Sunday, March 26, 2017

Poetry Pantry #346

Photos Contributed by CC

San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio River Walk

Hoodoos from the Kootenay's in British Columbia

Hoodoos from the Kootenay's in British Columbia

Daisies to Bring on Spring

Daisies to Bring on Spring

Greetings, Friends!  I sense a bit of spring in the air today....especially seeing CC's daisies.  Thanks, CC, for the beautiful photos.

Thanks to those who took part in Sumana's prompt "Mirror" for Midweek Motif on Wednesday.  Do look back at Rosemary's feature in The Living Dead from Friday.  She features Derek Walcott, the well known poet who just died a few days ago.  What a wonderful article she wrote!  (And, speaking of Rosemary, I hope everyone also saw the wonderful feature Sherry did on Rosemary last Monday.  We have such talent among us.)

Monday Sherry will be featuring one of Poets United's newer poets.  I will keep you in suspense, but do come back!  Susan has a very interesting prompt for Midweek Motif on Wednesday -- "Gender."  So begin to think about it, and see what you can come up with.

With no delay, let's share poetry.  Link your poem, say hello in the comments, and visit others who share poetry.  Be sure to check back later in the day and the following day to see who else has linked.  And DO be sure to visit everyone who visits your poetry...even if it is a bit later.  I have experienced recently that some people are forgetting about the 'visit others' part.   Anyway, do have a good Sunday and a great poetic week ahead!

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Living Dead

~ Honouring our poetic ancestors ~

R.T.S.L. (1917-1977)

As for that other thing 
which comes when the eyelid is glazed 
and the wax gleam 
from the unwrinkled forehead 
asks no more questions of the dry mouth,

whether they open the heart like a shirt 
to release a rage of swallows, 
whether the brain 
is a library for worms, 
on the instant of that knowledge 
of the moment 
when everything became so stiff,  

so formal with ironical adieux, 
organ and choir, 
and I must borrow a black tie, 
and at what moment in the oration 
shall I break down and weep - 
there was the startle of wings 
breaking from the closing cage 
of your body, your fist unclenching 
these pigeons circling serenely 
over the page,  

as the parentheses lock like a gate 
1917 to 1977, 
the semicircles close to form a face, 
a world, a wholeness, 
an unbreakable O, 
and something that once had a fearful name 
walks from the thing that used to wear its name, 
transparent, exact representative, 
so that we can see through it 
churches, cars, sunlight,  
and the Boston Common, 
not needing any book.

– Derek Walcott (1930-2017)

I don't know who R.T.S.L. was (perhaps some Walcott scholar among our number can enlighten us?) but I expect you know that Walcott himself died a few days ago, at the age of 87.

It must be about 35 years ago that my then husband, Bill, came home one day and told me to switch on ABC radio quick: he'd just been listening to a marvellous new poet on the car radio, a Caribbean called Derek Walcott.

Dutch-born Bill was not a poet himself but a lover of the English language and of poetry in English – like Walcott himself, who is described in Wikipedia as 
“an elated, exuberant poet madly in love with English”. (English is the official language of Walcott's birthplace, St Lucia, but he would also have grown up speaking patois, which he sometimes used in his poems.)

Actually Walcott was not at all a new poet in 1982 or thereabouts, but he was newly resident in the USA at that time, which may be, indirectly, how his work came to the attention of an Australian radio show.

At that stage I had not heard of him, but I enjoyed his deep, mellifluous voice on that radio program. Then I noticed the beauty of his words, and listened harder; and afterwards sought out his work.

He received  the Nobel Prize for Literature ten years later.

A splendid obituary in The New York Times gives all the important details of his life and career – so thoroughly that it has saved me the trouble of any further research. Here is the link. Do have a read!

You can find his books on his Amazon page – mostly in paperback, but some are in Kindle too.

I'll give my friend Linda Stevenson the last word and perfect summing up, with her comment on facebook after his death was announced:

"Have been re-reading lots of his fabulous poems. What a generous, clear, musical voice...he seemed to beautifully merge a metaphysical inclination with perception of the everyday."

Material shared in 'The Living Dead' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings and images remain the property of the copyright owners, where applicable (older poems may be out of copyright). 

This particular photo is made available through Creative Commons and has the citation: Bert Nienhuis - File of the Werkgroep Caraibische Letteren, The Netherlands.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Mirror

“Who sees the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror or the painter?” — Pablo Picasso

“All things that pass / Are wisdom’s looking glass.” — Christina Rossetti

“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.”—George Bernard Shaw

“There are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say, ‘That person I see is a savage monster;’ instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do.” — Noam Chomsky

           Midweek Motif ~Mirror 

A Mirror reflects. Does it tell us who we are?

Does it show appearance or reality?

What do you see or want to see when you look in the mirror?

What else do you think might work as a mirror too?

Mirror is our motif today. You might also write your lines from the perspective of a mirror.

by Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
What ever you see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful---
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

I sat before my glass one day, 
And conjured up a vision bare, 
Unlike the aspects glad and gay, 
That erst were found reflected there - 
The vision of a woman, wild 
With more than womanly despair.
Her hair stood back on either side 
A face bereft of loveliness.
It had no envy now to hide 
What once no man on earth could guess.
It formed the thorny aureole 
Of hard, unsanctified distress.
Her lips were open - not a sound 
Came though the parted lines of red, 
Whate'er it was, the hideous wound 
In silence and secret bled.
No sigh relieved her speechless woe, 
She had no voice to speak her dread.
And in her lurid eyes there shone 
The dying flame of life's desire, 
Made mad because its hope was gone, 
And kindled at the leaping fire 
Of jealousy and fierce revenge, 
And strength that could not change nor tire.
Shade of a shadow in the glass, 
O set the crystal surface free! 
Pass - as the fairer visions pass - 
Nor ever more return, to be 
The ghost of a distracted hour, 
That heard me whisper: - 'I am she!'

by Spike Milligan

A young spring-tender girl
combed her joyous hair
'You are very ugly' said the mirror.

on her lips hung
a smile of dove-secret loveliness,
for only that morning had not
the blind boy said,
'You are beautiful’?

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—
                       (Next week Susan’s Midweek Motif will be ~ Gender)