Archive for ‘General’

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Scarecrow by Fady Joudah

The rice field birds are too clever for scarecrows,
They know what they love, milk in the grain.

When it happens, there will be no time to look for anyone.
Husband, children, nine brothers and sisters.

You will drop your sugarcane-stick-beating of plastic bucket,
Stop shouting at birds and run.

They will pack you in trucks or herd you for a hundred miles.
Old men will teach you trade with soldiers at checkpoints.

You will give them your spoon, blanket and beans,
They’ll let you keep your life. And if you jump off the truck,

The army jeep trailing it will run you over.
Later, they will accuse you of giving up your land.

Later, you will stand in distribution lines and won’t receive enough to eat.
Your mother will weave you new underwear from flour sacks.

And they’ll give you plastic tents, cooking pots,
Vaccine cards, white pills, and wool blankets.

And you will keep your cool.
Standing with eyes shut tight like you’ve got soap in them,

Arms stretched wide like you’re catching rain.

From: https://fpif.org/poem_scarecrow/

Date: 2008

By: Fady Joudah (1971- )

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Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Shrine by Suhit Kelkar

At the end of the street
There is a marble shrine

With no gods within.

Sitting silently beside
Only a cement mixer

Baying at the moon
Soundlessly.

From: http://www.elsewherelit.org/suhit-kelkar

Date: 2019

By: Suhit Kelkar (19??- )

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Chaos by Gerard Nolst Trenité

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpsecorpshorse and worse.

I will keep you, Susybusy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear;
Queer, fair seerhear my prayer.

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
Just compare hearthear and heard,
Dies and dietlord and word.

Sword and swardretain and Britain
(Mind the latter how it’s written).
Made has not the sound of bade,
Saysaidpaypaidlaid but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
But be careful how you speak,
Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak ,

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via
Recipe, pipe, studding-sail, choir;
Wovenovenhow and low,
Scriptreceiptshoepoemtoe.

Say, expecting fraud and trickery:
Daughterlaughter and Terpsichore,
Branch, ranch, measlestopsailsaisles,
Missilessimilesreviles.

Whollyhollysignalsigning,
Sameexamining, but mining,
Scholarvicar, and cigar,
Solarmicawar and far.

From “desire”: desirableadmirable from “admire”,
Lumberplumberbier, but brier,
Topshambroughamrenown, but known,
Knowledgedonelonegonenonetone,

OneanemoneBalmoral,
Kitchenlichenlaundrylaurel.
GertrudeGermanwind and wind,
Beau, kind, kindred, queuemankind,

Tortoiseturquoisechamois-leather,
Reading, Readingheathenheather.
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives mossgrossbrookbroochninthplinth.

Have you ever yet endeavoured
To pronounce revered and severed,
Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,
Peter, petrol and patrol?

Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquetwalletmalletchalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.

Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which exactly rhymes with khaki.
Discountviscountload and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward,

Ricocheted and crochetingcroquet?
Right! Your pronunciation’s OK.
Roundedwoundedgrieve and sieve,
Friend and fiendalive and live.

Is your r correct in higher?
Keats asserts it rhymes Thalia.
Hugh, but hug, and hood, but hoot,
Buoyantminute, but minute.

Say abscission with precision,
Now: position and transition;
Would it tally with my rhyme
If I mentioned paradigm?

Twopence, threepence, tease are easy,
But cease, crease, grease and greasy?
Cornice, nice, valise, revise,
Rabies, but lullabies.

Of such puzzling words as nauseous,
Rhyming well with cautious, tortious,
You’ll envelop lists, I hope,
In a linen envelope.

Would you like some more? You’ll have it!
Affidavit, David, davit.
To abjure, to perjureSheik
Does not sound like Czech but ache.

Libertylibraryheave and heaven,
Rachellochmoustacheeleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
Peopleleopardtowed but vowed.

Mark the difference, moreover,
Between moverploverDover.
Leechesbreecheswiseprecise,
Chalice, but police and lice,

Camelconstableunstable,
Principledisciplelabel.
Petalpenal, and canal,
Waitsurmiseplaitpromisepal,

SuitsuiteruinCircuitconduit
Rhyme with “shirk it” and “beyond it”,
But it is not hard to tell
Why it’s pallmall, but Pall Mall.

Musclemusculargaoliron,
Timberclimberbullionlion,
Worm and stormchaisechaoschair,
Senatorspectatormayor,

Ivyprivyfamousclamour
Has the a of drachm and hammer.
Pussyhussy and possess,
Desert, but desertaddress.

Golfwolfcountenancelieutenants
Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants.
Courier, courtier, tombbombcomb,
Cow, but Cowper, some and home.

Solder, soldier! Blood is thicker“,
Quoth he, “than liqueur or liquor“,
Making, it is sad but true,
In bravado, much ado.

Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,
Fontfrontwontwantgrand and grant.

Arsenic, specific, scenic,
Relic, rhetoric, hygienic.
Gooseberry, goose, and close, but close,
Paradise, rise, rose, and dose.

Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle,
Make the latter rhyme with eagle.
MindMeandering but mean,
Valentine and magazine.

And I bet you, dear, a penny,
You say mani-(fold) like many,
Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,
Tier (one who ties), but tier.

Arch, archangel; pray, does erring
Rhyme with herring or with stirring?
Prison, bison, treasure trove,
Treason, hover, cover, cove,

Perseverance, severance. Ribald
Rhymes (but piebald doesn’t) with nibbled.
Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,
Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw.

Don’t be down, my own, but rough it,
And distinguish buffetbuffet;
Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,
Worcester, Boleyn, to impugn.

Say in sounds correct and sterling
Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling.
Evil, devil, mezzotint,
Mind the z! (A gentle hint.)

Now you need not pay attention
To such sounds as I don’t mention,
Sounds like pores, pause, pours and paws,
Rhyming with the pronoun yours;

Nor are proper names included,
Though I often heard, as you did,
Funny rhymes to unicorn,
Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan.

No, my maiden, coy and comely,
I don’t want to speak of Cholmondeley.
No. Yet Froude compared with proud
Is no better than McLeod.

But mind trivial and vial,
Tripod, menial, denial,
Troll and trolleyrealm and ream,
Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme.

Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely
May be made to rhyme with Raleigh,
But you’re not supposed to say
Piquet rhymes with sobriquet.

Had this invalid invalid
Worthless documents? How pallid,
How uncouth he, couchant, looked,
When for Portsmouth I had booked!

Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite,
Paramour, enamoured, flighty,
Episodes, antipodes,
Acquiesce, and obsequies.

Please don’t monkey with the geyser,
Don’t peel ‘taters with my razor,
Rather say in accents pure:
Nature, stature and mature.

Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,
Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,
Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,
Wan, sedan and artisan.

The th will surely trouble you
More than rch or w.
Say then these phonetic gems:
Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.

Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,
There are more but I forget ’em
Wait! I’ve got it: Anthony,
Lighten your anxiety.

The archaic word albeit
Does not rhyme with eight-you see it;
With and forthwith, one has voice,
One has not, you make your choice.

Shoes, goes, does *. Now first say: finger;
Then say: singer, ginger, linger.
Realzealmauve, gauze and gauge,
Marriagefoliagemirageage,

Hero, heron, query, very,
Parry, tarry fury, bury,
Dostlostpost, and dothclothloth,
JobJobblossombosomoath.

Faugh, oppugnant, keen oppugners,
Bowingbowing, banjo-tuners
Holm you know, but noes, canoes,
Puisnetruismuse, to use?

Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual,
SeatsweatchastecasteLeigheightheight,
Putnutgranite, and unite.

Reefer does not rhyme with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyrheifer.
DullbullGeoffreyGeorgeatelate,
Hintpintsenate, but sedate.

GaelicArabicpacific,
Scienceconsciencescientific;
Tour, but our, dour, succourfour,
Gasalas, and Arkansas.

Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit,
Next omit, which differs from it
Bona fide, alibi
Gyrate, dowry and awry.

Seaideaguineaarea,
PsalmMaria, but malaria.
Youthsouthsoutherncleanse and clean,
Doctrineturpentinemarine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion,
Rally with allyyeaye,
EyeIayayewheykeyquay!

Say aver, but everfever,
Neitherleisureskeinreceiver.
Never guess-it is not safe,
We say calvesvalveshalf, but Ralf.

Starry, granarycanary,
Crevice, but device, and eyrie,
Face, but preface, then grimace,
Phlegmphlegmaticassglassbass.

Basslargetargetgingiveverging,
Oughtoust, joust, and scour, but scourging;
Ear, but earn; and ere and tear
Do not rhyme with here but heir.

Mind the o of off and often
Which may be pronounced as orphan,
With the sound of saw and sauce;
Also soft, lost, cloth and cross.

Pudding, puddle, puttingPutting?
Yes: at golf it rhymes with shutting.
Respite, spite, consent, resent.
Liable, but Parliament.

Seven is right, but so is even,
HyphenroughennephewStephen,
Monkeydonkeyclerk and jerk,
Aspgraspwaspdemesnecorkwork.

A of valour, vapid vapour,
S of news (compare newspaper),
G of gibbet, gibbon, gist,
I of antichrist and grist,

Differ like diverse and divers,
Rivers, strivers, shivers, fivers.
Once, but nonce, toll, doll, but roll,
Polish, Polish, poll and poll.

Pronunciation-think of Psyche!-
Is a paling, stout and spiky.
Won’t it make you lose your wits
Writing groats and saying “grits”?

It’s a dark abyss or tunnel
Strewn with stones like rowlockgunwale,
Islington, and Isle of Wight,
Housewifeverdict and indict.

Don’t you think so, reader, rather,
Saying latherbatherfather?
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Thoughthroughboughcoughhoughsough, tough??

Hiccough has the sound of sup
My advice is: GIVE IT UP!

From: http://ncf.idallen.com/english.html

Date: 1922

By: Gerard Nolst Trenité (1870-1946)

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)

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Harbinger by Helen Dunmore

Small, polished shield-bearer
abacus of early days
and harbinger of life’s happiness

that the world offers
things scarlet and spotted
to alight, hasping and unhasping
unlikely wings,

that there can be three or thousands
but not a plague of ladybirds
no, a benediction of ladybirds
to enamel the weeds.

Small, polished shield-bearer
abacus of early days,
harbinger of life’s happiness.

From: Dunmore, Helen, The Malarkey, 2012, Bloodaxe Books: Northumberland, p. 35.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=0hB6tgAACAAJ)

Date: 2012

By: Helen Dunmore (1952-2017)

Monday, 29 July 2019

God Particles by James Crews

I could almost hear their soft collisions
on the cold air today, but when I came in,

shed my layers and stood alone by the fire,
I felt them float toward me like spores

flung far from their source, having crossed
miles of oceans and fields unknown to most

just to keep my body fixed to its place
on the earth. Call them God if you must,

these messengers that bring hard evidence
of what I once was and where I have been—

filling me with bits of stardust, whaleskin,
goosedown from the pillow where Einstein

once slept, tucked in his cottage in New Jersey,
dreaming of things I know I’ll never see.

From: https://www.americanlifeinpoetry.org/columns/detail/506

Date: 2013

By: James Crews (19??- )

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

The Summer Tree by Edith Marion Marcombe Shiffert

Since winter ended for this tree, new leaves
filled all the branches, grew, could not restrain
themselves from coming. They will wilt and drop,
be nothing, but for summer they show green.

Light shines all around them. They do not
feel its warmth or shape. They wear the glow
belonging to the season while they grow.
They wear the light, and that is what they are.

The rustle and the texture of the leaves,
the way they look, their smell and taste, do not
concern them on their stems and twigs. Each moves
as air moves, and when winter comes it falls.

Grow is not a word to lightly say.
The tree is there. It uses what it is.
Underground the roots expand. In air
branches rise and spread. The tree is there.

From: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/11/arts/edith-shiffert-a-poet-inspired-by-nature-and-her-life-in-japan-dies-at-101.html

Date: 1968

By: Edith Marion Marcombe Shiffert (1916-2017)

Monday, 22 July 2019

A Word by Ozaki Kihachi

I have to select a word for material.
It should be talked about in the smallest possible amount and
have a deep suggestiveness like nature,
bloom from inside its own self,
and at the edge of the fate encircling me
it will have to become darkly and sweetly ripened.

Of a hundred experiences it always
has to be the sum total of only one.
One drop of water dew
becomes the harvest of all dewdrops,
a dark evening’s one red point of light
is the night of the whole world.

And after that my poem
like a substance entirely fresh,
released far away from my memory,
the same as a scythe in a field in the morning,
the same as the ice on a lake in spring,
will suddenly begin to sing from its own recollection

From: Shiffert, Edith Marcombe and Sawa, Yūki (eds. and transls.), Anthology of Modern Japanese Poetry, 1972, Charles E. Tuttle Co. Inc: Tokyo, p. 39.
(https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Anthology_of_modern_Japanese_poetry.html?id=oR5kAAAAMAAJ)

Date:19?? (original in Japanese); 1972 (translation in English)

By: Ozaki Kihachi (1892-1974)

Translated by: Edith Marion Marcombe Shiffert (1916-2017) and Yūki Sawa (fl. 1969-1989)

Sunday, 21 July 2019

The Newsmonger by Royall Tyler

Of mazy faction, politics, and love
Of union blest, of youthful married pair,
Or bitter rue of age, with sweetest buds
Of rosy youth, by frolick Hymen tied
In grotesque bundle, of weeping widow
And orphan babes by mournfull accident
Bereaved, of monstrous births, and monsters brought
From distant climes to feast the curious eye
And lurch the treasured cent from gaping youth,
Of patent points and pills, and trader sly
Threatening with lawyer, ruthless writ and jail
His trembling debtor; of tardy hectic
Or pestilence swift-winged; vindictive storm,
Appalling earthquake and tornado fell,
Or war, far more destructive in its rage;
The Newsmonger* shall tell. Oh as you read,
Let deep reflection mark the varied tale.

*The Newsmonger was an imaginary newspaper.

From: Tyler, Royall and Péladeau, Marius B. (ed.), The Verse of Royall Tyler, 1968, The University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, p. 165.
(https://archive.org/details/verseofroyalltyl0000tyle/)

Date: 1807

By: Royall Tyler (1757-1826)

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Sonnet: Baugmaree by Toru Dutt

A sea of foliage girds our garden round,
But not a sea of dull unvaried green,
Sharp contrasts of all colors here are seen;
The light-green graceful tamarinds abound
Amid the mango clumps of green profound,
And palms arise, like pillars gray, between;
And o’er the quiet pools the seemuls lean,
Red-red, and startling like a trumpet’s sound.
But nothing can be lovelier than the ranges
Of bamboos to the eastward, when the moon
Looks through their gaps, and the white lotus changes
Into a cup of silver. One might swoon
Drunken with beauty then, or gaze and gaze
On a primeval Eden, in amaze.

From: https://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poems/sea-foliage-girds-our-garden-round

Date: 1882 (published)

By: Toru Dutt (1856-1877)