>A Handful of Poems

>

I’ve been reading a lot of poetry lately. Perhaps a little too much even because my mums getting a bit worried, wondering if I’m love sick.

I’ve left off reading poetry for some time because 2 and a half years of over analyzing and dissecting poems leaves you in serious poetry withdrawal. After trying to fit in a quivering mass of imagery, fragments of form and remotely related themes (I’ve grown to detest that word) into four pages of foolscap in 25 minutes over and over again, you tend to forget that the real reason you’re doing the subject is because you actually have a genuine love for literature.

So it’s really a relief to be able to read poetry without having to worry about its meter, agonize over the importance of every single word, argue about the inclusion of certain poems in the anthology (Miss, how on earth did Michael Jackson end up in our book? Soon, MR’s budget speech will be included in the short story anthology in the next syllabus.), and bicker over themes which aren’t even distantly related to the poem. For instance when you thought Frost’s ‘Out, Out’ was a beautifully written piece about the impermanence of life it turns out that the theme is actually child labour and industrialization.

Of course, it is. My bad.

I’m hoping to step out of my comfort zone and develop a liking for the deeper ones. While reading, I realized that it takes some time to grasp the meaning of certain poems. And an even longer time for some to sink in. Took me ages to figure out that Plath’s ‘Metaphors’ was about pregnancy. It’s all a learning process. But for now, I’m happy. These are a few, which over the years never fail to keep me spellbound.

Grace Nichols is one of my favourite poets. If you can, I strongly suggest you pick up a copy of her book ‘I is a long memoried woman’. Lovely stuff.


Like A Beacon

In London
every now and then
I get this craving
for my mother’s food
I leave art galleries
in search of plantains
saltfish/sweet potatoes

I need this link

I need this touch
of home
swinging my bag
like a beacon
against the cold

Grace Nichols

*

If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

Pablo Neruda

*

Masks

These tales of old disguisings, are they not
Strange myths of souls that found themselves among
Unwonted folk that spake an hostile tongue,
Some soul from all the rest who’d not forgot
The star-span acres of a former lot
Where boundless mid the clouds his course he swung,
Or carnate with his elder brothers sung
Ere ballad-makers lisped of Camelot?

Old singers half-forgetful of their tunes,
Old painters color-blind come back once more,
Old poets skill-less in the wind-heart runes,
Old wizards lacking in their wonder-lore:

All they that with strange sadness in their eyes
Ponder in silence o’er earth’s queynt devyse?

Ezra Pound

*


Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
Cellophane flowers of yellow and green,
Towering over your head.
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes,
And she’s gone.
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies,
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers,
That grow so incredibly high.
Newspaper taxis appear on the shore,
Waiting to take you away.
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds,
And you’re gone.
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,

Picture yourself on a train in a station,
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties,
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile,
The girl with kaleidoscope eyes.

Lucy in the sky with diamonds.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney

*

Everybody Tells Me Everything

I find it very difficult to enthuse
Over the current news.
Just when you think that at least the outlook is so black that it can grow no blacker, it worsens,
And that is why I do not like the news, because there has never been an era when so many things were going so right for so many of the wrong persons.

Ogden Nash


I’ve saved the best for last. Vivimarie Vanderpoorten is one of my favourites. No, I’m not a newbie who latches themselves onto the latest sensation and then drops them for the next. I’ve been hooked ever since I came across her poems on writeclique a few years ago and somewhere in my room is a well thumbed slim green book which has seen better days. Her poetry is raw and powerful and holds me fascinated every time. It’s remarkably easy to relate to and has a ring of sincerity, which is extremely engaging. I could rant about it forever but I’d advice you to see for yourself.

The Gift

Sadness is a blanket
wrapped around a damaged soul
A freeze that keeps
the bacteria of transient joy
from breeding in the heart
The heavy metal music
of everything
that never lets the spirit hear
the false ballad of
undying anything
Sadness
never lets you down
the only certain offering of tomorrow
the only truth of yesterday
Sadness is the familiarity
of an old T shirt
true companion
asks nothing in return
cocoon in the unforgiving wilderness of dreams
curtain call in the tragic-comedy
of hope.

Sadness is a gift.

Vivimarie Vanderpoorten


There are more like cummings, Langston Hughes, Donne, Sujata Bhutt and Ishmael Reed, but this post is long enough already.

I’m on the look out for more and am on a search for some good haikus. Any suggestions anyone?

Ps- Horrible formatting? Colourful headers leaping out at you? Sorry about that. Blame it on blogger. I tried editing it so many times but it’s as stubborn as my sister.

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13 thoughts on “>A Handful of Poems

  1. >Wow, that last poem hit me 😀 analysing technical aspects of poems is such a pain, although i kinda like figuring out the between lines stuff. Stopped me from writing as well as reading for awhile tho.Ted Hughes, Margaret Atwood is particularly awesome i think.. TS Eliot, Also, london a/l poetry anthology has a variety of good stuff..

  2. >Sylvia Plath.But I’ve found that it is easier to understand her poetry once you have read about her background. I’m of course a bit obsessed so I have a shelf full of literature by as well as on her. I love Lucy in the Sky but more due to my fascination with Lennon’s fascination with LSD 😀

  3. >i love the written word.. some lyrics are nice too.read my last post.. tis my try at writting..see.. i doubt that poets always try to make sense.. its just what they feel at that time or they are a whole bunch of ideas and emotions that lead to one poem. Also it is possible that its on one emotion too… I like of lot of Poe’s work.. 🙂

  4. >I LOVE Ogden Nash. nice collection too you’ve got there. I second the thoughts on Eliot, Plath and Lennons LSD fascinations. :)If you’re looking for Haiku try, George Swede, Blyth, Kenneth Yasuda, Richard Wright, Virgilio, and Roselep or somebody… I’m not too familiar with the genre even though I love its structure. Also you can find some good poems+haiku from our very own local blogger Harendra here [Link]Me thinks you’d like it here too – [Link] Surprised its not on your blogroll actually.:)

  5. >Thanks for the suggestions guys.Was hoping someone would get the LSD thing. :)Stfallen and Pinkmist, if you really liked it, you should buy her book. Its called ‘nothing prepares you’. Totally worth it. Stfallen, I have a feeling you’d really like it. Its extremely raw and very easy to relate to.

  6. >doesn’t EVERY beatles fan know about the LSD? :Pthough I prefer paul mccartneys stuff to lennons… except for a few…Within You Without You is my favourite =|it’s solely by George HarrisonI shall get the book 😀

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