Posts tagged ‘1989’

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Nursery Rhyme by Leo Hamalian

I am the shell that awaits the word.

I am the gun that fires the shell
That shocks the solid flesh so well.

I am the hand that pulls the cord
(Now more potent than the sword)
When that certain word is roared.

I am the voice that roars the word
That touches off the deadly bird
When ordered by the one who’s heard
From those who say it’s time to gird.

I am the one who teaches to read
Those who spread the ancient creed
To aid the ones who feed the need
Of the hand that’s forced to heed
The word that fathers forth the deed.

I am the one who works the drill,
Who tills the soil, who takes his pill,
Who backs with tax the shell he makes
To feed the hand of him who takes
The word that comes from certain men
Who give the word to fire when.

Who is the one who gives the word
To lift aloft the deadly bird?

I am the one behind the shell.

From: Bartel, Roland and Grandberry, Diana, ‘The Power of Brevity in War Poetry’ in The English Journal, September 1997, Volume 86, Number 5, pp. 72-75.
(https://www.jstor.org/stable/820449)

Date: 1989

By: Leo Hamalian (1920-2003)

Monday, 21 December 2020

A Winter Solstice Prayer by Edward Hays

The dark shadow of space leans over us…
We are mindful that the darkness of greed, exploitation, and hatred
also lengthens its shadow over our small planet Earth.
As our ancestors feared death and evil and all the dark powers of winter,
we fear that the darkness of war, discrimination, and selfishness
may doom us and our planet to an eternal winter.

May we find hope in the lights we have kindled on this sacred night,
hope in one another and in all who form the web-work of peace and justice
that spans the world.

In the heart of every person on this Earth
burns the spark of luminous goodness;
in no heart is there total darkness.
May we who have celebrated this winter solstice,
by our lives and service, by our prayers and love,
call forth from one another the light and the love
that is hidden in every heart.
Amen.

From: https://bookriot.com/winter-poems/

Date: 1989

By: Edward Hays (1931-2016)

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Flood by Janet McAdams

We drive the car into the next morning,
over a distance we’re happy
to lose sight of. Memory rises with the river,
and brown water fills the fields,
turned to stubble in this cold.
The arc of the bridge is too high to look back.
The river rises and drives us, the forced sing along,
your foot heavy on the gas pedal.
There were no stars last night. I pass time
rummaging through what we chose to take:
this story, a few battered pots and pans,
one lamp—its aqua shade turned up.

Everything will disappear into this thick water,
into last night when we told each other
what we had kept secret for years.
It’s dangerous to dream along, to ignore
natural disaster. We point the car
toward the horizon, wanting to be a point
on its line, a place of motion, nothing more.

From: McAdams, Janet, “Flood” in Poetry, Vol. 154, Issue 5, August 1989, p. 265.
(https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?volume=154&issue=5&page=21)

Date: 1989

By: Janet McAdams (1957- )

Monday, 23 November 2020

Domestic Song by Katarzyna Borun-Jagodzinska

You’ll have as much happiness
as you have string in your hand,
you’ll have as much warmth
as coal in your cellar,
you’ll have as much light
as windows in your wall,
you’ll have as many enemies
as you’re able to obtain.

You’ll have as much heart
as the kind you were born with,
you’ll have as much taste
as gall on your lips,
the same amount of freedom
you can walk from wall to wall,
the same hope
as you can hold there in your hands.

Your house is as high
as you can reach your fingers,
the fields as wide
as your eyes can glean.
And you yourself are your own judge and jury,
you yourself your own prize and pain.

From: https://artfuldodge.spaces.wooster.edu/poets-as-expatriates/georgia-scott/translations-from-the-polish/

Date: 1989 (original in Polish); 2000 (translation in English)

By: Katarzyna Borun-Jagodzinska (1956- )

Translated by: Georgia Scott (19??- ) and David Malcolm (1952- )

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Lessons from a Mirror by Thylias Moss

Snow White was nude at her wedding, she’s so white
the gown seemed to disappear when she put it on.

Put me beside her and the proximity is good
for a study of chiaroscuro, not much else.

Her name aggravates me most, as if I need to be told
what’s white and what isn’t.

Judging strictly by appearance there’s a future for me
forever at her heels, a shadow’s constant worship.

Is it fair for me to live that way, unable
to get off the ground?

Turning the tables isn’t fair unless they keep turning.
Then there’s the danger of Russian roulette

and my disadvantage: nothing falls from the sky
to name me.

I am the empty space where the tooth was, that my tongue
rushes to fill because I can’t stand vacancies.

And it’s not enough. The penis just fills another
gap. And it’s not enough.

When you look at me,
know that more than white is missing.

From: https://poets.org/poem/lessons-mirror

Date: 1989

By: Thylias Moss (1954- )

Sunday, 3 November 2019

GGS 2817: I Awoke From Sleep by Fujiwara no Ietaka

I awoke from sleep
hearing a sad sound
I had not listened for:
the voice of waves at daybreak
breaking on the rocky shore.

From: Carter, Steven D. (ed. and transl.) Waiting for the Wind: Thirty-Six Poets of Japan’s Late Medieval Age, 1989, Columbia University Press: New York, p. 42.
(https://www.gwern.net/docs/japanese/1989-carter-waitingforthewind.pdf)

Date:  c12th century (original in Japanese); 1989 (translation in English)

By: Fujiwara no Ietaka (1158-1237)

Translated by: Steven D. Carter (19??- )

Monday, 8 April 2019

Reading by Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn ʿAmmār

My eye frees what the page imprisons:
the white the white and the black the black.

From: http://www.islamicspain.tv/Arts-and-Science/andalusi_poetry.htm

Date: 11th century (original in Arabic); 1971 (translation in Spanish);1989 (translation in English)

By: Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn ʿAmmār (1031-1086)

Translated by: Emilio García Gómez (1905-1995) and Cola Franzen (1923-2018)

Monday, 24 December 2018

Christmas Eve: My Mother Dressing by Toi Derricotte

My mother was not impressed with her beauty;
once a year she put it on like a costume,
plaited her black hair, slick as cornsilk, down past her hips,
in one rope-thick braid, turned it, carefully, hand over hand,
and fixed it at the nape of her neck, stiff and elegant as a crown,
with tortoise pins, like huge insects,
some belonging to her dead mother,
some to my living grandmother.
Sitting on the stool at the mirror,
she applied a peachy foundation that seemed to hold her down, to trap her,
as if we never would have noticed what flew among us unless it was weighted and bound in its mask.
Vaseline shined her eyebrows,
mascara blackened her lashes until they swept down like feathers;
her eyes deepened until they shone from far away.

Now I remember her hands, her poor hands, which, even then were old from scrubbing,
whiter on the inside than they should have been,
and hard, the first joints of her fingers, little fattened pads,
the nails filed to sharp points like old-fashioned ink pens, painted a jolly color,
Her hands stood next to her face and wanted to be put away, prayed
for the scrub bucket and brush to make them useful.
And, as I write, I forget the years I watched her
pull hairs like a witch from her chin, magnify
every blotch—as if acid were thrown from the inside.

But once a year my mother
rose in her white silk slip,
not the slave of the house, the woman,
took the ironed dress from the hanger—
allowing me to stand on the bed, so that
my face looked directly into her face,
and hold the garment away from her
as she pulled it down.

From: http://www.persimmontree.org/v2/tag/toi-derricotte/

Date: 1989

By: Toi Derricotte (1941- )

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- )

Monday, 26 December 2016

Saint Stephen’s Day with the Griffins by Henri Cole

for Janet and Christopher

Half-eagle, half-lion, the fabulous
animal struts, saber-clawed but saintly,
a candlewicked ornament dangling
from our rickety sugar pine. Butternut

pudding in our bellies. His reindeer
and sleigh hurried here and gone—thank God
for us childless folks. Almost:   the lovelocked
Griffins on the sofa, sockfooted, hearing

gas and a kiddy heart in her tummy—
a life more imaginary than real,
though one is dazzled by gold that fills
the egg unbroken. We feed her crumpets

and listen again: The lamb’s a hungry
bugger, even snug from earth’s
imponderable fury. Tomorrow, in a spurt
by jet I’m home. Clumsy as a puppy

I’ll scale the flightstairs into the nosecone,
luggage banging at my sides, enter the egg-
shaped cabin and await the infrared
climb toward space. Tell me one

thing true? If I could count the way
things slip from us: Mother’s fur gloves,
Sunday’s benediction, the dead gone before us,
love’s rambler on the prairie—all displaced

as we buckle in our shuttle,
jetbound on a screaming runway,
gravity pulling at us castaways,
more mammal than bird, subtle

leg-weary griffins made manifest,
arrowing towards home. How do we
ignore it: the attenuated being
of our age, the bittersweet collapse

of dominoes mooned around our pine?
Withered with hatred from his quarter,
Saint Stephen even at death rolled mercifully over
in high holiness. Sonless, wifeless, nine

thousand feet from land, I roll the lozenge
on my tongue, youthful habit for ache
of any kind, parting a survivor (Wait!),
love rescuing me from the fringe.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/55980

Date: 1989

By: Henri Cole (1956- )