Archive for ‘General’

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Dust by Robert Wrigley

From that hard-rutted, high-line road, the dust
billowed up like spindrift behind us,
a cloud the color of my skin, slowly ghosting away.
I loved the dry poultice a single summer day
could be in the mountains, even these mountains,
heavily timbered and ripped again and again
for their logs. I loved the dust as fine
as flour, settled in wind rows and sometimes—
in a low, exposed spot on a south-facing slope—
drifted over the road like a waterless pool, a swamp
of bones and dead men’s breath, untracked
and hot as fresh ash. And it is a fact
that we usually exploded into such places
like children, laughing, while the dust chased
us along the road. But there was one
dry wash we stopped for: lake-sized, the pure dun
from moth wings troweled smooth as glass.
It was a miracle we waded into past
our knees, a hot bath of earth you swore
we could swim through, so we did, and it poured
into us like sun, like music, and we rose
on that other shore changed, our clothes,
our hair, our hands, our lips altogether earth.
That day, we learned again the easy worth
of motion, the truck a dead sea away,
idling, shimmery with heat, and in every way
the antithesis of mountains, their imperceptible dance,
their purity of waiting, those certainties we see as chance.

From: http://www.poetrynw.org/robert-wrigley-two-poems/

Date: 1989

By: Robert Wrigley (1951- )

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Friday, 6 July 2018

Both Ways by Archie Randolph Ammons

One can’t
have it

both ways
and both

ways is
the only

way I
want it.

From: Ammons, A. R., The Really Short Poems of A. R. Ammons, 1990, Norton: New York.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=azfHQgAACAAJ)

Date: 1990

By: Archie Randolph Ammons (1926-2001)

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

A New Touch on the Times by Molly Gutridge

Well adapted to the distressing situation of every Seaport Town
By a Daughter of Liberty, living in Marblehead.

Our best beloved they are gone,
We cannot tell they’ll e’er return,
For they are gone the ocean wide,
Which for us now they must provide.

For they go on the roaring seas,
For which we can’t get any ease,
For they are gone to work for us,
And that it is to fill our purse.

We must do as well as we can,
What could women do without man,
They could not do by night or day,
Go round the world and that they’ll say.

They could not do by day or night,
I think that man’s a woman’s delight,
It’s hard and cruel times to live,
Takes thirty dollars to buy a sieve.

To buy sieves and other things too,
To go thro’ the world how can we do,
For times they sure grow worse and worse,
I’m sure it sinks our scanty purse.

Had we a purse to reach the sky,
It would be all just vanity,
If we had that and ten times more,
’Twould be like sand upon the shore.

For money is not worth a pin,
Had we but felt we’ve any thing,
For salt is all the Farmer’s cry,
If we’ve no salt we sure must die.

We can’t get fire nor yet food,
Takes 20 weight of sugar for two foot of wood,
We cannot get bread nor yet meat,
We see the world is naught but cheat.

We cannot now get meat nor bread
By means of which we [shake our head]
All we can get it is but rice
And that is of a wretched price.

And as we go up and down,
We see the doings of this town.
Some say they an’t victuals nor drink,
Others say they are ready to sink.

Our lives they all are tired here,
We see all things so cruel dear,
Nothing now a-days to be got,
To put in kettle nor in pot.

These times will learn us to be wise,
We now do eat what we despis’d:
I now having something more to say,
We must go up and down the Bay.

To get a fish a-days to fry,
We can’t get fat were we to die,
Were we to try all thro’ the town,
The world is now turn’d upside down.

But there’s a gracious GOD above,
That deals with us in tender love,
If we be kind and just and true,
He’ll set and turn the world anew.

If we’ll repent of all our crimes,
He’ll set us now new heavenly times,
Times that will make us all to ring,
If we forsake our heinous sins.

For sin is all the cause of this,
We must not take it then amiss,
Wan’t it for our polluted tongues
This cruel war would ne’er begun.

We should hear no fife nor drum,
Nor training bands would never come:
Should we go on our sinful course,
Times will grow on us worse and worse.

Then gracious GOD now cause to cease,
This bloody war and give us peace!
And down our streets send plenty then
With hearts as one we’ll say Amen!

If we expect to be forgiv’n,
Let’s tread the road that leads to Heav’n,
In these times we can’t rub along.
I now have ended this my song.

From: Gutridge, Molly, A New Touch on the Times, 2013, Early American Imprints: New York.
(http://americainclass.org/sources/makingrevolution/war/text7/touchonthetimes.pdf)

Date: 1779

By: Molly Gutridge (fl. 1779)

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Jellyfish by Leonard Ng

By the breakwater I watched: a pulsing dome
like a beating heart or a bird’s steady wings,
barely visible in the lazy brown eddies
of the current and tide.

Then lying on the sand, a heap of gelatin
clear as the back of a wristwatch
revealing its precise machinery,
ticking away
the final fleeting seconds of its life.

Rolling now and again in the foam, sand-choked.
Marooned on the drying shore,
cast up without malice by the waves
with all the care given to shells or sailors.
Rocking like an infant in the surf.

The birds will not eat it
and the crabs will not come.
Only the sea will rise
to take the body back again
with the next tide,
without any pomp or solemn procession,
back again
into the waters once its home.

From: https://kitaab.org/2015/12/28/three-poems-by-leonard-ng/

Date: 2015

By: Leonard Ng (1979- )

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Phone-Booths by Robert Gibb

Back before the private life went public
Like shares, they were a fixture of it, the old indoor
Wooden ones, sentinel or all in a line

With their seats and shelves and pleated fronts,
The lights coming on when they shut.

You sat in a glassed-faced closet the size of the confessional,
Dropping coins through their slots,
The clang of change tripping the circuitry open.

The dials were like the clocks back then,
Circumferenced with numbers,

The phones black-boxed to walls
On which clumsy glyphs and messages were scrawled.

So there you were, snugged in, out of earshot
And ready to have your say.

Landlines, sea-floor cables, the creosote-soaked poles—
You were connected to all of it.

Which has now turned all to cloud.

From: https://thegalwayreview.com/2015/03/17/robert-gibb-five-poems/

Date: 2015

By: Robert Gibb (1946- )

Monday, 25 June 2018

A Riddle by Nathaniel Evans

Written 1759.

Barricado’d with white bone,
Lab’ring under many a groan,
Curtain’d in my room with red,
And smoothly laid in crimson bed;
‘Tis I dissolve the stony heart,
And comfort’s balmy joys impart;
‘Tis I can rule the wav’ring croud,
Or tame the haughty and the proud;
‘Tis I o’er beauty oft prevail,
That queen of life’s capricious vale;
‘Tis I can fire the warrior’s soul,
Or passion’s giddy voice control;
Senates have felt my lordly sway,
And kings my magic pow’r obey;
‘Tis I, so garrulously gay,
That rouze the dames whose heads are grey;
Gilded o’er with truth and lies,
Under many a mixt disguise,
I dress to cheat unpractis’d youth,
With falsehood’s garb for honest truth;
XANTHIPPE bold, in dead of night,
Taught SOCRATES to own my might!

Strange enchantress, motely creature,
Oddest prodigy of nature!
As raging billows, now I’m wild,
And now as warbling fountains mild;
Now religion’s laws proclaiming,
And now the good and just defaming;
Now cementing patriotism,
And now in church provoking schism.
Enough, O muse!– kind reason cries,
The man who has this monster dies!
Expound my riddle, if you’re able,
For ‘twas this confounded BABEL!

From: Evans, Nathaniel, Poems on Several Occasions, with Some Other Compositions, 1772, John Dunlap: Philadelphia, pp. 19-20.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=vNQhAAAAMAAJ)

Date: 1759

By: Nathaniel Evans (1741-1767)

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Lines 1-14 from “A dutiful invective, against the moste haynous treasons of Ballard and Babington with other their adherents, latelie executed” by William Kempe

What madnes hath so mazd mens minds, that they cānot forsée,
The wretched ends of catives vile, which work by treacherie?
To overthrowe the blessed state, of happie common wealth,
or to deprive their soveraigne prince, of her long wished health.
If feare of God and of his lawes, were clearelie out of minde,
If feare of death (by Princes lawes) might not their dueties binde?
If vtter ruine of the Realme, and spoile of guiltlesse blood?
Might not suffice to stay the rage, of traitors cruell moode?
Yet, might they well consider, howe treasons come to nought,
And alwaies worke their overthrowe, by whom they first were wrought
And what they have pretended, that should on others light,
Hath happened on their cursed corpes, and them confounded quight.
Examples many have bene shewen, which plainly doe expresse,
How never traitor could prevaile, in that his wickednesse.

From: Kempe, William, A dutiful invective, against the moste haynous treasons of Ballard and Babington with other their adherents, latelie executed. Together, with the horrible attempts and actions of the Q. of Scottes and the sentence pronounced against her at Fodderingay. Newlie compiled and set foorth, in English verses: for a New yeares gifte to all loyall English subiects, 2003, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, p. [unnumbered].
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A04793.0001.001)

Date: 1587

By: William Kempe (d. 1603)

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Rain by Donald (Don) Paterson

I love all films that start with rain:
rain, braiding a windowpane
or darkening a hung-out dress
or streaming down her upturned face;

one long thundering downpour
right through the empty script and score
before the act, before the blame,
before the lens pulls through the frame

to where the woman sits alone
beside a silent telephone
or the dress lies ruined on the grass
or the girl walks off the overpass,

and all things flow out from that source
along their fatal watercourse.
However bad or overlong
such a film can do no wrong,

so when his native twang shows through
or when the boom dips into view
or when her speech starts to betray
its adaptation from the play,

I think to when we opened cold
on a rain-dark gutter, running gold
with the neon of a drugstore sign,
and I’d read into its blazing line:

forget the ink, the milk, the blood—
all was washed clean with the flood
we rose up from the falling waters
the fallen rain’s own sons and daughters

and none of this, none of this matters.

From: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/05/26/rain-poems-don-paterson

Date: 2008

By: Donald (Don) Paterson (1963- )

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

In the Mid-Midwinter by Elizabeth (Liz) Anne Lochhead

after John Donne’s ‘A Nocturnal on St Lucy’s Day’

At midday on the year’s midnight
into my mind came
I saw the new moon late yestreen
wi the auld moon in her airms
though, no,
there is no moon of course—
there’s nothing very much to speak of anything to speak of
in the sky except a gey dreich greyness
rain-laden over Glasgow and today
there is the very least of even this for us to get
but
the light comes back
the light always comes back
and this begins tomorrow with
however many minutes more of sun and serotonin.

Meanwhile
there will be the winter moon for us to love the longest,
fat in the frosty sky among the sharpest stars,
and lines of old songs we can’t remember
why we know
or when first we heard them
will aye come back
once in a blue moon to us
unbidden

and bless us with their long-travelled light.

From: http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poems/mid-midwinter-0

Date: 2016

By: Elizabeth (Liz) Anne Lochhead (1947- )

Thursday, 7 June 2018

In the Mountains by Wang Wei

Bramble stream, white rocks jutting out.
Heaven cold, red leaves scarce. No rain

up here where the mountain road ends,
sky stains robes empty kingfisher-blue.

From: https://www.terrain.org/2015/poetry/wang-wei-david-hinton/

Date: 8th century (original); 2015 (translation)

By: Wang Wei (699-759)

Translated by: David Hinton (1954- )