Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Just FYI

April is National Poetry Month.


It's the 5th so I owe you a few.

Let's get started, shall we?

More And More
Margaret Atwood

More and more frequently the edges
of me dissolve and I become
a wish to assimilate the world, including
you, if possible through the skin
like a cool plant's tricks with oxygen
and live by a harmless green burning.

I would not consume
you, or ever
finish, you would still be there
surrounding me, complete
as the air.

Unfortunately I don't have leaves.
Instead I have eyes
and teeth and other non-green
things which rule out osmosis.

So be careful, I mean it,
I give you a fair warning:

This kind of hunger draws
everything into its own
space; nor can we
talk it all over, have a calm
rational discussion.

There is not reason for this, only
a starved dog's logic about bones.

The Middle-aged
Adrienne Rich

Their faces, safe as an interior
Of Holland tiles and Oriental carpet,
Where the fruit-bowl, always filled, stood in a light
Of placid afternoon--their voices' measure,
Their figures moving in the Sunday garden
To lay the tea outdoors or trim the borders,
Afflicted, huanted us.  For to be young
Was always to live in other peoples' houses
Whose peace, if we sought it, had been made by others,
Was ours at second-hand and not for long.
The custom of the house, not ours, the sun
Fading the silver-blue Fortuny curtains,
The reminiscence of a Christmas party
Of fourteen years ago--all memory,
Signs of possession and of being possessed,
We tasted, tense with envy.  They were so kind,
Would have given us anything; the bowl of fruit
Was filled for us, there was a room upstairs
We must call ours:  but twenty years of living
They could not give.  Nor did they ever speak
Of the coarse stain on that polished balustrade,
The crack in the study window, or the letters
Locked in a drawer and the key destroyed.
All to be understood by us, returning
Late, in our own time--how that peace was made,
Upon what terms, with how much left unsaid.

Still I Rise
Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefullness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wonderously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the drean and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Never Give All The Heart
W. B. Yeats

Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women, if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that's lovely is
But a brief dreamy kind delight.
O never give the heart outright
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost
For he gave all his heart and lost.

Black Spring
Robert Lowell

A half-holiday for the burial.  Of course, they punish
the provincial copper bells for hours;
terribly the nose tilts up like a tallow candle
from the coffin.  Does it wish to draw breath
from its torso in a mourning suit?  The last snow
fell somberly--white, then the roads were bread-crumbed with
Pour winter, honeycombed with debts,
poured to corruption.  Now the dumb, black springtime
must look into the chilly eye...from under the  mould
on the roof-shingles, the liquid oatmeal
of the roads, the green stubble of life
on our faces!  High in the splinter elm,
shrill the annual fledglings with their spikey necks.
They say to man that his road is mud,
his luck is rutted--there is nothing
sorrier than the marriage of two deaths.