“So what’s the deal with you and poetry?” you may ask. Well it’s simple. I love it, always have, always will and I know that there are many out there who long for an opportunity to be affected by a word, an image, or a theme in a way that leads to a deeper reflection of the human experience. In ABC of Reading, Pound, ites, ” Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.”

I share simply to offer an opportunity for others to feel the electrical charge…ENJOY!

 

October 18, 2021

Between Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice, Today

By Emily Jungmin Yoon

 

I read a Korean poem

with the line “Today you are the youngest

you will ever be.” Today I am the oldest

I have been. Today we drink

buckwheat tea. Today I have heat

in my apartment. Today I think

about the word chada in Korean.

It means cold. It means to be filled with.

It means to kick. To wear. Today we’re worn.

Today you wear the cold. Your chilled skin.

My heart kicks on my skin. Someone said

winter has broken his windows. The heat inside

and the cold outside sent lightning across glass.

Today my heart wears you like curtains. Today

it fills with you. The window in my room

is full of leaves ready to fall. Chada, you say. It’s tea.

We drink. It is cold outside.

October 11, 2021

Gathering Leaves

By Robert Frost

 

Spades take up leaves

No better than spoons,

And bags full of leaves

Are light as balloons.

 

I make a great noise

Of rustling all day

Like rabbit and deer

Running away.

 

But the mountains I raise

Elude my embrace,

Flowing over my arms

And into my face.

 

I may load and unload

Again and again

Till I fill the whole shed,

And what have I then?

 

Next to nothing for weight,

And since they grew duller

From contact with earth,

Next to nothing for color.

 

Next to nothing for use,

But a crop is a crop,

And who’s to say where

The harvest shall stop?

October 4, 2021

Signs

By Larry Levis

 

All night I dreamed of my home,

of the roads that are so long

and straight they die in the middle—

among the spines of elderly weeds

on either side, among the dead cats,

the ants who are all eyes, the suitcase

thrown open, sprouting failures.

 

   2.

And this evening in the garden

I find the winter

inside a snail shell, rigid and

cool, a little stubborn temple,

its one visitor gone.

 

   3.

If there were messages or signs,

I might hear now a voice tell me

to walk forever, to ask

the mold for pardon, and one

by one I would hear out my sins,

hear they are not important—that I am

part of this rain

drumming its long fingers, and

of the roadside stone refusing

to blink, and of the coyote

nailed to the fence with its

long grin.

 

And when there are no messages

the dead lie still—

their hands crossed so strangely

like knives and forks after supper.

 

   4.

I stay up late listening.

My feet tap the floor,

they begin a tiny dance

which will outlive me.

They turn away from this poem.

It is almost Spring.

September 27, 2021

On Children

By Kahlil Gibran

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.

  And he said:

  Your children are not your children.

  They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

  They come through you but not from you,

  And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

  You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

  For they have their own thoughts.

  You may house their bodies but not their souls,

  For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your 

dreams.

  You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

  For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

  You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

  The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might 

that His arrows may go swift and far.

  Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

  For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

September 20, 2021

En la Calle San Sebastián

By Martin Espada

      En Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico 1998

Here in a bar on the street of the saint

en la calle San Sebastián,

a dancer in white with a red red scarf

en la calle San Sebastián,

calls to the gods who were freed by slaves

en la calle San Sebastián,

and his bronze face is a lantern of sweat

en la calle San Sebastián,

and hands smack congas like flies in the field

en la calle San Sebastián,

and remember the beat of packing crates

en la calle San Sebastián,

from the days when overseers banished the drum

en la calle San Sebastián,

and trumpets screech like parrots of gold

en la calle San Sebastián,

trumpets that herald the end of the war

en la calle San Sebastián,

as soldiers toss rifles on cobblestone

en la calle San Sebastián,

and the saint himself snaps an arrow in half

en la calle San Sebastián,

then lost grandfathers and fathers appear

en la calle San Sebastián,

fingers tugging my steel-wool beard

en la calle San Sebastián,

whispering your beard is gray

en la calle San Sebastián,

spilling their rum across the table

en la calle San Sebastián,

till cousins lead them away to bed

en la calle San Sebastián,

and the dancer in white with a face of bronze

en la calle San Sebastián,

shakes rain from his hair like the god of storms

en la calle San Sebastián,

and sings for the blood that drums in the chest

en la calle San Sebastián,

and praises the blood that beats in the hands

en la calle San Sebastián,

en la calle San Sebastián.

September 13, 2021

Translation for Mamá

By Richard Blanco

What I’ve written for you, I have always written

in English, my language of silent vowel endings

never translated into your language of silent h’s.

           Lo que he escrito para ti, siempre lo he escrito

           en inglés, en mi lengua llena de vocales mudas

           nunca traducidas a tu idioma de haches mudas.

I’ve transcribed all your old letters into poems

that reconcile your exile from Cuba, but always

in English. I’ve given you back the guajiro roads

you left behind, stretched them into sentences

punctuated with palms, but only in English.

           He transcrito todas tus cartas viejas en poemas

           que reconcilian tu exilio de Cuba, pero siempre

           en inglés. Te he devuelto los caminos guajiros

           que dejastes atrás, transformados en oraciones

           puntuadas por palmas, pero solamente en inglés.

I have recreated the pueblecito you had to forget,

forced your green mountains up again, grown

valleys of sugarcane, stars for you in English.

           He reconstruido el pueblecito que tuvistes que olvidar,

           he levantado de nuevo tus montañas verdes, cultivado

           la caña, las estrellas de tus valles, para ti, en inglés.

In English I have told you how I love you cutting

gladiolas, crushing ajo, setting cups of dulce de leche

on the counter to cool, or hanging up the laundry

at night under our suburban moon. In English,

           En inglés te he dicho cómo te amo cuando cortas

           gladiolas, machacas ajo, enfrías tacitas de dulce de leche

           encima del mostrador, o cuando tiendes la ropa

           de noche bajo nuestra luna en suburbia. En inglés

I have imagined you surviving by transforming

yards of taffeta into dresses you never wear,

keeping Papá’s photo hinged in your mirror,

and leaving the porch light on, all night long.

           He imaginado como sobrevives transformando

           yardas de tafetán en vestidos que nunca estrenas,

           la foto de papá que guardas en el espejo de tu cómoda,

           la luz del portal que dejas encendida, toda la noche.

           Te he captado en inglés en la mesa de la cocina

           esperando que cuele el café, que hierva la leche

           y que tu vida acostumbre a tu vida. En inglés

           has aprendido a adorer tus pérdidas igual que yo.

I have captured you in English at the kitchen table

waiting for the café to brew, the milk to froth,

and your life to adjust to your life. In English

you’ve learned to adore your losses the way I do.

September 6, 2021

Reflection 

by Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

 

Keep me fully glad with nothing.  Only take my

hand in your hand.

In the gloom of the deepening night take up my

heart and play with it as you wish. Bind me close to you 

with nothing.

I will spread myself out at your feet and lie still.

Under this clouded sky I will meet silence with silence.

I will become one with the night clasping the earth in

my breast.

Make my life glad with nothing.

The rains sweep the sky from end to end. Jasmines

in the wet untamable wind revel in their own perfume.

The cloud hidden stars thrill in secret. Let me fill to

the full my heart with nothing but my own depth of joy.

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