Sunday, June 23, 2019

Poetry Pantry #484



I hope that, wherever on the planet you are, you are enjoying flowers, whether wild or tame, in all their beauty. I especially love wildflowers. I am constantly amazed at how much beauty there is everywhere, for our enjoyment.

On Friday, Rosemary featured the thought-provoking work of Joy Harjo, recently named the first indigenous Poet Laureate of the U.S.A. I have always loved her strong voice. This was wonderful news!

On Monday, we have some exciting news to share. Rajani's poetry book is out, and we want to hear all about it. Do stop by and leave her a few words of congratulations. On Wednesday, Sumana's theme at Midweek Motif will be : Walk. Cool. 

Looks like another great week at Poets United. For now, let's top up our coffee, and dive into the Pantry. Link your poem, leave us a few words, and visit your fellow  poets in the spirit of community. I so love Sunday mornings!


Friday, June 21, 2019

Thought Provokers


Joy Harjo, as many of you will know, has just been made Poet Laureate of the USA, the first indigenous American in that role.

To be honest, I have scrambled hastily to find something of hers to share, as this is obviously an event to be celebrated. Although I vaguely knew her name, I was not familiar with her writing.

To find this amazing poem on YouTube was a gift. While I'm concerned that it may already be familiar to many of you, and I like to give you something new if I can, in this instance the poet's own recital is so powerful that I'm sure one could stand hearing (and seeing) it again and again.

I also looked at a very brief interview (so I wont bother linking it) in which she said, in connection with this poem, which was apparently one of her earliest, that poetry saved her: she had reached a point where it was crucial to find her voice. She sure found it!

Wikipedia tells us:
'Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 9, 1951, with the given name Joy Foster. Her father, Allen W. Foster, was Muscogee Creek and her mother, Wynema Baker Foster, has mixed-race ancestry of Cherokee, French, and Irish. Harjo was the oldest of four children.
When Harjo enrolled at age 19 as a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, she took her paternal grandmother's last name "Harjo" (it is a common name among Muscogee and related peoples).'
Wikipedia also goes into detail both about her early difficult life with an abusive father and then stepfather, and her brilliant adult career which began with a love of painting. That led her into tertiary education. The article then becomes a list of distinguished achievements, including: 
'Harjo has played alto saxophone with the band Poetic Justice, edited literary journals, and written screenplays. ... As a musician, Harjo has released five CDs, all of which won awards. These feature both her original music and that of other Native American artists.'  
And so on and so on. She is a woman of great and varied accomplishments.
The Guardian quotes her as saying: 
'I began writing poetry because I didn’t hear Native women’s voices in the discussions of policy, of how we were going to move forward in a way that is respectful and honors those basic human laws that are common to all people, like treating all life respectfully, honoring your ancestors, this earth.'

Her books, interviews with her, etc. are available at her official site and her books – a prolific output – are also available at Amazon. I see I have a lot of catching up to do. I can hardly wait!

Meanwhile she swears that this poem successfully gets rid of fear. Perhaps it does so again and again, with many repetitions, whenever needed? Or is it so profound that it could do it once and for all? I guess we won't know unless we genuinely give it a try. However it works must surely be good.

And that this woman is now Poet Laureate of the United States must also be very good.

Material shared in “Thought Provokers’ is presented for study and review. Poems and other writings, photos and videos remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Gardens


“A visitor to a garden sees the successes, usually. The gardener remembers mistakes and losses, some for a long time, and imagines the garden in a year, and in an unimaginable future.”
W.S. Merwin

Matilda Browne Peonies 1907.jpg
Peonies by Matilda Browne (1907)

“The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.”
Abraham Lincoln 
 
“We are exploring together. We are cultivating a garden together, backs to the sun. The question is a hoe in our hands and we are digging beneath the hard and crusty surface to the rich humus of our lives.”
Parker J. Palmer

  

Midweek Motif ~ Gardens

 "How does your garden grow?"  ~  is a line from a nursery rhyme, and it is today's challenge.  Your garden can be vegetables or flowers or herbs or mythic or futuristic or a memory.  It can be quite famous or one only you know.  Let us experience it in your new poem.
🍐🥕🍈

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And Thou shalt not. writ over the door;
So I turn'd to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore. 

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be:
And Priests in black gowns, were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars, my joys & desires.






A black cat among roses,
Phlox, lilac-misted under a first-quarter moon,
The sweet smells of heliotrope and night-scented stock.
The garden is very still,   
It is dazed with moonlight,
Contented with perfume,
Dreaming the opium dreams of its folded poppies.
Firefly lights open and vanish   
High as the tip buds of the golden glow
Low as the sweet alyssum flowers at my feet.
Moon-shimmer on leaves and trellises,
Moon-spikes shafting through the snow ball bush.   
Only the little faces of the ladies’ delight are alert and staring,
Only the cat, padding between the roses,
Shakes a branch and breaks the chequered pattern
As water is broken by the falling of a leaf.
Then you come,
And you are quiet like the garden,
And white like the alyssum flowers,   
And beautiful as the silent sparks of the fireflies.
Ah, Beloved, do you see those orange lilies?
They knew my mother,
But who belonging to me will they know
When I am gone.
By H. D.

I have had enough.
I gasp for breath.

Every way ends, every road,
every foot-path leads at last
to the hill-crest—
then you retrace your steps,
or find the same slope on the other side,
precipitate.

I have had enough—
border-pinks, clove-pinks, wax-lilies,
herbs, sweet-cress.

O for some sharp swish of a branch—
there is no scent of resin
in this place,
no taste of bark, of coarse weeds,
aromatic, astringent—
only border on border of scented pinks.

Have you seen fruit under cover
that wanted light—
pears wadded in cloth,
protected from the frost,
melons, almost ripe,
smothered in straw?

Why not let the pears cling
to the empty branch?
All your coaxing will only make
a bitter fruit—
let them cling, ripen of themselves,
test their own worth,
nipped, shriveled by the frost,
to fall at last but fair
with a russet coat.

Or the melon—
let it bleach yellow
in the winter light,
even tart to the taste—
it is better to taste of frost—
the exquisite frost—
than of wadding and of dead grass.

For this beauty,
beauty without strength,
chokes out life.
I want wind to break,
scatter these pink-stalks,
snap off their spiced heads,
fling them about with dead leaves—
spread the paths with twigs,
limbs broken off,
trail great pine branches,
hurled from some far wood
right across the melon-patch,
break pear and quince—
leave half-trees, torn, twisted
but showing the fight was valiant.

O to blot out this garden
to forget, to find a new beauty
in some terrible
wind-tortured place.

Thomas Cole The Garden of Eden detail Amon Carter Museum.jpg
The Garden of Eden by Thomas Cole 1828

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Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—
(Next week Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be ~ Walk.)