The Gas Fire by Stevie Smith #wintersolstice #TransIsBeautiful #iNeedFeminismBecause

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Near Williamstown, MASS, credit: Peter Rintels.

The gas fire
Seemed quite a friend
Such a funny little humming noise it made
And it had a name, too, carved on it you know,
‘The Persian’. The Persian!
Ha ha ha; ha ha.

Now Agnes, pull yourself together.
You and your friends.

Stevie Smith

Florence Margaret Smith, known as Stevie Smith (20 September 1902 – 7 March 1971) was an English poet and novelist.

“When suffering from the depression to which she was subject all her life she was so consoled by the thought of death as a release that, as she put it, she did not have to commit suicide.

She wrote in several poems that death was “the only god who must come when he is called”. Smith suffered throughout her life from an acute nervousness, described as a mix of shyness and intense sensitivity…

Sylvia Plath became a fan of her poetry and sent Smith a letter in 1962, describing herself as “a desperate Smith-addict.” Plath expressed interest in meeting in person but committed suicide soon after sending the letter…

Smith was celibate for most of her life, although she rejected the idea that she was lonely as a result, alleging that she had a number of intimate relationships with friends and family that kept her fulfilled.

About Not Waving But Drowning: Jannice Thaddeus suggests that the speaker of the poem, like other figures in Smith’s works, changes from male to female as part of a theme of androgyny that exists in many of the poems found in Selected Poems.”

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

“How the animals broke through the sky.” Indigenous Winter Solstice poem! As told by Angela Sidney.

moon solstice

Beautiful Indigenous Winter Solstice Poem!!!

“How the animals broke through the sky.”

Our Winter Solstice Bonfire on Cherry Beach is on Native grounds. 
This is a Winter Solstice story and poem as told by Angela Sidney.

How the animals broke through the sky.

One time the sky used to come right down to saltwater
Here the animals lived on the Winterside it was cold.
Squirrel always came amongst other animals crying all the time

One time they asked her,
“what are you crying for?”

“My kids all froze up again.”
Every now and then her children her babies all froze up.

So they went to a meeting, all the animals, they are going to try to poke a hole through the sky.
They are on the Winterside and they are going to poke a hole through the sky so they can have summertime too.
Summer is on the other side.

Wheel_of_fire_by_MattTheSamurai

So they gathered together with all kinds of people —they are animals though —
Blood sucker is the one they picked to go through that hole.
He poked that hole and then different animals went through that hole.
Wolverine is the one who made that hole bigger —
he went through pulling a dry moose skin — made that hole bigger.
That’s how they all got through.

Now they are going to steal good weather.
they went to a high person — he’s got all the weather —the hot air,
cold air
He’s got flowers and leaves.
So they took all that — they stole it when people weren’t home.

But there was one old man there.
He went outside— took his blanket outside and waved it around his head

Get winter time over there and summer over here.
“Don’t go away for good,” he told them.
He kept them from taking summer completely away.

That’s how, when winter goes for good that’s the time we get summer.
Then when summer goes back to the south side, that’s the time we get winter.

He waved his blanket and said,
“Don’t go away for good,” he told the weather.
“Go back-and-forth.”

Those two worlds were side by side —winter on one side, summer on the other.
On one side were winter animals — on the other, summer animals.
They broke the sky down, and after, it went up

After they got it across, they bust it — the summer bag.
Pretty soon, snow melted —they got leaves.
They had all the leaves tied up in a balloon.
Then they bust the balloon and all the summer things came out.

As told by Angela Sidney in “Life Lived Like a Story: Life Stories of Three Yukon Native Elders.”
By Julie Cruikshank, p. 49.

Library in Toronto: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM521988&R=521988

Order online:
– New: http://www.ubcpress.ca/search/title_book.asp?BookID=444 or at http://www.indiebound.org
– Used: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=Life+Lived+Like+a+Story

‪#‎IndigenousLivesMatter‬ ‪#‎WinterSolstice‬ ‪#‎WinterSolsticebonfire‬ ‪#‎AmINext‬

Two short Winter Solstice poems by Chappuis and Gezelle!

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vivianacres.wordpress.com 

Some simple poems about change now that we are getting closer to the longest night and the shortest day. The moon changes our mood, so does thinking about the past year, hopes for the next… Tomorrow we’re going to build a bonfire and set alight a wooden Circle of life. I have plants and herbs gathered for different scents. There will be a few children. Maybe we’re going to read stories, tell stories. We have an Indigenous Healer with us, White Wolf, who will call on the directions and we’ll thank our ancestors and the grounds we stand on, the lake, the beach, the woods. Make new connections, strengthen old ones. Anyway. The poems.

Snow dust

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
On a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood…

Pierre Chappuis

Winter Solstice, Zonnewende

The sun sweeps up
the sun dives down
The sun goes up
and under
The life of a mensch is similar
to the life of the sun,
who goes up and down and all around
and
who walks all those days —
the road her indicated.

Guido Gezelle (Famous fabulous Belgian poet)
Dutch:
de zonne gaat op
de zonne gaat neer,
de zonne gaat op
en onder
Het leven van den mensch is als
Het leven van de zon,
Die op- en af- en ommegaat
En wandelt alle dagen
Den weg, die haar gewezen is.
Guido Gezelle

Caribou. Indigenous Winter Poem. Winter Solstice story telling! — complete now!

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Photo credit: unknown.

When lake froze in winter,
When Caribou came,
It was just like horses, same.
You could hear their feet making noise,
Making noise [imitates hoofs on ice].
Lots of caribou covered up these hills.

I want to talk about this story,
old people tell this story.

One time, caribou took people
That man had a little bit of doctor, I guess;
Well, caribou took him.

Everybody felt bad: he was gone.
His wife was left alone.

Right in the middle of the lake, they heard caribou singing his song.
People don’t know what to do —
They tried to get him.

One man said, “Well,let’s go. We’re going to try.”
Yeah!

NGS Picture ID:696517
Photo: Paul Nicklen. National Geographic.

They’ve got bow and arrow, that’s all — they have no gun yet.
It was a long time ago, I guess.
They heard that man’s song.
I think it was wintertime.
Wintertime.

That caribou just lay down in the middle of that ice.

All the time he stayed in the middle.
For a long time, they watched him.
Whenever they tried to come to that caribou, all the time he watched them.
He looked from person to person.
And all the time he didn’t sleep.

One man told them he was going to do it.
Then he sneaked in. [She shows how he wrestled with the caribou and held it down.]

The caribou spoke:
‘You smell,” he told people.

Well that man knew how to talk to caribou.
“What about your kids,” they asked him.
“Your kids are crying for you,” his own brother told him.
“What’s wrong with you?”

He couldn’t help it.
So they brought him. They brought him home.
They took him home!
I guess his wife is glad: he’s got kids too!
His wife came, and his kids.
He held his kids’ hands, but for his wife, nothing.
He doesn’t know her yet.

Well, they took him back.
They told him.
Then they watched him.
They made a camp for it [away from the human camp].

Somebody watched him there.
He wanted to go!
He doesn’t eat their food — he eats only willows.
You know what that means!
But they kept him the other side of the fire.

Then he came back to person.
But he can’t hunt caribou anymore.

This was way before my time, but I saw lots of caribou.
they came back, caribou.
All this mountain was covered by caribou.
Used to be we had caribou not too long ago when my kids were growing up.

One time lots of caribou fell through the ice, one lake.
I called my husband back to get the meat.
My mother-in-law came to get the skins.
She got enough that time: she had her son with her.
They are hard to clean when they fall in that way
That’s the last time that caribou came this way.
That’s the last time we saw caribou come.

But they didn’t come back. How come?
That man came back to person.
Then he knew where moose are, where caribou are.
He tells them, but he can’t hunt them.

That’s the last time caribou came this way.
Since then nothing.

After Skookum Jim found gold everything changed.
White people came to this country.
White people learned everything from Indians.
Now they want the whole thing, the land!
I’ve got 64 grandchildren in this Yukon.
I worry about them, what’s going to happen?
White people, where’s their grandpa? Their grandma?
Indians should have their own land
To be continued

From: Life Lived Like a Story
Life Stories of Three Yukon Native Elders
Julie Cruikshank. UBC Press.

Library in Toronto: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM521988&R=521988

Order online:
– New: http://www.ubcpress.ca/search/title_book.asp?BookID=444
– Used: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=Life+Lived+Like+a+Story

 

Canadian geographic
Photo: Canadian National Geographic.

caribou_kusawa
Photo: Milo Burcham

Obi Nwakanma- four seasons!! And now it is so so very cold here. Nigeria!

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Favourite lines:

Icicles fall from trees,...they limber
like the gods terrified into silence,
like tall brooding deities looming out of the fog:

The cypress -whitening-
...;wearing her best habit,
a pale green in the forest of ghosts-

And so I walk through this windless night
through the narrow imponderable road
through the silence - the silence of trees- 

I hear not even the gust of wind
I hear only the quiet earth, thawing underneath;
I hear the slow silent death of winter-

when the sun is yellowest

...to every good, to every
flicker of stars along the pine
shadows;
to every tussle with lucid dusk,
to every moonlit pledge, to
every turn made to outleap
silvery pollen, 

I have desired to listen,...


USED and NEW: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=2685567879
NEW through independent bookstores, book on Nigerian lyrical poet: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781847010131

“Obi Nwakanma is one of the Nigerian literary awards winning troika invited by Harvard University to represent New Voices From Nigeria at a recent Africa Events Reading (the other two being Maik Nwosu and Akin Adesokan also featured on this site).

Poet and journalist, he featured at the Poetry International Festival in 1995.

Holder of a BA degree from the University of Jos in Nigeria, Nwakanma was a visiting scholar at one of the pre-eminent universities in Nigeria, UN at Nsukka. Formerly an Assistant Editor at the Sunday Vanguard, he is currently a visiting scholar at The Meeting School, Rindge, NH, where he teaches Literature, Creative Writing and Journalism.”

http://www.poetrysoup.com/biography/obi_nwakanma

“Thirsting for Sunlight, his biography of the tragic modernist poet, Christopher Okigbo, was published by James Currey (UK) in 2010.
His collection of poems, The Horsemen & Other Poems, was published by Africa World Press (New Jersey) in 2007. Nwakanma’s first collection of poems, The Roped Urn, was awarded the Cadbury Prize in 1996 by the Association of Nigerian Authors, and he received the Walter J. Ong Award for Distinguished Achievement in 2008 from Saint Louis University.
His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in various anthologies and publications including Okike, Vanguard Review, Callaloo, and Wasafiri. His poetry has been translated into Spanish, Dutch, German, and Turkish.
Obi Nwakanma has also worked as a professional journalist, reporting internationally for Newsweek, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, and as Group Literary editor for the Vanguard,one of the major national newspapers in Nigeria, for which he continues to write a weekly column, “The Orbit” in the Sunday Vanguard.
5474688568_2a1f5c5b3b_b He is currently working on a novel, a new collection of poems, and a book on The Mbari Movement, Transnationalism and Modern African Literature.”
In FULL:
ICICLES fall from trees, molten with age, 
without memory - they stand aloof in their 
nakedness - they limber; 
like the gods terrified into silence, 
like tall brooding deities looming out of the 
fog: 

The forest hugs them 
carves them into stones, 
Etches them into the slow 
eastern landscape: rivers, hills 
the slow running water, 
times broken inscapes…

The willows are burdened with ice 
the white shrouds of burial spread 
upon the earth's ravaged face; the eyes 
unseeing, the mouth unspeaking, 
a gust of wind proclaims the anger of 
immemorial ages; the cycle, the 
eternal ritual of mystical returns - 

The cypress - whitening -
boneless; wearing her best habit, 
a pale green in the forest of ghosts -

And so I walk through this windless night 
through the narrow imponderable road 
through the silence - the silence of trees -

I hear not even the gust of wind
I hear only the quiet earth, thawing underneath; 
I hear the slow silent death of winter -

where the sun is yellowest.
 
But above, Monadnock looms 
like some angry Moloch, her 
white nipple seizing the space

drained of all milk.
.
.
 

A she-devil beckoning to worshippers 
seductive - her arm stretching outwards -
to this lonely pilgrim
lost in the mist: 

Behold the school of wild bucks 
Behold the meeting of incarnate 
spirits -
Behold the lost souls bearing tapers 
in rags of rich damask, 
Down Thomas - the saint of 
unbelievers - down the road to bliss 
Down to the red house, uncertain 
like a beggar's bowl hanging unto the cliff 
of withdrawn pledges, where the well is 
deepest.
.
.
 

I have dared to live 
beneath the great untamed.
 

To every good, to every 
flicker of stars along the pine 
shadows; 
To every tussle with lucid dusk, 
To every moonlit pledge, to 
every turn made to outleap 
silvery pollen, 

I have desired to listen - to listen -
to the ripening of seasons.
.
.
.
 

Winter 2001
This is ONE of a continuing sequence.

Winter at sea: Een eerlijk zeemansgraf by Jan Jacob Slauerhoff

A loose translation. There simply is no good translation that I can write. Most of the beautiful old Dutch is disappeared, even modern Dutch would not compare. I think if you yourself sail, you can maybe hear it in the English.

No deep meaning, only lovely description by the ship’s doctor…

The sea’s edge shifts cruel, the waves tumble wild,
From mild and green, abruptly broken, leaden and gray;
One night, there is the wind that shivers through open sky,
Next, akin to sudden death, the cold.

About rock islands without tree or grass,
Resting abandoned in time-worn space,
Blossoms only the fierce and unruly growth
Of rapidly rising, quickly wilting foam.

Aboard the ship on which no soothing fires burn,
The cold nestles itself in, for a long journey;
Against walls by night creaks awakened,
The floating ice grinds and shatters itself.

Winter op zee
De kim wordt wreed, de golven tuimlen wild,
Van mild en groen, spoorslags hardgrijs en grauw;
Eén nacht waarin de wind door ‘t luchtruim rilt,
Dan, als een plotselinge dood, de kou.

Om rotseilanden zonder boom en gras,
Liggend verlaten in het oeroud ruim,
Bloeit slechts ‘t onstuimig en verward gewas
Van ‘t snel opschietend, snel verwelkend schuim.

Op ‘t schip waarin geen vuren troostend branden,
Nestelt de kou zich voor een lange reis;
Tegen de ‘s nachts wakkergekraakte wanden
Kruit en verbrijzelt zich het drijvend ijs.

Een eerlijk zeemansgraf (1941)