Archive for October, 2021

Sunday, 31 October 2021

A Rhyme for Halloween by Mauricio Alberto Kilwein Guevara

Tonight I light the candles of my eyes in the lee
And swing down this branch full of red leaves.
Yellow moon, skull and spine of the hare,
Arrow me to town on the neck of the air.

I hear the undertaker make love in the heather;
The candy maker, poor fellow, is under the weather.
Skunk, moose, raccoon, they go to the doors in threes
With a torch in their hands or pleas: “O, please . . .”

Baruch Spinoza and the butcher are drunk:
One is the tail and one is the trunk
Of a beast who dances in circles for beer
And doesn’t think twice to learn how to steer.

Our clock is blind, our clock is dumb.
Its hands are broken, its fingers numb.
No time for the martyr of our fair town
Who wasn’t a witch because she could drown.

Now the dogs of the cemetery are starting to bark
At the vision of her, bobbing up through the dark.
When she opens her mouth to gasp for air,
A moth flies out and lands in her hair.

The apples are thumping, winter is coming.
The lips of the pumpkin soon will be humming.
By the caw of the crow on the first of the year,
Something will die, something appear.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/56863/a-rhyme-for-halloween

Date: 1996

By: Mauricio Alberto Kilwein Guevara (1961- )

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Come Lord and Lift by Tom Merrill

Come Lord, and lift the fallen bird
Abandoned on the ground;
The soul bereft and longing so
To have the lost be found.

The heart that cries—let it but hear
Its sweet love answering,
Or out of ether one faint note
Of living comfort wring.

From: http://www.thehypertexts.com/T._Merrill_Poet_Poetry_Picture_Bio_Art_Photography.htm

Date: 20??

By: Tom Merrill (19??- )

Friday, 29 October 2021

Dark Night by Frank Bidart

(John of the Cross)

In a dark night, when the light
burning was the burning of love (fortuitous
night, fated, free,—)

as I stole from my dark house, dark
house that was silent, grave, sleeping,—

by the staircase that was secret, hidden,
safe: disguised by darkness (fortuitous
night, fated, free,–)

by darkness and by cunning, dark
house that was silent, grave, sleeping—;

in that sweet night, secret, seen by
no one and seeing
nothing, my only light or
guide
the burning in my burning heart,

night was the guide
to the place where he for whom I
waited, whom I had long ago chosen,
waits: night
brighter than noon, in which none can see—;

night was the guide
sweeter than the sun raw at
dawn, for there the burning bridegroom is
bride
and he who chose at last is chosen.

*

As he lay sleeping on my sleepless
breast, kept from the beginning for him
alone, lying on the gift I gave
as the restless
fragrant cedars moved the restless winds,—

winds from the circling parapet circling
us as I lay there touching and lifting his hair,—
with his sovereign hand, he
wounded my neck-
and my senses, when they touched that, touched nothing…

In a dark night (there where I
lost myself,—)
as I leaned to rest
in his smooth white breast, everything
ceased
and left me, forgotten in the grave of forgotten lilies.

From: https://awp.diaart.org/poetry/87_88/bidart2.html

Date: 1987

By: Frank Bidart (1939- )

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Depths by Richard Thomas Moore

Once more home is a strange place: by the ocean a
big house now, and the small houses are memories,
once live images, vacant
thoughts here, sinking and vanishing.

Rough sea now on the shore thundering brokenly
draws back stones with a roar out into quiet and
far depths, darkly to lie there
years, years—there not a sound from them.

New waves out of the night’s mist and obscurity
lunge up high on the beach, spending their energy,
each wave angrily dying,
all shapes endlessly altering,

yet out there in the depths nothing is modified.
Earthquakes won’t even move—no, nor the hurricane—
one stone there, nor a glance of
sun’s light stir its identity.

From: https://allpoetry.com/poem/15093447-Depths-by-Richard-Thomas-Moore

Date: 2002

By: Richard Thomas Moore (19??-2009)

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

The Orange Alert by Douglas Kearney

Picture the upturned millipede, dead,
and see the streets of Altadena:
palm tree rows against the concrete, stiff
to the horizon.
There have been no birds big enough,
we are comforted, to pluck
the chitins from before our yards
and vanish
into the sun like dog-fighting MiGs.
War bears litters of similes.

Altadena, smog hugs the foothills like mustard gas
where our rich peer through their blinds
into ravines, Santa Anas sway the mustard plants, yuccas
bob, some man—his cigarette,
a full gas-can, an itch. We’ve known
the orange alert, fires reaching for helicopters
like cartoon cats clawing at panicked birds.

Yesterday, fire engines and HAZMAT trucks
jostled at Alameda and El Molino
like beetles eating a four-legged spider.
That morning, radios warned of orange.
Neighborhood kids watched officers climb in
and out an open manhole,
consulting the entrails of the great dead millipede.
We watched the ground;
the sun hotter than all year.
The mountains hid Santa Anas,
the smog went orange with dusk, the growing shadows
of lingering birds.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52901/the-orange-alert

Date: 2006

By: Douglas Kearney (1974- )

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

The Griesly Wife by John Streeter Manifold

“Lie still, my newly married wife,
Lie easy as you can.
You’re young and ill accustomed yet
To sleeping with a man.”

The snow lay thick, the moon was full
And shone across the floor.
And the young wife went with ne’er a word
Barefooted to the door.

He up and followed sure and fast,
The moon shone clear and white.
But before his coat was on his back
His wife was out of sight.

He trod the trail where’er it turned
By many a mound and scree,
And still the barefoot track led on,
And an angry man was he.

He followed fast, he followed slow,
And still he called her name,
But only the wild dogs out in the hills
Yowled back at him again.

His hair stood up along his neck,
His angry mind was gone,
For the track of the two bare feet gave out
And a four-foot track went on.

Her nightgown lay upon the snow
As it might upon the sheet,
But the track that led from where it lay
Was ne’er of human feet.

His heart turned over in his chest,
He looked from side to side,
And he thought more of his blazing fire,
Than he did of his griesly bride.

And first he started walking back
And then began to run,
And his quarry wheeled at the end of her track
And hunted him in turn.

Oh, long the fire may burn for him
And open stand the door,
And long may the bed wait empty:
For he’ll never see it more.

From: http://www.thehypertexts.com/Halloween%20Poetry.htm

Date: 1941

By: John Streeter Manifold (1915-1985)

Monday, 25 October 2021

Ghost Prisoner by Heid Ellen Erdrich

This prisoner and other “ghost detainees” were hidden largely to prevent the International Committee of the Red Cross from monitoring their treatment and conditions, officials said.
—“Rumsfeld Ordered Iraqi Suspect Held as ‘Ghost’ Prisoner,”
San Francisco Chronicle, June 17, 2004

The ghost prisoner, a murderer,
wishes he was invisible, sheer air,
already dead. His narrow bed
washes him away to dream escape
through holy gaps that open
in the grin of his small son.
Lost teeth offer him a freedom
so absurd he wakes and laughs.

No one hears the ghost prisoner.
Whether he groans or bears stoically
what instruments we’ve paid to play
this march toward a freedom so absurd
we wake and silently shake our heads.
We do not speak ill of the dead.

The ghost prisoner, still murderer,
wishes he was visible, fiery air,
rallying the dead. His narrow cell
just the place for prayer. Holy, holy,
a ghost’s revenge pushed through gaps
in his own gashed mouth, a curse
so absurd, he wakes to its howl.

No one says his name, his crimes,
how many jolts it took to resurrect
him as a betrayer of insurrection,
paying for freedom’s ring.

We do not want to know what it took.
We’d rather not speak the dead ill.
We do not want to know what it took
to make him wish he were dead still.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/88989/ghost-prisoner

Date: 2008

By: Heid Ellen Erdrich (1963- )

Sunday, 24 October 2021

The Little Witch by Johann Peter Hebel

I whittled at a stick one day, —
‘T was just to pass the time away:
A little girl came tripping by,
With rosy look and witching eye.

With artless smile and simple grace,
She looked me sweetly in my face,
And said, ” That knife is sharp, I ween, —
Another thing will cut as keen. ”

And then she laughed, and said, ” Good-day, ”
And like a dream had flown away;
The voice, the look, was with me still,
When all at once I felt me ill.

I could not work, I could not play;
I saw and heard her all the day.
That witching eye was sharp, I ween;
O, that was what would cut so keen.

I saw and heard her day and night, —
Her voice so soft, her eye so bright:
When others lay in slumber sweet,
I heard the clock each hour repeat

I could not stay and linger so:
Like one entranced, away I go;
Through field and forest, far and wide,
I seek if there the witch doth hide.

By bush and brake, by rock and hill,
Where’er I go, I see her still:
The little girl, with witching eye,
Is ever, ever tripping by.

Through town and village, too, I stray;
At every house I call and say,
” O, can you tell me where to find
The little girl that witched my mind? ”

I’ve sought her many a weary mile;
Methought I saw her all the while:
Ah! if I can’t the witch obtain,
I never shall be well again.

From: https://www.poetrynook.com/poem/hexli-little-witch

Date: 1803 (original in German), 18?? (translation in English)

By: Johann Peter Hebel (1760-1826)

Translated by: James Gates Percival (1795-1856)

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Still, It Pulls Me by Annie Neugebauer

The darkness pulled me, in those years—
delicious taste of sacred fears,
to satiate my appetite
for all things roaming in the night
with ghostly garb and toothy sneers.

Window through which the monster peers,
or gloomy path on which he nears,
for me did equally delight…
the darkness pulled me.

The blackened stain of bloody smears
revealed, once all the carnage clears—
it drew me like a moth to light—
inspired me to start to write
of lunacy and her sharp shears…
the darkness pulled me.

From: https://sites.google.com/a/newmyths.com/nmwebsite/poems/still-it-pulls-me

Date: 2015

By: Annie Neugebauer (19??- )

Friday, 22 October 2021

[I Have Accustomed These Bones to Grief] by Miguel Hernández Gilabert

I have accustomed these bones to grief
and these temples to deception:
grief goes, deception comes
like the sea from sand to beach.

Like the sea from beach to sand
I go from this wavering shipwreck
through a dark night, poor, black,
and sad as a round cast-iron pan.

If your love is not the plank I clench,
if your voice is not the north I follow,
no one will save me from this wreck.

So I go on eluding the dark omen
that I will never be safe in you,
smiling from heartache to heartache.

From: Hernández, Miguel and Genoways, Ted (ed.), The Selected Poems of Miguel Hernández: A Bilingual Edition, 2001, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, p. 57.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=ccfzJ4B-4Q4C)

Date: 1936 (original in Spanish); 2001 (translation in English)

By: Miguel Hernández Gilabert (1910-1942)

Translated by: Ted Genoways (1972- )