Ruvn Ayzland There are pale girls painted red yiddish poem

It’s noon. Around us, all is quiet.
Only a single machine is humming like a bee, somewhere in a corner.
A girl is eating, cracking the shell of an egg,
and one or two others are sipping tea
in a warm and cozy mood.
Nearby someone is munching onions and bread–
and there are pale girls painted red.

And in the window I sit alone, my legs crossed and my hands in my lap,
And look out — just look out.

Ruvn Ayzland.

From: Yiddish Literature in America, 1870-2000, ed: Emanuel S. Goldsmith. Translator: Ba.rnett Zumoff. 2009.

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Uma (woman) Surinam #poem #BlackLivesMatter #Hillyes

Uma
by Johanna Schouten-Elsenhout
Recited by Hillary Clinton in The Hague at an UNESCO conference in 1999

Noti no hei so
Lek’ a sten
D’ e bari
In’ dyugudyugu f’ a dei

A sten moi
A krakti
A n’ abi farsi
Wins’ tranga winti
E seiri en kon

Uma i hei
Y’e brenki
I n’e kanti
A mindri strei
Fu aladei

Woman

Nothing is more magnificent
Than the voice
That calls out
In the chaos of the day

That voice is beautiful
She is powerful
She knows no hatefulness
Even if storms
would carry that with them

Woman you are majestic
You shine
You do not falter
In the midst of the struggle
of every day
Vrouw

Niets is zo verheven
Als de stem
Die roept
In de chaos van de dag

Die stem is mooi
Zij is krachtig
Zij heeft geen valsheid
Ook als stormen
Die met zich meevoeren

Vrouw je bent verheven
Je schittert
Je wankelt niet
Te midden van de strijd
Van alledag

#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.
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When You Love What Do You Love? ¿Qué se ama cuando se ama? Gonzales Rojas. #Valentines #poetryisjustawesome

When You Love What Do You Love?

When you love what do you love, my God: terrible light of life
or death’s delight? What do you look for, what uncover, what
is it: love? And who? Woman with her depths, her roses, her volcanoes,
or this flushed sun, my furious blood
as I enter into her last roots?

Or is it all a great game, God, with no woman
or man but just one body: yours,
shared out in beauty-stars, in brief grains
of visible eternity?

It kills me, oh God, this war
of going and coming among them in the streets, unable to love
three hundred at a time, condemned as I am to one,
this one, this one alone, you gave me in that old paradise.

 

¿Qué se ama cuando se ama?

¿Qué se ama cuando se ama, mi Dios: la luz terrible de la vida
o la luz de la muerte? ¿Qué se busca, qué se halla, qué
es eso: amor? ¿Quién es? ¿La mujer con su hondura, sus rosas, sus volcanes,
o este sol colorado que es mi sangre furiosa
cuando entro en ella hasta las últimas raíces?

¿O todo es un gran juego, Dios mío, y no hay mujer
ni hay hombre sino un solo cuerpo: el tuyo,
repartido en estrellas de hermosura, en particular fugaces
de eternidad visible?

Me muero en esto, oh Dios, en esta guerra
de ir y venir entre ellas por las calles, de no poder amar
trescientas a la vez, porque estoy condenado siempre a una,
a esa una, a esa única que me diste en el viejo paraíso.

De Contra la muerte, 1964.

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

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The Black Unicorn, Audre Lorde.

Migraine morning, so no reading law but reading poetry.

The Black Unicorn

The black unicorn is greedy.
The black unicorn is impatient.
The black unicorn was mistaken
for a shadow or symbol
and taken
through a cold country
where mist painted mockeries
of my fury.
It is not on her lap where the horn rests
but deep in her moonpit
growing.
The black unicorn is restless
the black unicorn is unrelenting
the black unicorn is not
free.

NEW and USED: Abebooks.com The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry
NEW at independent bookstores: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780195125634

The Black Unicorn isn’t supposed to be funny, but she makes me smile. I’m not sure: I think the mist means that a token black person is white washed by white friends or fellow academics, writers maybe, a place where she feels bound also by misogyny and emphasizes her power comes from her vag. That’s what I read into it. The black unicorn is powerful.

Quick notes about the poem.

Maya Angelou, phenomenal woman.

ImageImageImageImageImageImage

 

When Great Souls Die

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down in tall grasses,
and even elephants lumber after safety. When great trees fall in forests,
small things recoil into silence, their senses eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity. Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on kind words unsaid, promised walks never taken.
Great souls die and our reality, bound to them, takes leave of us.
Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed and informed by their radiance, fall away.
We are not so much maddened as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of dark, cold caves.
And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly.
Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed.
They existed.
We can be.
Be and be better.
For they existed.

 

——-

 

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou

To sit quietly beside a friend

To sit quietly beside a friend

I would like to come to all my friends
– well, also those who are not my friends-
And ask: Love me the way I am
and don’t make demands. See I can’t
entertain you with lively chat, can’t be
quick-witted, witty nor share confidences
about myself or speak my deepest thoughts.
Should we so wear out ourselves – one for the other?

Let me sit next to you without words, quietly,
wrapped up in our own work, our own thoughts
Or- if you’d like to talk- do speak to me
I will listen– if you good-humouredly
with light chat would keep me company,
I will laugh at your banter and your drollery
I will watch you with an earnest face if loftily, or deeply
or idly you speak of much too serious a thing.

But when I sit quietly like this, and listen
to your words- or to the ticking of the clock-
Or, if I let the silence rustle around us,
-it does whisper so delightfully when folks are still-
When I feel glad to be around you,
then I would like to ask, and break the silence

or with my question interrupt our talk:
Say, are you glad also, that I sit here beside you
And if you say yes, then I will say me too.

And that would be all I wished to know
and all that you would need to know of me.

Jacqueline E. van der Waals

Ik zou tot al mijn vrienden willen gaan
-Ook wel tot hen,die niet mijn vrienden zijn-
En vragen:Heb mij lief,gelijk ik ben
En stel aan mij geen eischen.Zie ik kan
niet onderhoudend praten,niet gevat
Of geestig zijn,en niet vertrouwelijk
vertellen van mijzelf of van mijn ziel…..
Wat zouden we ons vermoeien voor elkaar?

Laat mij maar zwijgend naast U zitten.stil
Verdiept in eigen werk,eigen gedachten.
Of-als gij praten wilt-spreek gij tot mij.
k zal wel luisteren,als gij vriendelijk
Met lichten kout mij onderhouden wilt,
Wel lachen om de grappen.die ge zegt,
Wel ernstig kijken,als ge hoog, of diep,
Of ijdel praat van al te diepe dingen…..

Maar als ik dan zo zwijgend zit,en luister
Naar uw gesprek-of naar het klokgetik-
Of , k laat de stilte ruischen om ons heen,-
-Die ruischt zoo prettig,als de mensen zwijgen-
Als ‘ k mij dan blij in uw nabijheid voel,
Dan zou ik willen vragen, en de stilte

-Of ons gesprek-verbreken met mijn vraag:
,,Zeg. zijt ge ook blij,dat ik hier naast u zit?”
Spraakt gij dan,,Ja”, dan zei ik zacht: Ik ook”

En dat was alles,wat ik weten wou
En al, wat gij van mij behoeft te weten.