1 April 2018

Poems to read and re-read, a poéfrika list



PAGE TOP POEM INDEX
A blessing, by James Wright
After midnight, by Louis Simpson
A virginal, by Ezra Pound
Beauty, by Warsan Shire
Birches, by Robert Frost
Blind Boone’s Pianola Blues, by Tyehimba Jess
Come, by Makhosazana Xaba
Daddy, by Sylvia Plath
Death, by Kwame Dawes
Death of a naturalist, by Seamus Heaney
Epitaph, by Dennis Scott
Evening hawk, by Robert Penn Warren
Facts about the moon, by Dorianne Laux
Feeling fucked up, by Etheridge Knight
For Malcolm X, by Margaret Walker
Funeral blues, by W.H. Auden
Giant puffballs, by Neil Rollinson
Harlem Dancer, by Claude McKay
Howl, by Allen Ginsburg
If you want to know me, by Noémia de Sousa
Introduction to poetry, by Billy Collins
Just once, by Anne Sexton
Love after love, by Derek Walcott
Mercy, by Nikki Giovanni
New day, by Kwame Dawes
Posted, by John Masefield
Preface to a twenty-volume suicide note, by Amiri Baraka
Stars of stone, by Rustum Kozain
Still I rise, by Maya Angelou
Sunflowers, by Pamela Mordecai
Telephone conversation, by Wole Soyinka
The angel with the broken wing, by Dana Gioia
The bounty, by Derek Walcott
The good life, by Tracy K. Smith
The peace of wild things, by Wendell Berry
The secret garden, by Rita Dove
The tombs, by Geoffrey Philp
To make various sorts of black, by Lorna Goodison
The springtime, by Denise Levertov
The summer day, by Mary Oliver
Tonight, by Ladan Osman
Travelling through the dark, by William Stafford
White Apples, by Donald Hall

Title Snipoem
PAGE BOTTOM
Introduction to poetry
Billy Collins
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide/
or press an ear against its hive./
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out
The bounty
Derek Walcott
Between the vision of the Tourist Board and the true
Paradise lies the desert where Isaiah’s elations
force a rose from the sand. The thirty-third canto/
cores the dawn clouds with concentric radiance,
the breadfruit opens its palms in praise of the bounty,
bois-pain, tree of bread, slave food, the bliss of John Clare
Death of a naturalist
Seamus Heaney
All year the flax-dam festered in the heart
Of the townland; green and heavy headed
Flax had rotted there, weighted down by huge sods.
Daily it sweltered in the punishing sun.
Bubbles gargled delicately, bluebottles
Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell.
Preface to a twenty-volume suicide note
Amiri Baraka
Lately, I've become accustomed to the way
The ground opens up and envelopes me
Each time I go out to walk the dog.
Or the broad edged silly music the wind
Makes when I run for a bus...
Things have come to that.
Facts about the moon
Dorianne Laux
The moon is backing away from us
an inch and a half each year. That means
if you're like me and were born
around fifty years ago the moon
was a full six feet closer to the earth.
What's a person supposed to do?
New day
Kwame Dawes
Already the halo of grey covers his close-cropped head.
Before, we could see the pale glow of his skull, the way
he kept it close, now the grey - he spends little time in bed,
mostly he places things in boxes or color coded trays,
and calculates the price of expectation - the things promised
all eyes now on him: the winning politician’s burden.
Feeling fucked up
Etheridge Knight
Lord she's gone done left me done packed / up and split
and I with no way to make her
come back and everywhere the world is bare
bright bone white crystal sand glistens
dope death dead dying and jiving drove
her away made her take her laughter and her smiles
Come
Makhosazana Xaba
Come, I want to sit on your lap
with my legs around your waist.
In a basket: beads, combs, oil, and shells,
so I can play with your hair.

Stars of stone
Rustum Kozain
Today the stones I know will nick
our skulls, then knock our souls
from us. It is so. For under stars
that are but burning stone,
we held each other. Named for light,
Nurbibi clung to me
Blind Boone’s Pianola Blues
Tyehimba Jess
They said I wasn’t smooth enough
to beat their sharp machine.
That my style was obsolete,
that old rags had lost their gleam
and lunge. That all I had
left was a sucker punch
The peace of wild things
Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
The tombs
Geoffrey Philp
Years later, my father would try
to explain, why after shoveling dirt
for three hours in the vault of a neighbor’s
son, he’d abandoned me in an empty grave.

Love after love
Derek Walcott
The time will come
When, with elation,
You will greet yourself arriving
At your own door, in your own mirror,
And each will smile at the other's welcome,/
And say, sit here, Eat.
Daddy
Sylvia Plath
You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo./
Daddy, I have had to kill you.
Funeral blues
W.H. Auden
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come./
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Sunflowers
Pamela Mordecai
Vincent Van Gogh, the sunflower man
cut off his ear when Paul Gaugin
wouldn't stay to paint with him
in southern France./
I burnt my veil and wedding dress
scarred both my cheeks
White apples
Donald Hall
when my father had been dead a week
I woke
with his voice in my ear
I sat up in bed/
and held my breath
and stared at the pale closed door
Journey of the Magi
T.S. Eliot
A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For the journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory
Epitaph
Dennis Scott
They hanged him on a clement morning, swung
between the falling sunlight and the women's
breathing like a black apostrophe to pain.
All morning while the children hushed
their hopscotch joy and the cane kept growing
he hung there sweet and low.
Birches
Robert Frost
When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
Beauty
Warsan Shire
My older sister soaps between her legs, her hair
a prayer of curls. When she was my age, she stole
the neighbour's husband, burnt his name into her skin.
For weeks she smelt of cheap perfume and dying flesh./
It's 4 a.m. and she winks at me, bending over the sink,
her small breasts bruised from sucking.
For Malcolm X
Margaret Walker
All you violated ones with gentle hearts;
You violent dreamers whose cries shout heartbreak;
Whose voices echo clamors of our cool capers,
And whose black faces have hollowed pits for eyes.
All you gambling sons and hooked children and bowery bums
Hating white devils and black bourgeoisie
A virginal
Ezra Pound
No, no! Go from me. I have left her lately.
I will not spoil my sheath with lesser brightness,
For my surrounding air hath a new lightness;
Slight are her arms, yet they have bound me straitly
And left me cloaked as with a gauze of aether;
As with sweet leaves; as with subtle clearness.
Death
Kwame Dawes
First your dog dies and you pray
for the Holy Spirit to raise the inept
lump in the sack, but Jesus’s name
is no magic charm; sunsets and the
flies are gathering. That is how faith
dies. By dawn you know death
Telephone conversation
Wole Soyinka
The price seemed reasonable, location
Indifferent. The landlady swore she lived
Off premises. Nothing remained
But self-confession. "Madame," I warned,
"I hate a wasted journey—I am African."

Mercy
Nikki Giovanni
She asked me to kill the spider
Instead, I got the most
peaceful weapons I can find/
I take a cup and a napkin.
I catch the spider, put it outside
nd allow it to walk away
Giant puffballs
Neil Rollinson
Can I make it home, or do I shit
in the woods? I squat above the moss,
breathing its pheromones, my scrotum
shrunk like a walnut in the cold breeze.
I push quietly in case the dogs
on their morning walks come sniffing.
Posted
John Masefield
Dream after dream I see the wrecks that lie
Unknown of man, unmarked upon the charts,
Known of the flat-fish with the withered eye,
And seen by women in their aching hearts./
World-wide the scattering is of those fair ships
That trod the billow tops till out of sight;
Evening hawk
Robert Penn Warren
From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,
Out of the peak's black angularity of shadow, riding
The last tumultuous avalanche of
Light above pines and the guttural gorge,
The hawk comes.
A blessing
James Wright
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
Just once
Anne Sexton
Just once I knew what life was for.
In Boston, quite suddenly, I understood;
walked there along the Charles River,
watched the lights copying themselves,
all neoned and strobe-hearted, opening
their mouths as wide as opera singers;
To make various sorts of black
Lorna Goodison
According to The Craftsman’s Handbook, chapter XXXVII
“Il Libro dell’ Arte” by Cennino d’Andrea Cennini/
who tells us there are several kinds of black colours.
First, there is a black derived from soft black stone.
It is a fat colour; not hard at heart, a stone unctioned./
Then there is a black that is obtained from vine twigs.
If you want to know me
Noémia de Sousa
This is what I am
empty sockets despairing of possessing of life
a mouth torn open in an anguished wound...
a body tattooed with wounds seen and unseen
from the harsh whip-strokes of slavery
tortured and magnificent
Tonight
Ladan Osman
Tonight is a drunk man,
his dirty shirt./
There is no couple chatting by the recycling bins,
offering to help me unload my plastics./
There is not even the black and white cat
that balances elegantly on the lip of the dumpster.
The angel with the broken wing
Dana Gioia
I am the Angel with the Broken Wing,
The one large statue in this quiet room.
The staff finds me too fierce, and so they shut
Faith’s ardor in this air-conditioned tomb./
The docents praise my elegant design
Above the chatter of the gallery.
Travelling through the dark
William Stafford
Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead./
By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;
The springtime
Denise Levertov
The red eyes of rabbits
aren't sad. No one passes
the sad golden village in a barge
any more. The sunset
will leave it alone. If the
curtains hang askew
it is no one's fault.
After midnight
Louis Simpson
The dark streets are deserted,
With only a drugstore glowing
Softly, like a sleeping body;/
With one white, naked bulb
In the back, that shines
On suicides and abortions.
The summer day
Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand
The good life
Tracy K. Smith
When some people talk about money
They speak as if it were a mysterious lover
Who went out to buy milk and never
Came back, and it makes me nostalgic
For the years I lived on coffee and bread,
Hungry all the time, walking to work on payday
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?
Howl
Allen Ginsburg
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night
Harlem dancer
Claude McKay
Applauding youths laughed with young prostitutes
And watched her perfect, half-clothed body sway;
Her voice was like the sound of blended flutes
Blown by black players upon a picnic day.
She sang and danced on gracefully and calm,
The light gauze hanging loose about her form
The secret garden
Rita Dove
I was ill, lying on my bed of old papers,
when you came with white rabbits in your arms;
and the doves scattered upwards, flying to mothers,
and the snails sighed under their baggage of stone...//
Now your tongue grows like celery between us:
Because of our love-cries, cabbage darkens in its nest
PAGE TOP

PAGE BOTTOM POEM INDEX
A blessing, by James Wright
After midnight, by Louis Simpson
A virginal, by Ezra Pound
Beauty, by Warsan Shire
Birches, by Robert Frost
Blind Boone’s Pianola Blues, by Tyehimba Jess
Come, by Makhosazana Xaba
Daddy, by Sylvia Plath
Death, by Kwame Dawes
Death of a naturalist, by Seamus Heaney
Epitaph, by Dennis Scott
Evening hawk, by Robert Penn Warren
Facts about the moon, by Dorianne Laux
Feeling fucked up, by Etheridge Knight
For Malcolm X, by Margaret Walker
Funeral blues, by W.H. Auden
Giant puffballs, by Neil Rollinson
Harlem Dancer, by Claude McKay
Howl, by Allen Ginsburg
If you want to know me, by Noémia de Sousa
Introduction to poetry, by Billy Collins
Just once, by Anne Sexton
Love after love, by Derek Walcott
Mercy, by Nikki Giovanni
New day, by Kwame Dawes
Posted, by John Masefield
Preface to a twenty-volume suicide note, by Amiri Baraka
Stars of stone, by Rustum Kozain
Still I rise, by Maya Angelou
Sunflowers, by Pamela Mordecai
Telephone conversation, by Wole Soyinka
The angel with the broken wing, by Dana Gioia
The bounty, by Derek Walcott
The good life, by Tracy K. Smith
The peace of wild things, by Wendell Berry
The secret garden, by Rita Dove
The tombs, by Geoffrey Philp
To make various sorts of black, by Lorna Goodison
The springtime, by Denise Levertov
The summer day, by Mary Oliver
Tonight, by Ladan Osman
Travelling through the dark, by William Stafford
White Apples, by Donald Hall





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