Posts tagged ‘1977’

Saturday, 24 December 2022

The Christmas Letter by John N. Morris

Wherever you are when you receive this letter
I write to say we are still ourselves
In the same place
And hope you are the same.

The dead have died as you know
And will never get better,
And the children are boys and girls
Of their several ages and names.

So in closing I send you our love
And hope to hear from you soon.
There is never a time
Like the present. It lasts forever
Wherever you are. As ever I remain.

From: Morris, John N, “The Christmas Letter” in Poetry, February 1977, Volume 129, Issue 5, p. 269.

Date: 1977

By: John N. Morris (1931-1997)

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Sorrow to Sorrow by Andrew Grossbardt

for Quinton Duval

To be my friend
you must convince me you hide
no long knife in your handshake,
no gloom tugging at the corners
of your smile.

I have something to tell only you.
I know all the letters,
each burning vowel
on my lips like a hot coal
and when I say them together
they contain your life.
When I speak of your life
the words roll from my tongue,
oil on water.
Do not repeat this.
It will stick in your throat
like a bone.

Oh my friend, where there were fish,
ashes. Where there was water,
a seepage of blood under the left eye.

Yes, I am building you bridges
from sorrow to sorrow,
leaving behind whatever I think
can stay out there in its own cold.
Because this is the one truth.
In small towns everywhere
starlings are exploding.
Tiny feathers choke us
and when we laugh it hurts
suddenly, for no reason.
You will dream or tremble
when you watch my amazing hands
swift as wings.

From: Grossbardt, Andrew, “Sorrow to Sorrow” in Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, No. 1, Fall 1977, pp. 15-16.

Date: 1977

By: Andrew Grossbardt (19??- )

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Grandmother by Paula Gunn Allen

Out of her own body she pushed
silver thread, light, air
and carried it carefully on the dark, flying
where nothing moved.

Out of her body she extruded
shining wire, life, and wove the light
on the void.

From beyond time,
beyond oak trees and bright clear water flow,
she was given the work of weaving the strands
of her body, her pain, her vision
into creation, and the gift of having created,
to disappear.

After her
the women and the men weave blankets into tales of life,
memories of light and ladders,
infinity-eyes, and rain.
After her I sit on my laddered rain-bearing rug
and mend the tear with string.

From: Allen, Paula Gunn, ‘Grandmother’ in The Explicator, Volume 50, 1992 – Issue 4, p. 247.

Date: 1977

By: Paula Gunn Allen (1939-2008)

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].

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.


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.


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. (

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

From: Fisher, Robert (ed.), Witch Words: Poems of Magic and Mystery, 1987, Faber and Faber: London, p. 13.

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.


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.

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- )