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Poetry in 2015 
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Post Poetry in 2015
Sometimes in the morning I turn on the radio to keep me company while I get ready for work. If I am really lucky and I am up on time, I catch The Writer's Almanac. Today was lucky. I heard this wonderful poem -

Poem: "Telephone Repairman," by Joseph Millar, from Overtime (Eastern Washington University Press).

Telephone Repairman

All morning in the February light
he has been mending cable,
splicing the pairs of wires together
according to their colors,
white-blue to white-blue
violet-slate to violet-slate,
in the warehouse attic by the river.

When he is finished
the messages will flow along the line:
thank you for the gift,
please come to the baptism,
the bill is now past due :
voices that flicker and gleam back and forth
across the tracer-colored wires.

We live so much of our lives
without telling anyone,
going out before dawn,
working all day by ourselves,
shaking our heads in silence
at the news on the radio.
He thinks of the many signals
flying in the air around him
the syllables fluttering,
saying please love me,
from continent to continent
over the curve of the earth.

This poem rang for me - for several reasons. When I was a girl in grade school we used to make jewelry out the many colored telephone wire mentioned in this poem. I loved that wire - the colors and combinations of colors - more than I liked the rings and bracelets we would make out of it. The mention of it in this poem brought me right back to a particularly rich set of memories and what I think of as a happy period of my life. The other resonance for me is that I now live alone and I often think that I live a life unwitnessed. I sometimes wonder what I would do differently if someone was around to see me move through my days at home. I also spend a good deal of time thinking about all the things we never say or all the messages we send out - verbal, intended, unintended, body language, etc. - that are never received or misperceived or are just never sent. I wonder what have I missed out on or what choice might I have made differently if someone from some past part of my life had sent out signal loud enough or clearly enough for me to hear it.



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Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:20 pm
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Post Re: Poetry in 2015
Just in case you are wondering who in the world is Joseph Millar -

Joseph Millar
http://www.josephmillar.org
Poet Joseph Millar grew up in western Pennsylvania and was educated at Penn State and the Johns Hopkins University, where he earned an MA in poetry writing. He worked as a commercial fisherman and telephone repairman for more than 20 years, and his accessible narrative poems, influenced by the work of poets Philip Levine and James Wright, often take working life as a means of engaging themes of class, family, and romantic love. In a 2009 interview for Pirene’s Fountain with Charles Morrison, Millar stated, “We must have the ambition for our poems that they reach toward the sublime, that they speak from our own true selves and are grounded in the experience of our daily lives, including our dreams and hopes.”

I like.



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Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:36 pm
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Post Re: Poetry in 2015
It took me longer than I thought to get back her and post again. The poem I am about to post is called "Stream of Life." It is a Bengali poem written by Rabindranath Tagore. This poem is from Tagore’s Gitanjali. It is simply titled “Praan” which means “life” in Bengali. The English translation is by Tagore himself.

The same stream of life that runs
through my veins night and day
runs through the world and dances
in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy
through the dust of the earth in
numberless blades of grass and
breaks into tumultuous waves of
leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked in
the ocean-cradle of birth and of
death, in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious
by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb
of ages dancing in my blood this
moment.



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Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:31 pm
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Post Re: Poetry in 2015
poetry is like the Naan of Praan :-D

(now, what rhymes with orange :lol:



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Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:54 am
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Post Re: Poetry in 2015
This poem came to me in an email from Mass Poetry. I'd never read any of Mark Hart's poetry before. I love the juxtaposition of the melancholic imagery and sense of optimism. Life is funny like that; two seemingly incompatible things occurring at once. Bittersweet. A life event that seems to bring your life crashing down and then transmogrifying into something positive.

Mark Hart: Planting Garlic

I love to imagine the first blind rootings
in gravity’s dark light, the sodden waiting,
the slow ignition of their tiny green rockets

as I bury their pink-skinned cheeks in the
corpse-cold ground, soon freezing to stone.
My neighbor says the mounded beds look like

freshly dug graves. He’s right— I am
an undertaker for the living, consigning innocents
to birth not death, though

not every womb is warm. Let this planting
stand for all inhospitable beginnings,
for what shivers unseen awaiting its chance.

Foot to shovel, back to wind, sky dour with
coming rain, crows squawking, a few creaking pines,
the hoarse whisper of corn stalks blowing,

their dry matter to be thrown on the pile—
I could work up a good sweat of melancholy here
if wonder were not constantly interrupting.

I’m fifty. I take no comfort in the rites of religion.
Let me see the miracle before me,
the one I too am.

Let planting bring me to my knees.


Originally published in The Midwest Quarterly, Autumn 2008

These are the lines that sang out to me:

not every womb is warm. Let this planting
stand for all inhospitable beginnings,
for what shivers unseen awaiting its chance.


How descriptive "inhospitable beginnings." I'd bet everyone of us has an inhospitable beginning somewhere in our lives.

And this one -
I could work up a good sweat of melancholy here
if wonder were not constantly interrupting.


I love it!



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Fri Feb 13, 2015 3:08 pm
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Post Re: Poetry in 2015
It is a wondrous poem, but these are the lines which bring me to my knees:-

I’m fifty. I take no comfort in the rites of religion.
Let me see the miracle before me,
the one I too am.

Let planting bring me to my knees.

:

Except that I am nearly seventy: :lol:


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Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish.

He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini


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Fri Feb 13, 2015 3:40 pm
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Post Re: Poetry in 2015
Quote:
Saffron wrote:

It is a Bengali poem written by Rabindranath Tagore. This poem is from Tagore’s Gitanjali. It is simply titled “Praan” which means “life” in Bengali. The English translation is by Tagore himself.


Oooh this man is so sublime. When we were in Shimla - we visited the Viceroy's House - and on the wall were portraits of all the people who met together at the partition.....

There was a young Indian girl standing beside me.... I only knew him as a poet.... and I said to her 'Is that not Tagore?' and she said, 'Yes, that is our Poet'. So you see, Indian people respect the other side of their brain, not just the rational, mathematic side, but the artistic and intuitive side also. And so, I love India.


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Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish.

He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini


Fri Feb 13, 2015 3:58 pm
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Post Re: Poetry in 2015
Snow day here in Northern Virginia. This poem seemed right for today. I just read a book of her short stories. Some I liked very much, others not so much. No mater what I think of her stories, she sure can write! I also liked this poem because my silly cat does the very same thing as mentioned in the beginning of the poem - I call it a "cat hat." Penelope I think you will like this one too.

February

by Margaret Atwood

Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He’ll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here
should snip a few testicles. If we wise
hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s love that does us in. Over and over
Again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
thirty below, and the pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.



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Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:50 pm
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Post Re: Poetry in 2015
I think that those of us with spoilt cats can all identify with that poem. Since we moved house our cat sleeps at the foot of our bed and so tells us when it's time to get up. She's very polite about it though.


February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.


Today we've been to a place called 'Rode Hall' in Cheshire. We took our little granddaughter to see the snowdrop walk. The gardens are white with snowdrops everywhere and so welcome as the first flowers of the year. We bought snowdrop blulbs in bloom to plant in our gardens for next year. It was all very encouraging. I love to put the snowdrop flowers into a small vase and stand that on a mirror so that you can see into their beautiful inner hearts, which otherwise you never see.

This poem had been placed in the Memorial Garden:


A big thank you to Bill Buck who sent us this lovely Welsh poem about Snowdrops!

O Lili Wen Fach o ble daethost ti?

A'r gwynt mor arw ac mor oer ei gri.

Sut y daethost ti allan trwy'r eira i gyd?

Nid oes blodyn bach arall i'w weld yn y byd!

(rough translation -

Oh little white lily, from where did you come?

With the wind so wild and with such a cold cry

However did you manage to come out through all that snow?

There's no other little flower to be seen!)


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Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish.

He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini


Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:18 pm
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Post Re: Poetry in 2015
Have been inside all day with the snow falling and now freezing rain. I am finally needing a little stimulation other than my own thoughts. This is from The Writer's Almanac

Mountain Day

by W. S. Merwin

With one dear friend we go up the highest mountain
thousands of feet into the birdless snow
and listen to our breaths in the still air
for a long time beside the observatories
later we stretch out on the dark crumbled
lava slope looking
west at the sun yellowing the clouds below
then go down past the wild cows to the cabin
getting there just before sunset
and eat by the fire laughing at what we have
forgotten to bring
afterward we come out and lie
braided together looking up
at Cassiopeia over the foothill.

“Mountain Day” by W.S. Merwin from Collected Poems: 1952-1993.

What a lovely line and image - "braided together"



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Post Re: Poetry in 2015
We are about to reach March, which is followed by National Poetry Month, aka April.
Image

I have an idea for a thread called, Daily Poem. The thing is I don't want to be the only one posting poems. Anyone else interested in helping me to post a poem a day? No big commitment, just if you notice that no poem has been posted for a day, please post one. Let's see how long we can keep up posting a poem a day. No other rules. People should feel free to post a 2nd or even a 3rd poem or to make comments about poems.



Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:51 am
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Post Re: Poetry in 2015
For Poetry lovers on the north east coast of the USA or anyone wanting a reason to travel to Massachusetts - a poetry festival -


Image

The schedule for the 7th Massachusetts Poetry Festival is now live!
Join us May 1-3 in Salem with headliners Rita Dove • Richard Blanco • Stephen Burt • Denise Duhamel • Nick Flynn • Regie Gibson • Jorie Graham • Edward Hirsch • Richard Hoffman • Adrian Matejka • Marge Piercy • Rachel Wiley • and with the hundreds of fabulous poets participating in sessions. Buy your button today!

The amazing thing about this festival is that it is $15 general admission or $25 general admission + workshop!



Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:43 am
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Post Re: Poetry in 2015
This is by a new poet- Ronaq Mathur, from his book Rambles and Little Things. Its a short excerpt from his poem "Lads and Ladies"

Lads and ladies brace yourselves
Or else you’ll never see,
The mysteries in the lemony goodness
Not just your coffee and tea

Burgers, nachos, tequila and rum,
You’re essentials to say the least,
But get a grip and seize it now,
Or you won’t even see the feast

Ladies and lads, now there’s a twist,
That’ll make many a fine man mad,
But hey, there’s change, or so I like to think,
The pruning of a bygone fad,

Contemporary twist on "when life gives you lemons" and addresses a bunch of modern day issues- definitely worth a read!



Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:43 am
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