#BlackHistoryMonth Walking Down Park by Nikki Giovanni #iNeedFeminismBecause

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Walking Down Park

BY NIKKI GIOVANNI

walking down park
amsterdam
or columbus do you ever stop
to think what it looked like
before it was an avenue
did you ever stop to think
what you walked
before you rode
subways to the stock
exchange (we can’t be on
the stock exchange
we are the stock
exchanged)
.
did you ever maybe wonder
what grass was like before
they rolled it
into a ball and called
it central park
where syphilitic dogs
and their two-legged tubercular
masters fertilize
the corners and side-walks
ever want to know what would happen
if your life could be fertilized
by a love thought
from a loved one
who loves you
 .
ever look south
on a clear day and not see
time’s squares but see
tall Birch trees with sycamores
touching hands
and see gazelles running playfully
after the lions
ever hear the antelope bark
from the third floor apartment
 .
ever, did you ever, sit down
and wonder about what freedom’s freedom
would bring
it’s so easy to be free
you start by loving yourself
then those who look like you
all else will come
naturally
 .
ever wonder why
so much asphalt was laid
in so little space
probably so we would forget
the Iroquois, Algonquin
and Mohicans who could caress
the earth
 .
ever think what Harlem would be
like if our herbs and roots and elephant ears
grew sending
a cacophony of sound to us
the parrot parroting black is beautiful black is beautiful
owls sending out whooooo’s making love …
and me and you just sitting in the sun trying
to find a way to get a banana tree from one of the monkeys
koala bears in the trees laughing at our listlessness
 .
ever think its possible
for us to be
happy
 .
.

Nikki Giovanni, “Walking Down Park” from The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni. Copyright © 1996 by Nikki Giovanni. Used with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Source: The Collected Poems of Nikki Giovanni (2003)

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From: The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.
NEW and USED: Abebooks.com The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry
NEW at independent bookstores: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780195125634

Ursula Bethell New Zealand poet #lesbian

#iNeedFeminismBecause #intersectionality #lgbt #idlenomore

Ursula Bethell from New Zealand is called a garden poet. Think of a garden that stretches out for miles like the French Kings’ or wild with a backdrop of mountains and a garden small sleepy that holds all the quiet:

dark old pond
:
a frog plunks in

(Basho, haiku)

Dr. Alison Laurie, the Gender and Women’s Studies Programme Director at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, wrote a fascinating piece on Ursula Bethell’s life. The poetess had a common law wife: Henrietta Dorothea ‘Effie’ Pollen. They were private in public, and open in their circle of friends and together for over 30 years until Effie’s sudden death.

Time

‘Established’ is a good word, much used in garden books,
‘The plant, when established’…
Oh, become established quickly, quickly, garden
For I am fugitive, I am very fugitive –

Those that come after me will gather these roses,
And watch, as I do now, the white wistaria
Burst, in the sunshine, from its pale green sheath.

Planned. Planted. Established. Then neglected,
Till at last the loiterer by the gate will wonder
At the old, old cottage, the old wooden cottage,
And say ‘One might build here, the view is glorious;
This must have been a pretty garden once.’

From a Garden in the Antipodes (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1929)

Response

When you wrote your letter it was April,
And you were glad that it was spring weather,
And that the sun shone out in turn with showers of rain.

I write in waning May and it is autumn,
And I am glad that my chrysanthemums
Are tied up fast to strong posts,
So that the south winds cannot beat them down.
I am glad that they are tawny coloured,
And fiery in the low west evening light.
And I am glad that one bush warbler
Still sings in the honey-scented wattle…

But oh, we have remembering hearts,
And we say ‘How green it was in such and such an April,’
And ‘Such and such an autumn was very golden,’
And ‘Everything is for a very short time.’

.
Mary Ursula Bethell

Buy the Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry, ed. Fleur Adcock, from an indie bookseller here.


Established in 1970, Glad Day Bookshop is the world’s oldest LGBTQ bookstore and Toronto’s oldest surviving bookstore. In 2012, a group of 23 community members pooled their funds and bought Glad Day Bookshop to save it from closing.

“Our best strategy for survival is adding new revenues streams like food and drink – which means a larger space.
We’ve picked out a great spot on Church Street that would allow us to be a bookstore & coffee shop during the day and a bar at night.
It is wheelchair accessible, with an accessible washroom.

It has a cute patio, a small space for performances and walls for art.

We will be a space where everyone feels welcome, sexy and celebrated.

We will be a queer-owned, indie place on Church Street. We will amplify the love, creativity, sexuality, diversity & liberation that Glad Day Bookshop is known for.”

The Find…Francis Ledwidge

From Blanche Jennings Thompson’s comments: “It was a little Irish boy who made a flute for himself out of a reed and played a fairy tune. What do you think he found in the fairy ring?”

This poem takes me immediately to the quiet and the hill…

The Find

I took a reed and blew a tune,
And sweet it was and very clear
To be about a little thing
That only few hold dear.

Three times the cuckoo named himself,
But nothing heard him on the hill,
Where I was piping like an elf
The air was very still.

‘Twas all about a little thing
I made a mystery of sound,
I found it in a fairy ring
Upon a fairy mound.
Francis Ledwidge

Buy All The Silver Pennies from an Indie bookstore 🙂 here 

 

“How the River” by Julia Runcie

Beautiful view of city and backlands. I like the poem better starting in the middle. The whole poem is at the bottom.

Julia Runcie

HOW THE RIVER


I know the city is not less simply
because I want less of it.
But how different it is, now,
to wade across the tumbled creek
when once I crossed
the out-flung arms of bridges
and was speechless at their beauty
and never for a moment thought
of how the river lay
beneath the bridge.

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http://www.rattle.com/poetry/how-the-river-by-julia-runcie/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rattle%2FCNOS+%28Rattle%3A+Poetry+for+the+21st+Century%29

The whole poem:

Julia Runcie

HOW THE RIVER

Strange that for so many years
I walked among the peopled buildings
and did not think of mountains.
I took my comfort
in the streetlight
and the stoplight.
I lay not wakeful
for the owl’s low hooting in the canyon.
I know the city is not less simply
because I want less of it.
But how different it is, now,
to wade across the tumbled creek
when once I crossed
the out-flung arms of bridges
and was speechless at their beauty
and never for a moment thought
of how the river lay
beneath the bridge.

When you long for warmth… Poems about fire – I

When you are old- William Butler Yeats
WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep 
And nodding by the fire, take down this book, 
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look 
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; 

How many loved your moments of glad grace, 
And loved your beauty with love false or true; 
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, 
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
 
And bending down beside the glowing bars, 
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled 
And paced upon the mountains overhead, 
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


Burning Drift- John Greenleaf Whittier

Before my drift-wood fire I sit, 
And see, with every piece I burn, 
Old dreams and fancies coloring it, 
And folly's unlaid ghosts return.
... 
O ships of mine, whose swift keels cleft 
The enchanted sea on which they sailed,
...
Did I not watch from them the light 
Of sunset on my towers in Spain,
...
Did sudden lift of fog reveal 
...
Have I not drifted hard upon 
...
Did land winds blow from jasmine flowers, 
...
And find in Bagdad's moonlit street, 
Haroun al Raschid walking yet
...
Dear souls who left us lonely here, 
Bound on their last, long voyage, to whom 
We, day by day, are drawing near, 
Where every bark has sailing room.
I know the solemn monotone 
Of waters calling unto me; 
I know from whence the airs have blown 
That whisper of the Eternal Sea.
 

As low my fires of drift-wood burn, 
I hear that sea's deep sounds increase, 
And, fair in sunset light, discern 
Its mirage-lifted Isles of Peace.


Shelley- To a sky lark

Higher still and higher 
From the earth thou springest, 
Like a cloud of fire 
The blue deep thou wingest, 
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
 10 

In the golden lightning 
Of the sunken sun, 
O'er which clouds are bright'ning, 
Thou dost float and run, 
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
 15 

The pale purple even 
Melts around thy flight; 
Like a star of heaven 
In the broad daylight, 
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight¡ 20 

Robert Bly – Driving toward the Lac Qui Parle River

Car seats on porches, lamp light and a torn willow tree in an open field.

From “Contemporary American Poetry” (1962) these lovely, happy poems about solitude:

Driving toward the Lac Qui Parle River
BY ROBERT BLY
I
I am driving; it is dusk; Minnesota.
The stubble field catches the last growth of sun.
The soybeans are breathing on all sides.
Old men are sitting before their houses on car seats
In the small towns. I am happy,
The moon rising above the turkey sheds.
[…]
III
Nearly to Milan, suddenly a small bridge,
And water kneeling in the moonlight.
In small towns the houses are built right on the ground;
The lamplight falls on all fours on the grass.
When I reach the river, the full moon covers it.
A few people are talking, low, in a boat.

Hunting Pheasants in a Cornfield
BY ROBERT BLY
I
What is so strange about a tree alone in an open field?
It is a willow tree. I walk around and around it.
The body is strangely torn, and cannot leave it.
At last I sit down beneath it.

II
It is a willow tree alone in acres of dry corn.
Its leaves are scattered around its trunk, and around me,
Brown now, and speckled with delicate black.
Only the cornstalks now can make a noise.

The sun is cold, burning through the frosty distances of space.
The weeds are frozen to death long ago.
Why then do I love to watch
The sun moving on the chill skin of the branches?

[…]

Robert Bly, “Driving toward the Lac Qui Parle River” from Silence in the Snowy Fields (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1962). Copyright © 1962 by Robert Bly.

USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=donald+hall&sts=t&tn=Contemporary+American+Poetry

NEW: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780140586183

Have You Got a Brook in your Little Heart.

Image

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Beautiful.

Have You Got a Brook in your Little Heart.

Have you got a brook in your little heart,
Where bashful flowers blow,
And blushing birds go down to drink,
And shadows tremble so?

And nobody knows, so still it flows,
That any brook is there;
And yet your little draught of life
Is daily drunken there.

Then look out for the little brook in March,
When the rivers overflow,
And the snows come hurrying from the hills,
And the bridges often go.

And later, in August it may be,
When the meadows parching lie,
Beware, lest this little brook of life
Some burning noon go dry.

Emily Dickinson.