Poetry Sunday: Raymond Carver

Happiness by Raymond Carver

So early it’s still almost dark out.
I’m near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren’t saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other’s arm.
It’s early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn’t enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

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Poetry Sunday: Maya Angelou

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Poetry Sunday: John Keats

I heard this narrated by the illustrious Benedict Cumberbatch online the other day and while it is an amazing poem, it definitely sounds better coming from his British lips.
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Ode To A Nightingale by John Keats
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
         My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
         One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
         But being too happy in thine happiness,—
                That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
                        In some melodious plot
         Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
                Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
         Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
         Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
         Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
                With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
                        And purple-stained mouth;
         That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
                And with thee fade away into the forest dim:
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
         What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
         Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
         Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
                Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
                        And leaden-eyed despairs,
         Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
                Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
         Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
         Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
         And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
                Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays;
                        But here there is no light,
         Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
                Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
         Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
         Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
         White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
                Fast fading violets cover’d up in leaves;
                        And mid-May’s eldest child,
         The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
                The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
         I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
         To take into the air my quiet breath;
                Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
         To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
                While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
                        In such an ecstasy!
         Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—
                   To thy high requiem become a sod.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
         No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
         In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
         Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
                She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
                        The same that oft-times hath
         Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam
                Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
         To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
         As she is fam’d to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
         Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
                Up the hill-side; and now ’tis buried deep
                        In the next valley-glades:
         Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
                Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?

I Am She That Drowns Thee

They cautioned me not to turn into her, the woman that occupies too much space. My body stands resolute in doorways, my shoulders fill their frames. My steps do not falter in walking, nor my voice in talking. I am she that does not comprehend the skill of disintegration, of falling to pieces like a vase thrown in the heat of a fight. The fragile pieces of broken china hold no resemblance to me, but their sharp edges that pierce like knives mimic the daggers slung from my eyes. This is a savage, a stag, an ocean transferable, and I am she who is competent enough to drown thee. I am capable of being your undoing, of making your life disappear into the periphery evermore. I will make you an aside in the stories of antiquity, a digression in pub conversation, and the target of quips wherever you may go. You told me to be subdued, and forgot about me as I faded into the darkness. The darkness welcomed me, chewed me up and spat me out as dark as the holes in the universe that swallow the stars. And now I swallow the galaxies around me, a violence that takes up more space than you could possibly imagine. I asked you why I could not be supernova instead of a spark, and all you did was snigger.

inspired by [x]

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I Search For You In The Shadows

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Is it possible 

To fall in love with one you’ve never known,

With one you’ve never met? 

I feel as though I’m tied

To some distant raging shore,

Where thunderclouds fill the skies

And darkness is welcomed and embraced.

I search for you in the shadows.

I can feel you just there

In the corner of my eye.

I turn to see your face,

And it’s just a breeze come to greet me. 

I know I’ve felt your kisses

In the raindrops of the Spring

And the gentle Summer sunlight streaming through my window 

Caressing my cheek ’till I awake.

Perhaps that’s how it’s meant to be,

Just glimpses of affection to help us believe

That goodness yet prevails.

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Nature Laughs in Spring

The sunlight is knocking on our doors,

Begging us to come out and play.

The air has grown pleasant and warm

As inviting as the embrace of a friend.

The sleepy city begins to wake

And people rub their tired eyes.

The sun is chasing away the gloom of wintry weather

The darkness of the months past

And calls us into the days

Filled with life and light

And warmth and colour.

The ground awakens and bursts forth in glorious hues,

And the winds that twist around the city

Are the yawns of the earth and its great inhalations breathe energy into humanity.

There are smiles and laughter floating around the Commons

With music and voices carrying from one group to another.

The earth rejoices

And Nature laughs.

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04:00

When the music’s stopped and the moon’s gone away, the hour’s come, your feet to stray.

Walking the dimly lit streets, watching the trains go by with empty seats.

How long until the world begins to fade, when it’s gone to ebony ‘stead of jade.

Tired feet to carry you home, passing houses and churches and domes.

A warm summer breeze with the small bite of autumn, giving reminder so as not to be forgotten.

Stars shine down in celestial glory, what if, what if they could tell their story?

Birdsong in flight long left behind, time and the dawn have yet to blind.

To sleep again they go, to wait out the demons fighting below.

The war does rage on, in silence they grapple with swords drawn.

Monsters ascend from the deepest  of anguish, yearning for their minds to wither and languish.

These fiends they battle in the light of day cannot their bodies touch or slay.

Their minds and hearts strain ‘neath the weight, begging for the torture to abate.

So come and see all you who stand on by, the warriors in combat with odds defied.

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