Our pond, Daniel Pettiward #WorldAnimalDay #poem #funny

From: A Choice of Comic and Curious Verse (Penguin)

The first verse is the loveliest “superfine gloss”, “pink lilies and things”, “wings of its duck”. You can see a pond with high mossy banks. You want to come closer but you know you shouldn’t try. It must be morning when the light is spun so thin that the gloss is barely visible. And I have to smile at the “lilies and things” where we are taught to expect beautiful words, more of a what we could see in the pond if were we there and instead Daniel finishes with a child’s sense of importance “and things”.

But who likes the soupy surface of scum? Children like gross things, maybe that is it.

Water-waved reeds… I read it as water-weaved at first and thought that was a fresh image bringing the mesmerizing warmth of a woman in a cozy room to shaded cool waters. Start of a dark fairy tale.
Water waving weeds. Weeds in water slowly moved by the ducks and the wind.

Our Pond

I am fond
Of our pond,
Of the superfine gloss
On its moss,
Its pink lilies and things
And the wings
. Of its duck.

I am keen
On the green
Soupy surface of some
Of its scum,
Its water-waved weeds,
Its three reeds
. And its muck.

Yesterday,
As I lay
And admired its thick skin,
I fell in;
I went walloping down
Till I stuck.

I am fond of our pond,
But I like it much more
From the shore.
It was quite out of place
On my face,
. Where it stuck.

Daniel Pettiward

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“Brown eyes that loved without a trace of fear” and grandmothers! #BlackHistoryMonth #ValentinesDay #BlackLivesMatter

We begin with grandmothers. Isn’t it something else when you think we came out of of our grandmothers- in a very physical way… Her body gave either our father or our mother. You are physically a part of her body. Of course not everybody has a loving relationship with their grandparents or even *has* grandparents they know. Some people become our grandparents because of the air you breathe together or the houses you shared or the streets.

Part of a poem Face by Jean Toomer, it is a sad poem but he wrote it with so much love for the grandmother… loving her face:

Face

Hair—
silver-gray
like streams of stars,
Brows—
recurved canoes
quivered by the ripples blown by pain,
Her eyes—
mist of tears
condensing on the flesh below
.

From: November Cotton Flower

Brown eyes that loved without a trace of fear,
Beauty so sudden for that time of year.

.

All of the poem November Cotton Flower:

Boll-weevil’s coming, and the winter’s cold,
Made cotton-stalks look rusty, seasons old,
And cotton, scarce as any southern snow,
Was vanishing; the branch, so pinched and slow,
Failed in its function as the autumn rake;
Drouth fighting soil had caused the soil to take
All water from the streams; dead birds were found
In wells a hundred feet below the ground—
Such was the season when the flower bloomed.
Old folks were startled, and it soon assumed
Significance. Superstition saw
Something it had never seen before:
Brown eyes that loved without a trace of fear,
Beauty so sudden for that time of year.
.

.

“Caroling Dusk: an Anthology of Verse by Black Poets.” Edited by Countee Cullen.

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Rosa Gutman Jasny: The Faraway Moon. Yiddish poetry!

Because sometimes you can’t get a woman out of your mind. Not even by watching Buffy. Or The Good Wife. This poem especially the last line, shows so much tenderness and knowing…

Rosa Gutman Jasny “produced much of their work in Eastern Europe […] also found their way to New York at various stages in their lives. The lives of several women writers were spent in a perpetual state of wandering…”
http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/yiddish-womens-poetry

The Faraway Moon

The faraway moon, has she already heard
That any minute now
She’s to become a world by herself?
No longer lotus flower, tender and bemused —
Just an ordinary drab world.

Today she shows us half her face,
drawn and pale.
That blond capricious moon —
What might she not do from rage?

Turn swiftly to her lords on high,
And scatter all dreams since time began,
Like dust into outer space?

Oh no, moon, don’t.

.

Poem by Rosa Gutman Jasny and translated from Yiddish to English by Etta Blum.

Treasury of Yiddish Poetry. Edited by Irving Howe, Eliezer Greenberg.

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