Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Poetry Day!

From Emily Dickinson

Presentiment - is that long Shadow - on the Lawn -
Indicative that Suns go down -

The Notice to the startled Grass
That Darkness - is about to pass -


Nancy P said...

I lurve that poem.

Also that photo by Andif.

Whatcha got?

Maryb said...

Indian Summer

In youth, it was a way I had
To do my best to please,
And change, with every passing lad,
To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know,
And do the things I do;
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love with you.

Dorothy Parker

FARfetched said...

I love Dorothy Parker!

Apropos to fall, a haiku I posted exactly three years ago:

A fallen red leaf,
Calls its brothers and sisters:
“We’ll cover the world!”

Conda V. Douglas said...

Emily Dickinson, yummy--I swear that woman was an ancient Japanese sage writing haiku--and just well camouflaged.

AndiF said...

I couldn't pick between my two choices so you all get both of them but they're kind of a pair.

by Grace Paley

Here I am in the garden laughing
an old woman with heavy breasts
and a nicely mapped face

how did this happen
well that's who I wanted to be

at last a woman
in the old style sitting
stout thighs apart under
a big skirt grandchild sliding
on off my lap a pleasant
summer perspiration

that's my old man across the yard
he's talking to the meter reader
he's telling him the world's sad story
how electricity is oil or uranium
and so forth I tell my grandson
run over to your grandpa ask him
to sit beside me for a minute I
am suddenly exhausted by my desire
to kiss his sweet explaining lips.

AndiF said...

And the other one.

Danse Russe
by William Carlos Williams

If when my wife is sleeping
and the baby and Kathleen
are sleeping
and the sun is a flame-white disc
in silken mists
above shining trees,—
if I in my north room
dance naked, grotesquely
before my mirror
waving my shirt round my head
and singing softly to myself:
"I am lonely, lonely,
I was born to be lonely,
I am best so!"
If I admire my arms, my face,
my shoulders, flanks, buttocks
against the yellow drawn shades,—

Who shall say I am not
the happy genius of my household?

AndiF said...

I almost did Emily D too, Nancy. I love the spareness of her language.

Great choice, Mary -- it sounds just like you. ;)

Love the haiku, Farf.

Conda, you seem to have shown up empty-worded. :)

Lisa M said...

Come In From The Cold
by Joni Mitchell
Back in 1957
We had to dance a foot apart
And they hawk-eyed us from the sidelines
Holding their rulers without a heart
And so with just a touch of our fingers
I could make our circuitry explode
All we ever wanted
Was just to come in from the cold
I feel your leg under the table
Leaning into mine
I feel renewed
I feel disabled
By these bonfires in my spine
I don't know who the arsonist was
Which incendiary soul
But all I ever wanted
Was just to come in from the cold

(I was talking to my students a few weeks ago about subtle/symbolic language verses in-your-face sex in lyrics.)

For me, this blog--you folks are Coming In From The Cold.

Lisa M said...

Already the words are so Great!!
LOVE poetry day.
MaryB--So much me vs my students.
Farf--Fall's my favorite time-the colors
Andi--description and feeling I so much relate to
Nancy--Big beautiful words.

I look forward to visiting all day.

Maria Lima said...


Here's my contribution:

by Neil Gaiman

Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never

saw before.

Say "please" before you open the latch,

go through,

walk down the path.

A red metal imp hangs from the green-painted

front door,

as a knocker,

do not touch it; it will bite your fingers.

Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat


However, if any creature tells you that it hungers,

feed it.

If it tells you that it is dirty,

clean it.

If it cries to you that it hurts,

if you can,

ease its pain.

From the back garden you will be able to see the

wild wood.

The deep well you walk past leads to Winter's


there is another land at the bottom of it.

If you turn around here,

you can walk back, safely;

you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.

Once through the garden you will be in the


The trees are old. Eyes peer from the under-


Beneath a twisted oak sits an old woman. She

may ask for something;

give it to her. She

will point the way to the castle.

Inside it are three princesses.

Do not trust the youngest. Walk on.

In the clearing beyond the castle the twelve

months sit about a fire,

warming their feet, exchanging tales.

They may do favors for you, if you are polite.

You may pick strawberries in December's frost.

Trust the wolves, but do not tell them where

you are going.

The river can be crossed by the ferry. The ferry-

man will take you.

(The answer to his question is this:

If he hands the oar to his passenger, he will be free to

leave the boat.

Only tell him this from a safe distance.)

If an eagle gives you a feather, keep it safe.

Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that

witches are often betrayed by their appetites;

dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;

hearts can be well-hidden,

and you betray them with your tongue.

Do not be jealous of your sister.

Know that diamonds and roses

are as uncomfortable when they tumble from

one's lips as toads and frogs:

colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.

Remember your name.

Do not lose hope — what you seek will be found.

Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped

to help you in their turn.

Trust dreams.

Trust your heart, and trust your story.

When you come back, return the way you came.

Favors will be returned, debts will be repaid.

Do not forget your manners.

Do not look back.

Ride the wise eagle (you shall not fall).

Ride the silver fish (you will not drown).

Ride the grey wolf (hold tightly to his fur).

There is a worm at the heart of the tower; that is

why it will not stand.

When you reach the little house, the place your

journey started,

you will recognize it, although it will seem

much smaller than you remember.

Walk up the path, and through the garden gate

you never saw before but once.

And then go home. Or make a home.

And rest.

And, if you want to watch/hear him read it: YouTube Link

supersoling said...

Good morning :o)

an excerpt...

My Son

"For what matters to them of a million deaths
When war is the tender of life they promote?
You can be sure when their reelection comes up,
They won’t get my vote!
For the enemy is now my chosen leader,
The enemy called peace that all governments abhor!
And you can be sure they won’t get any more of my sons,
Till they end all war."

Anonymous said...

The autumn colours
fiery display
foretell the coming
of winter's day

And the leaves that fall
on frosted ground
nature's toys on her
endless playground

and those of us who
leap into piles
and hide beneath those
childlike smiles

we can walk away
our playtime done
await the snow to
continue our fun


The horse shook his head wishing for breakfast instead. A hawk screached above. Had to moved, or I'd die of. I couldn't name it.

Nancy P said...

You guys! What a feast!

Jen said...

I apologize for potentially breaking the rules with length here but I remember Nancy liking this piece some time ago.

Herd Remorse in Nietzsche's Terms

Come children, see the Master.
He is seated at an outside table
behind the Tortured Artiste Café.
He's ready to lecture to all who would listen, and
he's buying rounds of the special of the day:
melancholy on six-grain toast;
coffee with cream & extra angst; and
to brighten up your darkest dreams,
he's serving up his theory for free.

"New truths?"
he begins, as a smile plays with his lips,
"There are too many old ones as it is.
German philosophy is frosted glass,
making men into the ruins of gods...
but that is not really the problem.
The problem is with my Actor.
He has Falseness with a Good Conscience.
If you're a poet, you'll know the game becomes serious here.

"All poets are liars & thieves,
compulsively attracted to imperfection, and
the building of dungeons in the air.
O, how I detest
a tale told by an idiot,
a gloomy question mark at the end,
an exception that wants to be the rule.

"It takes the most dangerous point of view
to ridicule the spirit of gravity,
to move the crowd without envy.
Pity spoils the taste of the party just as much
as the sigh of the fruitless search for knowledge.
(And, children, nobody forgives that.)

"Spirit and character equal work and art
unless one falls into the trap of fame--
seeming profound instead of being profound.
But then, the lack of personality always takes its revenge
on people who only want to say,

"One must learn to love the evil hour,
the ivory tower of academic power--
this is a painful age for a Thinker;
`Tis a good age for selfish spirits with materialistic Notions,
for all the preparatory human beings
who believe in nothing they understand.

"For the music of the best future is
a rather offensive presentation:
bad manners,
stuttering spirits, and
luxuriously expensive secret enemies.
Given that nature is evil,
Let us therefore be natural out loud; and
Let us beware of thinking the world is a living thing--
upon what would such a creature feed?"

AndiF said...

Thanks Lisa, Maria, Super, anon, and Jen for the wonderful words and evocative writing.

And shock of shocks ... I can't resist illustrating a couple of those poems (sad to say, I don't have anything that will work for Jen's).

Poetry Visualized 1 [LINK]

Poetry Visualized 2 [LINK]

Nancy P said...

Forget the rule of brevity. It's all so good to read. Bring whatever you like. Okay, well, maybe not the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Or Chaucer. We hates Chaucer, we does, with the fire of a million suns, we does. U No Can Haz Chaucer!! You can haz Shakespeare, though,k?

FARfetched said...

Wow, quite the feast…

My good friends, online,
In a virtual café
Reciting verses.

Jen said...

N, did you ever see A Knight's Tale? It's a charmingly stupid movie and one of my favorites of all time, and in it, Chaucer is a compulsive gambler who keeps losing everything, including his clothes, thus spending ~1/3 of the film running around nude. It's worth the price of a rental both for the cast, all of whom are great, and the hilarity of the intentional anachronisms, like a medieval court dancing to David Bowie. Every single time I watch that movie, I cry, I laugh out loud, and I stand up and cheer.

Nancy P said...

Jen, I've never seen that. Must See. Will it make me laugh as hard as I do at the scene in Scrooged where Carol Kane beats up Bill Murray? Which gives you an idea of the sophistication level of my sense of humor. :D

Jen said...

That's exactly the tone of its humor, which is a major reason I love it so dearly. And fwiw, Chaucer does get punched in the face at least once. ;)

Maria Lima said...

Oh, Jen - I ADORE A Knight's Tale.

So much fun!

Enjoying poetry day, because my RL day is pretty much craptastic. (stupid work stuff)

Nancy P said...

lol, Jen. Okay, now I know I'll really like it.

Maria, RL! ::rolls eyes::

Anonymous said...

I'm embarrassed by my lack of poetry knowledge - and am frantically noting all of these writers, to read their work. This is great!!

Following Lisa's lead, I'm borrowing from Dan Fogelberg, one of my favorite singers - and I have to believe he borrowed from Robert Frost - it's from Netherlands (and I still don't know which road I'd take):

Once in a vision I came on some woods
And stood at a fork in the road
My choices were clear yet I froze with the fear
Of not knowing which way to go
One road was simple acceptance of life
The other road offered sweet peace
When I made my decision
My vision became my release

Conda V. Douglas said...

Okay, Andif--here's my contribution of my favorite childhood poem:

Second fig

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Maryb said...

What a great day. Far, I love that haiku - it goes with all of Andi's woods picuturs. (and I'm not a great lover of haiku).

Andi - I've never read that Grace Paley. I'm glad you introduced me.

Lisa, Maria, Super, Jen, Beth, Conda - all good choices. Tonight I'll have to take the time to re-read slowly.

bono said...

Wow, great poetry, y'all! Thanks for doing this, Nancy.

Would that happen to be my fav, anonymous poet who strolled by?!

Andif, love the pix as always. They remind me of this little ditty:

The Sun and Fog Contested
Emily Dickinson

The Sun and Fog Contested
The Government of Day
The Sun took down his Yellow Whip
And drove the Fog away


I like the sense of movement in this one.

The Rider
By Naomi Shihab Nye

A boy told me
if he roller-skated fast enough
his loneliness couldn't catch up to him,
the best reason I ever heard
for trying to be a champion.
What I wonder tonight
pedaling hard down King William Street
is if it translates to bicycles.
A victory! To leave your loneliness
panting behind you on some street corner
while you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas,
pink petals that have never felt loneliness,
no matter how slowly they fell.

Nancy P said...

Oh, Bono, "The Rider" is lovely, and I've never before heard of that poet. Got more of hers?

bono said...

Thanks, Nancy. I like that one, too.

Here's another one that I like because it reminds me that it's enough to be oneself.

Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.
The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.
The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.
The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.
The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.
The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.
I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

And we can't have poetry day without some Billy Collins!

Walking Across the Atlantic
Billy Collins

I wait for the holiday crowd to clear the beach
before stepping onto the first wave.

Soon I am walking across the Atlantic
thinking about Spain
checking for whales, waterspouts

I feel the water holding up my weight
Tonight I will sleep on its rocking surface

But for now I try to imagine what
this must look like to the fish below
the bottoms of my feet appearing, disappearing.


Kelly McCullough said...

Hi All,

If you see a panther crouch,
prepare to say ouch!

Or better yet,
If called by a panther,
Don't anther.

Ogden Nash.

Just slipping in for a moment on some free wifi I found in an obscure corner of my hotel. I'm probably happy I didn't find it sooner since I got 9,000 words done over the last four days and very limited net access gave me not a lot of alternatives to writing. Now I just need 20,000 more before it turns into November and I can put this book to bed.

However, since my brain is currently dribbling out my ears and spattering on the keyboard, I'm pretty sure I need the break.

Anyway, hello again, and goodbye, since I shall probably have to go do spousy things before anyone answers back.

Maryb said...

Finally, some Billy Collins. Thanks anon. Nancy predicted we'd have a lot but we haven't.

So I'll add one of his I particularly like because Auden's Musee des Beaux Arts is one of my favorite poems.
And I like Bosch.

Musee des Beaux Arts Revisited

As far as mental anguish goes,
the old painters were no fools.
They understood how the mind,
the freakiest dungeon in the castle,
can effortlessly imagine a crab with the face of a priest
or an end table complete with genitals.

And they knew that the truly monstrous
lies not so much in the wildly shocking,
a skeleton spinning a wheels of fire, say,
but in the small prosaic touch
added to a tableau of the hellish,
the detail at the heart of the horrid.

In Bosch's The Temptation of St. Anthony,
for instance, how it is not so much
the boar-faced man in the pea-green dress
that frightens, but the white mandolin he carries,
not the hooded corpse in a basket,
but the way the basket is rigged to hang from a bare branch;

how, what must have driven St. Anthony
to the mossy brink of despair
was not the big, angry-looking fish
in the central panel,
the one with the two mouselike creatures
conferring on its tail,
but rather what the fish is wearing;

a kind of pale orange officer's cape
and, over that,
a metal body-helmet secured by silvery wires,
a sensible buckled chin strap,
and, yes, the ultimate test of faith-the tiny sword that hangs from the thing,
that nightmare carp,
secure in its brown leather scabbard.

Billy Collins

bono said...

Yes! Thanks, Maryb! I was surprised there was no Billy Collins. Thanks for adding one!