Thursday, 29 September 2011

Cargoes by John Masefield

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amythysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

Mad Girl's Love Song By Sylvia Plath

"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)"

Friday, 23 September 2011

The Meaning of Zero: A Love Poem, by Amy Uyematsu

          —Is where space ends called death or infinity?
                         Pablo Neruda, The Book of Questions

A mere eyelid’s distance between you and me.

It took us a long time to discover the number zero.

John’s brother is afraid to go outside.
He claims he knows
the meaning of zero.

I want to kiss you.

A mathematician once told me you can add infinity
to infinity.

There is a zero vector, which starts and ends
at the same place, its force
and movement impossible
to record with
rays or maps or words.
It intersects yet runs parallel
with all others.

A young man I know
wants me to prove
the zero vector exists.
I tell him I can't,
but nothing in my world
makes sense without it.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Familiar by Emma Neale

The cat comes inside,
scent of wood smoke in his fur
black coat beaded with cold
as the sky is with stars.
One ear is nicked,
devilishly cloven by an old fight.
There are strands in his tail
the grey of close calls
but he’s a keg of a cat:
laughter drinks from him.
Often we ask what he thinks of the situation:
he winks, but he’s got his own tongue.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Let Us Read by Howell Fu

Reading is the ultimate leisure
Lose yourself in its pure pleasure
Words upon words, they bind so tight
Fears, heartaches, and comedies bright
Joys that with steady warmth do glow
Of midnight oil, there burning slow
Precise rules, careful craft, yet limits scarce
Forged amid sweat and headaches fierce
Down the intricate links of their meanings’ chains
With echoes of some unearthly strains
You delighted trip, toward a vision new
So fresh, so strange, so rich, it’s true –
In the still silence, so deeply you.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

We Don't Know Why by Karl and Joanna Fuchs

The twinkling of stars on a balmy night,
The gabble of geese as they take flight,
A passionate look in your lover’s eye,
The graceful ballet of a butterfly.
Living on the edge, in a committed way,
Facing all challenges day by day,
Your life on the line—to do, not just try,
Life is exciting—a natural high.
Failure and boredom appear in your life;
Unhappiness cuts you, just like a knife.
"Where are all the good times," you cry;
Is life just hard, and then you die?"
The freshening feel of an ocean breeze,
The colors of change in the leaves on the trees,
The feeling of peace as the days go by,
Life's a dazzling puzzle—and we don’t know why.

Sweet Spring by Joanna Fuchs

When the gloomy gray sky turns to clear azure blue,
And the snow disappears from the ground,
When the birds start to sing, and our moods start to lift,
Then we know Spring is coming around.
When the first flower bulbs poke their heads toward the sun,
Golden daffodils, hyacinths, too;
When the brown grass turns green, and the wildflowers bloom,
Then sweet Spring makes its showy debut.
Once again we awake from cold winter's pale dream,
As our minds and our bodies revive;
We rejoice and delight in spring’s colorful sight;
Each new spring makes us glad we’re alive!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Ode To The Dictionary by Pablo Neruda

Ox shoulder, heavy
loader, systematic
thick book:
As a young man
I didn't know you, I was dressed up
to sufficiency
and I believed myself full up,
and puffed up like a
melancholy toad
I declared "I receive
the words
from a roaring Mount Sinai.
I will reduce
their forms by alchemy.
I'm a wizard."
The great wizard was silent.

The Dictionary,
old and heavy, with its binding
of worn leather,
remained silent
without showing its testing.

But one day
after having used
and disused it,
after declaring it
a useless and anachronistic camel,
when for long months without protest,
it served me as an armchair
and as a pillow,
it rebelled and planting itself
in my door
it grew, it moved its leaves
and its nests,
it moved the elevation of its foliage
the tree
a natural,
apple tree, apple grove or apple-like
and the words
shone in its bottomless cup
dull or sonorous
fertile in the fronds of language,
loaded with truth and sound.

I select only
one of
Caporal (foreman)
capuchón (monk's hood)
what a marvel
to pronounce these syllables
with air,
and further down
Cápsula (capsule)
hollow, waiting for olive oil or nectar
and next to them
Captura, Capucete, Capuchino
Caprario, Captatorio
which flake off like smooth birds
or which explode in the light
like blind germs which waited
in the storerooms of vocabulary
and live again and give life:
once more the heart sets them afire.

Dictionary, you're not
a tomb, sepulcher, casket,
burial mound, mausoleum,
but a preserver,
hidden fire,
the planting of rubies,
living perpetuity
of the essence,
granary of the language.
And it is beautiful
to pluck in your columns
the word
in its lineage,
the severe
and forgotten
daughter of Spain,
like the blade of a plow,
fixed in its limit
of antiquated iron-work,
with its exact beauty
and its metallic hardness.
Or the other word
which we saw lost there
out in dialect regions
and which quickly
became tasty and smooth in our mouth.

Dictionary, one hand
of your thousand hands, one
of your thousand emeralds,
of your virginal elements
one grain
generous granaries
on the tip of my pen,
in my inkwell.
From your thick, sonorous
depth of your forest,
give me,
when I need it,
one single trill, the luxury
of a bee,
a fallen fragment
from your ancient wood
perfumed by an eternity of jasmine beds,
all earthquake, a sound:
from the earth I am and with words I sing.

Ode To The Piano by Pablo Neruda

The piano was sad
during the concert,
forgotten in its gravedigger's coat,
and then it opened its mouth,
its whale's mouth:
the pianist entered the piano
flying like a crow;
something happened as if a stone
of silver fell
or a hand
into a hidden
the sweetness slid
like rain
over a bell,
the light fell to the bottom
of a locked house,
an emerald went across the abyss
and the sea sounded,
the night,
the meadows,
the dewdrop,
the deepest thunder,
the structure of the rose sang,
the milk of dawn surrounded the silence.

That's how the music was born
from the piano which was dying,
the garment
of the water-nymph
moved up over the coffin
and from its set of teeth
all unaware
the piano, the pianist
and the concert fell,
and everything became sound,
an elemental torrent,
a pure system, a clear bell ringing.

Then the man returned
from the tree of music.
He flew down like
a lost crow
or a crazy knight:
the piano closed its whale's mouth
and the pianist walked back from it
towards the silence.

And Because Love Battles by Pablo Neruda

And because love battles
not only in its burning agricultures
but also in the mouth of men and women,
I will finish off by taking the path away
to those who between my chest and your fragrance
want to interpose their obscure plant.

About me, nothing worse
they will tell you, my love,
than what I told you.

I lived in the prairies
before I got to know you
and I did not wait love but I was
laying in wait for and I jumped on the rose.

What more can they tell you?
I am neither good nor bad but a man,
and they will then associate the danger
of my life, which you know
and which with your passion you shared.

And good, this danger
is danger of love, of complete love
for all life,
for all lives,
and if this love brings us
the death and the prisons,
I am sure that your big eyes,
as when I kiss them,
will then close with pride,
into double pride, love,
with your pride and my pride.

But to my ears they will come before
to wear down the tour
of the sweet and hard love which binds us,
and they will say: “The one
you love,
is not a woman for you,
Why do you love her? I think
you could find one more beautiful,
more serious, more deep,
more other, you understand me, look how she’s light,
and what a head she has,
and look at how she dresses,
and etcetera and etcetera”.

And I in these lines say:
Like this I want you, love,
love, Like this I love you,
as you dress
and how your hair lifts up
and how your mouth smiles,
light as the water
of the spring upon the pure stones,
Like this I love you, beloved.

To bread I do not ask to teach me
but only not to lack during every day of life.
I don’t know anything about light, from where
it comes nor where it goes,
I only want the light to light up,
I do not ask to the night
I wait for it and it envelops me,
And so you, bread and light
And shadow are.

You came to my life
with what you were bringing,
of light and bread and shadow I expected you,
and Like this I need you,
Like this I love you,
and to those who want to hear tomorrow
that which I will not tell them, let them read it here,
and let them back off today because it is early
for these arguments.

Tomorrow we will only give them
a leaf of the tree of our love, a leaf
which will fall on the earth
like if it had been made by our lips
like a kiss which falls
from our invincible heights
to show the fire and the tenderness
of a true love.

Bells of Gray Crystal by Edith Sitwell

Bells of gray crystal
Break on each bough--
The swans' breath will mist all
The cold airs now.
Like tall pagodas
Two people go,
Trail their long codas
Of talk through the snow.
Lonely are these
And lonely and I ....
The clouds, gray Chinese geese
Sleek through the sky.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Angela by Anonymous

That pale little hand being led to the bedroom
Those corduroy jeans being tossed to the floor
That innocent smile as he leans in to kiss her
The green of her eyes as they lay down for more
The very same eyes I caught reading Harry Potter past their bedtime.

Those bouncy red curls flattened against the bedspread
Twisted and tangled and coated in gel
Those delicate hands exploring his body
Those tiny girl’s hands, that I knew so well
The very same that shook me awake year after year on Christmas morning.

What happened to the little princess?
The cross country runner?
The sweet baby girl?

The science fair champion:
Arching her back and closing her eyes
gasping and panting and
pulling him closer
To the body I held in the hospital.

The clumsy ballerina:
Being rocked back and forth
Going limp with pleasure
Sighing satisfied
With the voice that asked me for a later bed time.

My rosy cheeked child who loved musical theatre
and wore purple sweaters
is gone.

The Meaning of Love? by Kiana B.

The beating of my broken heart, now chained and locked away,
I hear much louder, through the night, than words we never say.
As hollow kisses turn to dust and fall against my skin,
I pray that I might find the strength to fall in love again.
Abandoned innocence, stripped away, discarded on the floor.
In the dirt, I bury hope that love leaves unlocked doors.
I am held, though never cherished, yet to be made whole.
My tears can wipe themselves away, but I must save my soul.
Bare feet, run, lead me home, where I am Mother’s child,
And toward the pale rose sunset for a pretty little while.
If broken wings may carry dreams, and carry me to sleep,
Take me far away from love and tell me what it means.

The Lost Generation by Kiersten W.

Oh why have we settled in the unquiet darkness,
where the noise of the silence overwhelms our hearts?
And we fall apart –
the sun sets and it rises –
we make shapes of ourselves no one can see.
Oh why are we lost in these tears
if we’ve forgotten how to cry?
If absence makes the heart grow fonder
can we hold on much longer?
We are burning in a drought of faith,
unnoticing as the stars are earnestly shining,
desperately bleeding light.
Oh how ironically hopeless
is every star’s forgotten fight,
for we are just uselessly drowning
under the weight,
under the honesty of the unspoken.
Oh the noise of the silence overwhelms our hearts.
I believe we are skillfully crafted
inexplicable accidents,
and our hero – the potter –
is too late.

We Will Be Together Again by Wishing

Not holding you in my arms is tearing me apart.
Being away is something I never imagined from the start.
I never thought we'd fall in love, so mad.
I never realized life without you would be so bad.
The gentle reassurance in your hand
led me away to a make-believe land.
Now my heart can't resist, but to yearn for your warmly embraced kiss.
And being with you is something I miss.
The things I'd give to have you in my arms -
To just hold you close and protect you from harm.
They said it will never work because of our age;
To them my love for you was just a phase.
When they came in our world and tore it apart,
It soon became a broken-promise land of the heart.
They don't know what we've been through,
How much you love me and I love you.
This can't be over; we're still not through.
There's so much we haven't shared - so much we promised to do.
I don't know how to hide my love enough so it doesn't show.
I can't hold back and refuse to let go.
If they only knew how you made me feel,
With all the problems you helped me deal.
How you taught me I was much more than I had ever thought -
All of the Joy, Happiness, and Love to me you brought.
You showed me I was beautiful outside and in,
And showed me true love time and time again.
One day I will return to you all you have given me,
In some shape or form; soon you'll see.
Send a message to my heart; promise me we will never part.
One day we will be able to be together every day,
And we won't have to worry what they say.
So when the time comes, promise me you'll take my hand and be with me
forever as long as we can.

Whispers by Liza Marie

As I lie here in your sleeping arms
No words spoken
No sound made
Just lying here with you says enough

With your arms around me
Your breath whispering across my face
So warm
Yet so cooling

Your comfort and
Your love surround me
You mean so much to me
I've never felt love so strong

I love looking into your heavenly eyes
But not as much as I love to gaze upon your
angelic face
It fills me up inside
With emotions too great to express

I want to give you my all
Everything I have inside
How can I prove my love to you
Words just aren't enough

You're what I've been waiting for
I've been lonely for so long
But when I'm with you
I know in my heart;
my soul, it was worth the wait

The stillness breaks
Your body awakes
You turn over towards me
Your eyes open

They look into mine
They make me glad to be alive
To breathe the same air as you
To touch you

Your soft lips meet mine
They whisper words I could live forever in
"I love you"
My heart melts

I return your kiss
And the words you speak
I return your love
And all that you've given to me

I love you.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Drop Dead Gorgeous by Tierney O'Hara

Coke bottle glasses
a chin too small

No, I am not
drop dead gorgeous,
no not at all.

An underbite, short
and hips too small

No, I am not
drop dead gorgeous,
no not at all.

What are you saying?
You think that I'm cute?

You whistle
at me in
my new bathing suit?

Oh husband of mine
your love makes me a beauty

For twenty-five years
you've called me your cutie.

You've made me feel gorgeous
smart, sexy and tall

Though I am not
drop dead gorgeous,
no not at all.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Lemon by Frank Gaspar

Forget the sun and the dizzy moths.
Forget the pieces of mockingbird that the cats have left by the side gate.
Forget the hose running under the honeysuckle:
the lemons are offering us holiness again.
They are making us go down on our knees to smell them.
They are making us think of our old loves, to grieve over them.
They are singing every little song, they are conjuring every temptation.
They have been having sex with the oranges and tangerines, the yard
is rife with their pollens, they are sweeter than they even know.
They speak together. They are amazing me with their navels and nipples.
How they flaunt themselves on the spider-veined limbs all pained with thorn.
They are trying to make me lazy, to turn me against my simple work—
they do not want to be plucked from their own dreaming.
They are telling us again how they come each year, bringing secrets
from their other world, and how we are never able to decipher them.
How long now before we put up the aluminum ladder
and pull on the leather-palmed gloves? How long with the shape
and heft of lemon voluptuous in my hand? How long
with the summer in its steep track, and the low cars cruising
out on the avenues, and the drone of the small airplanes
like bees over the far houses?

Leaning Into The Afternoons by Pablo Neruda

Leaning into the afternoons,
I cast my sad nets towards your oceanic eyes.
There, in the highest blaze my solitude lengthens and flames;
Its arms turning like a drowning man's.
I send out red signals across your absent eyes
That wave like the sea, or the beach by a lighthouse.
You keep only darkness my distant female;
From your regard sometimes, the coast of dread emerges.

Leaning into the afternoons,
I fling my sad nets to that sea that is thrashed
By your oceanic eyes.
The birds of night peck at the first stars
That flash like my soul when I love you.
The night, gallops on its shadowy mare
Shedding blue tassels over the land.

Ode To The Onion by Pablo Neruda

luminous flask,
your beauty formed
petal by petal,
crystal scales expanded you
and in the secrecy of the dark earth
your belly grew round with dew.
Under the earth
the miracle
and when your clumsy
green stem appeared,
and your leaves were born
like swords
in the garden,
the earth heaped up her power
showing your naked transparency,
and as the remote sea
in lifting the breasts of Aphrodite
duplicating the magnolia,
so did the earth
make you,
clear as a planet
and destined
to shine,
constant constellation,
round rose of water,
the table
of the poor.

You make us cry without hurting us.
I have praised everything that exists,
but to me, onion, you are
more beautiful than a bird
of dazzling feathers,
heavenly globe, platinum goblet,
unmoving dance
of the snowy anemone

and the fragrance of the earth lives
in your crystalline nature.

Clenched Soul by Pablo Neruda

We have lost even this twilight.
No one saw us this evening hand in hand
while the blue night dropped on the world.

I have seen from my window
the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops.

Sometimes a piece of sun
burned like a coin in my hand.

I remembered you with my soul clenched
in that sadness of mine that you know.

Where were you then?
Who else was there?
Saying what?
Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly
when I am sad and feel you are far away?

The book fell that always closed at twilight
and my blue sweater rolled like a hurt dog at my feet.

Always, always you recede through the evenings
toward the twilight erasing statues.

Excerpt from "Yes And No" by Laura Riding Jackson

Ah, the minutes twinkle in and out
And in and out come and go
One by one, none by none,
What we know, what we don't know.

Tulips by Sylvia Plath

The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.
Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in
I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly
As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands.
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses
And my history to the anaesthetist and my body to surgeons.

They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff
Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.
Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in.
The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble,
They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps,
Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another,
So it is impossible to tell how many there are.

My body is a pebble to them, they tend it as water
Tends to the pebbles it must run over, smoothing them gently.
They bring me numbness in their bright needles, they bring me sleep.
Now I have lost myself I am sick of baggage ----
My patent leather overnight case like a black pillbox,
My husband and child smiling out of the family photo;
Their smiles catch onto my skin, little smiling hooks.

I have let things slip, a thirty-year-old cargo boat
Stubbornly hanging on to my name and address.
They have swabbed me clear of my loving associations.
Scared and bare on the green plastic-pillowed trolley
I watched my teaset, my bureaus of linen, my books
Sink out of sight, and the water went over my head.
I am a nun now, I have never been so pure.

I didn't want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free ----
The peacefulness is so big it dazes you,
And it asks nothing, a name tag, a few trinkets.
It is what the dead close on, finally; I imagine them
Shutting their mouths on it, like a Communion tablet.

The tulips are too red in the first place, they hurt me.
Even through the gift paper I could hear them breathe
Lightly, through their white swaddlings, like an awful baby.
Their redness talks to my wound, it corresponds.
They are subtle: they seem to float, though they weigh me down,
Upsetting me with their sudden tongues and their colour,
A dozen red lead sinkers round my neck.

Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.
The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me
Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,
And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow
Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,
And I hve no face, I have wanted to efface myself.
The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.

Before they came the air was calm enough,
Coming and going, breath by breath, without any fuss.
Then the tulips filled it up like a loud noise.
Now the air snags and eddies round them the way a river
Snags and eddies round a sunken rust-red engine.
They concentrate my attention, that was happy
Playing and resting without committing itself.

The walls, also, seem to be warming themselves.
The tulips should be behind bars like dangerous animals;
They are opening like the mouth of some great African cat,
And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes
Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me.
The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea,
And comes from a country far away as health.

what if a much of a which of a wind by e.e. cummings

what if a much of a which of a wind
gives the truth to summer's lie;
bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun
and yanks immortal stars awry?
Blow king to beggar and queen to seem
(blow friend to fiend: blow space to time)
—when skies are hanged and oceans drowned,
the single secret will still be man

what if a keen of a lean wind flays
screaming hills with sleet and snow:
strangles valleys by ropes of thing
and stifles forests in white ago?
Blow hope to terror; blow seeing to blind
(blow pity to envy and soul to mind)
—whose hearts are mountains, roots are trees,
it's they shall cry hello to the spring

what if a dawn of a doom of a dream
bites this universe in two,
peels forever out of his grave
and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?
Blow soon to never and never to twice
(blow life to isn't:blow death to was)
—all nothing's only our hugest home;
the most who die, the more we live

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Alchemy by Thomas Lynch

Checklist for Jurors
For Mike and Marilyn Kinna

After everything it’s like the tune
we keep humming over and over
mostly for how it makes us remember
somewhere back in our shimmering youths,
before the household and the furniture,
before the children and the mortgage and the pets;
back when it was only the two of us,
only each other to abide, obey,
suffer and satisfy, endure, survive;
only one another to have and hold
and that hush that would sometimes settle between us,
and the light – how it turned silver in the dark,
till everything we touched turned into gold.
In time we came to know that tune by heart.