31 March 2011


Mrs Jaypher

Mrs Jaypher found a wafer
Which she stuck upon a note;
This she took and gave the cook.
Then she went and bought a boat,
Which she paddled down the stream,
Shouting, 'Ice produces cream,
Beer when churned produces butter!
Henceforth all the words I utter
Distant ages thus shall note -
'From the Jaypher Wisdom-Boat.''

Mrs Jaypher said, 'It's safer
If you've lemons in your head;
First to eat, a pound of meat,
And then to go at once to bed.
Eating meat is half the battle,
Till you hear the Lemons rattle!
If you don't, you'll always moan,
In a Lemoncolly tone;
For there's nothing half so dreadful,
as Lemons in your head.

Edward Lear

30 March 2011


The Street

Here is a long and silent street.
I walk in blackness and I stumble and fall
and rise, and I walk blind, my feet
trampling the silent stones and the dry leaves.
Someone behind me also tramples, stones, leaves:
if I slow down, he slows;
if I run, he runs I turn : nobody.
Everything dark and doorless,
only my steps aware of me,
I turning and turning among these corners
which lead forever to the street
where nobody waits for, nobody follows me,
where I pursue a man who stumbles
and rises and says when he sees me : nobody.

Octavio Paz

29 March 2011



Much Madness is divinest Sense ---
To a discerning Eye ---
Much Sense --- the starkest Madness ---
'Tis the Majority
In this, as All, prevail ---
Assent --- and you are sane ---
Demur --- you're straightway dangerous ---
And handled with a Chain ---

Emily Dickinson

28 March 2011


The Song Of The Beggar

I am always going from door to door,
whether in rain or heat,
and sometimes I will lay my right ear in
the palm of my right hand.
And as I speak my voice seems strange as if
it were alien to me,

for I'm not certain whose voice is crying:
mine or someone else's.
I cry for a pittance to sustain me.
The poets cry for more.

In the end I conceal my entire face
and cover both my eyes;
there it lies in my hands with all its weight
and looks as if at rest,
so no one may think I had no place where-
upon to lay my head.

Rainer Maria Rilke 

27 March 2011


next to of course god america i

"next to of course god america i
love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn's early my
country tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?"

He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water

e e cummings

26 March 2011


No poem today -- just best wishes (or whatever the appropriate thought would be) for all the UTers taking part in the march today.  I think most of us who can't be with you physically will be very much with you in spirit.

And for those who can't be there in person, there's this message from MsChin:

It's the alternative march for the alternative, for people who can't get there in person but want to be involved:

25 March 2011



The spring has come with tulips wild,
They seem like carvans on the move
The youth, their charm and ecstatic joy
Of colossal worth and value prove.

The sea that has no bound or marge,
And azure sky that seems so high,
When pitch dark night has upper hand,
They gleam and glint like stars in sky.

How nice the bride-like moon appears,
While touring sky in van of night
At morn, the sun presents a scene
Much grand in sky so blue and bright.

One must have eyes to see these sights
Which vie with each in bloom and grace
For Nature is not wont to sell
The charm appearing on her face.

Allama Mohammad Iqbal

24 March 2011



Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Dorothy Parker

23 March 2011


Winter Evening

The storm wind covers the sky
Whirling the fleecy snow drifts,
Now it howls like a wolf,
Now it is crying, like a lost child,
Now rustling the decayed thatch
On our tumbledown roof,
Now, like a delayed traveller,
Knocking on our window pane.

Our wretched little cottage
Is gloomy and dark.
Why do you sit all silent
Hugging the window, old gran?
Has the howling of the storm
Wearied you, at last, dear friend?
Or are you dozing fitfully
Under the spinning wheel's humming?

Let us drink, dearest friend
To my poor wasted youth.
Let us drink from grief - Where's the glass?
Our hearts at least will be lightened.
Sing me a song of how the bluetit
Quietly lives across the sea.
Sing me a song of how the young girl
Went to fetch water in the morning.

The storm wind covers the sky
Whirling the fleecy snow drifts
Now it howls like a wolf,
Now it is crying, like a lost child.
Let us drink, dearest friend
To my poor wasted youth.
Let us drink from grief - Where's the glass?
Our hearts at least will be lightened.

Alexander Pushkin 

22 March 2011


Masahide's death poem

while I walk on
the moon keeps pace beside me:
friend in the water


21 March 2011


The Ballad Of The Landlord

Landlord, landlord,
My roof has sprung a leak.
Don't you 'member I told you about it
Way last week?

Landlord, landlord,
These steps is broken down.
When you come up yourself
It's a wonder you don't fall down.

Ten Bucks you say I owe you?
Ten Bucks you say is due?
Well, that's Ten Bucks more'n I'l pay you
Till you fix this house up new.

What? You gonna get eviction orders?
You gonna cut off my heat?
You gonna take my furniture and
Throw it in the street?

Um-huh! You talking high and mighty.
Talk on-till you get through.
You ain't gonna be able to say a word
If I land my fist on you.

Police! Police!
Come and get this man!
He's trying to ruin the government
And overturn the land!

Copper's whistle!
Patrol bell!
Precinct Station.
Iron cell.
Headlines in press:
Man Threatens landlord
Tenant Held Bail
Judge Gives Negro 90 Days In County Jail!

Langston Hughes

20 March 2011


Before Your Light Quite Fail

Before your light quite fail,
Already paling star,
(The quail
Sings in the thyme afar!)

Turn on the poet's eyes
That love makes overrun-
(See rise
The lark to meet the sun!)

Your glance, that presently
Must drown in the blue morn;
(What glee
Amid the rustling corn!)

Then flash my message true
Down yonder,-far away!-
(The dew
Lies sparkling on the hay.)

Across what visions seek
The Dear One slumbering still.
(Quick, quick!
The sun has reached the hill!)

Paul Verlaine

19 March 2011


Everything’s looted, betrayed and traded

Everything’s looted, betrayed and traded,
black death’s wing’s overhead.
Everything’s eaten by hunger, unsated,
so why does a light shine ahead?

By day, a mysterious wood, near the town,
breathes out cherry, a cherry perfume.
By night, on July’s sky, deep, and transparent,
new constellations are thrown.

And something miraculous will come
close to the darkness and ruin,
something no-one, no-one, has known,
though we’ve longed for it since we were children.

Anna Akhmatova

18 March 2011


Right then hope this works with Disqus, sorry about the lack of poetry, and hope Montana's ok, enjoy.


17 March 2011


Erin, Oh Erin

Like the bright lamp, that shone in Kildare's holy fane,
And burn'd through long ages of darkness and storm,
Is the heart that sorrows have frown'd on in vain,
Whose spirit outlives them, unfading and warm.
Erin, oh Erin, thus bright through the tears
Of a long night of bondage, thy spirit appears.

The nations have fallen, and thou still art young,
Thy sun is but rising, when others are set;
And though slavery's cloud o'er thy morning hath hung,
The full noon of freedom shall beam round thee yet.
Erin, oh Erin, though long in the shade,
Thy star will shine out when the proudest shall fade.

Unchill'd by the rain, and unwaked by the wind,
The lily lies sleeping through winter's cold hour,
Till Spring's light touch her fetters unbind,
And daylight and liberty bless the young flower.
Thus Erin, oh Erin, thy winter is past,
And the hope that lived through it shall blossom at last.

Thomas Moore

16 March 2011



"I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more--that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut--my eyes are blue--
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke--
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!

-Shel Silverstein

15 March 2011


from Julius Cæsar (I, ii, 12-24)


Ha! who calls?

Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!

Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry 'Caesar!' Speak; Caesar is turn'd to hear.

Beware the ides of March.

What man is that?

A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

Set him before me; let me see his face.

Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

What say'st thou to me now? speak once again.

Beware the ides of March.

He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

William Shakespeare 

14 March 2011


The Stolen Child  

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scare could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.

W.B. Yeats

13 March 2011


I Am in Need of Music 

I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.

Elizabeth Bishop

12 March 2011



if stars are lit
it means - there is someone who needs it.
It means - someone wants them to be,
that someone deems those specks of spit

And overwrought,
in the swirls of afternoon dust,
he bursts in on God,
afraid he might be already late.
In tears,
he kisses God's sinewy hand
and begs him to guarantee
that there will definitely be a star.
He swears
he won't be able to stand
that starless ordeal.

He wanders around, worried,
but outwardly calm.

And to everyone else, he says:
it's all right.
You are no longer afraid,
are you?'

if stars are lit,
it means - there is someone who needs it.
It means it is essential
that every evening
at least one star should ascend
over the crest of the building.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky

11 March 2011


Ballade at Thirty-five

This, no song of an ingénue,
This, no ballad of innocence;
This, the rhyme of a lady who
Followed ever her natural bents.
This, a solo of sapience,
This, a chantey of sophistry,
This, the sum of experiments, --
I loved them until they loved me.

Decked in garments of sable hue,
Daubed with ashes of myriad Lents,
Wearing shower bouquets of rue,
Walk I ever in penitence.
Oft I roam, as my heart repents,
Through God's acre of memory,
Marking stones, in my reverence,
"I loved them until they loved me."

Pictures pass me in long review,--
Marching columns of dead events.
I was tender, and, often, true;
Ever a prey to coincidence.
Always knew I the consequence;
Always saw what the end would be.
We're as Nature has made us -- hence
I loved them until they loved me.

-Dorothy Parker

10 March 2011


On the Birth of a Son

Families when a child is born
Hope it will turn out intelligent.
I, through intelligence
Having wrecked my whole life,
Only hope that the baby will prove
Ignorant and stupid.
Then he'll be happy all his days
And grow into a cabinet minister.

-Su Tung-Po
Translated by Arthur Waley

09 March 2011


Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes

First, her tippet made of tulle,
easily lifted off her shoulders and laid
on the back of a wooden chair.

And her bonnet,
the bow undone with a light forward pull.

Then the long white dress, a more
complicated matter with mother-of-pearl
buttons down the back,
so tiny and numerous that it takes forever
before my hands can part the fabric,
like a swimmer's dividing water,
and slip inside.

You will want to know
that she was standing
by an open window in an upstairs bedroom,
motionless, a little wide-eyed,
looking out at the orchard below,
the white dress puddled at her feet
on the wide-board, hardwood floor.

The complexity of women's undergarments
in nineteenth-century America
is not to be waved off,
and I proceeded like a polar explorer
through clips, clasps, and moorings,
catches, straps, and whalebone stays,
sailing toward the iceberg of her nakedness.

Later, I wrote in a notebook
it was like riding a swan into the night,
but, of course, I cannot tell you everything -
the way she closed her eyes to the orchard,
how her hair tumbled free of its pins,
how there were sudden dashes
whenever we spoke.

What I can tell you is
it was terribly quiet in Amherst
that Sabbath afternoon,
nothing but a carriage passing the house,
a fly buzzing in a windowpane.

So I could plainly hear her inhale
when I undid the very top
hook-and-eye fastener of her corset

and I could hear her sigh when finally it was unloosed,
the way some readers sigh when they realize
that Hope has feathers,
that reason is a plank,
that life is a loaded gun
that looks right at you with a yellow eye.

-Billy Collins

08 March 2011


As spring the winter doth succeed

May 13, 1657.
As spring the winter doth succeed,
And leaues the naked Trees doe dresse,
The earth all black is cloth'd in green;
At svn-shine each their joy expresse.
My Svns returned with healing wings.
My Soul and Body doth rejoice;
My heart exvlts, and praises sings
To him that heard my wailing Voice.
My winters past, my stormes are gone,
And former clowdes seem now all fled;
But, if they mvst eclipse again,
I'le rvn where I was succoured.
I haue a shelter from the storm,
A shadow from the fainting heat;
I haue accesse vnto his Throne,
Who is a God so wondrous great.
O hast thou made my Pilgrimage
Thvs pleasant, fair, and good;
Bless'd me in Youth and elder Age,
My Baca made a springing flood?
I studiovs am what I shall doe,
To show my Duty with delight;
All I can giue is but thine own,
And at the most a simple mite.

-Anne Bradstreet

07 March 2011


March days return with their covert light

March days return with their covert light,
and huge fish swim through the sky,
vague earthly vapours progress in secret,
things slip to silence one by one.
Through fortuity, at this crisis of errant skies,
you reunite the lives of the sea to that of fire,
grey lurchings of the ship of winter
to the form that love carved in the guitar.
O love, O rose soaked by mermaids and spume,
dancing flame that climbs the invisible stairway,
to waken the blood in insomnia’s labyrinth,
so that the waves can complete themselves in the sky,
the sea forget its cargoes and rages,
and the world fall into darkness’s nets.

-Pablo Neruda

06 March 2011


A Birthday Poem 

Just past dawn, the sun stands
with its heavy red head
in a black stanchion of trees,
waiting for someone to come
with his bucket
for the foamy white light,
and then a long day in the pasture.
I too spend my days grazing,
feasting on every green moment
till darkness calls,
and with the others
I walk away into the night,
swinging the little tin bell
of my name.

-Ted Kooser

05 March 2011


When Autumn Came

This is the way that autumn came to the trees:
it stripped them down to the skin,
left their ebony bodies naked.
It shook out their hearts, the yellow leaves,
scattered them over the ground.
Anyone could trample them out of shape
undisturbed by a single moan of protest.

The birds that herald dreams
were exiled from their song,
each voice torn out of its throat.
They dropped into the dust
even before the hunter strung his bow.

Oh, God of May have mercy.
Bless these withered bodies
with the passion of your resurrection;
make their dead veins flow with blood again.

Give some tree the gift of green again.
Let one bird sing.

-Faiz Ahmed Faiz
translated by Naomi Lazard

04 March 2011


Everybody Tells Me Everything

I find it very difficult to enthuse
Over the current news.
Just when you think that at least the outlook is so black that it can grow no blacker, it worsens,
And that is why I do not like the news, because there has never been an era when so many things were going so right for so many of the wrong persons.

-Ogden Nash

03 March 2011


The Stalin Epigram
by Osip Mandelstam
translated by W. S. Merwin

Our lives no longer feel ground under them.
At ten paces you can’t hear our words.

But whenever there’s a snatch of talk
it turns to the Kremlin mountaineer,

the ten thick worms his fingers,
his words like measures of weight,

the huge laughing cockroaches on his top lip,
the glitter of his boot-rims.

Ringed with a scum of chicken-necked bosses
he toys with the tributes of half-men.

One whistles, another meows, a third snivels.
He pokes out his finger and he alone goes boom.

He forges decrees in a line like horseshoes,
One for the groin, one the forehead, temple, eye.

He rolls the executions on his tongue like berries.
He wishes he could hug them like big friends from home.

02 March 2011


The Morning Glory Also

The morning glory also
turns out
not to be my friend.

01 March 2011



Wohin aber gehen wir
ohne sorge sei ohne sorge
wenn es dunkel und wenn es kalt wird
sei ohne sorge
mit musik
was sollen wir tun
heiter und mit musik
und denken
angesichts eines Endes
mit musik
und wohin tragen wir
am besten
unsre Fragen und den Schauer aller Jahre
in die Traumwäscherei ohne sorge sei ohne sorge
was aber geschieht
am besten
wenn Totenstille


-Ingeborg Bachmann