Archive for ‘General’

Monday, 22 April 2019

Rabbits are Nice Neighbors by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Rabbits are nice neighbors,
Kindly and quiet.
They don’t bite mailmen,
Or make loud noises in the night.

Rabbits are ornamental,
Lop-eared and silky,
With long bouncy legs,
And noses that quiver.

And now and then—not often—
They deliver—

From: Livingston, Myra Cohn (ed.) and Wallner, John (illustr.), Easter Poems, 1985, Holiday House: New York, p. 10.

Date: ?1966

By: Zilpha Keatley Snyder (1927-2014)

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Lines 248-293 [Description of London] from “The Love of Gain: A Poem. Imitated from the Thirteenth Satire of Juvenal” by Matthew Gregory Lewis

Ye giddy, gay, and proud,
Who swell great London’s ever-bustling crowd,
London, where all extremes together meet,
Folly’s chief throne, and Wisdom’s gravest seat;
Where disagreements in agreement lie,
Our close-knit mass of contrariety;
Where throng the rich and poor, the fool and knave,
Where statesmen juggle, and where patriots rave;
Where balls for advocates prepare their work,
And embryo law-suits in a whisper lurk;
Where Cupid pays in specie for his wiles,
And judges frown whene’er a lady smiles;
Where equal farce continual sport affords
At Covent-Garden, or the House of Lords;
Where beggars with feigned tears and ready smiles,
Cringe to St. James, or blubber to St. Giles;
Ye who confusedly sail in motley trim
Down this full flood of pleasure, business, whim,
Whether you frame smooth, glib, and specious lies
To cheat a tradesman, or to raise supplies,
With private or with public misery sport,
Cheats upon ‘Change, or Parasites at Court,
Now pause awhile!—For one reflecting hour
Forego your hopes of gain, your dreams of power,
And hark, while tells the Muse what monstrous crimes,
What new-found sins reserv’d for our strange times,
Their hideous forms to Addington betray,
From morn’s first languish to the death of day.
Here mark the thankless child, the unnatural sire,
The Pandar slave who lets his spouse for hire,
The adulterous friend, the trusted wanton wife,
The brother aiming at the brother’s life,
The rake who cools in beauty’s arms his heat,
Then lets her starve, or ply for bread the street,
And that dark train of foes to moral rules,
Thieves, Bawds, Assassins, Gamblers, Knaves, and Fools,
Fools, who would fain be knaves …… No more I’ll write,
Hence, odious forms, nor longer shock my sight!
Else by disgust and scorn to madness driven,
Bursting those chains which bind my soul to Heaven,
I shall disdain to breathe such tainted air,
Shall blush an human form like these to wear,
For present ease shall barter future bliss,
And sure no world can be more black than this,
Deep in my swelling heart shall plunge the knife,
And cry, while flies my soul from mortal strife,
“Heaven bless my father, though he gave me life!”

From: Lewis, M. G., The Love of Gain: A Poem. Imitated from the Thirteenth Satire of Juvenal, 1799, J. Bell: London, pp. 27-33.

Date: 1799

By: Matthew Gregory Lewis (1775-1818)

Monday, 8 April 2019

Reading by Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn ʿAmmār

My eye frees what the page imprisons:
the white the white and the black the black.


Date: 11th century (original in Arabic); 1971 (translation in Spanish);1989 (translation in English)

By: Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn ʿAmmār (1031-1086)

Translated by: Emilio García Gómez (1905-1995) and Cola Franzen (1923-2018)

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Lake Monger by William Hart-Smith

On Lake Monger a black swan
makes of its neck an interrogation-mark
punctuating a sentence of ducks.

From: Sadler, R, Hayllar, T and Powell, Suzanne K, The Untamed Fire: Poems for Secondary Students, 1997, Macmillan Education Australia: Melbourne, p. 12.

Date: ?1974

By: William Hart-Smith (1911-1990)

Monday, 1 April 2019

Journeybread Recipe by Lawrence Schimel

Even in the electric kitchen there was the smell of a journey.
—Anne Sexton, “Little Red Riding Hood”

1. In a tupperware wood, mix child and hood. Stir slowly. Add wolf.

2. Turn out onto a lightly floured path, and begin the walk home from school.

3. Sweeten the journey with candied petals: velvet tongues of violet, a posy of roses. Soon you will crave more.

4. Knead the flowers through the dough as wolf and child converse, tasting of each others flesh, a mingling of scents.

5. Now crack the wolf and separate the whites—the large eyes, the long teeth—from the yolks.

6. Fold in the yeasty souls, fermented while none were watching. You are too young to hang out in bars.

7. Cover, and, warm and moist, let the bloated belly rise nine months.

8. Shape into a pudgy child, a dough boy, lumpy but sweet. Bake half an hour.

9. Just before the time is up—the end in sight, the water broken–split the top with a hunting knife, bone-handled and sharp.

10. Serve swaddled in a wolfskin throw, cradled in a basket and left on a grandmother’s doorstep.

11. Go to your room. You have homework to be done. You are too young to be in the kitchen, cooking.

From: Datlow, Ellen and Winding, Terri (eds.), Black Thorn, White Rose, 2014, Open Rose Media: New York City, pp. [unnumbered].

Date: 1994

By: Lawrence Schimel (1971- )

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Final Verse of “Mahābhārata” by Nannaya Bhattaraka

Autumn nights under the glowing canopy of stars,
dense with the wind-borne fragrance
of unfolding water lilies,
flooded with light white as camphor
flowing down from the moon,
and filled with sky.

From: Velcheru, Narayana Rao and Shulman, David (eds. and transls.), Classical Telugu Poetry: An Anthology, 2002, University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, p. 55.

Date: 11th century (original in Telugu); 2002 (translation in English)

By: Nannaya Bhattaraka (11th century)

Translated by: Narayana Rao Velcheru (1932- ) and David Dean Shulman (1949- )

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Change by John Raymond Knister

I shall not wonder more, then,
But I shall know.

Leaves change, and birds, flowers,
And after years are still the same.

The sea’s breast heaves in sighs to the moon,
But they are moon and sea forever.

As in other times the trees stand tense and lonely,
And spread a hollow moan of other times.

You will be you yourself,
I’ll find you more, not else,
For vintage of the woeful years.

The sea breathes, or broods, or loudens,
Is bright or is mist and the end of the world;
And the sea is constant to change.

I shall not wonder more, then,
But I shall know.


Date: 1922

By: John Raymond Knister (1899-1932)

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Justice in America by John Clark Ferguson (Alfred Lee)

Justice is blind, for, next her darken’d eyes
The well-tied bandage light of heav’n denies,
And in her hands she holds those awful scales,
Whose fair and honest measure never fails;
But brib’d by Jonathan, though next her face,
The kerchief hides her beauty’s beaming grace,
Still from beneath she steals a cunning glance,
In all the crookéd beauty called askance!
Nor are her measures all the proper weight,
To meet the searching majesty of light.
O I’m asham’d l hold, Justice, hold, enough,
Such blindness will not do for blindman’s-buff!
Why does the negro not enlist your aid
You only act for him by whom you’re paid,
And in the court that bears your Grace’s name,
White versus black does still your favour claim;
There, on the bench, (if true the rumour goes,)
Your Grace’s weary eye-lids like a doze!*
Pardon your most obedient—I’m afraid
Affront and insult to my charge are laid!
No! ’tis to shew the wonders of that art,
Of which clairvoyance prov’d in you’s a part,
That I unfold to European view
Mesmeric sleep that snores and judges too!

*  Mrs. Trollope, in her work descriptive of America, gives a very ludicrous account of the manner in which justice is administered in that country—a prisoner frequently making his defence before a snoring judge.

From: Ferguson, John Clark, The Poetical Works of John Clark Ferguson. New Edition with Additional Poems, 1856, R. Groombridge & Sons: London, pp. 88-89.

Date: 1850

By: John Clark Ferguson (Alfred Lee) (?1825-????)

Friday, 15 March 2019

Black Swans on the Murray Lagoons by William Sharp

The long lagoons lie white and still
Beneath the great round Austral moon:
The sudden dawn will waken soon
With many a delicious thrill:
Between this death and life the cries
Of black swans ring through silent skies—
And the long wash of the slow stream
Moves as in sleep some bodeful dream.

From: Sharp, William, Poems by William Sharp, Selected and Arranged by Mrs. William Sharp, 1912, Duffield and Company: New York, p. 107.

Date: 1888

By: William Sharp (1855-1905)

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Coarse the Rush-Mat Roof by Tenji Tennō

Coarse the rush-mat roof
Sheltering the harvest-hut
Of the autumn rice-field;
And my sleeves are growing wet
With the moisture dripping through.


Date: 7th century (original); 1917 (translation)

By: Tenji Tennō (626-672)

Translated by: Clay MacCauley (1843-1925)