what's your poem?

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It's national poetry day

What's your favourite poem?

Or ... written one yourself you'd care to share?

jon (jon), Thursday, 10 October 2002 07:22 (twenty years ago) link

once i went to a puppet show, and the puupetmaster had put wires into the joints of the corpses of all of his family, and they were bouncing around on stage, very funny, trundling about, like little men of paper, to music, until their heads began to come loose from their neks, and the heads began to roll around and every one was laughing cuz it was sooo funny, except for the puppetmaster, who was crying really hard.

by gabe

gabriel rodriguez-doerr (gabe), Thursday, 10 October 2002 07:38 (twenty years ago) link

Happy National Poetry Day!

I have posted this by Rilke before but it's (one of) my favourite(s) and it's also short:

Time and again, however well we know the landscape of love,

and the little church-yard with lamenting names,

and the frightfully silent ravine wherein all the others

end: time and again we go out two together,

under the old trees, lie down again and again

between the flowers, face to face with the sky.

Other old favourites are Barrett Browning's Sonnet 22 from the Portugese, HD's 'Mid-day', RS Thomas's 'Reflections' and Roddy Lumsden's 'Because'.

Archel (Archel), Thursday, 10 October 2002 07:40 (twenty years ago) link

Sorry about the double line breaks :(

Archel (Archel), Thursday, 10 October 2002 07:49 (twenty years ago) link

Mark Halliday
Trumpet Player 1962

And when I get to Surf City I'll be shootin' the curls,
And checkin' out the parties for surfer girls.

When Jan and Dean recorded 'Surf City'
there must have been one guy -
I see this one trumpet player with his tie askew
or maybe he's wearing a loose tropical-foliage shirt
sitting on a metal chair waiting
for the session to reach the big chorus
where Jan and Dean exult
Two girls for every boy
and he's thinking
of his hundred nights on some buddy's hairy stainy sofa
and the way hot dogs and coffee make a mud misery
and the way one girl is far too much and besides
he hasn't had the one in fourteen months, wait,
it's fifteen now.
Surfing - what life actually lets guys ride boards
on waves? Is it all fiction? Is it a joke?
Jan and Dean act like it's a fine, good joke
whereas this trumpet player thinks it's actually shit,
if anybody asked him, a tidal wave of shit.
Nobody's asking.
The producer jiggles in his headphones. He wants more drums
right after all you gotta do is just wink your eye!
This producer is chubby and there is no chance,
my trumpet player thinks, that this chubhead gets
two swingin' honeys at any party ever and besides
on a given night a man only has one cock, or
am I wrong? And besides, you wake up wanting five aspirin
in an air lousy with lies, or half-lies.
And that's with only one girl.
But why am I so pissed here, he thinks,
when all these guys are hot for a hit?
Because I'm deep like Coltrane and they're all shallow,
right? Or because
I'm this smelly sour session man with a bent nose
and they're all hip to this fine fine joke?
The song is cooking, it's nearly in the can,
everybody has that hot-hit look
and my trumpet man has a thought: Sex
is not really it - what they're singing about -
they're singing about being here.
This dumb song is it:
this studio, this is the only Surf City,
here. And that's the great joke.
Okay, surf dicks, I am hip. But
there's gonna be pain in Kansas, he thinks,
lifting his horn and watching for the cue,
when they hear about Surf City and believe it.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Thursday, 10 October 2002 07:55 (twenty years ago) link

the doctor said i need about three weeks of recovery
but the nurses is lovin me
the best part of the day is my half
feedin me breakfast and givin me a spongebath
niggas say i die dead in the streets
nigga im gettin high gettin head on the beach
sittin on about half a million
with all my niggas all my guns all my women
next two years i should see about a billion
all from another drug dealin
got no love for the other side fuck them tricks
any reprecussion junior mafia spits clips
all the time
big poppa kick the raw rhymes
raw flows
and thats how it goes

on the road to riches and diamond rings
real niggas do real things
hangin with the bitches is the song i sing

- christopher wallace rip

s trife (simon_tr), Thursday, 10 October 2002 08:17 (twenty years ago) link

Oh! Re-discovery of ILX!

Anyhow, my pretty-much-all-time favourite is:

Love Without Hope

Love without hope, as when the young bird-catcher
Swept off his tall hat to the squire's own daughter;
So let the imprisioned larks escape and fly
Singing about her head, as she rode by.

Robert Graves

However, a little depressing; due to current circumstances, I am liking mostly happier things. Still sends the involuntary shivers up the spine, though, embarrassingly in the workplace...

Liz :x, Thursday, 10 October 2002 10:38 (twenty years ago) link

Hey Liz, can you solve me Harringay/Haringey conundrum?

N. (nickdastoor), Thursday, 10 October 2002 10:39 (twenty years ago) link

Well, Nick, that would depend on what yr conundrum is. Not to be obtuse or anything. Evidently the official spelling is as in the old email address, but travelling on the bus up and down Green Lanes, one may observe many variations upon a theme. The ultimate question is: do you trust the Council?

Liz :x, Thursday, 10 October 2002 10:54 (twenty years ago) link

The council is Haringey but the (more specific) area is Harringay (yes, I know one sees other variations but I'm talking about what's printed on maps and stuff). Someone once tried to claim that it was because the council renamed itself to avoid offending gay people, but this is ridiculous and was probably started by Pete.

My theory: the council did it to avoid council area/local area confusion. But I have no evidence for this. Hackney manages to cope with a similar ambiguity OK. Except maybe it doesn't - Hackney Council is a disgrace.

N. (nickdastoor), Thursday, 10 October 2002 11:02 (twenty years ago) link


Some men never think of it.
You did. You'd come along
And say you'd nearly brought me flowers
But something had gone wrong.
The shop was closed. Or you had doubts -
The sort that minds like ours
Dream up incessantly. You thought
I might not want your flowers.
It made me smile and hug you then.
Now I can only smile.
But, Look, the flowers you nearly brought
Have lasted all this while.

Very soppy I know but it kinda gets you.

Plinky (Plinky), Thursday, 10 October 2002 11:11 (twenty years ago) link

"Slim Greer In Hell", from the truly amazing Slim Greer cycle of poems by Sterling A Brown.


Slim Greer went to heaven;
St. Peter said, "Slim,
You been a right good boy."
An' he winked at him.

"You been travelin' rascal
In yo'day.
You kin roam once mo';
Den you come to stay.

"Put dese wings on yo' shoulders,
An' save yo' feet."
Slim grin, and he speak up,
"Thankye, Pete."

Den Peter say, "Go
To Hell an' see,
All dat is doing, and
Report to me.

"Be sure to remember
How everything go."
Slim say, "I be seein' yuh
On de late watch, bo."

Slim got to cavortin'
Swell as you choose,
Like Lindy in de Spirit
Of St. Louis Blues.

He flew an' he flew,
Till at last he hit
A hangar wid de sign readin'

Den he parked his wings,
An' strolled aroun',
Gittin' used to his feet
On de solid ground.


Big bloodhound came aroarin'
Like Niagry Falls,
Sicked on by white devils
In overhalls.

Now Slim warn't scared
Cross my heart, it's a fac',
An de dog went on a bayin'
Some po' devil's track.

Den Slim saw a mansion
An' walked right in;
De Devil looked up
Wid a sickly grin.

"Suttingly didn't look
Fo' you, Mr. Greer,
How it happens you comes
To visit here?"

Slim say---"Oh, jes' thought
I'd drop by a spell."
"Feel at home, seh, an' here's
De keys to hell."

Den he took Slim around
An' showed him people
Rasin' hell as high as
De first Church Steeple.

Lots of folks fightin'
At de roulette wheel,
Like old Rampart Street,
Or leastwise Beale.

Showed him bawdy houses
An' cabarets,
Slim thought of New Orleans
An' Memphis days.

Each devil was busy
Wid a devlish broad,
An' Slim cried, "Lawdy,
Lawd, Lawd, Lawd."

Took him in a room
Where Slim see
De preacher wid a brownskin
On each knee.

Showed him giant stills,
Going everywhere,
Wid a passel of devils
Stretched dead drunk there.

Den he took him to de furnace
Dat some devils was firing,
Hot as Hell, an' Slim start
A mean presspirin'.

White devils with pitchforks
Threw black devils on,
Slim thought he'd better
Be gittin' along.

An' he says---"Dis makes
Me think of home---
Vicksburg, Little Rock, Jackson,
Waco and Rome."

Den de devil gave Slim
De big Ha-Ha;
An' turned into a cracker,
Wid a sheriff's star.

Slim ran fo' his wings,
Lit out from de groun'
Hauled it back to St. Peter,
Safety boun'.


St. Peter said, "Well,
You got back quick.
How's de devil? An' what's
His latest trick?"

An' Slim Say, "Peter,
I really cain't tell,
The place was Dixie
That I took for hell."

Then Peter say, "you must
Be crazy, I vow,
Where'n hell dja think Hell was,

"Git on back to de yearth,
Cause I got de fear,
You'se a leetle too dumb,
Fo' to stay up here. . ."

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Thursday, 10 October 2002 11:44 (twenty years ago) link

I looked for poems that mentioned Harringay/gey. The only one I could find was from the Hancock's Half Hour episode 'The Poetry Society':

Mauve world, green me
Black him, purple her
Yellow us, pink you.
Lead pipes - fortune made.
Six to four, coming second
Green country, Blue Harringay and White City;
Hick, Haec, Hoc!

(My favourite, though is 'The Ashtray', which reminds me of M. Jones for some obscure reason:

Steel rods of reason through my head!
Salmon jumping, where jump I?
Camels on fire - and spotted clouds
Striped horses prance the meadow wild
And rush on to drink at life's fountains deep.
Life is cream I am puce…
Ching, Chang, Cholla!)

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Thursday, 10 October 2002 12:12 (twenty years ago) link

thees a great! I want more!

PS I believe Haringey really is an old place nane - of a Manor or a HUndred, like with Tower Hamlets - as opposed to the smaller and more specific locale of Harringay.

jon (jon), Thursday, 10 October 2002 12:25 (twenty years ago) link

by Oscar Wilde

Tread lightly, she is near
Under the snow,
Speak gently, she can hear
The daisies grow.

All her bright golden hair
Tarnished with rust,
She that was young and fair
Fallen to dust.

Lily-like, white as snow,
She hardly knew
She was a woman, so
Sweetly she grew.

Coffin-board, heavy stone,
Lie on her breast,
I vex my heart alone,
She is at rest.

Peace, peace, she cannot hear
Lyre or sonnet,
All my life's buried here,
Heap earth upon it.

Lara, Thursday, 10 October 2002 12:33 (twenty years ago) link

by William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

There is something about this poem that appeals to me so much but I've never really been able to describe it. On first reading it I remember it making me smile. It's tremendously clever and evocative.

Lara, Thursday, 10 October 2002 12:40 (twenty years ago) link

Oh, and one more from me... best read whilst having lost control of your senses:

IF I TELL YOU by Martin Piper

If I tell you that I love you, will you frown,
And turn away as if it's quite absurd?
Or, playing safe, pretend you haven't heard,
And leave my doubts unanswered while I drown
In those uncertainties that drag me down?
Or will your eyes burn brighter at the word,
And, some sweet sharpened senses, strangely stirred,
Hold out to me love's sceptre and its crown?
But, if I tell you that I love you, it may be
That, struggling for words so hard to phrase,
You'll gather courage from my longing gaze
And new-found fervour from my fingertips,
And answer that you love me you love me,
And I, to thank them, kiss your lovely lips

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Thursday, 10 October 2002 12:42 (twenty years ago) link

by Frank O'Hara

It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don't know the people who will feed me

I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets
in Ghana are doing these days
in Ghana are doing these days I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)
doesn't even look up my balance for once in her life
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or
Brendan Behan's new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don't, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness

and for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANE
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it

and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 10 October 2002 12:52 (twenty years ago) link

It wouldn't be National Poetry Day if I didn't bemoan the lack of a follow-up to the legendary book 'The Message' and the fact that once again, the whole shebang has gone virtually unnoticed, unlike it did what when Trousers run it.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Thursday, 10 October 2002 12:59 (twenty years ago) link

by Simon Armitage:

A Glory

Right here you made an angel of yourself,
free-falling backwards into last night’s snow,
identing a straight, neat, crucified shape,
then flapping your arms, one stroke, a great bird,
to leave the impression of wings. It worked.
Then you found your feet, sprang clear of the print
and the angel reamained, fixed, countersunk,
open wide, hosting the whole of the sky.

Losing sleep because of it, I backtrack
to the place, out of earshot of the streets,
above the fetch and reach of the town.
The scene of the crime. Five-eighthts of the moon.
On ground where snow has given up the ghost
it lies on its own, spread-eagled, embossed,
commending itself, star of its own cause.
Priceless thing - the faceless hood of the head,
grass making out through the scored spine, the wings
on the turn, becoming feathered, clipped.

Cattle would trample roughshod over it,
hikers might come with pebbles for the eyes,
a choice of fruit for the nose and the lips;
somebody’s boy might try it on for size,
might lie down in its shroud, might suit, might fit. Angel,
from under the shade and shelter of trees
I keep watch, wait for the dawn to take you,
raise you, imperceptibly, by degrees.

chris (chris), Thursday, 10 October 2002 13:00 (twenty years ago) link

Oh Chris, you and your crazy Northern poetry. Simon Armitage does rule bigstyle, though. For some reason I'm now thinking of Derek Walcott, so here are a couple of his:


Midsummer, Tobago

Broad sun-stoned beaches.

White heat.
A green river.

A bridge,
scorched yellow palms

from the summer-sleeping house
drowsing through August.

Days I have held,
days I have lost,

days that outgrow, like daughters,
my harbouring arms.


A City's Death by Fire

After that hot gospeller has levelled all but the churched sky,
I wrote the tale by tallow of a city's death by fire;
Under a candle's eye, that smoked in tears, I
Wanted to tell, in more than wax, of faiths that were snapped like wire.
All day I walked abroad among the rubbled tales,
Shocked at each wall that stood on the street like a liar;
Loud was the bird-rocked sky, and all the clouds were bales
Torn open by looting, and white, in spite of the fire.
By the smoking sea, where Christ walked, I asked, why
Should a man wax tears, when his wooden world fails?
In town, leaves were paper, but the hills were a flock of faiths;
To a boy who walked all day, each leaf was a green breath
Rebuilding a love I thought was dead as nails,
Blessing the death and the baptism by fire.


Liz :x (Liz :x), Thursday, 10 October 2002 13:29 (twenty years ago) link

Lana Turner has collapsed!

I was trotting along and suddenly

it started raining and snowing

and you said it was hailing

but hailing hits you on the head

hard so it was really snowing and

raining and I was in such a hurry

to meet you but the traffic

was acting exactly like the sky

and suddenly I see a headline


there is no snow in Hollywood

there is no rain in California

I have been to lots of parties

and acted perfectly disgraceful

but I never actually collapsed

oh Lana Turner we love you get up

Frank O'Hara

Having A Coke With You

is even more fun than going top San Sebastain, Irun, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluoresent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I'm with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasently definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o'clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the "Polish Rider" occasionally and anyway it's in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven't gone to yet so we can go together the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the "Nude Descending a Staircase" or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michaelangleo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn't pick the rider as carefully
as the horse

it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I am telling you about it

also o hara

anthony easton (anthony), Thursday, 10 October 2002 14:04 (twenty years ago) link

All in green went my love riding
on a great horse of gold
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the merry deer ran before.

Fleeter be they than dappled dreams
the swift sweet deer
the red rare deer.

Four red roebuck at a white water
the cruel bugle sang before.

Horn at hip went my love riding
riding the echo down
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the level meadows ran before.

Softer be they than slippered sleep
the lean lithe deer
the fleet flown deer.

Four fleet does at a gold valley
the famished arrow sang before.

Bow at belt went my love riding
riding the mountain down
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the sheer peaks ran before.

Paler be they than daunting death
the sleek slim deer
the tall tense deer.

Four tell stags at a green mountain
the lucky hunter sang before.

All in green went my love riding
on a great horse of gold
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
my heart fell dead before.

e.e. cummings

anthony easton (anthony), Thursday, 10 October 2002 14:05 (twenty years ago) link

It was an icy day.
We buried the cat,
then took her box
and set fire to it
in the back yard.
Those fleas that escaped
earth and fire
died by the cold.
William Carlos Williams

anthony easton (anthony), Thursday, 10 October 2002 14:07 (twenty years ago) link

One by one they appear in
the darkness: a few friends, and
a few with historical
names. How late they start to shine!
but before they fade they stand
perfectly embodied, all

the past lapping them like a
cloak of chaos. They were men
who, I thought, lived only to
renew the wasteful force they
spent with each hot convulsion.
They remind me, distant now.

True, they are not at rest yet,
but now they are indeed
apart, winnowed from failures,
they withdraw to an orbit
and turn with disinterested
hard energy, like the stars.

Thom Gunn

anthony easton (anthony), Thursday, 10 October 2002 14:08 (twenty years ago) link

we were never caught

we partied the southwest, smoked it from L.A. to El Dorado
worked odd jobs between delusions of escape
drunk on the admonitions of parents, parsons & professors
driving faster than the road or law allowed.
our high-pitched laughter was young, heartless & disrespected
authority. we could be heard for miles in the night

the Grand Canyon of a new manhood.
womanhood discovered
like the first sighting of Mount Wilson

we rebelled against the southwestern wind

we got so naturally ripped, we sprouted wings,
crashed parties on the moon, and howled at the earth

we lived off love. It was all we had to eat

when you split you took all the wisdom
and left me the worry

wanda coleman

anthony easton (anthony), Thursday, 10 October 2002 14:10 (twenty years ago) link

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

anthony easton (anthony), Thursday, 10 October 2002 14:11 (twenty years ago) link

It hangs deep in his robes, a delicate
clapper at the center of a bell.
It moves when he moves, a ghostly fish in a
halo of silver sweaweed, the hair
swaying in the dark and the heat -- and at night
while his eyes sleep, it stands up
in praise of God.

sharon olds

anthony easton (anthony), Thursday, 10 October 2002 14:11 (twenty years ago) link

1. The Cane Fields

There is a parrot imitating spring
in the palace, its feathers parsley green.
Out of the swamp the cane appears

to haunt us, and we cut it down. El General
searches for a word; he is all the world
there is. Like a parrot imitating spring,

we lie down screaming as rain punches through
and we come up green. We cannot speak an R-
out of the swamp, the cane appears

and then the mountain we call in whispers Katalina.
The children gnaw their teeth to arrowheads.
There is a parrot imitating spring.

El General has found his word: perejil.
Who says it, lives. He laughs, teeth shining
out of the swamp. The cane appears

in our dreams, lashed by wind and streaming.
And we lie down. For every drop of blood
there is a parrot imitating spring.
Out of the swamp the cane appears.

2. The Palace

The word the general's chosen is parsley.
It is fall, when thoughts turn
to love and death; the general thinks
of his mother, how she died in the fall
and he planted her walking cane at the grave
and it flowered, each spring stolidly forming
four-star blossoms. The general
pulls on his boots, he stomps to
her room in the palace, the one without
curtains, the one with a parrot
in a brass ring. As he paces he wonders
Who can I kill today. And for a moment
the little knot of screams
is still. The parrot, who has traveled

all the way from Australia in an ivory
cage, is, coy as a widow, practising
spring. Ever since the morning
his mother collapsed in the kitchen
while baking skull-shaped candies
for the Day of the Dead, the general
has hated sweets. He orders pastries
brought up for the bird; they arrive

dusted with sugar on a bed of lace.
The knot in his throat starts to twitch;
he sees his boots the first day in battle
splashed with mud and urine
as a soldier falls at his feet amazed--
how stupid he looked!--at the sound
of artillery. I never thought it would sing
the soldier said, and died. Now

the general sees the fields of sugar
cane, lashed by rain and streaming.
He sees his mother's smile, the teeth
gnawed into arrowheads. He hears
the Haitians sing without R's
as they swing the great machetes:
Katalina, they sing, Katalina,

mi madle, mi amol en muelte. God knows
his mother was no stupid woman; she
could roll an R like a queen. Even
a parrot can roll an R! In the bare room
the bright feathers arch in a parody
of greenery, as the last pale crumbs
disappear under the blackened tongue. Someone

calls out his name in a voice
so like his mother's, a startled tear
splashes the tip of his right boot.
My mother, my love in death.
The general remembers the tiny green sprigs
men of his village wore in their capes
to honor the birth of a son. He will
order many, this time, to be killed

for a single, beautiful word.

*"On October 2, 1957, Rafael Trujillo (1891-1961), dictator of the Dominican Republic, ordered 20,000 blacks to be killed because they could not pronounce the letter"r" in perejil, the Spanish word for parsley"(Dove's note)

PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Thursday, 10 October 2002 14:13 (twenty years ago) link

more northern stuff from Ian MacMillan, the Barnsley Bullfrog:

I'm a Yorkshire Minimalist
I'm a Yorkshire minimalist, and I say nowt,
If I've got emotions, I don't let em out,
My response to joy, is a self defeated shrug,
If I won the lottery, I would not kiss or hug,
Cause I'm a Yorkshire minimalist, and I say nill,
And talky, talky, talky, talky, it really makes me ill,
Reet, thou knows, shutup, nowt, glum.

The Surrealist Postman
Our surrealist postman,
Comes down the street on a zebra,
Not a real zebra of course,
That would be silly,
Paper mache zebra that's not silly,

Our surrealist postman,
Doesn't post the letters through the letter box,
He makes Blackpool Tower from them,
Not a real Backpool Tower of course,
That would be silly,

Our surrealist postman,
His hat is made of cheese,
Lovely lovely cheese,
Not real cheese of course,
That would be silly.

chris (chris), Thursday, 10 October 2002 14:17 (twenty years ago) link

much respect to O'Hara etc

& now for some POET VS LANDSCAPE : FITE! intensity -

Dialectic of Mud (Richard Reeve)

Cleft mud, the bludgeoned flexures slumped and rain-mashed into a tree-selfless
a grist, rising out of perpetual stump-blitz: the gnawed, upchurned nuggets sunk
down its dephysical mush. Wood-gristle, leaf-scalp, each plump sump scoffing

bone and skin squashed under its blanked of rot, sand duck-pressed; or swan-suck,
upending the end-up, twice-dead pews of branch or root pushed out of the swirled
stalled under a cooped air, bubbles globed by an eye-skim glinting in the sombre

of a drizzle sapped from moss or wood, rushes kinked by the flung wind, the
water-rock¾nothing is a name, wrung from a stick's evanescence, stone-suckled
the saw-mouthed river, slivering hips of land, dunks life and log alike down its

throat, from the forest bed heaved out in one blind ritual, neither total
nor the absolute decay of animal death, itself effecting always that incidental pulse
by which seasons flourish in the vacuole of language: tor-oblique, rooted in the

down granite blurting silt through calcite beaks; and yet there also at once
withdrawing into kahikatea, matai. Mud clenched in the tight guts of a feeding
stoles of moss hushing a snapped totara trunk, an arboreal graveyard, worm-

all these are merest inklings of the aboriginal nature: presence at all points
which is yet to some an inadmissable fiction, where the deer-slicked lake
its vowel silence, made consonant in the clicking jaw, there decocting its

particulars as that absolute faith the hoofs of taste or touch yield to a pool-dark
wing-stopped water, footsteps tracked through a swamp, for every such incidence
there existing beneath its context the ur-character of world immanent as

grit siphoned through the veins of a reed: the crushed stump mopped by a boot
for all its lacerated pulp, not less consumnate than churned bog, being merely one
further step in a marsh-devolution, sandfly-embroiled, by which the crops of

are finitude exacted from the quern slush rupturing and grinding down sods of
Time is the neck-wound on a bolting doe. Wanderer of sopped thickets, a glad
invests in dung, in the valve of a dead tree possums suck the grooved ears of

it is not enough to declare such things dependent on some glib antediluvian
by which a world is strapped down, conferred the weight and colour of its
the single colossal imperative of shale or ice-gripped schist assumed as spry

scored from a palimpsest of premeditated meaning, and under every chiselled
some axiom to be scraped out from among the lichen. As in the grip of first
Fiordland takes hold of its dimensions, a grave, the brunt of its existence

it terms presuming the coterie of principles, or seeking to reduce the gravitas of
into swilled compounds, as if the inexorable status endorsed by misplaced paws or
might somehow prove explicable beyond what is simply there, light-coelom, a

out of nothing the thing writes itself, its cowled wings or sky-brushed foliage laid
where called into being, the thigh and shoulder of the ground determining its
without recourse to alternatives; cracked and stippled and wrung the factual

lays down its seal, inscribing its quidditas as slush, slipped stone, a feather, the this
for which a rat is earth swallowing earth swallowing earth, a breath of bellbirds
the shying silence, along the wave-crinkled outline of a bushed beach unfaltering

rocks to the pendant wind. Bleached and bent, a tusk of barren wood guts the
Twilight, dense, unswerving, swills mud the shut floor of the forest, the larval
burrowing its way downward through a node of scratched shade puncturing the

I am actual among the leaf. Singular and unavailing, I grip in the dry stack of my
grub-tongue, a fern's genital fist, the resonance and impunity of mud
save in the specimen of my understanding, the pubic grind of a stone, mossed

each such nominal stricture traducing the protean earth, carving supercilious steps
what otherwise ever evades meaning, is manifest yet never singularised in that
of human dogma except as despair, the One: the unsegmented, unenlightened

My nails make leaves, my teeth a swan's chewed feathers. I suppurate the heaped
of human history, holding clods of ripe rot in the plinth of my hands; I rummage
    the lived
and the sipped floor, an earther of bark, my bare thumbs toeing the sloughed

of trees lifted and wrenched by a herd of winds trampling flat the ruffled sticks of
All is ecstasis. Cloud-shadows travelling across a blown lake, the moving darkness,
the cold stream slicing through a forest, the tendons sprung in my consecrating

Ess Kay (esskay), Thursday, 10 October 2002 15:00 (twenty years ago) link

bloody ell! I hope you lot were cutting and pasting from somewhere!

I want to put in some Geoffrey Hill but have to go home to get it.

But loooking forward to printing this all out and reading it in bed!

jon (jon), Thursday, 10 October 2002 15:32 (twenty years ago) link

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

-- Pablo Neruda

luna.c (luna.c), Thursday, 10 October 2002 16:15 (twenty years ago) link

You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don't even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of the next
moment. All the immense
images in me- the far-off, deeply-felt landscape,
cities, towers, and bridges, and unsuspected
turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods-
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.

You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house-, and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,-
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and, startled,
gave back my too-sudden image. Who knows?
perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening...

-- Ranier Maria Rilke

luna.c (luna.c), Thursday, 10 October 2002 16:17 (twenty years ago) link

Invisible Devils
Jane Wayne

“The air is not so full of flies in summer as it is at all times of invisible devils, this Paracelsus stiffly maintains…” -- Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy

You can be walking down a street
in rush hour and out of nowhere
that awful fluttering arrives—that shadow

with its perfect aim singling you out
on the sidewalk. Without warning,
those wide wings can swoop down,

those talons haul you by the scruff
out of the narrow canyon of your ways.
Even in the crowded grocery store,

some demon that you never see
can attack again and leave you
weaving slowly up and down an aisle

like someone without a list,
lost behind a heavy shopping cart
in a maze of labels.

Half-way home when your car stops
along the highway and the door
swings open on the frozen field

you can fall out of yourself
with a snap—your grip
no better than a defective seatbelt

You once thought you were as safe
as the good china locked in your cabinet,
but nothing can save you.

Wherever you hide, the wolf
sniffs you out. He huffs and puffs
at all your walls, like so much straw.

bnw (bnw), Thursday, 10 October 2002 16:52 (twenty years ago) link

Sad Steps

Groping back to bed after a piss
I part thick curtains, and am startled by
The rapid clouds, the moon's cleanliness.

Four o'clock: wedge-shadowed gardens lie
Under a cavernous, a wind-picked sky.
There's something laughable about this,

The way the moon dashes through clouds that blow
Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart
(Stone-coloured light sharpening the roofs below)

High and preposterous and seperate--
Lozenge of love! Medallion of art!
O wolves of memory! Immensements! No,

One shivers slightly, looking up there.
The hardness and the brightness and the plain
Far-reaching singleness of that wide stare

Is a reminder of the strength and pain
Of being young; that it can't come again,
But is for others undiminished somewhere.

(philip larkin)

Aaron A., Thursday, 10 October 2002 19:20 (twenty years ago) link

I don't really like poetry,
It's all a bit blah to me,
haha do you see?

jel -- (jel), Thursday, 10 October 2002 19:23 (twenty years ago) link

I love that hanging "No," in Larkin's poem. I have stolen it a couple times already.

bnw (bnw), Thursday, 10 October 2002 19:40 (twenty years ago) link

Them & [uz] by Tony Harrison.

for Professors Richard Hoggart & Leon Cortez
, ay ay!...stutterer Demosthenes
gob full of pebbles outshouting seas -

4 words only of mi ’art aches and…. ‘Mine’s broken,
you barbarian, T.W.!’ He was nicely spoken.
‘Can’t have our glorious heritage done to death!’

I played the drunken porter in Macbeth.

‘Poetry’s the speech of kings. You’re one of those
Shakespeare gives the comic bits to: prose!
All poetry (even Cockney Keats?) You see
’s been dubbed by [s] into RP,
Received pronunciation, please believe [s]
your speech is in the hands of the Receivers.’

‘We say [s] not [uz], T.W.!’ That shut my trap.
I doffed my flat a’s (as in ‘flat cap’)
my mouth all stuffed with glottals, great
lumps to hawk up and spit out... E-nun-ci-ate!

So right, yer buggers, then! We’ll occupy
your lousy leasehold Poetry.

I chewed up Littererchewer and spat the bones
into the lap of dozing Daniel Jones,
dropped the initials I’d been harried as
and used my name and own voice: [uz] [uz] [uz],
ended sentences with by, with, from,
and spoke the language that I spoke at home.
R.I.P. RP. R.I.P. T.W.
I’m Tony Harrison no longer you.

You can tell the Receivers where to go
(and not aspirate it) once you know
Wordworth’s matter/water are full rhymes,
[uz] can be loving as well as funny.

My first mention in the Times
automatically made Tony Anthony.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Thursday, 10 October 2002 20:08 (twenty years ago) link

You asked me to play Monopoly, I said no, I’m busy
I wasn’t busy, I was broken, unavailable to you and to me
I couldn’t engage and now I’m full of grief
For what I’ve denied you
For what I’ve failed to do
For the couch you will undoubtedly lie on
For the fucking awful legacy I’ve bestowed on you
You are what makes me woman, mother, human
You are the primary atom in all that I am
In abstract, you are everything
Why can’t I translate?

Saskia, Thursday, 10 October 2002 22:58 (twenty years ago) link

“He’s eating an ostrich penus” she said
“A what?” I enquired incredulously.
“A penus, you know… a willy thing” she motioned between her legs.
She smirked knowingly and waited for my response.
In an instant I had to decide how to treat sexual vocabulary curiosity.
Stifling an erupting guffaw, I returned with feigned poise and dignity
“Ah yes, a penis” while she howled with delight and mischievousness.
She knew, she baited and she scored.

Saskia, Thursday, 10 October 2002 23:00 (twenty years ago) link

One of mine, maybe

(although this is also set to music)

Living At The End Of A Dream

Do you remember how it felt living adventure with you?
Do you remember how it felt searching for treasure with you?
I remember when we were young
I remember when we all we knew was fun
We were young
I am in love with you
But I can't envisage you

robin carmody (robin carmody), Friday, 11 October 2002 00:08 (twenty years ago) link

sorry, just testing to see if it would work. think it does ...

Living At The End Of A Dream

Do you remember how it felt living adventure with you?
Do you remember how it felt searching for treasure with you?
I remember when we were young
I remember when all we knew was fun
We were young
I am in love with you
But I can't envisage you

That's when I realise we're living at the end of a dream

I can still remember the in between days without you
I can still remember the isolation felt without you
I remember when the cousins were younger as well
We went a long way to see
His progressive university
I am in love with you
But I can't envisage you

Finally I see that we're living at the end of a dream

Can you still remember the nights I was dreaming of you?
(Make a wish now and make every dream come true)
Do you still remember the strangers we grew to love with you?
(We could take in all who travelled, all who dreamed, all Butskellites)
Conservative, consensualist
Loyal and collectivist
Call of the wild
Wise man's child
Call of the wild
Wise man's child

That's why I see ourselves living at the end of a dream

The day boy at the public school goes home
(We saw him just five years ago)
John Lydon on his mind
Mark E. Smith on a late evening drive
Time mistaken, three places at once
And we are number one

We are the first subject, Weimar Republic Mark 2
We are the past object, past tense, we know that it's true
One last summer holds us in
But when the winter comes and the flowers die
We'll know the reason why
And we'll walk in the snow
We might be the last to know

But we will see: we're living at the end of a dream

robin carmody (robin carmody), Friday, 11 October 2002 00:15 (twenty years ago) link

No, the human heart
Is unknowable.
But in my birthplace
The flowers still smell
The same as always.

--Ki no Tsurayuki

nory (nory), Friday, 11 October 2002 02:45 (twenty years ago) link

luna.c has two of my favorites.

i like the "spleen" poems from "les fleurs du mal", "le bateau ivre", lots of mallarme, yeats, wordsworth, and others...

mike (ro)bott, Friday, 11 October 2002 02:57 (twenty years ago) link

Here's one I wrote everyone will love, even the kiddies:

Thunder goes BOOM,
and rain says PITTER-PAT.
The car goes VAROOM,
and the mole goes SPLAT.

A Nairn (moretap), Friday, 11 October 2002 03:08 (twenty years ago) link

The princes of Mercia were badger and raven. Thrall to their freedom, I dug and hoarded. Orchards fruited above clefts. I drank from honeycombs of chill sandstone.

'A boy at odds in the house, lonely among brothers.' But I, who had none, fostered a strangeness; gave myself to unattainable toys.

Candles of gnarled resin, apple branches, the tacky mistletoe. 'Look' they said, and again 'look.' But I ran slowly; the landscape flowed away, back to its source.

In the schoolyard, in the cloakrooms, the children boasted of their scars of dried snot; wrists and knees garnished with impetigo.

- from Mercian Hymns (no 6) by Geoffrey Hill

jon (jon), Friday, 11 October 2002 07:07 (twenty years ago) link

You and Your Strange Ways

increasingly oftennow
you reach into your handbag
(the one I bought some xmasses ago)
and bringing forth
a pair of dead cats
skinned and glistening
like the undersides of tongues
or old elastopasts
sticky with earwigs
you hurl them at my eyes
and laugh cruellongly
even though we have grown older together
and my kisses are little more than functional
i still love you
you and your strange ways

-Roger Mcgough

gazza, Friday, 11 October 2002 07:23 (twenty years ago) link

I loved this one when I was little. I can translate if required....

Lament for a Lost Dinner Ticket

by Margaret Hamilton.

See ma mammy
See ma dinner ticket
A pititnma
Pokit an she pititny

See thon burnty
up wherra firwiz
Ma mammy says
Am no tellnyagain
Noty playnit
A jis wenty eat ma
Pokacrisps furma dinner

The wummin sed
Aver near clapsed
Jistur heednur
Wee wellies stikinoot.

They sed wot heppind ?
N'men ma belly
Na bedna hospital
A sed a pititnma
Pokit an she petitny washnmachine.

They sed Ees thees chaild eb slootly
Non verbal
A sed Ma Bumsair
Nwenty sleep

Plinky (Plinky), Friday, 11 October 2002 07:35 (twenty years ago) link

I Love Rock and Roll.

I wanna jam the jack plug of my guitar into my vein and scream feedback out of my mouth. I wanna break my fingers on the distorted chord of rocknrollrevolution and watch the blood run down over the fret board and drip off the neck into a pool around my sneakers. I want my guitar to howl like a banshee siren and wrap myself around the mic stand like a snake spitting out the words sucked from the deepest cut of my heart I wanna dive into the broken arms of the non believers and break my nose on the hard wood floor yet still get up dancing like a spastic out into the street and crawl into the gutter of love and drink the holy rain that falls on my face in the Rock and Roll morning.


gazza, Friday, 11 October 2002 07:37 (twenty years ago) link

and here's the original:

"J'ai tant reve de toi"

J'ai tant rêvé de toi que tu perds ta réalité.
Est-il encore temps d'atteindre ce corps vivant et de baiser sur cette bouche la naissance de la voix qui m'est chère ?
J'ai tant rêvé de toi que mes bras habitués, en étreignant ton ombre, à se croiser sur ma poitrine ne se plieraient pas au contour de ton corps, peut-être.
Et que, devant l'apparence réelle de ce qui me hante et me gouverne depuis des jours et des années, je deviendrais une ombre sans doute.

O balances sentimentales.
J'ai tant rêvé de toi qu'il n'est plus temps sans doute que je m'éveille. Je dors debout, le corps exposé à toutes les apparences de la vie et de l'amour et toi, la seule qui compte aujourd'hui pour moi, je pourrais moins toucher ton front et tes lèvres que les premières lèvres et le premier front venus.
J'ai tant rêvé de toi, tant marché, parlé, couché avec ton fantôme qu'il ne me reste plus peut-être, et pourtant, qu'à être fantôme parmi les fantômes et plus ombre cent fois que l'ombre qui se promène et se promènera allègrement sur le cadran solaire de ta vie.

Baaderist (Fabfunk), Tuesday, 14 October 2003 07:27 (nineteen years ago) link

The Tay Bridge Disaster

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

'Twas about seven o'clock at night,
And the wind it blew with all its might,
And the rain came pouring down,
And the dark clods seem'd to frown,
And the Demon of the air seem'd to say-
"I'll blow down the Bridge of Tay."

When the train left Edinburgh
The passengers' hearts were light and felt no sorrow,
But Boreas blew a terrific gale,
Which made their hearts for to quail,
And many of the passengers with fear did say-
"I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay."

But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,
Boreas he did loud and angry bray,
And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

So the train sped on with all its might,
And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sught,
And the passengers' hearts felt light,
Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,
With their friends at home they lov'd most dear,
And wish them all a happy New Year.

So the train mov'd slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o'er the town,
Good Heavens! the Tay Bridge is blown down,
And a passenger train from Edinburgh,
Which fill'd all the peoples hearts with sorrow,
And made them for to turn pale,
Because none of the passengers were sav'd to tell the tale
How the disaster happen'd on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of thSilv'ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

William Topaz McGonagall

Alex K (Alex K), Tuesday, 14 October 2003 08:13 (nineteen years ago) link

Naming of Parts - Henry Reed.

Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But today,
Today we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
And today we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers
They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For today we have naming of parts.

Matt (Matt), Tuesday, 14 October 2003 08:22 (nineteen years ago) link

Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up

anthony easton (anthony), Tuesday, 14 October 2003 08:27 (nineteen years ago) link


Match (mat.ch) n-es 1. An arrangement
of a marriage: We agreed to the match
without understanding what it meant.
2. An engagement in a game or a contest
in which two people oppose or compete
with each other: A couple with nothing
in common but the outcome of the match.
3. A pair of opposites (that attract). —
v. matched, matching, matches. 1. To see
a similarity; to cause to correspond:
to liken. 2. To flip coins, and compare
the faces in a game of chance. 3. To join
two pieces of wood, tongued and grooved
to fit. 4. To secure; to hold together;
to form a bond.

Match (mat.ch) n-es 1. An article that
is manufactured for the express purpose
of starting a fire; usually a splinter
of wood or cardboard coated with a thin
combustible substance at the tip that
ignites it by friction: "The quick, sharp
scratch, / and blue spurt of a lighted
match." —Browning. 2. The evolution
of energy from heat to light 3. Love.

Warren Slesinger

bnw (bnw), Tuesday, 14 October 2003 08:33 (nineteen years ago) link

this one by e.e.cummings (it's a bit violent)

i sing of Olaf glad and big
whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
a conscientious object-or

his wellbelovéd colonel(trig
westpointer most succinctly bred)
took erring Olaf soon in hand;
but--though an host of overjoyed
noncoms(first knocking on the head
him)do through icy waters roll
that helplessness which others stroke
with brushes recently employed
anent this muddy toiletbowl,
while kindred intellects evoke
allegiance per blunt instruments--
Olaf(being to all intents
a corpse and wanting any rag
upon what God unto him gave)
responds,without getting annoyed
"I will not kiss your fucking flag"

straightway the silver bird looked grave
(departing hurriedly to shave)

but--though all kinds of officers
(a yearning nation's blueeyed pride)
their passive prey did kick and curse
until for wear their clarion
voices and boots were much the worse,
and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skilfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat--
Olaf(upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
"there is some shit I will not eat"

our president,being of which
assertions duly notified
threw the yellowsonofabitch
into a dungeon,where he died

Christ(of His mercy infinite)
i pray to see;and Olaf,too

preponderatingly because
unless statistics lie he was
more brave than me:more blond than you.

lint (Jack), Tuesday, 14 October 2003 08:45 (nineteen years ago) link

late sun dancing on windblown water
flowers bloom, hot, bright
your heartbeat thundering
matched by my own blood
I reach for your hand,
you hold my heart,
we two, as one under the heavens
I am yours and you are mine
the sun is ours, the moon as well
the heavens backlit by pinhole diamonds
and I sleep easily now
dreaming contented dreams
waking to you, to us, to forever.

luna (luna.c), Tuesday, 14 October 2003 18:36 (nineteen years ago) link

I feel your heart
your skin like smoke
I see through your barrier
to the universe within your eyes
I will protect you
but not from yourself
walk with me, not against me
to hear, to see, to taste, to smell, to touch
you are more than my senses
you are my breath
my sustenance
you are the rhythm of my bones
the fire in my blood
the last breath I take before sleep
the first I inhale
upon waking
come be my everything and
I will be yours,
body, mind and soul
we shall be richer
than the Sultan of Brunei

luna (luna.c), Tuesday, 14 October 2003 18:36 (nineteen years ago) link

st. francis of the
street corner, possesions wrapped
in cardboard and in

plastic, stacked on the
newspaper vending machine...
his winter headband

holding back wild hair,
needing a shave yesterday...
he fixes me with

his high-voltage, sky-
blue eyes, with pin-point pupils,
on this rainy, grey

sunday morning, and
asks me; "what's happening, man?"
all i can manage

at this early hour
is a sort of soundless croak,
and i squat down to

wait for the bus... he
asks me where im going, and
i tell him; "...to work."

...he asks me what i
do, and i tell him ...he says
he "likes my jacket."

i tell him; "its a
poncho." "oh, yeah", he says, "a
poncho, right." ...he lights

a cigarette and
walks into the street looking
for the bus... then a

pidgeon lands on the
curb, and starts drinking from an
oily puddle

in the gutter ...he
reaches into his bundle
and pulls out a bag

of broken cookies
and tosses them to the bird
...more birds land and eat

...he calls and coos to
them softly ...i watch them peck
at the crumbs and then

walk over to his
feet... i picture him bending
down and scooping one

up and twisting its
head, breaking its neck, and then
stuffing it into

his bundle for a
meal later... instead, he stands
with one arm outstretched,

his finger pointing,
waiting for one to perch on
his nicotine stained

didjit... they ignore
him more successfully then
i was able to...

the bus arrives, and
we board... about thirteen blocks
later, he gets off,

and as he exits
from the mechanical doors,
clutching his bundle,

shoulders hunched against
the rain, patting himself down
for another smoke,

and dry match, i hear
the sound of church bells tolling
at 'queen of angels'

-- stosh machek

luna (luna.c), Tuesday, 14 October 2003 18:38 (nineteen years ago) link

Is anybody here reading anybody else's poems?

Reece Lurk, Tuesday, 14 October 2003 20:54 (nineteen years ago) link

My two favorite poems are by Diane di Prima -

"April Fool Birthday Poem For Grandpa"

Today is your
birthday and I have tried
writing these things before,
but now
in the gathering madness, I want to
thank you
for telling me what to expect
for pulling
no punches, back there in that scrubbed Bronx parlor
thank you
for honestly weeping in time to
innumerable heartbreaking
italian operas for
pulling my hair when I
pulled the leaves off the trees so I'd know how it feels,
we are
involved in it now, revolution, up to our
knees and the tide is rising, I embrace
strangers on the street, filled with their love and
mine, the love you told us had to come or we
die, told them all in that Bronx part, me listening in
spring Bronx dusk, breathing stars, so glorious
to me your white hair, your height your fierce
blue eyes, rare among italians, I stood
a ways off listening as I pour out soup
young men with light in their faces
at my table, talking love, talking revolution
which is love, spelled backwards, how
you would love us all, would thunder your anarchist wisdom
at us, would thunder Dante, and Giordano Bruno, orderly men
bent to your ends, well I want you to know
we do it for you, and your ilk, for Carlo Tresca
for Sacco ad Vanzetti, without knowing
it, or thinking about it, as we do it for Aubrey Bearsley
Oscar Wilde (all street lights
shall be purple), do it
for Trotsky and Shelley and big/dumb
Eisenstein's Strike people, Jean Cocteau's ennui, we do it for
the stars over the Bronx
that they may look on earth
and not be ashamed.

"Song For Baby-O, Unborn"

when you break thru
you’ll find
a poet here
not quite what one would choose.

I won’t promise
you’ll never go hungry
or that you won’t be sad
on this gutted

but I can show you
enough to love
to break your heart

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Tuesday, 14 October 2003 21:03 (nineteen years ago) link

ee cummings is perhaps over-represented here, but this is my favorite poem nonetheless:

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
-the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other:then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

j c, Tuesday, 14 October 2003 21:33 (nineteen years ago) link

One favorite: Chronic Meanings by Bob Perelman.

Chris P (Chris P), Tuesday, 14 October 2003 22:22 (nineteen years ago) link

one month passes...
Where are the sitars?
Where are the guitars recorded backwards?
Where are the typical psychedelic backing vocals?
(you know, like the ones in "Magical Mystery Tour")

Where are the lyrics about pink elephant flying through marshmallow skies?
Where are the nursery-rhyme-like melodies?
Where are the mellotrons?

Geirvald Hongfjeld jr., Thursday, 27 November 2003 00:41 (nineteen years ago) link

not my favourite but a goody

A Martian Writes A Postcard Home.

Caxtons are mechanical birds with many wings
and some are treasured for their markings -

they cause the eyes to melt
or the body to shriek without pain.

I have never seen one fly, but
sometimes they perch on the hand.

Mist is when the sky is tired of flight
and rests its soft machine on ground:

then the world is dim and bookish
like engravings under tissue paper.

Rain is when the earth is television.
It has the property of making colours darker.

Model T is a room with the lock inside -
a key is turned to free the world

for movement, so quick there is a film
to watch for anything missed.

But time is tied to the wrist
or kept in a box, ticking with impatience.

In homes, a haunted apparatus sleeps,
that snores when you pick it up.

If the ghost cries, they carry it
to their lips and soothe it to sleep

with sounds. And yet they wake it up
deliberately, by tickling with a finger.

Only the young are allowed to suffer
openly. Adults go to a punishment room

with water but nothing to eat.
They lock the door and suffer the noises

alone. No one is exempt
and everyone's pain has a different smell.

At night when all the colours die,
they hide in pairs

and read about themselves -
in colour, with their eyelids shut.

-- Craig Raine

jed (jed_e_3), Thursday, 27 November 2003 00:49 (nineteen years ago) link

hey milo I have
had coffee with Diane D,
she is my wife's aunt!

Haikunym (Haikunym), Thursday, 27 November 2003 03:09 (nineteen years ago) link

by William Carlos Williams

[poem snipped]

Oh coolness! I remember back in high school, in one of my English classes, we almost spent the whole period just going over this one poem. We dissected it to where there was absolutely nothing left of it. I wish I could remember what it ended up meaning, but I do know we spent an awful lot of time discussing what the colors red and white signify, as well as the possible symbolism behind the rainwater being on the wheelbarrow so close to chickens.

Tenacious Dee (Dee the Lurker), Thursday, 27 November 2003 05:40 (nineteen years ago) link

Right, I'm gonna post the poem I just memorised, then go and read the rest. Its one of Shakespeare's Sonnets, though I forget which one.

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments of princes
Shall outlive this powerful rhyme.
But you shall shine more bright in its contents
Than unswept stone besmeared with sluttish time.
WHen wastefuk wars shall statues overturn
And broils root out the work of masonary,
Nor Mars his sword, nor wars' quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death and all oblivious emnity
shall you pace forth - our praise shall still find room.
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
SO, till the judgement that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lover' eyes.

Eveeryone go aaah!

Johnney B (Johnney B), Thursday, 27 November 2003 13:28 (nineteen years ago) link

you fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook,
an open eye

- Margaret Atwood

possible m (mandinina), Thursday, 27 November 2003 15:33 (nineteen years ago) link

Eek. Nasty.

Archel (Archel), Thursday, 27 November 2003 15:34 (nineteen years ago) link

Imperialist, keep off
the trees, I said

No use, you walk backwards,
admiring your own footprints

- M.A

a better one...

possible m (mandinina), Thursday, 27 November 2003 15:37 (nineteen years ago) link

Wastefuk, hehe.

Madchen (Madchen), Thursday, 27 November 2003 15:40 (nineteen years ago) link

Oh look, a ready-made thread wherein I can plug my resuscitated website:

Archel (Archel), Thursday, 27 November 2003 15:46 (nineteen years ago) link

The Man Who Died

grey rain the day
the man said when I die
let it rain that day
whenever it rains then
is grey to whomever
time says goodbye

who set the man singing
said the man who died
said grey the man is grey
said grey the rain is dead
goodbye said the rain

whenever the man is singing then
in a grey raincoat time says die
wring out the rain
ring it out that day
save the grave for whomever the man said
save the rain for a gay day
sing it whenever said the grey
die sighs the rain
goodbye whenever

-Colin Morton

Prude (Prude), Thursday, 27 November 2003 19:30 (nineteen years ago) link



Bill Knott, Friday, 28 November 2003 04:20 (nineteen years ago) link

Yeats, "Meru"

Civilisation is hooped together, brought
Under a mle, under the semblance of peace
By manifold illusion; but man's life is thought,
And he, despite his terror, cannot cease
Ravening through century after century,
Ravening, raging, and uprooting that he may come
Into the desolation of reality:
Egypt and Greece, good-bye, and good-bye, Rome!
Hermits upon Mount Meru or Everest,
Caverned in night under the drifted snow,
Or where that snow and winter's dreadful blast
Beat down upon their naked bodies, know
That day brings round the night, that before dawn
His glory and his monuments are gone.

ryan (ryan), Friday, 28 November 2003 04:49 (nineteen years ago) link

"The Song For Colin" by Sarah Teasdale

I sang a song at dusking time
Beneath the evening star,
And Terence left his latest rhyme
To answer from afar.

Pierrot laid down his lute to weep,
And sighed, "She sings for me."
But Colin slept a careless sleep
Beneath an apple tree.

Curt1s St3ph3ns, Friday, 28 November 2003 04:57 (nineteen years ago) link

one year passes...
I searched for Liz's posts, because my thoughts are with her, though I haven't known her here. I found that she has good taste in poetry:


A City's Death by Fire

After that hot gospeller has levelled all but the churched sky,
I wrote the tale by tallow of a city's death by fire;
Under a candle's eye, that smoked in tears, I
Wanted to tell, in more than wax, of faiths that were snapped like wire.
All day I walked abroad among the rubbled tales,
Shocked at each wall that stood on the street like a liar;
Loud was the bird-rocked sky, and all the clouds were bales
Torn open by looting, and white, in spite of the fire.
By the smoking sea, where Christ walked, I asked, why
Should a man wax tears, when his wooden world fails?
In town, leaves were paper, but the hills were a flock of faiths;
To a boy who walked all day, each leaf was a green breath
Rebuilding a love I thought was dead as nails,
Blessing the death and the baptism by fire.


-- Liz :x (elizabeth.daply...), October 10th, 2002


I think there should be a separate Liz thread already, although there is no news yet of her. I don't know her, so don't feel that I am the one to start it.

Maria :D (Maria D.), Sunday, 10 July 2005 00:39 (seventeen years ago) link

twelve years pass...

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.
I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

-- Pablo Neruda

― luna.c (luna.c), Thursday, 10 October 2002 17:15 (fifteen years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink


call me by your name..or Finn (fionnland), Wednesday, 10 January 2018 21:00 (five years ago) link

The things about you I appreciate
may seem indelicate:
I’d like to find you in the shower
and chase the soap for half an hour.
I’d like to have you in my power
and see your eyes dilate.
I’d like to have your back to scour
and other parts to lubricate.
Sometimes I feel it is my fate
to chase you screaming up a tower
or make you cower
by asking you to differentiate
Nietzsche from Schopenhauer.
I’d like successfully to guess your weight
and win you at a fete.
I’d like to offer you a flower.

I like the hair upon your shoulders
falling like water over boulders.
I like the shoulders, too: they are essential.
Your collar-bones have great potential
(I’d like all your particulars in folders
marked Confidential).

I like your cheeks, I like your nose,
I like the way your lips disclose
the neat arrangement of your teeth
(half above and half beneath)
in rows.

I like your eyes, I like their fringes.
The way they focus on me gives me twinges.
Your upper arms drive me berserk
I like the way your elbows work,
on hinges.

I like your wrists, I like your glands,
I like the fingers on your hands.
I’d like to teach them how to count,
and certain things we might exchange,
something familiar for something strange.
I’d like to give you just the right amount
and give some change.

I like it when you tilt your cheek up.
I like the way you hold a teacup.
I like your legs when you unwind them,
even in trousers I don’t mind them.
I’d always know, without a recap,
where to find them.

I like the sculpture of your ears.
I like the way your profile disappears
Whenever you decide to turn and face me.
I’d like to cross two hemispheres
and have you chase me.
I’d like to smuggle you across frontiers
or sail with you at night into Tangiers.
I’d like you to embrace me.

I’d like to see you ironing your skirt
and cancelling other dates.
I’d like to button up your shirt.
I like the way your chest inflates.
I’d like to soothe you when you’re hurt
or frightened senseless by invertebrates.

I’d like you even if you were malign
and had a yen for sudden homicide.
I’d let you put insecticide
into my wine.
I’d even like you if you were the Bride
of Frankenstein
or something ghoulish out of Mamoulian’s
Jekyll and Hyde.
I’d even like you as my Julian
of Norwich or Cathleen ni Houlihan.
How melodramatic
if you were something muttering in attics
like Mrs Rochester or a student of Boolean

You are the end of self-abuse.
You are the eternal feminine.
I’d like to find a good excuse
to call on you and find you in.
I’d like to put my hand beneath your chin,
and see you grin.
I’d like to taste your Charlotte Russe,
I’d like to feel my lips upon your skin,
I’d like to make you reproduce.

I’d like you in my confidence.
I’d like to be your second look.
I’d like to let you try the French Defence
and mate you with my rook.
I’d like to be your preference
and hence
I’d like to be around when you unhook.
I’d like to be your only audience,
the final name in your appointment book,
your future tense.

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Wednesday, 10 January 2018 22:33 (five years ago) link

Damn dude

calstars, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 22:44 (five years ago) link

I think I read that first on another ilx thread tbh it's a beaut

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Wednesday, 10 January 2018 22:45 (five years ago) link

yes but you just try saying that to a coworker these days

#TeamHailing (imago), Wednesday, 10 January 2018 22:47 (five years ago) link

Post a poem u

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Wednesday, 10 January 2018 22:49 (five years ago) link

On the Flyleaf of Pound's Cantos

There are the Alps. What is there to say about them?
They don't make sense. Fatal glaciers, crags cranks climb,
jumbled boulder and weed, pasture and boulder, scree,
et l'on entend, maybe, le refrain joyeux et leger.
Who knows what the ice will have scraped on the rock it is smoothing?

There they are, you will have to go a long way round
if you want to avoid them.
It takes some getting used to. There are the Alps, fools!
Sit down and wait for them to crumble!

-- Basil Bunting

the late great, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 22:54 (five years ago) link

That's good

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Wednesday, 10 January 2018 22:57 (five years ago) link

One more go-to:

Inniskeen Road: July Evening

The bicycles go by in twos and threes -
There's a dance in Billy Brennan's barn tonight,
And there's the half-talk code of mysteries
And the wink-and-elbow language of delight.
Half-past eight and there is not a spot
Upon a mile of road, no shadow thrown
That might turn out a man or woman, not
A footfall tapping secrecies of stone.

I have what every poet hates in spite
Of all the solemn talk of contemplation.
Oh, Alexander Selkirk knew the plight
Of being king and government and nation.
A road, a mile of kingdom. I am king
Of banks and stones and every blooming thing.

-Patrick Kavanagh

I am endlessly taken by the run and rhythm from half past eight to stone

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Wednesday, 10 January 2018 22:58 (five years ago) link

lonely guy just writing poem baout things

the late great, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 23:05 (five years ago) link

that is a good one too

the late great, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 23:05 (five years ago) link

A Man in Assynt by Norman MacCaig is a little long to post here so I'll link it here

I really love this reading by the author and just falling into the West Highland landscapes.

call me by your name..or Finn (fionnland), Wednesday, 10 January 2018 23:13 (five years ago) link

So many to name, but the beginning of Keith Waldrop's 'Shipwreck in Heaven' springs to mind:

Balancing. Austere. Life-
less. I have tried to keep
context from claiming you.

Without doors. And there are
windows. How far, how
far into the desert have we come?

Rude instruments, product
of my garden. Might also be
different, what I am thinking of.

So you see: it is
not symmetrical, dark
red out of the snow.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 23:16 (five years ago) link

Or part I of Rosmarie Waldrop's 'In a Doorway' (from Blindsight):

The world was galaxies imagined flesh. Mortal. What to think now? Think simple. Matter? A lump of wax? An afterglow? Or does everything happen of its own accord? Perfect and full-bodied. No more. Observable. No longer. In your eyes or line of sight. Down all three dimensions of time. Or lock up the house. Or prophets.

Here I work toward. A kind of elegy. Here a strange ceiling. "Earth fills his mouth." I would look at you. And write you. A spell but slack at the edge. And in the door where I stand your voice goes. Hollow.

If what happened. (Happened?) Hand. Between palms. Grief. Death. Coffee with cream. Coffee. Arms, knees and free will. And shiny. Rainbows.

The words have detached. And spread throughout my body. Such reckless growth. Windbag! Want to see come full circle the wheel? To comment. My own commentary till I till. My own great-granddaughter's body?

Absence. But it cuts. Repeat. Furiously Yes then No. Even a fictional character catches a chill. Makes the heart. And cold penetrates. We do not fall off the surface. But you, planet earth. Grow. Even as we read. Fonder of the dark.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 23:22 (five years ago) link

I also miss the late Simon Howard, whose blog is still up:


pomenitul, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 23:24 (five years ago) link

The following was written by one of my students, a 12 year-old kid from New York whom I taught via Skype. I provide it verbatim:

The Look

This look I see too much,
Out of confusion
And bewilderment.

From people who,
Cannot comprehend,
The stories of those,
Who can suppress.

This look I find unbearable,
The look
From those who may
Be forgetful.

I still do not understand,
What is the cause of
This unmistakable glance.

I sometimes wonder what he's up to now. Hopefully writing poetry.

#TeamHailing (imago), Wednesday, 10 January 2018 23:41 (five years ago) link

After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things. It is as if
We had come to an end of the imagination,
Inanimate in an inert savoir.

It is difficult even to choose the adjective
For this blank cold, this sadness without cause.
The great structure has become a minor house.
No turban walks across the lessened floors.

The greenhouse never so badly needed paint.
The chimney is fifty years old and slants to one side.
A fantastic effort has failed, a repetition
In a repetitiousness of men and flies.

Yet the absence of the imagination had
Itself to be imagined. The great pond,
The plain sense of it, without reflections, leaves,
Mud, water like dirty glass, expressing silence

Of a sort, silence of a rat come out to see,
The great pond and its waste of the lilies, all this
Had to be imagined as an inevitable knowledge,
Required, as a necessity requires.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 10 January 2018 23:43 (five years ago) link

I was expecting 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 23:56 (five years ago) link

three years pass...

O commemorate me where there is water,
Canal water, preferably, so stilly
Greeny at the heart of summer. Brother
Commemorate me thus beautifully
Where by a lock niagarously roars
The falls for those who sit in the tremendous silence
Of mid-July. No one will speak in prose
Who finds his way to these Parnassian islands.
A swan goes by head low with many apologies,
Fantastic light looks through the eyes of bridges -
And look! a barge comes bringing from Athy
And other far-flung towns mythologies.
O commemorate me with no hero-courageous
Tomb - just a canal-bank seat for the passer-by.

spaghetti connemara (darraghmac), Friday, 15 January 2021 02:43 (two years ago) link

Its hard to read any poetry not written by irish tbh

spaghetti connemara (darraghmac), Friday, 15 January 2021 02:43 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

love that one so much i moved to the canal in question tbh

Ár an broc a mhic (darraghmac), Monday, 22 May 2023 23:20 (two weeks ago) link

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