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  1. TopTop #1
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Poems from Larry Robinson

    Where We Are

    (after Bede)

    A man tears a chunk of bread off the brown loaf,
    then wipes the gravy from his plate. Around him at the long table, friends fill their mouths with duck and roast pork, fill their cups from pitchers of wine. Hearing a high twittering, the man

    looks to see a bird -- black with a white patch
    beneath its beak -- flying the length of the hall,
    having flown in by a window over the door. As straight as a taut string, the bird flies beneath the roofbeams, as firelight flings its shadow against the ceiling.

    The man pauses -- one hand holds the bread,
    the other rests upon the table -- and watches the bird, perhaps a swift, fly toward the window
    at the far end of the room. He begins to point it out to his friends, but one is telling hunting stories, as another describes the best way
    to butcher a pig. The man shoves the bread in his mouth, then slaps his hand down hard on the thigh of the woman seated beside him, squeezes his fingers to feel the firm muscles and tendons beneath the fabric of her dress.

    A huge dog snores on the stone hearth by the fire.

    From the window comes the clicking of pine needles blown against it by an October wind.

    A half moon hurries along behind scattered clouds, while the forest of black spruce and bare maple and birch surrounds the long hall the way a single rock can be surrounded
    by a river. This is where we are in history -- to think the table will remain full; to think the forest will remain where we have pushed it; to think our bubble of good fortune will save us from the night -- a bird flies in from the dark, flits across a lighted hall and disappears.

    ******- Stephen Dobyns
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  2. TopTop #2
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Poems by Larry Robinson

    Against Sundials

    The gods confound the man who first found out
    How to distinguish hours! Confound him, too,
    Who in this place set up a sundial,
    To cut and hack my days so wretchedly
    Into small portions! When I was a boy,
    My belly was my sundial -- one surer,
    Truer, and more exact than any of them.
    This dial told me when 'twas proper time
    To go to dinner, when I had aught to eat;
    But nowadays, why even when I have,
    I can't fall to unless the sun gives leave.
    The town's so full of these confounded dials
    The greatest part of the inhabitants,
    Shrunk up with hunger, crawl along the street.

    - Plautus
    (c.254-184 BC)
    Last edited by Barry; 09-03-2006 at 10:09 AM.
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  3. TopTop #3
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Poem: Shame - Ron Slate


    after Pessoa

    I miss things that meant nothing to me
    and so much was nothing.
    The world begins returning
    like a sailor climbing the hill
    to his house, lugging a duffle
    bulging with what really happened.

    As if the leaves aren't falling
    in your mind. As if your memories
    aren't like bright leaves falling,
    so that the sidewalks are there
    only because they are remembered
    under the leaves, and things not remembered
    are reshaped and unsaved.

    I labor to defend myself
    against the tedium of the telephone
    and its cries of uncaring delight.

    These dreams, these visions,
    what a vulgar way to be released.
    But the squeak of my office chair
    is not better, the static of admonition
    on the public address system.

    My co-worker says, the nice thing
    about all this is you can't miss
    what you can't remember.
    Suppose you had Alzheimer's.
    You'd stare at the phone
    and it would mean less than nothing.

    Shame of the insensate rushed hour.
    Immobilized in spurts on the way home,
    I miss my knitted sweater,
    I miss my grandmother.
    Then I climb the hill
    with leaves layering the driveway
    and the structure of maples candidly clear.

    - Ron Slate
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  4. TopTop #4
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Poem: Mindful - Mary Oliver

    Every day
    I see or hear
    that more or less
    kills me
    with delight,
    that leaves me
    like a needle
    in the haystack
    of light.
    It was what I was born for -
    to look, to listen,
    to lose myself
    inside this soft world -
    to instruct myself
    over and over
    in joy,
    and acclamation.
    Nor am I talking
    about the exceptional,
    the fearful, the dreadful,
    the very extravagant -
    but of the ordinary,
    the common, the very drab,
    the daily presentations.
    Oh, good scholar,
    I say to myself,
    how can you help
    but grow wise
    with such teachings
    as these -
    the untrimmable light
    of the world,
    the ocean's shine,
    the prayers that are made
    out of grass?
    - Mary Oliver
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  5. TopTop #5
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Poem: A Prayer - Clarissa Pinkola-Estes

    A Prayer

    Refuse to fall down.
    If you cannot refuse to fall down,
    refuse to stay down.
    If you cannot refuse to stay down,
    lift your heart toward heaven,
    and like a hungry beggar,
    ask that it be filled,
    and it will be filled.
    You may be pushed down.
    You may be kept from rising.
    But no one can keep you
    from lifting your heart
    toward heaven -
    only you.
    It is in the middle of misery
    that so much becomes clear.
    The one who says nothing good
    came of this,
    is not yet listening.

    *******- Clarissa Pinkola Estes
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  6. TopTop #6
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poems by Larry Robinson

    What Kind of a Person

    "What kind of a person are you," I heard them say to me.
    I'm a person with a complex plumbing of the soul,
    Sophisticated instruments of feeling and a system
    Of controlled memory at the end of the twentieth century,
    But with an old body from ancient times
    And with a God even older than my body.

    I'm a person for the surface of the earth.
    Low places, caves and wells
    Frighten me. Mountain peaks
    And tall buildings scare me.
    I'm not like an inserted fork,
    Not a cutting knife, not a stuck spoon.

    I'm not flat and sly
    Like a spatula creeping up from below.
    At most I am a heavy and clumsy pestle
    Mashing good and bad together
    For a little taste
    And a little fragrance.

    Arrows do not direct me. I conduct
    My business carefully and quietly
    Like a long will that began to be written
    The moment I was born.

    s Now I stand at the side of the street
    Weary, leaning on a parking meter.
    I can stand here for nothing, free.

    I'm not a car, I'm a person,
    A man-god, a god-man
    Whose days are numbered. Hallelujah.

    - Yehuda Amichai

    (Translated from the Hebrew by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav, in A Life of Poetry: 1948 - 1994, New York, HarperCollins)
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  7. TopTop #7
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poems by Larry Robinson


    It is time to be old,
    To take in sail:--
    The gods of bounds,
    Who sets to seas a shore,
    Came to me in his fatal rounds,
    And said: 'No more!
    No farther shoot
    Thy broad ambitious branches, and thy root.
    Fancy departs: no more invent;
    Contract thy firmament
    To compass of a tent.
    There's not enough for this and that,
    Make thy option which of two;
    Economize the failing river,
    Not the less revere the Giver,
    Leave the many and hold the few.
    Timely wise accept the terms,
    Soften the fall with wary foot;
    A little while
    Still plan and smile,
    And,--fault of novel germs,--
    Mature the unfallen fruit.
    Curse, if thou wilt, thy sires,
    Bad husbands of their fires,
    Who, when they gave thee breath,
    Failed to bequeath
    The needful sinew stark as once,
    The Baresark marrow to thy bones,
    But left a legacy of ebbing veins,
    Inconstant heat and nerveless reins,--
    Amid the Muses, left thee deaf and dumb,
    Amid the gladiators, halt and numb.'

    As the bird trims her to the gale,
    I trim myself to the storm of time,
    I man the rudder, reef the sail,
    Obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime:
    'Lowly faithful, banish fear,
    Right onward drive unharmed;
    The port, well worth the cruise, is near,
    And every wave is charmed.'

    - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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  8. TopTop #8
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poems by Larry Robinson

    Don't look down on the heart.
    Even if it is not behaving well.
    Even in that shape, the heart
    is more precious than the teaching
    of exulted sultans.
    The broken heart is where God looks.
    How lucky the soul
    that mends the heart!
    For God, consoling the heart
    that is broken into hundreds of pieces
    is better than going on a pilgrimage.
    God's treasures are buried in ruined hearts.

    - Hafiz
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  9. TopTop #9
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poems by Larry Robinson

    The Work of the Left Hand

    When the combat has stopped
    and the soldiers lie still in their blood,
    after the city is sacked
    the women raped
    and you find the gold
    is only gold, and the salt
    of every attempt to escape the empty hour
    only sharpens your pain

    if you make a cup
    of your grief, it becomes
    an invitation --
    Construct it
    as a bird makes its nest --
    a shelter, a cradle

    And in that room
    of your emptiness, wait,
    until the waiting is a place
    you have lived, a place you know
    by heart

    When you lie awake
    amid the ruins of your sleeping city
    waiting for dreams
    that have abandoned you
    and you wait
    through the night,
    hold the emptiness
    like a porch light left on
    or a door left open
    to welcome the vast mysterious dark

    In the holding, the cupping, the waiting,
    you will shape your longing,
    you will grow stronger
    and stronger,
    till when the Great Love comes,
    magnificent black wings shining,
    you have made a place
    so immense
    from the shadows of your doubt
    that place is all there is of you

    Then you become
    The Visitation
    You swallow that black star
    and for a while
    you are light itself

    - Elizabeth Carothers Herron
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  10. TopTop #10
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poems by Larry Robinson

    Our Eyes Are Sweet Obedient Dogs
    The mind must reach beyond time,
    not revise or think at all;
    thought is always late for truth.
    Take the one bright element
    from heaven on earth, the blazing
    word inside the throat of rivers
    and sky, desert and fields,
    that will not burn, and speak
    its flame without a sound.
    Fire catches in sight and feeds
    on gross imagination.
    We do not see for fear
    of burning here alive.
    Chard de Niord
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  11. TopTop #11
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poems by Larry Robinson

    Can Poetry Matter?

    Heart feels the time has come to compose lyric poetry.
    No more storytelling for him. Oh, Moon, Heart writes,
    sad wafer of the heart’s distress. And then: Oh, Moon,
    bright cracker of the heart’s pleasure. Which is it,
    is the moon happy or sad, cracker or wafer? He looks
    from the window but the night is overcast. Oh, Cloud,
    he writes, moody veil of the Moon’s distress. And then,
    Oh, Cloud, sweet scarf of the Moon’s repose. Once more
    Heart asks, Are clouds kindly or a bother, is the moon sad
    or at rest? He calls scientists who tell him that the moon
    is a dead piece of rock. He calls astrologers. One says
    the moon means water. Another that it signifies oblivion.
    The girl next door says the Moon means love. The nut
    up the block says it proves that Satan has us under his thumb.
    Heart goes back to his notebooks. Oh, Moon, he writes,
    confusing orb meaning one thing or another. Heart feels
    that his words lack conviction. Then he hits on a solution.
    Oh, Moon, immense hyena of introverted motorboat.
    Oh, Moon, upside down lamppost of barbershop quartet.
    Heart takes his lines to a critic who tells him that the poet
    is recounting a time as a toddler when he saw his father
    kissing the baby-sitter at the family’s cottage on a lake.
    Obviously, the poem explains the poet’s fear of water.
    Heart is ecstatic. He rushes home to continue writing.
    Oh, Cloud, raccoon cadaver of colored crayon, angel spittle
    recast as foggy euphoria. Heart is swept up by the passion
    of composition. Freed from the responsibility of content,
    no nuance of nonsense can be denied him. Soon his poems
    appear everywhere, while the critic writes essays elucidating
    Heart’s meaning. Jointly they form a sausage factory of poetry:
    Heart supplying the pig snouts and rectal tissue of language
    which the critic encloses in a thin membrane of explication.
    Lyric poetry means teamwork, thinks Heart: a hog farm,
    corn field, and two old dobbins pulling a buckboard of song.

    - Stephen Dobyns

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  12. TopTop #12
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poems by Larry Robinson

    For Strong Women

    A strong woman is a woman who is straining
    A strong woman is a woman standing
    on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
    while trying to sing "Boris Godunov."
    A strong woman is a woman at work
    cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,
    and while she shovels, she talks about
    how she doesn't mind crying, it opens
    the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
    develops the stomach muscles, and
    she goes on shoveling with tears in her nose.
    A strong woman is a woman in whose head
    a voice is repeating, I told you so,
    ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
    ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,
    why aren't you feminine, why aren't
    you soft, why aren't you quiet, why aren't you dead?
    A strong woman is a woman determined
    to do something others are determined
    not be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
    of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
    a manhole cover with her head, she is trying
    to butt her way through a steel wall.
    Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
    to be made say, hurry, you're so strong.
    A strong woman is a woman bleeding
    inside. A strong woman is a woman making
    herself strong every morning while her teeth
    loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
    a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
    every battle a scar. A strong woman
    is a mass of scar tissue that aches
    when it rains and wounds that bleed
    when you bump them and memories that get up
    in the night and pace in boots to and fro.
    A strong woman is a woman who craves love
    like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
    A strong woman is a woman who loves
    strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
    terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
    in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
    she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
    suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
    enacts it as the wind fills a sail.
    What comforts her is others loving
    her equally for the strength and for the weakness
    from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
    Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
    Only water of connection remains,
    flowing through us. Strong is what we make
    each other. Until we are all strong together,
    a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.

    - Marge Piercy
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  13. TopTop #13
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poems by Larry Robinson

    *** It is a difficult and sorrowful story that we are in.* It requires everything of each of us who have enough love, sorrow and courage in our hearts.* We have to find the pieces of this story that may yet sustain creation.* “Epiphany,” I wrote during a weeklong vision quest in a cave in New Mexico, “occurs as the stories in the field come together into one story.”* We have to bring them together, find the coherence and possibility among all the parts.* We have to find and then live the coherent story.
    **** That true healing, restoration and peace might come through dream, alliance with spirits, council, collaboration and vision, even though so many of us are beginning to live, successfully, according to these ways in our own lives, still seems implausible. How can these means go up against a smart bomb or an atomic missile?* What short of equal strength, power and destructiveness can challenge the weapons and war machines of the world? Perhaps we are being advised to step out of the mindset that has been framed by a world devoted to the technology of power, alienation and death.* Can we imagine that a bomb, even The Bomb, is not the final instrument of power and domination we think it is?
    **** The world of possibility being revealed to us is not one of our own invention but coheres in a field of connections, intersecting stories and events that includes knowledge from old wisdom traditions and stories from indigenous peoples who love the earth above all things.* Here Spirit is the glue; this is a real world.* Even if we are not changed enough to trust this new view of reality, nevertheless, we will benefit from yielding to the possibilities and wonders that are before us, to the life force and its mysterious ways.** We are being called to defer to what we do not understand and what is beyond us, and what we reflexively diminish as mere myths and fantasies but which, when experienced, emerge as cogent ways of knowing and living.* Spiritual experiences, like Gnosticism and shamanism, the gathering of individual visions and stories, confirm the presence of the divine.*

    Deena Metzger
    From Grief into Vision: A Council
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  14. TopTop #14
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poems by Larry Robinson

    Twilight in Hendy Woods

    This is the hour of magic
    When this world and the other world
    Touch in a lingering kiss
    And a deep stillness settles over all things.

    This is the hour of magic
    When the Earth,
    For one eternal moment, holds its breath
    Before turning from the sun.

    This is the hour of magic
    When, if you listen
    With an open heart and a quiet mind,
    You can hear the Ancient Ones, the elders of the forest

    Telling the old stories:
    Of the chainsaw massacres and the fires;
    Of the great ice ages and the birth of mountain ranges;
    Of the times long past when they were many and covered the Earth.

    They are leaving us now.
    When they are gone,
    Who will tell these stories?

    Larry Robinson
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  15. TopTop #15
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poems by Larry Robinson



    I remember passing by here

    day after day

    Monday through Friday

    for years

    driving my kids to the school

    up the road

    watching the seasons change

    through the plantings

    the old man did

    on the corner of his yard

    marigolds in the spring

    naked ladies in the early fall


    as we all know

    the naked ladies raise themselves

    but still he must have planted

    them once, long ago.

    The children grew up

    and the old man grew older

    and after awhile

    the marigolds disappeared

    from spring--

    only the naked ladies


    when I would occasionally pass by

    in the fall.

    Now the old man

    is gone, too

    the house is empty--

    listed for sale

    as an almost million dollar

    "fixer upper."

    In the meantime

    I see a family of quail

    has happily moved in.


    Lilith Rogers
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  16. TopTop #16
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poems by Larry Robinson


    By this part of the century few are left who believe
    *** in the animals for they are not there in the carved parts
    of them served on plates and the pleas from the slatted trucks
    *** are sounds of shadows that possess no future
    there is still game for the pleasure of killing
    *** and there are pets for the children but the lives that followed
    courses of their own other than ours and older
    *** have been migrating before us some are already
    far on the way and yet Peter with his gaunt cheeks
    *** and point of white beard the face of an aged Lawrence
    Peter who had lived on from another time and country
    *** and who had seen so many things set out and vanish
    still believed in heaven and said he had never once
    *** doubted it since his childhood on the farm in the days
    of the horses he had not doubted it in the worst
    *** times of the Great War and afterward and he had come
    to what he took to be a kind of earthly
    *** model of it as he wandered south in his sixties
    by that time speaking the language well enough
    *** for them to make him out he took the smallest roads
    into a world he thought was a thing of the past
    *** with wildflowers he scarcely remembered and neighbors
    working together scything the morning meadows
    *** turning the hay before the noon meal bringing it in
    by milking time husbandry and abundance
    *** all the virtues he admired and their reward bounteous
    in the eyes of a foreigner and there he remained
    *** for the rest of his days seeing what he wanted to see
    until the winter when he could no longer fork
    *** the earth in his garden and then he gave away
    his house land everything and committed himself
    *** to a home to die in an old chateau where he lingered
    for some time surrounded by those who had lost
    *** the use of body or mind and as he lay there he told me
    that the wall by his bed opened almost every day
    *** and he saw what was really there and it was eternal life
    as he recognized at once when he saw the gardens
    *** he had made and the green fields where he had been
    a child and his mother was standing there then the wall would close
    *** and around him again were the last days of the world

    - W.S. Merwin
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  17. TopTop #17
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poems from Larry Robinson

    Junkyard Dog

    Let's say, for the sake of discussion,
    that before you were born you were made of light,
    or something like it.
    Let's say that you were not

    anything at all like

    this oddly shaped living thing
    (no offense)
    that you are now,

    but that something of you existed.
    Maybe you were just more see-through
    than you are now,
    or more vast, or fluffier,

    but there you were

    and then in one excited wet moment
    the body you know now
    began, grew for nine months,

    then landed here.

    It might have been
    the luck of the draw
    where you landed -
    it wasn't onto towels on a

    dirt floor in Mexico, for example -

    my guess is that you landed in

    a well-lit sterile room.

    You were probably naked for just a second,

    and then you began collecting things,

    because that's what we do here.

    And here we all are,

    getting around in these bodies,

    living in a culture so filled with things

    we can't even think straight,

    living in a country where the man

    in charge is like a dumb

    drooling junkyard dog,

    protecting his piles of scrap metal

    and drums of oil

    as if that's all there is to do,

    even sending some of us

    to faraway places to do his bullying for him.

    We really don't know how to be

    with all of this, so we do the best we can,

    getting around in our various bodies,

    collecting things,

    food and clothes and houses

    and electronic devices,

    doing tasks to earn money

    to collect more things, and

    trying to have a good time

    in the process.


    we start to feel a wee bit protective,

    like junkyard dogs ourselves, even,

    guarding the piles of stuff that we've gathered,

    and taking things a little too

    personally sometimes and

    lunging at the fence we've built

    around all of it.

    It's all so much to handle

    that sometimes

    we have to hire insurance people

    and attorneys to help.

    But here's the great thing -

    in the middle of all of this

    collecting and protecting

    we seem to have been granted,

    most of the time,

    the ability to learn

    and to feel

    and to notice the things

    that were here all along,

    like sunsets

    and wild-ass fields of orange poppies

    and the fact that having a body

    is actually a lot of fun,

    especially when we're

    rubbing them around on each other,

    or dancing.

    We discover that loving

    someone else

    feels better than anything,

    and that the important stuff

    can't be collected at all.

    And somewhere along the way,

    there is that tin man moment,

    when you know you have a heart

    because it's breaking

    and you realize that courage is nothing

    like a slathering fanged dog -

    courage is being willing to let go,

    open the damn gate

    and share the goods.

    If you're lucky,

    by the time you're old,

    you've found humility,

    which doesn't mean

    that you're not important,

    it means that you're everything -

    because we're all made out

    of the same stuff,

    some kind of light,

    something vast and fluffy

    covered in skin.

    - Margaret Barkley

    [Margaret is a multi-talented original and current Wacco! - Barry]
    Last edited by Barry; 09-27-2006 at 12:15 PM.
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  18. TopTop #18
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poems from Larry Robinson

    The Chapel Doors At Beth Abraham
    Four massive bronze stars
    ***********adorned the double doors
    ***********whose surface had been
    ***********strangely covered
    ***********with that most modern material,
    ***********fake wood paneling,
    ***********a veneer so thin,
    if indeed, it was veneer at all,
    adhered to some substrate
    of pressed paper,
    now deteriorating and crumbling away
    after just a year or two
    or so I’m told by the local congregant
    who had asked my help
    in trying to dress them up a bit.—
    “We just had the doors re-done
    two years ago,” he’d said.
    They were a bit shameful—
    that is, if one took the time to see
    and think about those doors,
    openings and closings
    to sacred space—
    and it did seem to be a sacred space
    while I was there
    with children being taught
    the rules of life.
    The doors were off
    and I could hear a bit
    now and again,
    between the sounds of saws
    and drills and hammers
    but I couldn’t tell for sure.
    And that set me to thinking
    about sacred space
    and what have doors
    got to do with that
    at all?

    - Bill Denham
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  19. TopTop #19
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
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    Re: Poems from Larry Robinson

    In Memory of W. B. Yeats


    He disappeared in the dead of winter:
    The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
    And snow disfigured the public statues;
    The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
    What instruments we have agree
    The day of his death was a dark cold day.

    Far from his illness
    The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,
    The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;
    By mourning tongues
    The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

    But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
    An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
    The provinces of his body revolted,
    The squares of his mind were empty,
    Silence invaded the suburbs,
    The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

    Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
    And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,
    To find his happiness in another kind of wood
    And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
    The words of a dead man
    Are modified in the guts of the living.

    But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
    When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the Bourse,
    And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed,
    And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom,
    A few thousand will think of this day
    As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.

    What instruments we have agree
    The day of his death was a dark cold day.


    You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:
    The parish of rich women, physical decay,
    Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.
    Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,
    For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
    In the valley of its making where executives
    Would never want to tamper, flows on south
    From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
    Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
    A way of happening, a mouth.


    Earth, receive an honoured guest:
    William Yeats is laid to rest.
    Let the Irish vessel lie
    Emptied of its poetry.

    In the nightmare of the dark
    All the dogs of Europe bark,
    And the living nations wait,
    Each sequestered in its hate;

    Intellectual disgrace
    Stares from every human face,
    And the seas of pity lie
    Locked and frozen in each eye.

    Follow, poet, follow right
    To the bottom of the night,
    With your unconstraining voice
    Still persuade us to rejoice;

    With the farming of a verse
    Make a vineyard of the curse,
    Sing of human unsuccess
    In a rapture of distress;

    In the deserts of the heart
    Let the healing fountain start,
    In the prison of his days
    Teach the free man how to praise.

    - W. H. Auden

    (From Another Time by W. H. Auden, published by Random House. Copyright © 1940 W. H. Auden)
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  20. TopTop #20
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poems from Larry Robinson

    Pine Valley

    While I was not watching
    sunrise came with a ruby throat
    and gold-flecked wings.
    and a small wisp of cloud
    above the dark pine.
    A jaysquall
    leaves a small bruise
    on one corner
    of sky.
    Boiling coffee.
    A blue enamel pot
    nestled in warm coals
    beside the cold
    sliding water.
    Sky so close
    you fear
    *bumping your head.
    A brown breaks surface
    rising to wingshadow
    drifting on the blue selvage
    of pond.
    Golden lace.
    Sunrise pours slantwise
    into clear water
    through the blue spruce,
    the deep tangle of pine
    and purled woodsmoke.
    I turned
    and the earth hushed.
    While I leaned into silence
    a morning too vast to fathom
    filled with light.

    - Dave Lee
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  21. TopTop #21
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poems from Larry Robinson


    First forget what time it is
    for an hour
    do it regularly every day

    then forget what day of the week it is
    do this regularly for a week
    then forget what country you are in
    and practice doing it in company
    for a week
    then do them together
    for a week
    with as few breaks as possible

    follow these by forgetting how to add
    or to subtract
    it makes no difference
    you can change them around
    after a week
    both will help you later
    to forget how to count

    forget how to count
    starting with your own age
    starting with how to count backward
    starting with even numbers
    starting with Roman numerals
    starting with fractions of Roman numerals
    starting with the old calendar
    going on to the old alphabet
    going on to the alphabet
    until everything is continuous again

    go on to forgetting elements
    starting with water
    proceeding to earth
    rising in fire

    forget fire

    - W.S. Merwin
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  22. TopTop #22
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poems from Larry Robinson

    And The Men

    want back in:
    all the Dougs and the Michaels, the Darnells, the Erics and Joses,
    they're standing by the off-ramp of the interstate
    holding up cardboard signs that say WILL WORK FOR RELATIONSHIP.

    Their love-mobiles are rusty.
    Their Shaggin' Wagons are up on cinderblocks.
    They're reading self-help books and practicing abstinence,
    taking out Personals ads that say
    **********"Good listener would like to meet lesbian ladies,
    ***************************************for purposes of friendship only."

    In short, they've changed their minds, the men:
    they want another shot at the collaborative enterprise.
    Want to do fifty-fifty housework and childcare;
    They want commitment renewal weekends and couples therapy.

    Because being a man was finally too sad --
    In spite of the perks, the lifetime membership benefits.
    And it got old,
    telling the joke about the hooker and the priest

    at the company barbeque, praising the vintage of the beer and
    ***********punching the shoulders of a bud
    ****************in a little overflow of homosocial bonhomie --
    Always holding the fear inside
    *************************like a tipsy glass of water --

    Now they're ready to talk, really talk about their feelings,
    in fact they're ready to make you sick with revelations of
    *************************their vulnerability --
    A pool of testosterone is spreading from around their feet,
    it's draining out of them like radiator fluid,
    like history, like an experiment that failed.

    So here they come on their hands and knees, the men:
    Here they come. They're really beaten. No tricks this time.
    ****************No fine print.
    Please, they're begging you. Look out.

    --Tony Hoagland
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  23. TopTop #23
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poems from Larry Robinson

    Instant Glimpsable Only for an Instant

    Moment. Moment. Moment.

    —equal inside you, moment,

    the velocitous mountains and cities rising and falling,

    songs of children, iridescence even of beetles.

    It is not you the locust can strip of all leaf.

    Untouchable green at the center,

    the wolf too lopes past you and through you as he eats.

    Insult to mourn you, you who mourn no one, unable.

    Without transformation,

    yours the role of the chorus, to whom nothing happens.

    The living step forward: choosing to enter, to lose.

    I, who am made of you only,

    speak these words against your unmasterable instruction—

    A knife cannot cut itself open,

    yet you ask me both to be you and to know you.

    - Jane Hirshfield
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  24. TopTop #24
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poems from Larry Robinson


    The Bishop tells us: 'When the boys come back
    'They will not be the same; for they'll have fought
    'In a just cause: they lead the last attack
    'On Anti-Christ; their comrades' blood has bought
    'New right to breed an honourable race,
    'They have challenged Death and dared him face to face.'

    'We're none of us the same!' the boys reply.
    'For George lost both his legs; and Bill's stone blind;
    'Poor Jim's shot through the lungs and like to die;
    'And Bert's gone syphilitic: you'll not find
    'A chap who's served that hasn't found some change.
    ' And the Bishop said: 'The ways of God are strange."

    - Siegfried Sassoon
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  25. TopTop #25
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poems from Larry Robinson

    The Emperor of Ice-Cream

    Call the roller of big cigars,
    The muscular one, and bid him whip
    In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
    Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
    As they are used to wear, and let the boys
    Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
    Let be be finale of seem.
    The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

    Take from the dresser of deal,
    Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
    On which she embroidered fantails once
    And spread it so as to cover her face.
    If her horny feet protrude, they come
    To show how cold she is, and dumb.
    Let the lamp affix its beam.
    The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

    - Wallace Stevens
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  26. TopTop #26
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poems from Larry Robinson

    Note to a Pine Ridge Girl
    Who Can No Longer Read

    I keep dreaming these dreams
    where I lose you, literally lose
    you like misplaced car keys
    and wake up sweating and
    call and cuss, mutter for you
    to reveal yourself, not in dream
    but in my wide-awake frustration.
    Thank God my closest neighbors
    are simple Hmong who think all
    Americans are crazed cannibals.
    Ah, sweet mumbling darling,
    I've been offered a great job
    far from these mindless Plains
    at a white castle of utmost
    pay and supreme prestige.
    Oh love, what are we to do?
    A decade of intense meds
    has made your face puffy.
    I don't look any better, but
    you cannot talk*little light
    breaks in your eyes when I visit.
    The wasicu staff tells me your
    chanli will now be cut off
    because you keep putting
    the lit end in your mouth.
    Pain and indignity floods
    our being and our memory.
    I can't tell you how many times
    we've sat holding hands while
    you've dirtied your diapers.
    Two of your toes have curled
    into claws*two of your fingers
    did until they chopped them off.
    God forgive me for okaying that.
    When I catch your attention
    and stand before you and do
    the twist, you sometimes still
    smile crazily, my little one.
    That you smile at my dance
    of tears is enough, my love.
    Dearest woman, that is enough.
    That is all I need. That's plenty.
    Forgive me once and again
    for thinking only of myself.
    Everything is clear now and
    I will not be crawling away to
    some new life at this late date.
    I'll keep playing the game
    for the paycheck and
    you, my love*

    Adrian C. Louis
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  27. TopTop #27
    Barry's Avatar
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Poems from Larry Robinson

    I want to thank Larry Robinson once again for sharing these poems with us!

    Since Larry is posting his poems to this thread as replies to keep them all in one thread for your reading and subscribing pleasure, I want point out a couple of options of how to make it easier for you to see his most recent posts:

    There is a setting in your user control panel here, called Thread Display Mode which governs whether posts in a thread are displayed Newes First or Oldest First. So if you set it to "Linear - Newest first" you will see the most recent replies first on all threads on the website. This is how I have my profile set and I reccomend it if you use the website often.

    If you have that setting set to Linear - Oldest First, which is the default, you will see a link on the top of the first post of each thread called "View First Unread" which does what it says!

    Last edited by Barry; 10-06-2006 at 10:55 AM.
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  28. TopTop #28
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poems from Larry Robinson

    Hard Rain

    After I heard It's a Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
    played softly by an accordion quartet
    through the ceiling speakers at the Springdale Shopping Mall,
    I understood there's nothing
    we can't pluck the stinger from,

    nothing we can't turn into a soft drink flavor or a t-shirt.
    Even serenity can become something horrible
    if you make a commercial about it
    using smiling, white-haired people

    quoting Thoreau to sell retirement homes
    in the Everglades, where the swamp has been
    drained and bulldozed into a nineteen-hole golf course
    with electrified alligator barriers.

    You can't keep beating yourself up, Billy
    I heard the therapist say on television
    to the teenage
    About all those people you killed—
    You just have to be the best person you can be,

    one day at a time—

    and everybody in the audience claps and weeps a little,
    because the level of deep feeling has been touched,
    and they want to believe that
    the power of Forgiveness is greater
    than the power of Consequence, or History.

    Dear Abby:
    My father is a businessman who travels.
    Each time he returns from one of his trips,
    his shoes and trousers
    are covered with blood-
    but he never forgets to bring me a nice present;
    Should I say something?
    Signed, America.

    I used to think I was not part of this,
    that I could mind my own business and get along,

    but that was just another song
    that had been taught to me since birth—

    whose words I was humming under my breath,
    as I was walking through the Springdale Mall.

    - Tony Hoagland
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  29. TopTop #29
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poems from Larry Robinson

    What I would say in one sentence is that, for Americans, the real work is becoming native to North America. The real work is becoming native in your heart, coming to understand we really live here, that this is really the continent we're on and that our loyalties are here, to these mountains and rivers, to these plant zones, to these creatures. The real work involves developing a loyalty that goes back before the formation of any nation state, back billions of years and thousands of years into the future. The real work is accepting citizenship in the continent itself.

    - Gary Snyder
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  30. TopTop #30
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poems from Larry Robinson

    Temporary Poem of My Time

    Hebrew writing and Arabic writing go from east to west,
    Latin writing, from west to east.
    Languages are like cats:
    You must not stroke their hair the wrong way.
    The clouds come from the sea, the hot wind from the desert,
    The trees bend in the wind,
    And stones fly from all four winds,
    Into all four winds. They throw stones,
    Throw this land, one at the other,
    But the land always falls back to the land.
    They throw the land, want to get rid of it.
    Its stones, its soil, but you can't get rid of it.

    They throw stones, throw stones at me
    In 1936, 1938, 1948, 1988,
    Semites throw at Semites and anti-Semites at anti-Semites,
    Evil men throw and just men throw,
    Sinners throw and tempters throw,
    Geologists throw and theologists throw,
    Archaelogists throw and archhooligans throw,
    Kidneys throw stones and gall bladders throw,
    Head stones and forehead stones and the heart of a stone,
    Stones shaped like a screaming mouth
    And stones fitting your eyes
    Like a pair of glasses,
    The past throws stones at the future,
    And all of them fall on the present.
    Weeping stones and laughing gravel stones,
    Even God in the Bible threw stones,
    Even the Urim and Tumim were thrown
    And got stuck in the beastplate of justice,
    And Herod threw stones and what came out was a Temple.

    Oh, the poem of stone sadness
    Oh, the poem thrown on the stones
    Oh, the poem of thrown stones.
    Is there in this land
    A stone that was never thrown
    And never built and never overturned
    And never uncovered and never discovered
    And never screamed from a wall and never discarded by the builders
    And never closed on top of a grave and never lay under lovers
    And never turned into a cornerstone?

    Please do not throw any more stones,
    You are moving the land,
    The holy, whole, open land,
    You are moving it to the sea
    And the sea doesn't want it
    The sea says, not in me.

    Please throw little stones,
    Throw snail fossils, throw gravel,
    Justice or injustice from the quarries of Migdal Tsedek,
    Throw soft stones, throw sweet clods,
    Throw limestone, throw clay,
    Throw sand of the seashore,
    Throw dust of the desert, throw rust,
    Throw soil, throw wind,
    Throw air, throw nothing
    Until your hands are weary
    And the war is weary
    And even peace will be weary and will be.

    - Yehuda Amichai

    Translated from the Hebrew by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav, in A Life of Poetry: 1948 - 1994 New York, HarperCollins, 1994, with thanks to the publishe
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