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  1. TopTop #4321
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    A Map to the Next World
    for Desiray Kierra Chee

    In the last days of the fourth world I wished to make a map for
    those who would climb through the hole in the sky.

    My only tools were the desires of humans as they emerged
    from the killing fields, from the bedrooms and the kitchens.
    For the soul is a wanderer with many hands and feet.

    The map must be of sand and can’t be read by ordinary light. It
    must carry fire to the next tribal town, for renewal of spirit.

    In the legend are instructions on the language of the land, how it
    was we forgot to acknowledge the gift, as if we were not in it or of it.

    Take note of the proliferation of supermarkets and malls, the
    altars of money. They best describe the detour from grace.

    Keep track of the errors of our forgetfulness; the fog steals our
    children while we sleep.

    Flowers of rage spring up in the depression. Monsters are born
    there of nuclear anger.

    Trees of ashes wave good-bye to good-bye and the map appears to
    disappear.

    We no longer know the names of the birds here, how to speak to
    them by their personal names.

    Once we knew everything in this lush promise.

    What I am telling you is real and is printed in a warning on the
    map. Our forgetfulness stalks us, walks the earth behind us, leav-
    ing a trail of paper diapers, needles, and wasted blood.

    An imperfect map will have to do, little one.

    The place of entry is the sea of your mother’s blood, your father’s
    small death as he longs to know himself in another.

    There is no exit.

    The map can be interpreted through the wall of the intestine—a
    spiral on the road of knowledge.

    You will travel through the membrane of death, smell cooking
    from the encampment where our relatives make a feast of fresh
    deer meat and corn soup, in the Milky Way.

    They have never left us; we abandoned them for science.

    And when you take your next breath as we enter the fifth world
    there will be no X, no guidebook with words you can carry.

    You will have to navigate by your mother’s voice, renew the song
    she is singing.

    Fresh courage glimmers from planets.

    And lights the map printed with the blood of history, a map you
    will have to know by your intention, by the language of suns.

    When you emerge note the tracks of the monster slayers where they
    entered the cities of artificial light and killed what was killing us.

    You will see red cliffs. They are the heart, contain the ladder.

    A white deer will greet you when the last human climbs from the
    destruction.

    Remember the hole of shame marking the act of abandoning our
    tribal grounds.

    We were never perfect.

    Yet, the journey we make together is perfect on this earth who was
    once a star and made the same mistakes as humans.

    We might make them again, she said.

    Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.

    You must make your own map.

    - Joy Harjo
    Last edited by Barry; 10-14-2019 at 03:16 PM.
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  3. TopTop #4322
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Theme for English B


    The instructor said,

    Go home and write
    a page tonight.
    And let that page come out of you—
    Then, it will be true.

    I wonder if it's that simple?
    I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.
    I went to school there, then Durham, then here
    to this college on the hill above Harlem.
    I am the only colored student in my class.
    The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem,
    through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,
    Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y,
    the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator
    up to my room, sit down, and write this page:

    It's not easy to know what is true for you or me
    at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I'm what
    I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you:
    hear you, hear me—we two—you, me, talk on this page.
    (I hear New York, too.) Me—who?
    Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
    I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.
    I like a pipe for a Christmas present,
    or records—Bessie, bop, or Bach.
    I guess being colored doesn't make me not like
    the same things other folks like who are other races.
    So will my page be colored that I write?

    Being me, it will not be white.
    But it will be
    a part of you, instructor.
    You are white—
    yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
    That's American.
    Sometimes perhaps you don't want to be a part of me.
    Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
    But we are, that's true!
    As I learn from you,
    I guess you learn from me—
    although you're older—and white—
    and somewhat more free.

    This is my page for English B.

    - Langston Hughes
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  5. TopTop #4323
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    The Story

    Once upon a time the farmer's wife
    told it to her children while she scrubbed potatoes.
    There were wise ravens in it, and a witch
    who flew into such a rage she turned to brass.

    The story wandered about the countryside until
    adopted by the palace waiting maids
    who endowed it with three magic golden rings
    and a handsome prince named Felix.

    Now it had both strength and style and visited
    the household of the jolly merchant
    where it was seated by the fire and given
    a fat gray goose and a comic chambermaid.

    One day alas the story got drunk and fell
    in with a crowd of dissolute poets.
    They drenched it with moonlight and fever and fed it
    words from which it never quite recovered.

    Then it was old and haggard and disreputable,
    carousing late at night with defrocked scholars
    and the swaggering sailors in Rattlebone Alley.
    That's where the novelists found it.

    - Fred Chappell
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  7. TopTop #4324
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    won’t you celebrate with me

    won’t you celebrate with me
    what i have shaped into
    a kind of life? i had no model.
    born in babylon
    both nonwhite and woman
    what did i see to be except myself?
    i made it up
    here on this bridge between
    starshine and clay,
    my one hand holding tight
    my other hand; come celebrate
    with me that everyday
    something has tried to kill me
    and has failed.

    - Lucille Clifton
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  9. TopTop #4325
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Were I a Martyr

    I want no flowers,
    no epoch of union,
    no dawn of disunion.
    I want no flowers
    for I am the loveliest flower.
    I want no kisses
    if for a true wrist
    I must hold some knight –
    no epoch of marriage,
    no dawn of divorce,
    no widow’s fever.
    I want no kisses
    if, along with love, I become a martyr.
    I want no tears
    over the coffin or me, a corpse.
    I want no cherry tree of sympathy
    dragged to the walls of my grave,
    no flowers or kisses,
    no tears or miseries.
    Bring nothing.
    Hold nothing.
    I die as a homeland without a flag, without a voice.
    I am grateful.
    I want nothing.
    I will accept nothing.

    - Kajal Ahmad

    (translated from the Kurdish by Darya Ali and Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse )
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  11. TopTop #4326
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Autumn Sky

    In my great grandmother's time,
    All one needed was a broom
    To get to see places
    And give the geese a chase in the sky.



    The stars know everything,
    So we try to read their minds.
    As distant as they are,
    We choose to whisper in their presence.



    Oh Cynthia,
    Take a clock that has lost its hands
    For a ride.
    Get me a room at Hotel Eternity
    Where Time likes to stop now and then.



    Come, lovers of dark corners,
    The sky says,
    And sit in one of my dark corners.
    There are tasty little zeroes
    In the peanut dish tonight.

    - Charles Simic
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  12. TopTop #4327
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Oration: Half-Moon in Vermont

    A horse is shivering flies off its ribs, grazing
    Through the stench of a sodden leachfield.

    On the broken stairs of a trailer
    A laughing fat girl in a T-shirt is pumping
    Milk from her swollen breasts, cats
    Lapping at the trails. There's a sheen of rhubarb
    On her dead fingernail. It's a humid morning.

    Tonight, with the moon washing some stars away,
    She'll go searching for an old bicycle in the shed;
    She'll find his father's treasures:
    Jars full of bent nails, a lacquered bass,
    And the scythe with spiders
    Nesting in the emptiness of the blade
    And in the bow of its pine shaft.
    Milling junk in the dark,

    She'll forget the bicycle, her getaway,
    And rescue
    A color photograph of an old matinee idol.
    Leaving the shed, she'll startle

    An owl out on the marsh. By November
    It will be nailed through the breast to the barn.

    In a year the owl will go on a shelf in the shed
    Where in thirty years there will be a music box
    Containing a lock of hair, her rosaries,
    Her birth certificate,

    And an impossibly sheer, salmon-pink scarf. What
    I want to know of my government is

    Doesn't poverty just fucking break your heart?

    - Norman Dubie
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  14. TopTop #4328
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Findings

    dear god,
    I keep finding you in my poems,
    don’t I?
    I didn’t know I was a believer,
    but I keep calling you out
    and you keep showing up
    like you belong here,
    right in the middle of my thoughts,
    don’t you?
    like you’re at home in my house
    even if I’m not in yours;
    that makes you a generous god,
    if not persistent to the point of obsessive
    for not giving up on me
    knowing I keep giving up on you
    yet calling your names out
    as if I had the copyright to them. Oh lord,
    and you never once threatened me with an infringement suit
    or even complained.
    you just sat here,
    in the middle of my words,
    like you were some regal force of nature
    resplendent
    glorious
    the perfect reference
    inexplicable
    yet understood on every level
    and could rise above even my half-truth invocation of your good name
    as if we were partners in this crime,
    when it is I who am the criminal
    and you, the divine, forgiving law
    that is partner in all things
    believed or not

    - Gary Turchin
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  16. TopTop #4329
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    The Well of Grief

    Those who will not
    slip beneath the still surface
    on the well of grief,
    turning down through its black water
    to the place where we cannot breathe
    will never know the source
    from which we drink the secret water,
    cold and pure,
    nor find in the darkness, glimmering,
    the small round coins thrown by those
    who wished for something else.

    - David Whyte
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  18. TopTop #4330
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Vivas to Those Who Have Failed: The Paterson Silk Strike, 1913


    Vivas to those who have fail'd!
    And to those whose war-vessels sank in the sea!
    And to those themselves who sank in the sea!
    And to all generals that lost engagements, and all overcome heroes!
    And the numberless unknown heroes equal to the greatest heroes known!
    - Walt Whitman


    I. The Red Flag


    The newspapers said the strikers would hoist
    the red flag of anarchy over the silk mills
    of Paterson. At the strike meeting, a dyers' helper
    from Naples rose as if from the steam of his labor,
    lifted up his hand and said here is the red flag:
    brightly stained with dye for the silk of bow ties
    and scarves, the skin and fingernails boiled away
    for six dollars a week in the dye house.


    He sat down without another word, sank back
    into the fumes, name and face rubbed off
    by oblivion's thumb like a Roman coin
    from the earth of his birthplace dug up
    after a thousand years, as the strikers
    shouted the only praise he would ever hear.


    II. The River Floods the Avenue


    He was the other Valentino, not the romantic sheik
    and bullfighter of silent movie palaces who died too young,
    but the Valentino standing on his stoop to watch detectives
    hired by the company bully strikebreakers onto a trolley
    and a chorus of strikers bellowing the banned word scab.
    He was not a striker or a scab, but the bullet fired to scatter
    the crowd pulled the cork in the wine barrel of Valentino's back.
    His body, pale as the wings of a moth, lay beside his big-bellied wife.


    Two white-veiled horses pulled the carriage to the cemetery.
    Twenty thousand strikers walked behind the hearse, flooding
    the avenue like the river that lit up the mills, surging around
    the tombstones. Blood for blood, cried Tresca: at this signal,
    thousands of hands dropped red carnations and ribbons
    into the grave, till the coffin evaporated in a red sea.


    III. The Insects in the Soup


    Reed was a Harvard man. He wrote for the New York magazines.
    Big Bill, the organizer, fixed his good eye on Reed and told him
    of the strike. He stood on a tenement porch across from the mill
    to escape the rain and listen to the weavers. The bluecoats
    told him to move on. The Harvard man asked for a name to go
    with the number on the badge, and the cops tried to unscrew
    his arms from their sockets. When the judge asked his business,
    Reed said: Poet. The judge said: Twenty days in the county jail.


    Reed was a Harvard man. He taught the strikers Harvard songs,
    the tunes to sing with rebel words at the gates of the mill. The strikers
    taught him how to spot the insects in the soup, speaking in tongues
    the gospel of One Big Union and the eight-hour day, cramming the jail
    till the weary jailers had to unlock the doors. Reed would write:
    There's war in Paterson. After it was over, he rode with Pancho Villa.


    IV. The Little Agitator


    The cops on horseback charged into the picket line.
    The weavers raised their hands across their faces,
    hands that knew the loom as their fathers' hands
    knew the loom, and the billy clubs broke their fingers.
    Hannah was seventeen, the captain of the picket line,
    the Joan of Arc of the Silk Strike. The prosecutor called her
    a little agitator. Shame, said the judge; if she picketed again,
    he would ship her to the State Home for Girls in Trenton.


    Hannah left the courthouse to picket the mill. She chased
    a strikebreaker down the street, yelling in Yidish the word
    for shame. Back in court, she hissed at the judge's sentence
    of another striker. Hannah got twenty days in jail for hissing.
    She sang all the way to jail. After the strike came the blacklist,
    the counter at her husband's candy store, the words for shame.


    V. Vivas to Those Who Have Failed


    Strikers without shoes lose strikes. Twenty years after the weavers
    and dyers' helpers returned hollow-eyed to the loom and the steam,
    Mazziotti led the other silk mill workers marching down the avenue
    in Paterson, singing the old union songs for five cents more an hour.
    Once again the nightsticks cracked cheekbones like teacups.
    Mazziotti pressed both hands to his head, squeezing red ribbons
    from his scalp. There would be no buffalo nickel for an hour's work
    at the mill, for the silk of bow ties and scarves. Skull remembered wood.


    The brain thrown against the wall of the skull remembered too:
    the Sons of Italy, the Workmen's Circle, Local 152, Industrial
    Workers of the World, one-eyed Big Bill and Flynn the Rebel Girl
    speaking in tongues to thousands the prophecy of an eight-hour day.
    Mazziotti's son would become a doctor, his daughter a poet.
    Vivas to those who have failed: for they become the river.


    - Martín Espada
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  20. TopTop #4331
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    After the Fire

    What was it like to run
    forced from my home forever?
    A new life to live in a nightmare
    every day tears
    hard acceptance and fear
    then to find daylight
    in all the living so bright
    it burns
    a rose’s heady sweetness of home
    is the same as
    the haunting of wildfire smoke

    The support from so many
    who kept us from falling
    we couldn’t have survived without
    receiving receiving receiving
    help felt like a heart attack
    stretching my big pride pushing it aside
    breaking open
    an already broken heart
    grief breathed into my bones of lead
    a violence
    stuck there in the deep

    Was it all a dream?
    After
    we were refugees
    I remember swimming at a hotel in Healdsburg
    floating in abundant blue
    a cool balm a boon in a strange town
    not home
    nothing of ours known
    but this little box of a room
    held us from sinking

    drinking helped us drift to lift
    the weight of loss to forgetfulness
    dizzy we’d fall into bed
    welcoming the surrender
    we became water

    surreal days followed more surreal days
    and a searing pain without end.

    - Danielle Bryant
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  22. TopTop #4332
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    donald’s trumpet


    donald’s trumpet
    blares itself into
    the peaceful dawn
    shattering the coming light
    into shards of shadow

    bends the truth of trees
    until they
    abandon their nature
    and wish they were
    bushes

    birds
    leave behind
    their co-opted tweets and twitters
    and sway dumb
    above the dark swamps

    children and dogs
    turn the other way

    the deaf tell us
    donald’s trumpet
    is making
    patriotic
    music

    - Vilma Olsvary Ginzberg
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  24. TopTop #4333
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Falling
    In these awe-filled days of fire and flood
    We watch and wait and wonder
    When that fierce hand
    Might reach at last for us.

    Those of us not yet touched by calamity
    Quake, knowing in our bones
    That though we may be spared
    This time, time will level us all.

    No magic amulets, no prayers,
    Good deeds or good looks
    Can promise protection
    From our terminal condition.

    And those who have watched a child
    Swept forever from our arms
    Or fled the flames that swallowed
    Our hopes and our memories
    Or hid from the bombs
    Or the predator’s gaze
    Know that nothing now will ever be the same -

    As if anything ever were.
    For all of us are falling
    Like ashes, like rain,
    Like petals or leaves;
    But we all are falling together.

    And if we knew, in truth,
    There was nowhere to land,
    Tell me: could we know the difference
    Between falling and flying?

    - Larry Robinson
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  26. TopTop #4334
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Paradise Lost/Regained
    (occasioned by Donald Trump’s brief visit to
    the ruins of Paradise, CA —November 17, 2018)


    Swing thuribles lit with sweet flickering
    frankincense and cedar shavings over Paradise
    this place where everything aspired to be pleasant
    when no thing or place ever truly is all good
    Purge us with hyssop and we shall be clean
    Bathe us in the rose water used in Arabia to clean the Kaaba
    and in Persia to prepare graves for the dead
    For evil must be washed away that death have not dominion
    where the land will be reclaimed from possession by monsters

    Bring forth the tincture of a billion blossoms
    The evil creature hath been amongst us
    befouling our wounded land
    with the stench of offal from its breath
    condemning each of us to its lingering presence
    our fate far worse if we do nothing to dissipate
    the foul choking blackening smoke that
    the monster has belched forth and left us
    wearily sickening all the more so that he’d been
    here amongst us during another time of great sorrow


    Gather sage and cedar to smudge the sacred places twice destroyed
    first by fire then by sacrilege to the ancients the Mechoopda
    of the Maidu people whose spirits reside in the central Sierras
    in the watershed area of the Feather and American rivers
    as well as in Humbug Valley Maidu meaning Man
    will persist watching over this land so rudely visited by fire and evil
    Today we chant with them to Creator to restore the trees and native
    plants, grasses, animals ... Everything out here is connected to the lives of
    our Maidu ancestors whom we protect and by whom we are protected
    that such affronts to each and every Mechoopda too shall pass beyond

    - Ed Coletti
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  28. TopTop #4335
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Open

    It is a small step to remember
    how life led to this
    moment's hesitation.

    How the door to the deeper world
    opens, letting the body fall at last,
    toward the few griefs it can call its own.

    Oh yes, I know. Our wings catch fire
    in that downward flight
    and we come to earth afraid
    we can never fly again.

    But then we always knew
    heaven would be a desperate place.
    Everything you desired coming
    in one fearful moment
    to greet you.

    Your full presence only in rest
    and the love that asks nothing.
    The rest where you lie down
    and are no longer found at all.

    - David Whyte




    "Be joyful though you have considered all the facts."
    - Wendell Berry
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  30. TopTop #4336
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Little Thing

    You know
    I have big dreams
    but right now it's the
    little things
    that shockingly matter
    "it's the little things"
    my mom and dad always say
    just on any old
    ordinary day
    not even in the face of fire
    imagine how much
    they would love
    the nuthatches today
    the tender connections
    the glass of water
    clean pillow
    silent fox

    - Amy Elizabeth Robinson
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  32. TopTop #4337
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Sequel to the Woman with the Suitcase


    October 2017: after the Tubbs fire:
    ​I had become the woman with the suitcase, not grasping my grandmother’s adventure
    ​to get out but learning to navigate my own where I could not go back in

    the same purple suitcase sits
    opened on a wooded floor
    twenty-four months later

    I found a way back in
    carved out a tenuous sense of place
    and though flames threaten to annihilate once again
    there’s a new sensation inside
    not intimidated by Nixle warnings, smoky air
    the sounds of air tankers flying overhead

    this time I will not be broken by conflagration
    I have traveled the familiar road before
    I know how to prance like a bedraggled marionette
    through the insurance hoops and debris chaos
    I know about wattles and how to be patient
    I know how to say no, to say not yet, to friends meaning well
    I know how to lie low
    comfort a pounding heart
    be with a screaming amygdala
    I know how to be scared

    this new house may become cinders
    but today I’ve got a compost pile and a piano again
    a perky begonia start unfurls mightily
    next to the N-95 mask
    grass roots communities are
    mushrooming through the
    backdrop of global fragmentation
    soothing embers still sparking within

    in the midst of danger I am surprisingly calm
    my head is clear
    if need be I will start over
    and over again
    like breath

    - sharon bard
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  34. TopTop #4338
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Trick or Treat


    ring the bell
    and don't get caught
    there are monsters
    in the basement
    quiet as a thought

    bracketed by the dark
    is life's drift and mystery
    nothing but noise
    a disposable history

    as involuntary as a hiccup
    the clock endlessly circles
    claims further territory
    brooks no reversal

    amid sunshine and smiles
    a need to masquerade
    only so many heartbeats
    permit this charade

    so trick or treat
    and here is the clue
    tick tock
    tock tick

    boo

    - Les Bernstein
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  36. TopTop #4339
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    All Hallows

    Even now this landscape is assembling.
    The hills darken. The oxen
    sleep in their blue yoke,
    the fields having been
    picked clean, the sheaves
    bound evenly and piled at the roadside
    among cinquefoil, as the toothed moon rises:

    This is the barrenness
    of harvest or pestilence.
    And the wife leaning out the window
    with her hand extended, as in payment,
    and the seeds
    distinct, gold, calling
    Come here
    Come here, little one

    And the soul creeps out of the tree.

    - Louise Glück
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  37. Gratitude expressed by 4 members:

  38. TopTop #4340
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Crone at the Crossroads


    Torchlight flickers
    at the cave entrance,
    an uneasy dance
    between shadow and light
    in deep cavernous passageways
    usually hidden
    behind the veil.

    Like an owl perched atop a willow
    in the dark of a new moon,
    the crone awaits.

    Eyes adjusting to interminable darkness,
    to ever-changing landscape
    all the while peering at the horizon.

    Mother and daughter approach.
    Woven sprigs of sun-warmed dandelion and lavender
    Crown the maiden.
    A garland of perpetual youth
    encircles one too young
    to be Queen of the Underworld.

    Hecate guards a threshold that Demeter must not cross,
    not now,
    not ever.

    Hecate turns toward the void.
    Familiar with the terrain
    Of descent,
    she no longer desires light.

    She knows to pause.
    Her pupils dilate, yielding to Mystery.

    Into the folds of her capacious heart
    she tucks away memories
    Of blossom, of flower, of honey
    To offer her young apprentice

    when a pomegranate seed
    leaves
    a bitter taste
    in her mouth.

    - Brighid FitzGibbon
    Last edited by Barry; 11-03-2019 at 12:40 PM.
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  39. Gratitude expressed by 3 members:

  40. TopTop #4341
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Dear Mother,

    It began with the article about the birds, the 2.9 billion missing North America birds, the 2.9 billion birds that disappeared and no one noticed. The sparrows, black birds, and swallows who didn’t make it, who weren’t ever born, who stopped flying or singing or making their most ingenious nests, who didn’t perch or peck their gentle beaks into moist black earth. It began with the birds. Hadn’t we even commented in June, James and I that they were hardly here? A kind of eerie quiet had descended. But later they came back. The swarms of barn swallows and the huge ravens landing on the gravel one by one. I know it was after hearing about the birds, that afternoon I crashed my bike. Suddenly falling, falling, unable to prevent the catastrophe ahead, unable to find the brakes or make them work, unable to stop the falling. I fell and spun and realized I had already been falling, that we have been falling, all of us, and crows and conifers and ice caps and expectations — falling and falling and I wanted to keep falling. I didn’t want to be here to witness everything falling, missing, bleaching, burning, drying, disappearing, choking, never blooming. I didn’t want to live without the birds or bees and sparkling flies that light the summer nights. I didn’t want to live with hunger that turned us feral or desperation that gave us claws. I wanted to fall and fall into the deepest, darkest ground and be finally still and buried there.

    But Mother, you had other plans. The bike landed in grass and dirt and bang, I was ten-years-old, fallen in the road, my knees scraped and bloody. And I realized that even then nature was something foreign and cruel, something that could and would hurt me because everything I had ever known or loved that was grand and powerful and beautiful became foreign and cruel and eventually hurt me. Even then I had already been exiled, or so I felt, forever cast out of the forest. I belonged with the broken, the contaminated, the dead.

    Maybe it was the sharp pain in my knee and elbow, or the dirt embedded in my new jacket, maybe it was the shock or the realization that death was preferable to the thick tar of grief coagulated in my chest, or maybe it was just the lonely rattling of the spokes of the bicycle wheel still spinning without me. Whatever it was. It broke. It broke. I heard the howling.

    Mother, I am the reason the birds are missing. I am the cause of salmon who cannot spawn and the butterflies unable to take their journey home. I am the coral reef bleached death white and the sea boiling with methane. I am the millions running from lands that have dried, forests that are burning or islands drowned in water.

    I didn’t see you, Mother. You were nothing to me. My trauma-made arrogance and ambition drove me to the that cracking pulsing city. Chasing a dream, chasing the prize, the achievement that would finally prove I wasn’t bad or stupid or nothing or wrong. Oh my Mother, what contempt I had for you. What did you have to offer that would give me status in the market place of ideas and achieving? What could your bare trees offer but the staggering aloneness of winter or greenness I could not receive or bear. I reduced you to weather, an inconvenience, something that got in my way, dirty slush that ruined my overpriced city boots with salt. I refused your invitation, scorned your generosity, held suspicion for your love. I ignored all the ways we used and abused you. I pretended to believe the stories of the fathers who said you had to be tamed and controlled — that you were out to get us.

    I press my bruised body down on your grassy belly, breathing me in and out. I have missed you, Mother. I have been away so long. I am sorry. I am so sorry.

    I am made of dirt and grit and stars and river, skin, bone, leaf, whiskers and claws. I am a part of you, of this, nothing more or less. I am mycelium, petal pistil and stamen. I am branch and hive and trunk and stone. I am what has been here and what is coming. I am energy and I am dust. I am wave and I am wonder. I am an impulse and an order. I am perfumed peonies and the single parasol tree in the African savannah. I am lavender, dandelion, daisy, dahlia, cosmos, chrysanthemum, pansy, bleeding heart and rose. I am all that has been named and unnamed, all that has been gathered and all that has been left alone. I am all your missing creatures, all the sweet birds never born. I am daughter. I am caretaker. I am fierce defender. I am griever. I am bandit. I am baby. I am supplicant. I am here now, Mother. I am yours. I am yours. I am yours.

    - Eve Ensler
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  41. Gratitude expressed by 4 members:

  42. TopTop #4342
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    The Last Hotel Room in Sacramento

    This time when the fires came, we drove east
    past still-charred hills
    and vineyards that escaped the flames,
    over the Napa wetlands and through bucolic pastures.
    Disaster clung to us despite the miles:
    Smoke in our clothes, worry in our words.
    Our phones trembled uncontrollably.

    In Sacramento we wandered the motel strip like Mary and Joseph,
    No Vacancy signs bright as Christmas.
    Despondent and worn, we arrive at last at the Motel 6 by the railroad tracks.
    Gerald has one room left,
    “But I can’t let you have it because the sink is broken.”

    We stood tall and pleaded our case
    to a man younger than our youngest daughter.
    A man whose eyes have not stung from acrid smoke
    or seen fear on a neighbor’s face.
    A lucky man who will go home tonight and lay his head on his own pillow,
    still unaware that sometimes even the shabbiest room
    can shine with its own desperate beauty.

    - Melissa Kelley
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  43. Gratitude expressed by 3 members:

  44. TopTop #4343
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    For my Mother


    “we die for each other” she said

    yes, I answered, it’s so true

    over and over and over

    my thoughts on this

    swirled to a silent music
    from some real place inside

    a comfort place

    where reminders live

    that it really is all about love
    and forgiveness

    and lord knows she and I have had plenty

    of ways to practice this

    plenty of ways to fail at this


    I have been too mixed up

    to hear that music much
    My regret moves as heart pains

    Her regret stirs as growing cancer

    There is little to calm the grief

    only surrender, only service

    But the music is getting louder
    And I do think we are both finally succeeding

    At life

    By dying for each other


    - jul bystrova
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  45. Gratitude expressed by:

    M/M
  46. TopTop #4344

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    "Being is dying by loving." - Meher Baba
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  47. TopTop #4345
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    There’s A Package Downstairs

    What are you doing up there? There’s a package downstairs, From the White House, it’s true, And it’s for you.
    It’s filled with everything you’ve ever wanted, All the love you ever needed,
    Every dream of yours come true,
    And it’s for you.
    There’s a package downstairs,
    Where there is no law,
    And everyone’s fed by the president’s paw, And it’s for you.
    There’s a package downstairs,
    Where there are no rules,
    And all the kids have burnt down the schools, And it’s for you.
    There’s a package downstairs, Where everyone lies,
    And the fruit of the truth,
    Is covered with flies.
    There’s a package downstairs,
    Where no one is clean,
    And everyone watches a forty-inch screen,
    But the drugs that they take makes everyone mean.
    There’s a package downstairs, And it’s chock full of money, Where nothing is paid for,
    And everything’s funny,
    And it’s for you.
    There’s a package downstairs,
    That’s filled with delights,
    But all that’s required is to give up your rights, And it’s for you.
    There’s a package downstairs, And all will be well,
    If you give up your soul,
    And join them in hell.
    There’s a package downstairs, That was sent by a fool,
    Who lives in a white house... And it’s for you.

    - Salvatore Murdocca
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  48. Gratitude expressed by 3 members:

  49. TopTop #4346
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Say Yes

    The moment I slipped my arms
    into the poem of falling leaves
    shrugged my shoulders just so
    the threads of mystery in the fabric
    pulled my body straight

    This poem, an old jacket passed down
    to my waiting hands
    its elbows and cuffs shedding
    old language of wonder and hope
    was a perfect fit

    This poem of crying violins
    rusting sunsets, broken hearts
    and lavender mornings
    wrapped around my aching heart
    and said yes, no matter what, yes

    The music will sound, your friend will come
    the bread will rise and the birds will sing
    You are not the first and not the last
    Say yes, no matter what, say yes.

    - Doug von Koss
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  50. Gratitude expressed by 8 members:

  51. TopTop #4347
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    A Brave And Startling Truth

    We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
    Traveling through casual space
    Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
    To a destination where all signs tell us
    It is possible and imperative that we learn
    A brave and startling truth

    And when we come to it
    To the day of peacemaking
    When we release our fingers
    From fists of hostility
    And allow the pure air to cool our palms

    When we come to it
    When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
    And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
    When battlefields and coliseum
    No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
    Up with the bruised and bloody grass
    To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

    When the rapacious storming of the churches
    The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
    When the pennants are waving gaily
    When the banners of the world tremble
    Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

    When we come to it
    When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
    And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
    When land mines of death have been removed
    And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
    When religious ritual is not perfumed
    By the incense of burning flesh
    And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
    By nightmares of abuse

    When we come to it
    Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
    With their stones set in mysterious perfection
    Nor the Gardens of Babylon
    Hanging as eternal beauty
    In our collective memory
    Not the Grand Canyon
    Kindled into delicious color
    By Western sunsets

    Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
    Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
    Stretching to the Rising Sun
    Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
    Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
    These are not the only wonders of the world

    When we come to it
    We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
    Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
    Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
    We, this people on this mote of matter
    In whose mouths abide cankerous words
    Which challenge our very existence
    Yet out of those same mouths
    Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
    That the heart falters in its labor
    And the body is quieted into awe

    We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
    Whose hands can strike with such abandon
    That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
    Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
    That the haughty neck is happy to bow
    And the proud back is glad to bend
    Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
    We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

    When we come to it
    We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
    Created on this earth, of this earth
    Have the power to fashion for this earth
    A climate where every man and every woman
    Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
    Without crippling fear

    When we come to it
    We must confess that we are the possible
    We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
    That is when, and only when
    We come to it.

    - Maya Angelou
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  52. Gratitude expressed by 4 members:

  53. TopTop #4348
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Beneath the Surface

    Beneath the surface
    a firefighter reflects,
    even cries.
    They did it — they didn’t let the fire
    spread beyond 101.
    They were not going to repeat
    what happened two years ago.
    They were not going to
    let this one kill more people and
    burn thousands of homes.
    Beneath the surface
    even though 77,000 acres burned,
    they succeeded.

    Beneath the surface
    the new CEO of PG&E gets a
    2.5 million dollar salary.
    What if that money went to
    update equipment, poles,
    put wires underground?

    Beneath the surface we pay our
    electric bill by flashlight.

    Beneath the surface
    no matter how many households
    had their electricity shut off
    a single jumper on a tower broke
    and set off a spark
    that seems to have started it all.*

    Beneath the surface
    I’m exhausted from carrying around
    all my valuables in and out of my car
    for four days.
    Bad air still hurts my lungs,
    I had to cancel my class and now
    I’m in bed with a cold.
    I blew a fuse last night.
    Did they turn our power off again?
    No, I still see light in the next room,
    but how that thought sent panic
    through my body.

    Above the surface
    we’ll get past this one.
    Friends will help friends
    and life will go on.

    But beneath the surface
    we are living powerless to the wind,
    in fear of flames
    and always knowing what we will pack
    the next time around.

    - Sherrie Lovler
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  54. Gratitude expressed by 4 members:

  55. TopTop #4349
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Anthem for Doomed Youth

    What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
    — Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
    Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
    Can patter out their hasty orisons.
    No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
    Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
    The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
    And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

    What candles may be held to speed them all?
    Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
    Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
    The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
    Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
    And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

    - Wilfred Owen
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  56. Gratitude expressed by 2 members:

  57. TopTop #4350
    Larry Robinson's Avatar
    WaccoBB Poet Laureate

    Re: Poem for the day from Larry Robinson

    Autumn Comes To Healdsburg

    Fall arrives, time’s most favored season
    at last the heart, the mind loosens its fist so that I no longer need to know who I am
    i return to the hills and the great presences
    light, heat, clouds, the bull pines
    to recover for myself the purity of the falling world to enfold it like a pearl in the mind’s silence
    i read the calligraphy of the oaks under
    the fading skies, the tall grass bending in the meadow, the last robins— i am a circle reaching
    the first place for the first time
    in youth among fall leaves i refused
    to acknowledge the ancient writing—
    that the basket of summer empties, that the hours of men are as wind-driven clouds
    and yet among fall leaves
    i was overjoyed with the beauty of loss
    now i stand on autumn’s wooded knoll that my life too may vanish
    that night may fall into the earth’s arms
    time is calling her trout from
    their playgrounds in the sea
    to river mouth, and redemption, and fury
    for it is by means of the long delay
    that we come to the righteousness of passion.

    - Lee Perron
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  58. Gratitude expressed by 4 members:

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