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Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game 
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
14

The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter
by Ezra Pound


While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
I played about the front gate, pulling flowers.
You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,
You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums.
And we went on living in the village of Chokan:
Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.

At fourteen I married My Lord you.
I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.

At fifteen I stopped scowling,
I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
Forever and forever and forever.
Why should I climb the look out?

At sixteen you departed,
You went into far Ku-to-yen, by the river of swirling eddies,
And you have been gone five months.
The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.

You dragged your feet when you went out.
By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,
Too deep to clear them away!
The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.
The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
Over the grass in the West garden;
They hurt me. I grow older.
If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,
Please let me know beforehand,
And I will come out to meet you
As far as Cho-fu-Sa.

By Rihaku

"The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter" is based on the first of Li Po's "Two Letters from Chang-Kan."


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In love we are made visible
As in a magic bath
are unpeeled
to the sharp pit
so long concealed
--May Swenson


Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:21 am
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
giselle wrote:
I like Jack Frost 'Number Eleven', a plane crash in the desert can be a romantic situation, if you crash with the right person. Makes me wonder why he called it 'Number Eleven'?

Look what I found to go with DWill's #11 contribution. Another association between a plane crash and love.

Love Poem
by Gregory Orr

A black biplane crashes through the window
of the luncheonette. The pilot climbs down,
removing his leather hood.
He hands me my grandmother's jade ring.
No, it is two robin's eggs and
a telephone number: yours.


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As in a magic bath
are unpeeled
to the sharp pit
so long concealed
--May Swenson


Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:18 am
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
I have to find out saffron's method. It may be she won't be stumped. And such a good poem, too, for the # 14. Mine's a sonnet from Wilfred Owen, the war poet.

1914

War broke: and now the Winter of the world
With perishing great darkness closes in.
The foul tornado, centred at Berlin,
Is over all the width of Europe whirled,
Rending the sails of progress. Rent or furled
Are all Art's ensigns. Verse wails. Now begin
Famines of thought and feeling. Love's wine's thin.
The grain of human Autumn rots, down-hurled.

For after Spring had bloomed in early Greece,
And Summer blazed her glory out with Rome,
An Autumn softly fell, a harvest home,
A slow grand age, and rich with all increase.
But now, for us, wild Winter, and the need
Of sowings for new Spring, and blood for seed.

Wilfred Owen



The following user would like to thank DWill for this post:
Saffron
Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:22 am
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
I'm gonna post my number 15 before I go to bed. Just feel like it - that's why.

Still Life
by Carl Sandburg

Cool your heels on the rail of an observation car.
Let the engineer open her up for ninety miles an hour.
Take in the prairie right and left, rolling land and new hay crops, swaths of new hay laid in the sun.
A gray village flecks by and the horses hitched in front of the post-office never blink an eye.
A barnyard and fifteen Holstein cows, dabs of white on a black wall map, never blink an eye.
A signalman in a tower, the outpost of Kansas City, keeps his place at a window with the serenity of a bronze statue on a dark night when lovers pass whispering.


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Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:11 pm
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
I like the Carl Sandburg. Amazing how many of the poems are good and not just number-holders.

Fifteen

South of the bridge on Seventeenth
I found back of the willows one summer
day a motorcycle with engine running
as it lay on its side, ticking over
slowly in the high grass. I was fifteen.

I admired all that pulsing gleam, the
shiny flanks, the demure headlights
fringed where it lay; I led it gently
to the road, and stood with that
companion, ready and friendly. I was fifteen.

We could find the end of a road, meet
the sky on out Seventeenth. I thought about
hills, and patting the handle got back a
confident opinion. On the bridge we indulged
a forward feeling, a tremble. I was fifteen.

Thinking, back farther in the grass I found
the owner, just coming to, where he had flipped
over the rail. He had blood on his hand, was pale-
I helped him walk to his machine. He ran his hand
over it, called me good man, roared away.

I stood there, fifteen.

William Stafford



Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:39 pm
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
DWill wrote:
I like the Carl Sandburg. Amazing how many of the poems are good and not just number-holders.


Well, I don't just post the first one I find. I read a few and pick the one I think best of the lot.


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As in a magic bath
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to the sharp pit
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--May Swenson


Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:51 pm
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
April 16

As Befits a Man
By Langston Hughes

I don’t mind dying—
But I’d hate to die all alone!
I want a dozen pretty women
To holler, cry, and moan.

I don’t mind dying
But I want my funeral to be fine:
A row of long tall mamas
Fainting, Fanning, and crying.

I want a fish-tail hearse
And sixteen fish-tail cars,
A big brass band
And a whole truck load of flowers.

When they let me down,
Down into the clay,
I want the women to holler:
Please don’t take him away!
Ow-ooo-oo-o!
Please don’t take daddy away!

Okay, not my favorite Hughes poem. Is seems 16 does not appear in so many poems - only one I could find :thmmm2:


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In love we are made visible
As in a magic bath
are unpeeled
to the sharp pit
so long concealed
--May Swenson


Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:42 pm
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
I did find one with 16, but it's not available, apparently, on the internet. It's "Girl," by A. W. Purdy, and it starts:

Sixteen years old and beautiful
all her white blood boiling red
under the not-brown skin maybe
attending music class in winter a
whaler's hornpipe danced the brown girl white as
she sinks from the crew's quarters back
in the 19th century to flattered husband remembering
a blond sailor later remembering
a dark husband remembering
both of them courting her
in 1965.

And goes on, a good poem, really, by a poet I found in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry--Canadian guy born in 1918 and died in 2000. One of the most important 20th century Canadian poets, acc. to wikipedia. As a bonus, there's a "nineteenth," so I can take that day off.

And for my "17," Janis Ian song of the same title. Listen to her do the song at http://www.last.fm/music/Janis+Ian/_/At+Seventeen

At Seventeen

Janis Ian
"At Seventeen"
I leaned the truth at seventeen that love was meant for beauty queens
And high school girls with clear-skinned smiles who married young and then
retired.
The valentines I never knew, the Friday night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful. At seventeen I learned the truth.
And those of us with ravaged faces, lacking in the social graces,
Desperatly remained at home, inventing lovers on the phone
Who called to say, "Come dance with me," and murmured vague obscenities.
It isn't all it seems at seventeen.
A brown-eyed girl in hand-me-downs whose name I never could pronounce
Said, "Pity, please, the ones who serve; they only get what they deserve.
The rich relationed hometown queen marries into what she needs.
A guarantee of company and haven for the elderly."
Remember those who win the game lose the love they sought to gain.
In debentures of quality and dubious integrity.
Their small-town eyes will gape at you in dull surprise when payment due
Exceeds accounts received at seventeen.
To those of us who know the pain of valentines that never came,
And those whose names were never called when choosing sides for basketball.
It was long ago and far away; the world was much younger than today
And dreams were all they gave away for free to ugly duckling girls like me.
We all play the game and when we dare to cheat ourselves at solitaire.
Inventing lovers on the phone, repenting other lives unknown
That call and say, "Come dance with me," and murmur vague obscenities
At ugly duckling girls like me at seventeen.



Last edited by DWill on Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:35 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:34 am
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
DW: 16 and 17 nicely done!


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to the sharp pit
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--May Swenson


Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:56 am
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
Homesick
By Helmut Heissenbuttel

for the clouds above the garden in Papenburg
for the small boy that I was
for the black flakes of peat in the bog
for the smell of highways when I turned 17
for the smell of foot lockers when I served as a soldier
for the trip with my mother through the desolate city
for the spring afternoons on small train platforms
for the walks I took with Lilo Ahlendorf in Dresden
for the sky one snowy day in November
for the face of Jeanne d’Arc on the movie by Dreyer
for the cancelled dates on old calendars
for the cries of the gulls
for the nights without sleep
for the rumble of nights without sleep

for the rumble of nights without sleep.

--from “City Lights: Pocket Poets Anthology”
Ed. Lawrence Ferlinghetti p. 49

I think this poem must lose a little in translation.


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As in a magic bath
are unpeeled
to the sharp pit
so long concealed
--May Swenson


Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:31 pm
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
It looks like this game is down to DWill and me. I know that giselle (edit in at later date: Big oops, I meant to say Oblivion, sorry giselle) is off to France, so out of the game (with one surprise appearance at a later number). I hope that there are readers out there enjoying the poems. I know that I am and having a good time searching for poems with numbers in them. I especially like my #18; a new poet to me. I like this style of poem, a little polaroid of a moment in time with the punch at the end. And I typed this one myself, as there was no where to copy & paste from online. Any my answer to the question at the end of the poem is a resounding, "Yes!"

The Church of the Backyard
Chris Forham

Delores wears her celery-colored
swimming suit, the one embellished
with tiny slices of watermelon,
a bit out of each of them.

Assuredly seven, she’s eighteen months
and one day older than Ronald, who trips
and sprawls again in the gravel. Last Tuesday
that trick earned a popsicle.

Our newly teenaged sister Vicki
suns herself and paints her toenails green
to match her plastic sandals. Starting today,
she proclaims, we are to call her Victoria.

Mother wears her summer hat, the wide
fried egg that shades her paperback
and wobbles around her ears whenever
she laughs of lifts her head to speaks

to father, first one in the pool,
first time out of a business suit
all season, splayed on his inner tube,
circling the deep end, orchid-white.

I’ve got my Batman outfit on
and, stern-jawed, saunter across the lawn
wearing the others’ admiration
lightly. Who would say

through all the little deaths, the separations,
all the long untidy years to come,
each unholy ruckus (the wind glass
smashed against the wall in anger, fists

that pound the steering wheel, bodies
sitting bolt upright in bed with night sweats),
who would say, through all of this,
we’re not redeemed by our essential silliness?


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In love we are made visible
As in a magic bath
are unpeeled
to the sharp pit
so long concealed
--May Swenson


Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:49 am
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
I'm glad to come to 18. Maybe somebody can give me some ideas about what Neil Young is doing in this song. Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXqR8fj0MUM
"Broken Arrow"

The lights turned on
and the curtain fell down,
And when it was over
it felt like a dream,
They stood at the stage door
and begged for a scream,
The agents had paid
for the black limousine
That waited outside in the rain.
Did you see them,
did you see them?
Did you see them in the river?
They were there to wave to you.
Could you tell that
the empty quivered,
Brown skinned Indian on the banks
That were crowded and narrow,
Held a broken arrow?

Eighteen years of American dream,
He saw that his brother
had sworn on the wall.
He hung up his eyelids
and ran down the hall,
His mother had told him
a trip was a fall,
And don't mention babies at all.
Did you see him, did you see him?
Did you see him in the river?
He was there to wave to you.
Could you tell that
the empty quivered,
Brown skinned Indian on the banks
That were crowded and narrow,
Held a broken arrow?

The streets were lined
for the wedding parade,
The Queen wore the white gloves,
the county of song,
The black covered caisson
her horses had drawn
Protected her King
from the sun rays of dawn.
They married for peace
and were gone.
Did you see them,
did you see them?
Did you see them in the river?
They were there to wave to you.
Could you tell that
the empty quivered,
Brown skinned Indian on the banks
That were crowded and narrow,
Held a broken arrow?



Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:55 pm
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
DWill wrote:
I'm glad to come to 18. Maybe somebody can give me some ideas about what Neil Young is doing in this song.
"Broken Arrow"


I never paid attention to the words of this song before; sounds like nonsense. Here's a stab - the conquering of American Indian (the broken arrow) by white Europeans as represented by the descendants (those people mentioned in the song).

Edit in:
I just found this online - it might shed some light.

The peace pipe means "peace with all people". The broken arrow means "no more wars".
-and this -
The Blackfoot Indians would use a broken arrow to signal that they would cease fighting


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to the sharp pit
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--May Swenson


Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:13 pm
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
"Easter, 1916," William Butler Yeats. Yeats had a complicated relationship with revolutionary Ireland, alternating between disgust and admiration. Here he grants that there may be some higher purpose to the bloodshed and practiced hatred against the British. For the people he enumerates to have "resigned [their] part in the casual comedy" that the poet himself inhabits, took great courage.

I HAVE met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman's days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our winged horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road.
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone's in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven's part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.



Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:38 am
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Post Re: Poetry by Numbers: National Poetry Month game
I've two poems for 19; I'll only post one and give the a link for the other.

Nineteen-Fourteen: The Soldier By Rupert Brooke

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

My second offering for nineteen I like better, but it is long. From The Writer's Almanac:

Internal Exile by Richard Cecil
http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/i ... 2004/07/05


_________________
In love we are made visible
As in a magic bath
are unpeeled
to the sharp pit
so long concealed
--May Swenson


Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:54 am
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