Archive for July, 2021

Saturday, 31 July 2021

The Magic Flute by Maude Irene Haire Wilde

The last scant petal falls
From the slender flower of sound.
The echoes strew the halls
Like fragrance, curled to slight
Echoes of echoes dwindling,
Thinned to silence…still
On fertile air the spindling
Flower unfolds delight…


Date: 1940

By: Maude Irene Haire Wilde (1884-1964)

Friday, 30 July 2021

Ars Poetica by Archibald MacLeish

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit

As old medallions to the thumb

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown –

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind –

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

A poem should be equal to:
Not true

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea –

A poem should not mean
But be.


Date: 1926

By: Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982)

Thursday, 29 July 2021

With No Immediate Cause by Ntozake Shange

every 3 minutes a woman is beaten
every five minutes a
woman is raped/every ten minutes
a little girl is molested
yet I rode the subway today
I sat next to an old man who
may have beaten his old wife
3 minutes ago or 3 days/30 years ago
he might have sodomized his
daughter but I sat there
cuz the men on the train
might beat some young women
later in the day or tomorrow
I might not shut my door fast
enough push hard enough
every 3 minutes it happens
some woman’s innocence
rushes to her cheeks/pours from her mouth
like the betsy wetsy dolls have been torn
apart/their mouths
menses red split/every
three minutes a shoulder
is jammed through plaster and the oven door/
chairs push thru the rib cage/hot water or
boiling sperm decorate her body
I rode the subway today
and bought a paper from an
east Indian man who might
have held his old lady onto
a hot pressing iron/I didn’t know
maybe he catches little girls in the
parks and rips open their behinds
with steel rods/I can not decide
what he might have done I only
know every 3 minutes
every 5 minutes every 10 minutes
I bought the paper
looking for the announcement
there has to be an announcement
of the women’s bodies found
yesterday the missing little girl
I sat in a restaurant with my
paper looking for the announcement
a young man served me coffee
I wondered did he pour the boiling
coffee on the woman because she was stupid
did he put the infant girl in
the coffee pot because she cried too much
what exactly did he do with coffee
I looked for the announcement
the discovery of the dismembered
woman’s body
victims have not all been
identified today they are
naked and dead/some refuse to
testify one girl out of 10’s not
coherent/ I took the coffee
and spit it up I found an
announcement/not the woman’s
bloated body in the river floating
not the child bleeding in the
59th street corridor/not the baby
broken on the floor

“there is some concern
that alleged battered women
might start to murder their
husbands and lovers with no
immediate cause”

I spit up I vomit I am screaming
we all have immediate cause
every 3 minutes
every 5 minutes
every 10 minutes
every day
women’s bodies are found
in alleys and bedrooms/at the top of the stairs
before I ride the subway/buy a paper or drink
coffee from your hands I must know
have you hurt a woman today
did you beat a woman today
throw a child across a room are the little girl’s pants in your pocket
did you hurt a woman today
I have to ask these obscene questions
I must know you see
the authorities require us to
immediate cause
every three minutes
every five minutes
every ten minutes
every day.


Date: 1972

By: Ntozake Shange (1948-2018)

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

A Negro Mother to Her Child by Victor Jeremy Jerome (Isaac Jerome Romaine)

Quit yo’ wailing’ honey bo’
‘Taint no use to cry
Rubber nipple, mammy’s breast
Both am gone bone dry.

Daddy is a Bolshevik
Locked up in de pen
Didn’ rob nor didn’ steal
Led de workin’ men.

What’s de use mah tellin’ you
Silly li’l lamb
Gon’ter git it straight some day
When you is a man.

Wisht ah had a sea o’ milk
Mek you strong an’ soun’
Daddy’s waitin’ till you come
Brek dat prison down.

From: Nelson, Cary (ed.), Anthology of Modern American Poetry, 2000, Oxford University Press: New York & Oxford, p. 372.

Date: 1930

By: Victor Jeremy Jerome (Isaac Jerome Romaine) (1869-1965)

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

The Refugee by Marjorie Battcock

Mud dark above the stream the factory’s finger
Points through the rain towards a sodden sky,
Setting and cold crush her desire to linger,
Barred shops and shuttered windows mute the street,
The scene’s decay is like an ugly cry.

She turns towards her home, a furnished room,
Its paint beer-brown, its three-piece, saxe-blue plush,
Where a bald light diminishes the gloom,
But leaves her chilled, and turns her thoughts towards,
The foreign city that was once her home, lush

In the summer with grape-green linden trees;
Evenings of music, cafés, interchange
Of differing views; all this she sees,
Vivid in retrospect, each richly-textured day
Ended with war; instead the pinchbeck range

Of work’s monotony, that dims her pride
In memories. But for this isolation
She blames herself—friends have been tortured, died,
She, rootless, without future, should be glad,
And being so, deny her desolation.

From: Reilly, Catherine W. (ed.), Chaos of the Night: Women’s Poetry and Verse of the Second World War, 1984, Virago: London, p. 12.

Date: 1960

By: Marjorie Battcock (fl. 1956-1964)

Monday, 26 July 2021

Night Sounds by Paul van Ostaijen

There must be white farms beyond the edge
of the blue fields by the moon
at night you hear along distant roads
horse hooves
you hear everything then silent delusion
water is suddenly oozing from distant moon fountains
—you suddenly hear water
oozing in the night—
the horses drink hurriedly
and whinny
then they are heard trotting towards the stable again.


Date: 1928 (original in Dutch); 1982 (translation in English)

By: Paul van Ostaijen (1896-1928)

Translated by: James Stratton Holmes (1924-1986)

Sunday, 25 July 2021

The Heart of a Woman by Georgia Blanche Douglas Camp Johnson

The heart of a woman goes forth with the dawn,
As a lone bird, soft winging, so restlessly on,
Afar o’er life’s turrets and vales does it roam
In the wake of those echoes the heart calls home.
The heart of a woman falls back with the night,
And enters some alien cage in its plight,
And tries to forget it has dreamed of the stars
While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars.


Date: 1918

By: Georgia Blanche Douglas Camp Johnson (1880-1966)

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Young Lady Dancing with Soldier by Phyllis Byam Shand Allfrey

Young lady dancing with soldier,
Feeling stern peaty cloth with your slight hand,
So very happy,
So happy
To be dancing with the patriotic male—
You have forgotten
(Or perhaps you were never concerned to know)
Last month your partner was a shipping clerk.

How, as he sat by his few inches of window,
This boy dreamed of ships and far engagements,
Battles with purpose
and future,
Fair women without guile, and England’s honour,
Comme chevalier
sans peur . . .

But instead he got conscripted into the Army,
And now you are the last symbol of his dream.

It is rather thrilling to be a last symbol,
Before mud clogs the ears, blood frets the mouth
Of the poor clerk
turned solider,
Whose highest fortune will be to find himself
Conscripted back
to life . . .
Done up like a battered brown paper parcel—
No gentleman, malgré tout; clerk unemployed.

From: Reilly, Catherine W. (ed.), Chaos of the Night: Women’s Poetry and Verse of the Second World War, 1984, Virago: London, p. 5.

Date: 1940

By: Phyllis Shand Byam Allfrey (1908-1986)

Friday, 23 July 2021

Three Burdens by Guido Pieter Theodorus Josephus Gezelle

Three burdens weigh upon my heart;
The first that men to death depart.
The second weighs still more on me:
I know not when my death shall be.
The third dismays me most of all;
‘t is that I know not what
thereafter shall befall!

From: Vincent, Paul (ed.), Poems of Guido Gezelle: A Bilingual Anthology, 2016, UCL Press: London, p. 147.

Date: 1886 (original in Dutch); 1999 (translation in English)

By: Guido Pieter Theodorus Josephus Gezelle (1830-1899)

Translated by: Albert van Eyken (19??- )

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Immensity by Mabel Esther Allan

You go at night into immensity,
Leaving this green earth, where hawthorn flings
Pale stars on hedgerows, and our serenity
Is twisted into strange shapes; my heart never sings
Now on spring mornings, for you fly at nightfall
From this earth I know
Toward the clear stars, and over all
Those dark seas and waiting towns you go;
And when you come to me
There are fearful dreams in your eyes,
And remoteness. Oh, God! I see
How far away you are,
Who may so soon meet death beneath an alien star.

Late 1940

From: Reilly, Catherine W. (ed.), Chaos of the Night: Women’s Poetry and Verse of the Second World War, 1984, Virago: London, p. 3.

Date: 1940

By: Mabel Esther Allan (1915-1998)