk certainty for uncertainty,
to thus follow a dream,
those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives,
die slowly.

He who does not travel, who does not read,
who does not listen to music,
who does not find grace in himself,
she who does not find grace in herself,
dies slowly.

He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem,
who does not allow himself to be helped,
who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck, about the rain that never stops,
dies slowly.

He or she who abandon a project before starting it, who fail to ask questions on subjects he doesn't know, he or she who don't reply when they are asked something they do know,
die slowly.

Let's try and avoid death in small doses,
reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.

Only a burning patience will lead
to the attainment of a splendid happiness.” 

― Pablo Neruda

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Questions of Travel by Elizabeth Bishop

Posting a poem a day throughout April -- Poetry Month.  This one seemed appropriate as a I return to the States after my Danube River adventure!

Questions of Travel

There are too many waterfalls here; the crowded streams
hurry too rapidly down to the sea,
and the pressure of so many clouds on the mountaintops
makes them spill over the sides in soft slow-motion,
turning to waterfalls under our very eyes.
--For if those streaks, those mile-long, shiny, tearstains,
aren't waterfalls yet,
in a quick age or so, as ages go here,
they probably will be.
But if the streams and clouds keep travelling, travelling,
the mountains look like the hulls of capsized ships,
slime-hung and barnacled.

Think of the long trip home.
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Where should we be today?
Is it right to be watching strangers in a play
in this strangest of theatres?
What childishness is it that while there's a breath of life
in our bodies, we are determined to rush
to see the sun the other way around?
The tiniest green hummingbird in the world?
To stare at some inexplicable old stonework,
inexplicable and impenetrable,
at any view,
instantly seen and always, always delightful?
Oh, must we dream our dreams
and have them, too?
And have we room
for one more folded sunset, still quite warm?

But surely it would have been a pity
not to have seen the trees along this road,
really exaggerated in their beauty,
not to have seen them gesturing
like noble pantomimists, robed in pink.
--Not to have had to stop for gas and heard
the sad, two-noted, wooden tune
of disparate wooden clogs
carelessly clacking over
a grease-stained filling-station floor.
(In another country the clogs would all be tested.
Each pair there would have identical pitch.)
--A pity not to have heard
the other, less primitive music of the fat brown bird
who sings above the broken gasoline pump
in a bamboo church of Jesuit baroque:
three towers, five silver crosses.
--Yes, a pity not to have pondered,
blurr'dly and inconclusively,
on what connection can exist for centuries
between the crudest wooden footwear
and, careful and finicky,
the whittled fantasies of wooden footwear
and, careful and finicky,
the whittled fantasies of wooden cages.
--Never to have studied history in
the weak calligraphy of songbirds' cages.
--And never to have had to listen to rain
so much like politicians' speeches:
two hours of unrelenting oratory
and then a sudden golden silence
in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes:

"Is it lack of imagination that makes us come
to imagined places, not just stay at home?
Or could Pascal have been not entirely right
about just sitting quietly in one's room?

Continent, city, country, society:
the choice is never wide and never free.
And here, or there . . . No. Should we have stayed at home,
wherever that may be?" 

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

I enjoy her poems so much, and I can hear her reciting them. I am grateful that she has recorded many of her poems - her voice heightens each of her poems. Still posting a poem a day for Poetry Month!

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise. 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Joy by Sara Teasdale


I am wild, I will sing to the trees,
I will sing to the stars in the sky,
I love, I am loved, he is mine,
Now at last I can die!

I am sandaled with wind and with flame,
I have heart-fire and singing to give,
I can tread on the grass or the stars,
Now at last I can live! 

Friday, April 04, 2014

Words by Anne Sexton

I really like this one . . . posting a poem a day for Poetry Month!


Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be as good as fingers.
They can be as trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.
Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.
Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren't good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.
But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair. 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

As I Grew Older by Langston Hughes

Posting a Poem a Day for Poetry Month

As I Grew Older

It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun—
My dream.
And then the wall rose,
Rose slowly,
Between me and my dream.
Rose until it touched the sky—
The wall.
I am black.
I lie down in the shadow.
No longer the light of my dream before me,
Above me.
Only the thick wall.
Only the shadow.
My hands!
My dark hands!
Break through the wall!
Find my dream!
Help me to shatter this darkness,
To smash this night,
To break this shadow
Into a thousand lights of sun,
Into a thousand whirling dreams
Of sun! 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

We've all heard the first couple lines of this poem, but I didn't realize it came from a poem. Continuing on posting a poem a day for Poetry Month.


Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it's mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain. 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Fa Lerszek (I'll Be a Tree)

April is Poetry Month and I'll be posting a poem a day throughout April! This one seemed fitting since I visited Hungary a couple days ago. Scroll down for the English translation. 

Fa Leszek (I'll Be a Tree)

by Sandor Petofi
Fa leszek, ha fának vagy virága.
Ha harmat vagy: én virág leszek.
Harmat leszek, ha te napsugár vagy...
Csak, hogy lényink egyesüljenek.

Ha, leányka, te vagy a mennyország:
Akkor én csillagá változom.
Ha, leányka, te vagy a pokol: (hogy
Egyesüljünk) én elkárhozom.

I'll Be a Tree

I'll be a tree, if you are its flower,
Or a flower, if you are the dew-
I'll be the dew, if you are the sunbeam,
Only to be united with you.

My lovely girl, if you are the Heaven,
I shall be a star above on high;
My darling, if you are hell-fire,
To unite us, damned I shall die. 
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