Posts tagged ‘1977’

Friday, 26 June 2020

Give Me the Red On the Black of the Bullet by Jayne Cortez (Sallie Jayne Richardson)

(For Claude Reece Jr.*)

Bring back the life
of Claude Reece Jr.

I want the bullet from his chest
to make a Benin bronze
to make an explosion of thunder
to make a cyclone

I want the 14 years of Claude Reece Jr.
shot on the 15th day of september
shot in the back of his head
shot by a police officer
shot for being black

Give me the black on the red of the bullet
i want to make a tornado
to make an earthquake
to make a fleet of stilts
for the blackness of Claude Reece Jr.
the blackness called dangerous weapon
called resisting arrest
called nigger threat

I want the life of the blackness of Claude Reece Jr.
i want the bullet from his chest
yo make a protective staff for startled children
to make hooks and studs
for warrior masks

Give me the bullet with the odor
and the smoke and the skin and
the hair of Claude Reece Jr.
i want to make power
to make power
for the blackness of Claude Reece Jr.
the blackness called pent-up frustration
called unidentified negro
called nigger revolutionary

I want the life of the blackness of Claude Reece Jr.
i want the bullet from his chest
to make a protective staff for startled children
to make a Benin bronze
to make an explosion of thunder
to make a cyclone
i want the bullet to bring back the blood
of Claude Reece Jr.
i want to make justice

I want to make justice for
the blackness of Claude Reece Jr.
bring back the bullet with the blood of the blackness
of Claude Reece Jr.
i want to make justice
i want to make justice for the blackness of Claude Reece Jr.

*Claude Reese Junior, aged 14 years, was shot in the head by police officer Frank Bosco in Brooklyn, New York, on 15 September 1974.

From: Cortez, Jayne, “Give Me the Red on the Black of the Bullet” in To Our Comrads Inside New Year’s Book 1987 from the Real Dragon Project, 1987, p. [unnumbered].
(http://freedomarchives.org/Documents/Finder/DOC28_scans/28.real.dragon.project.1987.pdf)

Date: 1977

By: Jayne Cortez (Sallie Jayne Richardson) (1934-2012)

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

And This Is the Ballad of My Life by Abraham (Avrom) Sutzkever

And this is the ballad of my life: dipping bread
in salt at a banquet for my unseen guests from afar.
And when they are hailed on by clod of earth after clod of earth,
to meet them between long tree-lined streets once more.

And this is the ballad of my life: that I mumble
strange syllables before the people of silence.
And they, the unseen and heirs of the mists,
fill my living anxiety and contemplations.

And this is the ballad of my life: to be a witness that those
who lashed me with thongs just a moment ago and set
children on fire and cremated them with their grandfathers,
these same people should send off a swarm of diamonds.

A day at the conclusion of days approaches through tears,
the way a blooming cherry tree approaches at the end of night.
And this is the ballad of my life: to hear my critic–
the roaring oracular voice of forever.

From: https://intranslation.brooklynrail.org/yiddish/ten-poems-from-poems-from-my-diary-by-abraham-sutzkever/

Date: 1977 (original in Yiddish) 2014 (translation in English)

By: Abraham (Avrom) Sutzkever (1913-2010)

Translated by: Maia Evrona (19??- )

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Aboriginal Australia (To the Others) by Jack Leonard Davis

You once smiled a friendly smile,
Said we were kin to one another,
Thus with guile for a short while
Became to me a brother.
Then you swamped my way of gladness,
Took my children from my side,
Snapped shut the law book, oh my sadness
At Yirrakalas’ plea denied.
So, I remember Lake George hills,
The thin stick bones of people.
Sudden death, and greed that kills,
That gave you church and steeple.
I cry again for Warrarra men,
Gone from kith and kind,
And I wondered when I would find a pen
To probe your freckled mind.
I mourned again for the Murray tribe,
Gone too without a trace.
I thought of the soldier’s diatribe,
The smile on the governor’s face.
You murdered me with rope, with gun
The massacre of my enclave,
You buried me deep on McLarty’s run
Flung into a common grave.
You propped me up with Christ, red tape,
Tobacco, grog and fears,
Then disease and lordly rape
Through the brutish years.
Now you primly say you’re justified,
And sing of a nation’s glory,
But I think of a people crucified –
The real Australian story.

From: https://www.poemist.com/jack-davis/aboriginal-australia

Date: 1977

By: Jack Leonard Davis (1917-2000)

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Winter Solstice by Gary Young

Birds travel toward the horizon
at a distance which makes them
indistinguishable. We only know
that they seem to be leaving the earth.
The glassy bulbs of the Iris have worked their way
to the surface of the damp soil,
and the roots of the pine tree
rest on the ground like arthritic knuckles,
clumsey, useless, having given up
on everything, even themselves.
I watch the rain fall after a year of drought,
and it settles into the runoff. My yard
is a delta of tiny rivers, and the spirit,
which must be like water, flows quietly away.

From: Young, Gary, “Winter Solstice” in Poetry, December 1977, p. 144. (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?volume=131&issue=3&page=24)

Date: 1977

By: Gary Young (1951- )

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Spell to Banish Fear by Jeni Couzyn

By the warmth of the sun
By the baby’s cry
By the lambs on the hill
I banish thee.

By the sweetness of the song
By the warm rain falling
By the hum of grass
Begone

From: Fisher, Robert (ed.), Witch Words: Poems of Magic and Mystery, 1987, Faber and Faber: London, p. 13.
(https://archive.org/details/witchwords00fabe/)

Date: 1977

By: Jeni Couzyn (1942- )

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Welcome Home by Spike (Terence Alan) Milligan

Unaware of my crime
they stood me in the dock.

I was sentenced to life….
without her.

Strange trial.
No judge.
No jury.

I wonder who my visitors will be.

From: http://www.spikemilligan.co.uk/spike-milligan-poem-text.php?poem=Welcome-Home

Date: 1977

By: Spike (Terence Alan) Milligan (1918-2002)

Sunday, 8 April 2018

How Can I Blame the Cherry Blossoms by Fujiwara no Shunzei no Musume (Shunzei’s Daughter)

How can I blame the cherry blossoms
for rejecting this floating world
and drifting away as the wind calls them?

From: Rexroth, Kenneth and Atsumi, Ikuko (eds. and transls.) Women Poets of Japan, 1982, New Directions: New York, p. 43.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=0BMQwLapofkC)

Date: 13th century (original in Japanese); 1977 (translation in English)

By: Fujiwara no Shunzei no Musume (Shunzei’s Daughter) (?1171-?1252)

Translated by: Kenneth Charles Marion Rexroth (1905-1982) and Ikuko Atsumi (1940- )

Friday, 22 December 2017

The Shortest Day by Susan Mary Cooper

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

From: http://greensideup.ie/tag/poem-by-susan-cooper/

Date: 1977

By: Susan Mary Cooper (1935- )

Monday, 23 October 2017

A Polar Explorer by Iosif (Joseph) Aleksandrovich Brodsky

All the huskies are eaten. There is no space
left in the diary And the beads of quick
words scatter over his spouse’s sepia-shaded face
adding the date in question like a mole to her lovely cheek.
Next the snapshot of his sister. He doesn’t spare his kin:
what’s been reached is the highest possible latitude!
And like the silk stocking of a burlesque half-nude
queen it climbs up his thigh: gangrene.

From: http://www.shigeku.org/xlib/lingshidao/waiwen/brodsky.htm

Date: 1977 (original and translation)

By: Iosif (Joseph) Aleksandrovich Brodsky (1940-1996)

Translated by: Iosif (Joseph) Aleksandrovich Brodsky (1940-1996)

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

96 Vandam by Gerald Stern

I am going to carry my bed into New York City tonight
complete with dangling sheets and ripped blankets;
I am going to push it across three dark highways
or coast along under 600,000 faint stars.
I want to have it with me so I don’t have to beg
for too much shelter from my weak and exhausted friends.
I want to be as close as possible to my pillow
in case a dream or a fantasy should pass by.
I want to fall asleep on my own fire escape
and wake up dazed and hungry
to the sound of garbage grinding in the street below
and the smell of coffee cooking in the window above.

From: https://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/150.html

Date: 1977

By: Gerald Stern (1925- )