Famed Poems/Famed Poets

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The Woman and the Flame 2011/12/29 14:15:49 (permalink)
by Aimé Césaire    

The Woman and the Flame 
 
A bit of light that descends the springhead of a gaze
twin shadow of the eyelash and the rainbow on a face
and round about
who goes there angelically
ambling
Woman the current weather
the current weather matters little to me
my life is always ahead of a hurricane
you are the morning that swoops down on the lamp a night stone
   between its teeth
you are the passage of seabirds as well
you who are the wind through the salty ipomeas of consciousness
insinuating yourself from another world
Woman
you are a dragon whose lovely color is dispersed and darkens so
   as to constitute the
inevitable tenor of things
I am used to brush fires
I am used to ashen bush rats and the bronze ibis of the flame
Woman binder of the foresail gorgeous ghost
helmet of algae of eucalyptus
                                 dawn isn't it
                                 and in the abandon of the ribbands
                                 very savory swimmer
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The Orchid Flower 2012/01/21 22:00:08 (permalink)
by Sam Hamill    

The Orchid Flower  
 
Just as I wonder
whether it's going to die,
the orchid blossoms

and I can't explain why it
moves my heart, why such pleasure

comes from one small bud
on a long spindly stem, one
blood red gold flower

opening at mid-summer,
tiny, perfect in its hour.

Even to a white-
haired craggy poet, it's
purely erotic,

pistil and stamen, pollen,
dew of the world, a spoonful

of earth, and water.
Erotic because there's death
at the heart of birth,

drama in those old sunrise
prisms in wet cedar boughs,

deepest mystery
in washing evening dishes
or teasing my wife,

who grows, yes, more beautiful
because one of us will die.
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Long After Hopkins 2012/01/29 17:45:05 (permalink)
by Brian Teare     

Long After Hopkins   
 
Nothing at dusk, lord, but dust

                              and road to keep it. The field kneels

under white pines, umbra the edge

                              to whom this is addressed :

a mind part fern, part birch :

                              two turkeys slowly S-ing their necks

through inflorescence, arrangement

                              more precise than what light leaves

fields : painterly flowers more color

                              than picture, more words for color

than tint : alizarin or violet, you could

                              write goldenrod, write cornflower,

but Queen Anne's lace still hems

                              the low horizon. Faith, what is it

abides, what's left of pastoral

                              but unreality. Ask artifice. Ask ornament.

Go ahead and ask : what principle

                              animates the natural : owl pink Lady's Slipper

orchid white-tailed deer woodchuck :

                              is it only what's visible that's knowable.

Twenty dandelions gone to seed;

                              tent worms slung in the articulated

tree; what's tiresome : mind

                              unanswered, writing to supply

scaffolds to hold up scenery, nothing

                              but queries and plywood, string

strung to a high struck bell auguring :

                              it's too late to see a third turkey

left headless, wreck of feathers

                              the owl scared, scattered in grass—
devil doll
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Some Like Poetry 2012/02/02 12:12:54 (permalink)

By Wislawa Szymborska

Some Like Poetry

Some - 
thus not all. Not even the majority of all but the minority. 
Not counting schools, where one has to, 
and the poets themselves, 
there might be two people per thousand. 

Like - 
but one also likes chicken soup with noodles, 
one likes compliments and the color blue, 
one likes an old scarf, 
one likes having the upper hand, 
one likes stroking a dog. 

Poetry - 
but what is poetry. 
Many shaky answers 
have been given to this question. 
But I don't know and don't know and hold on to it 
like to a sustaining railing. 

Translated by Regina Grol 
 


He says the sun came out last night. He says it sang to him.--Close Encounters of the Third Kind
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A Crosstown Breeze 2012/02/07 15:40:21 (permalink)
by Henry Taylor      

A Crosstown Breeze    
 
A drift of wind
when August wheeled
brought back to mind
an alfalfa field
 
where green windrows
bleached down to hay
while storm clouds rose
and rolled our way.
 
With lighthearted strain
in our pastoral agon
we raced the rain
with baler and wagon,
 
driving each other
to hold the turn
out of the weather
and into the barn.
 
A nostalgic pause
claims we saved it all,
but I’ve known the loss
of the lifelong haul;
 
now gray concrete
and electric light
wear on my feet
and dull my sight.
 
So I keep asking,
as I stand here,
my cheek still basking
in that trick of air,
 
would I live that life
if I had the chance,
or is it enough
to have been there once?
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Invitation to the Voyage 2012/02/12 16:47:15 (permalink)
by Charles Baudelaire      

Invitation to the Voyage     
 
Child, Sister, think how sweet to go out there and live together! To love at leisure, love and die in that land that resembles you! For me, damp suns in disturbed skies share mysterious charms with your treacherous eyes as they shine through tears.
 
     There, there’s only order, beauty: abundant, calm, voluptuous.
 
     Gleaming furniture, polished by years passing, would ornament our bedroom; rarest flowers, their odors vaguely mixed with amber; rich ceilings; deep mirrors; an Oriental splendor—everything there would address our souls, privately, in their sweet native tongue.
 
     There, there’s only order, beauty: abundant, calm, voluptuous.
 
     See on these canals those sleeping boats whose mood is vagabond; it’s to satisfy your least desire that they come from the world’s end. —Setting suns reclothe fields, the canals, the whole town, in hyacinth and gold; the world falling asleep in a warm light.
 
     There, there’s only order, beauty: abundant, calm, voluptuous.
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A Word From the Fat Lady 2012/02/17 18:45:47 (permalink)
by Gabrielle Calvocoressi      

A Word From the Fat Lady
      
It isn't how we look up close
so much as in dreams.

Our giant is not so tall,
our lizard boy merely flaunts

crusty skin- not his fault
they keep him in a crate

and bathe him maybe once a week.
When folks scream or clutch their hair

and poke at us and glare and speak
of how we slithered up from Hell,

it is themselves they see:
the preacher with the farmer's girls

(his bulging eyes, their chicken legs)
or the mother lurching towards the sink,

a baby quivering in her gnarled
hands. Horror is the company

you keep when shades are drawn.
Evil does not reside in cages.
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A Boy and His Dad 2012/04/21 12:34:06 (permalink)
by Edgar Guest     

A Boy and His Dad 

A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
There is a glorious fellowship!
Father and son and the open sky
And the white clouds lazily drifting by,
And the laughing stream as it runs along
With the clicking reel like a martial song,
And the father teaching the youngster gay
How to land a fish in the sportsman's way.

I fancy I hear them talking there
In an open boat, and the speech is fair.
And the boy is learning the ways of men
From the finest man in his youthful ken.
Kings, to the youngster, cannot compare
With the gentle father who's with him there.
And the greatest mind of the human race
Not for one minute could take his place.

Which is happier, man or boy?
The soul of the father is steeped in joy,
For he's finding out, to his heart's delight,
That his son is fit for the future fight.
He is learning the glorious depths of him,
And the thoughts he thinks and his every whim;
And he shall discover, when night comes on,
How close he has grown to his little son.

A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
Builders of life's companionship!
Oh, I envy them, as I see them there
Under the sky in the open air,
For out of the old, old long-ago
Come the summer days that I used to know,
When I learned life's truths from my father's lips
As I shared the joy of his fishing-trips.
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Practice 2012/04/28 15:48:46 (permalink)
by Ellen Bryant Voigt
      
Practice 

To weep unbidden, to wake
at night in order to weep, to wait
for the whisker on the face of the clock
to twitch again, moving
the dumb day forward—

is this merely practice?
Some believe in heaven,
some in rest. We’ll float,
you said. Afterward
we’ll float between two worlds—

five bronze beetles
stacked like spoons in one
peony blossom, drugged by lust:
if I came back as a bird
I’d remember that—

until everyone we love
is safe is what you said.
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Piano 2012/05/01 02:20:03 (permalink)
by D. H. Lawrence 
       
Piano 

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;  
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see  
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings  
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.  
  
In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong  
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside  
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.  
  
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour  
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast  
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.
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Election Year 2012/05/05 22:47:18 (permalink)
by Donald Revell  
        
Election Year 
A jet of mere phantom
Is a brook, as the land around
Turns rocky and hollow.
Those airplane sounds
Are the drowning of bicyclists.
Leaping, a bridesmaid leaps.
You asked for my autobiography.
Imagine the greeny clicking sound
Of hummingbirds in a dry wood,
And there you’d have it. Other birds
Pour over the walls now.
I'd never suspected: every day,
Although the nation is done for,
I find new flowers.
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Grasshopper 2012/05/13 12:52:09 (permalink)
by Ron Padgett   
         
Grasshopper
  
It's funny when the mind thinks about the psyche,
as if a grasshopper could ponder a helicopter.

It's a bad idea to fall asleep
while flying a helicopter:

when you wake up, the helicopter is gone
and you are too, left behind in a dream,

and there is no way to catch up,
for catching up doesn't figure

in the scheme of things. You are
who you are, right now,

and the mind is so scared it closes its eyes
and then forgets it has eyes

and the grasshopper, the one that thinks
you're a helicopter, leaps onto your back!

He is a brave little grasshopper
and he never sleeps

for the poem he writes is the act
of always being awake, better than anything

you could ever write or do.
Then he springs away.
 
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Breakfast 2012/05/17 20:59:46 (permalink)
by Minnie Bruce Pratt  
        
Breakfast 

Rush hour, and the short order cook lobs breakfast
sandwiches, silverfoil softballs, up and down the line.
We stand until someone says, Yes? The next person behind
breathes hungrily. The cashier's hands never stop. He shouts:
Where's my double double? We help. We eliminate all verbs.
The superfluous want, need, give they already know. Nothing's left
but stay or go, and a few things like bread. No one can stay long,
not even the stolid man in blue-hooded sweats, head down, eating,
his work boots powdered with cement dust like snow that never melts.
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Sharks in the Rivers 2012/05/31 20:32:09 (permalink)
by Ada Limón   
        
Sharks in the Rivers 
We'll say unbelievable things
to each other in the early morning—
 
our blue coming up from our roots,
our water rising in our extraordinary limbs.
 
All night I dreamt of bonfires and burn piles
and ghosts of men, and spirits
behind those birds of flame.
 
I cannot tell anymore when a door opens or closes,
I can only hear the frame saying, Walk through.
 
It is a short walkway—
into another bedroom.
 
Consider the handle. Consider the key.
 
I say to a friend, how scared I am of sharks.
 
How I thought I saw them in the creek
across from my street.
 
I once watched for them, holding a bundle
of rattlesnake grass in my hand,
shaking like a weak-leaf girl.
 
She sends me an article from a recent National Geographic that says,
 
Sharks bite fewer people each year than
New Yorkers do, according to Health Department records.

 
Then she sends me on my way. Into the City of Sharks.
 
Through another doorway, I walk to the East River saying,
 
Sharks are people too.
Sharks are people too.
Sharks are people too.

 
I write all the things I need on the bottom
of my tennis shoes. I say, Let's walk together.
 
The sun behind me is like a fire.
Tiny flames in the river's ripples.
 
I say something to God, but he's not a living thing,
so I say it to the river, I say,
 
I want to walk through this doorway
But without all those ghosts on the edge,
I want them to stay here.
I want them to go on without me.
 
I want them to burn in the water.

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What's New 2012/06/05 17:29:19 (permalink)
by Emilio Villa   
         
What's New 

What's new is that one can no longer keep
the eyelids of swept away young men open
with sharpened toothpicks, they're no longer alive:

what's new is the whitish eyes of Milanese
men upon the wires of trolleys, trams and poles;
don't tell me it's sad to go on looking sadly in each other's eyes!

what's new is that between flesh and bone there's something
that turns a girl either hot or cold, who has eyes
like a countryside plowed by war, outside the city walls;

what's new is that few plants continue to grow;
and hands ruined by lesions and soot
light the cast-iron stoves, there is no gas;

is that the universal substance trembles, and our heart
not out of pride, nor power, but it seems good, and a sound
of water ways trembles, water ways and train tracks:

the wind has left furrows of rain and greasy stains
on the plaster of facades fifteen meters wide, and
furrows, that is wrinkles, in the old folks' polished square;

windows are a seed among headlights: and I
sow breath and great goodtime, and you
walk up and down the main streets of town;

and I make ragged comparisons, and you carry
the stingy and melancholy beauty within the red shade
of still being beautiful, a girl like a countryside;

and I know how to give forgotten compliments, and you move on;
and you think that one needs to watch what is needed,
and I think about shivering animals that will once again

piss close to the air like they used to; and you
make me a musical list of clothes to dry
in the generous and hapless air of our camporella.
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Benevolence 2012/06/21 19:07:36 (permalink)
by Carl Adamshick    
   
Benevolence

We took your food and in a few days
you'll see we took your excrement.

We've devised such intricate rules.

We've agreed, signed papers. We took the papers.

We took your pain, your dignity.
We took your language and watched
as religion fell from you.

We took your death,
strung it as a jewel on a silver chain
and showed it to you
as just another thing you don't have.
devil doll
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Alba 2012/06/27 20:43:12 (permalink)
by Ezra Pound
 
Alba
 
As cool as the pale wet leaves
                        of lily-of-the-valley
She lay beside me in the dawn.
post edited by devil doll - 2012/06/27 20:44:53

He says the sun came out last night. He says it sang to him.--Close Encounters of the Third Kind
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forgetting something 2012/07/05 19:45:27 (permalink)
by Nick Flynn     

forgetting something
 
Try this—close / your eyes. No, wait, when—if—we see each other / again the first thing we should do is close our eyes—no, / first we should tie our hands to something / solid—bedpost, doorknob— otherwise they (wild birds) / might startle us / awake. Are we forgetting something? What about that / warehouse, the one beside the airport, that room / of black boxes, a man in each box? I hear / if you bring this one into the light he will not stop / crying, if you show this one a photo of his son / his eyes go dead. Turn up / the heat, turn up the song. First thing we should do / if we see each other again is to make / a cage of our bodies—inside we can place / whatever still shines.
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Stirred Up By Rain 2012/07/18 23:58:41 (permalink)
by Chase Twichell     

Stirred Up By Rain 
 
I fired up the mower
although it was about to rain--
a chill late September afternoon,
wild flowers re-seeding themselves
in the blue smoke of the gas-oil mix.

To be attached to things is illusion,
yet I'm attached to things.
Cold, clouds, wind, color--the sky
is what the brush-cutter wants to cut,
but again the sky is spared.

One of two things can happen:
either the noisy machine dissolves in the dusk
and the dusk takes refuge in the steady rain,
or the meadow wakes shorn of its flowers.
Believing is different than understanding.
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The Family Group 2012/08/07 17:37:06 (permalink)
by Madeline DeFrees      

The Family Group  
 
That Sunday at the zoo I understood the child I
never had would look like this: stiff-fingered
spastic hands, a steady drool, and eyes in cages
with a danger sign. I felt like stone myself
the ancient line curved inward in a sunblind
stare. My eyes were flat. Flat eyes for tanned
young couples with their picture-story kids.
 
Heads turned our way but you’d learned not to care. You
stood tall as Greek columns, weather-streaked
face bent toward the boy. I wanted to take his hand,
hallucinate a husband. He whimpered at my touch.
You watched me move away and grabbed my other
hand as much in love as pity for our land-locked
town. I heard the visionary rumor of the sea.
 
What holds the three of us together in my mind is something
no one planned. The chiseled look of mutes.
A window shut to keep out pain. Wooden blank of doors.
That stance the mallet might surprise
if it could strike the words we hoard for fears
galloping at night over moors through convoluted bone.
The strange uncertain rumor of the sea.
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