Archive for ‘Relationships’

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Touch Me by Stanley Jasspon Kunitz

Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that’s late,
it is my song that’s flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it’s done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.

From: https://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/poetry/antholog/kunitz/touchme.htm

Date: 1995

By: Stanley Jasspon Kunitz (1905-2006)

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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Middle Age by Jason Shinder

Many of my friends are alone
and know too much to be happy
though they still want to dive
to the bottom of the green ocean
and bring back a gold coin
in their hand. A woman I know wakes
in the late evening and talks
to her late husband,
the windows blank photographs.
On the porch, my brother,
hands in pockets,
stares at the flowing stream.
What’s wrong? Nothing.
The cows stand
in their own slow afternoons.
The horses gather
wild rose hips in the sun
the way I longed for someone
long ago. What was it like?
The door opening
and no one on either side.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/54031/middle-age

Date: 2009 (published)

By: Jason Shinder (1955-2008)

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

As the Ruin Falls by Clive Staples Lewis

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you —
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through;
I want God, you, all friends merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure are the goals I seek;
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin;
I talk of love — a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek,
But self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that you now have taught me (but how late!) my lack,
I see the chasm; and everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.
For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.

From: http://www.thehypertexts.com/Best%20Elegies%20Dirges%20Laments%20and%20Poems%20of%20Mourning.html

Date: 1964 (published)

By: Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963)

Monday, 17 September 2018

Condolence by Noël Peirce Coward

The mind, an inveterate traveller
Journeys swiftly and far
Faster than light, quicker than sound
Or the flaming arc of a falling star
But the body remains in a vacuum
Gagged, bound and sick with dread
Knowing the words that can’t be spoken
Searching for words that must be said
Dumb, inarticulate, heartbroken.
Inadequate, inhibited.

From: Coward, Noël, Payn, Graham and Tickner, Martin (eds.) Noël Coward: Collected Verse, Bloomsbury: London, p. 65.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=BIkIBAAAQBAJ)

Date: 1967

By: Noël Peirce Coward (1899-1973)

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Lament Not, Wayfarer by Carphyllidas

Lament not, wayfarer, that passest by my tomb;
not even in death have I any cause for tears.
Children’s children do I leave:
with one wife was I blessed, whose years were as my own.
Three sons I gave in marriage,
and oft have I rocked their children on my breast.
Nor death nor sickness of one of them all have I bewailed,
but they have given me due rites of funeral, and sent me
to sleep the sleep delectable, in the land of the leal.

From: Tomson, Graham R. (ed.), Selections from the Greek Anthology, 1895, Walter Scott: London, p. 95.
(https://archive.org/details/selectionsfromgr00wats)

Date: 1st century BCE (original in Greek); 1895 (translation in English)

By: Carphyllidas (1st century BCE)

Translated by: Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

Friday, 14 September 2018

Rain Crow by Bobby Caudle Rogers

rain•bird (rān´bûrd´), n. any of several birds, esp. the black-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus) and the yellow-billed cuckoo (C. americanus), that are said to call frequently before a rainstorm. [1910-15; RAIN + BIRD]

—Random House Dictionary of the English Language, 2nd Ed., Unabridged

Until I learned better, the song of a mourning dove could make me homesick. I might be walking
to breakfast down Melrose Avenue
in Knoxville, my first weeks up at school, and a wind-slurred call would startle me homeward. I
must have still believed
the town I’d forsaken was the only place that could produce a sad sound. Why shouldn’t the rest of
the world harbor a wild bird or two
with mournful songs to sing? That fall whenever the phone rang, some voice from home came on
the line to describe the circumstances surrounding
the death of another high school classmate. A dangerous time, those first stridings into the world,
not knowing what you’ll need to fear or even the name

it went by. More than one suicide that fall. And then Kirby was killed driving home at 3:00 in the
morning after playing bass guitar
in a nameless bar band. I had almost stopped thinking about it every single second when The
McKenzie Banner
 arrived with its hometown news
and gossip. There above the fold on page one was a picture of a volunteer fireman pointing a hose
at the burning car to cool it down
so he and his help might get at it with the hydraulic cutter, in no particular hurry. People who care
more about these things will tell you
the rain crow is a species of cuckoo, secretive and rarely seen save in the heat before a storm hits,
but where I come from

the rain crow was the mourning dove, its coo-coo-coo heard as plaintive whether it is or not.
Outside of hunting season, one was perched
on every fencepost, flocks of them evenly spaced along sagging power lines. When the sky grew
cloudy and made ready to rain the birds would take wing
to dart and converse with added urgency as the wind kicked up. Their fair weather singing had
been so much practice: now they dared us to write
consolation onto the notes of their song. I could love the folk wisdom handed me even if I couldn’t
believe it was true. The world doesn’t need a bird’s singing
to make it any sadder, but what harm trying to match a few words to the dove’s breathy triplets?
The rain will come—if not just now, then soon enough.

From: http://crr.trevecca.edu/article/rain-crow

Date: 2016

By: Bobby Caudle Rogers (19??- )

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Mad Exit by Vasile “Vasko” Popa

They scare me by saying
There’s a screw loose in my head

They scare me more by saying
They’ll bury me
In a box with the screws loose

They scare me but little do they realise
That my loose screws
Scare them

The happy crazy from our street
Boasts to me.

From: http://www.beyond-the-pale.co.uk/vaskopopa.htm

Date: c1975 (original in Serbian); 1996 (translation in English)

By: Vasile “Vasko” Popa (1922-1991)

Translated by: Anthony Weir (1941- )

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Elevator Music by Christa Romanosky

We never cared for opera, our mouths were just for kissing: maps, fast food,
phosphorescent bourbon, then you went rogue, and that was life. I followed

horoscopes, fortune-tellers into heavenly basements, anything was better
if I felt “found.” She said, “You will have success but never love.” I wanted

someone to prove it. Sunflowers strung into gravely sunlight, littered
cities, everything else gleaned. And I thought of you on jets, worldwide,

dreaming of Carl Sagan, eating tortoise on Western shores, not yet
holy but believing in strategies and making deadlines – while I watched

red plum saplings sprout like pins, crawled into sauna just to feel
the threshold met, time perch – everything exhale claret. Not dreaming

but becoming more animal. The fuzz of my thigh lifting
when doorways gaped, prayers exhumed. That is how I went about my life

waiting for you: developing pyrotechnic tendencies, a sixth sense for dangerous
men. Sometimes indulging, but never resulting. I still believe

you must get under things to understand anyone, but I prefer
to make quick exits, avoid ruins. Often I am not “lost” at all, but missing

childhood, maternal soothe. They say “solo” is not technically
a disorder, but the factories close around me, and the nights stay up so late.

From: http://vinylpoetryandprose.com/2017/06/christa-romanosky/

Date: 2017

By: Christa Romanosky (19??- )

Friday, 7 September 2018

For Lack of Gold by Adam Austin

For lack of gold she’s left me, O,
And of all that’s dear bereft me, O;
She me forsook for Athole’s duke,
And to endless woe she has left me, O.
A star and garter have more art
Than youth, a true and faithful heart;
For empty titles we must part,
And for glittering show she’s left me, O.

No cruel fair shall ever move
My injured heart again to love;
Through distant climates I must rove,
Since Jeanie she has left me, O.
Ye powers above, I to your care
Give up my faithless, lovely fair;
Your choicest blessings be her share,
Though she’s for ever left me, O!

From: Eyre-Todd, George (ed.), Scottish Poetry of the Eighteenth Century, Volume II, 1896, William Hodge & Co: Glasgow, p. 78.
(https://archive.org/details/scottishpoetryof02eyreuoft)

Date: 1749

By: Adam Austin (1726-1774)

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note by Amiri Baraka (Everett LeRoi Jones/Imamu Amear Baraka)

Lately, I’ve become accustomed to the way
The ground opens up and envelopes me
Each time I go out to walk the dog.
Or the broad edged silly music the wind
Makes when I run for a bus…

Things have come to that.

And now, each night I count the stars.
And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.

Nobody sings anymore.

And then last night I tiptoed up
To my daughter’s room and heard her
Talking to someone, and when I opened
The door, there was no one there…
Only she on her knees, peeking into

Her own clasped hands.

From: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/baraka/onlinepoems.htm

Date: 1961

By: Amiri Baraka (Everett LeRoi Jones/Imamu Amear Baraka) (1934-2014)