Archive for ‘General’

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)

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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)

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

The Wind by Thomas Holley Chivers

Thou wringest, with thy invisible hand, the foam
Out of the emerald drapery of the sea,
Beneath whose foldings lies the Sea-Nymph’s home —
Lifted, to make it visible, by thee;
Till thou art exiled, earthward, from the maine,
To cool the parched tongue of the Earth with rain.

Thy viewless wing sweeps, with its tireless flight,
Whole Navies from their boundings on the waves —
Wrapping the canvas, pregnant with thy might,
Around the seamen in their watery graves!
Till thou dost fall asleep upon the grass,
And then the ocean is as smooth as glass.

Thou art the Gardner of the flowery earth —
The Sower in the spring-time of the year —
Clearing plantations, in thy goings forth,
Amid the wilderness, where all is drear —
Scattering ten thousand giant oaks around,
Like playthings, on the dark, opprobrious ground.

From: https://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poems/wind

Date: 1853

By: Thomas Holley Chivers (1809-1858)

Saturday, 29 June 2019

In These Dark Waters by Maeda Ringai

In these dark waters
drawn up from
my frozen well…
glittering of spring.

From: Beilenson, Peter (ed. and transl.), Japanese Haiku, 1955, Peter Pauper Press: Mount Vernon, New York, p. 7.
(https://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/jh/index.htm)

Date: c1890 (original in Japanese); 1955 (translation in English)

By: Maeda Ringai (1864-1946)

Translated by: Peter Beilenson (1905-1962)

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Winter Solstice by Janlori Goldman

for Jean Valentine

O odd light
bring me the old season
that winter familiar
a slow sheathing of moon in shadow
as if sky were a gill
through which all things
flow in                 filter out
bring me a home with no right angles
a space of curling in
not too bright or sharp
and bring me the time before that
with the garden dark with broken-down
coffee grounds                 rows of flowering mustard greens
the smell of ripped roots fresh
from the pull
and then before that
to my round house a friend will come
or maybe the friend’s mother
I’ll say stay for dinner
she’ll say let me sew that button.

From: https://www.gwarlingo.com/2012/the-sunday-poem-janlori-goldman/

Date: 2012

By: Janlori Goldman (19??- )

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Prudence: An Acrostic by Elizabeth Gread Braund

Prudent be in all thy dealings;
Regulate aright thy feelings;
Undertake no work in haste;
Deal with friend and foe in grace;
Envy none their high estate;
Nought but craft and meanness hate;
Catch the moments as they fly —
Excelsior thy motto high!

From: Braund, Elizabeth, Fugitive Pieces: Historical, Fragmentary, and Sacred, 1868, Charles Griffin & Co: London, p. 53.
(https://archive.org/details/fugitivepieceshi00braurich/)

Date: 1868

By: Elizabeth Gread Braund (fl. 1864-1868)