For the love of food- Nikki Giovanni. #ValentinesDay #BlackLivesMatter

Knoxville Tennessee by Nikki Giovanni

I always like summer
Best
you can eat fresh corn
From daddy’s garden
And okra
And greens
And cabbage
And lots of
Barbeque
And buttermilk
And homemade ice-cream
At the church picnic

And listen to
Gospel music
Outside
At the church
Homecoming
And go to the mountains with
Your grandmother
And go barefooted
And be warm
All the time
Not only when you go to bed
And sleep

From: My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry (A Puffin Poetry Book)
NEW and USED: Abebooks.com My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry 
NEW at independent bookstores NEAR you: My Black Me.

Advertisements

“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.

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.

Anna Akhmatova: memory, love, lust and loss.

Anna Akmatova: “Russian modernist poet, one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russin canon…Her style, characterised by its economy and emotional restraint, was strikingly original and distinctive to her contemporaries. The strong and clear leading female voice struck a new chord in Russian poetry.”

All three poems seem to show her at peace. I can’t believe that someone who decided not to emigrate from Russia but brave Stalin’s murderous reign is at peace. I think she was trying to convince herself that she is not on edge but balanced, not lost in pain of white death, nor off balanced by longing and lust. She says she is old, and it’s cold outside, and that something made her feel young and warm, the guest who wants to kiss her, who wants to own her, who wants to show her that the young men? women? know nothing of how to kiss. I think in the third poem she does wake up warm and happy, a saint’s day is a festivity -albeit one for the day the saint associated with your name, died. Not sure why communicants sleeplessly sleep. I read that waking up from sleep is seen as resurrection and that communicants partake in Jesus’ body’s resurrection. I found the line “may we not sleep in sins, but awake and rejoicing in his praises”. What that means together is not clear to me: maybe that she was rejoicing in his name-day while she was asleep, unconsciously celebrating already. That’s a nice thought about sleeping with happiness because of someone else’s joy.

Memory’s Voice

For O. A. Glebova-Sudeikina

‘What do you see, on the wall, dimly alive,
At that hour when the sunset eats the sky?

A seagull, on a blue cloth of waters,
Or perhaps it’s those Florentine gardens?

Or is it Tsarskoye Seloe’s vast view,
Where terror stepped out before you?

Or that one who left your captivity,
And walked into white death, freely?’

No, I see only the wall – that shows
Reflections of heaven’s dying glow.

The Guest

All’s as it was: the snowstorm’s
Fine flakes wet the window pane,
And I myself am not new-born,
But a man came to me today.

But, his dry hand touched
A petal with a light caress:
‘Tell me, how they kiss you,
Tell me, how you kiss.’

8th November 1913

Sunlight fills my room
With hot dust, lucent, grey.
I wake, and I remember:
Today is your saint’s day.
That’s why even the snow
Is warm beyond the window,
That’s why, sleeplessly,
Like a communicant, I slept.

Translated by A. S. Kline © 2005, 2012 All Rights Reserved.

“Her work was condemned and censored by Stalinist authorities and she is notable for choosing not to emigrate, and remaining in Russia, acting as witness to the atrocities around her. Her perennial themes include meditations on time and memory, and the difficulties of living and writing in the shadow of Stalinism.”

More easy to read information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Akhmatova

Black History Month- poetry: Samuel Allen.

Image

Satchell Paige was one of the best pitchers in baseball. Black.

“Satch”

Sometimes I feel like I will *never* stop
Just go on forever
Til one fine mornin’
I’m gonna reach up and grab me a handful stars
Swing out my long lean leg
And whip three hot strikes burnin’ down the heavens
And look over at God and say
How about that!

by Samuel W. Allen (1917-)
Black History Month.

Richard the pheasant– James Lee Jobe!

Poem about a pheasant!

For 5 cold mornings in a row, the beautiful pheasant

has come to our patio to steal some of the dry catfood,

sometimes right in front of my cat.

The house is still, and I enjoy the Sunday newspaper

with strong, dark coffee; the smell of it dances

around in the early darkness.

Driving to church there is bright, eager sunshine,

and the shadows of bare winter oaks stripe the lane

like a zebra; shadow, light, shadow.

At church I pray for my favorite aunt, Anna, her clock

seems to be quickly winding down, dear lady, widow

of my favorite uncle, Richard; mostly I just pray

that she finds her center.

The pheasant is a male, strikingly colored,

so beautiful, in fact, that I’ve begun to scatter extra catfood

to draw him back; we have become his grocery store.

I tell my wife that if he comes a 6th day, I’ll give him a name,

Richard; but he never comes again.

James Lee Jobe

J.C. Bloem, “How notably stiller death is compared to sleep.”

The rhythm is slightly off, but I think it conveys the mood better.

And this stayed with me forever,
How notably stiller death is –compared to sleep,
That it is a daily marvel to live,
And that we, with every ‘wakeningawaken     as if from death.

Another ending, bit more awkward:

And this stayed with me forever:
How notably stiller death is compared to sleep,
That it is a daily marvel, to be alive,
That we with every ‘wakening    are       resurrected.

En voor altijd is mij bijgebeleven:
hoe zeer veel stiller dood dan slapen is;
dat het een daaglijks wonder is, te leven,
en elk ontwaken een herrijzenis.

J.C. Bloem