Monday, 16 September 2019

The Bones Will Speak by John Eppel

The eyes will close, the lips will fold,
The ears will cauliflower.
But the bones, the bones, the bones will speak
For ever and an hour.

The nose will block, the tongue will curl
The taste of figs turn sour.
But the bones, the bones, the bones will speak
For ever and an hour.

The crotch will rust, the nipples flake,
The whole demeanour cower.
But the bones, the bones, the bones will speak
For ever and an hour.

From: https://botsotso.org.za/2019/06/two-poems-by-john-eppel/

Date: 2019

By: John Eppel (1947- )

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Sunday, 15 September 2019

She Came Late to Writing by Davi Walders

She came late, her wheelchair hooked
to a Critikon, her smile still slightly there,
a bright red bandana tight around her head.
She wanted to talk about poems and poets.
She did not wish to talk about her family
in Africa, about her sweats, or being ill.

Maya Angelou she wanted to read, so we read.
Marge Piercy she wanted to read, so we read.
We did not talk about her family in Africa,
her sweats, or her illness. She wanted
to hear sounds of savannahs, rhythms
of rivers, and to write like the poets she loved.

So she wrote, shaping a world far away
from her twenty-one years, words welling
up from desire and deprivation,
from other poets who whispered to her
through the night. We did not talk about
her family in Africa, her sweats, or illness.

The last time I saw her, she was surrounded
by her family from Africa, her poems
on her cool blanket and bedside table,
smiling that broad smile, as though she had
just heard a favorite line of a favorite poem
and was in deep conversation with poets she loved.

From: https://aumag.org/2016/07/13/she-came-late-to-writing-poetry-by-davi-walders/

Date: 2016

By: Davi Walders (19??- )

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Bedecked by Victoria Redel

Tell me it’s wrong the scarlet nails my son sports or the toy store rings he clusters four jewels to each finger.

He’s bedecked. I see the other mothers looking at the star choker, the rhinestone strand he fastens over a sock.
Sometimes I help him find sparkle clip-ons when he says sticker earrings look too fake.

Tell me I should teach him it’s wrong to love the glitter that a boy’s only a boy who’d love a truck with a remote that revs,
battery slamming into corners or Hot Wheels loop-de-looping off tracks into the tub.

Then tell me it’s fine—really—maybe even a good thing—a boy who’s got some girl to him,
and I’m right for the days he wears a pink shirt on the seesaw in the park.

Tell me what you need to tell me but keep far away from my son who still loves a beautiful thing not for what it means—
this way or that—but for the way facets set off prisms and prisms spin up everywhere
and from his own jeweled body he’s cast rainbows—made every shining true color.

Now try to tell me—man or woman—your heart was ever once that brave.

From: https://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/129.html

Date: 2003

By: Victoria Redel (1959- )

Friday, 13 September 2019

To the Reader by Anna Hume

Reader, I have oft been told,
Verse that speak not Love are cold.
I would gladly please thine ear,
But am loth to buy’t too dear.
And ’tis easier far to borrow
Lovers’ tears than feel their sorrow.
Therefore he hath funisht me
Who had enough to serve all three.

From: Dyce, Alexander, Specimens of British Poetesses; Selected and Chronologically Arranged, 1825, T. Rodd: London, p. 52.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=ydAB8_BRqVkC)

Date: 1644

By: Anna Hume (fl. 1644)

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Love Letter to the NHS by Emma Ireland

to the doctors,
the nurses, the porters,
the cleaners, the old folk who
volunteer at hospital junctions
asking if you know where you need to be,
to the woman who says
hey
i have something special for you
to my husband who is on a restricted diet in
bed 4, handing him a plastic tub of liquidised banana
as though it were chocolate cake, and i take a
picture of it so i can get it put on a
keyring later for march 15th, which is not
valentine’s day to anyone except us
probably;
to the midwives
the one who told me it was
too soon for an epidural, and the one who –
three hours after – told me it was too late, but held my hand while i
pushed out every vile and nasty word i know; to the
medical student standing looking terrified
behind her, trying to make small talk
in between contractions
yes
i am from round here
no
i don’t come here often; to the
surgeon who addresses you as though he’s
known you all your life and not thirty seconds, leaning across the
bed rails with no concept of personal space, although i guess if you’re about to
rearrange a person’s insides you get to waive the formalities, and i
think: this man will know what parts of me i’ve never even
seen myself
look like;
to the newspaper trolley guy
squeaking up and down the wards
who tells us: i knew you wouldn’t buy anything, for i
never met a man with a pretty girl at his bedside
yet
who bought a magazine; to the
receptionist on the surgical assessment unit
answering telephones with one hand while trying to find
beds for the trollies piling up by her desk but who still eeks out the
time to tell me where the toilets are; to the
nurses who do all the things
most of us never could, and who do them with
kindness and humour, who clean up
shit and piss and vomit daily
daily
and get food bank vouchers in return; to the
junior doctors
– the one who walked into the
sea and never came back, the one with
bags where his laughter lines should be, the one who’s seen
far too much too often to ever have
junior
anywhere in her
job description – telling my husband she is
sorry
sorry that he is in pain
sorry that it took a while to fetch the morphine
sorry that he has been waiting so long, sorry that he’ll have to
wait a while longer, because the specialist is tied up with
somebody else at the moment, but can she
fetch us anything in the meantime?
tea?
coffee?
water?
and i want to tell her
to tell them, every single person who
shows up to work each day and even on the days they
don’t, on the days it is too
hard, too much
when it is stay home or break down, to
all of those who help keep us safe, keep us alive, i want to
say:
don’t be sorry
that i am the one who is sorry
sorry that you have to make apologies to hurt and
angry people for things that are not your fault, sorry that the
vultures responsible for this mess are busy trying to turn against you
all of those for whom you give your lives, when you are
dog-tired, when you are
drained, when you are empty and when you are
filled with despair, i am sorry
that you are not and could never be
paid your worth, for your worth cannot be counted in
money alone, but i am sorry that they don’t even try to do that
i am sorry
that there are times your families get the worst of you
because you exhausted the best
on us
even when we don’t
deserve it, even when we don’t
appreciate it, even though we can
never know how much it
cost you, i am
so
sorry
but you are not alone
we do not all believe the lies peddled to us by
those who stand to gain from your suffering, there are
those of us who see and will not stop seeing, who know and will not stop
knowing, will not stop
fighting
nye bevan’s children
every one of us
but maybe harry keen said it best
that they might try to hold it under water till the
bubbles stop rising, but the bubbles will
never
stop rising
we
will never
stop
rising.

From: https://proletarianpoetry.com/2018/05/25/love-letter-to-the-nhs-by-emma-ireland/

Date: 2018

By: Emma Ireland (196?- )

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Warchild by Yomi Sode

We clasp onto wishes for hope.
Wishes, that wet the dryness of our tongues
while our parents pile bricks and ruin against
the door from inside.

Sweat drops from my father’s face,
He smells as though time has run out.
We hear the music in their feet
the percussion in shell cases ringing concrete,
greeting our door like neighbours
for Sisi, who talks about London and France.
And, me.

From: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/sep/16/poets-speak-out-for-refugees-

Date: 2015

By: Yomi Sode (19??- )

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Home by Warsan Shire

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilet
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.

no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied
no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child’s body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying —
leave,
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here.

From: https://medium.com/poem-of-the-day/warsan-shire-home-46630fcc90ab

Date: 2015

By Warsan Shire (1988- )

Monday, 9 September 2019

Change by Ann Beard

Our world forever changes every second every day.
Nothing halts the pass of time; old age will have its way.
each mighty cliff or ancient tree will suffer the same fate
life seems just an experiment, a transitory state.

The planet earth its fertile soil, the mysteries of heaven,
all forever changing in more ways known to man.
From the wonder of first breath to surrender of the last,
Time becomes the enemy devours all moments past.

Nothing is more fragile than the spirit of mankind,
as good and evil battle in each subconscious mind.
change is hardly noticed until friends or lover’s die,
then we weep and fear mortality while we say goodbye.

Change has made us who we are, a visitor, a guest
we dine on nature’s beauty babies suckle at the breast.
A child will learn and grow maybe someday take my place
But in a very different world, for I alone lived in this space.

From: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/change-78/

Date: 2007

By: Ann Beard (1944- )

Sunday, 8 September 2019

The Journey Home by Jennifer Wallace Strauss

What’s in the album but time’s
shocks and shadowings,
every image interim?
Between the stockman’s moleskin trews,
the Captain’s uniform,  immaculate or bloodied
this shipboard sketch,
courtesy P&O’s travelling artist …

There’s something of the dandy
(linen jacket, weskit, spats,
cufflinks opalescent gleam) . . .
A musical chap, much in demand
as dancing partner to  the hopeful girls
who came aboard at Bombay
pallid from Indian heat
and still unmarried
“A Jackaroo” they say, “how quaint!”
The smiling mothers
in cabins shake a rueful head
“I know my dear, a gentleman, a General’s son,
but quite, quite, without prospects …”

And sometimes he leaves the music,
goes unpartnered, tired of talk,
up to the top deck to look at the stars,
a trick he learned standing outside
his  boundary rider’s hut
with only stars  and  cattle for company.

Now the Southern Cross is left behind,
he marks Orion, bridger of hemispheres,
uneasy messenger,
for though he is going “home”
to everything familial, familiar,
something within has shifted –
in the space of those outback nights
he has unwittingly
made friends with silence.

It will stand him in good stead
for what’s to come.

From: http://cordite.org.au/poetry/ekphrastic/the-voyage-home/

Date: 2017

By: Jennifer Wallace Strauss (1933- )

Saturday, 7 September 2019

In love by Jennifer Wallace

because the city won’t let up
no matter how much rocking.
In love with this city
as if a surprise walked through the door
wearing suspenders and red-striped pants.
In love with the intersection
and its ingenious abutment of asphalt and grit
where chicory roots in their joining
and age-old rainwater bubbles in the gutter,
bobbing toward the harbor and the sea.
In love with the difficult stories
because they are not mine, because they are mine.
The just-after-dawn light
like Caravaggio’s on the row house bricks.

From: https://baltimorefishbowl.com/stories/it-can-be-solved-by-walking-poetry-by-jennifer-wallace/

Date: 2012

By: Jennifer Wallace (19??- )