Tag Archives: poetry?

Poem of the Week: The Laughing Heart via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

The Laughing Heart
– Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

 

For more information on Charles Bukowski, please click here.

This poem found it’s way to me via Alison McGhee – poetry mistress.

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Poem of the Week: A Reward – Denise Levertov via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

A Reward
–  Denise Levertov

Tired and hungry, late in the day, impelled
to leave the house and search for what
might lift me back to what I had fallen away from,
I stood by the shore waiting.
I had walked in the silent woods:
the trees withdrew into their secrets.
Dusk was smoothing breadths of silk
over the lake, watery amethyst fading to gray.
Ducks were clustered in sleeping companies
afloat on their element as I was not
on mine. I turned homeward, unsatisfied.
But after a few steps, I paused, impelled again
to linger, to look North before nightfall-the expanse
of calm, of calming water, last wafts
of rose in the few high clouds.
And was rewarded:
the heron, unseen for weeks, came flying
widewinged toward me, settled
just offshore on his post,
took up his vigil.
If you ask
why this cleared a fog from my spirit,
I have no answer.

For more information on Denise Levertov, please click here.

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Poem of the Week: Phil Kaye – For My Grandmother

Everybody has to listen to this today. It’s the most beautiful spoken word poem you can ever imagine. Thanks to Diane for sending this my way.

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Poem of the Week: The Word that is a Prayer by Ellery Akers via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

The Word That Is a Prayer
– Ellery Akers

One thing you know when you say it:
all over the earth people are saying it with you:
a child blurting it out as the seizures take her,
a woman reciting it on a cot in a hospital.
What if you take a cab through the Tenderloin:
at a street light, a man in a wool cap,
yarn unraveling across his face, knocks at the window;
he says, Please.
By the time you hear what he’s saying,
the light changes, the cab pulls away,
and you don’t go back, though you know
someone just prayed to you the way you pray.
Please: a word so short
it could get lost in the air
as it floats up to God like the feather it is,
knocking and knocking, and finally
falling back to earth as rain,
as pellets of ice, soaking a black branch,
collecting in drains, leaching into the ground,
and you walk in that weather every day.

For more information on Ellery Akers, please click here.

Thank you to Alison for finding and sharing these gems.

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Poem of the Week: What If the Hokey Pokey Really Is What It’s All About? by Mark Kraushaar via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

What If the Hokey Pokey Really Is What It’s All About?
– Mark Kraushaar

You put your right foot in,
            You put your right foot out … ,
            That’s what it’s all about.

            —The Hokey Pokey, Larry LaPrise, 1948

Of an evening filled with wide-set
bright stars I think of my friends, Ray, Sara,
Father Hay, and Phil and Joe.
I think of them together and I think of them alone:
Friends, what better than to put your right foot in,
and what better than to take it out again?

What better than to leave your jacket
and your drink and join
the circled strangers on the floor?
What better than to put your left foot in
and then to take it out since
who’ll explain this strange life anyway,
the problems with love, the trouble with money?
It must be what is meant, this must be what’s intended.
What better than to leave your silent trying behind
and put your right foot in once more
then shake it all about?
What better than having said too little
or too much you join the farmer with his wife
and daughter, the couple with their
squeaky walkers, the FedEx man,
the florist and the LPN?
It must be what is meant,
this must be what it’s all about:
what better than to join the high-heeled,
high-haired waitress first pausing and laughing,
then leaning to her friend the grinning busboy
who, putting his elbow in then out again,
now shakes it all about.

For more information on Mark Kraushaar, please click here.

For Poetry Mistress’ Facebook page.

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Poem of the Week: Twilight – by Dan Bellm via the lovely Alison McGhee

Twilight
– Dan Bellm

After the men had
eaten, as always, very
fast, and gone—I thought

of them that way, my
father and brother—the men—
not counting myself

as of their kind—the
time became our own, for talks,
for confidences—

I was one of her,
though I could never be, a
deserter in an

open field between
two camps. Even my high school
said on its billboard,

Give us a boy, and
get back a man
, a wager
that allowed for no

exceptions, like an
article of war. Gay child
years away from that

lonely evening of
coming out to her at last,
of telling her what

she knew already
and had waited for, I’d sit
in the kitchen with

her after clearing
the meal away, our hands all
but touching, letting

a little peace fall
around us for the evening,
coffee steaming in

two cups, and try at
ways of being grown, with her
as witness, telling

the truth as I could—
which is how, one night, that room
became a minor,

historically
unrecorded battleground
of the Vietnam

War. I think she knew
before it began how she’d
be left standing in

the middle with her
improvised white flag, mother,
peacemaker, when I

said I refused to
go; never mind how, I’d thought
her very presence,

her mysterious
calm, would neutralize any
opposing force, draft

board, father—it’s not,
we know, how that war came to
pass. For years I’d still

call her at that hour,
the work done and the darkness
coming on, even

all those years when Dad
was the one who’d come to the
phone first, and then not

speak to me. Twilight
times with her, when a secret
or what I thought was

one could fall away
beneath her patient regard,
though I would never

manage to heal her
hurts the way she tended mine—
those crossings-over

to evening when the
in-between of every kind
seemed possible, and

doubt came clear, because
she heard, and understood, and
did not turn away.

Big thanks to Alison for curating these poems.
​For more information on Dan Bellm, please click here: http://www.danbellm.com/

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Poem of the Week: Don’t You Wonder Sometimes? by Tracy K. Smith via Alison McGhee

Don’t You Wonder, Sometimes?
– Tracy K. Smith

1.

After dark, stars glisten like ice, and the distance they span
Hides something elemental. Not God, exactly. More like
Some thin-hipped glittering Bowie-being—a Starman
Or cosmic ace hovering, swaying, aching to make us see.
And what would we do, you and I, if we could know for sure

That someone was there squinting through the dust,
Saying nothing is lost, that everything lives on waiting only
To be wanted back badly enough? Would you go then,
Even for a few nights, into that other life where you
And that first she loved, blind to the future once, and happy?

Would I put on my coat and return to the kitchen where my
Mother and father sit waiting, dinner keeping warm on the stove?
Bowie will never die. Nothing will come for him in his sleep
Or charging through his veins. And he’ll never grow old,
Just like the woman you lost, who will always be dark-haired

And flush-faced, running toward an electronic screen
That clocks the minutes, the miles left to go. Just like the life
In which I’m forever a child looking out my window at the night sky
Thinking one day I’ll touch the world with bare hands
Even if it burns.


For more information on Tracy K. Smith, please click here: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/07/18/does-poetry-matter/wipe-that-smirk-off-your-poem


My blog: alisonmcghee.com/blog

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