Archive for November, 2020

Monday, 30 November 2020

The Whippoorwill and I by Horatio Alger, Junior

In the hushed hours of night, when the air is quite still,
I hear the strange cry of the lone whippoorwill,
Who chants, without ceasing, that wonderful trill,
Of which the sole burden is still, “Whip-poor-Will.”

And why should I whip him? Strange visitant, say,
Has he been playing truant this long summer day?
I listened a moment; more clear and more shrill
Rang the voice of the bird, as he cried, “Whip-poor-Will.”

But what has poor Will done? I ask you once more;
I’ll whip him, don’t fear, if you’ll tell me what for.
I paused for an answer; o’er valley and hill
Rang the voice of the bird, as he cried, “Whip-poor-Will.”

Has he come to your dwelling, by night or by day,
And snatched the young birds from their warm nest away?
I paused for an answer; o’er valley and hill
Rang the voice of the bird, as he cried, “Whip-poor-Will.”

Well, well, I can hear you, don’t have any fears,
I can hear what is constantly dinned in my ears.
The obstinate bird, with his wonderful trill,
Still made but one answer, and that, “Whip-poor-Will.”

But what has poor Will done? I prithee explain;
I’m out of all patience, don’t mock me again.
The obstinate bird, with his wonderful trill,
Still made but one answer, and that, “Whip-poor-Will.”

Well, have your own way, then; but if you won’t tell,
I’ll shut down the window, and bid you farewell;
But of one thing be sure, I won’t whip him until
You give me some reason for whipping poor Will.

I listened a moment, as if for reply,
But nothing was heard but the bird’s mocking cry.
I caught the faint echo from valley and hill;
It breathed the same burden, that strange “Whip-poor-Will.”

From: https://www.horatioalgersociety.net/800_poetry/93%20The%20Whippoorwill%20and%20I%202017.pdf

Date: 1853

By: Horatio Alger, Junior (1832-1899)

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Adult Advent Announcement by David Asbury Redding

O Lord,
Let Advent begin again
In us,
Not merely in commercials;
For that first Christmas was not
Simply for children,
But for the
Wise and the strong.
It was
Crowded around that cradle,
With kings kneeling.
Speak to us
Who seek an adult seat this year.
Help us to realize,
As we fill stockings,
Christmas is mainly
For the old folks —
Bent backs
And tired eyes
Need relief and light
A little more.
No wonder
It was grown-ups
Who were the first
To notice
Such a star.

From: https://www.journeywithjesus.net/poemsandprayers/677-david-a-redding-adult-advent-announcement

Date: 1965

By: David Asbury Redding (1929-2013 )

Saturday, 28 November 2020

This Heavy Craft by Patricia Kathleen Page (Judith Cape)

The wax has melted
but the dream of flight
persists.
I, Icarus, though grounded
in my flesh
have one bright section in me
where a bird
night after starry night
while I’m asleep
unfolds its phantom wings
and practices.

From: https://canpoetry.library.utoronto.ca/page/poem3.htm

Date: 1954

By: Patricia Kathleen Page (Judith Cape) (1916-2010)

Friday, 27 November 2020

Dedication by Lucian Bottow Watkins

To Principal Booker T. Washington of Tuskegee Industrial School

To you who now so nobly do
A noble deed;
Who now instill the virtues true
To virtuous need;
Whose mission is so truly good—
So full of kindly brotherhood—
Who live the life you surely should—
A trusty lead;

Who early saw that skillful head
And skillful hands
Should, surely, be in union wed
‘Gainst life’s quicksands—
For people whose unhappy state
Was, surely, in the hands of fate,
Would make a combination great
As iron hands.

Long may your daring presence live
And works instill,
Long may your kingly reasons give
A forceful will.
Long may your glowing, useful days
Shine forth their bright illuming rays,
And to gloomy lives always
A happy thrill.

From: https://poets.org/poem/dedication

Date: 1903

By: Lucian Bottow Watkins (1879-1921)

Thursday, 26 November 2020

America, I Sing Back by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

for Phil Young, my father, Robert Hedge Coke, Whitman, and Hughes

America, I sing back. Sing back what sung you in.
Sing back the moment you cherished breath.
Sing you home into yourself and back to reason.

Oh, before America began to sing, I sung her to sleep,
held her cradleboard, wept her into day.
My song gave her creation, prepared her delivery,
held her severed cord beautifully beaded.

My song helped her stand, held her hand for first steps,

nourished her very being, fed her, placed her three sisters strong.
My song comforted her as she battled my reason

broke my long held footing sure, as any child might do.

Lo, as she pushed herself away, forced me to remove myself,
as I cried this country, my song grew roses in each tear’s fall.

My blood veined rivers, painted pipestone quarries
circled canyons, while she made herself maiden fine.

Oh, but here I am, here I am, here, I remain high on each and every peak,
carefully rumbling her great underbelly, prepared to pour forth singing—

and sing again I will, as I have always done.

Never silenced unless in the company of strangers, singing

the stoic face, polite repose, polite, while dancing deep inside, polite
Mother of her world. Sister of myself.

When my song sings aloud again. When I call her back to cradle.
Call her to peer into waters, to behold herself in dark and light,

day and night, call her to sing along, call her to mature, to envision—

Then, she will make herself over. My song will make it so

When she grows far past her self-considered purpose,
I will sing her back, sing her back. I will sing. Oh, I will—I do.

America, I sing back. Sing back what sung you in.

From: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/poetry/this-thanksgiving-read-a-native-american-poets-song-of-healing

Date: 2014

By: Allison Adelle Hedge Coke (1958- )

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Cage by Josephine Louise Miles

Through the branches of the Japanese cherry
Blooming like a cloud which will rain
A rain white as the sun
The living room across the roadway
Cuts its square of light
And in it fight
Two figures, hot, irate,
Stuck between sink and sofa in that golden cage.
Come out into the night, walk in the night,
It is for you, not me.
The cherry flowers will rain their rain as white
Cool as the moon.
Listen how they surround.
You swing among them in your cage of light.
Come out into the night.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/51732/cage-56d22fab19143

Date: 1983

By: Josephine Louise Miles (1911-1985)

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

World War II; or, The English Lesson by Georgia Scott

It’s just too much to say.
The “w’s” make a comedy of her mouth.

The lips, so lush in Polish,
wobble back and forth,

do a Marilyn Monroe walk
in skirts so tight

every step is a pain.

From: https://artfuldodge.spaces.wooster.edu/poets-as-expatriates/georgia-scott/poems/

Date: 2000

By: Georgia Scott (19??- )

Monday, 23 November 2020

Domestic Song by Katarzyna Borun-Jagodzinska

You’ll have as much happiness
as you have string in your hand,
you’ll have as much warmth
as coal in your cellar,
you’ll have as much light
as windows in your wall,
you’ll have as many enemies
as you’re able to obtain.

You’ll have as much heart
as the kind you were born with,
you’ll have as much taste
as gall on your lips,
the same amount of freedom
you can walk from wall to wall,
the same hope
as you can hold there in your hands.

Your house is as high
as you can reach your fingers,
the fields as wide
as your eyes can glean.
And you yourself are your own judge and jury,
you yourself your own prize and pain.

From: https://artfuldodge.spaces.wooster.edu/poets-as-expatriates/georgia-scott/translations-from-the-polish/

Date: 1989 (original in Polish); 2000 (translation in English)

By: Katarzyna Borun-Jagodzinska (1956- )

Translated by: Georgia Scott (19??- ) and David Malcolm (1952- )

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Try to Praise the Mutilated World by Adam Zagajewski

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June’s long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You’ve seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

From: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2001/09/24/try-to-praise-the-mutilated-world

Date: 2001 (original in Polish); 2001 (translation in English)

By: Adam Zagajewski (1945- )

Translated by: Clare Cavanagh (1956- )

Saturday, 21 November 2020

The Faces by Robert White Creeley

The faces with anticipated youth
look out from the current
identifications, judge or salesman,
the neighbor, the man who killed,

mattering only as the sliding world
they betoken, the time it never
mattered to accumulate, the fact that
nothing mattered but for what one

could make of it, some passing,
oblique pleasure, a pain immense
in its intensity, a sly but
insistent yearning to outwit it

all, be different, move far, far
away, avoid forever the girl
next door, whose cracked, wrinkled
smile will persist, still know you.

From: http://www.conjunctions.com/print/article/robert-creeley-c2

Date: 1983

By: Robert White Creeley (1926-2005)