Poem of the week: A Poison Tree, William Blake

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I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

A Poison Tree

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Poetry In The News

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Hello 😊 here’s your poetry in the news for this week:

Why Poetry Is a Refuge for Your Brain

Leonard Cohen’s final poetry collection due out next year

New Poetry Collection Honours Martin Luther King Jr

Polish poet’s verse tell of love, sorrow and the search for a home

‘This is the Place’ poet pens 40th anniversary verse

‘Now it’s the coolest thing’: rise of Rupi Kaur helps boost poetry sales

Poem of the week: You Do Not Have To Love Me, Leonard Cohen

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You do not have to love me
just because
you are all the women
I have ever wanted
I was born to follow you
every night
while I am still
the many men who love you

I meet you at a table
I take your fist between my hands
in a solemn taxi
I wake up alone
my hand on your absense
in Hotel Discipline

I wrote all these songs for you
I burned red and black candles
shaped like a man and a woman
I married the smoke
of two pyramids of sandalwood
I prayed for you
I prayed that you would love me
and that you would not love me

You Do Not Have To Love Me

Poem of the week: Song of the Little Cripple at the Street Corner, David Ferry

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Maybe my soul’s all right.
But my body’s all wrong,
All bent and twisted,
All this that hurts me so.

My soul keeps trying, trying
To straighten my body up.
It hangs on my skeleton, frantic,
Flapping its terrified wings.

Look here, look at my hands,
They look like little wet toads
After a rainstorm’s over,
Hopping, hopping, hopping.

Maybe God didn’t like
The look of my face when He saw it.
Sometimes a big dog
Looks right into it.

Song of the little cripple on the corner

Poem of the Week: I Do, Eileen R. Tabios

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“I do not know English”
—from “I Do Not” by Michael Palmer

“Marunong akong mag-ingles” (I do know English)
—any 21st-century Filipino poet

I do know English.

I do know English for I have something to say about this latest peace stirring between a crack that’s split a sidewalk traversing a dusty border melting at noon beneath an impassive sun.

I do know English and, therefore, when hungry, can ask for more than minimum wage, pointing repeatedly at my mouth and yours.

Such a gesture can only mean what it means: I do not want to remain hungry and I am looking at your mouth.

I do know English and still will not ask permission.

I shall call you “Master” with a lack of irony; lift my cotton blouse; cup my breasts to offer them to your eyes, your lips, your tongue; keen at the moon hiding at 11 a.m. to surface left tendon on my neck. For your teeth. And so on.

No need to decipher your response—and if you wish, go ahead: spank me.

I do know English. Therefore I can explain this painting of a fractured grid as the persistent flux of our “selves” as time unfolds.

There is a way to speak of our past or hopes for the future, the hot-air balloon woven from a rainbow’s fragments now floating over St. Helena; your glasses I nearly broke when, afterwards, you flung me to the floor as violence is extreme and we demand the extreme from each other; your three moans in a San Francisco hallway after I fell to my knees; your silence in New York as I knocked on your door. There is a way to articulate your silence—a limousine running over a child on the streets of Manila and Shanghai. And Dubai.

There is a way to joke about full-haired actors running for President and the birth of a new American portrait: “Tight as a Florida election.”

I do know English and so cannot comprehend why you write me no letters even as you unfailingly read mine.

Those where I write of the existence of a parallel universe to create a haven when your silence persists in this world I was forced to inherit.

Which does not mean I cannot differentiate between a reflection and a shadow, a threnody and a hiccup, the untrimmed bougainvillea bush mimicking a fire and the lawn lit by a burning cross.

I can prove Love exists by measuring increased blood flow to the brain’s anterior cingulated cortex, the middle insula, the putamen and the caudate nucleus.

Nor is “putamen” a pasta unless I confirm to you that my weak eyesight misread “puttanesca” as the crimson moon began to rise, paling as it ascends for fate often exacts a price.

I can see an almond eye peer behind the fracture on a screen and know it is not you from the wafting scent of crushed encomiums.

I can remind you of the rose petals I mailed to you after releasing them from the padded cell between my thighs.

I slipped the petals inside a cream envelope embossed in gold with the seal of a midtown Manhattan hotel whose façade resembles a seven-layered wedding cake. Which we shall share only through the happiness of others. Which does not cancel Hope.

I can recite all of your poems as I memorized them through concept as well as sound.

I speak of a country disappearing and the impossibility of its replacement except within the tobacco-scented clench of your embrace.

I can tell you I am weary of games, though they continue. Manila’s streets are suffused with protesters clamoring for an adulterer’s impeachment. Their t-shirts are white to symbolize their demand for “purity.” Space contains all forms, which means it lack geometry. My lucid tongue has tasted the dust from monuments crumbling simply because seasons change.

Because I do know English, I have been variously called Miss Slanted Vagina, The Mail Order Bride, The One With The Shoe Fetish, The Squat Brunette Who Wears A Plaid Blazer Over A Polka-Dot Blouse, The Maid.

When I hear someone declare war while observing a yacht race in San Diego, I understand how “currency” becomes “debased.”

They have named it The Tension Between The Popular Vote And The Electoral College.

I do know English.

Poem of the Week: The Swing, Robert Louis Stevenson

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How do you like to go up in a swing,
   Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
   Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
   Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
   Over the countryside—
Till I look down on the garden green,
   Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
   Up in the air and down!

Poem of the Week: Kingdom Animalia, Aracelis Girmay

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When I get the call about my brother,
I’m on a stopped train leaving town
& the news packs into me—freight—
though it’s him on the other end
now, saying finefine—

Forfeit my eyes, I want to turn away
from the hair on the floor of his house
& how it got there Monday,
but my one heart falls
like a sad, fat persimmon
dropped by the hand of the Turczyn’s old tree.

I want to sleep. I do not want to sleep. See,

one day, not today, not now, we will be gone
from this earth where we know the gladiolas.
My brother, this noise,
some love [you] I loved
with all my brain, & breath,
will be gone; I’ve been told, today, to consider this
as I ride the long tracks out & dream so good

I see a plant in the window of the house
my brother shares with his love, their shoes. & there
he is, asleep in bed
with this same woman whose long skin
covers all of her bones, in a city called Oakland,
& their dreams hang above them
a little like a chandelier, & their teeth
flash in the night, oh, body.

Oh, body, be held now by whom you love.
Whole years will be spent, underneath these impossible stars,
when dirt’s the only animal who will sleep with you
& touch you with
its mouth.

Kingdom Animalia