Posts tagged ‘2003’

Monday, 11 October 2021

The Diver by Christine Hartzler

I saw Greg Louganis dive in St. Louis
in 1984. Oh, the way he folded and
unfolded in the air. We all gasped
when he split the surface and disappeared.
But he rose up in a shimmering swath
of bubbles, unbounded joy.

Seventeen years later, a man steps out
through the lattice of a skyscraper and
folds himself into a breathtaking pike.
An anonymous diver, abandoning his
day job. Maybe you’ve seen the
photograph? A single body falling, white
oxford full and fluttering, like a peony,
blowsy, on that singular day.

From: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?cc=mqr;c=mqr;c=mqrarchive;idno=act2080.0042.219;rgn=main;view=text;xc=1;g=mqrg

Date: 2003

By: Christine Hartzler (19??- )

Sunday, 3 October 2021

What Do You Mean, Praise? by Ann Silsbee

Yes, we could die tomorrow.
A two-car crash, a second’s misjudging of speed.
Another plane might ram our woods. Anthrax
could do it, a heart attack, cancer, even a stupid
fall down the back stairs. But for now we’re staying,
counting on this burdened world to go right on
budding up next year’s leaves. I need to know
how to praise what keeps on trying, sun gifting
rooms with color after days of gray, streams
talking rain after August’s silence of drought.
Or what I don’t notice, like the taste of air,
the way my lungs know exactly how to breathe.
Or the friend I’d thought I’d lost, whom I feel
singing in my own songs. How even in grief
I remember her laugh, and savor my hunger
as onions and mushrooms sizzle on the stove,
reminding my body of a cook no longer here.

Haven’t we always been in line
for some kind of ending? It’s enough for now
that our son’s on the phone, telling us today’s
griefs, yesterday’s joys. What matters is to tug
lightly on the thin line of his voice, stretch it
over the hills and woods — what pulls between us
will not break. This must be what praise is, singing
the young men our bodies began, who go on
in this world with their wives, girls, boys,
the mothers and fathers who go on in us, too,
and ancestors we never knew who dwell unsuspected
in our corpuscles and ganglions, smiling us,
weeping us, walking with us all our lives long.

From: http://comstockreview.org/sample-poems/poems-by-ann-silsbee/

Date: 2003

By: Ann Silsbee (1930-2003)

Monday, 27 September 2021

The Pea Princess by Colleen Mills

She arches like a bowed branch of willow,
Quivering from stem to leaf.
With each flex of the wrists,
Roll of a shoulder,
Gentle realignment of the ribs,
The lump burrows deeper.

Now beneath the breast plate,
Now between hipbone and pelvis,
Now knotted at the base of the neck,
Clicking between the knobs of the spinal column
Where the vertebrae, like the panels of a washboard, find the lump,
As it rickets over the thinly sheathed bones with each shift in motion.

Whether between knucklebones or toe bones,
Nestled in the many small joints and junctures of the body,
It journeys like a pebble smoothed over in a sea of feathers,
Pressing against the inside of the knee cap,
Working its way up the thigh,
Wandering the flesh land of the belly.

Each night the same rotation
As she arches, curves, twines her body about the bedposts,
Weaved like a tight shoe lace between the pillars of the bed,
Spiraling between the sheets
Trying to find the one place
Such a lump will fit beneath her frame.

With each stretch,
Each extension or contortion of a limb,
The minutest of lumps,
Buried beneath bedding twenty upon twenty layers high,
Burrows still deeper, pressing into the skin of thinly padded skeletal extensions
As it grates to a final rest against the gentle hollow above the collarbone.

Like the smoothed sand in the mouth of an oyster,
The tenderest of peas seeks shelter
In only the softest concaves of flesh,
Where the pea, like the pearl,
Proves perfection
By defining the flaw.

From: http://karenspoetryspot.blogspot.com/2008/10/pea-princess-by-colleen-mills.html

Date: 2003

By Colleen Mills (19??- )

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Blur by Andrew Hudgins

Storms of perfume lift from honeysuckle,
lilac, clover—and drift across the threshold,
outside reclaiming inside as its home.
Warm days whirl in a bright unnumberable blur,
a cup—a grail brimmed with delirium
and humbling boredom both.  I was a boy,
I thought I’d always be a boy, pell-mell,
mean, and gaily murderous one moment
as I decapitated daises with a stick,
then overcome with summer’s opium,
numb—slumberous.  I thought I’d always be a boy,
each day its own millennium, each
one thousand years of daylight ending in
the night watch, summer’s pervigilium,
which I could never keep because by sunset
I was an old man.  I was Methuselah,
the oldest man in the holy book.  I drowsed.
I nodded, slept—and without my watching, the world,
whose permanence I doubted, returned again,
bluebell and blue jay, speedwell and cardinal
still there when the light swept back,
and so was I, which I had also doubted.
I understood with horror then with joy,
dubious and luminous joy: it simply spins.
It doesn’t need my feet to make it turn.
It doesn’t even need my eyes to watch it,
and I, though a latecomer to its surface, I’d
be leaving early.  It was my duty to stay awake
and sing if I could keep my mind on singing,
not extinction, as blurred green summer, lifted
to its apex, succumbed to gravity and fell
to autumn, Ilium, and ashes.  In joy
we are our own uncomprehending mourners,
and more than joy I longed for understanding
and more than understanding I longed for joy.

From: https://poets.org/poem/blur

Date: 2003

By: Andrew Hudgins (1951- )

Monday, 24 August 2020

Unchanging Dolls’ Faces by Enomoto Seifu

unchanging dolls’ faces—
I’ve had no choice, except
to grow old.

From: Ueda, Makoto (ed. and transl.), Far Beyond the Field: Haiku by Japanese Women, 2003, Columbia University Press: New York, p. 60.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=tq2rAgAAQBAJ)

Date: c1800 (original in Japanese); 2003 (translation in English)

By: Enomoto Seifu (1732-1815)

Translated by: Makoto Ueda (1931- )

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

People Are Like Stained-Glass Windows by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

People are like stained-glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in,
their true beauty is revealed only
if there is a light from within.

From: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Elisabeth_K%C3%BCbler-Ross

Date: 2003

By: Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1926-2004)

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Do They Flower by Chiyojo

Do they flower
dreaming of a spring night?
blossoms out of season.

From: Ueda, Makoto (ed. and transl.), Far Beyond the Field: Haiku by Japanese Women, 2003, Columbia University Press: New York, p. 43.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=tq2rAgAAQBAJ)

Date: c1764 (original in Japanese); 2003 (translation in English)

By: Chiyojo (1703-1775)

Translated by: Makoto Ueda (1931- )

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Bedecked by Victoria Redel

Tell me it’s wrong the scarlet nails my son sports or the toy store rings he clusters four jewels to each finger.

He’s bedecked. I see the other mothers looking at the star choker, the rhinestone strand he fastens over a sock.
Sometimes I help him find sparkle clip-ons when he says sticker earrings look too fake.

Tell me I should teach him it’s wrong to love the glitter that a boy’s only a boy who’d love a truck with a remote that revs,
battery slamming into corners or Hot Wheels loop-de-looping off tracks into the tub.

Then tell me it’s fine—really—maybe even a good thing—a boy who’s got some girl to him,
and I’m right for the days he wears a pink shirt on the seesaw in the park.

Tell me what you need to tell me but keep far away from my son who still loves a beautiful thing not for what it means—
this way or that—but for the way facets set off prisms and prisms spin up everywhere
and from his own jeweled body he’s cast rainbows—made every shining true color.

Now try to tell me—man or woman—your heart was ever once that brave.

From: https://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/129.html

Date: 2003

By: Victoria Redel (1959- )

Monday, 19 November 2018

War on Language by Marian Spires

They say:
Truth is the first casualty of war
but
they are wrong
it is Language

Language goes AWOL when the first shot is fired

Language is packing its bags
it’s heading for the border
looking over its shoulder
nervously checking its papers
will it pass go or
be monopolised
compromised again

Language is waiting in transit
hiding in the hold of a leaking ship
anxious to leave the violence behind
Language knows it will be tortured
if it returns home ˆ it can never return home
Language will risk word smugglers

Language is a refugee
made illegal by circumstance
Language is being detained behind a cyclone fence
it is being held against its will

Language doesn’t know who it can trust anymore
it was rescued and escaped in a mini-bus
then left to fend for itself in a desert of concerned onlookers
all holding remote controls and ready to switch channels

Language has a secret
It knows how quickly
a disturbance becomes an intervention
how overnight it can change from
a local police action
to a global reaction
to first strike and zero tolerance

There is a war on Language.

From: http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/34081/20060904-0000/www.poetsunion.com/PoemsAboutWar.html#JudithRodriguez

Date: 2003

By: Marian Spire (19??- )

Friday, 16 November 2018

Thinking Things Through by Jorie Manefield Ryan

Can we think
a thousand times before we kill
the other in the name of power
or land or ideology?

And after we have thought a thousand times,
written down the reasons,
met with friends to test our cause,
renewed the guns and missiles,
cleaned off the button;
when we have stored up food and water
for a siege, sent the children
to a safer place,
shored up bunkers in backyards,
built new ones near the mint,
thought of hero as someone
convulsed and martyred in the mud,
committed maps to memory,
studied up on ciphers, invented
a new history of disease
and buried the family jewels
to foil the looters;
once we have tolled the bells
and prayed our guttural prayers
for the spirit to be named for us;
sent factories into overtime to make the braids
and uniforms, the medals
to decorate the ones who can return,
confused shelling peas with houses,
small kingdoms crushed;
after we check procedures
for the treatment of fallout
from that most unnatural cloud,
and persuaded our young
that it is just to fight this way,
an adventure, safe, no hand to hand;

when we have done these things
and more, could we think
a thousand times again?

From: http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/34081/20060904-0000/www.poetsunion.com/PoemsAboutWar.html

Date: 2003

By: Jorie Manefield Ryan (19??- )