Author Topic: Poems thread  (Read 72154 times)

Offline Lazybird

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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #15 on: Jun 14, 2006, 10:27:49 PM »

@ Lazybird   :-* and  :-[ and we really must meet properly when I'm back in London  :D

We must!  :D :-*
I was in fact one of the two highest earning koalas in Sydney at that time.


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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #16 on: Jun 17, 2006, 11:24:49 PM »
Late Fragment by Raymond Carver

That was lovely. Thank you for posting it, LB. :-*

Offline Lazybird

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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #17 on: Jun 18, 2006, 11:19:25 PM »
Another Ray Carver:


No other word will do. For that's what it was. Gravy.
Gravy, these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving and
being loved by a good woman. Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going. And he was going
nowhere but down. So he changed his ways
somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute
of it, up to and including when he was told about,
well, some things that were breaking down and
building up inside his head. "Don't weep for me,"
he said to his friends. "I'm a lucky man.
I've had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure gravy. And don't forget it."
I was in fact one of the two highest earning koalas in Sydney at that time.

Offline Lazybird

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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #18 on: Jun 18, 2006, 11:32:15 PM »

It began to snow at midnight. And certainly
the kitchen is the best place to sit,
even the kitchen of the sleepless.
It's warm there, you cook yourself something, drink wine
and look out of the window at your friend eternity.
Why care whether birth and death are merely points
when life is not a straight line.
Why torment yourself eyeing the calendar
and wondering what is at stake.
Why confess you don't have the money
to buy Saskia shoes?
And why brag
that you suffer more than others.
If there were no silence here
the snow would have dreamed it up.
You are alone.
Spare the gestures. Nothing for show.

by Vladimir Holan, translated from the Czech by Ian and Jarmila Milner.
I was in fact one of the two highest earning koalas in Sydney at that time.


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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #19 on: Jun 18, 2006, 11:48:18 PM »
Ooo, the snow one is totally beautiful  *sniff*
I hadn't even realised it was a translation. Beautiful. Just
lovely! :D  *sigh*

Oh and Yossarian, I love the Langston Hughes one too!

Offline Lazybird

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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #20 on: Jun 19, 2006, 12:14:09 AM »
The snow one is one of my absolute all time favourites. I love reading it, it's so reassuring.

Now it's so familiar to me, I quite often think bits of it to myself which has got to be the one of the best things about poetry.
I was in fact one of the two highest earning koalas in Sydney at that time.

Offline mellie

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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #21 on: Jun 19, 2006, 12:46:57 AM »

I want you to feel
the unbearable lack of me.
I want your skin
to yearn for the soft lure of mine;
I want those hints of red on your canvas
to deepen in passion for me:
carmine, burgundy.
I want you to keep
stubbing your toe
on the memory of me;
i want your head to be dizzy
and your stomach in a spin;
I want you to hear my voice
in your ear, to touch your face
imagining it is my hand.
I want your body to shiver and quiver
at the mere idea of mine.
I want you to feel as though
life after me is dull, and pointless,
and aggravating;
that with me you were lifted
on a current you waited all your life to find,
and had despaired of finding,
as though you were wading
through a soggy swill of inanity and ugliness
every minute we are apart.
I want you to drive yourself crazy
with the fantasy of me,
and how we will meet again, against all odds,
and there will be tears and flowers,
and the vast relief of not I,
but us.
I am haunting your dreams,
conducting these fevers
from a distance,
a distance that leaves me weeping,
and storming,
and bereft.

Offline mellie

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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #22 on: Jun 19, 2006, 01:49:21 AM »

These hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
They don't fit into little
petty places.These hips
are free hips;
they don't like to be held back.
These hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go,
they do what they want to do.
These hips are mighty hips.
These hips are magic hips.

« Last Edit: Jun 19, 2006, 01:50:59 AM by mellie »


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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #23 on: Jun 19, 2006, 04:51:02 PM »
This subject is random - but Wilbur makes it feel beautiful.

  A ball will bounce; but less and less. It's not
A light-hearted thing, resents its own resilience.
Falling is what it loves, and the earth falls
So in our hearts from brilliance,
Settles and is forgot.
It takes a sky-blue juggler with five red balls

To shake our gravity up. Whee, in the air
The balls roll around, wheel on his wheeling hands,
Learning the ways of lightness, alter to spheres
Grazing his finger ends,
Cling to their courses there,
Swinging a small heaven about his ears.

But a heaven is easier made of nothing at all
Than the earth regained, and still and sole within
The spin of worlds, with a gesture sure and noble
He reels that heaven in,
Landing it ball by ball,
And trades it all for a broom, a plate, a table.

Oh, on his toe the table is turning, the broom's
Balancing up on his nose, and the plate whirls
On the tip of the broom! Damn, what a show, we cry:
The boys stamp, and the girls
Shriek, and the drum booms
And all come down, and he bows and says good-bye.
 If the juggler is tired now, if the broom stands
In the dust again, if the table starts to drop
Through the daily dark again, and though the plate
Lies flat on the table top,
For him we batter our hands
Who has won for once over the world's weight.

Richard Wilbur


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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #24 on: Jun 19, 2006, 10:30:41 PM »

If there were no silence here
the snow would have dreamed it up.

Mmm  :)

And  ;D to 'Homage To My Hips'

House For Sale- Andre Frenaud

So many people have lived here, who loved
love, waking up and kicking up the dust.
The well is bottomless and has no moon,
the last lot have gone and taken nothing with them.
The ivy fattens under yesterday's sun,
the soot and their coffee ground's remain.
I hitch myself to frayed dreams.
I love the dross of other people's souls,
mixed with these slivers of garnet,
the sweat of failed endeavours.
Caretaker! I'll buy it, I'll buy the shack,
If it poisons me, I'll go to blazes.
We'll open the windows...Replace the sign.
A man enters, sniffs around, starts again.


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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #25 on: Jun 20, 2006, 12:14:50 AM »
if you like my poems let them
if you like my poems let them
walk in the evening,a little behind you

then people will say
"Along this road i saw a princess pass
on her way to meet her lover(it was
toward nightfall)with tall and ignorant servants."

ee cummings

And (hopefully not pre-emptively..)

The moon in the bureau mirror
looks out a million miles
(and perhaps with pride, at herself,
but she never, never smiles)
far and away beyond sleep, or
perhaps she's a daytime sleeper.

By the Universe deserted,
she'd tell it to go to hell,
and she'd find a body of water,
or a mirror, on which to dwell.
So wrap up care in a cobweb
and drop it down the well

into that world inverted
where left is always right,
where the shadows are really the body,
where we stay awake all night,
where the heavens are shallow as the sea
is now deep, and you love me.

Elizabeth Bishop


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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #26 on: Jun 20, 2006, 12:36:23 AM »

just out of habit
I want to say that
I love you.

Usually it is after sex.

just out of habit
I want to say that
I need you

Usually it is before sex

just out of habit
I want to say that
you need me

Usually it is before you ask for sex

just out of habit
I want to say that
you love me

Usually it is after I have said I have a headache.


I don't say I need you
even when I do.
it makes it harder to explain
when I don't.


When I am thirty
I won't get here
without knowing who I am.
When I am forty
you will see it as confidence.
When I am fifty
you will view it as determination.
When I am sixty
you will get the f*ck out of my way.


On days like this
the wait seems
unnecessarily long.


Don't be fooled
by my post-modern rhetoric.

Ooo, I love talking funny.


Neither am I fooled
by your traditional conservatism.



Which is why

I am a feminist
I laugh the loudest at sexist jokes.

I am a communist.
I hate that you have more money than me.

I am a capitalist.
If anyone is going to have more money, it better be me.

I am a racist
Now, even I know that's just wrong
Its not their fault they were fed the wrong food.

I am a sexist
You mean that's NOT what it means.


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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #27 on: Jun 20, 2006, 02:37:33 AM »
Ooo, I love the Hips one  :D

and @mellie, the Katie Donovan

and @Yossarian, both the ee cummings & the Elizabeth Bishop. Totally different & both beautiful.  :)

To my delight, Ive found some poems by Menna Elfyn online, she writes in Welsh but now publishes bilingually, & she has some seriously good translators.


Have you noticed how time-free a person is
when approaching a new language?
Yes, you stumble over consonants,
postpone vowels,
encumbered with all the armour of your longing
for the conquest of expression.
And yes, your tongue is like
a baby bumping along on its bottom.

Well then, let each of the world's peoples learn
the excommunicated language of its neighbour,
yes, creep and crouch in corners,
lose sleep in messing it up,
since this is how tenses will be deleted.
The past will not come fluent on the tongue.
The language of today will stay. It will sue for peace,
pull down all the barbed-wire verbs.
The imperfect will never be so perfect
as when it ceases to exist.

And cleft, split, and rupture will be
made whole in the open mouth.
Each new learner will have the memory
of correcting constructions,
picking up one's bed, rectifying speech.

There will be no time for spreading hatred,
since the tribes will be overcome
by the riches of all the founding stones –

And through the babies in Babel
a yoke will be raised, a United Languages heal
in freeing oneself, freeing in sowing the seed.

English translation by Joseph Clancy

Song of a voiceless person to British Telecom

Ga’ i rif yng Nghaerdydd , os gwelwch…’ *

‘Speak up!’


‘Speak up- you’ll have to speak up’.

‘Speak up’ is, of course
The command to speak English.
I sentence myself to a lifetime
Of sentences that make no sense.
No pronunciation,no annunciation,
Inflection. I am infected
With dumbness. I can neither lampoon,
Sing in tune; much less can I
Intone. My grace-notes
Are neither music nor mumble.
I am not heard at Evening Prayer
Nor at triumphal Matins,
Nor am I that voice in the dusk
That is husky but vibrant.

An impediment, then? No. No thick tongue,
No chip on my shoulder, a compulsion to please.
And if I am without speech
What of the fluency of my people?
We are mutes, Trappists,
Conspirators in a corner.
The usurper’s language pierces
To the very centre of our being,
A minister of darkness before whose tread
Our civility must give ground.
From the safety of my television
I see nations forced into a hole,
Possessors of nothing but their dispossession,
Mufflers over their mouths,
Their captive craft under curfew.
There is an injunction against their speech,
And I perceive it is Y GYMMRAEG that we share.

So the next time I am commanded
To ‘speak up’
Deferring to the courtesy
That is our convention,
With like courtesy I will require the operator
To ‘pipe down’;
And like ‘sounding bras’
I will suggest the superfluousness of barbed wire,
Since our language has berylled wares.
I will sing and make contact
In cynghanedd**, as the small nations do,
A people in counterpoint
To the leit-motif, dominant
Though its pitch be,
Ending each time on the same
Obstinate monotone
With the same passionate concern
Though mortally muted our metrics.

‘A nawr a ga i-
y rhif yna yng Nghaerdydd’.

Translated from the Welsh by R.S Thomas

* Can I have a number in Cardiff, please...

** Welsh traditional verse metre

Oh and I found a new poet (new to me), Tracey Herd.


When he’s away she doesn’t like it much,
Pushing the reheated food around the plate,
The big, brass key rigid in the lock
Which she’ll go back three times
To check before turning off the radio
And taking the water-glass to bed.

Christie, Sayers, Marsh are sitting
Well-mannered on the shelf
Pushed in tight to keep
Their suave murderers inside,
Their victims choked cries unheard.

She turns over onto her other side
Pushing the pillows forward, back,
Thinking of the spinster pulling weeds
And tidying the tubs in her well-tended
Garden in St. Mary Mead, between murders
As it were, but soon will come
The poison pen, the bullet in the dark
That could have been blindly fired
When the house’s lights went out
But was only ever meant for one.

Tracey Herd


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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #28 on: Jun 20, 2006, 09:38:43 AM »
To Lina.

if strangers meet
life begins-
not poor not rich
(only aware)
kind neither
nor cruel
(only complete)
i not not you
not possible;
only truthful
if strangers(who
deep our most are

(and so to dark)

e.e. cummings


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Re: Poems thread
« Reply #29 on: Jun 20, 2006, 09:41:16 AM »
Here's another:

Late Fragment by Raymond Carver:

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

I love this, and might just have to make use of it!