poetry


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In-the-window9x6

Periphery

I still watch over you, son

I’ll never stop worrying or praying or being proud

Your growing and changing, maturing and mating

It makes no difference to a mother’s care

On Monday you two will be joined

Sweethearts, friends, lovers and now mates for life

Together you create a new center, a new unit

And I shall rejoice in your joy from the periphery

 

Day Two. 28 more. Over and out.

Two plus two equals four
My checkbook says no more
It wants the rent
Electric requests its dues
Eating oatmeal for lunch, I wonder
How to transport from work to home
I am a turnip
No blood
How did I get here
How do I get out

	
	

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The Three Oddest Words

When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.
When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.
When I pronounce the word Nothing,
I make something no non-being can hold.

By Wislawa Szymborska
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

A POEM AMORY SENT TO ELEANOR AND WHICH HE CALLED “SUMMER STORM”

by: F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)

    • AINT winds, and a song fading and leaves falling,
      Faint winds, and far away a fading laughter . . .
      And the rain and over the fields a voice calling . . .
      One gray blown cloud scurries and lifts above,
      Slides on the sun and flutters there to waft her
      Sisters on. The shadow of a dove
      Falls on the cote, the trees are filled with wings;
      And down the valley through the crying trees
      The body of the darker storm flies; brings
      With its new air the breath of sunken seas
      And slender tenuous thunder . . .
      But I wait . . .
      Wait for the mists and for the blacker rain–
      Heavier winds that stir the veil of fate,
      Happier winds that pile her hair;
      Again
      They tear me, teach me, strew the heavy air
      Upon me, winds that I know, and storm.
      There was a summer every rain was rare;
      There was a season every wind was warm . . .
      And now you pass me in the mist . . . your hair
      Rain-blown about you, damp lips curved once more
      In that wild irony, that gay despair
      That made you old when we have met before;
      Wraith-like you drift on out before the rain,
      Across the fields, blown with the stemless flowers,
      With your old hopes, dead leaves and loves again–
      Dim as a dream and wan with all old hours
      (Whispers will creep into the growing dark . . .
      Tumult will die over the trees)
      Now night
      Tears from her wetted breast the splattered blouse
      Of day, glides down the dreaming hills, tear-bright,
      To cover with her hair the eerie green . . .
      Love for the dusk . . . Love for the glistening after;
      Quiet the trees to their last tops . . . serene . . .
      Faint winds, and far away a fading laughter . . .

I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps on the back
Of the wind and floats downstream
Till the current ends and dips his wing
In the orange suns rays
And dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
Can seldom see through his bars of rage
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
Of things unknown but longed for still
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for
The caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
And the trade winds soft through
The sighing trees
And the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright
Lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with
A fearful trill of things unknown
But longed for still and his
Tune is heard on the distant hill
For the caged bird sings of freedom.

I find it exceedingly strange that as I age, I suddenly remember things that I had forgotten for decades! It is always something that was extremely important to me once and was seemingly lost forever in the vat on top of my shoulders and then boom I just remember. I have no idea where the memory pops from or what triggers the remembrance. It is just there, out of the blue.

We visited my paternal grandparents weekly. As a child, I adored my paternal grandfather. My paternal grandmother was a card carrying member of the Children are to be seen, not heard club. When at their home for Sunday dinner, I had to entertain myself in a room down the hall. There were no children’s toys. I had imagination and books. I remember before I could read well, I was captivated by the Peanut’s books, most likely because it was pictures/cartoons. After a few more years reading experience, for the first time, I fell head over heels in love with a book.

At the most, I was possibly 9 years old. It was thin and paperback, unlike most of Grandfather’s books. It had a powder blue cover surrounding a penciled rendition of the profile of a man with a large beard. I cannot for the life of me remember the exact title (this was the late 60s and I can hardly remember last Friday). It was a collection of poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I devoured the words with a passion I would love to tap into again these days. Something about the cadence of Hiawatha’s Childhood moved into the gray matter between my ears and didn’t leave for years. I didn’t read the poems, as much as I could hear them in my head. It was wonderful. As I recall, when Grandfather passed away I was given that book. I do not remember, now, what happened to that beloved book.

Today, suddenly and 35+ years later, I heard the words in my head. I know not where they came from, but they gave me great comfort. And I will take comfort wherever and however it comes.

The Reaper And The Flowers.
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
And, with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
And the flowers that grow between.
“Shall I have naught that is fair?” saith he;
“Have naught but the bearded grain?
Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me,
I will give them all back again.”

He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes,
He kissed their drooping leaves;
It was for the Lord of Paradise
He bound them in his sheaves.

“My Lord has need of these flowerets gay,”
The Reaper said, and smiled;
“Dear tokens of the earth are they,
Where he was once a child.”

“They shall all bloom in fields of light,
Transplanted by my care,
And saints, upon their garments white,
These sacred blossoms wear.”

And the mother gave, in tears and pain,
The flowers she most did love;
She knew she should find them all again
In the fields of light above.

O, not in cruelty, not in wrath,
The Reaper came that day;
‘T was an angel visited the green earth,
And took the flowers away.

The autumn air is clear,
The autumn moon is bright.
Fallen leaves gather and scatter,
The jackdaw perches and starts anew.
We think of each other- when will we meet?
This hour, this night, my feelings are hard.

Autumn Air by Li Bai

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