Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A Sonnet of the Moon by Charles Best

LOOK how the pale queen of the silent night
Doth cause the ocean to attend upon her,
And he, as long as she is in his sight,
With her full tide is ready her to honor.
But when the silver waggon of the moon
Is mounted up so high he cannot follow,
The sea calls home his crystal waves to moan,
And with low ebb doth manifest his sorrow.
So you that are the sovereign of my heart
Have all my joys attending on your will;
My joys low-ebbing when you do depart,
When you return their tide my heart doth fill.
So as you come and as you do depart,
Joys ebb and flow within my tender heart.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

My Life with Rockstars by Pat Smith

I’m learning to play a stringed instrument
Shaped like an uprooted tree
For an outdoor drama about Keith Richards
Aging into the Statue of Liberty
The Beatles of course are my old pals
Lately we’ve been meeting up again
At school play practice and such
They seem a little down, at loose ends
I see my golden opportunity
I tell them they can do anything
You know, anything you want
What do you want to do?
We linger on a broken set
Bare frames and crumbled stone
Flowered bathrobe, cigarette
Empty ashes from my espadrille
John smirks, says he could call Yoko
Ringo says there is a requirement
First you have to have a feeling
Weave me a rug
That blossoms in winter
Grow flowering grasses
From a comfortable couch
Pull off the dead pine boughs
Shiver the plastic dolls and cars
Until the toys are shiny shards
George practices sirsasana
On a pile of dust
For all of us warriors
Scared and scarred
Who curse into our hands

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Bach, Winter by Jane Mead

Bach must have known
how something flutters away
when you turn to face the face
you caught sideways in a mirror
in a hall at dusk
and how the smell of apples
in a bowl can stop the heart
from beating, for an instant,
between sink and stove
in the dead of winter when stars
of ice have spread
across the windows and everything
is perfectly still
until you catch the sound
of something lost and shy
beating its wings
against those darkening stars.
And then: music.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Autumn Leaves - A T'ang Dynasty poem


The autumn leaves are falling like rain.
Although my neighbors are all barbarians,
And you, you are a thousand miles away,
There are always two cups at my table.

T'ang Dynasty poem

A Poet's Poem by Brenda Shaughnessy

If it takes me all day,
I will get the word freshened out of this poem.

I put it in the first line, then moved it to the second,
and now it won’t come out.

It’s stuck. I’m so frustrated,
so I went out to my little porch all covered in snow

and watched the icicles drip, as I smoked
a cigarette.

Finally I reached up and broke a big, clear spike
off the roof with my bare hand.

And used it to write a word in the snow.
I wrote the word snow.

I can’t stand myself

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Love Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were a salt rose, or topaz
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
So I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

She, to Him II by Thomas Hardy

Perhaps, long hence, when I have passed away,
Some other's feature, accent, thought like mine,
Will carry you back to what I used to say,
And bring some memory of your love's decline.

Then you may pause awhile and think, "Poor jade!"
And yield a sigh to me--as ample due,
Not as the title of a debt unpaid
To one who could resign her all to you--

And thus reflecting, you will never see
That your thin thought, in two small words conveyed,
Was no such fleeting phantom-thought to me,
But the Whole Life wherein my part was played;
And you amid its fitful masquerade
A Thought--as I in your life seem to be!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Made in Palestine by Nathalie Handal: Even

Nothing is even, even this line
I am writing, even this line I am waiting in,
waiting for permission to enter
the country, the house, the room.
Nothing is even, even now
that laws have been drawn and peace
is discussed on high tables,
and even if all was said to be even
I would not believe for even I know
that nothing is even—not the trees,
the flowers, not the mountains or the shadows…
our nature is not even so why even try to get even
instead let us find an even better place
and call it even.

Made in Palestine by Nathalie Handal: Ephratha

There you stand
between the dream of two gazelles,
questioning the poem
dressed in olive branches and cracked happiness,
surrounded by seasons of sleepless nights staring
at the dusty walls of cities we have lost
that loses its address or that the address
loses, both, in either case awaiting
the return of those returning not today not ever
that wishes it could remember if the clouds split in half
the day the soldiers marched in their villages, towns,
houses, dreams and future, remember the crumbling of prayers
remember the gap between hands which held all
that the Poem was too weak to hold, remember when the horses’
secrets surrendered, when we trespassed ourselves?
I ask you—why—
does the street have a name I can’t pronounce
does our vocabulary invent us, our accents
resent us—must we come to a halt
and try saying our name without feeling strange
try praising our poets without feeling afraid
every wish can be found in his name
is exile
a guest made of stones
a thin line between our voice and heaven’s throat?
are our memories filled with pale notebooks, fading paint, falling walls
to understand this place must we understand its howls, to understand
its howls must we understand its verses, to understand its verses
must we understand agony?

the murmur of rivers in your curved chest, the dancing of leaves
in your swaying arms, the sundering roof on your back
the fields of wings in your feet, the dagger and the storm
everywhere inside of you, lead me to my stillness
when will your words made of earth, your dreams of clouds,
your grotto of milk, your wheat fields, monasteries, synagogues,
crosses and coffins stop stitching miles of bones, stop
broadcasting itself on the radio
you stand between the dream of two questions
awaiting the day you will unfold yourself
like prayers unfold themselves from our tongues
you continue to stand, I weep and we celebrate
the poem as if it were written

Ephratha is Palestine’s Canaanite name, meaning ‘the fruitful.’

Made in Palestine by Nathalie Handal: Jenin

A night without a blanket, a blanket
belonging to someone else, someone
else living in our homes.
All I want is the quietness of blame to leave,
the words from dying tongues to fall,
all I want is to see a row of olive trees,
a field of tulips, to forget
the maze of intestines, the dried corners
of a soldier’s mouth, all I want is for
the small black eyed child to stop
wondering when the fever will stop
the noise will stop, all I want is
a loaf of bread, some water
and help for the stranger’s torn arm,
all I want is what we have inherited
from the doves, a perfect line of white,
but a question still haunts me at night:
where are the bodies?

Made in Palestine by Nathalie Handal: War

A cup of empty messages in a room of light,
light that blinds & blinded men lined up
the young are unable to die peacefully, I hear a man say.
All is gone: the messy hair of boys, their smile,
the pictures of ancestors, the stories of spirits,
the misty hour before sunrise
when the fig trees await the small hands of a child.

Now the candles have melted
and the bells of the church
no longer ring in Bethlehem.

A continued past of blood,
of jailed cities
confiscated lives
and goodbyes.

How can we bear the images that flood our eyes
and bleed our veins: a dead man, perhaps thirty,
with a tight fist, holding some sugar for morning coffee.

Coffee cups full
left on the table
in a radio station
beside three corpses.

Corpses follow gunmen in their sleep, remind them
that today they have killed a tiny child,
a woman trying to say, “Stop, please.”

Please stop the tears, the suitcases, the silence,
the single man holding on to his prayer rug,
holding on to whatever is left of memory
as he grows insane with every passing day…

listen, how many should die before we start counting,
listen, who is listening, there is no one here, there is nothing left,
there is nothing left after war, only other wars.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Deceptions by Anne Fiore

Is this you standing in front of me, the one I have come to love?
Yet you still manage to keep slipping away, another push and another shove.
What if this is nothing more than a relationship for us to retreat?
Nothing more than a meaningless love left incomplete.
Masks cover your face as you begin to lie about what you believe,
If you were out to conquer my heart then you have definitely achieved.
This bitter and endless sound of breaking sounds to close to home,
The days we spent thinking we could never possibly be alone.
But look what you have done in your quest for breaking hearts,
Leaving a grey shade in the air you stumble across in parts.
Deception and never ending lies fill your conversation with meaning,
I'm sick of all of this and I'm sick of the emotion you were screening.
My shoulder was found heavy and drenched with your tears,
How did you not see it, through playing out your fears?
Here I am thinking it was always me, what I was doing wrong,
But as you fall weak it somehow forced me to stand strong.
The ground you would step upon I would always paint red,
And now I can't even find it in myself for tears to shed.
I would starve for you as the time flew further our the door,
It was you I convinced myself and it was love I was sure.
Keep walking because now I release love in a different form,
Anger I guess no longer are you my rainbow behind every storm.
I always thought I had you figured inside and out,
You were nothing more than a shell filled with inner doubt.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

When a Woman Loves a Man by David Lehman

When she says margarita she means daiquiri.
When she says quixotic she means mercurial.
And when she says, "I'll never speak to you again,"
she means, "Put your arms around me from behind
as I stand disconsolate at the window."

He's supposed to know that.

When a man loves a woman he is in New York and she is in Virginia
or he is in Boston, writing, and she is in New York, reading,
or she is wearing a sweater and sunglasses in Balboa Park and he
    is raking leaves in Ithaca
or he is driving to East Hampton and she is standing disconsolate
at the window overlooking the bay
where a regatta of many-colored sails is going on
while he is stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway.

When a woman loves a man it is one ten in the morning
she is asleep he is watching the ball scores and eating pretzels
drinking lemonade
and two hours later he wakes up and staggers into bed
where she remains asleep and very warm.

When she says tomorrow she means in three or four weeks.
When she says, "We're talking about me now,"
he stops talking. Her best friend comes over and says,
"Did somebody die?"

When a woman loves a man, they have gone
to swim naked in the stream
on a glorious July day
with the sound of the waterfall like a chuckle
of water rushing over smooth rocks,
and there is nothing alien in the universe.

Ripe apples fall about them.
What else can they do but eat?

When he says, "Ours is a transitional era,"
"that's very original of you," she replies,
dry as the martini he is sipping.

They fight all the time
It's fun
What do I owe you?
Let's start with an apology
Ok, I'm sorry, you dickhead.
A sign is held up saying "Laughter."
It's a silent picture.
"I've been fucked without a kiss," she says,
"and you can quote me on that,"
which sounds great in an English accent.

One year they broke up seven times and threatened to do it
    another nine times.

When a woman loves a man, she wants him to meet her at the
    airport in a foreign country with a jeep.
When a man loves a woman he's there. He doesn't complain that
    she's two hours late
and there's nothing in the refrigerator.

When a woman loves a man, she wants to stay awake.
She's like a child crying
at nightfall because she didn't want the day to end.

When a man loves a woman, he watches her sleep, thinking:
as midnight to the moon is sleep to the beloved.
A thousand fireflies wink at him.
The frogs sound like the string section
of the orchestra warming up.
The stars dangle down like earrings the shape of grapes.