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Daily Poem
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Author:  Saffron [ Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

I love May Swenson. Thank you, Penelope, for posting that poem. It put me in mind of one of my all time favorite poems, Tree at My Window by Robert Frost.

Tree at my window, window tree,
My sash is lowered when night comes on;
But let there never be curtain drawn
Between you and me.

Vague dream head lifted out of the ground,
And thing next most diffuse to cloud,
Not all your light tongues talking aloud
Could be profound.

But tree, I have seen you taken and tossed,
And if you have seen me when I slept,
You have seen me when I was taken and swept
And all but lost.

That day she put our heads together,
Fate had her imagination about her,
Your head so much concerned with outer,
Mine with inner, weather.

Author:  Penelope [ Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

A Brave and Startling Truth - Maya Angelou

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

Author:  Penelope [ Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

We had an eclipse of the sun last weekend and so I was looking for poetry about eclipses as I felt it was very mystic and poetry-worthy. I just couldn't find what I was looking for, but I did find this one......which made me laugh heartily at what was once a very serious situation:-

Quote:
The 1999 Eclipse Turned me Queer, I swear it.

Today the Irish people witnessed an eclipse in their senses. The morning came over all queer. Nobody noticed, except the king of bookworms in the book of Kells, and the mice in the Campanile. I witnessed the eclipse from a windowless room on the 4th floor of the Arts block. Edmund Spenser's poem, The Faerie Queene, shall henceforth be named, Long Shit, by jury of 5 English Lit. Students and a Lecturer. Also, Sinn Fein plans to build Jerusalem in Ireland's green and pleasant land.

Lines written last night over a cup of sugary tea in a public house in North Dublin.

Author:  Saffron [ Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

Here in the USA it is National Poetry Month. And that means Poem in Your Pocket Day is coming up. This year it will be April 30th. Need to find a poem for your pocket? This is the official website and a link to a list of suggestions.

http://www.poets.org/national-poetry-mo ... pocket-day

Author:  Saffron [ Sat Apr 04, 2015 2:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

The Strength of Fields
By James L. Dickey

... a separation from the world,
a penetration to some source of power
and a life-enhancing return ...
Van Gennep: Rites de Passage


Moth-force a small town always has,

Given the night.

What field-forms can be,
Outlying the small civic light-decisions over
A man walking near home?
Men are not where he is
Exactly now, but they are around him around him like the strength

Of fields. The solar system floats on
Above him in town-moths.
Tell me, train-sound,
With all your long-lost grief,
what I can give.
Dear Lord of all the fields
what am I going to do?
Street-lights, blue-force and frail
As the homes of men, tell me how to do it how
To withdraw how to penetrate and find the source
Of the power you always had
light as a moth, and rising
With the level and moonlit expansion
Of the fields around, and the sleep of hoping men.

You? I? What difference is there? We can all be saved

By a secret blooming. Now as I walk
The night and you walk with me we know simplicity
Is close to the source that sleeping men
Search for in their home-deep beds.
We know that the sun is away we know that the sun can be conquered
By moths, in blue home-town air.
The stars splinter, pointed and wild. The dead lie under
The pastures. They look on and help. Tell me, freight-train,
When there is no one else
To hear. Tell me in a voice the sea
Would have, if it had not a better one: as it lifts,
Hundreds of miles away, its fumbling, deep-structured roar
Like the profound, unstoppable craving
Of nations for their wish.
Hunger, time and the moon:

The moon lying on the brain
as on the excited sea as on
The strength of fields. Lord, let me shake
With purpose. Wild hope can always spring
From tended strength. Everything is in that.
That and nothing but kindness. More kindness, dear Lord
Of the renewing green. That is where it all has to start:
With the simplest things. More kindness will do nothing less
Than save every sleeping one
And night-walking one

Of us.
My life belongs to the world. I will do what I can.

Author:  Penelope [ Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

Thankyou Saffron. That is one very profound poem. I find some of the imagery puzzling and yet I feel, it might be like a joke, in that, if you don't 'get it' on first careful reading, it might lose its magic in needing to be studied or explained. Is that the case?

We know that the sun is away we know that the sun can be conquered
By moths, in blue home-town air.


It is very beautiful - but I'm not sure I am understanding....

Author:  Saffron [ Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

Ok Penny, I will have a stab at this poem. With really going back over the poem for a second read, her are my general impressions. Some of the words are repeated several times in the poem or used as descriptors in unconventional ways. Those words are moth, field, strength, and men. I will go word by word and see what picture emerges. A moth is something ephemeral, mysterious, single focused on light to the point of destruction. A field or the fields I think of all that gives us sustenance. The land is what we come from and go back to. Strength is what is needed to survive and men is humanity or the human condition. The feeling or impression I got reading this poem is the moth represents the mystery of human society and fragility of the social contracts that hold it together. I'd venture a guess that the poet is also make a commentary on society in comparing society to a moth's unaccountable attraction to light at any cost and yet this attraction is something nature built into the moth.

Alright now I will try to apply this to specific lines in the poem.

Maybe the title is - The strength of nature or the strength of the earth as a whole

The Strength of Fields

... a separation from the world,
a penetration to some source of power
and a life-enhancing return ...
Van Gennep: Rites de Passage


I am not familiar with this quote and have not as of yet looked it up (hard for me to resist). I think it is saying that understanding our connection/place/dependence on the earth/nature is a source of power.



What field-forms can be,
Outlying the small civic light-decisions over
A man walking near home?
Men are not where he is
Exactly now, but they are around him around him like the strength
We are individuals and separate beings, but we are who we are because we are part of a group and the group is protective and a source of strength (two heads are better than one?)

Of fields. The solar system floats on
Above him in town-moths. I think the poet is saying that most of us don't really know why we do what we do, just like moths beating there wings toward the light.

Tell me, train-sound,
With all your long-lost grief,
what I can give.
Dear Lord of all the fields
what am I going to do?
Street-lights, blue-force and frail
As the homes of men, tell me how to do it how
To withdraw how to penetrate and find the source
Of the power you always had
light as a moth, and rising
With the level and moonlit expansion
Of the fields around, and the sleep of hoping men.
I think this is a long way to say, "God, help me know what light I am supposed to see and strive toward."

You? I? What difference is there? We can all be saved

...ok, got to go for now. Anyone else want to take a stab at this or to finish where I left off?

Author:  DWill [ Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

That's an ambitious poem as well as a try at covering it. It is like a deeply felt prayer, especially in the way it concludes, with an almost religious sentiment. But it's mysterious to me in general. Dickey's earlier work didn't take such a stretch to understand. By the time of the volume named after this poem, Dickey had started to experiment, abandoning forms and linearity and standard diction. Would you be interested in seeing some of the earlier poems? I was very fond of several of them.

Of course we all know Dickey as the Deliverance guy, too. He gave rednecks a bit of literary cachet in both poetry and prose.

Author:  Saffron [ Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

DWill wrote:
That's an ambitious poem as well as a try at covering it. It is like a deeply felt prayer, especially in the way it concludes, with an almost religious sentiment. But it's mysterious to me in general. Dickey's earlier work didn't take such a stretch to understand. By the time of the volume named after this poem, Dickey had started to experiment, abandoning forms and linearity and standard diction. Would you be interested in seeing some of the earlier poems? I was very fond of several of them.



Of course I would be interested in having a look at a few earlier works by Mr. Dickey. Post away, DWill!

Author:  geo [ Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

Deliverance is a fine literary novel. There's a scene where the main character has to climb a cliff wall that leaves the reader breathless. I didn't know Dickey's other claim to fame was as a poet.

I have another of his novels on my shelf that I'm looking forward to, To The White Sea.

Author:  DWill [ Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

geo wrote:
Deliverance is a fine literary novel. There's a scene where the main character has to climb a cliff wall that leaves the reader breathless. I didn't know Dickey's other claim to fame was as a poet.

I have another of his novels on my shelf that I'm looking forward to, To The White Sea.

I recall seeing a great interview of Dickey by Bill Moyers, and wonder if it might be out there somewhere. An interesting note, Christopher Dickey is the writer's son. He was a foreign correspondent for either Time or Newsweek. He also wrote a memoir about his father that I partially read but put it down for some reason. It was an eye-opening look at JD, a man of rather gargantuan appetites.

Here's one of Dickey's poems that I especially remember.


The Heaven of Animals
By James L. Dickey

Here they are. The soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains
It is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.

Having no souls, they have come,
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open.

To match them, the landscape flowers,
Outdoing, desperately
Outdoing what is required:
The richest wood,
The deepest field.

For some of these,
It could not be the place
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done,
But with claws and teeth grown perfect,

More deadly than they can believe.
They stalk more silently,
And crouch on the limbs of trees,
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey

May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted
Know this as their life,
Their reward: to walk

Under such trees in full knowledge
Of what is in glory above them,
And to feel no fear,
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain

At the cycle’s center,
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree,
They fall, they are torn,
They rise, they walk again.

James Dickey, “The Heaven of Animals” from The Whole Motion: Collected Poems 1945-1992. Copyright © 1992 by James Dickey. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press, http://www.wesleyan.edu/wespress.

Source: James Dickey: The Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 1998)

Quick note on C. Dickey--looks to be formidable in his own write (ha ha). http://www.christopherdickey.com/books_menu1.html

Author:  geo [ Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

Thanks, DWill. Still thinking this over. The theme seems to be finding a balance with one's environment or something like that.

Author:  Saffron [ Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

geo wrote:
Thanks, DWill. Still thinking this over. The theme seems to be finding a balance with one's environment or something like that.


Interesting Geo, I got a circle of life feel from the poem or an "all god's creatures got a place in the choir" thing. How about you DWill, since you posted the poem, give us your take.

Author:  geo [ Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

Saffron wrote:
geo wrote:
Thanks, DWill. Still thinking this over. The theme seems to be finding a balance with one's environment or something like that.


Interesting Geo, I got a circle of life feel from the poem or an "all god's creatures got a place in the choir" thing. How about you DWill, since you posted the poem, give us your take.


Without knowing much about Dickey's beliefs, I think this poem is probing the religious idea of grace in a natural world governed by tooth and claw. One of the definitions of grace is: 1) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. and 2) a divinely given talent or blessing. Just as Blake ponders the existence of tigers in a world made byGod—Did He who made the lamb make thee?—Dickey is exploring the idea of beauty and wonder in the natural world where all life forms thrive in harmony with nature (within their environmental niche). By imagining an animal heaven, Dickey can explore the state of grace that exists on earth. So even soulless beasts exist in heaven and what made them function so well in their environmental niche in real life exist in a more perfect state in heaven. Predators have sharper claws and more stealth. And even the flowers and trees "desperately outdoing what is required." And even the animals that are destined to be another animal's meal are blessed with an awareness that "this as their life, Their reward: to walk Under such trees in full knowledge , Of what is in glory above them."

Or something like that.

I can imagine that my (deaf) white cat exists in a state of grace when he lies down on our white comforter, blissfully unaware that he is perfectly harmonious with his surroundings.

Image

Author:  Saffron [ Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Daily Poem

Nicely done, Geo. I have been thinking about my overly simplistic post about the poem while at work today. I was definitely thinking along the same lines as the line from Blake. The word justice was floating around in my head and balance, as in the balance that all things seek.

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