Let's celebrate! Add a poem, original or a favourite, below:
little things? The little moments? They aren't little.
You can't go wrong with Billy Collins.
I wondered about youwhen you told me never to leavea box of wooden, strike-anywhere matcheslying around the house because the mice
might get into them and start a fire.But your face was absolutely straightwhen you twisted the lid down on the round tinwhere the matches, you said, are always stowed.
Who could sleep that night?Who could whisk away the thoughtof the one unlikely mousepadding along a cold water pipe
behind the floral wallpapergripping a single wooden matchbetween the needles of his teeth?Who could not see him rounding a corner,
the blue tip scratching against a rough-hewn beam,the sudden flare, and the creaturefor one bright, shining momentsuddenly thrust ahead of his time—
now a fire-starter, now a torchbearerin a forgotten ritual, little brown druidilluminating some ancient night.Who could fail to notice,
lit up in the blazing insulation,the tiny looks of wonderment on the facesof his fellow mice, onetime inhabitantsof what once was your house in the country?
Aren't you a day early on this one? It is March 21, I thought (hello down there down under!).
mfpark said:Aren't you a day early on this one? It is March 21, I thought (hello down there down under!).
Joanne is always from the future (about 15 hours ahead) here on MOL.
MOL tradition! - since I can spread over the dateline, why not stretch to most of the week?
(It's very very early 21st here)
nohero said: mfpark said:Aren't you a day early on this one? It is March 21, I thought (hello down there down under!). Joanne is always from the future (about 15 hours ahead) here on MOL.
I know, that is why I said hello down under.
One of my favorites to add a day early:
BY ELIZABETH BISHOP
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art” from The Complete Poems 1926-1979. Copyright © 1979, 1983 by Alice Helen Methfessel. Reprinted with the permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC.
This is, for me, one of the most brilliant poems I have ever read. I love formal structures in poetry when they are really well done, and she nails this villanelle. The repetition of "art of losing", "master" and "disaster" lend a lilting elegiac sense of remembering distant losses that no longer hurt as much in the present. In this she fashioned the villanelle almost like a pantoum (where the last words of various lines are repeated from stanza to stanza), which makes this villanelle particularly brilliant from a technical perspective,Bishop starts off so low key, losing keys, a lost hour here or there. Then the poem easily and colloquially moves on to bigger losses--names, watches--and then it starts to get a lot bigger--three houses, two cities, realms, continents! Only to come crashing down in the final quatrain where the loss of her long-time partner to suicide hits home as the ultimate and worst loss of all. Yet, even here she is coy, trying to downplay this as just another of those familiar losses, except in the end she has to admit it is a disaster.
The masterful use of downbeat tone, repeating words and sounds, and barely suppressed pain of loss all in a tight six stanzas amazes me every time I read it (which is quite often).
The Search for a Rhyme for Orange Ends on a Sour Note
There’s no juice like an orange’sAnd its ilk —So sweet, never tingesUnless you’ve had milk
BY ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
your life is your life don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission. be on the watch. there are ways out. there is light somewhere. it may not be much light but it beats the darkness. be on the watch. the gods will offer you chances. know them. take them. you can’t beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes. and the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be. your life is your life. know it while you have it. you are marvelous the gods wait to delight in you.
-- by Charles Bukowski
I've been downhearted baby Ever since the day we met I said I've been downhearted baby Ever since the day we met Our love is nothing but the blues, womanBaby, how blue can you get?
You're evil when I'm with youAnd you are jealous when we're apart Yes, I said you're evilYou're so evil when I'm with you, baby And you are jealous when we're apart How blue can you get, baby?The answer's is right here in my heart
I gave you a brand-new Ford You said I want a Cadillac I bought you a ten dollar dinner You said thanks for the snack I let you live in my penthouse You said it was just a shack I gave you seven children And now you want to give them back
Yes, I've been downhearted baby Ever since the day we met I said our love is nothing but the blues Baby, how blue can you get?
This is the poem with which I discovered Mary Oliver
The Journey (Mary Oliver)
One day you finally knew
What you had to do, and began,
Though the voices around you
Their bad advice—
Though the whole house
Began to tremble
And you felt the old tug
At your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
Each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
Though the wind pried you
With its stiff fingers
At the very foundations,
Though their melancholy
It was already late
Enough, and a wild night,
And the road full of fallen
Branches and stones.
But little by little,
As you left their voices behind,
The stars began to burn
Through the sheets of clouds,
And there was a new voice
Which you slowly
Recognized as your own,
That kept you company
As you strode deeper and deeper
Into the world,
Determined to do
The only thing you could do—
Determined to save
The only life that you could save.
Should I change the category to VC, or keep this thread in Humour? I love the contributions, but they’re more profound and thought-provoking than I expected. (I guess it’s a sign of modern times)
In some ways, it seems as a society we don’t turn to poetry as often as we used to. One thing I treasure about MOL is how readily posters will share verse, whole poems or haiku, favourite songs - so many corners really are like long on-going conversations around a coffee- or tea-pot.
This appeared in this past Sunday’sTimes and I thought it comforting..,
I dreamt of a corrigible nocuous youth,
Gainly, gruntled and kempt;
A mayed and sidious fellow forsooth;
Ordinate, effable, shevelled, ept, couth;
A delible fellow I dreamt.
Quoted by Willard R Espy in his book, The Game of Words (Bramhall House, New York).
(I had to search a while until I found this - I was actually looking for one of Espy's own works. Does anyone still possess one of his brilliant books?)
The World Narrowed To A Point - William Carlos Williams
Liquor and love
when the mind is dull
focus the wit
on a world of form
perfumes are defined
ride the quick ear
rescue the cloudy sense
banish its despair
give it a home.
The Tree in Pamela's Garden - Edwin Arlington Robinson
Pamela was too gentle to deceive Her roses.
"Let the men stay where they are,"
She said, "and if Apollo's avatar
Be one of them, I shall not have to grieve." And so she made all Tilbury Town believe
She sighed a little more for the North Star
Than over men, and only in so far
As she was in a garden was like Eve.
Her neighbors—doing all that neighbors can
To make romance of reticence meanwhile—Seeing that she had never loved a man,
Wished Pamela had a cat, or a small bird,
And only would have wondered at her smile
Could they have seen that she had overheard.
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
A.E. Housman, from A Shropshire Lad
We played king of the mountain out on the end
The world come charging up the hill, and we were women and men
Now there's so much that time, time and memory fade away
We got our own roads to ride and chances we got to take
We stood side by side each one fighting for the other
And we said until we died we'd always be blood brothers
Now the hardness of this world slowly grinds your dreams away
Making a fool's joke out of the promises we make
And what once seemed black and white turns to so many shades of gray
We lose ourselves in work to do, work to do and bills to pay
And it's a ride, ride, ride, and there ain't much cover
With no one running by your side, my blood brother
On through the houses of the dead, past those fallen in their tracks
Always moving ahead and never looking back
Now I don't know how I feel, I don't know how I feel tonight
If I've fallen 'neath the wheel, if I've lost or I gained sight
I don't even know why, I don't know why I made this call
Or if any of this matters anymore after all
But the stars are burning bright like some mystery uncovered
I'll keep moving through the dark with you in my heart, my blood brother
Luck by Langston Hughes
Sometimes, a crumb falls
From the tables of joy,
Sometimes a bone
To some people
Love is given.
nohero - and any other Billy Collins fans - Billy Collins will be at SOPAC on Friday, May 31. He is just delightful and saw him there last year.
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.
Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain
children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more
when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her
someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream
stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)
one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was
all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.
Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
joanne said:Let's celebrate! Add a poem, original or a favourite, below: little things? The little moments? They aren't little. - JKL
And Poem in Your Pocket Day is 4/19.
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