"Brain, shake out thy water, dog-like." -- Ron Padgett

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sweet Like a Crow by Michael Ondaatje

Sweet Like a Crow
Michael Ondaatje

for Hetti Corea, 8 years old
The Sinhalese are beyond a doubt one of the least musical people in the world.
It would be quite impossible to have less sense of pitch, line or rhythm.
- Paul Bowles

Your voice sounds like a scorpion being pushed
through a glass tube
like someone has just trod on a peacock
like wind howling in a coconut
like a rusty bible, like someone pulling barbed wire
across a stone courtyard, like a pig drowning,
a vattacka being fried
a bone shaking hands
a frog singing at Carnegie Hall.
Like a crow swimming in milk,
like a nose being hit by a mango
like the crowd at the Royal-Thomian match,
a womb full of twins, a pariah dog
with a magpie in its mouth
like the midnight jet from Casablanca
like Air Pakistan curry,
a typewriter on fire, like a hundred
pappadans being crunched, like someone
trying to light matches in a dark room,
the clicking sound of a reef when you put your head into the sea,
a dolphin reciting epic poetry to a sleepy audience,
the sound of a fan when someone throws brinjals at it,
like pineapples being sliced in the Pettah market
like betel juice hitting a butterfly in mid-air
like a whole village running naked onto the street
and tearing their sarongs, like an angry family
pushing a jeep out of the mud, like dirt on the needle,
like 8 sharks being carried on the back of a bicycle
like 3 old ladies locked in the lavatory
like the sound I heard when having an afternoon sleep
and someone walked through my room in ankle bracelets.

What can poems do? David W. McFadden: In Honour of the Woody Guthrie Memorial

Two Poems by David W. McFadden
A discussion of these poems plus two others can be found at my blog at serif of nottingblog.


Jan 20/68

At this moment in Viet Nam
as I write this the clear moon I imagine
shines down on one peaceful scene.
It’s night and the village sleeps.
Everything is quiet as the universe.
The moonlight lies everywhere
illuminating chance corners.

There was about to be an attack
but I’ve deflected it with this poem.


A woman is reading a book called Love’s Golden Splendor
on the bus heading down to Pape station
and I look out the window and see a young man
pushing an old lady in a wheelchair, quickly,
for it is about to start raining.
Later, on the subway, there’s another woman
reading Love’s Golden Splendor, and a young
African woman, fashionably dressed, sits by herself
unself-consciously singing Billie Holiday songs.

My verses are subtle yet unschooled, amateur but never
didactic. The twentieth century means nothing to me.
This could be ninth-century China for all I care.
Everything is a myth. I’ve wound up all my affairs
and am about to put all my possessions in a boat
and push it out in the bay and sink it. We have never
taken a step out of eternity. I think it’s time
for you to come with me. Let’s just go
and let’s not know or even care where we’re going.

Stone By Charles Simic

By Charles Simic

Go inside a stone
That would be my way.
Let somebody else become a dove
Or gnash with a tiger’s tooth.
I am happy to be a stone.

From the outside the stone is a riddle:
No one knows how to answer it.
Yet within, it must be cool and quiet
Even though a cow steps on it full weight,
Even though a child throws it in a river;
The stone sinks, slow, unperturbed
To the river bottom
Where the fishes come to knock on it
And listen.

I have seen sparks fly out
When two stones are rubbed,
So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;
Perhaps there is a moon shining
From somewhere, as though behind a hill—
Just enough light to make out
The strange writings, the star-charts
On the inner walls.


Go inside ___________
That would be my way.

Let someone else become a _________
I'm happy to be a ___________

From the outside _________
Yet within_____________


"What You Should Know to Be a Poet" by Gary Snyder

What You Should Know to Be a Poet 
by Gary Snyder

all you can know about animals as persons.
the names of trees and flowers and weeds.
the names of stars and the movements of planets
and the moon.
your own six senses, with a watchful elegant mind.
at least one kind of traditional magic:
dicvination, astrology, the book of changes, the tarot;

the illusory demons and the illusory shining gods.
kiss the ass of the devil and eat shit;
fuck his horny barbed cock,
fuck the hag,
and all the celestial angels
and maidens perfum’d and golden –

& then love the human: wives husbands and friends
children’s games, comic books, bubble-gum,
the weirdness of television and advertising.

work long, dry hours of dull work swallowed and accepted
and lived with and finally lovd. exhaustion,
hunger, rest.

the wild freedom of the dance, extasy
silent solitary illumination, entasy

real danger. gambles and the edge of death.

Good places online

Great discussions of individual poems by Hamilton professor.

The Poetry Foundation. Huge and fantastic site of poetry, poetics, and essays about poetry.

Jacket2. Journal of discussions of poetry, poetics, with rich media content.

LemonHound. Canadian journal: poetry, fiction, poetics, discussion.

What use is poetry? Meena Alexander's beautifully expressed essay about the reason for poetry.

A Shakespeare Sonnet: 14 times the same line

Fourteen times the same line: A Shakespeare Sonnet

Ekphrastic Poetry

N+7 Poetry Generator

An online tool for N+7 translation

Tom Raworth writes a poem from trigger words of Department of National Security New Tom Raworth Poem Makes New of NOC Search Terms : Harriet Staff : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

List of NSA search words. (see p.20 and following for the list)

The Phrontistery: a resource for specialized and obscure words