Poem of The Day
Because I Could Not Stop for Death
Because I could not stop for Death –He kindly stopped for me – The Carriage held but just Ourselves – And Immortality. We slowly drove – He knew no haste And I had put away My labor and my leisure too, For His Civility – We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess – in the Ring – We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain – We passed the Setting Sun – Or rather – He passed us – The Dews drew quivering and chill – For only Gossamer, my Gown – My Tippet – only Tulle – We paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground – The Roof was scarcely visible – The Cornice – in the Ground – Since then – 'tis Centuries – and yet Feels shorter than the Day I first surmised the Horses' Heads Were toward Eternity – Emily Dickinson
April 27 - 29
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota, Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass. And the eyes of those two Indian ponies Darken with kindness. They have come gladly out of the willows To welcome my friend and me. We step over the barbed wire into the pasture Where they have been grazing all day, alone. They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness That we have come. They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other. There is no loneliness like theirs. At home once more, They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness. I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms, For she has walked over to me And nuzzled my left hand. She is black and white, Her mane falls wild on her forehead, And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist. Suddenly I realize That if I stepped out of my body I would break Into blossom.James Wright
A Solitary Triumph
OH, the progress of Woman has really been vast
Since Civilization began.
She's usurped all the qualities which in the past
Were reckoned peculiar to Man.
She can score with a bat, use a rod or a cue;
Her tennis and golf are sublime.
Her aim with a gun is uncommonly true,
But Man beats her hollow at crime.
The strings to her bow are both varied and quaint;
There are maids who can work with the pen,
There are maids who can handle the palette and paint
With a skill that's not given to men.
There are ladies who preach, lady doctors there are,
MPs will be ladies in time,
And ladies, I hear, practise now at the Bar --
But Man holds the record for crime.
So it's hey for the jemmy, and ho for the drill,
And hurrah for the skeleton keys.
Oh, to burgle a house or to rifle a till!
I am more than her equal at these.
She may beat me at home, she may beat me afield;
In her way I admit she is prime.
But one palm at least I compel her to yield:
I can give her a lesson in crime.
P.G. Wodehouse (1881 – 1976)
The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn't a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.
All night there isn't a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.
My heart is warm with friends I make,
And better friends I'll not be knowing;
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,
No matter where it's going.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments, love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come,
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom:
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
The Changing Light
The changing light
at San Francisco
is none of your East Coast light
none of your
pearly light of Paris
The light of San Francisco
is a sea light
an island light
And the light of fog
blanketing the hills
drifting in at night
through the Golden Gate
to lie on the city at dawn
And then the halcyon late mornings
after the fog burns off
and the sun paints white houses
with the sea light of Greece
with sharp clean shadows
making the town look like
it had just been painted
But the wind comes up at four o'clock
sweeping the hills
And then the veil of light of early evening
And then another scrim
when the new night fog floats in
And in that vale of light
the city drifts
anchorless upon the ocean
April 21 & 22
I kill an ant
and realize my three children
have been watching.
First autumn morning:
the mirror I stare into
shows my father's face.
the morning paper
harbinger of good and ill
- - I step over it
Japanese garden –
my son places a stone
to divide the stream
cleaning and cutting,
boiling with four pots, taste food,
toddler in between.
When, by dint of evidence and logic
and objections and questions, you have managed
to make someone admit you’re right
and you see this person, the one that’s in the wrong,
quite speechless facing you,
deflated, as if dead,
this picture of someone absolutely lost
makes you suffer so much
that – just to make him speak again a little,
just to stop being there
all by yourself –
you would like to say It doesn’t matter,
it isn’t really
all that clear-cut.
And that’s exactly when
you realize that the power of reason
has abandoned you as well.
I KNOW what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals--
I know what the caged bird feels!
I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting--
I know why he beats his wing!
I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,--
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings--
I know why the caged bird sings!
Paul Laurence Dunbar
I Wandered Lonely as a CloudI wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
I notice certain endless-eternal things:
heavens, oceans, grasslands, grass-eating creatures
lacking—with love—even the slightest connection
endless-eternal innocence, appetites
making them careless of heart-break
April 15 & 16
A REFUGEE TALKING
A refugee absorbed in talking
Did not feel the cigarette burn his fingers
Surprised to be here
After being there – stations, harbours,
Visitations, forged papers
Depending on a chain of details
His future was fibre-like
Laid out in small circles
An oppressive country
Afflicted by nightmares
Smugglers, emigration bandits, if you asked me
Commonplace people maybe, hungry sea-gulls
Over a wrecked ship in the middle of nowhere
If you asked me, I would say:
Endless waiting in immigration bureaus
Faces that do not return smiles whatever you do
Who said: the most precious gift
If you asked me, I would say: Human beings are everywhere.
You would say: Everywhere
He talks, talks, talks
He had arrived but did not enjoy the taste of arrival
And did not feel the cigarette burn his fingers
April 13 & 14
I have not walked on common ground,
Nor drunk of earthly streams;
A shining figure, mailed and crowned,
Moves softly through my dreams.
He makes the air so keen and strange,
The stars so fiercely bright;
The rocks of time, the tides of change,
Are nothing in his sight.
Death lays no shadow on his smile;
Life is a race fore-run;
Look in his face a little while,
And life and death are one.
April 11 & 12
wider than oneonce envisioned,
with ribbons of rivers
and distant ranges
and tasks undertaken
natives in their
Who would have
guessed it possible
that waiting is sustainable—
a place with
its own harvests.
Or that in
from the genuine
April 9 & 10
All In the Golden Afternoon
All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretense
Our wanderings to guide.
Ah, cruel Three! In such an hour,
Beneath such dreamy weather,
To beg a tale of breath too weak
To stir the tiniest feather!
Yet what can one poor voice avail
Against three tongues together?
Imperious Prima flashes forth
Her edict to "begin it"--
In gentler tones Secunda hopes
"There will be nonsense in it"--
While Tertia interrupts the tale
Not more than once a minute.
Anon, to sudden silence won,
In fancy they pursue
The dream-child moving through a land
Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird or beast--
And half believe it true.
And ever, as the story drained
The wells of fancy dry,
And faintly strove that weary one
To put the subject by,
"The rest next time"--"It is next time!"
The happy voices cry.
Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out--
And now the tale is done,
And home we steer, a merry crew,
Beneath the setting sun.
Alice! a childish story take,
And with a gentle hand
Lay it where Childhood's dreams are twined
In Memory's mystic band,
Like pilgrim's withered wreath of flowers
Plucked in a far-off land.
-- Lewis Carroll
April 7 & 8
Spring is the Period
Spring is the Period
Express from God.
Among the other seasons
But during March and April
None stir abroad
Without a cordial interview
April 5 & 6
I will wait for you again
I thought I would see you in March
As you had promised
You would meet me
When they started counting
I kept waiting
But you never told me
Whether it was worth the time
I waited for you
In Nyanga, Bikita, Binga
and you said you would be there
I went to Mutare, Masvingo, Uzumba
Hoping to see you
But you said to meet you at Rainbow Towers
In May . . .
I got caught up in the May Day celebrations
And missed you
Freedom, now that you say
I can only see you in 90 days
I will still be here
ETHEL IRINE KABWATO / Zimbabwe
O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
prurient philosophers pinched
,has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
to the incomparable
couch of death, thy
them only with,
Archaic Torso of Apollo
We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,
gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so,
nor could a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.
Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:
would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.
Rainer Maria Rilke
(Selected by Justin Suran)
April 1 & 2
Introduction to Poetry
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
- Billy Collins