Posts tagged ‘1965’

Saturday, 11 December 2021

Malcolm by Welton Smith

i cannot move
from your voice.
there is no peace
where i am. the wind
cannot move
hard enough to clear the trash
and far away i hear my screams.

the lean, hard-bone face
a rich copper color.
the smile. the
thin nose and broad
nostrils. Betty-in the quiet
after midnight. your hand
soft on her back. you kiss
her neck softly
below her right ear.
she would turn
to face you and arch up–
her head moving to your chest.
her arms sliding
round your neck. you breathe deeply.
it is quiet. in this moment
you knew
what it was all about.

your voice
is inside me; i loaned
my heart in exchange
for your voice.

in harlem, the long
avenue blocks. the miles
from heart to heart.
a slobbering emaciated man
once a man of god sprawled
on the sidewalk. he clutches
his bottle. pisses on himself
demands you respect him
because his great grandmother
was one-eighth cherokee.
in this moment, you knew.

in berkeley the fat
jewess moves the stringy brown
hair from her face saying
she would like to help you–
give you some of her time.
you knew.
in birmingham “get a move
on you, girl. you bet’not
be late for sunday school.”
not this morning–
it is a design. you knew.

light plays on my eyelashes
when my eyes
are almost closed–
the chrome blues and golds
the crimson and pale
ice green     the swift movements
of lights through my lashes–
the sound of mecca
inside you. you knew.

the man
inside you; the men
inside you fought.
fighting men inside you
made a frenzy
smelling like shit.
you reached into yourself–
deep–and scooped your frenzy
and rolled it to a slimy ball
and stretched your arm back
to throw

now you pace the regions
of my heart. you know
my blood and see
where my tears are made.
i see the beast
and hold my frenzy;
you are not lonely–
in my heart there are many
unmarked graves.


Date: 1965

By: Welton Smith (1940-2006)

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Vogelfanger by Donald Alexander Finkel

Play with birds and one day the birds
begin to play with you.
First sparrows, little,
with a darting life of their own:
they arrange themselves,
there, among crumbs, or on wires,
a fine distribution!

Then one rises, and another,
past your face,
a flutter of beads and feathers.
Suddenly the astonished sky is full
of nails, knocked like stars
in the roof, to keep
the whole blue nothing up.

Who’ll buy my sparrows?
Who’ll listen to their quarrels
and comprehend?
They hop and down in their cages
like guilty secrets.

Lightly the air
presses down on our shoulders
its great blue thumbs,
lightly, as if afraid to hurt us.
What will you do when the sky falls,
brother? See?
the sparrows hold it up:
pray to them.

From: Finkel, Donald, ‘Vogelfanger’ in Poetry, Volume 105, Issue 6, March 1965, p. 360.

Date: 1965

By: Donald Alexander Finkel (1929-2008)

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Suburban Sonnet: Boxing Day by Gwendoline (Gwen) Nessie Foster Harwood (Miriam Stone)

Gold, silver, pink and blue, the globes distort her,
framed in the doorway: woman with a broom.
Wrappings and toys lie scattered round the room.
A glossy magazine the children bought her
lies open: ‘How to keep your husband’s love’.
She stands and stares, as if in recollection,
at her own staring acid-pink reflection.
The simple fact is, she’s too tired to move.

O where’s the demon lover, the wild boy
who kissed the future to her flesh beneath
what skies, what stars, what space! and swore to love her
through hell’s own fires? A child stretches above her
and, laughing, crowns her with a tinsel wreath.
She gathers up a new, dismembered toy.


Date: 1965

By: Gwendoline (Gwen) Nessie Foster Harwood (Miriam Stone) (1920-1995)

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Adult Advent Announcement by David Asbury Redding

O Lord,
Let Advent begin again
In us,
Not merely in commercials;
For that first Christmas was not
Simply for children,
But for the
Wise and the strong.
It was
Crowded around that cradle,
With kings kneeling.
Speak to us
Who seek an adult seat this year.
Help us to realize,
As we fill stockings,
Christmas is mainly
For the old folks —
Bent backs
And tired eyes
Need relief and light
A little more.
No wonder
It was grown-ups
Who were the first
To notice
Such a star.


Date: 1965

By: David Asbury Redding (1929-2013 )

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

In the Middle of the Road by Carlos Drummond de Andrade

In the middle of the road there was a stone
there was a stone in the middle of the road
there was a stone
in the middle of the road there was a stone.

Never should I forget this event
in the life of my fatigued retinas.
Never should I forget that in the middle of the road
there was a stone
there was a stone in the middle of the road
in the middle of the road there was a stone.

From: Milosz, Czeslaw (ed.), A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry, 1998, A Harvest Book (Harcourt, Inc.): Orlando, p. 8.

Date: 1930 (original in Portugese); 1965 (translated in English)

By: Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902-1987)

Translated by: Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)

Monday, 10 June 2019

To Her Portrait by Juana Inés de la Cruz

This coloured counterfeit that thou beholdest,
vainglorious with the excellencies of art,
is, in fallacious syllogisms of colour,
nought but a cunning dupery of sense;

this in which flattery has undertaken
to extenuate the hideousness of years,
and, vanquishing the outrages of time,
to triumph o’er oblivion and old age,

is an empty artifice of care,
is a fragile flower in the wind,
is a paltry sanctuary from fate,

is a foolish sorry labour lost,
is conquest doomed to perish and, well taken,
is corpse and dust, shadow and nothingness.


Date: c1685 (original in Spanish); 1965 (translation in English)

By: Juana Inés de la Cruz (1652-1695)

Translated by: Samuel Beckett (1906-1989)