Friday, April 15, 2011

Poetry Fridays - Volume 2

Love After Love

by Derek Walcott

the time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
& each will smile at the other’s welcome,

& say, sit here. eat.
you will love again the stranger who was yourself.
give wine. give bread. give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
sit. feast on your life.



By Neil Gaiman

Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never saw before.
Say "please" before you open the latch,
go through,
walk down the path.
A red metal imp hangs from the
green-painted front door,
as a knocker,
do not touch it; it will bite your fingers.
Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat nothing.
if any creature tells you that it hungers,
feed it.
If it tells you that it is dirty,
clean it.
If it cries to you that it hurts,
if you can, ease its pain.

From the back garden you will be able to see the wild wood.
The deep well you walk past leads to Winter's realm;
there is another land at the bottom of it.
If you turn around here,
you can walk back, safely;
you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.

Once through the garden you will be in the wood.
The trees are old. Eyes peer from the undergrowth.
Beneath a twisted oak sits an old woman.
She may ask for something;
give it to her. She
will point the way to the castle. Inside it
are three princesses.
Do not trust the youngest. Walk on.
In the clearing beyond the castle the
twelve months sit about a fire, warming their feet, exchanging tales.
They may do favors for you, if you are polite.
You may pick strawberries in December's frost.

Trust the wolves, but do not tell them
where you are going.
The river can be crossed by the ferry.
The ferryman will take you.
(The answer to his question is this:
If he hands the oar to his passenger, he
will be free to leave the boat.
Only tell him this from a safe distance.)

If an eagle gives you a feather, keep it safe.
Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that
witches are often betrayed by their appetites;
dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;
hearts can be well-hidden,
and you betray them with your tongue.

Do not be jealous of your sister.
Know that diamonds and roses
are as uncomfortable when they tumble
from one's lips as toads and frogs:
colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.

Remember your name.
Do not lose hope — what you seek will be found.
Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have
helped to help you in their turn.
Trust dreams.
Trust your heart, and trust your story.

When you come back, return the way you came.
Favors will be returned, debts will be repaid.
Do not forget your manners.
Do not look back.
Ride the wise eagle (you shall not fall).
Ride the silver fish (you will not drown).
Ride the grey wolf (hold tightly to his fur).

There is a worm at the heart of the tower;
that is why it will not stand.

When you reach the little house, the
place your journey started,
you will recognize it, although it will seem
much smaller than you remember.
Walk up the path, and through the garden
gate you never saw before but once.
And then go home. Or make a home.

Descriptions of Heaven and Hell

by Mark Jarman

The wave breaks
And I'm carried into it.
This is hell, I know,
Yet my father laughs,
Chest-deep, proving I'm wrong.
We're safely rooted
Rocked on his toes.

Nothing irked him more
Than asking, "What is there
Beyond death?"
His theory once was
That love greets you,
And the loveless
Don't know what to say.


Longing and Wonder

by Myra Shapiro

“Talk to Myra you talk to the wall,”
Mama announced when I lived

so long in my head. Behind
my lids was where I fit.

O world, be small enough to hold me,
slow enough to let me swallow.

Maybe I belonged back inside her. Or
beneath the spine of a book. Maybe

among tall buildings to incubate
between their legs. The warm kitchen

was never for me though I wanted
to shine. Passion I called

the pressure wrestling underneath.
Yesterday, in an audience listening to

my first book of poems,
a full professor asked me: “Longing,

how is it different from wonder?”
Astonished, jack-lit as a robber

caught with the goods, I felt my eyes
struggle to withdraw—and then

in longing you close your eyes,
but in wonder you open them.

When those words went
ZINGing through the lovely room,
you bet your sweet ass they opened.


Wine and Words said...

I love especially the first and the third. Somehow reading poetry that moves worded so precisely RIGHT, makes me want to shred my pencils and burn all paper that I might never put something less in the world. Then I get over it :)

Indigo said...

You fill my poets heart to overflowing. All wonderous words and poets. (Hugs)Indigo

Marion said...

Ooooh, you know I love these, ms. thang. Especially the Neil Gaiman one which I posted a year or so ago at my place, too. I was so overjoyed to find a poem by him as I love everydamnthing he's ever written ("Sandman" series, in particular). I reread it often. It's just so profound.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for introducing me to 2 new poems. I appeciate you.

Love & Blessings,

"Like butterflies in Spring
Poetry awakens the Spirit,
stirs the imagination and explores
the possibilities with each stroke of its rhythmic wings."
~Jamie Lynn Morris

Lydia K said...

Ah, I love me some poetry. Thanks Phoenix!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

My head swims with these wondrous words, this tweaking of reality. Four stunning poems. Thank you.

Anthony Duce said...

I like “Longing and Wonder” and “Instructions” the best. Thank you for sharing.

Barbara said...

Really liked these, Phoenix. Especially Derek Walcott's poem.

ed pilolla said...

feast is right. good stuff.

Gwen said...

Love after Love is definitely my favorite. I love these poetry posts!

Lori ann said...

love these. thank you

Heather said...

LOVE the first poem. :) I just took a poetry class and it was murder, but I am so glad I took it and finished it. Poetry is an amazing way to communicate.

Bathwater said...

I love-- Instructions.

Jo said...

Love After Love...amazing. I can't think of a single person who wouldn't be able to relate to, and benefit, from those words.

kj said...

ah tracy, i have taken my time coming here finally so i could read slowly. you with these poems have changed my morning, maybe even my direction and my vision.

my favorite:


how is it different from wonder?”
Astonished, jack-lit as a robber

caught with the goods, I felt my eyes
struggle to withdraw—and then

in longing you close your eyes,
but in wonder you open them.

sometimes words just illuminate, don't they?

i'm sending you one smooch and two mwahs, with smilin' gratitude on a rainy day :^)


rosaria said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I had not read these before. Superb!

drollgirl said...

did you catch colbert the other night talking w/caroline kennedy? the topic was poetry. i think you would like the clip!

JJ said...

I really enjoy poetry, but I don't always get to read good verse. Thank you!

Snowbrush said...

Myra did good on this one.

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