Remember/ When you speak of our failings/ The dark time too/ Which you have escaped.
literature meme • 2/9 poems • belsazar (belshazzar) by heinrich heineHis face is flushed, his cheeks aglow,
The wine it makes his courage grow.
He boasts and blasphemes against the Lord,
To the roaring cheers of his servile horde.
And the King he seizes with hand of sin
A sacred vessel filled to the brim.
And he drains it hastily, drains it dry,
And with foaming mouth they hear him cry:
'Jehovah, your power is past and gone —
I am the King of Babylon.’
Before the sun could rise again,
Belshazzar by his men was slain.
alive and shall be: cities may overflow (am
was) assassinating whole grassblades, five
ideas can swallow a man;three words im
-prison a woman for all her now: but we’ve
such freedom such intense digestion so
much greenness only dying makes us grow.
literature meme | 5/5 poets | Langston Hughes
In Hughes’s own words, his poetry is about “workers, roustabouts, and singers, and job hunters on Lenox Avenue in New York, or Seventh Street in Washington or South State in Chicago—people up today and down tomorrow, working this week and fired the next, beaten and baffled, but determined not to be wholly beaten, buying furniture on the installment plan, filling the house with roomers to help pay the rent, hoping to get a new suit for Easter—and pawning that suit before the Fourth of July.”
Although Hughes had trouble with both black and white critics, he was the first black American to earn his living solely from his writing and public lectures. Part of the reason he was able to do this was the phenomenal acceptance and love he received from average black people. A reviewer for Black World noted in 1970: “Those whose prerogative it is to determine the rank of writers have never rated him highly, but if the weight of public response is any gauge then Langston Hughes stands at the apex of literary relevance among Black people. The poet occupies such a position in the memory of his people precisely because he recognized that ‘we possess within ourselves a great reservoir of physical and spiritual strength,’ and because he used his artistry to reflect this back to the people. He used his poetry and prose to illustrate that ‘there is no lack within the Negro people of beauty, strength and power,’ and he chose to do so on their own level, on their own terms.” (via the poetry foundation)
All the difficult hours and minutes
are like salted plums in a jar.
Wrinkled, turn steeply into themselves,
they mutter something the color of sharkfins to the glass.
Just so, calamity turns toward calmness.
First the jar holds the umeboshi, then the rice does.
literature meme | 8/8 poetry and verse | My Life by Lyn Hejinian
From here each day seems like a little boat and all the days are swept and tilted back and forth across an immense and distant bay of blue, gray, green. We were like plump birds along the shore, caught by the mortal breaks. Dimension, longevity, color, and pleasure.
You were a dialect I was once so fluent in.
You were the first word that I ever wanted to write.
A hundred years from now, someone will find us.
You, sitting like a stone on my chest;
my bones broken in half to make way for the weight
of all that you’ve left behind.
literature meme | 6/8 poetry and verse
Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat translated by Edward Fitzgerald
Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same door where in I went.
With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow;
And this was all the Harvest that I reap’d —
"I came like Water, and like Wind I go".
Into this Universe, and Why not knowing
Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing;
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing.
No feeding on wisteria. No pitch-burner traipsing
In the nettled woods. No milk in metal cylinders, no
Buttering. No making small contusions on the page
But saying nothing no one has not said before.
No milkweed blown across your pony-coat, no burrs.
No scent of juniper on your Jacobean mouth. No crush
Of ink or injury, no lacerating wish.
Extinguish me from this.
I was sixteen for twenty years. By September I will be a ghost
And flickering in unison with all the other fireflies in Appalachia,
Blinking in the swarm of it, and all at once, above
And on a bare branch in a shepherd’s sky. No Dove.
There is no thou to speak of.
literature meme | 3/5 poets | Emily Dickinson
During the period of the 1850 religious revival in Amherst, Dickinson assessed the circumstances to a friend. Far from using the language of “renewal” associated with revivalist vocabulary, she described a landscape of desolation darkened by an affliction of the spirit.
She wrote, “How lonely this world is growing, something so desolate creeps over the spirit and we don’t know it’s name, and it won’t go away, either Heaven is seeming greater, or Earth a great deal more small, or God is more “Our Father,” and we feel our need increased. Christ is calling everyone here, all my companions have answered, even my darling Vinnie believes she loves, and trusts him, and I am standing alone in rebellion, and growing very careless. Abby, Mary, Jane, and farthest of all my Vinnie have been seeking, and they all believe they have found; I can’t tell you what they have found, but they think it is something precious. I wonder if it is?”
Dickinson’s question frames the decade. Within those ten years she defined what was incontrovertibly precious to her. Not religion, but poetry; not the vehicle reduced to its tenor, but the process of making metaphor and watching the meaning emerge. (via the poetry foundation)