Archive for the “Poetry” Category

April 10th-13th is  the 14th annual  Boston National Poetry Month Festival, hosted primarily by the Boston Public Library in partnership with Tapestry of Voices and the Kaji Aso Studio.

The Festival begins on Thursday evening, April 10th, with a program of Poetry, Music & Dance at Old South Church, produced by Berklee College of Music professor, Lucy Holstedt.  Friday, April 11, National Book Award winner David Ferry is just one of 15 prominent “Keynote Poets” reading in the Commonwealth Salon room.  Saturday and Sunday, 60 established and emerging poets read in Rabb Lecture Hall: they range from Boston Poet Laureate Sam Cornish and State Rep. Denise Provost to gifted students from Boston Latin High School and Boston Arts Academy as well as a Harvard University student.

The entire Festival is Free, and includes two Open Mics, plus a workshop with noted poet Tom Daley.  For specifics on times, locations, and more, click here.

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Incompatibilities

If you loved me I could trust you to your fancy’s furthest bound
While the sun shone and the wind blew, and the world went round,
To the utmost of the meshes of the devil’s strongest net . . .
If you loved me, if you loved me—but you do not love me yet!

I love you—and I cannot trust you further than the door!
But winds and worlds and seasons change, and you will love me more
And more—until I trust you, dear, as women do trust men—
I shall trust you, I shall trust you, but I shall not love you then!

- E. Nesbit

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New Year’s Day–
everything is in blossom!
I feel about average.
     Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828)
New Year’s Day–
everything is in blossom!
I feel about average. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5889#sthash.6qXeBlLU.dpuf
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candles1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day, Being the Shortest Day

By John Donne

‘Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,
Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
         The sun is spent, and now his flasks
         Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
                The world’s whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th’ hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed’s feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr’d; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar’d with me, who am their epitaph.

 

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring;
         For I am every dead thing,
         In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
                For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness;
He ruin’d me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death: things which are not.

 

All others, from all things, draw all that’s good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have;
         I, by Love’s limbec, am the grave
         Of all that’s nothing. Oft a flood
                Have we two wept, and so
Drown’d the whole world, us two; oft did we grow
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.

 

But I am by her death (which word wrongs her)
Of the first nothing the elixir grown;
         Were I a man, that I were one
         I needs must know; I should prefer,
                If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love; all, all some properties invest;
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light and body must be here.

 

But I am none; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
         At this time to the Goat is run
         To fetch new lust, and give it you,
                Enjoy your summer all;
Since she enjoys her long night’s festival,
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year’s, and the day’s deep midnight is.

 

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sharkAnother Shark Week is drawing to a close, and a fine one it was, in spite of being marred by a spurious “documentary” and competition from a cat.

And while sharks get all the publicity, I have been reminded by a co-worker that it’s important to acknowledge the other members of the superorder of cartilaginous fishes.

And if  you’re sad that Shark Week is over, perhaps you can take a vacation to a town where every week is Shark Week.

 

 

 

I send you into the weekend with a poem:

The Shark

by Lord Alfred Douglas

A treacherous monster is the Shark
He never makes the least remark.

And when he sees you on the sand,
He doesn’t seem to want to land.

He watches you take off your clothes,
And not the least excitement shows.

His eyes do not grow bright or roll,
He has astonishing self-control.

He waits till you are quite undressed,
And seems to take no interest.

And when towards the sea you leap,
He looks as if he were asleep.

But when you once get in his range,
His whole demeanour seems to change.

He throws his body right about,
And his true character comes out.

It’s no use crying or appealing,
He seems to lose all decent feeling.

After this warning you will wish
To keep clear of this treacherous fish.

His back is black, his stomach white,
He has a very dangerous bite.

 

 

The Shark

by Lord Alfred Douglas

A treacherous monster is the Shark 
He never makes the least remark.

And when he sees you on the sand, 
He doesn't seem to want to land.

He watches you take off your clothes, 
And not the least excitement shows.

His eyes do not grow bright or roll, 
He has astonishing self-control.

He waits till you are quite undressed, 
And seems to take no interest.

And when towards the sea you leap, 
He looks as if he were asleep.

But when you once get in his range, 
His whole demeanour seems to change.

He throws his body right about, 
And his true character comes out.

It's no use crying or appealing, 
He seems to lose all decent feeling.

After this warning you will wish 
To keep clear of this treacherous fish.

His back is black, his stomach white, 
He has a very dangerous bite.

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20888#sthash.2pPjp42s.dpuf

The Shark

by Lord Alfred Douglas

A treacherous monster is the Shark 
He never makes the least remark.

And when he sees you on the sand, 
He doesn't seem to want to land.

He watches you take off your clothes, 
And not the least excitement shows.

His eyes do not grow bright or roll, 
He has astonishing self-control.

He waits till you are quite undressed, 
And seems to take no interest.

And when towards the sea you leap, 
He looks as if he were asleep.

But when you once get in his range, 
His whole demeanour seems to change.

He throws his body right about, 
And his true character comes out.

It's no use crying or appealing, 
He seems to lose all decent feeling.

After this warning you will wish 
To keep clear of this treacherous fish.

His back is black, his stomach white, 
He has a very dangerous bite.

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20888#sthash.2pPjp42s.dpuf

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Idyll

  by Siegfried Sassoon

summerIn the grey summer garden I shall find you   
With day-break and the morning hills behind you.   
There will be rain-wet roses; stir of wings;   
And down the wood a thrush that wakes and sings.   
Not from the past you'll come, but from that deep
Where beauty murmurs to the soul asleep:   
And I shall know the sense of life re-born   
From dreams into the mystery of morn   
Where gloom and brightness meet. And standing there   
Till that calm song is done, at last we'll share
The league-spread, quiring symphonies that are   

Joy in the world, and peace, and dawn’s one star.

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“Observation”
by Dorothy Parker

If I don’t drive around the park,
I’m pretty sure to make my mark.
If I’m in bed each night by ten,
I may get back my looks again,
If I abstain from fun and such,
I’ll probably amount to much,
But I shall stay the way I am,
Because I do not give a damn.

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The Gift Outright

BY ROBERT FROST

The land was ours before we were the land’s.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.

 

 

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Burning the Christmas Greens

by William Carlos Williams

Their time past, pulled down
cracked and flung to the fire
–go up in a roar

All recognition lost, burnt clean
clean in the flame, the green
dispersed, a living red,
flame red, red as blood wakes
on the ash–

and ebbs to a steady burning
the rekindled bed become
a landscape of flame

At the winter’s midnight
we went to the trees, the coarse
holly, the balsam and
the hemlock for their green

At the thick of the dark
the moment of the cold’s
deepest plunge we brought branches
cut from the green trees

to fill our need, and over
doorways, about paper Christmas
bells covered with tinfoil
and fastened by red ribbons

we stuck the green prongs
in the windows hung
woven wreaths and above pictures
the living green. On the

mantle we built a green forest
and among those hemlock
sprays put a herd of small
white deer as if they

were walking there. All this!
and it seemed gentle and good
to us. Their time past,
relief! The room bare. We

stuffed the dead grate
with them upon the half burnt out
log’s smouldering eye, opening
red and closing under them

and we stood there looking down.
Green is a solace
a promise of peace, a fort
against the cold (though we

did not say so) a challenge
above the snow’s
hard shell. Green (we might
have said) that, where

small birds hide and dodge
and lift their plaintive
rallying cries, blocks for them
and knocks down

the unseeing bullets of
the storm. Green spruce boughs
pulled down by a weight of
snow–Transformed!

Violence leaped and appeared.
Recreant! roared to life
as the flame rose through and
our eyes recoiled from it.

In the jagged flames green
to red, instant and alive. Green!
those sure abutments . . . Gone!
lost to mind

and quick in the contracting
tunnel of the grate
appeared a world! Black
mountains, black and red–as

yet uncolored–and ash white,
an infant landscape of shimmering
ash and flame and we, in
that instant, lost,

breathless to be witnesses,
as if we stood
ourselves refreshed among
the shining fauna of that fire.

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The Camel’s Hump

The Camel’s hump is an ugly lump
Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump we get
From having too little to do.

Kiddies and grown-ups too-oo-oo,
If we haven’t enough to do-oo-oo,
We get the hump-
Cameelious hump-
The hump that is black and blue!

We climb out of bed with a frouzly head,
And a snarly-yarly voice.
We shiver and scowl and we grunt and we growl
At our bath and our boots and our toys;

And there ought to be a corner for me
(And I know there is one for you)
When we get the hump-
Cameelious hump-
The hump that is black and blue!

The cure for this ill is not to sit still,
Or frowst with a book by the fire;
But to take a large hoe and a shovel also,
And dig till you gently perspire;

And then you will find that the sun and the wind,
And the Djinn of the Garden too,
Have lifted the hump-
The horrible hump-
The hump that is black and blue!

I get it as well as you-oo-oo-
If I haven’t enough to do-oo-oo!
We all get hump-
Cameelious hump-
Kiddies and grown-ups too!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

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