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  1. TopTop #3571
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    If, On Account Of The Political Situation


    If, on account of the political situation,
    there are quite a number of homes without roofs, and men
    Lying about in the countryside neither drunk or asleep,
    If all sailings have been cancelled till further notice,
    If it's unwise now to say much in letters, and if,
    Under the subnormal temperatures prevailing,
    The two sexes are at present the weak and the strong,
    That is not at all unusual for this time of year.
    If that were all, we should know how to manage. Flood, fire,
    The dessication of grasslands, restraint of princes,
    Piracy on the high seas, physical pain and fiscal grief,
    These are after all our familiar tribulations,
    And we have been through them all before, many, many times.
    As events which belong to the natural world where
    The occupation of space is the real and final fact
    And time turns round itself in an obedient circle,
    They occur again and again but only to pass
    Again and again into their formal opposites,
    From sword to ploughshare, coffin to cradle, war to work,
    So that, taking the bad with the good, the pattern composed
    By the ten thousand odd things that can possibly happen
    Is permanent in a general average way.


    Till lately we knew of no other, and between us we seemed
    To have what it took -- the adrenal courage of the tiger,
    The chameleon's discretion, the modesty of the doe,
    Or the fern's devotion to spatial necessity:
    To practice one's peculiar civic virtue was not
    So impossible after all; to cut our losses
    And bury our dead was really quite easy. That was why
    We were always able to say: "We are children of God,
    And our Father has never forsaken His people."

    But then we were children: That was a moment ago,
    Before an outrageous novelty had been introduced
    Into our lives. Why were we never warned? Perhaps we were.
    Perhaps that mysterious noise at the back of the brain
    We noticed on certain occasions -- sitting alone
    In the waiting room of the country junction, looking
    Up at the toilet window -- was not indigestion
    But this Horror starting already to scratch Its way in?

    Just how, just when It succeeded we shall never know:
    We can only say that now It is there and that nothing
    We learnt before It was there is now of the slightest use,
    For nothing like It has happened before. It's as if
    We had left our house for five minutes to mail a . letter,
    And during that time the living room had changed places
    With the room behind the mirror over the fireplace;

    It's as if, waking up with a start, we discovered
    Ourselves stretched out flat on the floor, watching our shadow
    Sleepily stretching itself at the window. I mean
    That the world of space where events reoccur is still there,
    Only now it's no longer real; the real one is nowhere
    Where time never moves and nothing can ever happen:
    I mean that although there's a person we know all about
    Still bearing our name and loving himself as before,
    That person has become a fiction; our true existence
    Is decided by no one and has no importance to love.

    That is why we despair; that is why we would welcome
    The nursery bogey or the wine cellar ghost, why even
    The violent howling of winter and war has become
    Like a juke-box tune that we dare not stop. We are afraid
    Of pain but more afraid of silence; for no nightmare
    Of hostile objects could be as terrible as this Void.
    This is the Abomination. This is the wrath of God.

    - W.H. Auden
    Last edited by Barry; 12-01-2017 at 02:23 PM.
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  2. Gratitude expressed by 3 members:

  3. TopTop #3572
    Roland Jacopetti's Avatar
    Roland Jacopetti
    Supporting Member

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    This could have been written yesterday. Thanks, Barry.

    Quote Larry Robinson wrote: View Post
    If, On Account Of The Political Situation


    If, on account of the political situation,
    there are quite a number of homes without roofs, and men
    Lying about in the countryside neither drunk or asleep,
    If all sailings have been cancelled till further notice,
    If it's unwise now to say much in letters, and if,
    Under the subnormal temperatures prevailing,
    The two sexes are at present the weak and the strong,
    That is not at all unusual for this time of year.
    If that were all, we should know how to manage. Flood, fire,
    The dessication of grasslands, restraint of princes,
    Piracy on the high seas, physical pain and fiscal grief,
    These are after all our familiar tribulations,
    And we have been through them all before, many, many times.
    As events which belong to the natural world where
    The occupation of space is the real and final fact
    And time turns round itself in an obedient circle,
    They occur again and again but only to pass
    Again and again into their formal opposites,
    From sword to ploughshare, coffin to cradle, war to work,
    So that, taking the bad with the good, the pattern composed
    By the ten thousand odd things that can possibly happen
    Is permanent in a general average way.


    Till lately we knew of no other, and between us we seemed
    To have what it took -- the adrenal courage of the tiger,
    The chameleon's discretion, the modesty of the doe,
    Or the fern's devotion to spatial necessity:
    To practice one's peculiar civic virtue was not
    So impossible after all; to cut our losses
    And bury our dead was really quite easy. That was why
    We were always able to say: "We are children of God,
    And our Father has never forsaken His people."

    But then we were children: That was a moment ago,
    Before an outrageous novelty had been introduced
    Into our lives. Why were we never warned? Perhaps we were.
    Perhaps that mysterious noise at the back of the brain
    We noticed on certain occasions -- sitting alone
    In the waiting room of the country junction, looking
    Up at the toilet window -- was not indigestion
    But this Horror starting already to scratch Its way in?

    Just how, just when It succeeded we shall never know:
    We can only say that now It is there and that nothing
    We learnt before It was there is now of the slightest use,
    For nothing like It has happened before. It's as if
    We had left our house for five minutes to mail a . letter,
    And during that time the living room had changed places
    With the room behind the mirror over the fireplace;

    It's as if, waking up with a start, we discovered
    Ourselves stretched out flat on the floor, watching our shadow
    Sleepily stretching itself at the window. I mean
    That the world of space where events reoccur is still there,
    Only now it's no longer real; the real one is nowhere
    Where time never moves and nothing can ever happen:
    I mean that although there's a person we know all about
    Still bearing our name and loving himself as before,
    That person has become a fiction; our true existence
    Is decided by no one and has no importance to love.

    That is why we despair; that is why we would welcome
    The nursery bogey or the wine cellar ghost, why even
    The violent howling of winter and war has become
    Like a juke-box tune that we dare not stop. We are afraid
    Of pain but more afraid of silence; for no nightmare
    Of hostile objects could be as terrible as this Void.
    This is the Abomination. This is the wrath of God.

    - W.H. Auden
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  4. Gratitude expressed by 3 members:

  5. TopTop #3573
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Happiness

    There’s just no accounting for happiness,
    or the way it turns up like a prodigal
    who comes back to the dust at your feet
    having squandered a fortune far away.

    And how can you not forgive?
    You make a feast in honor of what
    was lost, and take from its place the finest
    garment, which you saved for an occasion
    you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
    to know that you were not abandoned,
    that happiness saved its most extreme form
    for you alone.

    No, happiness is the uncle you never
    knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
    onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
    into town, and inquires at every door
    until he finds you asleep midafternoon
    as you so often are during the unmerciful
    hours of your despair.

    It comes to the monk in his cell.
    It comes to the woman sweeping the street
    with a birch broom, to the child
    whose mother has passed out from drink.
    It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
    a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
    and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
    in the night.
    It even comes to the boulder
    in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
    to rain falling on the open sea,
    to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

    - Jane Kenyon
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  6. Gratitude expressed by 3 members:

  7. TopTop #3574
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Henry James

    “Poor Mr. James,” Virginia Woolf once said:
    “He never quite met the right people.”
    Poor James. He never quite met the
    children of light and so he had to invent them.
    Then, when people said: No one is like that.
    Your books are not reality, he replied:

    So much the worse for reality.

    He described himself as “slow to conclude,
    orotund, a slow-moving creature, circling his rooms
    slowly masticating his food.”

    Once, when a nephew asked his advice
    on how to live, he searched his mind.
    Number One, be kind, he said.
    Number Two, be kind and
    Number Three, be kind.

    - June Beisch
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  8. Gratitude expressed by 5 members:

  9. TopTop #3575
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Life While-You-Wait

    Life While-You-Wait.
    Performance without rehearsal.
    Body without alterations.
    Head without premeditation.

    I know nothing of the role I play.
    I only know it’s mine. I can’t exchange it.

    I have to guess on the spot
    just what this play’s all about.

    Ill-prepared for the privilege of living,
    I can barely keep up with the pace that the action demands.
    I improvise, although I loathe improvisation.
    I trip at every step over my own ignorance.
    I can’t conceal my hayseed manners.
    My instincts are for happy histrionics.
    Stage fright makes excuses for me, which humiliate me more.
    Extenuating circumstances strike me as cruel.

    Words and impulses you can’t take back,
    stars you’ll never get counted,
    your character like a raincoat you button on the run —
    the pitiful results of all this unexpectedness.

    If only I could just rehearse one Wednesday in advance,
    or repeat a single Thursday that has passed!
    But here comes Friday with a script I haven’t seen.
    Is it fair, I ask
    (my voice a little hoarse,
    since I couldn’t even clear my throat offstage).

    You’d be wrong to think that it’s just a slapdash quiz
    taken in makeshift accommodations. Oh no.
    I’m standing on the set and I see how strong it is.
    The props are surprisingly precise.
    The machine rotating the stage has been around even longer.
    The farthest galaxies have been turned on.
    Oh no, there’s no question, this must be the premiere.
    And whatever I do
    will become forever what I’ve done.

    - Wisława Szymborska
    (translation by Clare Cavanaugh and Stanislaw Baranczak)
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  10. Gratitude expressed by 3 members:

  11. TopTop #3576
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Tao Te Ching

    (Verse 29)

    Those who would take over the earth
    And shape it to their will
    Never, I notice, succeed.
    The earth is like a vessel so sacred
    That at the mere approach of the profane
    It is marred
    And when they reach out their fingers it is gone.
    For a time in the world some force themselves ahead
    And some are left behind,
    For a time in the world some make a great noise
    And some are held silent,
    For a time in the world some are puffed fat
    And some are kept hungry,
    For a time in the world some push aboard
    And some are tipped out:
    At no time in the world will a man who is sane
    Over-reach himself,
    Over-spend himself,
    Over-rate himself.

    - Lao Tzu

    (translation by Witter Bynner)
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  12. Gratitude expressed by 7 members:

  13. TopTop #3577
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Dover Beach

    The sea is calm to-night.
    The tide is full,
    the moon lies fair
    Upon the straits;
    on the French coast the light
    Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
    Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
    Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
    Only, from the long line of spray
    Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
    Listen! you hear the grating roar
    Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
    At their return, up the high strand,
    Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
    With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
    The eternal note of sadness in.

    Sophocles long ago
    Heard it on the Agaean,
    and it brought
    Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
    Of human misery; we
    Find also in the sound a thought,
    Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
    The Sea of Faith
    Was once, too, at the full,
    and round earth's shore
    Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
    But now I only hear
    Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
    Retreating, to the breath
    Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
    And naked shingles of the world.


    Ah, love, let us be true
    To one another! for the world, which seems
    To lie before us like a land of dreams,
    So various, so beautiful, so new,
    Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
    Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
    And we are here as on a darkling plain
    Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
    Where ignorant armies clash by night.

    - Matthew Arnold
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  14. Gratitude expressed by 4 members:

  15. TopTop #3578
    Roland Jacopetti's Avatar
    Roland Jacopetti
    Supporting Member

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    A thousand thanks for words like these.

    Quote Larry Robinson wrote: View Post
    Dover Beach

    The sea is calm to-night....

    - Matthew Arnold
    Last edited by Barry; 12-06-2017 at 10:12 PM.
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  16. TopTop #3579
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Occupy Wall Street


    We need global
    citizens for some sit-ins
    again.
    I say we all meet
    on Wall Street
    and lock down--
    lock the whole block down!

    [Drew Dellinger, 2001]



    I take exception to the rule
    of the greedy and the cruel.

    This fall, school’s in session
    and the lesson is Wall Street.
    It’s time for action
    and your name’s on the call sheet.
    It’s time we all meet
    and name what it is:
    the game has been rigged
    to enrich corporate
    business interests that sent this economy spinning.
    Charlie Sheen is not the only clueless dude that thinks he’s winning.

    See, the one percent done spent all the rent.
    And now the rent’s due, so we’re coming to a tent near you.

    We’re the like-minded ninety-nine percent
    standing up to corruption with loving dissent.

    We stand for justice,
    and the future,
    and all of humanity.
    Embracing all people.
    Yes, even Sean Hannity.

    The message is simple:
    greed, injustice, and eco-destruction have to go.
    Pay attention corporate media. We’ll try to say it slow.

    It’s time to
    rock the nation,
    rock this occupation.

    It’s time for the people to peacefully fight back.
    Tell Congress and the media we’re taking the mic back.

    Tell the jaded it’s that long-awaited revolution.
    Put away the pepper spray and re-read the Constitution.
    These cops are paid to go crazy, yo.
    But we’re peaceful.
    Don’t tase me, bro.

    We came to incite insight,
    unite and discuss this.
    We came to hang, and to bang the drums of justice.

    Let’s occupy
    with our love and our light.

    Let’s occupy
    the earth and the sky,
    and live with all beings
    as a planet-wide tribe.

    Occupy the divine mind residing inside.

    See, I’m the type writer
    that’s known to light fires
    and prone to inspire
    the moment’s own higher desire.

    ‘Cause history knows it’s the time
    for resisting the team at the scene of the crime.

    Tell your friends I’ll meet ‘em there at Freedom Square.
    They can’t stop us, from Seattle to Chiapas.
    It’s our mission to envision
    what comes after the catastrophe.
    How do we move past
    the capitalist disaster?

    Our communities need us.
    We are all leaders.

    How could we ask for anything less than the future?


    - Drew Dellinger
    Last edited by Barry; 12-07-2017 at 02:04 PM.
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  17. Gratitude expressed by 4 members:

  18. TopTop #3580
    american dream's Avatar
    american dream
    Supporting Member

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    - a favorite one of mine, for decades. Thank you.

    Quote Larry Robinson wrote: View Post
    Dover Beach

    The sea is calm to-night....

    - Matthew Arnold
    Last edited by Barry; 12-08-2017 at 01:15 PM.
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  20. TopTop #3581
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Happiness
    after the fires


    We’ll find it again
    Perhaps not as much
    as the dog in Scotland
    who wagged his tail so hard

    so often
    it had to be
    amputated

    Not that happy.
    But
    Okay happy.

    After two years in a pound
    he found a home.
    It will take at least that long

    for some in Sonoma County
    and when they do
    we’ll wag our behinds

    like Buster
    though I don’t care what they say
    there’s no such thing

    as a forever home.

    - Katherine Hastings

    Note: Buster, named “the happiest dog in Scotland” is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier who had to have his tail amputated due to excessive wagging. Reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on November 13, 2017
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  21. Gratitude expressed by 4 members:

  22. TopTop #3582
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Advent Lament Psalm


    Mother of us all,
    our hearts are like burned landscapes
    pleading for water

    We are dry, helpless
    not knowing how to birth you
    in this dark hate place

    Yet, in times like this
    our ancestors called on you
    and You guided them

    The people in fear
    fractured within and without
    and You came to them

    Shine into us now
    make our land fertile again
    hearts watered with Light
    Pregnant with the light

    - Ruah Bull
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  23. Gratitude expressed by 5 members:

  24. TopTop #3583
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Tell

    Here we walk through the woods


    down a road

    paved with two words:

    us.



    The hour before dawn is the hour

    when dawn will never come,

    waiting to be born

    for breakfast.



    I give you only masterpieces.

    Because since your arms are already wide enough

    to go around the whole world and hug it

    nothing less will fit them.



    Take responsibility for this secret.

    Tell everyone.

    - Bruce Moody
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  26. TopTop #3584
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Coyotes

    Is this world truly fallen? They say no.
    For there's the new moon, there's the Milky Way,
    There's the rattler with a wren's egg in its mouth,
    And there's the panting rabbit they will eat.
    They sing their wild hymn on the dark slope,
    Reading the stars like notes of hilarious music.
    Is this a fallen world? How could it be?

    And yet we're crying over the stars again,
    And over the uncertainty of death,
    Which we suspect will divide us all forever.
    I'm tired of those who broadcast their certainties,
    Constantly on their cell phones to their redeemer.
    Is this a fallen world? For them it is.
    But there's that starlit burst of animal laughter.

    The day has sent its fires scattering.
    The night has risen from its burning bed.
    Our tears are proof that love is meant for life
    And for the living. And this chorus of praise,
    Which the pet dogs of the neighborhood are answering
    Nostalgically, invites our answer, too.
    Is this a fallen world? How could it be?

    - Mark Jarman
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  27. Gratitude expressed by 6 members:

  28. TopTop #3585
    wisewomn's Avatar
    wisewomn
     

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Lovely poem, Larry. Thanks for sharing. It reminded me of Mary Oliver's wonderful poem, a kind of corollary:


    WILD GEESE


    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.


    Mary Oliver



    Quote Larry Robinson wrote: View Post
    Coyotes

    Is this world truly fallen? They say no.
    For there's the new moon, there's the Milky Way,
    There's the rattler with a wren's egg in its mouth,
    And there's the panting rabbit they will eat.
    They sing their wild hymn on the dark slope,
    Reading the stars like notes of hilarious music.
    Is this a fallen world? How could it be?

    And yet we're crying over the stars again,
    And over the uncertainty of death,
    Which we suspect will divide us all forever.
    I'm tired of those who broadcast their certainties,
    Constantly on their cell phones to their redeemer.
    Is this a fallen world? For them it is.
    But there's that starlit burst of animal laughter.

    The day has sent its fires scattering.
    The night has risen from its burning bed.
    Our tears are proof that love is meant for life
    And for the living. And this chorus of praise,
    Which the pet dogs of the neighborhood are answering
    Nostalgically, invites our answer, too.
    Is this a fallen world? How could it be?

    - Mark Jarman
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  29. Gratitude expressed by:

  30. TopTop #3586
    Roland Jacopetti's Avatar
    Roland Jacopetti
    Supporting Member

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    And thanks to Larry, too, of course!
    Quote Larry Robinson wrote: View Post
    Coyotes

    Is this world truly fallen? They say no.
    For there's the new moon, there's the Milky Way,
    There's the rattler with a wren's egg in its mouth,
    And there's the panting rabbit they will eat.
    They sing their wild hymn on the dark slope,
    Reading the stars like notes of hilarious music.
    Is this a fallen world? How could it be?

    And yet we're crying over the stars again,
    And over the uncertainty of death,
    Which we suspect will divide us all forever.
    I'm tired of those who broadcast their certainties,
    Constantly on their cell phones to their redeemer.
    Is this a fallen world? For them it is.
    But there's that starlit burst of animal laughter.

    The day has sent its fires scattering.
    The night has risen from its burning bed.
    Our tears are proof that love is meant for life
    And for the living. And this chorus of praise,
    Which the pet dogs of the neighborhood are answering
    Nostalgically, invites our answer, too.
    Is this a fallen world? How could it be?

    - Mark Jarman
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  31. Gratitude expressed by:

  32. TopTop #3587
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    “Monday Monday, can’t trust that day”

    The woman with the suitcase

    I. BACK
    Monday 10.2.17

    wake up call 4:45 am
    pack a snack water
    wear a warm jacket walk
    hotel to the bus

    hour and a half
    ride through grasslands
    light forest some towns
    arrive at the gate
    Auschwitz
    . . .

    I want to tell you
    you are remembered
    I don’t know you
    I can’t find you among lists of names
    grainy black and white photos

    inside a window box
    thousands of wire-rimmed glasses
    piled willy-nilly in a heap
    . . .

    there is a magnitude
    of this holocaust
    which I cannot grasp
    a level of atrocity
    difficult to fathom
    perhaps the most incredulous
    of my impressions
    is the utter organization
    the mechanistic operation
    of this killing factory
    . . .

    whether Dachau Theresienstadt
    the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC
    the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem
    its thin metal arms and legs sticking into the air
    each with their slanted interpretations
    the genocide is unmistakable

    here in Poland
    in and around orderly buildings
    I peer through barbed wire
    see torn striped clothing
    run my fingers
    along with the brick wall backdrop
    of a firing squad

    gaze at photos of castrated inmates
    hollow-cheeked children stare
    wide-eyed into the unknown
    . . .

    how can I reach you
    any one person unknown
    to cradle your fear
    your suffering
    your disbelief
    hold it as my own
    which in some way it is

    I am among visitors
    from Japan Germany
    other parts of Europe
    young faces drinking in atrocities
    I hear sobbing
    wooden torsos walk through the museum walls
    tour guides tell their stories
    in multiple languages
    so it should not be forgotten

    for a moment I go
    into that trance place
    to honor you
    even the perpetrators
    so hardened off from compassion

    on the bus back to Kraków
    humbled for this life
    I eat my sandwich
    drink water
    embarrassed at the wealth
    of food and drink
    transportation and warmth

    I return to the hotel
    learn of the massive shooting in Las Vegas
    it is still Monday, October 2 2017
    the largest massacre in US history
    a drop in the bucket
    of humans unable to get along
    whether one person or 6 million
    whether a Jew or a Pole
    a white rocker at a concert
    the sacrilege of taking life
    has become the norm
    our human race races
    toward annihilation

    I think of you again
    the person thrown
    into a mass grave
    after the bullets the beatings
    your skeleton shoveled into the furnace
    after the gas
    Auschwitz Aleppo Nagasaki

    are our survivor skills
    stronger than the systematic slaughtering
    engineered with the precision
    of our developed frontal brain?

    what happened?

    I forgot to take a stone from the camp
    to bring home as a remembrance
    maybe just as well
    the stones belong there
    in sacred territory

    II. FORWARD
    1991 to the present

    resilience in the Baltics
    independence from oppression
    capitalism and new energy
    NATO and the EU
    there’s humor optimism
    smart people extol virtues of victory
    I wander north through Vilnius
    my maternal grandfather was born here
    then further north into Latvia
    search for the hometown
    of my paternal grandmother
    its name not on a map
    the territory occupied by many regimes
    in a few short years
    I can’t quite find the “old country” where
    Grandma Becky left her home
    as a young woman seeking
    a new life taking
    only her suitcase
    with the requisite candlesticks

    III. BACK AND FORWARD
    Monday 10.9.17

    still in Riga with its
    vitality and rich chocolate
    awake to the ping
    an email around 4 a.m.
    my neighborhood evacuations
    northern California on alert
    safe not safe
    national news disaster zone

    up by day more touring more chocolate
    restored buildings opulence of castles
    collections pilfered through centuries
    Tallinn Helsinki St. Petersburg
    pride of history celebrating culture

    by night hours in bed linking
    to a newly charred past
    through the 2.5 x 4 inch smart phone screen
    streaming KSRO across the Atlantic

    flames first responders
    yelling “get out get out”
    coverage of my neighborhood
    one street over
    chaos fear dread
    then the aerial photos
    it’s gone all of it
    structures car computer
    all records
    memorabilia
    the entire neighborhood
    it’s gone all of it

    a different kind of firing squad
    not the systematic mechanized way
    of the Nazi empire
    but random capricious fire
    ashes ashes
    they all fell down
    a tree stands amid its dead brothers
    and the stones remain
    sacred territory

    I have returned like Dorothy from OZ
    I have become what I sought to understand
    homeless ungrounded fractured
    moving to new territory
    with only the clothes I brought with me

    I have become the woman
    with the suitcase
    not grasping my
    grandmother’s adventure
    to get out
    but now learning to navigate
    my own where
    I cannot go back in

    - Sharon Bard
    Last edited by Bella Stolz; 12-12-2017 at 08:48 PM.
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  33. Gratitude expressed by 2 members:

  34. TopTop #3588
    M/M's Avatar
    M/M
     

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    I wish you much greening and renewal, as you face your own personal 'ground zero'....

    Quote Larry Robinson wrote: View Post
    “Monday Monday, can’t trust that day”

    The woman with the suitcase...
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  35. Gratitude expressed by 2 members:

  36. TopTop #3589
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    We Breathe You


    There was a curious dusting of a talcum-like substance on my car one morning last week.

    I drove away. It flew off, disappearing into the air.

    Then it came to me.

    The fires.

    The terrible, terrible fires reducing your homes, your towns, even some of you into fine ash and carried on the wind thirty, forty, fifty, miles off.

    We read newspapers, see the pictures and videos, wring our hands and pray.

    My wife packed blankets, pillows, food and water.
    “Paper says you can leave them at Community Market. They’ll get them to the victims.”

    I couldn’t get into the market’s driveway for the long lines of those dropping off their boxes filled with concern and love.

    Heard that I could take the items to a union hall – “We hoped to get enough to fill a semi truckload,” the man at the hall said, “but we got that on the first day, we’re sending another.”

    So many good people.

    And the ash of your homes, towns, of you - we breathe it in taking you into our bodies - you literally become us - streaming through our hearts.


    - Armando Garcia-Dávila
    September 2015
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  37. Gratitude expressed by 3 members:

  38. TopTop #3590
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    The Yellow Leaf


    In Washington Square Park


    A yellow leaf
    drifts
    slowly down,
    turning langorously
    like a swimmer afloat
    on gentle waves.
    I watch it go
    down,
    slantwise,
    down
    till it is lost
    in a patch of pale asters.

    “Do it again!”
    I cry, almost aloud.
    But no.
    Never again.
    Never in the history of the universe
    past and to come
    will it happen again.

    And so, the moments of my life
    each unique, inimitable, irretrievable,
    gone forever.

    And yet,
    unlike that singular leaf,
    another follows,
    and another
    giving the illusion
    of immortality.

    - Nina Mermey Klippel
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  39. Gratitude expressed by 4 members:

  40. TopTop #3591
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Protest

    To sin by silence, when we should protest,
    Makes cowards out of men. The human race
    Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
    Against injustice, ignorance, and lust,
    The inquisition yet would serve the law,
    And guillotines decide our least disputes.
    The few who dare, must speak and speak again
    To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
    No vested power in this great day and land
    Can gag or throttle. Press and voice may cry
    Loud disapproval of existing ills;
    May criticise oppression and condemn
    The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
    That let the children and childbearers toil
    To purchase ease for idle millionaires.

    Therefore I do protest against the boast
    Of independence in this mighty land.
    Call no chain strong, which holds one rusted link.
    Call no land free, that holds one fettered slave.
    Until the manacled slim wrists of babes
    Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee,
    Until the mother bears no burden, save
    The precious one beneath her heart, until
    God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
    And given back to labor, let no man
    Call this the land of freedom.

    - Ella Wheeler
    (1914)
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  41. Gratitude expressed by 4 members:

  42. TopTop #3592
    Roland Jacopetti's Avatar
    Roland Jacopetti
    Supporting Member

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Strong stuff! And never so important as right this moment!

    Quote Larry Robinson wrote: View Post
    Protest

    To sin by silence, when we should protest,
    Makes cowards out of men. The human race
    Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
    Against injustice, ignorance, and lust,
    The inquisition yet would serve the law,
    And guillotines decide our least disputes.
    The few who dare, must speak and speak again
    To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
    No vested power in this great day and land
    Can gag or throttle. Press and voice may cry
    Loud disapproval of existing ills;
    May criticise oppression and condemn
    The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
    That let the children and childbearers toil
    To purchase ease for idle millionaires.

    Therefore I do protest against the boast
    Of independence in this mighty land.
    Call no chain strong, which holds one rusted link.
    Call no land free, that holds one fettered slave.
    Until the manacled slim wrists of babes
    Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee,
    Until the mother bears no burden, save
    The precious one beneath her heart, until
    God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
    And given back to labor, let no man
    Call this the land of freedom.

    - Ella Wheeler
    (1914)
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  43. Gratitude expressed by:

  44. TopTop #3593
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Finding The Space In The Heart

    I first saw it in the sixties,
    driving a Volkswagen camper
    with a fierce gay poet and a
    lovely but dangerous girl with a husky voice,

    we came down from Canada
    on the dry east side of the ranges. Grand Coulee, Blue
    Mountains, lava flow caves,
    the Alvord desert—pronghorn ranges—
    and the glittering obsidian-paved
    dirt track toward Vya,
    seldom-seen roads late September and
    thick frost at dawn; then
    follow a canyon and suddenly open to
    silvery flats that curved over the edge

    O, ah! The
    awareness of emptiness
    brings forth a heart of compassion!

    We followed the rim of the playa
    to a bar where the roads end
    and over a pass into Pyramid Lake
    from the Smoke Creek side,
    by the ranches of wizards
    who follow the tipi path.
    The next day we reached San Francisco
    in a time when it seemed
    the world might head a new way.

    And again, in the seventies, back from
    Montana, I recklessly pulled off the highway
    took a dirt track onto the flats,
    got stuck—scared the kids—slept the night,
    and the next day sucked free and went on.

    Fifteen years passed. In the eighties
    With my lover I went where the roads end.
    Walked the hills for a day,
    looked out where it all drops away,
    discovered a path
    of carved stone inscriptions tucked into the sagebrush

    “Stomp out greed”
    “The best things in life are not things”

    words placed by an old desert sage.

    Faint shorelines seen high on these slopes,
    long gone Lake Lahontan,
    cutthroat trout spirit in silt—
    Columbian Mammoth bones
    four hundred feet up on the wave-etched
    beach ledge; curly-horned
    desert sheep outlines pecked into the rock,

    and turned the truck onto the playa
    heading for know-not,
    bone-gray dust boiling and billowing,
    mile after mile, trackless and featureless,
    let the car coast to a halt
    on the crazed cracked
    flat hard face where
    winter snow spirals, and
    summer sun bakes like a kiln.
    Off nowhere, to be or not be,

    all equal, far reaches, no bounds.
    Sound swallowed away
    no waters, no mountains, no
    bush no grass and
    because no grass
    no shade but your shadow.
    No flatness because no not-flatness.
    No loss, no gain. So—
    nothing in the way!
    —the ground is the sky
    the sky is the ground,
    no place between, just

    wind-whip breeze,
    tent-mouth leeward,
    time being here.
    We meet heart to heart,
    leg hard-twined to leg,
    with a kiss that goes to the bone.
    Dawn sun comes straight in the eye. The tooth
    of a far peak called King Lear.

    Now in the nineties desert night
    —my lover’s my wife—
    old friends, old trucks, drawn around;
    great arcs of kids on bikes out there in darkness
    no lights—just planet Venus glinting
    by the calyx crescent moon,
    and tasting grasshoppers roasted in a pan.

    They all somehow swarm down here—
    sons and daughters in the circle
    eating grasshoppers grimacing,

    singing sūtras for the insects in the wilderness,

    —the wideness, the
    foolish loving spaces

    full of heart.

    Walking on walking,
    under foot earth turns

    Streams and mountains never stay the same.


    The space goes on.
    But the wet black brush
    tip drawn to a point,
    lifts away.

    - Gary Snyder

    Marin-an 1956—Kitkitdizze 1996
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  45. Gratitude expressed by 3 members:

  46. TopTop #3594
    Ronaldo's Avatar
    Ronaldo
     

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Name:  Leaf.jpg
Views: 56
Size:  95.4 KB
    Photo: William Rain
    Last edited by Bella Stolz; Yesterday at 09:38 AM.
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  47. TopTop #3595
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Late Autumn

    Late Autumn's shiver peels loose
    the petals the sun warmed in summer
    preparing for the sharp winds and fury
    of rains, winter's threshold the startled
    psyche now crosses.
    The fall, harbinger of changing moods,
    pulled the net of the lowering sun into the
    sleek inlets of contemplation, inviting impasse
    and withdrawal. November air freezes the
    nailed,half-peeled calender page that signals
    the solstice and the bracing for the cold and
    demanding days ahead. Already we've seen
    geese on their flights spreading omens of
    change. For some winter will signal renewed
    intentions while for others unfinished chores
    will have to wait. We will survive and in time
    bless this cycle as the song that endures
    in the sound of adversity with it's brave note
    of will and self-forgiveness.
    Such sounds were heard in Fall's elegies
    of birds, moods felt in the trees' disrobing of
    their colored leaves, flowers tearful in the morning's
    veils of frost. Now the earth will become even more
    reclusive. Windows will darken, maybe our spirits
    as well. Sudden December will pull away from
    much of what's tentative and irresolute inside us,
    precipitating perhaps an adaptation to a deeper
    and unstoppable will. Late Autumn is the corridor
    preceding a sharp shift. It allows us to shelter
    in our gathered bedding for that nestled gift of
    intimate sleep.

    - Rich Meyers
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  48. Gratitude expressed by:

    M/M
  49. TopTop #3596
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Season of skinny candles

    A row of tall skinny candles burns
    quickly into the night
    air, the shames* raised
    over the rest
    for its hard work.

    Darkness rushes in
    after the sun sinks
    like a bright plug pulled.
    Our eyes drown in night
    thick as ink pudding.

    When even the moon
    starves to a sliver
    of quicksilver
    the little candles poke
    holes in the blackness.

    A time to eat fat
    and oil, a time to gamble
    for pennies and gambol

    - Marge Piercy

    *shames: the middle candle that lights the others every night
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