poem of the day: Shanty-Town Beauty by Freedom Nyamubaya

Shanty-Town Beauty

Freedom Nyamubaya

She stood at the doorstep
She must have been five years
or less
Her beseeching eyes gazed
from left to right

The kwashiokored tummy bulged
Out of the torn dress
With marks that looked like the map of Africa
I realised it was not tattoo
But an accumulation of dust
Run though by sweat

Pretty more than famous Cleopatra
All things being equal
The girl would pass for Miss Africa
As it is
Just another woman nature produced
But forgot to breast-feed.

Zimbabwe 55 02042011

Zimbabwe (Photo credit: Dave Mulder)

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poem of the day: An African Elegy by Ben Okri

An African Elegy

Ben Okri

We are the miracles that God made
To taste the bitter fruit of Time.
We are precious.
And one day our suffering
Will turn into the wonders of the earth.

There are things that burn me now
Which turn golden when I am happy.
Do you see the mystery of our pain?
That we bear the poverty
And are able to sing and dream sweet things.

And that we never curse the air when it is warm
Or the fruit when it tastes so good
Or the lights that bounce gently on the waters?
We bless the things even in our pain.
We bless them in silence.

That is why our music is so sweet.
It makes the air remember.
There are secret miracles at work
That only Time will bring forth.
I too have heard the dead singing.

And they tell me that
This life is good
They tell me to live it gently
With fire, and always with hope.
There is wonder here

And there is surprise
In everything the unseen moves.
The ocean is full of songs.
The sky is not an enemy.
Destiny is our friend.

poem of the day: He marked the page with a match by Vera Pavlova

He marked the page with a match 

Vera Pavlova (link)

He marked the page with a match
and fell asleep in mid-kiss,
while I, a queen bee
in a disturbed hive, stay up and buzz:
half a kingdom for a honey drop,
half a lifetime for a tender word!
His face, half turned.
Half past midnight. Half past one.

poem of the day: Hearing your words, and not a word among them by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Hearing your words, and not a word among them

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Hearing your words, and not a word among them
Tuned to my liking, on a salty day
When inland woods were pushed by winds that flung them
Hissing to leeward like a ton of spray,
I thought how off Matinicus the tide
Came pounding in, came running through the Gut,
While from the Rock the warning whistle cried,
And children whimpered, and the doors blew shut;
There in the autumn when the men go forth,
With slapping skirts the island women stand
In gardens stripped and scattered, peering north,
With dahlia tubers dripping from the hand:
The wind of their endurance, driving south,
Flattened your words against your speaking mouth.
Edna St. Vincent Millay's writng cabin, outside

Edna St. Vincent Millay’s writng cabin, outside (Photo credit: Jason Grote)

Matinicus Harbor

(poem[s] of the day) Stravinsky in LA by Elizabeth Alexander, plus her Inauguration poem and Rush Limbaugh’s rant

Stravinsky in LA

Elizabeth Alexander

In white pleated trousers, peering through green
sunshades, looking for the way the sun is red
noise, how locusts hiss to replicate the sun.
What is the visual equivalent
of syncopation?  Rows of seared palms wrinkle
in the heat waves through green glass.  Sprinklers
tick, tick, tick.  The Watts Towers aim to split
the sky into chroma, spires tiled with rubble
nothing less than aspiration.  I’ve left
minarets for sun and syncopation,
sixty-seven shades of green which I have
counted, beginning:  palm leaves, front and back,
luncheon pickle, bottle glass, etcetera.
One day I will comprehend the different
grades of red. On that day I will comprehend
these people, rhythms, jazz, Simon Rodia,
Watts, Los Angeles, aspiration.
Rush Limbaugh demonstrates his tendency to miss the point: