(poem of the day) Poetry by Marianne Moore

English: American poet and writer Marianne Moo...

English: American poet and writer Marianne Moore (1887–1972). Photograph by George Platt Lynes (1907-1955). Gelatin silver, 22.8 x 17.7 cm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Marianne Moore

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all
this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
discovers in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
they are
useful. When they become so derivative as to become
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that
feels a
flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician–
nor is it valid
to discriminate against ‘business documents and

school-books’; all these phenomena are important. One must
make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
‘literalists of
the imagination’–above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, ‘imaginary gardens with real toads in them’, shall
we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.

More Moore?

(poem of the day) ‘Kaddish’ by Allen Ginsberg


Signature of Allen Ginsberg

For Naomi Ginsberg, 1894-1956

Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on
 the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village.
downtown Manhattan, clear winter noon, and I've been up all night, talking,
 talking, reading the Kaddish aloud, listening to Ray Charles blues
 shout blind on the phonograph
the rhythm the rhythm--and your memory in my head three years after--
 And read Adonais' last triumphant stanzas aloud--wept, realizing
 how we suffer--
And how Death is that remedy all singers dream of, sing, remember,
 prophesy as in the Hebrew Anthem, or the Buddhist Book of Answers
 --and my own imagination of a withered leaf--at dawn--
Dreaming back thru life, Your time--and mine accelerating toward Apoca-
the final moment--the flower burning in the Day--and what comes after, 
looking back on the mind itself that saw an American city
a flash away, and the great dream of Me or China, or you and a phantom
 Russia, or a crumpled bed that never existed--
like a poem in the dark--escaped back to Oblivion--
No more to say, and nothing to weep for but the Beings in the Dream,
 trapped in its disappearance,
sighing, screaming with it, buying and selling pieces of phantom, worship-
 ping each other,
worshipping the God included in it all--longing or inevitability?--while it
 lasts, a Vision--anything more?
It leaps about me, as I go out and walk the street, look back over my shoulder,
 Seventh Avenue, the battlements of window office buildings shoul-
 dering each other high, under a cloud, tall as the sky an instant--and
 the sky above--an old blue place.
or down the Avenue to the south, to--as I walk toward the Lower East Side
 --where you walked 50 years ago, little girl--from Russia, eating the
 first poisonous tomatoes of America frightened on the dock 
then struggling in the crowds of Orchard Street toward what?--toward
toward candy store, first home-made sodas of the century, hand-churned ice 
 cream in backroom on musty brownfloor boards--
Toward education marriage nervous breakdown, operation, teaching school,
 and learning to be mad, in a dream--what is this life?
Toward the Key in the window--and the great Key lays its head of light
 on top of Manhattan, and over the floor, and lays down on the
 sidewalk--in a single vast beam, moving, as I walk down First toward
 the Yiddish Theater--and the place of poverty
you knew, and I know, but without caring now--Strange to have moved
 thru Paterson, and the West, and Europe and here again,
with the cries of Spaniards now in the doorstops doors and dark boys on
 the street, fire escapes old as you
--Tho you're not old now, that's left here with me--
Myself, anyhow, maybe as old as the universe--and I guess that dies with
 us--enough to cancel all that comes--What came is gone forever
 every time--
That's good! That leaves it open for no regret--no fear radiators, lacklove,
 torture even toothache in the end--
Though while it comes it is a lion that eats the soul--and the lamb, the soul,
 in us, alas, offering itself in sacrifice to change's fierce hunger--hair 
 and teeth--and the roar of bonepain, skull bare, break rib, rot-skin,
 braintricked Implacability.
Ai! ai! we do worse! We are in a fix! And you're out, Death let you out,
 Death had the Mercy, you're done with your century, done with 
 God, done with the path thru it--Done with yourself at last--Pure
 --Back to the Babe dark before your Father, before us all--before the
There, rest. No more suffering for you. I know where you've gone, it's good.
No more flowers in the summer fields of New York, no joy now, no more 
 fear of Louis,
and no more of his sweetness and glasses, his high school decades, debts,
 loves, frightened telephone calls, conception beds, relatives, hands--
No more of sister Elanor,--she gone before you--we kept it secret you
 killed her--or she killed herself to bear with you--an arthritic heart
 --But Death's killed you both--No matter--
Nor your memory of your mother, 1915 tears in silent movies weeks and
 weeks--forgetting, agrieve watching Marie Dressler address human-
 ity, Chaplin dance in youth,
or Boris Godunov, Chaliapin's at the Met, halling his voice of a weeping Czar
 --by standing room with Elanor & Max--watching also the Capital 
 ists take seats in Orchestra, white furs, diamonds,
with the YPSL's hitch-hiking thru Pennsylvania, in black baggy gym skirts
 pants, photograph of 4 girls holding each other round the waste, and
 laughing eye, too coy, virginal solitude of 1920
all girls grown old, or dead now, and that long hair in the grave--lucky to
 have husbands later--
You made it--I came too--Eugene my brother before (still grieving now and
 will gream on to his last stiff hand, as he goes thru his cancer--or kill
 --later perhaps--soon he will think--)
And it's the last moment I remember, which I see them all, thru myself, now
 --tho not you
I didn't foresee what you felt--what more hideous gape of bad mouth came 
 first--to you--and were you prepared?
To go where? In that Dark--that--in that God? a radiance? A Lord in the 
 Void? Like an eye in the black cloud in a dream? Adonoi at last, with
Beyond my remembrance! Incapable to guess! Not merely the yellow skull
 in the grave, or a box of worm dust, and a stained ribbon--Deaths-
 head with Halo? can you believe it?
Is it only the sun that shines once for the mind, only the flash of existence,
 than none ever was?
Nothing beyond what we have--what you had--that so pitiful--yet Tri-
to have been here, and changed, like a tree, broken, or flower--fed to the 
 ground--but made, with its petals, colored, thinking Great Universe, 
 shaken, cut in the head, leaf stript, hid in an egg crate hospital, cloth
 wrapped, sore--freaked in the moon brain, Naughtless.
No flower like that flower, which knew itself in the garden, and fought the
Cut down by an idiot Snowman's icy--even in the Spring--strange ghost 
 thought some--Death--Sharp icicle in his hand--crowned with old
 roses--a dog for his eyes--cock of a sweatshop--heart of electric
All the accumulations of life, that wear us out--clocks, bodies, consciousness,
 shoes, breasts--begotten sons--your Communism--'Paranoia' into
You once kicked Elanor in the leg, she died of heart failure later. You of 
 stroke. Asleep? within a year, the two of you, sisters in death. Is
 Elanor happy?
Max grieves alive in an office on Lower Broadway, lone large mustache over
 midnight Accountings, not sure. His life passes--as he sees--and
 what does he doubt now? Still dream of making money, or that might 
 have made money, hired nurse, had children, found even your Im-
 mortality, Naomi?
I'll see him soon. Now I've got to cut through to talk to you as I didn't
 when you had a mouth.
Forever. And we're bound for that, Forever like Emily Dickinson's horses
 --headed to the End.
They know the way--These Steeds--run faster than we think--it's our own
 life they cross--and take with them.
Magnificent, mourned no more, marred of heart, mind behind, mar-
ried dreamed, mortal changed--Ass and face done with murder.
 In the world, given, flower maddened, made no Utopia, shut under
pine, almed in Earth, blamed in Lone, Jehovah, accept.
 Nameless, One Faced, Forever beyond me, beginningless, endless,
Father in death. Tho I am not there for this Prophecy, I am unmarried, I'm
hymnless, I'm Heavenless, headless in blisshood I would still adore
 Thee, Heaven, after Death, only One blessed in Nothingness, not
light or darkness, Dayless Eternity--
 Take this, this Psalm, from me, burst from my hand in a day, some
of my Time, now given to Nothing--to praise Thee--But Death
 This is the end, the redemption from Wilderness, way for the Won-
derer, House sought for All, black handkerchief washed clean by weeping
--page beyond Psalm--Last change of mine and Naomi--to God's perfect
Darkness--Death, stay thy phantoms!
 Over and over--refrain--of the Hospitals--still haven't written your
history--leave it abstract--a few images
 run thru the mind--like the saxophone chorus of houses and years--
remembrance of electrical shocks.
 By long nites as a child in Paterson apartment, watching over your
nervousness--you were fat--your next move--
 By that afternoon I stayed home from school to take care of you--
once and for all--when I vowed forever that once man disagreed with my
opinion of the cosmos, I was lost--
 By my later burden--vow to illuminate mankind--this is release of
particulars--(mad as you)--(sanity a trick of agreement)--
 But you stared out the window on the Broadway Church corner, and
spied a mystical assassin from Newark,
 So phoned the Doctor--'OK go way for a rest'--so I put on my coat
and walked you downstreet--On the way a grammarschool boy screamed,
unaccountably--'Where you goin Lady to Death'? I shuddered--
 and you covered your nose with motheaten fur collar, gas mask
against poison sneaked into downtown atmosphere, sprayed by Grandma--
 And was the driver of the cheesebox Public Service bus a member of 
the gang? You shuddered at his face, I could hardly get you on--to New
York, very Times Square, to grab another Greyhound--

source: Kaddish

(poem of the day) ‘The Pretense of Cool’ by Hima Raza

The Pretence of Cool

Hima Raza

imperial designs (plus)
colonial practice (equals)
a new ‘civilizing mission’
(encased in) sanctimonious shades
of red, white and blue,
converting ‘rogue’ nations
to ‘frontline states’ –
we live the power games
of faraway masters.

in a black hole
where blood is cheap
and lies come true,
virtue is a pie in the sky.

it’s a good thing I’m used to this;
the process of shutting things out
as they fall apart,
the pretence of cool
in a dry, hot season,
the taste of redemption
in a t.v. screen

if God had a voice

what would it say?

A jet of particles is being emitted from the c...

A jet of particles is being emitted from the core of the elliptical radio galaxy M87. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(poem of the day) ‘Piano Practice’ by Rainer Maria Rilke

Photo of Rainer Maria Rilke

Photo of Rainer Maria Rilke (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Piano Practice

Rainer Maria Rilke

The summer hums. The afternoon fatigues;
she breathed her crisp white dress distractedly
and put into it that sharply etched etude
her impatience for a reality

that could come: tomorrow, this evening–,
that perhaps was there, was just kept hidden;
and at the window, tall and having everything,
she suddenly could feel the pampered park.

With that she broke off; gazed outside, locked
her hands together; wished for a long book–
and in a burst of anger shoved back
the jasmine scent. She found it sickened her.
Translated by Edward Snow
Rainer Maria Rilke


Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke

Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

(poem of the day) ‘Tornado Child’ by Kwame Dawes

Tornado Child

Kwame Dawes

For Rosalie Richardson

I am a tornado child.
         I come like a swirl of black and darken up your day;
         I whip it all into my womb, lift you and your things,
         carry you to where you’ve never been, and maybe,
         if I feel good, I might bring you back, all warm and scared,
         heart humming wild like a bird after early sudden flight.
I am a tornado child.
         I tremble at the elements. When thunder rolls my womb
         trembles, remembering the tweak of contractions
         that tightened to a wail when my mother pushed me out
         into the black of a tornado night.
I am a tornado child,
         you can tell us from far, by the crazy of our hair;
         couldn’t tame it if we tried. Even now I tie a bandanna
         to silence the din of anarchy in these coir-thick plaits.
I am a tornado child
         born in the whirl of clouds; the center crumbled,
         then I came. My lovers know the blast of my chaotic giving;
         they tremble at the whip of my supple thighs;
         you cross me at your peril, I swallow light
         when the warm of anger lashes me into a spin,
         the pine trees bend to me swept in my gyrations.
I am a tornado child.
         When the spirit takes my head, I hurtle into the vacuum
         of white sheets billowing and paint a swirl of color,
         streaked with my many songs.

“Tornado Child” by Kwame Dawes, from Midland (Ohio University Press). Copyright © 2001 by Kwame Dawes.

source: Poetry Foundation

(poem of the day) ‘Turtle’ by Kay Ryan


Kay Ryan

Who would be a turtle who could help it?
A barely mobile hard roll, a four-oared helmet,
she can ill afford the chances she must take
in rowing toward the grasses that she eats.
Her track is graceless, like dragging
a packing-case places, and almost any slope
defeats her modest hopes. Even being practical,
she’s often stuck up to the axle on her way
to something edible. With everything optimal,
she skirts the ditch which would convert
her shell into a serving dish. She lives
below luck-level, never imagining some lottery
will change her load of pottery to wings.
Her only levity is patience,
the sport of truly chastened things.

“Turtle” from Flamingo Watching © 1994 by Kay Ryan. Used by permission of Copper Beech Press.

"Chelonia" (Testudines) from Ernst H...

“Chelonia” (Testudines) from Ernst Haeckel’s Kunstformen der Natur, 1904. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)