Sunday Afternoon, Denise Levertov #poem #girls #church #wild

One of these poems that are so lovely your heart aches and you want to spend the rest of the day finding every single poem this poet wrote. A sort of poetry feeding frenzy.

Levertov, Denise Levertov: “[I knew] before I was ten that I was an artist-person and I had a destiny.”

I started reading about her life and I have to close the window, because I must read property law first. Who are the Black Mountain Poets?!

Oh! Look at this title: “The Life Around Us: Selected Poems on Nature (1997)” And “White Owl and Blue Mouse.”

I wonder if the afternoon sun lay red on the white dresses or if they actually changed clothes. Maybe it is a Catholic thing.

Sunday Afternoon

After the First Communion
and the banquet of mangoes and
bridal cake, the young daughters
of the coffee merchant lay down
for 1 long siesta, and their white dresses
lay beside them in quietness
and the white veils floated
in their dreams as the flies buzzed.

But as the afternoon
burned to a close they rose
and ran about the neighborhood
among the halfbuilt villas
alive, alive, kicking a basketball, wearing
other new’ dresses, of bloodred velvet.

If you are forever watching dogs or just your own dog, this rhythm in the next poem feels so very familiar… Except in spring when a dog needs to sniff every scent in 30 minutes of pausing for half a block. And except in Winter when it is too cold on the bottom of the paws and the only scents are the neighbours dogs’ yellow snow.

Overland to the Islands

Let’s go—much as that dog goes,
intently haphazard. The
Mexican light on a day that
‘smells like autumn in Connecticut’
makes iris ripples on his
black gleaming fur—and that too
is as one would desire—a radiance
consorting with the dance.
.                                                    Under his feet
rocks and mud, his imagination, sniffing,
engaged in its perceptions—dancing
edgeways, there’s nothing
the dog disdains on his way,
nevertheless he
keeps moving, changing
pace and approach but
not direction—’every step an arrival.’

Denise Levertov (b. 1923)

Intercity by Margarida Vale de Gato #sex #poem #love

Intercity

we ride down the backs of hills inside
the earth eating eucalyptus eating haystacks
spitting out the wind spitting out time spitting out
time
time the trains gulp the opposite way going
the opposite way stealing our time my love

I need you who are flying
to me
but you fly unfurling sails over the sea
you have wing-space you hover you drift while I
keep crawling towards you along the rails
with occasional sparks I write to you my love
cheating your absence the claustrophobia of the mustard
coloured curtains you walk on water and now
I know
words are less worthy than boats

I need you my love in this loneliness this forsakenness
of thick curtains preventing the sun preventing my
flight and nevertheless on the opposite side
the sky boasts little lamb clouds hopping
hopping on oats and wheat fields there are none here
we eat eucalyptus eucalyptus and whitewashed churches
leaning over level-crossing whitewashed churches
my love
I smoke a cigarette in between two stops I read
Lobo Antunes I think people are sad people
are so sad people are pathetic my
love just as well you hide me from the world you hide
me from the world’s patronising smiles the world’s
self-righteous consent
by night on your loins my love I
am also a boat sitting on top of your body
I am a mast

I need you my love I am tired I ache
close to where my eyes are set I feel like crying still I
desire you but before before you touch me before you say
I want you my love you shall let me sleep a hundred years
a hundred years from today we’ll be boats again
I am lonely
Portugal is everlasting we eat eucalyptus
everlasting eucalyptus lean and green
we eat eucalyptus interspersed with shrubs
we eat eucalyptus the ache of your absence my love
we eat this heat and the railtracks and anguish
set ablaze inside Lobo Antunes’ novel
we eat eucalyptus and Portugal is everlasting Portugal
is huge and I need you and in the opposite way they are stealing
time it’s our time they are stealing my love it’s time
time for us to be boats and sail through walls inside rooms
my love to be boats at night
at night to blow oh sweetly blow into full sail

boats.

 

Intercidades

galopamos pelas costas dos montes no interior
da terra a comer eucaliptos a comer os entulhos de feno
a cuspir o vento a cuspir o tempo a cuspir
o tempo
o tempo que os comboios do sentido contrário engolem
do sentido contrário roubam-nos o tempo meu amor

preciso de ti que vens voando
até mim
mas voas à vela sobre o mar
e tens espaço asas por isso vogas à deriva enquanto eu
vou rastejando ao teu encontro sobre os carris faiscando
ocasionalmente e escrevo para ti meu amor
a enganar a tua ausência a claustrofobia de cortinas
cor de mostarda tu caminhas sobre a água e agora
eu sei
as palavras valem menos do que os barcos

preciso de ti meu amor nesta solidão neste desamparo
de cortinas espessas que impedem o sol que me impedem
de voar e ainda assim do outro lado
o céu exibe nuvens pequeninas carneirinhos a trotar
a trotar sobre searas de aveia e trigais aqui não há
comemos eucaliptos eucaliptos e igrejas caiadas
debruçadas sobre os apeadeiros igrejas caiadas
meu amor
eu fumo um cigarro entre duas paragens leio
o Lobo Antunes e penso as pessoas são tristes as
as pessoas são tão tristes as pessoas são patéticas meu
amor ainda bem que tu me escondes do mundo me escondes
dos sorrisos condescendentes do mundo da comiseração
do mundo
à noite no teu corpo meu amor eu
também sou um barco sentada sobre o teu ventre
sou um mastro

preciso de ti meu amor estou cansada dói-me
em volta dos olhos tenho vontade de chorar mesmo assim
desejo-te mas antes antes de me tocares de dizeres quero-te
meu amor hás-de deixar-me dormir cem anos
depois de cem anos voltaremos a ser barcos
eu estou só
Portugal nunca mais acaba comemos eucaliptos
eucaliptos intermináveis longos e verdes
comemos eucaliptos entremeados de arbustos
comemos eucaliptos a dor da tua ausência meu amor
comemos este calor e os caminhos de ferro e a angústia
a deflagrar combustão no livro do Lobo Antunes
comemos eucaliptos e Portugal nunca mais acaba Portugal
é enorme eu preciso de ti e em sentido contrário roubam-nos
o tempo roubam-nos o tempo meu amor tempo
o tempo para sermos barcos e atravessar paredes dentro dos quartos
meu amor para sermos barcos à noite
à noite a soprar docemente sobre as velas acesas

barcos.

© Translation by Margarida Vale de Gato and Ana Hudson, 2010

in Mulher ao Mar, 2010http://www.poemsfromtheportuguese.org/Margarida__Vale_de_Gato

#BlackHistoryMonth #poem Tired by Fenton Johnson

Don’t read this when you’re tired or sad or have given up hope. This is a poem by a writer who is tired of the world we are still building together: a racist society. Ta-Nehissi Coates (he/him) and El Jones (she/her) aren’t  the only ones who feel hopeless.

Tired
I am tired of work; I am tired of building up somebody else’s civilization.
Let us take a rest, M’lissy Jane.

I will go down to the Last Chance Saloon, drink a gallon or two of gin, shoot a
game or two of dice and sleep the rest of the night on one of Mike’s barrells.

You will let the old shanty go to rot, the white people’s clothes turn to dust, and
the Cavalry Baptist Church sink to the bottomless pit.

You will spend your days forgetting you married me and your nights hunting the
warm gin Mike serves the ladies in the rear of the Last Chance Saloon.

Throw the children in the river; civilization has given us too many. It is better to die
than it is to grow up and find out that you are colored.

Pluck the stars out of the heavens. The stars mark our destiny. The stars mark my destiny.

I am tired of civilization.

.

.

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

The steeplejack by Marianne Moore

#iNeedFeminismBecause #intersectionality #smalltown #endpoverty #environment #climatechange

Dürer would have seen a reason for living
   in a town like this, with eight stranded whales
 to look at; with the sweet sea air coming into your house
 on a fine day, from water etched
   with waves as formal as the scales
 on a fish.

 One by one in two's and three's, the seagulls keep
   flying back and forth over the town clock,
 or sailing around the lighthouse without moving their wings --
 rising steadily with a slight
   quiver of the body -- or flock
 mewing where

 a sea the purple of the peacock's neck is
   paled to greenish azure as Dürer changed
 the pine green of the Tyrol to peacock blue and guinea
 gray. You can see a twenty-five-
   pound lobster; and fish nets arranged
 to dry. The

 whirlwind fife-and-drum of the storm bends the salt
   marsh grass, disturbs stars in the sky and the
 star on the steeple; it is a privilege to see so
 much confusion. Disguised by what
   might seem the opposite, the sea-
 side flowers and

 trees are favored by the fog so that you have
   the tropics first hand: the trumpet-vine,
 fox-glove, giant snap-dragon, a salpiglossis that has
 spots and stripes; morning-glories, gourds,
   or moon-vines trained on fishing-twine
 at the back door;

 cat-tails, flags, blueberries and spiderwort,
   striped grass, lichens, sunflowers, asters, daisies --
 yellow and crab-claw ragged sailors with green bracts -- toad-plant,
 petunias, ferns; pink lilies, blue
   ones, tigers; poppies; black sweet-peas.
 The climate

 is not right for the banyan, frangipani, or
   jack-fruit trees; or for exotic serpent
 life. Ring lizard and snake-skin for the foot, if you see fit;
 but here they've cats, not cobras, to
   keep down the rats. The diffident
 little newt

 with white pin-dots on black horizontal spaced-
   out bands lives here; yet there is nothing that
 ambition can buy or take away. The college student
 named Ambrose sits on the hillside
   with his not-native books and hat
 and sees boats

 at sea progress white and rigid as if in
   a groove. Liking an elegance of which
 the sourch is not bravado, he knows by heart the antique
 sugar-bowl shaped summer-house of
   interlacing slats, and the pitch
 of the church

 spire, not true, from which a man in scarlet lets
   down a rope as a spider spins a thread;
 he might be part of a novel, but on the sidewalk a
 sign says C. J. Poole, Steeple Jack,
   in black and white; and one in red
 and white says

 Danger. The church portico has four fluted
   columns, each a single piece of stone, made
 modester by white-wash. This would be a fit haven for
 waifs, children, animals, prisoners,
   and presidents who have repaid
 sin-driven

 senators by not thinking about them. The
   place has a school-house, a post-office in a
 store, fish-houses, hen-houses, a three-masted schooner on
 the stocks. The hero, the student,
   the steeple-jack, each in his way,
 is at home.

 It could not be dangerous to be living
   in a town like this, of simple people,
 who have a steeple-jack placing danger signs by the church
 while he is gilding the solid-
   pointed star, which on a steeple
 stands for hope.

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

Little Girl Talk by Delores S. Williams.

Little Girl Talk

my grampaw was a smooth black, way back then
before black discovered beautiful he was pretty.
he had pearlywhite teeth and a big moustache.
he useta skinny-out to the edge with a black-wax stick. on Sunday
he would pindown in his darkblue suit, wideblue tie.
white-stiff shirt, and hip-on down to the presbyterian church where he argued
over how to spend white folk’s mission money.

on weekdays: overalls. he worked in a factory.
until some white boss talked down to him. then he’d quit.
to another factory. talk union talk to negroes. get
laid off. on the way home buy me a big box of oran
kause i kalled iron ‘i-roan’.

my grampaw was all the kings i wanted to know. when
i was six. my grampaw was smart. didn’t
go to college. said white folks wouldn’t let’im.
but he worked algebra and trig and read gladstone’s law.
and science books. he used to tell us kids
there wasn’t no heaven.

my grampaw said i was the sugar in his coffee. yes indeed.
i remember my grampaw,

the day the siren screamed into our street ballgame
and stopped at our house, we kids, eight of us, scattered
into an uneven line across the street. we watched two
big, redneck, white men in white uniforms stuff my
pretty grampaw into something called a straitjacket,
crowd him into the back of their looney wagon, jump
into the front themselves and shriek-off into the distance.
my grammaw stood perfectly still. her proud eyes
looked deep and sore and hollow. my mother, unmoving, cried softly.
i, girl-boy-tom-tree-climber of 10, tried
not to feel anything. the tears that didn’t come swelled
to a tight fist in my chest

big, brave, girlboy me
shove the weight of my ten years
onto two flat feet,
strolled to the middle of the street
and yelled as loud as i could,
“throw the ball, shity!”
.          The game was on.

 

Delores S. Williams

.

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

Bits of time and sound by Arthur Seymour John Tessimond. A poet hidden and then almost lost!

Image

Beautiful!

[…]

I am the rails on which the moment passes,
The megaphone for many words and voices:
I am the graph diagram,
Composite face.

[…]

I am the man they call the nation’s backbone,
Who am boneless – playable castgut, pliable clay:
The Man they label Little lest one day
I dare to grow.

I am the led, the easily-fed,
The tool, the not-quite-fool,
The would-be-safe-and-sound,
The uncomplaining, bound,
The dust fine-ground,
Stone-for-a-statue waveworn pebble-round

Arthur Seymour John Tessimond

And in the correct order:

The Man In The Bowler Hat

I am the unnoticed, the unnoticable man:
The man who sat on your right in the morning train:
The man who looked through like a windowpane:
The man who was the colour of the carriage, the colour of the mounting
Morning pipe smoke.
I am the man too busy with a living to live,
Too hurried and worried to see and smell and touch:
The man who is patient too long and obeys too much
And wishes too softly and seldom.

I am the man they call the nation’s backbone,
Who am boneless – playable castgut, pliable clay:
The Man they label Little lest one day
I dare to grow.

I am the rails on which the moment passes,
The megaphone for many words and voices:
I am the graph diagram,
Composite face.

I am the led, the easily-fed,
The tool, the not-quite-fool,
The would-be-safe-and-sound,
The uncomplaining, bound,
The dust fine-ground,
Stone-for-a-statue waveworn pebble-round

 

http://vimeo.com/70885550 a radio recording of himself reading a poem.

http://thefilter.blogs.com/thefilter/asj_tessimond/

 

In Canterbury Cathedral

Trees, but straighter than birches, rise to the sky
Of stone. Their branches meet in the sky of stone.
Stone fountains leap and meet: their traceries are
As light as lace. These prayers of stone were prayed
To a God I can’t believe in, but were made
By Man, men almost gods, in whom I can
Believe: were made as strong, to last as long
As time. I stare and pray to Man alone.

 

[…] leave as your final legacy
A box double-locked by the spider
Packed with your unsolved problems

‘The Children Look at the Parents’

Thylias Moss: God and Church and beautiful, laughing speech!!

Woohoo!

‘Contemporary Black American poets’ came in the post.
From New Orleans Public Library- Algiers Point. They got it in 1995.

Here is one funny piece of a poem from Thylias Moss.
((TRIGGER warning-sexual assault/rape.))

Moss had “beautiful, laughing speech” – like Yeats said of Blake’s says Harold Bloom.

“Doubts during Catastrophe.”

“No better time to recall God’s fascination
with his image. He put something of himself
in every creation. When he was tired
he made lazy idiots. When he had hiccups
he made tumbleweeds. When he needed a twin
he made Adam. And whenever he needed to
he watched Adam seduce Eve. And when once Eve refused
God’s eyebrows raised , merged and flew off, a caracara
seeking carrion. And then there was wrath. ‘Vengeance
is mine’ he said. And then there was his seduction
of Mary who had to submit, could not disobey the Lord.”

Harold Bloom comments:

“”Here the black congregation exemplifies the saddest truth that this poetic visionary intuits about her people’s intense resort to faith:

“Our shouting, our jubilation scares the ominous into
crouching behind our ribs where it intercepts what
would best serve us if it reached our hearts.”

That is so bleak an intimation that only masterly language saves it from being unbearable as a truth.””