“So now she’s gone and I buried her, and that’s all there is to it.” For the love of a dog. #valentines #poetryisjustawesome

Before I started trauma therapy I didn’t connect to people, not like I can do now, in any case, or for a longer time, not knowing whether we would move houses again, countries, towns. For the last 13 and a half years my pug Tommie was one of the closest beings I had- in happy times and times of grief. And that is all there is to it. I love this poem.

A Dog Has Died by Pablo Neruda

My dog has died.
I buried her in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I’ll join her right there,
but now she’s gone with her shaggy coat,
her bad manners and her cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I’ll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving her fan-like tail in friendship.

Ai, I’ll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
Her friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
she never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of her hair or her mange,
she never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.

No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, she was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
she’d keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all her sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.

Ai, how many times have I envied her tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea’s movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with her golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean’s spray.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.

There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don’t now and never did lie to each other.

So now she’s gone and I buried her,
and that’s all there is to it.

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“A 14-Year-Old Convalescent Cat in Winter” by Gavin Ewart. #meow #cat #valentines

A 14-Year-Old Convalescent Cat in Winter

I want him to have another living summer,
to lie in the sun and enjoy the douceur de vivre –
because the sun, like golden rum in a rummer,
is what makes an idle cat un tout petit peu ivre –

I want him to lie stretched out, contented,
revelling in the heat, his fur all dry and warm,
an Old Age Pensioner, retired, resented
by no one, and happinesses in a beelike swarm

to settle on him – postponed for another season
that last fated hateful journey to the vet
from which there is no return (and age the reason),
which must come soon – as I cannot forget

Gavin Ewart

 

From: Poems on the Underground, edited by Chernaik, Herbert and Benson.
Buy NEW and USED at abebooks: Poems on the Underground!!!

Is this what dying is for? Jaime Sabines, ¿Para esto morir? #mexico #poetryisjustawesome

From: A Few Words On The Death of Major Sabines by Jaime Sabines. Rest in peace Tommie.

Is this what dying is for?
To invent the soul,
God’s frock, eternity, the water
in the fountain of death, hope?
To die so one can fish?
To trap the spider in a web?

The wind blew past. The uncovered well and the blighted root
were all that remained of the house.
And there’s no point in crying. And if you pound
on the walls of God, and if you pull out
your hair or rip your shirt,
no one will ever hear you, no one will see you.
No one, nothing comes back. The golden
dust of life will not return.

Algo Sobre la Muerte de Mayor Sabines

¿Para esto morir?
¿para inventar el alma,
el vestido de Dios, la eternidad, el agua
del aguacero de la muerte, la esperanza?,
¿morir para pescar?
¿para atrapar con su red a la araña?

Pasó el viento. Quendaron de la casa
el pozo abierto y la raíz en ruinas.
Y es en vano llorar. Y si golpeas
las paredes de Dios, y si te arrancas
el pelo o la camisa,
nadie te oye jamás, nadie te mira.
No vuelve nadie, nada. No retorna
el polvo de oro de la vida.

From: Pinholes in the Night, essential poems from Latin America. Selected by Raul Zurita, edited by Forrest Gander.

USED and NEW: Pinholes in the Night at Abebooks.com.

Love built of a long marriage: “Tongues” by Philip Martin. #Valentines #poetryisjustawesome

Tongues
(The speaker is a woman whose husband has died after a long illness)

Three days before he died the hospital called me:
He was unconscious, sinking. I went at once.
His face was closed, remote against the pillows.
I sat by the window.The leaves outside were moving
Suddenly he began to speak. I thought
He was asking me for something, but before
I could cross the room I saw have fixed his eyes were,
And then I realized: he was speaking verse,
But in a language neither of us knew.
Not English certainly, not German, and not Russian,
His family’s language from the thirteenth century,
Though he had never learnt it.
.                                              He continued
For a full minute, measured, authoritative.
I picked up the rhythm: four stresses to each line.
I recall only the opening words of one:
Alléndam tatsú…
.                         He seemed to be speaking
Past me, his eyes directed to the window,
Yet also to me. For thirty lines or more
He spoke, and then, as if the poem was finished,
Fell silent and lay back.
.                                   Two hours after,
He spoke once more, in German, using my name.
His eyes were soft and and again familiar.
We did not refer to the poem, then or later.
But though he was conscious almost until he died
He took no leave of me. And I think now
The poem was his taking-leave.
.                                                His doctor,
Who speaks German fluently, believes
That what I heard was German, much distorted.
I’m certain it was not: the voice was too
Distinct, unfaltering.
.                              His father said,
‘Ah, yes. Of course I need not remind you, we
Are an old family. It was our forbears speaking.’

Philip Martin

The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse, chosen by Les A. Murray.

USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=14144434264

 

The Old Woman under the World, told by Angela Sidney. #LifeLivedLikeaStory #nativelivesmatter

The Old Woman under the World.

There are two old ladies down below who look after the world.
One is supposed to be sleeping;
The other one holds up the earth with a pole.
When she shakes it, that’s when there’s supposed to be an earthquake.
That old lady there with the pole is supposed to be Death.
She always argues– She’s the one who always says, “let people sleep for good when they go to sleep.
Let them die.”

That Death Woman wants to kill people before their time.

But Sleep Woman says,
“No!
Can’t you see how my boss put a good pillow for me to sleep on?
And you want me to let her go to sleep for good?
No. No—I won’t do that.
Those old ladies—
One is Sleep Woman, the other is Death Woman.

“Been a train crash… An black man didn drive? No. Black man didn drive”.

James Berry (OBE, 1924-) From Jamaica to the UK!

Two Black Labourers on a London Building Site

Been a train crash.
.   Wha?
Yeh — tube crash.
.   Who the driver?
Not a black man.
.   Not a black man?
I check that firs.
.   Thank Almighty God.
Bout thirty people dead.
.   Thirty people dead?
Looks maybe more.
.   Maybe more?
Maybe more.
.   An black man didn drive?
No. Black man didn drive.
.

.

A Story I am in: Selected Poems by James Berry:
NEW and USED: http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=12538913206

From: London a History in Verse, ed by Mark Ford.
NEW: http://www.localbookshops.co.uk
USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=9186279941

From Wiki with thanks:

Selected publications

  • Bluefoot Traveller: An Anthology of Westindian Poets in Britain (editor), London: Limestone Publications, 1976; revised edition Bluefoot Traveller: Poetry by West Indians in Britain, London: Harrap, 1981
  • Fractured Circles (poetry), London: New Beacon Books, 1979
  • Lucy’s Letters and Loving, London: New Beacon Books, (1982)
  • News for Babylon: The Chatto Book of Westindian-British Poetry (editor), London: Chatto & Windus, 1984
  • Chain of DaysOxford University Press, 1985
  • A Thief in the Village and other stories (for children), London: Hamish Hamilton, 1987
  • The Girls and Yanga Marshall: four stories (for children), London: Longman, 1987
  • Anancy-Spiderman: 20 Caribbean Folk Tales (for children), illustrated by Joseph Olubo, London: Walker, 1988
  • When I Dance (for children), Hamish Hamilton, 1988
  • Isn’t My Name Magical? (for children), Longman/BBC, 1990
  • The Future-Telling Lady and other stories (for children), London: Hamish Hamilton, 1991
  • Ajeemah and his Son (for children), USA: HarperCollins, 1992
  • Celebration Song (for children), London: Hamish Hamilton, 1994
  • Classic Poems to Read Aloud (editor), London: Kingfisher, 1995
  • Hot Earth Cold EarthBloodaxe Books, 1995
  • Playing a Dazzler (for children), London: Hamish Hamilton, 1996
  • Don’t Leave an Elephant to Go and Chase a Bird (for children), USA: Simon & Schuster, 1996
  • Everywhere Faces Everywhere (for children), Simon and Schuster, 1997
  • First Palm Trees (for children), illustrated by Greg Couch, Simon & Schuster, 1997
  • Around the World in 80 Poems (editor – for children), London: Macmillan, 2001
  • A Nest full of Stars (for children), London: Macmillan, 2002
  • Only One of Me (selected poems – for children), London: Macmillan, 2004
  • James Berry Reading from his poems for children, CD, The Poetry Archive, 2005
  • Windrush SongsBloodaxe Books, 2007
  • A Story I Am In: Selected Poems, Bloodaxe Books, 2011

Awards

Winter Solstice, “Three Trees at Solstice”, Mary Finn

Three Trees at Solstice

Comes with autumn the spent moment,
When, polarized to stillness,
The soul thereafter waits on death
As oaks on winter
As oaks by winter water.
So stands the sun for springing and failing time;
And a life ending is less than a stream failing
Until, sunk deep in a white meander —
Black clouds come down like swans at brood,
And flows again the white water.

The silver tree of the stream
Fails not for the sea,
Nor for the thirst-hewn rocks of the valley;
But fails the red, bright tree
In each man’s breast—
Drooping to winter’s rest;
Fails the yellow tree
Of each day’s light—
Fails from sight,
Fails in the west.

Mary Finnin

A Book of Australian Verse edited by Judith Wright