In Honour of Northrop Frye’s 100th birthday, Blake’s The Smile

The Smile

William Blake

There is a smile of love,
And there is a smile of deceit,
And there is a smile of smiles
In which these two smiles meet;
And there is a frown of hate,
And there is a frown of disdain,
And there is a frown of frowns
Which you strive to forget in vain,
For it sticks in the heart’s deep core,
And it sticks in the deep back bone,
And no smile that ever was smil’d,
But only one smile alone
That betwixt the cradle and grave
It only once smil’d can be,
But when it once is smil’d,
There’s an end to all misery.


(poem of the day) ‘STRAY BULLETS (OKA RE/VISION)’ by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm

*nb: the current plight/fight of the Musqueam in Vancouver, BC, reminds me of this writer and Oka

my touch is a history book
full of lies and half-forgotten truths
written by others
who hold the pens
and power

my heart is a stray bullet
ricocheting in an empty room

my head was sold
for the first shiny trinket

my beliefs were bought cheap
like magic potions at a travelling road show
with promises
everyone wants to believe
but only a fool invests in

my name was stolen
by bandits in black robes
my world was taken
for a putting green

on twitter, follow the breaking news of this historic event #Musqueam @cusnaum

(poem of the day) ‘Planet Earth’ by P.K. Page

Planet Earth 

It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet,
has to be ironed, the sea in its whiteness;
and the hands keep on moving,
smoothing the holy surfaces.
In Praise of Ironing by Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda (Photo credit: o admirador secreto)

The trees must be washed, and the grasses and mosses.  It has to be loved the way a laundress loves her linens,
the way she moves her hands caressing the fine muslins
knowing their warp and woof,
like a lover coaxing, or a mother praising.
It has to be loved as if it were embroidered
with flowers and birds and two joined hearts upon it.
It has to be stretched and stroked.
It has to be celebrated.
O this great beloved world and all the creatures in it.
It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet. 

They have to be polished as if made of green brass.
The rivers and little streams with their hidden cresses
and pale-coloured pebbles
and their fool’s gold
must be washed and starched or shined into brightness,
the sheets of lake water
smoothed with the hand
and the foam of the oceans pressed into neatness.
 It has to be ironed, the sea in its whiteness.

and pleated and goffered, the flower-blue sea
the protean, wine-dark, grey, green, sea
with its metres of satin and bolts of brocade.
And sky – such an 0! overhead – night and day
must be burnished and rubbed
by hands that are loving
so the blue blazons forth
and the stars keep on shining
within and above
and the hands keep on moving.

It has to be made bright, the skin of this planet
till it shines in the sun like gold leaf.
Archangels then will attend to its metals
and polish the rods of its rain.
Seraphim will stop singing hosannas
to shower it with blessings and blisses and praises
and, newly in love,
we must draw it and paint it
our pencils and brushes and loving caresses
smoothing the holy surfaces.

© 1994 P.K. Page

(poem of the day) George Elliott Clarke, ‘Africadian Petition (1783)’

Africadian Petition (1783)


    The Snows is iron set in.
The times act not as it Were.
Snared in snapfrost Nofaskosha:
We’s Dis Gusted by govvermint,
    We be hauling Hardships long as pines—

George Elliott Clarke

George Elliott Clarke (Photo credit: pesbo)

All White whips which you Putting
to us here Since we be breathing
And Luvving. Goddam lashings harp
our Crimsoning hirt.
    Your Onnour verry well knose
wheather Ragerlations shell change,
shift, for our Sattersfaction.
You forgit us, so we be Nothing—
Like rain, Sobbing over water.
    Is there any Nourishmen,
such as Oat meal Molassis
or Shuggar,
a Littl Wine and Speerits
to Heet our Harts?
    Is there Sum Sope
to scour up
your Cownsil’s muddying Lyes?

“Africadian Petition (1783)” by George Elliot Clarke, from Blue, copyright © 2001 by George Elliot Clarke. Reprinted with the permission of Polestar. Polestar is an imprint of Raincoast Books,

Source: Blue (Rain Coast Books, 2001)