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Poem of the Day 
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Post Re: Poem of the Day
A wonderful bird is the pelican
His bill can hold more than his belican
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week
But I'm damned if I see how the helican

- Dixon Lanier Merritt


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Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Matthew 5:38,39


Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:16 am
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Post Re: Poem of the Day
Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness is like a song
That, freed from beat and measure, wanders.
Forgetfulness is like a bird whose wings are reconciled,
Outspread and motionless, --
A bird that coasts the wind unwearyingly.

Forgetfulness is rain at night,
Or an old house in a forest, -- or a child.
Forgetfulness is white, -- white as a blasted tree,
And it may stun the sybil into prophecy,
Or bury the Gods.

I can remember much forgetfulness.

Hart Crane



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Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:43 am
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Post Re: Poem of the Day
George Gordon, Lord Byron, an excerpt from "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" [Canto Four, Stanzas 178-186]

CLXXVIII.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.


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Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Matthew 5:38,39


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Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:30 am
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Post Re: Poem of the Day
I just watched the very end of the show on PBS about this poem, and liking it, wanted to share it.

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueback cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm he'd call,

and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of, love's austere and lonely offices?
Robert Hayden

My mom passed last Summer, and I have had occasion since then to reflect on some of the things she did that were out of love, but misunderstood then. So this poem sings to me right now.


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Si vis pacem, para bellum: If you wish for peace, prepare for war.


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Post Re: Poem of the Day
I almost posted this poem in the The More We Evolve the Less We Need God thread
booktalk.org/debate-the-more-we-evolve- ... 05-15.html.

Church Going
by Philip Larkin

Once I am sure there's nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence,

Move forward, run my hand around the font.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new-
Cleaned or restored? Someone would know: I don't.
Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
"Here endeth" much more loudly than I'd meant.
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,
Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.

Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,
And always end much at a loss like this,
Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,
When churches fall completely out of use
What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep
A few cathedrals chronically on show,
Their parchment, plate, and pyx in locked cases,
And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.
Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?

Or, after dark, will dubious women come
To make their children touch a particular stone;
Pick simples for a cancer; or on some
Advised night see walking a dead one?
Power of some sort or other will go on
In games, in riddles, seemingly at random;
But superstition, like belief, must die,
And what remains when disbelief has gone?
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,

A shape less recognizable each week,
A purpose more obscure. I wonder who
Will be the last, the very last, to seek
This place for what it was; one of the crew
That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were?
Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique,
Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff
Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh?
Or will he be my representative,

Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt
Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground
Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt
So long and equably what since is found
Only in separation - marriage, and birth,
And death, and thoughts of these - for whom was built
This special shell? For, though I've no idea
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth,
It pleases me to stand in silence here;

A serious house on serious earth it is,
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognised, and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete,
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round.


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Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:44 am
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Post Re: Poem of the Day
David White is a poet I heard of for the first time today. I think this is the perfect poem for the start of a new year.

Everything Is Waiting for You
BY DAVID WHYTE

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the
conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.



Last edited by Saffron on Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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DWill, Litwitlou, Robert Tulip
Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:52 pm
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Post Re: Poem of the Day
The line that stands out to me in the David White poem is -

Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity

That is the ticket! There is always something new to notice, no matter how many times you look at a thing; maybe the light has changed or your state of mind.



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Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:45 am
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Post Re: Poem of the Day
Saffron wrote:
The line that stands out to me in the David White poem is -

Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity

That is the ticket! There is always something new to notice, no matter how many times you look at a thing; maybe the light has changed or your state of mind.

Reminds me of Hopkins: "And for all this, nature is never spent/ There lives the dearest freshness deep down things."

This is a Richard Wilbur poem about the verge of a new year, a human year so short it hardly seems to matter.

Year’s End
BY RICHARD WILBUR

Now winter downs the dying of the year,
And night is all a settlement of snow;
From the soft street the rooms of houses show
A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere,
Like frozen-over lakes whose ice is thin
And still allows some stirring down within.

I’ve known the wind by water banks to shake
The late leaves down, which frozen where they fell
And held in ice as dancers in a spell
Fluttered all winter long into a lake;
Graved on the dark in gestures of descent,
They seemed their own most perfect monument.

There was perfection in the death of ferns
Which laid their fragile cheeks against the stone
A million years. Great mammoths overthrown
Composedly have made their long sojourns,
Like palaces of patience, in the gray
And changeless lands of ice. And at Pompeii

The little dog lay curled and did not rise
But slept the deeper as the ashes rose
And found the people incomplete, and froze
The random hands, the loose unready eyes
Of men expecting yet another sun
To do the shapely thing they had not done.

These sudden ends of time must give us pause.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
More time, more time. Barrages of applause
Come muffled from a buried radio.
The New-year bells are wrangling with the snow.



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geo, Saffron
Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:16 pm
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Post Re: Poem of the Day
Nice follow-up, Will.



Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:16 pm
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Post Re: Poem of the Day
"Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the
conversation."

This line struck me because it's the opposite of what I always thought.
I always thought that I am a bother to anyone and I don't want to cause trouble and be a burden but it took a toll in my life and now I'm having difficulty to connecting with people.


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Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:35 pm
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Post Re: Poem of the Day
I think many, if not all of us feel we are a burden or what we have to say is not worthy. I have found comfort and courage in hearing others have this feeling.



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Post Re: Poem of the Day
Como Tú / Like You / Like Me
Richard Blanco, 1968
{for the D.A.C.A DREAMers and all our nation’s immigrants}

. . . my veins don’t end in me
but in the unanimous blood

of those who struggle for life . . .

. . . mis venas no terminan en mí
sino en la sange unánime

de los que luchan por la vida . . .

—Roque Dalton, Como tú

Como tú, I question history’s blur in my eyes
each time I face a mirror. Like a mirror, I gaze
into my palm a wrinkled map I still can’t read,
my lifeline an unnamed road I can’t find, can’t
trace back to the fork in my parents’ trek
that cradled me here. Como tú, I woke up to
this dream of a country I didn’t choose, that
didn’t choose me—trapped in the nightmare
of its hateful glares. Como tú, I’m also from
the lakes and farms, waterfalls and prairies
of another country I can’t fully claim either.
Como tú, I am either a mirage living among
these faces and streets that raised me here,
or I’m nothing, a memory forgotten by all
I was taken from and can’t return to again.

Like memory, at times I wish I could erase
the music of my name in Spanish, at times

I cherish it, and despise my other syllables
clashing in English. Como tú, I want to speak
of myself in two languages at once. Despite
my tongues, no word defines me. Like words,
I read my footprints like my past, erased by
waves of circumstance, my future uncertain
as wind. Like the wind, como tú, I carry songs,
howls, whispers, thunder’s growl. Like thunder,
I’m a foreign-borne cloud that’s drifted here,
I’m lightning, and the balm of rain. Como tú,
our blood rains for the dirty thirst of this land.
Like thirst, like hunger, we ache with the need
to save ourselves, and our country from itself.

Copyright © 2019 by Richard Blanco. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 9, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets, from How to Love a Country (Beacon Press, 2019).



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Post Re: Poem of the Day
I needed to find this poem today.

Instructions on Not Giving Up
Ada Limón, 1976

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.



Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:37 am
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