A good poem

marshallz10(z9-10 CA)August 29, 2010

"August Walk" by Rosanna Warren:

The forest fungal, and a seethe of rain.

Indian pipes prod white, crooked fingers up through mulch,

boletus and inky caps glutton in the dank.

Lichen glues coral to moist granite.

We follow cleft hoofprints

of a bull moose, you striding ahead, I lagging;

you reading woods lore--ice-stripped bark, deer-nibble,

last winter's furry, matted fisher-cat spoor; I distracted,

musing. The soil springs at our tread, mossbanks

bristle with spores. Rainlight shivers down.

The felled giant sugar maple has broken out

in boles: baroque, all bulging eyes,

beaks, foreheads, claws, diseased

and dark as a mahogany Roman choir stall.

Off the moose path now, it's an old farm you seek:

rock piles from last century's sheepfolds;

inward-lapsing cellar hole;

a tumble where the chimney stood;

at the threshold, by the granite doorslab,

a cluster of weed-choked lilies sprouted from lilies

the farm wife planted before the Civil War.

The road is a soft cesarean scar in tufted grass.

Each rain-glossed leaf emits a stab of green.

Somewhere here survives the idea of home.

Here is a link that might be useful: A poem for Sunday

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bill_vincent(Central Maine)

That could be the woods right behind my home, including the rock pile walls around old overgrown fields, and the old chimney in the middle of the woods. Very vivid.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 9:50PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Like the backside of the hill behind my old NH house

    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 1:04AM
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A wonderful evocation of the deep forest of New England. However, it also reminds me of the old farmhouse in NC where my mother grew up, the youngest of eleven. House was buried in cedar and mulberry vines and was built well before the Civil War. While deteriorating somewhat, it still stands, near the spring where the family drew its fresh water and drank from a gourd....

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 10:26AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Poetry is so evocative and even provocative and has long attracted me both as a writer and reader. I have no trouble writing and posting prose but resist posting my own poetry. For me poetry is too personal, too telling of my scared soul.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 10:49AM
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Marshall, I've been writing poetry most of my life and even have had some published in journals. I am such a private person that I've found I am only willing to share with a choice few. So many of my poetical themes have been drawn from painful, real-life experiences. I was once in a small writers' group that met monthly. We read our work to each other, but disbanded a few years ago for a number of reasons. At that time, I started my first novel. My dream was to incorporate some of my own poems in the narrative. Unfortunately, life caught up with me and it's now packed away in boxes, unfinished....

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 1:17PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Woodnymph, I could have written your post, altered to include short story writing. I've only had a couple published and those in Spanish in obscure South American literary tracts.

Keep the literary fires burning, my dear.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 1:48PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

"Acceptance Speech" by David Yezzi first appeared in the Atlantic in May of 2007:

Accept the things you cannot change:
the bleating clock,
the nightly go
dog leash in tow
around the block,

neural chemistry,
patchy hair,
a longing stare
and X-ray eye,

and the niggling fact
that things will stay
roughly this way,
to be exact.

Forgive the things you cannot have:
the supple bod,
taut undergrads,
a nicer pad,
long chats with God,

an older name,
your peers' respect,
the oll korrect,
unbridled fame,

a sense of ease
in your own skin,
a lighter burden
by degrees.

The life you'd swap for on the train
(sight unseen)
is much like yours
though it appears
more green.

So, why this pain
that shorts the breath
and spoils your health?
You grow serene -

not yet, but after
your will resigns
a few more times
with heavy laughter.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 11:12PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Four hundred and near score years ago, another poet penned similar sentiments:

�Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, My Mind to Me A Kingdom Is (ca. 1585) first published (in modified form) in William Byrd, Psalms, Sonnets, and Songs of Sadness and Piety (1588).

My mind to me a kingdom is;
Such perfect joy therein I find
That it excels all other bliss
That world affords or grows by kind.
Though much I want which most men have,
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.
No princely pomp, no wealthy store,
No force to win the victory,
No wily wit to salve a sore,
No shape to feed each gazing eye;
To none of these I yield as thrall.
For why my mind doth serve for all.

I see how plenty suffers oft,
How hasty climbers soon do fall;
I see that those that are aloft
Mishap doth threaten most of all;
They get with toil, they keep with fear.
Such cares my mind could never bear.

Content I live, this is my stay;
I seek no more than may suffice;
I press to bear no haughty sway;
Look what I lack my mind supplies;
Lo, thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring.

Some have too much, yet still do crave;
I little have, and seek no more.
They are but poor, though much they have,
And I am rich with little store.
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
They lack, I leave; they pine, I live.

I laugh not at another�s loss;
I grudge not at another�s gain;
No worldly waves my mind can toss;
My state at one doth still remain.
I fear no foe, nor fawning friend;
I loathe not life, nor dread my end.

Some weigh their pleasure by their lust,
Their wisdom by their rage of will,
Their treasure is their only trust;
And cloaked craft their store of skill.
But all the pleasure that I find
Is to maintain a quiet mind.

My wealth is health and perfect ease;
My conscience clear my chief defense;
I neither seek by bribes to please,
Nor by deceit to breed offense.
Thus do I live, thus will I die.
Would all did so as well as I!

From the link below:

"This poem is one of the true masterpieces of the Elizabethan era, understandable on many levels: as a sanctuary of conscience, as a statement of Calvinist precepts, as a dissertation on contentment, as a praise of the powers of imagination and invention."

Here is a link that might be useful: My mind to me a kingdom is

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 5:42PM
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"a seethe of rain" is really nice.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 12:52PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

The Litany Of Disparagement" by Dick Allen appeared in The Atlantic in January of 1997:

I drove, but I didn't turn.
I spoke, but I didn't learn.
I warmed, but I didn't burn.
Pray for me now and then.

Cards held too close to my chest,
I loved the roads running west,
Old shoes and a leather vest.
Pray for me now and then.

I never reached my floodmark.
The dog is a distant bark.
The tunnel whirls in the dark.
Pray for me now and then.

The nurse bends low over me.
With hands and skeleton key,
She opens Death's mystery.
Pray for me now and then.

Pray, for the willows must shake.
Ripples must die in the lake.
I am the life I forsake.
Pray for me now and then.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 1:04PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

I lifted this from Sullivan's blog, The Daily Dish. This passage quoted from Rilke speaks to my experiences as a reader and a composer of poetry. I think the passage also applies to how we approach other creative moments in our lives too.

"For The Sake Of A Single Poem"

17 Oct 2010 11:59 am

Jackie Wang quotes The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke, on the eternal debate between being out in the world and writing about the world:

For the sake of a single poem, you must see many cities, many people and Things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning.

You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters, and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents whom you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didnâÂÂt pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, but it is still not enough to be able to think of all that.

You must have memories of many nights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labor, and of light, pale, sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. But you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open windows and the scattered noises.

And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them."


Here is a link that might be useful: For The Sake Of A Single Poem

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 1:05PM
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Litany of Disparagement is superb, IMO. Haunting, sad, so much regret so sparely imaged. Really beautiful.

Thanks for that.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 8:55AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Chinese Foot Chart
by Kay Ryan

Every part of us
alerts another part.
Press a spot in
the tender arch and
feel the scalp
twitch. We are no
match for ourselves
but our own release.
Each touch
uncatches some
remote lock. Look,
boats of mercy
embark from
our heart at the
oddest knock.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 11:21PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

An early poem by Robert Frost, near-kin from the green hills of NH and VT. Reminds me of sitting off the the side, twitching to the noise of Hot Topics.

"The Sound of Trees " by Robert Frost appeared in The Atlantic in August of 1915:

I wonder about the trees:
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice,
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 5:16PM
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