labellementeuse: a picture of Daniel, Teal'c, and Sam in approved show-choir position as if they were singing. (sg1 SG-1 singing!)
Something for the last week of poetry month: "The Most Beautiful Love Poem of All Time" by Hera Lindsay Bird is really something. She also has a name of which I am truly envious. (Hera Bird. Come on.) I must disclaim at this juncture that Hera is a v good friend of my flattie and I've met her a few times and like her a lot but this poem is really fucking great anyway. You might also like "The Memory of Light".

Also, I got a meme from [personal profile] aworldinside which went something like:

1. Comment here to get a letter from me.
2. Post at least 5 songs beginning with that letter.
3. Give other people letters! It's the circle of music memes.

She gave me S and, uh, I picked 21 songs:

sort of themed )

Zip of the lot here.

Now I'm going to go back to my horrendous google spiral trying to figure out how good Jonathan Toews' French is. Since my French is a) actually French, lolQuebec and b) no longer good enough to do anything except occasionally read a news article, I have to rely on youtube comments and horrifying message boards. (Why do I want to know this? I don't know. I don't understand enough French to get anything interesting out of his French interviews, frankly Quebecois just sounds weird ... whatever. Amusingly enough reports range from "He speaks very good if not perfect Quebecois" to "he's okay but he has a weird accent" to "actually I think he has a French accent when he speaks English" [I think he's just super Canadian FWIW]. Why does this entertain me to know? IDEK.)
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (let me define seven wishes)
101 sonnets
101 Sonnets from Shakespeare to Heaney,
a Faber Penguin audio tape

"A sonnet is a box of dreams" ~ Don Patterson


A hundred winding dusty miles, and all the while
these sonnets, each burnished where an elbow meets
the desk; each fourteen lines a box of dreams
within whose walls lies pressed, like yellowed lace,
the hand-worked filigree of words. You can't beat
an old song for tough roots, for plunging into wells
of sorrow, for countermelodies of regret,
for adding salt or sugar to the pulse
and to the tongue. Each sonnet, when its lid is sprung,
releases dreams into the air — shakes off sleep
and waking, flings away the sheets. these words on wings,
a hundred winding miles they sing, and leap
and spangle through the car like motes. Each fourteen lines
from dust to dust unravels, strings the world in rhyme.

-- Sue Wootton

This poem is from Sue Wootton's Magnetic South, which I haven't read much but we have it in the classroom here and I was browsing around. (It looks good, by the way. Steele Roberts, 2008). I admit, I first hit on the poem because 101 Sonnets from Shakespeare to Heaney is also in our classroom, and we've been asked to select a poem from it (or from elsewhere) to speak aloud, from memory, to the class. We talked briefly about how meter and scansion affect readbility and memorisation, how the sonnet is supposedly the perfect size to express a thought, etc. I like this one very much, having read it. I like the internal rhyme (always a favourite of mine) and I like how it doesn't succumb to sonnet rhyming until the couplet. I think it expresses quite nicely the pleasure of returning to a familiar poem, the extra depth and meaning I bring to a poem when I return to it after some time, not to mention the resonance of a poem that has stayed with us for some time.

Tuesday is poem day: Tuesday Poem
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (let me define seven wishes)
1. I've just hit 51 new books read this year (re-reads were not counted, but included a re-read of the Tiggie Tompson series, several of the YW books, and Monstrous Regiment, by Terry PRatchett.) I'd like to thank Octavia Butler (three books), the Mitford sisters (four books between them, and another one in progress), and particularly Lois McMaster Bujold with a strong ten-book showing. These are fine writers that I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone (although I would tailor them. Perhaps I should say that, from these three authors, I could find a book to recommend to anyone.)

2. I went to see Regina Spektor last night SO GOOD SO GOOD SO GOOD. *bounces around thrilledly* Oh, she was just FANTASTIC. And she played "Folding Chair" and "That Time". asdfghj yes.

3. Tuesday is poem day!

unpoetical bathroom material

they always say things like that the snow is a white blanket after a winter storm
Oh it is, is it, alright then, you sleep under a six-inch blanket of snow and I’ll sleep under a half-inch blanket of unpoetical blanket material and we’ll see which one keeps warm

-- Ogden Nash, “Almost Like a Whale”

Friends ask
what I’m reading.
By the bed is Go, dog. Go.

-- Jenny Bornholdt, “Being a Poet”



At 9pm on a Monday night
I am thinking about the poem I want to write tomorrow
And cleaning the bathroom. Which, after all,
has to be done. Had to be done
two weeks ago, in fact, and now absolutely MUST be done
RIGHT
NOW,
while my flatmates watch housewives, or footballers’ wives, or surgeons, or whoever, behaving desperately downstairs,
and hopefully don’t notice
soapscum sediment
sludging down the drain.


Alright, very silly! Have something rather good instead.

Being a Poet

Yesterday I bought
a blender — blue — from
Briscoes, just like
Marion’s. Today
we’re dealing with the big
issues, like: How the World
Began
and
Can We Have Fruit Loops
For Breakfast?

Friends ask
what I’m reading.
By the bed is Go, dog. Go.
We looked at it this morning
just before our fight
over the nature of
Weetbix. But it’s soggy
every morning,
I hear myself say
that’s just what Weetbix does
that’s just its way.


- Jenny Bornholdt

Jenny Bornholdt is a New Zealand poet who, by the way, I cannot recommend often enough. Do give her a shot.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (let me define seven wishes)
So I wasn't feeling it yesterday poemwise and today I still don't have personal inspiration. Here's an Anne French poem herself, or actually (since it's a very long poem) part of a poem. This is from her book Wild, and I often - being a Wellingtonian - find myself thinking of her last couplet as I walk.

I: In Petts Wood (from Seeking the wild)

Woodhurst Avenue, Nightingale Road,
Lakewood Road, Haslemere, Birchwood,
Woodland Way, Greencourt, Westholm,
Riverwood, Pine Road, Wood Ride-
as though you all lived in the forest still,
not in this sylvan grove of tiled semis,
as though Petts Wood were in a clearing
and Grendel could storm in at ay time,
as though Sir Gawain rides still:

Into a forest ful depe, that ferly was wilde,
High hilles on uche a half, and holtwoods under,
Of hore okes ful huge a hundred togeder;
The hasel and the haghthorne were harled al samen
With rugh ragged mosse railed aywhere


And so I go by way of Crestview, Tent Peg Lane,
and Thornet Wood, across three bridges
and seven sets of tracks, across Great Thrift
to the top of Petts Wood and St Paul's Cray
Common, across the A208 and into Park Wood
in seach of wildness and the ancient forest.

But find dozens of dogs walking their people;
and a Cornishman with curly hair and a lurcher,
wearing moleskin trousers, mending a fence,
who recommends tyhat I try Cornwall or Wales -
and a flock of sheep grazing
in a field on Hawkwood Estate where no one
may set foot; and a sequence of molehills;
with London a distant haze, and all the houses
and roads and railway lines dropped out of sight,
with wooded hills as far as the eye can see
through the thickening morning air.

O, let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet!


But the people out walking avert their gaze
and stare sightlessly to one side or the other
like polar bears in the zoo on hot Saturdays,
rocking from side to side, longing for
impossible ice, and white-green distance,
trying to make the crowds disappear
in the sun's dazzle, and their cries and chatter
turn into seals barking and the creaking of ice.

I am a foreigner here in my father's country.
I know the true meaning of wind, mountain, wild.

-- Anne French
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
When you see this, post the names of 10 women poets off the top of your head. Good times!

1. Jenny Bornholdt
2. Eileen Duggan
3. Elizabeth Barrett Browning
4. Anne French
5. Roma Potiki
6. Margaret Atwood
7. Fiona Farrell
8. Lauris Edmond
9. Kate Camp
10. Bub Bridger

8/10 new zealand content.

People I love that I forgot about writing these:
Adrienne Rich (!); Carol Ann Duffy (Only I didn't forget about her, I had "Carol Someone" on the list until I thought of Bub Bridger); Edna St Vincent Millay; Sonya Sones; Emily motherfucking Dickinson; and astoundingly, Cilla McQueen, whose poem Crikey was the first poem I ever posted to this livejournal. I'm bemused that I could ever have forgotten her.

I think this meme is more fun when accompanied by actual poetry.

Love Poem

Everything will happen. Your friend
will go to Paris, my uncle give up
at last his dreams of wild horses
flying over the hills of his boyhood
farm; that quaking marriage will break.

We do not speak of ourselves, but as
we walk down the stairs sno falls,
coming to lay soft stars on the dark
tweed of our hearts. We brush away for
each other the little messages of death.

In the street there are two young men
exuberantly quarrelling; we pass slowly,
close together and carefully keeping
in step. It is as though we have
something very light and fragile to carry.

-- Lauris Edmond

You can see other poetry I enjoy at my poetry tag.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (bestfriends4evah!1!!)
April is poetry month. A word or two about poetry month: I tend to post New Zealand poets. This is not because I inherently think I should, or anything, but because the poets I read fall into two categories: very famous American and occasionally British poets; and New Zealand poets. I feel like the idea of poetry month is not "Let's post "The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock" and "Dream Deferred" and "Funeral Blues" and "A Rose is a Rose" continue series for 30 days", you know? So I post NZ poets. If you can afford to pay money to support these people, you should.

This guy is dead, though. This is a poem by James K. Baxter, who you can read about on Wikipedia. I was given a first edition of Pig Island Letters for my birthday last year and I've been attempting to digest it slowly. There are several poems in it I really like. Here's one.

A Wish For Berries

TODAY the waves of bright lead
lift rubbsh, driftwood, in eah
high bending wall: a good day
for gulls or dogs. The worn touch
of air and sun unkindly
like a dull whore tames the blood

offering only sleep. Yes . . .
I think of a friend who took
poison lately. Being dead,
he has gone into the dark
sheaf of truth and shares a word
with me just as my eyes close--

'Pity all things'--Do the tough
kids need pity who wrestle
under the bathing shed wall?
or the girls whose broad muscles
slide in bermuda shorts, all
intent on a thunder-proof

world of knowledge? I cannot
pity what is; but look up
at the karaka tree whose
thick wide leaves contain such ripe
yellow berries, their clusters
would take a fortnight to eat.

- James K Baxter

Note: karaka berries are poisonous. (Actually, technically not the berry but its kernel, but the need for contextualising stands.)

v day

Feb. 14th, 2009 01:33 am
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (nita & kit)
I don't usually do Valentine's Day except apparently today I do. I was looking through my poetry bookmarks to find a poem to send a friend who sent me one of those Valentine's pics with the adorable fluffy animal and a heart on it, but I rejected everything as too sappy or too intimate or too angsty - so I'm in the market for a poem which is basically a cute fluffy animal. Until then, this is a poem that was posted in [livejournal.com profile] greatpoets very recently, like in the last week, but I'm exercising my ability to copypasta because I think it's kind of great and also if I was going to write a Valentine's to my entire flist, it would say two things: 1. you are great, yes YOU and 2. The last two stanzas of this poem.

Shoulders

A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south:
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.

No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.

This man carries the world's most sensitive cargo
but he's not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,
HANDLE WITH CARE.

His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy's dream
deep inside him.

We're not going to be able
to live in this world
if we're not willing to do what he's doing
with one another.

The road will only ever be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.

- Naomi Sihab Nye


Also, here is something for V-Day, Vagina Day, Victory Day.

Myth

Long afterward, Oedipus, old and blinded, walked the
roads. He smelled a familiar smell. It was
the Sphinx. Oedipus said, "I want to ask one question.
Why didn't I recognize my mother?" "You gave the
wrong answer," said the Sphinx. "But that was what
made everything possible," said Oedipus. "No," she said.
"When I asked, What walks on four legs in the morning,
two at noon, and three in the evening, you answered,
Man. You didn't say anything about woman."
"When you say Man," said Oedipus, "you include women
too. Everyone knows that." She said, "That's what
you think."

-- Muriel Rukeyser
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (girl reading)
Timepiece

I got home from work and looked at
my watch and it said
Ten to five, so I did the washing and
picked some greens and tidied up the
kitchen and sat down and had a cup of coffee,
and looked at my watch and still it said
Ten to five, so I did some ironing and
made the beds and thought Hell I might
get all the housework done in one day
for a change, then looked at my watch
but nope, no change, and I turned on the
radio and it said ten to five, so
I cleaned the bathroom like mad and
picked some flowers and wrote some
letters and some cheques and scrubbed
the kitchen floor and got started on the
windows -- by this time I was getting a bit
desperate I can tell you, I was thinking
alternately Yay! soon there'll be no more to
do and I'll be free, and Jeez what if I
RUN OUT? I did in face run out, and out,
and out, past the church clock saying
Ten to five and the cat on the corner with
big green eyes ticking away, and up into the
sky past telephone wires, and
up into the blue, watchless, matchless, timeless
cloud-curtains, where I hide, and
it is silent, silent.

-- Cilla McQueen

I pretty much want to write like Cilla McQueen when I grow up, she and Jenny Bornholdt are my favourites EVER. Read them read them read them.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
Hotere

When you offer only three
vertical lines precisely drawn
and set into a dark pool of lacquer
it is a visual kind of starvation:

and even though my eyeballs
roll up and over to peer inside
myself, when I reach the beginning
of your eternity I say instead: hell
let’s have another feed of mussels

Like, I have to think about it, man.

When you stack horizontal lines
into vertical columns which appear
to advance, recede, shimmer and wave
like exploding packs of cards
I merely grunt and say: well, if it
is not a famine, it’s a feast

I have to roll another smoke, man

But when you score a superb orange
circle on a purple thought-base
I shake my head and say: hell, what
is this thing called aroha

Like, I’m euchred, man. I’m eclipsed?

-- Hone Tuwhare

Thought I'd post something not mine, since you'll get sick of my stuff in short order. I just LOVE this poem, & you should too. Hone Tuwhare is one of my country's greatest poets. Ralph Hotere is a famously abstract New Zealand painter.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
Haka

I want to know!
Don't I belong here?

I was born at Papa-kura.
My whenua turned the soil red.

My mother cried like a seagull.

Her ancestors are buried in Papa-toetoe.
Their old heads are white plumes.

My father held me to this
upside-down sky and I sneezed.

Am I not maori?


I want to know!
Do you belong here?

Where is Kupe from?
His canoe was a strange tree.

Could he feel what my people felt?

This place to rest from the sea.
This longing for home.

Where do the dead return to?
Hawaiki nui. Hawaiki roa. Hawaiki pamaomao.

Are you not pakeha?

-- Glenn Colquhoun
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (nita & kit)
Bred in South Auckland

I drive a car that is falling apart.
There is bog in the body.
There is rust in the doors.
Occasionally it does not have a warrant.
Sometimes I sleep in large rooms full of people.
I eat too much fried bread.
I am late to meetings.
I go to housie
My nose is flat.
I say Raw - tore - loo - uh.

Some people think I am a bloody maori.


I have been to university.
I have a student loan.
I photocopy my tax returns.
Most mornings I read the newspaper.
I make lists of things I have to do and like to cross them off.
I cut apples into quarters before I eat them,
Then I cut the pips out.
I put my name on things.
I listen to talkback radio.
I use EFTPOS.

Some people think I am a typical pakeha.


Last week I drove through a red light,
I did not slow down at a compulsory stop,
I changed lanes on the motorway and did not use my indicator.
When I was a boy I went to see Enter the Dragon,
I took one lesson in kung fu.
My parents made me do my homework.
My brother gave me Chinese burns.
I like beef and pork flavoured two minute noodles.
I light incense when the house smeels.
Once I dug a garden.

Some people think I am a blasted asian.


When I was a boy I learnt to swear in Samoan,
I went to school in Mangere.
I played rugby in bare feet,
Sometimes I shop at the Otara markets.
My family come from overseas.
I used to work in a factory.
Once I helped cook an umu.
When it is summer I wear a lavalava.
I drink pineapple juice.
I like to eat corned beef.

Some people think I must be a flaming coconut.


I think I am the luckiest mongrel I know.

-- Glenn Colquhoun
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
Somewhere, it's international blog against racism week. I do not think I am qualified, both literally and personally, to talk about the race relations problems in my country with sincerity and with good judgement. Instead, I'm going to post a series of poems from Glenn Colquhoun's book The Art of Walking Upright. Colquhoun is a Pakeha man who took a year off from training to be a doctor to live in Te Tii in the Bay of Islands, in a small Maori town. As far as I'm concerned, these poems are required reading for anyone living in this country; they are beautiful in both form and content. Some of these I have posted here before, but I think they're worth reading twice. I'm also going to leave them outside a cut; but if this bothers you, let me know.

Race Relations

My great great grandfather was from Luss.
This is a village on the shores of Loch Lomond.
My parents hang his coat of arms on their wall.

My great great grandmother was a Murray
She lived in Glasgow, by the Clyde.

I don't know if their families fought
but I wouldn't be surprised.


Some Murrays live in Whangape.
I guess we are related
except that I am Pakeha
and they are part Te Rarawa.

Somewhere along the line
I have managed to colonise myself.

It is not the first time this has happened.


My grandmother's grandfather is from England.

This has been a problem for the Scots.

I can't forget what I did to myself at Culloden.

Or what Edward Longshanks
did to William Wallace in Braveheart.

I still hate the bastard which of course I am.


And if that's not bad enough
my grandmother's grandmother is German.

And so is my grandmother's mum.

One half of me has lost a war the other half has won.


Even more complicated is the fact
that my mother's father's family are Jacobs
which if I'm not mistaken makes us Jewish,

who of course won't speak to the Germans.


No-one mentions they were from Tasmania.


Sometimes I don't know how to live with myself.

I am a civil war.


The australians fight the english
and keep the scottish happy.

The scottish fight the english
and then they fight themselves.

The english are offended
and won't speak to the germans.

This annoys the germans
who of course annoy the jews.

The pakeha think they own the place.

The maori want us all to go home.


I would if I knew where that was.


Sometimes it seems I'll never win.
Sometimes I never lose.

A Problem while translating the Treaty of Waitangi )

(that one's behind a cut because of formatting issues but it's really short so do have a look.)
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
I have a cartoon on my door. Well, I have several, actually, but only one's relevant here. It's a Slane cartoon from the New Zealand Listener of October last year, just after the general election. It shows a carpark with a desk in a parking space; on the wall above the desk is the legend "RESERVED: MINISTER OUTSIDE CABINET." Sitting with his feet on the desk, dressed in a fabulous pinstriped suit and puffing away on a cigar is, of course, the Right Honourable Winston Peters, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

I'd take a moment to explain the true phenomenon that is Winston to those of you who are unfamiliar with his exploits here in New Zealand but, well, it would be very difficult. I will say briefly that he is a consummate politician, usually characterised as right-wing and somewhat populist; he leads the New Zealand First party, which runs mostly on a fairly racist anti-immigration policy. He is... well, he's a character in New Zealand politics. In the last election, Labour entered into extensive negotiations with Winston Peters that somehow culminated in him being given the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Racing- although he's not part of the government, and on issues that are not in his portfolio he is allowed to criticise the gvt. So he's in an interesting position, and I think most NZers viewed his appointment as a likely trainwreck - but probably an entertaining one.

Amazingly, he's proved to be rather good at it and relatively scandal-free - relative to a career in which he has consistently harassed the leaders of his party (when he was affiliated with National), protested, tantrumed, quoted unnamed sources and, let us never forget, had speeding tickets and free seafood meals. And today I was amazed to find this article on Scoop.co.nz which quoted Peters' response to Bob Geldof's criticism of New Zealand's international aid contribution. I was amazed because I agree with Peters. A lot. While more aid can always be given, New Zealand has a pretty good track record; our aid as a percentage of GDP is reasonably significant, our aid is mostly untied, and we contribute to peacekeeping and free trade. We also do a lot of work in the Pacific. I am inclined to think that to Mr Geldof, "third-world countries" really means "Africa." Indeed I think that most people, when considering global poverty, think first of Africa. In New Zealand we are a lot more aware, by dint of proximity, of the plight of Pacific nations.

And now, having effectively written an ode to Winston Peters, I'll leave you with a few words from Kate Camp.

Winston Peters with apologies to Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the right.
I have walked out in rain, and back with Regaine
I have gutdragged the final Marlboro Light.

I have Brylcreemed the thinning old campaign
I have whizzed by the traffic cop on his beat
And wound down my window, unwilling to explain.

I have been one acquainted with the right.

-- Kate Camp
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] senri recently admired Kate Camp's poem The Insomniac Learns a Lot. I have a few more Camp poems here, because I should think they'd be difficult to get overseas.

Dear Sir

I have received your visit and comments, with regret.
I am always disappointed to lose a lover,
especially a long-standing lover like yourself,
and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for your past contribution.
I enclose a list of our recent sexual encounters,
which I hope will be of interest.

Regarding your concerns about our relationship,
I can certainly sympathise with your position.
However, like most things in life,
relationships are not simple,
and I can assure you
that my policies have been decided
after careful consideration
of the best available science.

This correspondence is now closed.

Broken Glass to Evening Dress )
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
ANZAC day. Lest we forget.

Dulce Et Decorum Est

War's a joke for me and you
While we know such dreams are true.

-- Siegfried Sassoon

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

- Wilfred Owen

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;
age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the mornign
We shall remember them."
- from For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
The Naming of Cats

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey --
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter --
But all of them sensuble everyday names
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum --
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover --
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

-- TS Eliot

because everyone loves Possum more than Prufrock

Tempo


In the first month I think
it’s a drop in a spider web’s
necklace of dew

at the second a hazel-nut; after,
a slim Black-eyed Susan demurely folded
asleep on a cloudy day

then a bush–baby silent as sap
in a jacaranda tree, but blinking
with mischief

at five months it’s an almost-caught
flounder flapping back
to the glorious water

six, it’s a song
with a chorus of basses: seven, five grapefruit
in a mesh bag that bounces on the hip
on a hot morning down at the shops

a water melon next – green oval
of pink flesh and black seeds, ripe
waiting to be split by the knife

nine months it goes faster, it’s a bicycle
pedalling for life over paddocks
of sun
no, a money-box filled with silver half-crowns
a sunflower following the clock
with its wide-open grin
a storm in the mountains, spinning rocks
down to the beech trees
three hundred feet below
- old outrageous Queen Bess’s best dress
starched ruff and opulent tent of a skirt
packed with ruffles and lace
no no, I’ve remembered, it’s a map
of intricate distinctions

purples for high ground burnt umber
for foothills green for the plains
and the staggering blue
of the ocean beyond
waiting and waiting and
aching
with waiting

no more alternatives! Suddenly now
you can see my small bag of eternity
pattern of power
my ace my adventure
my sweet-smelling atom
my planet, my grain of miraculous dust
my green leaf, my feather
my lily my lark
look at her, angels –
this is my daughter.

-- Lauris Edmond

PS, don't forget to ask me character questions! *puppydog eyes*
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
The Insomniac Learns a Lot


Dark voices talk to her
about the most poisonous substance
known to man, about heirloom potatoes
and for an hour acute pain.
Next week: chronic pain.

All around her tiny green, red and orange lights
where things are in sleep mode and standby mode.
The house is a city full of traffic
needing to be told when to stop and go.

Underneath the covers her body is busy
and warm as an animal.
So many litres of sweat drain out of it
she might drown in her mattress
might lie in it like a tank
like a glass coffin.

All night the house ticks and clanks
like a cake cooling on a rack.
With its curtains drawn it is blind
and only two eyes open
only two doll’s eyes fighting open.

In the morning men come to break bottles
men come to cut, they leap from their truck
and mow down hundreds of daisies
that at night close up like fields of fists
because even flowers
know how to go to sleep.

-- Kate Camp
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
To a woman who fainted recently at a poetry reading

A blood pressure of ninety millimetres of mercury is normally required to adequately perfuse the central nervous system. If the head is lowered, however, the pressure needed to maintain consciousness is considerably lower. Of course if one has severed a major artery or torn it lengthwise like a weak seam in the lining of a jacket then poetry should not be blamed and, in fact, may become entirely appropriate.

It is wise to consider hypoglycaemia as a contributing factor. I have heard that a barley sugar placed per rectum in obtunded patients with a precipitously low serum glucose may at times mean the difference between them dying and never eating barley sugar again.

Simple dehydration, overheating or a sudden shock can also be associated with fainting. For this last reason poetry should not be left lying around especially if it is graphic in nature, with swear words in it like ‘bugger’ or ‘bastard’ or ‘shit’. Lines such as ‘She used to love me but now I am a crumb in the biscuit tin of life’ can induce vomiting. ‘She used to love me / My heart is the sound of oysters opening at low tide’ can also be counted on to take the breath away.

Micturation syncope is a syndrome in which men who increase their intra-abdominal pressure at the moment of urination can impair their venous return, cardiac output and subsequently faint, however this cause will usually be obvious from the history and immediate setting. Individuals suffering in this manner can sometimes be confused with those who have drunk too much then pissed themselves before collapsing.

Despite a strong link between alcohol and poetry this scenario seems unlikely to be the case in your situation and so it only remains for me to write you the following prescription – four black wheels swallowed whole like pills; one siren, the blade of a sharp knife; three sheets, as crisp as biting apples, two flashing lights striking matches in the wind – and in this small ambulance send you, like flowers, straight to hospital.

--Glenn Colquhoun
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
Happy Easter, early for some of you, to those who celebrate it; have a safe and happy holiday weekend. <3

Two today; one for the non-Kiwis and one for the Kiwias, although naturally both can read either. The first one, Rain, must surely be one of the best-read NZ poems but I doubt it's known much elsewhere; the other, Friend, is an equal classic but I was concerned that it wasn't totally accessible to non-Kiwis (although it's probably better than Hotere by the same guy.)

Rain

I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence
rain

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady
drum-roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I
should not hear
smell or feel or see
you

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me
rain

--Hone Tuwhare

Friend

Do you remember
that wild stretch of land
with the lone tree guarding the point
from the sharp-tongued sea?

The fort we build out of branches
wrenched from the tree is dead wood now.
The air that was thick with the whirr of
toetoe spears succumbs at last to the grey gull's wheel.

Oyster-studded roots
of the mangrove yield no finer feast
of silver-bellied eels, and sea-snails
cooked in a rusty can.


Allow me to mend the broken ends
of shared days:
but I wanted to say
that the tree we climbed
that gave food and drink
to youthful dreams, is no more.
Pursed to the lips her fine-edged
leaves made whistle-- now stamp
no silken tracery on the cracked
clay floor.

Friend,
in this drear
dreamless time I clasp
your hand if only to reassure
that all our jewelled fantasies were
real and wore splendid rags.

Perhaps the tree
will strike frsh roots again:
give soothing shade to a hurt and
troubled world.

-- Hone Tuwhare

if anyone prefers that I cut this that would be fine. Also, SO hard to pick only a few Tuwhare... I really wanted to post No Ordinary Sun, Deep River Talk, Prodigal City, Child coming home in the rain from the store and all sorts of others... *sigh* another month.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
I Love to Read

But my life better not turn out

to be like one of those hideous books

where the mother dies

and so the girl has to

go live with her absentee father

and he turns out to be

an alcoholic heroin addict

who brutally beats her

and sexually molests her

thereby causing her to become

a bulimic ax murderer.

I love to read,

but I can't stand books like that.

And I flat out refuse

to have one of those lives

that I wouldn't even want

to read about.

-- Sonya Sones

This is from a Sonya Sones book, One Of Those Hideous Books Where The Mother Dies. Sones writes teenage novels in poetry and, while they don't always say great things about the state of the universe, every now and then they do; and they make me want to write, for some reason. Even when she's writing about banal silly things I like the way she writes. Anyway, I picked this particular one because I think it's accessible without the rest of the plot of the book, and also I couldn't find the one I really wanted to post. :P I like it a lot anyway.

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